Saturday, April 30, 2011

News from England

I don't ordinarily write of real-world topics, but I'll make an exception yet again. For me, the biggest news story of the week came from England. Yes, the death of the remarkable Poly Styrene of the X-Ray Spex came as a blow to me.

The X-Ray Spex 1978 album Germ Free Adolescents is perhaps more relevant now than it was when it was released. Featuring such songs as Genetic Engineering, Plastic Bag, and Germ Free Adolescents, the album documents the wonders and terrors of a culture saturated with chemicals and advertising, an "existence supported by mechanical resources". Poly's strident howl was a warning from a punk prophetess, a call to resist the siren song of marketers and pedlars of convenience at the cost of authenticity. Poly also resisted domination of all sorts, whether from authority figures or commodification. My personal favorite by the 'Spex is The Day the World Turned Day-Glo, an ode to the beauties and horrors of modern chemistry which perfectly captures the spirit of the Spex, and their frontwoman:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Paying the Bursar

Been busy, making sure that I pay the exchequer, so I don't end up in a federal pound me in the ass prison.

I don't really mind paying taxes- I live in an area with decent roads, and bridges which seriously need renovation. I'll take paying taxes over careening into a river any day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Still a Little Hung Up on Stross' "Laundry" Books...

Because I enjoyed The Atrocity Archives so much, I attempted to locate a copy of Len Deighton's The IPCRESS file. The book is currently out of print, but a new print run will be coming out in July (did Stross put Deighton back on the map?).

Being the sort of fellow who can see through a brick wall if given enough time, I finally realized that Randall Garrett's "Lord Darcy" story The Ipswich Phial is an homage to Deighton's Book. The Ipswich Pial is a thaumaturgical espionage tale, with Lord Darcy, an agent of the Anglo-French Empire, attempting to track down a dangerous magical item before it falls into the hands of agents of the Slavonic Empire (a Polish autocratic kingdom). Randall Garrett's works featured many allusions and veiled references to other books, television shows, movies, and individuals both real and fictional... I just didn't have the wherewithal to spot the reference to Deighton until recently.

As luck would have it, I have tracked down a library copy of The IPCRESS File and will use the interlibrary loan service to get my grubby paws on it.