Good thing roundup

Good Things Lately:

I wish I was innumerate rather than illerate, so I had a chance of explaining to you why Jasper Fforde‘s The Eyre Affair is the most refreshing and amusing book I’ve read in a long long time. Set on a slightly alternate Earth in which literature occupies the place popular music does on our Earth, in which England and Russia have been fighting the Crimean War for 130 years, and in which our heroine (the delightful Thursday Next) strives to catch the second most wanted man alive, save her aunt from inside a Wordworth poem, fix the end of Jane Eyre (by journeying into the original manuscript), and remember to look after her pet dodo (an early model). It’s fantastic – if you’re a fan of Pratchett, Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, or hey, why not throw Douglas Adams in here too, I promise you’ll love it. It’s chock full of the kinds of suprising and fantastic twisted ideas that Pratchett used to have, back when he had new ideas. Much fun.

Seriously. Check out the author’s website to get a feel for what I’m on about. Look: toast!,

Also amazing: Solaris. No, not the operating system, no, not the George Clooney film, and no, not even the original film of which that was “merely” a (rather good apparently) remake. I’m talking about the book. It’s mind-blowing. A great example of sci-fi being used merely as a palette with which to paint Crazy Ideas.

And finally, Tim Booth‘s new album, Bone. I’m a big big James fan (Bash introduced me to them in our early days, and <hippy>some of their songs just seem to speak directly to my innermost heart</hippy>, which is kinda nice) so the album was eagerly anticipated, but I must say I really wasn’t sure about it for the first few listens… Musically very interesting (layers, suprises, development, yay), lyrically it sounded OK, but vocally it seemed perhaps a little, I dunno, just weak in comparison with his James work.

Sometimes when you buy a new album you love it immediately, and then it wears off and gets a bit dull after a while (Black Cherry by Goldfrapp springs to mind – I still like it, but I hardly listen to it now). Sometimes you dislike it immediately, and it grows into something you’ll love forever (Morning Light by Locust). Sometimes you dislike it immediately and it turns out you were right (Keep It Unreal by Mr Scruff).

Glad to say, I think Bone fits into the Morning Light category. Or as Dave Wyatt would say, “it’s a grower”. Unfortunately, I’m still illiterate and thus unable to properly articulate why I love it. Attempts: the music’s deep, layered, complex, and progressive, yet has a loose, underproduced feel to it; the lyrics are indeed classic Booth – why are we here, why is love hard, everything’s connected, abandon all hope, don’t abandon all hope, etc; the vocals have grown on me – they are different, and perhaps “thinner” than with James, but this new style fits the music just fine. Plus it’s good cycling music.

Tracks to download if you wanna get a feel: “Monkey God”, “Down To The Sea”, “Be Careful What You Say”.

Interviews: one, two. Sorry for the distraction, Bash…