Just a quick entry, as I’m aware I’ve not written about anything for a while. I wanted to just assure people that I’m a) alive and b) not a fan of the terrible God of War clone that is Dante’s Inferno. You can probably glean all you need to know from that terrible trailer above.
The upshot of the game is that Dante’s Inferno is the be-ringed skeleton upon which a dire knockoff game was hung. I think I scored this free on the PSN one month, so I hadn’t had much investment in it anyway, but upon playing a couple of hours of it – ecccch. It’s derivative, features a psychopathic lead who has stitched his garment into his skin, and is trying to get his girlfriend back from the clutches of Hell because he boned someone while on the Crusades, once.
Despite the best efforts of my video card and Windows 10 to stop me, I recently completed Campo Santo’s Firewatch, an adventure game. It’s become the favourite thing I’ve played in the past year, I think, partially for its design, but also for the way it’s unafraid to put story first, mechanics second.
This is the second of Alex Kerr’s books on Japan that I’ve read, and it certainly doesn’t hold back. It’s critical – rightly so, in many cases – of the ornate, backhander-rich culture that permeates government and industry, of the blinkered educational aims of the country, of the done-with-mirrors, waiting-for-collapse economic system, the addiction to government works and needless halls that bankrupt cities and swell construction coffers, the lack of regulation and the wholesale disregard for culture, simplicity and the landscape which outsiders associate with Japan.
The man’s distaste and fear couldn’t be better conveyed if each chapter were entitled SHIT’S FUCKED in 72-point type, followed by pages of onomatopoeic screams.
And yet part of me – as a big ole gaijin myself – wonders how much of the writing is the result of the foreign lens being brought to bear, with the baggage that brings. (more…)
As part of an attempt to become more organised (and to eke more out of my hours) I’ve recently begun scheduling things I’d like to do. It’s not quite as cold as it sounds, and it affords me the ability to ensure I do things I like, but which often suffer in the throes of a Wikipedia hole or a TV Tropes vortex.
One of the things on my list is to read a poem a day. Every day. One poem. This is to counter the fact that though I like poetry, and though I spent four years at university reading books – some of which were made up of poems! – I still feel myself to be a low-watt bulb when it comes to poetry. It’s something I like, and have liked for a long time, but something I feel kind of stupid around, like I’ve turned up to a fancy restaurant in tracksuit pants. (more…)
This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.
First things first. …And This Is Our Music is an album created by people who’ll probably want to kick in the heads of reviewers everywhere. Scope out the liner-notes and you’ll see that self-serving critics make a list of people officially put on notice that they’re “Officially uninvited to our party!!!” – replete with three exclamation marks.
That’s not very hippie, is it? In fact, it probably qualifies as a freak-out, baby. But that’s fine, because the music recorded here overtakes any attitude-based party exclusions that The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Anton Newcombe, boss man and chief sonic wrangler) could hurl. (Of course, the fact that elsewhere in the same notes – couched in a track-by-track commentary, revealing musical inspirations, drug information and touching rave-ups of guest vocalists – lies a thoroughly shameless attempt to pick up BJM-fancying ladies weighs a little in their favour, too.) (more…)
So hey, here’s a novel that’s about school shootings, the presumption of innocence, the weird pull of adulthood and sex, the prison system, Mexico, reality TV, hucksters and the corrosive effect of media-driven groupthink on the execution of justice and, well, executions, and whether God really exists. Sounds pretty weighty, right?
Well, if you’re talking about D.B.C. Pierre’s debut (and award winning) novel Vernon God Little, then the answer is sorta. It is indeed about all those things, all Big Topics and worthy of some navel-gazing time. But it’s more importantly a portrait of what it is to be a teenager that knows he’s living in the arsehole of the world, and is wise enough to have a fairly accurate sense of just how dumb he is. (more…)
Continuing the play-through-the-PS3-backlog project, I’ve just completed the two Battlefield: Bad Company games, my first proper excursion into the Battlefield world. I didn’t play any of the multiplayer, so I assume this means I am now an associate dudebro. (more…)
Another out-the-door read, I began this in order to get it off my shelves. I’m trying to downsize books, and I felt that this would be a good read-and-donate, so away I went.
I may have to reconsider this plan of action.
While this is the second Willocks book I’ve read, it’s the first of his to be published. Green River Rising was my first, and it’s undeniable that while that book is more polished, Bad City Blues is more viscerally interesting. There’s certainly a sense that Willocks is working out ideas here, and the writing sometimes veers close to formula, but in genre fiction, that’s hardly a cardinal sin.
Willocks’ writing here is resolutely Southern-fried gothic violence. There’s touches of Chandler and Cain, with sweaty balls; religion, robbery and the fuckery love leads you to are foremost. (more…)