Monday, October 29, 2007

Macbeth: The Graphic Novel


This weekend, I read Macbeth, The Graphic Novel, adapted by Arthur Byron Cover and drawn by Tony Lenoard Tamai. In this adaptation, Macbeth is set in stardate 1040 on a distant ringed world (which still has countries named Ireland and England !); instead of horses, folks ride dragons and the weird sisters are Dr Doom look-alike cyborgs. It all looks like it shouldn't work (and the reviews, if the Amazon reviews are any indication, have largely been hostile so far, so for many it doesn't) but I thought that Cover had done a good job. He's retained the Shakespearean English and for me the dissonance between the future fantasy world and Shakespeare's lines worked. (I remember that Victoria, I think back in the early 1990s, Victoria staged Macbeth in a post-holocaust world) Tamai's drawings are inconsistent, with some crudely drawn panels lacking the finished quality of the early portion of the book. (I don't think that these rough few pages were intentional—rather an editor's gaff). I was kind of shocked at the poor reviews after I finished the book as I'd thought it took an imaginative approach to retelling the tale.

Today's poem is Randall Jarell's The Death of Ball Turret Gunner.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tim Jones



Tim's reading is coming up at the Poetry Café, so here's a more recent photo than the one bellow. Once Blogger allows me to edit my previous posts I'll remove the earlier photo. When I go to edit my posts, all I see is the header and a blank edit box! Anyway, go and have a look at Tim's homepage. And, tired of seeing dark spots, I've changed the template yet again.

Today's poems: Elfland and The Translator by Tim.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playlist


Ursula Rucker

  1. You're with stupid now. Aimee Mann
  2. Intro/Stronger than me. Amy Winehouse
  3. The woodlands national anthem. The Arcade Fire
  4. Neon bible. The Arcade Fire
  5. Who the fuck are the Artic Monkeys? The Arctic Monkeys
  6. Within you without you/Tomorrow never knows. The Beatles
  7. Living proof. Cat Power
  8. Venus as a boy. Corinne Bailey Rae
  9. Summersong. The Decemberists
  10. Kingdom of doom. The Good, the Bad and the Queen
  11. Tomorrow never knows. Jason McNiff
  12. Young idealist. Lloyd Cole.
  13. Antidepressant. Lloyd Cole.
  14. Part of the process. Moorcheeba
  15. Don't say nothing. Patti Smith
  16. #9 Dream. REM
  17. I bet that you look good on the dancefloor. The Sugarbabes
  18. Rant (hot in here). Ursula Rucker feat. Younglao.
  19. Has been. William Shatner
Image from Furious.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

'Let the Movie Begin.'



I don't usually blog about CDs but this recording, which I picked up from the Karori library, is such an odd beast that I have make a couple of quick notes (and, no, I haven't seen Control yet).

The CD has a sloppy, provisional, haphazard ('thrown together regardless' MES) quality like a musical fanzine or an experimental compilation cobbled together circa 1979. There are 'interviews' with band members: only they aren't interviews at all but sometimes noise-filled lexia (you can't hear anything) or audio tape sound bites. But the real gems are the live recordings. After listening to Still back in the 80s (and I haven't heard it since '82) I concluded that Curtis wasn't really a good singer but had a weak, somewhat reedy voice. Wrong! This CD shows that Curtis, as Tony Wilson, god bless him, always maintained, had a killer rock voice. By 'Rock Voice' I mean Grace Slick's definition "a limited range but power that could stuff equipment." Curtis had a powerful strong voice. Anyways, chucks, yer can find out more about the said CD here but note, scholars, that I'm dubious that track 9 really is 'New Dawn Fades.'

Song Titles, etc. 1.Love Will Tear Us Apart2.Ian Curtis Interview3.Leaders Of Men4.Steve Morris And Ian Curtis Interview5.Failures6.Ian Curtis Interview7.Novelty8.Martin Hannet Interview9.New Dawn Fades10.Ian Curtis Interview11.Ice Age12.Steve Morris And Ian Curtis Interview13.Shadowplay14.Ian Curtis Interview15.Passover16.Martin Hannet Interview17.Transmission18.Steve Morris And Ian Curtis Interview19.At A Later Date20.Ian Curtis Interview21.Digital22.Bernard Sumner23.Colony24.Ian Curtis Interview25.Auto Suggestion26.Dead Souls

Guff from CD universe:

Put together by a couple of Belgian Joy Division experts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sadly missed Ian Curtis - and the year that the Ian Curtis biopic is to begin. The set contains extremely rare audio interviews with all members of Joy Division - some of which have never seen the light of day before plus spoken word contribution on one track from Martin Hannett and a rare Martin Hannett interview. The interview sections are interspersed with superb live performances from various venues through the career of the band including rarities from Dutch and Belgian concert performances and a couple of rare alternative studio outtakes. The eight page fold out full colour CD booklet includes lots of Joy Division images and a detailed biographical article on the band.

No booklet with my edition from the library...

Image from CD Universe

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Che in Verse


As you know, I keep this blog to publicise NZ Poetry. That said, this email came in yesterday from Mark Pirie. Feel free to contact me if you want to publicise your book/event on the blog. I don't know how many readers I have because I've abandoned the spyware.

Hi all,

I thought I'd send you the cover of the Che Guevara poetry anthology that
I'm in, the book arrived yesterday.

I am quoted on the front flap with Allen Ginsberg and Pablo Neruda.
It's a great collection of writings. I never thought I'd appear on an
international anthology cover!

The book is available from Amazon at
http://www.amazon.com/Che-Verse-Gavin-OToole/dp/095523395X

More information on it can be found at
http://www.aflamebooks.com/Titles/951CiV.html

It's definitely worth a read.

Kind regards

Mark

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Labour weekend: Sunday, Monday


After walking around Makara Peak on Sunday, we went off to a get together in Mapuia. There we met two Czechs, two North Carolinians, an Irishman, a Bavarian, a Canadian, an Englishman (me), an Indian (Latika) and others who I didn't get introduced to. I think Rohan (of Celtic-Indian descent) was the only Kiwi I saw there. He took this photo of the view.

I had schoolwork to do but the weather was lovely so yesterday we drove out to Titahi Bay to catch-up for a lovely (and very generous) lunch with our friends Colin and Amanda. Then we drove over to the Titahi Bay transmitter as Rohan was keen to check it out.

Titahi Bay Transmitter

I keep writing because, well, I have too. I've just finished some drastic editing. I've cut around 20 pages of loose writing from the BusyKillingAbel experimental blog down to one core paragraph on the band Minuit. The guys from Minuit said that they liked the poetry but I'm trying now to get something that might be suitable for Brief that can stand on the printed page.

And even though season three of Dr Who has been slow, I do wish I'd caught the second of the first Master story on Sunday, but Sunday felt like Saturday and we were all in Mapuia, so….

Top image by Rohan, transmitter pic from Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Makara Peak

It's labour weekend so I've changed the template again. This one is dots dark. Occasionally, just occasionally, I have energetic Sunday mornings. This morning I'd just completed three loops of the Karori Park walking track (just down the road from where we live) . . .


Karori park

... when Rohan said 'Dad let's go and see the transmitter at the top of Makara Peak.' The track's only a few minutes drive from our place and it was a glorious morning, so off we went. (Rohan's new interest is transmission towers and relay stations). So we walked up the mountain park track up to the Peak. From there we got an amazing view: you can see the Titahi Bay transmitter, Oriental Bay and Tapuaenuku in Kaikoura (South Island). Rohan loved it and wants to go again so next time we'll take the camera.

Good to see that the Mint Chicks did well at the music awards.

Image from Dayout.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tim Jones at the last Poetry Café

On Monday November 12, Poetry Café will go out with a bang with the Wellington poet Tim Jones. (And a bloody fine original poet he is too). There's a whopping $100 prize for the Open Mike section of the evening. I just hope that Poetry Café will somehow be resurrected at a later date.

Here's Linzy from Poetry Café on Tim:

Hello poetry lovers.

Get along to our last official Poetry Cafe and try to win our grand prize of $100 for best poem. We go out with a bang! Guest for November's Monday 12 meeting at Cruz will be Tim Jones. Tim will be supported by Shayne 'Hurricane' Wills & Paul 'Boggy' Bognuda.

Tim Jones lives in Wellington. He is the author of one collection of short
fiction Extreme Weather Events, 2001 and two collections of poetry Boat
People
, 2002 and All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens, 2007; all published by
HeadworX. His second short story collection, Transported, will be
published by Random House New Zealand in 2008.

All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens includes Tim's poem "The Translator", which
was included in Best New Zealand Poems 2004, and poems which have been
published in the Listener, North & South, New Zealand Books, JAAM, and a
number of other venues, including US and Australian magazines.

The poems in the book range all the way from Southland to Iraq, from a
backyard telescope to Mars, from the Rapture to rugby league. Along the
way, there's love, sex, children, and Motorhead. These poems are full of
surprises. To quote one of them, "Summoning":

You never know.
That is the truth of every incantation.
You never know
what will come to the flame.

When he's not writing, Tim works as an editor and in various web-related
roles. His other interests include cricket, music, long walks around
Wellington's hills, and making New Zealand a more sustainable and peaceful country. For more on Tim and his writing see his website.

Image from Strange Horizons.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lessing & SF


David Langford's SF newsletter Ansible has a regular column I enjoy called "How others see us" which lists all the smarmy put-downs of SF that he finds in the (mainly British) Press. It's amazing how often he's listed how SF just cannot be considered serious literature. Now that Doris Lessing has won the Nobel Prize, I'm sure that we'll see British critics point out all the ways in which she 'escaped the limitations of an inferior genre' and has 'transcended conventions' etc. You see, I can see the future and I've already read next week's papers. Lessing, of course, has always championed the literary value of what she calls 'space fiction.' Here's an extract from the Wikipedia item on her winning the prize that covers how critics have put down SF:

Lessing's switch to science fiction was not popular with many critics. For example, in the New York Times in 1982 John Leonard wrote in reference to The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 that "One of the many sins for which the 20th century will be held accountable is that it has discouraged Mrs. Lessing.... She now propagandizes on behalf of our insignificance in the cosmic razzmatazz." To which Lessing replied: "What they didn't realize was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time. I also admire the classic sort of science fiction, like Blood Music, by Greg Bear. He's a great writer."

Actually, I'm not that fond of Blood Music and think that Bear's Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children are overrated: but that's not the point.

In other news, I see that Kerry Pendergrast is once again our mayor (groan). Well, some low turn out I'm sure is due to a confused voting system and to some never receiving voting papers in the mail. Latika added us to the roll a few weeks before the election byut we never received voting papers in the mail. Not that I'm that gutted: I didn't want her for major but was a little under whelmed by the other candidates. What I wanted was a chance to vote on the councillors. I'm sure that there must have been voting booths open but I didn't shift my sorry self around Karori to look for one.

Image from Wikipedia.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Moon watching on Poetrywall


My poem 'Moon Watching' has appeared in the Poetrywall anthology. Go on, buy it from ESAW! Well, it's a simple poem, so here I've blogged it for you. But go and buy the book for all the others …More later...

Moon Watching

(for Keith Richards)

Keith falls
out of his tree
at sixty-three

Well
at least he's still climbing
to touch the moon
even if he falls
into that moon

reflected in the still Pacific

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just Annoying



N
o, I'm not talking about the constant Wellington rain or the wailing and gnashing of teeth after the All Black lost. Taran (9) has been reading Andy Griffith's (not the child actor but the Australian author of children's books) books. I'm turning into a an Andy Griffith fan and thinking of reading one or two of these stories out at school. There's a manic absurd quality to these short stories. I'll never forget the story of a young lad's struggle to get his Dad to accept his ambition to break the world speed record for swinging around on a circular clothesline.

And last night I managed to get my short review of Norcliffe's satisfying Villon in Millerton off on time
.

Image from Andy Griffith.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Last night at Cruz

Last night's reading by Michael Morrissey was attended by a small, enthusiastic group at Cruz Bar. Morrissey read a wide ranging selection of his poems from his numerous collections as well as a few new pieces. During the intermission Russell Self played good blues on the smallest ukulele I've ever seen. At the open mike I read 'The Shepherd', 'Sea of Rains' and 'Dōgen Bogen.' I'm quite fond of the latter poem, which I can recite from memory, even though I know it's a bit silly. Next month Tim Jones will be reading and they are hoping to arrange to arrange Fleur Adcock (I think) to read before the year's end. But they need a new organiser to keep it going. . .


And the bNet Music Award nominees are out and I don't know any of them! Getting old ...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday morning

It's wet & windy again. Jack Ross's The Imaginary Museum has an interesting essay on the 1001 Nights: I've just read the first two sections. I've written most of the review due next week. I just need to tweak it. Pete's birthday's coming up . . . some good photos of the Stardust launch via Neil Gaiman's blog.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Typo

I've just found Typo online: quite an interesting collection of poems. I've also (finally) added a link to Public Address, the mother of all NZ blogs.

Ansible arrived in my mailbox this morning as told me about the death of Madeleine L'Engle:

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007), much-loved US author of the Newbery
Medal winner A Wrinkle in Time (1962) and other admired fiction for
children, died on 6 September. She was 88.

Mark Cubey is now back to producing Kim Hill's Show on a permanent basis. Good one, Mark. I'd have thought that Mark would have a blog ...

Today poem: Sally Ann McIntyre's On the tip of the visible.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Playlist


Cat Power
  1. Vampire/Forest Fire. The Arcade Fire
  2. Trapped in a Love Affair. Brenda Holloway
  3. Lucky Lucky Man. Jimmy Ruffin
  4. Orange Crush. The Editors
  5. Cinnamon Girl. Mathew Sewwet and Susanna Hoffs
  6. Leaving New York. R.E.M
  7. Isolation. Snow Patrol
  8. Some Candy Talking. Richard Hawley
  9. I Bet that You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Sugarbabes
  10. I Know. Dreadzone
  11. Eleanor Rigby. The Handsome Family
  12. Gimme Some Truth. Jakob Dylan
  13. Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows. The Beatles
  14. Lady Madonna. The Beatles
  15. Back in the U.S.S.R. The Beatles
  16. The Fate of the Human Carbine. Cat Power
  17. The Good, the Bad and the Queen. The Good, the Bad and the Queen.
  18. Sadie. Joanne Newsam
  19. Last Call. Patti Smith
Image from Mediabistro.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fox B Holden

I stayed up till 2.00 AM last night writing (mainly a review). What I like about the holidays is not having to get up at 6.00 AM.

Following Homie Bear's comment I started to wonder about the pulp writer Fox B Holden. The British Science Fiction Association have a list of his works here. He doesn't seem to have written much SF, writing mainly for Planet Stories and Imagination.

Poking around the web, I found a lovely piece of Fannish history by Richard Lupoff that mentions Holden:

That was the genesis of Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, my first book. After five more years of balancing my work for IBM with my literary career, I gave up on the computer industry. My manager in those last days was Fox B. Holden, a onetime pulp writer whose stories had graced the pages of Planet Stories and Imagination in the 1940s and '50s. I think Fox saw me as a surrogate for himself; he'd reached the same fork in the road, years earlier, that I reached in 1970. He felt that he'd taken the wrong path, and he was relieved to see my make the right choice.

On a completely unrelated note, today's poem is Villon's Ballad of the Dead Ladies.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wholphin

Now the wind has come back. I don't know if I should put out the recycling or just keep it in the garage for a week. I can see it blowing down the street . . .

I think that my poem 'Moon watching' is going to be included in the Earl of Seacliffe 'Poetrywall' Booklet from the Wellington Winter Readings.



Last night I watched 'Home, James, and Don't Spare the Horses' a short film by John Dolan on Wholphin No.2 which is a DVD Magazine of Rare and Unseen Short Films. Wholphin was lent to me by a friend from work. I hope he doesn't mind if I take a while to work through the two magazines. Latika is watching series 1 of Lost on DVD (I watched the first five episodes and then lost my attention) ... so the DVD's kind of busy at night. Still, I'll go back to Lost night time we get it out of the library.

Image from Wholphin.

Ah, senior reports...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Macbeth on the Loose

The wind and the rain have stopped. Now we can all go outside.

Yesterday I finished Robert Walker's Macbeth on the Loose which is a humorous introduction to Macbeth. Here's the back cover blurb: "Edward is determined to play the lead role in the school production of Macbeth. But to play the king, Edward must first play the villain. Spurred on by his girlfriend Alexis, can nothing stand in the way to Edward's rise to stardom? Or will the dinner lady's prophesy lead to his downfall?"

I'm planning to teach Macbeth to my Year 10 class next term and Walker's book offers a great introduction. I like the way that the school's putting on a show, so Macbeth is immediately seen as a piece of theatre. Edward's plans to become the star neatly mirror the action of Macbeth and this has the benefit of throwing the motivations of Shakespeare's characters into stark relief (Banquo must die because he knows too much!). The book also has useful drama exercises at the back for each scene. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

Today I'm working on the senior reports (so I can get onto the review for the Poetry Society which is due next week). I've taken on another review for New Zealand Books (which I may co-author with Latika) so that should keep me out of mischief for a while.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Welcome to the new month

I'm fiddling with the editing function. It seems that I can't edit the posts!