Goodreads review: The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You really don’t need to read this review. It’s probably better if you don’t. If you think you’re even slightly interested in this book based on the title – which let’s face it, tells you pretty much all you need to know -then go and read it.

I’m serious. If you’ve a passing interest, even, in golems, in jinns, in magic and myth, just go.

And people who bypass the book because they think it’s going to be all magickque and twee? Well, fuck ’em, because they’ll miss out. Because, yes, there is magic in here – and I’m someone who normally can’t handle dreamcatcher, velvet-pantsed horseshittery, which is odd given my intense interest in esoterica – but it’s not really what The Golem and the Jinni is about. (more…)

2016 consumption: a look at some stuff I liked

WELL HERE IT IS. Once more it’s time for a recap on what I did during the year, stuffwise. Previous versions are here, here and here, if you need an origin story.

Once more, I’m unsure who would actually read this all the way through, given the self-indulgence herein, but don’t worry – I’ve found an image that reflects both the world’s 2016 and my thoughts on writing the thing.

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Take that, ya lousy fuckin’ year. And you too, ya lousy fuckin’ typing guy.

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STC: Speed-the-Plow

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Rose Byrne, Damon Herriman and Lachy Hulme in Speed-the-Plow.

First things first. The Sydney Theatre Company’s production of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow is made well. It’s performed well, hits its marks and sees some obvious dedication from its three actors. Andrew Upton’s direction and Mamet’s dialogue means the time zips along. By my usual indicators, I should’ve loved the show.

And yet, something was in the way. (more…)

Transmission resumes

So it’s been a bit quiet around here of late.

This is because I’ve been moving house. I’ve moved out of the house I used to own, which I thought I’d live in for a long time. Obviously, a couple of years is a long time if you’re the kind of renter who moves (or is forced to move) every couple of months, but you’re forgetting that I’m a) a curmudgeon and b) a hobbit so I’m pretty fond of my holes.

I like holes. Comfy holes. With all the things. Where I know where they are!

Ahem.

Anyway, I’m typing this on a laptop in a room full of boxes and cat toys. That’s pretty much the whole house: cat toys and boxes. But it’s a new house I’m renting – a shopfront and flat upstairs, ensuring that I finally have discovered a Pulp cliche.

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Movie musings: You Only Live Twice

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The next Bond film is one of my favourites. I sometimes wonder how much of my interest in Japan can be traced back from this thing, as flawed as it is.

It contains pretty much everything I associate with Bond films, even now: gadgetry, exotic travel and an overly ornate lair. This really is one of the solidly great Bond films, even though they try to make Connery look Japanese, with rather predictable results.

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Goodreads review: George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America

George Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of AmericaGeorge Washington Is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America by Cory O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, this is a bit of a hard one for me to review. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, I liked Cory O’Brien’s previous book about mythology, so it stands to reason that I would like this.

And I do, let’s not argue about that.

But it feels a bit weirder to be writing about actual people with the same pisstakery that’s perhaps reasonable for mythological figures. (more…)

Movie Musings: Thunderball

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Then I fuck off back to London on my jetpack; that’s how I roll. 

My Bond watching continues, so let’s get with the snarky viewer thoughts. The following are my musings while watching Thunderball, which is one of those films I’ve never really clicked with. It was a Bond film that I didn’t get to see very much when I was a kid, because video shops in Orange didn’t seem to stock it.

Watching it as an adult? A different interpretation, I suspect. There’s some nods towards seriousness at times, but not enough to overcome that turgid undersea battle at the end.

I still dig the jetpack, though, even if Bond’s StackHat is a bit ropey.

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Goodreads review: The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath TestThe Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jon Ronson, like Louis Theroux, is someone whose career is built on the examination of those who seem other, who seem oddly separate from our daily experience. The Psychopath Test, however, focuses on something we’re probably all familiar with, perhaps unwittingly: the psychopath. Because in every hundred people, one is a psychopath.

The writing works because it’s pretty breezy. We open with Ronson’s own feelings of panic and anxiety, coupled with a mystery: a curious book that’s been sent to various academics. He tries to figure who sent it, and why, and begins his journey into the world of psychopathy.

Throughout, the explorations are driven by a personal curiosity. It’s a fairly organic progression: stuff unfolds without a great degree of forethought, always with a tailing thought: am I a psychopath? (more…)

Goodreads review: Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary BoysCured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys by Lol Tolhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book for Cure fans.

No, really. That’s who’s going to read it. I am not excepted from this number. I had watched the Story of Lol from afar, from his being jettisoned after Disintegration to his surprising (and a bit tearjerking) reappearance with the band for their Reflections gigs at the Sydney Opera House. I knew, more or less, the story of the band, but obviously the focus is generally on Robert Smith rather than ol’ Lol.

People outside the Cure’s fanbase most likely don’t know who Lol Tolhurst is, and are probably wondering why he’s got an abbreviation for a first name. (more…)