Archives for category: Books

I am honoured to have taken part in this project. Thanks Emily!

Journeyofaphotograph

Emily’s photograph currently resides in Beckenham (a London suburb, or a town on the fringes of Kent depending on your point of view), on our dining table. The photograph is a delicate thing and handling it makes me worry protectively at its ephemeral nature and about its onward journey, but hey it made it from Canada to here (thanks, Karen!).

It’s been both fascinating and daunting to see artworks accumulate around the project’s central image. For my own contribution I wanted to make a work that could not exist without Emily’s photograph; I deliberately set out to make an adjunct to it.

My immediate question on receiving the package was what was going on on the train when Emily took her shot. So, I got on the train to find out.

Meanwhile (inside spread), 2013

Once I started photographing people in the carriage, I realised it was their hands that would tell my story…

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Full Moon, 2013

This was taken on the Beckenham Road, Clock House, UK.

Full Moon  is a coffee table book (and exhibition catalogue), by Michael Light,  Andrew Chaikin and NASA. It was published in 1999 by Jonathan Cape/ Hayward Gallery. The exhibition was also called Full Moon.

The book is a photographic journey to the moon and back, drawn from NASA’s 32,000 pictures from the Apollo missions.

Here’s what it says on the dust jacket: “For the first time NASA has allowed 900 of the ‘master’ negatives and transparencies to be taken offsite for electronic scanning so as to produce the sharpest images of space that we have ever seen. From this selection of ‘master’ photographs Michael Light has distilled a single composite journey beginning with the launch, followed by a walk in space, an orbit of the Moon, a lunar landing and exploration and a return to Earth with an orbit and splash-down…These photographs reveal not only the hardware of lunar exploration in exquisite detail but also the profound aesthetics of space in what could be described as the ultimate landscape photography.”

And here’s the first paragraph:

They had done dangerous things before. Some had flown in combat. Others had landed a jet fighter on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the middle of the night in the open ocean. Almost all had pushed an unproven supersonic aircraft to the edge of its capabilities. And some, the veterans, had even ridden a rocket into space before. So it was not a completely novel sensation that greeted the three astronauts on launch morning, as they donned their space suits, left the crew quarters, and climbed into the transfer van for the ride to the pad.

It’s a beautiful book.

Michael Light has very generously put a number of the images online here.

In our house, this book can be found: sitting room, right-hand bookshelves, sixth shelf down.

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If you’re interested in what’s happening in space exploration now, I strongly urge you to visit Alex Autin’s blog, …things I LOVE!

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our latest collaboration can be found one post back.

Ghostwritten (I), 2013

Ghostwritten (II), 2013

Ghostwritten (III), 2013

The first shot was taken near Museum Street, the second off Lincoln’s Inn Fields and the third on Great Queen Street, London, UK.

Ghostwritten  is a novel by David Mitchell. It was published in 1999.

It was David Mitchell’s first published book, and was critically acclaimed. He’s since achieved greater commercial and critical success with Number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004), which were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Here’s what Lawrence Norfolk says on the back cover: “The Sarin nerve-gas attack in the Tokyo subway leads to a love-affair between two semi-Japanese juvenile jazz-buffs, thence to a tea-shack in revolutionary China. From there we are whisked into a rogue soul’s spiritual progress through Mongolia. Art fraud and gangsterism in St. Petersburg follow, then philandering, gambling and bad indie rock in London…At various points Ghostwritten could be called a post-Cold War thriller, a love story (or several), a cult expose, a radio-show transcript, an island romance, a compendium of creation-myths, and – unsurprisingly – a ghost story.”

And here’s the first paragraph:

Who was blowing on the nape of my neck?

To be honest, I read this when it came out and I can’t remember it that well. Whenever I’ve considered reading it again, I get this feeling that I’m not going to enjoy it, because my overall impression the first time was that this was a writer showing off. He’s extremely adept at writing from different points of view (see above), but my memory (failing so don’t trust it) is of a book that was not much more than the sum of its parts. I’m sure someone will put me right.

In our house, this book can be found: study, left-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our last collaboration can be found a few posts back.

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If you like good prose, I thoroughly recommend you catch up with the following blogs: Frivolous Monsters (hilarious), People Places and Bling! (all round brilliant), and Unbound Boxes Limping Gods (a fantastic narrative, beautifully illustrated).

Zazie in the Metro, 2013

This was taken last Friday on Platform 3 of Charing Cross station, London, UK (so, not the Metro and almost definitely not someone called Zazie).

Zazie in the Metro  is a novel by Raymond Queneau. It was published in 1959. The edition on our shelves was published in 2000 and was translated into English by Barbara Wright.

The book was Raymond Queneau’s first commercial success (a fact which bothered him somewhat because he considered the book lightweight), and was written in colloquial French. Queneau was a poet, novelist and co-founder of the literary/ mathematical group, Ouvroir de littérature potentielle (Oulipo)*.

Here’s what it says on the back cover: “Impish, foul-mouthed Zazie arrives in Paris from the country to stay with her female-impersonator Uncle Gabriel. All she really wants to do is ride the metro, but finding it shut because of a strike, Zazie looks for other means of amusement and is soon caught up in a comic adventure that becomes wilder and more manic by the minute.”

And here’s the first paragraph:

Howcanaystinksotho, wondered Gabriel, exasperated. Ts incredible, they never clean themselves. It says in the paper that not eleven percent of the flats in Paris have bathrooms, doesn’t surprise me, but you can wash without. They can’t make much of an effort, all this lot around me. On the other hand, it’s not as if they’ve been specially hand-picked form the dosses of Paris. Zno reason. They’re only here by accident. You really can’t assume that people who meet people at the Gare d’Austerlitz smell worse than people who meet people at the Gare de Lyon. No really, zno reason. All the same, what a smell.

Frankly, it’s hilarious and I vigorously recommend you read it.

In 1960, Louis Malle adapted the book for cinema. It has also been staged as a play and been published as a comic book.

In our house, this book can be found: sitting room, right-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

* Georges Perec, who I wrote a bit about here was also a member.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our latest collaboration can be found one post back.

Lights Out For The Territory, 2013

Lights Out For The Territory, 2013

This was taken on a train bound for Charing Cross, London, UK.

Lights Out For The Territory  is a volume of essays by Iain Sinclair, with illustrations by Marc Atkins. It was published in 1997.

The book is structured around 9 walks through London and was published at a time when psychogeography was a new buzz-word.  On his travels he discovers a maze of symbols, ancient and modern and pieces together a coherent, occultist new version of the capital.

Here’s what it says on the back cover: “Iain Sinclair walks the streets of London compulsively, and reads the hidden language of the city like no other writer… [the book] walks the reader into a deranged remapping of London, and Sinclair’s strange connections between places and people take on an integrity of their own. London is scoured in acid humour.”

And here’s the first paragraph:

The notion was to cut a crude V into the sprawl of the city, to vandalise dormant energies by an act of ambulant signmaking. To walk out from Hackney to Greenwich Hill, and back along the river Lea to Chingford Mount, recording and retrieving the messages on walls, lampposts, door jambs: the spites and spasms of an increasingly deranged populace…

Steady on!

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, right-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our latest collaboration can be found on Richard’s blog.

Cuckooland, 2013

Cuckooland, 2013

This was taken on Kingsway, London, UK.

Cuckooland  is an album by Robert Wyatt. It was released in 2003.
It was my first step into the world of Robert Wyatt and what a wonderful surprise. He is possessed of one of the most achingly, beautifully sad voices. He used to be in Soft Machine, and then Matching Mole, but I think I prefer him as a solo artist and he seems to get better with each new album.

Robert Wyatt is another artist who divides opinion, so I won’t go on…here’s the fourth track from the album, Forest.

In our house, this CD can be found: dining room, right-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our latest collaboration was posted on Richard’s blog last Sunday. Check it out.

Everything and Nothing

Everything and Nothing, 2012

This was taken in Beckenham, UK.

Everything and Nothing  is a sort of greatest hits album by David Sylvian.

It was released in 2000 and collects together some of his greatest songs (post Japan), along with unreleased material. Sylvian’s career has had a trajectory comparable in some ways to Scott Walker’s – in recent years his work has been willfully difficult and stunningly beautiful. Everything and Nothing is pre-difficult and if you fancy dipping a toe in the water, I would recommend this as a place to start. The songs on here are sumptuous, artful and filled with longing.

Track-listing and album details can be found here.

My favourite track on the album is the first: The Scent of Magnolia.

In our house this CD can be found: dining room, top shelf, right-hand bookshelves.

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Thanks to John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our next collaboration will be posted tomorrow – watch this space.

First Frost, 2013

This was taken in Beckenham, UK.

First Frost  is a short story anthology, edited by Charlotte Cole. It was published in 1998.

Contributors include: Charlotte Cole, Angela Carter, Helen Dunmore, Carol Shields, Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith and A.L. Kennedy. A pretty stellar line-up. It’s at this point that I have to admit to not reading it yet, although I’m a big fan of all the above-mentioned writers. Nikki says it’s great, so it’s gone on my list for this year.

Here’s what it says on the back cover: “Friendships growing in long winter evenings, moments of love in a snow-encrusted landscape, the heart-soaring freedom of a clear cold sky…First Frost is an irresistible and evocative collection of stories by some of the best contemporary women writers – a breathtaking winter read.”

And here’s the first paragraph of Helen Dunmore’s Girls on Ice:

Ulli has studied the brackish waters of the Baltic in high-school science. She remember field trips when she had to sample and test sea water before reading up on experiments which reported the leaching of DDT from the shores of our great neighbour into the tissues of the Baltic herring. Our great neighbour. That was what they called the Soviet Union then. Ironic, derisive. That was the way to survive. There are no national borders as far as pollution is concerned, their teacher had emphasised. They should arm themselves with information. It was their future.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, second shelf down.

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Thanks to the usual suspects (John, Deanne and Terry) for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our next collaboration will be posted on Richard’s blog on Sunday.

In Search of Space, 2012

So, my final post of 2012, and another idea suggested by Deanne. I’ve attempted a round-up of all the books featured in TFIPM in the last year (in reverse order of appearance). Before we get to the round-up, I’d like to say thank you to Stephen D. for lunch yesterday (fab!), and to everyone who has visited, liked, commented or contacted the blog in the last year – I really appreciate it.

Stephen D, 2012

I posted an awards page (https://thefutureispapiermache.wordpress.com/awards/digging-for-fire/) a couple of days ago. Lazy I know, but I haven’t got the time or energy to email everyone to tell them they’ve been nominated, so please check it out. And I started a new blog here: TFIPM Remix if you want to see a lot of the street portraits in one place.

A big thank you to John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans, and to J.E. Lattimer (Arcane Arrangements , Mysteries of the Wasteland, and Fictional Machines ) for a fantastic collaboration on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

And lastly but not leastly to Richard from CK Ponderings for being a brilliant, inspiring collaborator for the last six months (and a bit), and an all-round cool guy – it was great to finally meet him in November.

Right onwards…Taxi!

Taxi!, 2012

Recommendations 2012

From the bookshelves:

Hotel World (2001) by Ali Smith

Triangle Square Circle (1995) by William Wegman

House of Suns (2008) by Alasdair Reynolds

Re-Make/ Re-model (2007) by Michael Bracewell

Riddley Walker (1980) by Russell Hoban

Empty Space (2012) by M John Harrison

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (2008) by Xiaolu Guo

The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps (2001) by Michel Faber

The Entropy Tango (1981) by Michael Moorcock

England’s Dreaming (1991) by Jon Savage

The Lowlife (1963) by Alexander Baron

Sombrero Fallout (1976) by Richard Brautigan

Stone Junction (1990) by Jim Dodge

Travel Arrangements (2001) by M John Harrison

Kleinzeit (1974) by Russell Hoban

Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (1997) by Georges Perec

A Brief History of Time (1988) by Stephen Hawking

Exit Music (2007) by Ian Rankin

Ask The Dust (1939) by John Fante

The Dancers At The End of Time (1981) by Michael Moorcock

Under The Clock (2005) by Tony Harrison

Utopia Parkway (1997) by Deborah Solomon

The Frequency of Souls (1996) by Mary Kay Zuravleff

The Light of Day (2003) by Graham Swift

The Happy Owls (1963) by Celestino Piatti

The Accidental (2005) by Ali Smith

Fowler’s End (1957) by Gerald Kersh

Five Miles From Outer Hope (2000) by Nicola Barker

Pale Fire (1962) by Vladimir Nabakov

Walking on Glass (1985) by Iain Banks

From The History of Abstract Painting Week:

History of Abstract Painting (1989) by Jean-Luc Daval

From Science Fiction Fortnight:

The Cornelius Quartet (Comprising The Final Programme (1969), A Cure For Cancer (1971), The English Assassin (1972) and The Condition of Muzak (1977) by Michael Moorcock

The Ash Circus (a short story) (1969) by M John Harrison

Millenium People (2003) by J G Ballard

The Lathe of Heaven (1971) by Ursula K Le Guin

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by George Orwell

Signal To Noise (a short story) (2006) by Alasdair Reynolds

Perdido Street Station (2000) by China Meiville

The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester

Breakfast In The Ruins (1972) by Michael Moorcock

Swarm (a short story) (1982) by Bruce Sterling

In The Country of Last Things (1987) by Paul Auster

Crash (1973) by J G Ballard

King of the City (2000) by Michael Moorcock

I, Robot (1957) by Isaac Asimov

Blood Music (1983) by Greg Bear

Under The Skin (2000) by Michel Faber

Light (2002) by M John Harrison

The Illustrated Man (1951) by Ray Bradbury

The War of the Worlds (1898) by H G Wells

The City and the Stars (1956) by Arthur C Clarke

Slaughterhouse 5 (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut

The Stainless Steel Rat (1961) by Harry Harrison

Concrete Island (1974) by J G Ballard

Seen and Not Seen, 2012

This was taken somewhere off High Holborn in London, UK.

Seen and Not Seen  is the sixth track on Talking Heads 1980 album, Remain In Light.

The album was the third and final that the band co-produced with Brian Eno, and arguably their artistic zenith (the next studio album, Speaking In Tongues (1983) used more straightforward funk strategies, the one after, Little Creatures (1985) was a pop album). The songs were built on improvisations, African polyrhythms and samples & loops (which were big news in those days). The band brought in loads of session players and sonic ingenuity was bingo! theirs.

It’s undoubtedly a great album and features my favourite track by Talking Heads, The Great Curve, but for my money More Songs About Buildings and Food is a stranger album by far (and therefore more interesting).

Any road up, here’s Seen and Not Seen, The Great Curve, and The Girls Want To Be With The Girls.

The CD this track comes from is somewhere in the bedroom – the house is a bit of a mess at the moment…

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Thanks to John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Our next collaboration will be posted tomorrow – watch this space.