Sunday, March 19, 2006

England Prevails



The move didn't go well; in fact, it could be considered an utter failure, as we didn't in fact move anywhere, and we're back exactly where we were two weeks ago, occupying the dark corners of my in-laws' home like a pair of cockroaches. With fewer legs and reduced invulnerability to poison and nuclear conflict, obviously.

But it wasn't a waste of time, money and effort, at least not to us. We learned some important things, decided some other important things, and got to catch up with almost all of our friends over there.

Upon arrival, we stopped to recharge at the posh London abode of Alex, Soni and the hitherto-unknown Jill (Gill? I failed to check), before heading off to Bristol, which is of course where all the magic was supposed to happen. Except it didn't. We learned two very important things there: (1) we really didn't like Bristol at all, which came as a surprise to me, as I really liked the town on previous visits, and it was my idea to move there; and (b) given our current situation, we discovered that getting a flat or house was going to be prohibitively expensive and complicated. Mostly complicated.

So we gave up.

We decided to return and rethink our strategy, and instead treat our "move" like a trip. So we visited friends and familiar places and had a great time catching up and reacquainting ourselves with good old Blighty. One day, we went to Brighton, our original choice for the move, and Meg fell in love with the place. I've always loved it, and it was only because we'd expected it to be out of our price range that we rejected it. But it turns out that Brighton is on a par with Bristol, and even cheaper in many cases. It's closer to most of our friends, and it's closer to London, a place I dislike, but one that holds much promise for Meg's career goals (I have no goals of any sort). So Brighton is where we're going to go. We've come up, thanks to excellent advice from friends, with a workable plan for making it happen. A real plan. A real good plan.

So if all goes well, and there's really only one little thing that can go wrong and even I'm not quite that unlucky, we should be living in Brighton by the end of the year. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern at my vague and ominous postings while we were away; it meant a lot, and we'd be grateful if you can all cross as many spare fingers as you have (borrow some from the Yakuza) when the time comes for us to try again. Cheers.


While back in my homeland, I caught up with 2000AD, which is on a creative high right now, and also decided to give Iain Banks another go. I'd read a few of his books back at school, just before my flirtation with higher education, and thought they were merely okay (although The Wasp Factory is an astonishingly good debut, and would make a cracking BBC2/Channel 4 drama, assuming they could find a suitable lead), but Waterstone's had a three for two offer on his books for some reason, and while I didn't end up buying any from there (due to not really liking his work all those dusty years ago), my interest was piqued enough to pick up Excession at Gatwick. I ended up watching films on the plane instead (Chicken Little is terrible but has a superb last five minutes, Æon Flux is a generic post-Matrix actioner with pretensions of profundity (and is nowhere near as good as the original cartoon, much as I hated the art style), Romancing the Stone is just as enjoyable as, but more derivative than, I remember, and The Lion King is an excellent film obscured by Disney's novishness), but I'll get to Excession at some point in the near future, and I'll report whether I still don't get on with Banks' scifi. Maybe.

Oh, and while in Blighty, I finally read the copy of number9dream we bought ages ago on the cheap, and I loved it. Much better than Mitchell's first (fewer boring bits), and I'm not sure why so many people hate the ending. It made perfect sense to me. I suspect I'll get around to reading Cloud Atlas circa 2008.

Oh, and oh, and I just watched V for Vendetta, and fair's fair, they didn't do an awful job of it.

15 comments:

  1. reading cloud atlas as we speak!

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  2. Chin up, old chap! The exchange rate is a killer.

    At least you got to read Number9Dream. I'm glad you liked it.

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  3. Glad you're okay, even if you are a cunt! :D

    Sorry to hear you've had such a disastrous time though fella, fingers are indeed crossed for your Brighton ambitions.

    Number9Dream is faboo. Excession is hard work but rewarding. Try The Algebraist. It's not set in the 'Culture' universe and is all the better for it.

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  4. Brighton, a fine fine place to call home. Watch out for Mr Nick Cave stalking the streets.

    Excession is cracking stuff, really good - if you've not read it yet, get hold of the first Culture book, Consider Phlebas, which connects with Excession though I don't quite remember how. And SHHH! on the Wasp Factory telly adaptation, that's MY plan!

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  5. Consider Phlebas was one of the ones I read when I was a nipper (17), and I was going to buy that one, but I decided to go for one I hadn't read. I was >this< close to picking up The Algebraist. Perhaps next time, if I like this one.

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  6. Glad to see that all is (mostly) well!

    It pains me to hear that 2000AD is on a creative high right now, as I've yet to take the plunge and dip back into those Diamond-addled waters and add it back to my pull list.

    Drat.

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  7. 2000ad has just finished a series called The Ten-Seconders which, while a superhero story (of sorts) and I don't approve of superheroes in the comic, has been a cracking read. And Judge Dredd is pretty good right now too.

    The comic isn't in a must-read era right now, but it is going quite strongly. It's apparently building up to a major event with the untold origin of Dredd, which may be worth getting on board for.

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  8. An American studio bought the rights to The Wasp Factory years ago — they were planning to Americanise it and make a film with Jodie Foster, which tells you how long ago it was. Rights might have reverted since.

    Excession throws you into the middle of things a bit. My fave of the Iain M stuff is Use of Weapons, and if you liked Wasp Factory, you'll probably enjoy Complicity.

    Brighton's fab. I recommend Momma Cherri's Soul Food Shack.

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  9. Other than Crow Road and Wasp Factory I've never quite got the fuss about Iain Banks, oh well, if you've got Wasp Factory on your CV then it doesn't matter that much!
    Friend of mine read Mitchell's upcoming book Black Swan Green and said it was fantastic, not got round to reading any of his stuff yet though.
    Total agreement about London, and Brighton, BTW.

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  10. Good to hear you're well, Kelvin, and have set new sights. I'm not far from Brighton, so if you need a place to stay for a couple of days - no problem.

    As for Iain Banks, I read The Bridge first, which I loved, then continued a good streak with Wasp Factory, Espedair Street and Walking on Glass. Then I read Canal dreams and went right off him!

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  11. Thanks for the offer, Garen!

    I find it interesting that you seem to only have read Banks' "proper" novels, and not his scifi stuff. Most people I know who've read him have read a bit of both.

    That said, the only non-sf book of his I've read was The Wasp Factory, so I'm not one to talk!

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  12. Was an absolute pleasure seeing you both again! Hope all goes your way - may the bird of paradise fly up your noses. Hope you and Meg are back before too long. James

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  13. You were in bristol and didn't say hi!

    Im very hurt ;)

    were the problems really bad or insumountable?

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  14. The last comment was from jeremy by the way, blogger wont pick up my identity.

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  15. As someone who had a long, drawn out sucky move, I can totally empathize. At least you still seem to be getting time to read, though!

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