Monday, June 11, 2007

Just thinking....

As anyone who stops in here semi-regularly might have noted, things have gotten a bit slow of late.

This has partly had to do with my need to spend a greater percentage of my limited attention span and my sitting-at-the-computer time (there is only so long I can manage to do that these days...the fucking ageing process, as my mother used to call it, I suppose) on work-related projects and writing.

Which have been going well, so there's one gamble that's paid off.

I've also been travelling a bit, including to London last week. It was a very fine trip, not least since a good friend of mine (with excellent taste in such things) had arranged tickets for a comedy show by Daniel Kitson.

I'd never heard of him, but it was a great evening. But it was also an odd one.

Kitson is very funny, but his humour seems to contain more than a slight undercurrent of feelings that range somewhere between melancholy and outright existential despair. It's an unusual mix, but a very effective one.

At the show I saw, this combination of emotions was amplified by the opening set consisting partly of some excellent songs by a friend of his (whose name I've forgotten but whose music I haven't) which had the kind of effortless heartbreaking quality that many songwriters would kill for. (I can speak from experience...and I was myself quite close to homicidal thoughts on the evening in question.) [UPDATE: Ah, it was Gavin Osborn, whose here. Great stuff.]

In any case, the cycle of songs about a youthful love that was quietly longed for, forgotten, re-found, carefully tended and, ultimately, cruelly obliterated, was a strange (but lovely, really) appetizer for the comedy that followed.

It's also rare to find comedy that makes you think while still making you laugh at a word like 'cock'.

Kitson's website contains some very worthwhile audio and video files.

Speaking of thinking, though...

Some time ago You Are Here very kindly granted me a 'Thinking Blogger Award', an internet meme that started, appropriately enough, at The Thinking Blog and was aimed at recognising those bloggers that...well, that make you think.

The rules are 1) If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think and 2) Link to the original post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme. Winners get to display the nifty award logo.

I like the thought behind this award and I've been terribly remiss in living up to my part of the deal. So, I thought I'd do my duty and pass along the love...

It's a difficult choice, since I find things that make me think at many blogs, but if I really had to name those that I consistently find worthwhile to visit they would be (in no particular order):

1. Click opera: Momus's blog was actually one of the first ones I read and the one that suggested to me that there was something worthwhile in the whole phenomenon. A very fine mix of keen observation, art, music, philosophy, politics and appropriate solipsism.

2. 'Notes and Comment' (at Butterflies and Wheels): Butterflies and Wheels is one of the few sites that is literally worth looking at every single day to keep up on how things are going in the battle for reason and sanity. (Usually, they're not going all that well...) At the blog, Ophelia Benson comments on the fray. I don't always agree. But I do mostly. And in either case, I find it to be time well spent.

3. Geoff Coupe's Blog: Next to Ophelia's blog, I think I have found more interesting things to read on a regular basis via Geoff than through any other source. And I think in the ability to surprise me with a truly unexpected gem, Geoff takes second place to no one. (And, unlike your humble narrator, he has learned a useful thing or two about brevity.)

4. Fisking Central: Search as you might, it is rare indeed to find a place where the fine arts of argument and sarcasm are more fully developed. Mainly devoted to taking things apart rather than putting them together again...but as Franz Ferdinand has so succinctly put it, 'What's wrong with a little destruction'?

5. Pharyngula: Hardly an obscure link, I know. But really...this is about as good as it gets, thinking-wise. And I can't put it any better than that.

Thanks, all, for the thoughtful times.

And here's looking forward to many more.


Geoff Coupe said...

Ye gods, you've put me up there amongst some really august company. I definitely don't deserve it, but thank you all the same! Now I just have to try and live up to it...

J. Carter Wood said...

No pressure, just keep doing what you're doing...