Two reviews for the price of one! Well, I guess they’re all free, so that argument probably doesn’t hold much water. Anyway, I recently powered through two books of nonfiction about important issues, so it made sense to whack ’em both in here.
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber
My rating: three stars
If ever there was a title to get me through the door, then this was it. How could I resist? The thing I didn’t know when I began Bullshit Jobs, though, was that Graeber’s position wasn’t that work as a whole was bullshit.
This I had to learn. (See, there’s also plain shit jobs, which are very different from bullshit jobs.)(more…)
This year, I had intended to write reviews of everything I read.
Obviously, with this year being this year I haven’t been able to do that for a lot of the books I ploughed through. I really wanted to record some thoughts on them, because it’s an important part of the reading process, for me: it helps bed down each book in my mind, so that I’m not taken by surprise halfway through an unintended reread by a plot development that suddenly reminds me that oh yeah, I’ve read this before.
Part of my process this year has involved the taking of notes to serve as a sort of memory aid for my reading. Generally, they require a Rosetta Stone to be sifted through, even by me, so they’re not particularly enlightening on their own, but they do allow me to crack out a couple of brief thoughts about what I’ve read this year.
So that’s what I’m doing here.(more…)
I came to this book as many did, I suspect, because it featured on that list of David Bowie’s 100 favourite books which circulated a couple of years ago. (The list also is explored in a podcast, if you’re interested.)
It makes sense that Bowie would be a fan of this work, given that it’s an enthusiastic, bitchy exploration of early rock. After all, the work is titled for Little Richard’s protean good-time yawp from ‘Tutti Fruitti’, the song that made Bowie “see God”.
After a couple of years of looking, I found a copy replete with terrifying cover. It was written in 1968 and revised in 1972. Kit Lambert, erstwhile manager of The Who introduces the work and sets things rolling: the text covers a brief period in music, but one of supreme importance for everything rock-related that came afterwards. All that’s covered is the period from Bill Haley’s initial popularity until 1966 – that’s it.(more…)
The Green River Killer was one of the most prolific US serial killers in history, keeping the Seattle and Tacoma area wary for at least 20 years. It’s thought that the killer, Gary Ridgway was responsible for upwards of 70 murders dating back to the early 1980s.
Bodies were still discovered as recently as 2003.(more…)
During high school, I had a PC. I was a bit bummed by it (largely because it wasn’t an Amiga) but that didn’t last after, in my final years, Wolfenstein 3D came out. From id Software, the game saw you eventually kill mecha-Hitler in a Nazi castle. It was, arguably, the beginning of the wave of first-person shooter games that would come to dominate computers.
It was (in ’92) the product, largely, of two guys: John Carmack and John Romero. They already had made a bunch of money through the shareware distribution of earlier games, but the duo were on the cusp of history. Just around the corner was one of the most influential and hated-by-politicians games ever: Doom.(more…)
Making games sounds fun, right? Like, you get to hang out in cool offices and make things that are fun to play that people love? Sounds great.
It’s not, and that’s not just because the gaming audience is equally likely to lob death threats into your inbox as praise: it’s because the way games are made is fundamentally fuuuuucked.(more…)
The Grand Guignol was Paris’s smallest theatre, was named for a horrifying puppet, and was also a place where you could see various comedies interspersed with incredibly vivid, naturalistic horror.
Couple of laughs and some throat-slitting? Sure, mon ami, sounds swell.(more…)
So Pulp, eh? Possibly – nah, probably – the best band to emerge from the Britpop years of hype and arse-smacking heroin chic.
The group – in existence since 1978, if you can believe it – weren’t typically sexy. I mean, there was an effort to evoke a certain PR sexiness from lyricist Jarvis Cocker’s gangly frame, but it wasn’t the body that made him sexy: it was the combination of his writing, and of sex itself.(more…)