That must keep you very busy. May God light up your day.
I started as a Luddite, then I became a Kindle convert, now I’m a Luddite again. Kindle has everything going for it. The device is light, it’s a library in your pocket, and it offers a new reading experience, for ageing eyes in particular. On top of that it has built in a new and massively impressive shopping facility . . . and that’s why it’s very dangerous.
I’m a book-man, all round. I write them, I’m a reader, and to an extent I’m a collector. I like and admire booksellers. I’ve been in book stores in eight countries and four continents, and they all have one thing in common. People work there for love, not money.
The returns for independent proprietors have never been brilliant, and in recent years they’ve come under even heavier pressure, from the fall-out from discounting wars between major book chains and supermarkets, and also from the ubiquitous, pervasive and all too often wholly irresponsible charity shops that are blooming like mushrooms, particularly in Britain.
As for the big book players, shop floor wages are notoriously low, while management expectation can be unreasonably high, especially where re-stocking, display, and the number of tea-bags allowed in the staff-room is tightly controlled from the centre. Yet sensible adults choose to work there, from a sense of pure vocation. They all deserve our support. The last thing either sector needs is for e-readers to take off; that would push many over the edge.
Obviously, I don’t disapprove of internet trading, per se. For some, for example, the house-bound and the geographically disadvantaged, they’re a Godsend. Also, I’d rather people bought books from Amazon than Tesco. But I will always want them to be able go to Simon Kesley, in Haddington, to Sleuths, and Ben McNally, in Toronto, to the new Edinburgh Book Shop in Bruntsfield, to Mysterious Books in New York, and to hundreds like them around the English Speaking world. (Other tongues can fight their own battles.) God help me I’ll even always want them to go to Waterstone, Barnes & Noble and Chapters-Indigo.
I fear for their future, for all of them, in the face of the new Kindle onslaught; for be aware, Kindle is a software based device and that software is available for free download and use on PC, Mac, lap-top, tablet and even iPhone. (Now I’ve told you that I’ll have to kill you.) The threat is real, and traditional booksellers have few defences; only two that I can see.
One, there will always be people like me, who believe that to ripple the pages of a printed book is a special experience, one that through the centuries has taken millions from the darkness into the light.
Two? You can’t have your Kindle signed by the author.
Just watched Panorama and I’m spitting feathers. While I don’t condone the abuse of prisoners, or of any human beings, neither do I find acceptable a half-hour stream of unsubstantiated allegations and insinuations against the British military, by its own public service tax-payer funded broadcaster. This wasn’t even as ignoble as trial by television: it was kangaroo court, courtesy of the public purse. This programme has been run by subversives for the last 30 years; they’re still getting away with it, and it’s time they were stopped.
Here’s a nice football story, about an honest mistake dealt with sensibly.
Well done both managers, especially Derek McInnes. How many would have reacted as he did?
Back to normal this morning though. The Golden Family are off on Mia’s first official holiday, and we’re looking after the dogs. If I could, I’d have set them on Yvette Cooper Balls an hour ago, when I saw her on telly, insincerity oozing from every pore as she attempted to praise the new Dear Leader without choking on her words, and on both rejoicing Kinnocks, enriched by Europe and ennobled beyond their worth. One seat on an Edinburgh tram would be one too many for that couple, never mind two in the House of Lords.
Lovely Sunday yesterday. Our two closest friends came for lunch, and the Spanish family, with the lovely Mia as the centre of attraction . . . as you are when you’re three months old. Made me forget all about the relentless soap opera that is British politics, and even ignore Man U’s failure to take advantage of the short-comings of their main rivals. It’s good to be reminded of the things that are truly important in life.
Okay, two days off, now back to work. Big edit looming on Primavera 3, polishing, improving, expanding where necessary and locating and removing dead chauffeurs. Once that’s done, I’ll . . . take another couple of days off.
What’s that you say? ‘…creepy Ed Miliband, … has the look of a perverted vampire’ Perhaps that is taking it a little far. There is no reason to assert that Ed is perverted in any way, Mary. His party is, yes, in electing him to lead it after he wrote its last, disastrous, manifesto, but that needn’t apply to him. Creepy? Again, no evidence, although his apparent lack of commitment to the family unit, as witness his readiness to shaft his older brother, and some other stuff that’s in the Telegraph this morning might strike some people as having a little of the weasel in it. Vampire? We won’t really know that until he smiles properly.
Six matches gone, Motherwell have won all their away games and none at home. Funny how, every time Hearts lose at Tynecastle it’s always the referee’s fault.
The bookies got it right, then. Too bad for the Labour Party that it’s got it wrong; it’s now led by someone who wasn’t the first choice of either the Parliamentary party or the membership at large.
Only seven hours until we know the name of the new Leader of the Opposition, (I can hardly wait) and the bookies are telling us it’s going to be Milipede the Younger, Ed rather than David. Since the voting system is so complicated that nobody understands it, this has to be based on chatter rather than analysis. I hope it’s wrong, because I find him a creepy character and he’d be my second last choice, preferable only to Ed Balls. I’m not a member of any part of the fractured organisation that’s holding the ballot, but if I was I reckon I’d have voted for Diane Abbott. She has more charisma than all the other candidates put together, she once appeared in Romeo and Juliet with Michael Portillo, and she’s also the oldest by some years, and so has significantly more knowledge of life. She strikes me also as someone who’s prepared to fight for what is right, not simply for that which is considered electorally acceptable. My only problem with her is that apart from her time at Cambridge, she doesn’t appear to ever have set foot outside London. But on the plus side she’s the only one of the five to have on her CV any real experience outside the secretive and disreputable Westminster community. How can you aspire to govern a country when all your knowledge of it is second-hand? How can you presume to preside over an economy when you’ve never actually contributed to it?
Chicken curry and a shared bottle of Protos Rosado in La Clota last night, followed by an interesting discussion with a retired gynaecologist, and a chat with a newly married couple, Kim, whose mother was a Rudyard Kipling fan, hence the name, (could have been Mowgli) and Pilar, who’s from Venezuela. Live long and prosper, folks
A little while ago I referred in a post to ‘the brilliant new Kate Atkinson novel’. Then I went back to it, and came upon a line where Margaret Thatcher is grouped alongside Hitler and Pol Pot. I’m prepared to accept that might be the view of her character rather than the author, but if I’m wrong, I’m left wondering how someone can be supremely talented, yet, simultaneously, spectacularly fucking stupid. I’m no Thatcherite, by definition because I’m Scottish, but the lady won three general elections; to my mind that entitles her to a degree of respect.
I am by nature a Luddite. I like CDs rather than downloads and, going further back, I still have 400 vinyl albums in storage somewhere. I also take pleasure in having a bloody great pile of books beside my bed. Thus, I wasn’t a likely buyer for an e-reader. So, when my son and daughter-in-law bought me a new generation Amazon Kindle for a recent birthday, they were either being provocative or they were taking a chance, or both. Well, I’m a convert. It arrived a few days ago and I’ve hardly put it down since, so thanks, Kyoko, thanks Al. There is something about walking around with a thing that’s slimmer than my Filofax even in its case, knowing that it contains, among other things, the Complete Works of Shakespeare. My first proper read on it is the brilliant new Kate Atkinson novel. When I’m through with that, I might try Twelfth Night.
Is it my imagination, or is global sport being a wee bit racist over the state of facilities for the Commonwealth Games in India? I seem to recall that the preparations for the Athens Olympics were every bit as chaotic, but I don’t recall any rush to boycott them.
Just finished The Third Man, the autobiography of Peter Mandelson; to an extent it was a loyalty purchase, as we have the same agent, but I came away liking the man a lot more than when I began it. (Still don’t like Captain Barbossa, though.) I heard of him first in the mid 80s, when he was beginning to make his presence felt in the Labour Party organisation and I was in the process of leaving the Tories. My dear friend Harvey Thomas had him marked down as a man to be watched, so I have done, from that point on. Having had his perspective on Blair and Brown it will be interesting to read theirs on him. He’s done a great deal for his party over the last quarter of a century, and stood by its leaders with a greater loyalty than they showed him, at those times in his career when he could have used it. One thing is certain; he’s too young to fade away. Wherever he pops up next, I’ll still be following Harvey’s advice, and keeping an eye on him.
Beehive housing? It’s the contemporary description that was given to the distinctive ‘colonies’ houses built for working families in Edinburgh in the Victorian area. Their history’s easy to find if you look on line.
Around half an hour ago, I reached the two magic words on Primavera 3, those being ‘The End’. There were times when I thought I’d never reach them, but I have done, and pretty much on schedule. A week or so 0f rigorous edit and then it’ll be off to the book factory. Publication? January 2012, would you believe.
It’s nice to know that you’re a fan, so it’s going to be tough for me to say this. I accept that you’re trying to be helpful, but you’re not getting there. In fact, you’ve done the opposite; you’ve hit the ‘Annoy QJ’ button, at a bad time. So here it is, on the line, with my sincere regrets: on occasion, Bob Skinner uses ‘for’ rather than ‘because’, okay. Why? Because he f**king well does, so please, live with it, or not, as you choose. Bob doesn’t walk around with Fowler’s English Usage up his arse, or even constantly consulting it on his iPad. If, as you say, this choice between words drives you nuts, I have to assume that you’ve had a very short journey. If it really is a problem for you, then everything must be a problem, from your first waking moments. Is your life really so precise? If so, I can imagine you ensuring that you have the correct sock on each foot, before going to breakfast and checking the number of raisins in each scoop of muesli. I must suggest that you work on this; perhaps you could you begin by going out and meeting more people.