Monthly Archives: February 2012

Martin Amis does PacMan

It’s written by Martin Amis, it’s got an introduction by Stephen Spielberg AND it’s about 80’s arcade games. Buy me this now.

This came from an excellent article by Mark O’Connell, published on The Millions: 


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SOUNDTRACK YOUR EBOOKS! ____ An open letter

Dear Penguin, Bloomsbury, et al,

Have you considered creating a soundtrack to a novel? Not just selecting a piece of music that you play as you read, oh no, something a liiiiiitle more high-tech than that.

As I imagine it you will need the following: An iPad2 (or any ebook reader with a camera that points towards your face as you read the screen), some souped up eye tracking software, an  ebook you really think is great, a composer to create the score.

How it works:

As you read the ebook the eye tracking software, unsurprisingly, tracks your eyes and lets the ebook reader know exactly whereabouts in the novel you are (down to the paragraph/sentence). Specific parts of the novel (‘a door slams’, ‘she screams’, ‘the rocket takes off’ etc) would have obvious sound effects, but the majority of the soundtrack would be aimed at building atmosphere (trees shifting in the wind, the hustle and flow of people/traffic in a city). Think of it like a film’s soundtrack or, better still, something put together by the BBC Radiophonic workshop for a radio play.

(N.B. Every so often as you read a book your eyes drift and you lose your place/have to re-read a paragraph, so the score would have to be simple enough to so that could be looped back without notice, depending on where the eyes flicked to. I’ll leave this to you to figure out).

Right, talking money. A custom soundtrack to an ebook, plus the software, would be expensive to produce. So, Bloomsbury perhaps only do it for Harry Potter (imagine the ‘zip!’, ‘zing!’, ‘woosh!’ of a wand duel), and Penguin, maybe trial it in Children’s Books (what sound does a Puffin make??) Et al . . . I’d recommend seeing how those two get on first or, failing that, I’d say start with the horror or fantasy genres.

That’s my idea, it’s yours if you want it.

Kind regards,

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Red Brick

The brick in the top right hand corner of the building opposite caught my attention. The window of my third floor office frames an architecturally fraught scene of new and old, domestic and industrial. Red brick competes with concrete completes with a jumble of overflow pipes, gutters, grey sheet cladding and fluted chimney pots. Families live in the office style apartments and small business have been set up in reclaimed homes. Somewhere behind this Escher type construct the rest of London lies, low and grey in the early morning light, but I cannot see it from my window.

I can see that the cement that holds the brick in place has receded slightly over time and that the exposed edges of this brick are crumbling and eroded. The surface is also covered in a fine patina of soot and dirt. I am too far away to see in detail but I imagine the surface of the brick is pocked and marked from acid rain and freeze thaw. Placed where it is the brick is out of reach of humans, birds, animals. Apart from perhaps the delicate feet of an insect or two, the brick has not been touched or examined in any way, by anyone, since it was cemented in to place.

The builder who placed the brick there would have been standing on rough wooden scaffold planks. He was more an artist than the average brick layer. The tall arches of the windows are mirrored in five rows of brick, the first row recessed, and the bricks have been turned on end to create a different pattern. His hands would have been rough and dry from handling the clay, perhaps grazed from scraping the brick, or nicked from cuts made when shaping and sizing the adjoining bricks.

Decades after they were first laid the red of the clay and the fire of the kiln remain in the brick. When the sun shines, the buildings glows.

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Books I Read While Sunning Myself On A Sri Lankan Beach

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