cybermule: (Default)
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cybermule: (books)
Jerusalem is massive. Literally massive. You know how you think Lord of the Rings or the later Harry Potters are big? That's peanuts compared to Jerusalem.

It even defies description in a lot of ways. It's about a special visionary family, Northampton and both of those through many tangled dimensions of time. There's a hell of a lot of philosophy. Maths. And linguistics. And a chapter on Bauhaus.

It is also literary, aping various novels and genres and in itself revealing a very expansive yet generally tight verbosity in Moore's writing that leaves every detail neatly, precisely and entirely described. It reminds me of Mervyn Peake on an amphetamin jag at times, to be honest. When I read it, there was much I skimmed and now only appreciate while going back through the audio book. It loops in and out like one of those table mats you wove from paper strips at Primary School.

It is intensely hard work. But very much worth it. I'm now a Moore fangirl.

This segues me over to By Ourselves. At just under an hour and a half, it's a much less serious investment. And there's an interview with Alan Moore. Who has a lovely voice *ahem* And as it's about John Clare's pedestrain journey from Bedlam to Northampton, there is more to link it than just fandom. Although there is either going to be some fandom or some patience involved as it's a studiedly "artsy" film at times with a lot of Iain Sinclair. The gentle bafflement of Toby Jones as the 18th century nature poet smacking against various underpasses and motorways saves the more grating bits of the film, and the claustrophobic and layeringly paranoid filming in black and white stock is genuinely starkly beautiful.

Up there with Field in England as a piece of weird folkhorror British film, but not as comprehensively mind fucking.
cybermule: (ben)
Today I keep myself safe, still and calm. This morning I quietly count my blessings in the number of heads, the messy beds, the normal grumpy stumble into the day. I am so very aware that there are some today who now don't have this.

And I try to act normal and not to cry.

My child while be 10 years old in just 10 days. A decade of two new people working it out together. This is the most dangerous thing I've ever done, will ever do. This taking my heart out of me and putting it into another to set it flying into my world.

I have never been so vulnerable. And the world has never seemed so unsafe.

When I was a teen, my father didn't let me go to gigs in the neighbouring town in case... I don't know what, actually. Boys, maybe. Almost certainly the same scary unnameable monsters that all parents try to shove down deep in the queasy pits of their stomachs. Now those monsters seem more real - there are kids that won't come home from that gig last night. Kids whose parents gulped down those nameless fears and now cry broken glass tears.

I always swore I'd be braver than my parents and let my kid do those normal teenage things.

Now being a better parent than those before you comes with real terror and risk. And I have seen what losing a child does to you - I saw the light go out in my grandfather's eyes at my father's funeral. All he could do was keep himself still and calm - safety had gone. It put my own grief sharply into place.

A father loses a child. A child loses her father. My child never knows his grandfather. And I remember watching Nick Cave and his wife try to make mystic sense of misty nothings, and swear they will revenge themselves with happiness.

I only pray that we can all be that brave <3

And this prayer I wrote for Ben so that one day when I'm not here, he knows how I thought when I was un-mum. Today, it feels timely in so many ways:

Spurn Point
cybermule: (books)
I read these two novels back to back over a couple of weeks. I'd had Concretopia ( recommended to me by Ashlyme. I read about the Lost Art of Dress ( on Facebook and decied to give it a random go so that I'd learn something new.

They are both similar in some respects charting the history of British brutalist architecture on one hand, and women's fashion in the 20th century on the other. I read the fashion book first, shortly before I coincidentally acquired a sewing machine. So it was interesting in some respects, especially charting the more utilitarian fashions of the 50s which have become icons, such as Hooveralls. Actually real genuine interest in something I had no thoughts about. Until I got to the 60s and descended into a continuous waspish drone about how shit literally *everything* was at that point dahling.

So I skim read it until I got entirely sick of the sight of it and then took it back to the library. Think I just shoved it bac through the dropbox, to add insult to injury. Some interesting thoughts though as I ponder making my own garments.

Concretopia was much for fun. A gentle mix of political history and architecture with enough humour and humility to get over the fact that the author was a bit besotted with all things concrete. A much more enjoyable read that I actually learned from, despite being a bit of a cement geek myself.

So I'd recommend that one really :-)
cybermule: (Default)
Recently I read Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane. It came recommended by a loved one; it was urban crime-related weirdness; it was set in my oddly otherloved Birmingham [...]
cybermule: (Default)
I have started another blog, for the best of my photos and writing. It's a public one too. For the moment, I can't seem to cross post from Wordpress to Livejournal which is quite annoying. So for the time being, I'll do it manually:

You grabbed my hand And we fell into it
Like a daydream Or a fever…
cybermule: (photo)

I took my old website down and rebuilt it Joomla. Partly for the professional experience. Partly because it was getting out of hand. Partly because I have more ambition for it than a photo dump. I remember I used to post my photos here too. There seems no autposter to cross post to FB and LJ, so what I've done so far:

Belas Knapp

Orford Ness

Spurn Point

The Alhambra Palace

cybermule: (lava)
Sitting in the crypt of an unused church right off the central circus of Bristol city centre. It's dark and the ceiling's fan vaulting is dimly sketched in the overarching gloom.

Some people are sitting on those cloth and metal chairs that I remember from school speech days. Others are flopped or curled on bean bags and cushions growing on the darkened floor like fungi. There are three figures at the front of the crypt.

Cross legged.
The tools of their trade are neatly arrayed before them.

One takes a brass bowl and lights some vegetable something with a bright flame and copious smoke. The city sounds of a summer Friday night coerce their way through a broken pane of dust filmed leaded window. Revelery, sirens and buses are then obliterated by the unholy noise of unearthly instruments and inhuman voices.

The harmonious din is all together disproportionate to those three slight figures on the floor before us peaked with pointed mage-hats and cacooned in deep dark veils.

Occasionally passers-by look through the broken window then wander off befuddled, as this is truly an aural wilderness - there's no particular graspable frame of reference of verse-chorus-verse. No expected song structure. No words, even.

Just three circumspect men quietly and methodically weaving a cradle of of unplaceable soundscape.
And by the end of it, my head was ringing and entirely happily baffled in their tightly laced wailsong cage. One of the most confusingly peaceful places I may have been in the name of art :)
cybermule: (books)
Read this recently, and I'm trying to get back to writing book reviews here.

I'd have enough of supernatural crime books at bookclub. They're fine, but I've no real love for crime fiction in general. So I was a bit supsicious when I started reading this but it turned into a good horor book. Gruesome and gripping :)

It had the air of 28 Days Later to it. That creeping social thing that pits humanity against itself. It's part of a trilogy which I sort of get from the ending but then I quite like non-standard finishes to that sort of thing anyway.

Any more will be spoilers :P

cybermule: (ben)
I'm leaving a lot of these more general entries about going through the processes with an SEN child unlocked. Someone else might run across them and find them useful.

This is difficult.

I feel grief for the loss of my child's simple happy early years. And I feel anger that this is so difficult and so time consuming for me. And anger that this must be even worse for other people less capable.

Everyone thinks my child has what their child has. I get that. We all want someone to walk this road with us. And everyone thinks that their child's school is the absolute best and most awesome. If you didn't, I would question why you sent your child there, to be honest. Good choice, well done. It's not going to fix things for my kid like a magic bullet though.

I feel patronised. I can accept a diagnosis, but what I can't accept is a label stuck on my child right now when I don't agree with it. I'm not in denial. Telling me that I am, however gently, is patronising.

So I've thought long and hard about what I will accept, for me and my child, right now. And here it is:

I have a fiercely intelligent, beautifully creative and quietly sociable child; he also has traits of autism.
cybermule: (books)
Bookclub choice. Sad that I failed to actually make it to bookclub that month, but there you go.

It's a good book, even though the main character was an insufferable dick. I think I've outgrown it a little - wish I'd read it in my 20s. Mostly it just reminded me of my twenties and the grinding nag of never having enough money.

Might as well shove in a picture of the Coryvreckan Whirlpool here - it's ace:

cybermule: (books)
I've just read The Magus and The French Lieutenants Woman in quick succession, which ar ebooks I'd not read since my very early 20s. I know my parents really enjoyed them, so I naturally picked them up and read them and got a fair bit out of them.

It's interesting to read them again now. What I get a lot more of is the Hardy-esque nature of John Fowles work. My boyfriend at the time complained that he was horribly sexist in that he portrayed women as crazy borderline bitches (heh, can't argue there :P) but these days I seem to read in a fairly scathing condemnation of the sort of posh man who thinks he's awfully liberated but actually is a bit of a cock and ends up with egg on his face because of it.

I want to read The Collector, but I'm holding out for it getting voted in at bookclub :)

(He died a few years ago :()
cybermule: (books)
Been putting this one off for ages. Shame, really, as it started as an intelligent page turner and turned into an interesting and thought-provoking read. Obviously there's all the stuff about being gay, female, and living in Victorian Britain, but putting that aside, there's a lot about love, learning to love and learning to love yourself in there that was quite soothing on a personal level.
cybermule: (books)
I've been meaning to read this for ages, and I can't remember what actually prompted me to add it to my library reservations. Anyway, it came through. It's a collection of Dworkin's speeches on the theme of male violence against women in society, from rape culture through to psychological abuse and denigration.

It's sharp and eloquent, but never vengeful or man-hating. Despite being written nearly 40 years ago, and despite me thinking how wonderful and equal the world is for my generation of women, it did leave me occasionally questioning just how far we've really come.

Good *and* worthy :)
cybermule: (books)
Ordered this from the library and was pleased from the start. Not overjoyed, but definitely pleased. Well-written Sovietist post-apocalyptic kill-fests do that for me. But it actually grows on you the further you get into it. Layer upon layer of dark dank gloom building into a slow pervasive claustrophobia. Probably not a coincidence that I had a fair few bad dreams with this as my bedtime reading. The ruins of civilisation, the grim horror of the survivors, the obsessive detail of a metro system that in our normal everyday life would seem fairly homogeneous and barely noticeable. And the multitude of ways that the human psyche tries to eke meaning, mysticism and a greater purpose out of even the most hopeless and terminal of existences.

July 2017



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