The highlights from my summer 'on the road'....
Pick of the Archives:
Favourite Posts, July-September 2012
1) Barbecue memories - 6th July 2012
The weekly haiku in the week of American Independence Day (for which I was, happily, in America this year) revives a recollection of campfire cooking during my summer holidays as a child.
2) Books I could read again and again - 7th July 2012
A selection of special favourites, most of them dating back to my childhood.
3) The heart of a sniper - 14th July 2012
A synopsis of a long short story I wrote years ago, in Canada - kicking off a new 'Discarded Story Ideas' series.
4) My Fantasy Girlfriend: Esperanza Spalding - 21st July 2012
The happiest discovery of this year's American trip was this utterly gorgeous and superlatively talented young jazz musician - instant swoon.
5) Dying by inches - 23rd July 2012
A rather long post, in which an extraordinary set of travails I suffer in trying to get my computer to work reminds me of one of my most unpleasant videogaming experiences, way back in my student days.
6) An Olympic curmudge - 27th July 2012
No, I am not a fan of the bloody Olympics!
7) "Helpfulness", Chinese university style - 2nd August 2012
I receive a quite astoundingly obtuse - nonsensical - reply from one of the former employers I'd canvassed for possible help in applying for a new Chinese visa. Extremely annoying, but also hilarious.
8) Rejecting the 'modern' - 4th August 2012
An epic curmudge, in which I spurn, um, almost every major technological innovation of the last thirty years. Luddite? Moi?!
9) Bon mot for the week - 6th August 2012
One of my own, on writing - and superhero stories.
10) A crazy plan - 10th August 2012
I have dreams of walking home from China to the UK along the ancient 'Silk Road'. Alas, there are certain practical problems with this.
11) My Fantasy Girlfriend: Gillian Duxbury - 11th August 2012
Being back in the UK stirs nostalgic memories of one of the very first crushes of my childhood, a popular English glamour model of the 1970s. I am delighted to discover that she still looks rather stunning today.
12) The cone of silence - 13th August 2012
I discover that while in China I seem to have picked up the useful knack of not listening to people.
13) And another thing: coffee shops! - 14th August 2012
I remember that I HATE the ubiquity of coffee shops in the modern world even more than I hate worthless new technology.
14) The Chinese worker in action - 28th August 2012
Ah, back in Beijing! And it's just as crazy as ever!! (A collection of similar stories soon followed.)
15) It's science, dude - 7th September 2012
A really cool video of an astronaut on the International Space Station playing with a big globule of water in zero-gravity.
16) Advice to would-be writers:
Part 1 - 8th September 2012
Part 2 - 12th September 2012
A final word - 19th September 2012
Does exactly what it says on the label.
17) You have got to be kidding me - 19th September 2012
I make some surprising and disturbing discoveries about trends in baby naming in the United States.
18) My Fantasy Girlfriend: Suzanne Vega - 15th September 2012
Three of my favourite songs from the whipsmart and very lovely singer-songwriter: Blood Makes Noise, Tired Of Sleeping, and the (rather too sadly appropriate to my unrequitable crush) I'll Never Be Your Maggie May.
19) What are days for? - 16th September 2012
An online questionnaire prompts some deep thoughts - and gives me an excuse to post a bit of Philip Larkin.
20) Now you see him, now you don't - 17th September 2012
Some facetious commentary on the recent disappearance of China's leader-designate Xi Jinping - how could I resist?
21) Some languages have a word for it - or do they? - 22nd September 2012
During a meander around some of the intriguing foreign words/concepts discussed on the Internet, I am disappointed to find out that so many of them are hoaxes. (I did a couple of follow-up posts to this on Barstool Blues, here and here.)
22) Goals and objectives - 23rd September 2012
I obsess about my weight... and announce a plan to lose some... well, a lot.
23) Life mirrors art - 28th September 2012
I am struck by the coincidence that hit Danish TV drama Borgen, which began in 2010, centres on an improbably foxy female Prime Minister who leads a liberal coalition... and a year or so later we find that the Danish government is a liberal coalition led by an improbably foxy female Prime Minister. What is it about the Danes??
24) More favourite film posters - 29th September 2012
Seven great films, eight great posters. I added a supplement here on some of the striking promotional artwork for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.