Goodreads review: The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse

The Ladybird Book of the Zombie ApocalypseThe Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse by Jason Hazeley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is going to be a short review, which is fitting as the book is short. An amuse l’œil, if you like.

It pretty much does what you’d expect from the title: it’s a pisstake of the Ladybird books, a series of books aimed at improving kids’ reading abilities. Widely used in the ’60s and ’70s, these books covered all sorts of topics and were illustrated in a very painterly manner. (more…)

Gunna, get it?

When I was a teenager my parents and uncle delighted in calling me Gunna. Gunna Martin. At first, I thought this was kind of cool, because as a kid I’d loved a book called Drummer Hoff, but apparently it was Not A Good Thing.

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Check out those cheekbones.

It was Not A Good Thing because it referred to my inability to do things in a timely fashion.  Mowing. Picking up the dog shit. Cleaning my room. Homework. Anything that didn’t involve pissing time away, most likely. And so whenever anyone reached the point of extremity, out it came: Gunna Martin, that’s you.  (more…)

Goodreads review: Discovering Scarfolk

Discovering ScarfolkDiscovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Scarfolk. That name! One to be uttered alongside Derry, Maine. Or R’lyeh. A place where that creepy clown from the television test pattern lives. A place where brutalist architecture never died, where clothing is all artificial material, everything has a fried egg in it, and the world is viewed through builders’ tea, smeared glasses and an obsidian doorway into another world. (more…)

A compressed month of memesongs

So I was farting around on Twitter – what else do you do on there? – and I came across this image.

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So I figured I’d do it. I worked the first post up and someone commented, saying you could crank out the whole month in a day, if you had a mind.

I don’t have much of a mind, but I do have bookshelves requiring filling that I desperately need distraction from, so I did all 30 days (why not 28 or 31?) in one go.

And here they are.  (more…)

Goodreads review: Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts

Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of GhostsBabbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts by Grafton Tanner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vaporwave! It’s a thing, still, even though it’s supposed to have been dead for a couple of years now.

What is vaporwave? If you don’t know, have some smooth, iconic jams. Essentially, it’s elevator music for some weirdly capitalist hellscape, and Grafton Tanner’s book exists to provide a bit of context with fewer bong-hits than you’d fine in online discussions of same. (more…)

Goodreads review: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show BusinessAmusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

Well, this is all a bit depressing.

I mean, we’re all fairly acutely aware of the way the internet makes us all a little stupider, right? There was a lot of hoo-ha about Nicholas Carr’s Atlantic article “Is Google Making Us Stoopid? but in this brief book, Postman makes the same claims about television, something which by now appears benign in comparison to the dizzying chasm of timesink that defines most of our modern lives.

And he did it in 1985.

And then Roger Waters wrote an album about it.

I know, right?

Right. (more…)

PJ Harvey: ICC Sydney Theatre, Jan 22 2017

I suppose it’s the case that there’s no such thing as a bad PJ Harvey show. But it could be that there’s such a thing as an indifferent one. One that hits the right notes, but doesn’t have the emotional resonance you’d expect.

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That was the case this evening. It wasn’t phoned in – not by any measure – but there was something curiously distancing about this evening’s show.  (more…)

PJ Harvey, The Tremors @ The Back Room Club, Byron Bay, 25/7/2004

This review is an example of my older writing. Eventually, I hope to have all my reviews archived here. The writing style is a little different, but then I suppose we’ve all changed in the past decade. (Yes, that means I’m cringing at that use of ‘incendiary’ too.)

Gigs where there’s some difference between bands are always good, and this evening’s show at The Back Room Club was no exception. The difference in this case was that the headliner, PJ Harvey, is the queen of come-close-but-stay-at-arms-length songwriting, at once embracing and spurning, while her support, The Tremors prefer to stay up close and personal; preferably trying to get a hand down your duds in the process. (more…)