The Books What I Read On Holiday

holiday books

The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Totally outstanding. You could get through it quite quickly but it’s one of those books that will stick with you for a long while. To be honest I didn’t get into it for about the first third. But then I got totally sucked in. It’s very very sparse and pretty bleak. But immensely powerful in a post-apocalyptic fashion. I was moved to a tear or two at the end. And not many books do that to me.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga – A ripping page turner about a young man ‘making it’ in a developing India. Was perfect reading in my holiday circumstance. It doesn’t ‘explain’ how modern India works, but there’s some darkly comical moments that could only be born out of genuine insight. I particularly chuckled about value for money in t-shirt prints (you’ll have to read it to get it). Highly recommended.

Goa Lonely Planet Guide – it feels horribly out of date. I’d recommend the new Lonely Planet Website instead (Poke have just been working on Launching phase one…)

The Road Home by Rose Tremain – I quite enjoyed this. But I think Sophie was right when she said it’s basically relatively high-grade Chick Lit (not that she’s a Chick Lit expert she’s at pains to point out). I’m a bit surprised it won a big booky prize. It’s a decent (if a little predictable) yarn but not much else in my book.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami – I’m a big fan of Mr Murakami. But for me this was a bit of a disappointment. The characters weren’t as good. The side plots weren’t as odd. Even the language seemed a bit lazier and less interesting. Shame. If you’ve not read any of his stuff. Give The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
a go, it’s well good.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – great book about Nazi Germany narrated by Death. It’s not as heavy as it sounds, I think it was originally written for ‘young adults’, but there’s some really nice touches and human stories in there. Worth a read.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – Total genius. A story about a 9 year old boy who’s father died in 9/11 and is trying to solve a mystery of a key that he finds. The boy is the most adorable little freak you could ever hope to get inside the mind of. If you don’t like this book you’re a hard, cold, scumbag.

Kill Your Friends by John Niven – I kind of hated this book. It’s a ‘shocking’ tale of sex, drugs, death, blah, blah. It’s all set in the London music business, and it has a couple of moments. But I felt it tried too hard to be shocking. Kind of like Trainspotting or American Psycho, but lacking in any kind of smartness really. (This was left behind by Neil who’s the evil shit who bought me the vile outfit mentioned ealier – so I blame his poor taste, again.)

Bit of a Blur by Alex James – This was just something I picked up at the place we were staying in. It’s OK, the story of a young guy who gets famous, becomes a bit of a drunken idiot, lives the high life, finds salvation in cheese. Job’s a good-un.

To be honest I think I only bothered making it through because we shared a very similar life experience…

safeway

I used to have to wear the self same green apron and bow tie combo and deal with the self same bullies. I think it’s a good training for something.

And them were the books that I did read.

Oh, I forgot, I also read The Gum Thief by Douglas Copeland but I lent it to someone so it didn’t make it into the photo. I enjoyed that too.

Long Photos From Goa

I’ve become a big fan of ‘Long Photos’ as Flickr calls them…

Making videos is hard, but anyone can take long photos. And sometimes they just tell nice little stories.

Sunsets and palms. In the background you might just be able to make out some Russians talking. A sound that you’re starting to hear a lot more in that part of the world…

This year there’s not as many tourists as normal (economic crisis and fear of terrorism), so the guys who make their living selling on the beaches are having a tough time. It’s a bit sad.

This dog does not care about ‘long photos’ or Flickr, or anything…

Running Baba just runs the same stretch of road every day. Up and down, up and down. And it’s bloody hot. Someone should make an Indian Forest Gump movie. It’d be a Bollywood smash.

Bathtime in Panjim

And of course I ate a lot of curry. Damn the curry was good…

There’s a couple more long photos in my Flickr set here.

I’m sure there’s lots of interesting things that can be done with them as a format. Looping them, combining them with text and stuff. It might all get a bit ‘multimedia CD-Rom’ circa 1996, but what’s so wrong with that…

Again mine were done on the trusty Kodak Zi6.

3 Minutes Worth of Billboard Advertising in Goa

One of the things I promised to myself when I was away was that I’d make more stuff. Regardless of how rubbish it might be. So here’s the first thing from my new regime. It’s 3 minutes worth of roadside advertising from Goa…

Scroll sideways to see them all.

It’s an odd old mix of mobile phone ads, local stuff and misguided aspirational lifestyle guff. I think my favourite is…

hubby working late

Holy fuck.

I might start trying to do them from all around the world. It’s quite easy using a video camera and just clipping out the stills. Thanks Mike for the Kodak Zi6 it’s a winner for this kind of thing.

Sorry, So Rude Of Me…

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks. And I didn’t even say goodbye. Sorry.

I’ve been in India taking a break from all things electronic and digital. It was nice. But now I’m back I feel like a digital retard. I’ve got no idea what’s going on (again). Looks like the world is still economically fucked and YouTube videos now have a search box in them when they’re embedded. Apart from that I can’t see any real difference. Apart from Christmas seems to have arrived.

Hopefully I can convert my feelings of stupidity and clumsiness into some kind of wide-eyed optimisim and excitement for the future of the universe…

Things I did in India 1 – Went Deaf

While I was away there were two bits of news that leaked onto the interwebs. Firstly I did send a Twitter to say that I’d gone 80% deaf. Which was true, and very scary. But with the aid of an Indian doctor, some eardrops and a family pack of cotton buds I managed to get back to something approaching decent hearing. I’ll spare the photos of ear-goo.

Things I did in India 2 – Got Made to Look Like a Total Tool

Last week some of my ‘friends’ put a load of pictures up on Facebook with me tagged looking ‘special’. For that I thank them. What with the best form of defense being attack and all that here are the highlights of the offending evening…

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I’m going to break the first rule of the game, by telling you the rules of the game. It was basically like a ‘Secret Santa’ – everyone had to buy someone else in the group an outfit costing not more than 500 rupees (about 7 quid). As you can imagine budget ethnic-wear gives massive scope for humiliation. We had to wear our outfits for an entire evening ‘on the town’. My ‘friend’ Neil is no longer my friend.

Full group horror:

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I would not recommend playing this game. Those leggings were incredibly hard work and I had to utilise a kind of over the shoulder man-bag to preserve my modesty. There are more photos on Facebook but I’d recommend not going anywhere near them.

In spite of this humiliation I had a great time and did some nice things too. More later.

It’s kind of nice to be back. And properly clothed.