liadnan: (Default)

... passes and I inch closer to home. I still haven't arranged how, precisely, I intend to reach home.. maybe I should do something about that. Spent most of the weekend working, and sheltering from the howling gales that continue to sweep the island (and the buggers shift, so they do, the wind is always against me when I'm cycling, no matter which way I'm headed). Ringing Frankie to find out if she was back resulted, given that she wasn't, in a half-hour long mildly drunken ramble in the general direction of The Blonde, for which I apologise, other than that the high point of the weekend was Poirot (which seems to be headed in the ludicrous direction ITV have taken the Marples). Somewhat frustratingly I don't at present have a working DVD player (to be more pseudo-geekily accurate, I don't have libdvdcss enabled on my laptop), so the growing pile of cheap DVDs accumulated as I take advantage of the Island's current no-sales tax regime while I may (Howl's Moving Castle, Serenity, and Nine Queens, which I loved when I saw it in the cinema are the current hot favourites, but there are more) is useless until I sort that out.

Ho hum. In my last few weeks here I am suddenly involved in enormously complicated and interesting work. I could wish these things had cropped up earlier.

The Geeklawyer (who writes about things legal much better than I do) points out why he is anonymous. This is why, despite my real name not being a secret as such, I prefer it not to be used: mainly innocuous though my open posts here are I don't really want people googling for me professionally to end up here first...

liadnan: (Default)
[Poll #688337]

Ths sun is shining, yet I called off my planned escape to St Malo. Maybe next week.

In the meantime, with Mr Brown planning to lumber to his feet once more in a few short weeks, work is.. a tad busy. Bah humbug

This has to be a joke, no? (Via Salon via Apostropher on Unfogged: original link possibly not safe for the more puritanical workplace, Apostropher's post is fine and will tell you all you need (?) to know.)

Passed on without comment: a flash advert for sports bras... skip the intro and, well, judge for yourself. This site too may be frowned upon by some employers I suppose.

For those interested in V for Vendetta Gez has a long article up about the original graphic novel (thats two links in as many days, I shall have to start rationing.)

Work...

Mar. 6th, 2006 10:13 am
liadnan: (Default)

seems to be exploding in a variety of interesting ways, and for once in my proper ground of litigation. So I may not have time to write much for a while. Managed to do very little in the way of planning my final exit from the island over the weekend, instead I lazed around, half-heartedly tidied the house, read most of The Avignon Quintet, and went to The Jersey War Tunnels, which doubles as a museum of the Occupation and also contains an exhibition on Violette Szabo (though her only connexion with the place is that Tania Szabo, who accepted her mother's posthumous George Cross at the age of 7, lives on the island). May find some time to write more about this later, but probably not... Fascinating photo collection by Joe Lievre, including a rather charged section on collaborators, some of whom live yet though not, I think, on the island, most left in a hurry one step ahead of the lynch mob soon after liberation (just after VE day, the islands having been bypassed on and after D-Day) (quite literally in at least one case, the police turned up just as they were throwing the rope over the tree...)

Didn't watch the Oscars, still haven't bothered to find out what happened and don't really care to be honest. Did watch a Song for Europe. Oh dear God... Midsomer Murders as amiably daft as ever.

Still debating potential holiday. In the meantime, I think I may have one last break to St Malo this weekend...

liadnan: (Default)

I left the house twice this weekend, on specific short errands. The rest of my time I spent in bed, listening to the wind howl... no snow, though there was plenty of that Friday, just wind and drizzle. Since Saturday morning consisted largely of an intake of neurofen and a re-iteration of the mantra that past 30 one should not mix wine and whisky this was possibly a wise move. (Highlights of Friday evening included my gun-toting secretary picking me up and carrying me round the boardroom in an effort to persuade me to stay, but we'll draw a veil over that.)

My resolve not to buy more stuff before my imminent return crumbled on Friday afternoon and I ended up walking out of Ottakars some 25 quid the poorer. All now read.

First up was the second Captain Alatriste, Purity of Blood. These are essentially Arturo Perez-Reverte's Spanish version of Dumas (you can't help trying to work out whether, and if so at what point in his career, Captain Alatriste will actually run into the Three Musketeers). They've apparently been a massive craze in Spain for years, but its only very recently, presumably on the back of Perez-Reverte's success with his other novels, from The Dumas Club (filmed, by all accounts unsuccessfully, as The Ninth Gate (not seen) and the novel featuring a cameo appearance by one of its obvious inspirers, an unnamed great Dumas fan, described only as the Professor of Semiotics at Bologna) to Queen of the South, that they've been translated. I think they're fantastic fun.

Second was Naomi Novik's Temeraire (how does she get livejournal to do that?) - Napoleonic fantasy with dragons. The blurb cites Stephen King referencing Susannah Clarke. I don't think this is anywhere near up to the strength of Jonathan Strange, but then I think few things are. I do think that early-modern to Victorian fantasy (as opposed to science) influenced alternate history is a sub-genre that's going to be quite popular for a while, and why not? Lots of mileage. As Joff semi-argued elsewhere it has the advantage over steampunk in that the bounds of the latter if construed strictly, are pretty narrow -and lets face it, few conform. It's not new as such -Clarke's partner, Colin Greenland produced what I think remains his most imaginative and best-written work yet, Harm's Way some years ago now, even before one goes delving into prototypes in older stuff. So the real question, as with all genres, is what to call it. Steam and Sorcery?

To be honest, the other blurb, from McCaffrey, was more indicative of where the novel was going, as was the reference to Patrick O'Brien (who, I'm afraid, completely fails to grab me, give me Hornblower and Ramage any day, though I'm aware the vast majority of my reading list disagree) though she's a better writer than MacCaffrey ever was. Her characters are far less complex than Clarke's, and it feels far more a straight historical novel with added dragons (though to be fair this is but the first of a series). One thing Clarke did that Novik is less strong on is try and give some historical context: it's difficult without a bit more background to believe that notwithstanding a serious aerial bombardment capability used, we're told, by Francis Drake to beat the armada, we've nonetheless ended up in much the same historical situation at the time of Trafalgar (which takes place, offstage, during the book) as we do in our universe -though one notable outcome of Trafalgar seems to be different. Certainly worth keeping an eye on though.

Last up was part of my on-going effort to re-read a significant chunk of The Canon: on this occasion Trollope's Barchester novels, specifically Barchester Towers. It must be more than 15 years since I touched these, and I'd utterly forgotten how they read. I'd still take Austen, George Eliot, and Thackeray above him but he's a close follower (and streets ahead of Dickens in my personal ranking). Where he falls down most is on the romantic element -I don't find those relationships particularly convincing, though he does have a few brilliant one-liners even there. But the social and ecclesiastical politics, and the humour -even when he wanders away on one of his digressions- is marvellous. Incidentally I'm half convinced Tolkien had Barsetshire in mind when he created the Shire, though a Barsetshire shorn of the city pf Barchester and the ecclesiastical elements that for Trollope were the foundations of the place. (In particular I think the "Long-Expected Party" owes a conscious debt to the Thorne's great do at Ellathorne - I imagine someone has pointed this out before but it was a new realisation for me.)

Incidentally, I forgot to write about Gothic Nightmares at The Tate at which I spent much of last Saturday courtesy and in the always good company of Frankie. Well worth a visit anyway, particularly for room 6 ("Fairies and Fatal Women", including Blake and Fuseli's Midsummer Night's Dream inspired-work and associated pieces, plus some of Fuseli's porn (as in explicit, rather than as in "almost everything he ever painted")), though definitely better to try and find an off-peak time to go.

Spent Sunday evening with Midsomer Murders, in which Bergerac's DCI Barnaby's sidekick is these days played by that chap what played Warren in This Life. Which makes his claim that he used to visit Midsomer Whatever's annual show regularly as a child feel a bit spurious, as it's difficult enough to believe that he stepped outside the Valleys once before the age of 18, let alone that he was an annual visitor to a small village in pastiche-Glos/Oxon. I mean, there's suspension of disbelief, and there's flying trapezi of disbelief. Also if I knew Barnaby was investigating a murder in my small village I'd be on the road away from there as fast as possible, the man is more Death on a Pale Horse than Morse ever was. Absolute nonsense, guest-starring a hamming-it-up Simon Callow (does he ever do anything else, but I love him to pieces, plus he once gave me a cigar) can't do better on a Sunday evening.

Madeira-aged Glenmorangie is a marvellous thing, and tolerably affordable when regularly passing through duty-free. So, by and large, is Chilean Merlot followed by Dubonnet. Yes, I did spend a large part of the weekend mildly sloshed. I just have to remember not to mix the two... Still, at least I discovered the Sekrit, or rather, misplaced, stash of cds: Mozart Requiem and Beethoven Late Quartets both of which, particularly the latter, bear repeated re-listening.

Some bits and pieces of writing done as well, none of it particularly good.

Bah Humbug

Feb. 14th, 2006 10:13 am
liadnan: (Default)

Total number of bicycles I intended to purchase on Jersey:   1

Total number of bicycles stolen while on Jersey:   1

Total number of bicycles now actually purchased while on Jersey:   2

Total number of valentines cards:   0

Mood rating:   Bah humbug.

Still, had a good weekend showing Gez round the island, drinking a lot, and watching Sunday's utterly bizarre Marple and I'm in London for a long weekend courtesy of a red-eye Friday morning, so not all is lost. Plus having a guest finally forced me to get around to visiting Jersey Zoo which is indeed well worth it. Pictures of assorted apes may appear when I have non-work interweb access.

Also, why is my layout borked? I suspect the answer is to do with current work on CSS but there's nothing particularly customised about the journal style I use. Irritating.

liadnan: (Default)

I awoke on Sunday morning just as I was about to fight a duel with Edward VIII (while still prince of wales) or just possibly his father. I consider this a shame, and have no idea whatsoever what he was doing on my mind. I almost never remember my dreams, so obviously something important was going on. (The duel was taking place, rather atypically, at sunset, in a place that seemed a cross between Hyde Park and the Embankment to which I had a pass for access. What? Anyway, would anyone ever have called out or been called out by the heir to the throne? Sayers has Wimsey claim he had been called out once or twice, so relying on her accuracy I'm assuming it isn't entirely anachronistic, but still...)

I was then convinced I needed to ring Frankie and arrange to meet for coffee later that day, fortunately I was no further than groping for my phone and bringing her number up on the address book when I realied that (a) I was actually on Jersey whereas she was in London, or possibly Edinburgh, and (b) it was 5.30 in the morning. She and K. would, I suspect, have been unamused.

Eventually my discombobulation passed and I spent most of the rest of the day, as the wind blew and the sun shone on the snow outside, sitting in bed being nostalgic about old photographs, trying to work on four works in progress, none of which achieved much progress during the day, but such is life. And reading Frances Stonor Saunders' Hawkwood, fascinating but I never felt I had much of a sense of the man. Best read of the weekend, however, goes without doubt to George MacDonald Fraser's hysterically funny The Pyrates, which I recommend to each and every one of you.

And then Lewis, the long-awaited Morse spin-off. Delighted to see that before the first advert break they had already cut down from Broad Street along the Radcliffe Square side of All Souls to somewhere, in a car. Which might be possible were they in Hot Pursuit (TM), as I think you could physically pass through to the High (?if you take down some bollards?) but not otherwise. All in all fun, but I don't know if it has the steam to go it alone: eventually they'd have to drop the sighs, glimpses of red Mark II Jaguars, visits to the pub, music prizes called Endeavour and cryptic crossword clues left in one of Morse's old files.

The sun is shining and though there's no cotton on Jersey, the wind is howling, and the temperature freezing, I'm in a remarkably good mood. Enjoy it while ye may.

Via Martin the "John Hopkins Test" for whether you are an alcoholic. Oh dear. There doesn't appear to be an option for "have you ever attempted to cure a crucifying hangover with a Bloody Mary? Did it work?" (Yes).

liadnan: (Default)

Today I have:

  • Wandered around town;
  • watched the test match (hurrah);
  • wandered out to the castle islet at low tide;
  • sat on a gorgeous near-deserted beach and watched the sun go down;
  • and, err tried to work on a brief while watching Zorro

Still, can't have everything: pretty good day all round.

Lawks..

Aug. 7th, 2005 10:10 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Also lummee.

Spent the weekend with my very old friends J&L and my brand new friends R&H (the latter two being the progeny of the former). They've recently moved to a beautiful village, which briefly revived my occasional twinges of wanting to do the same. This morning was spent watching the cricket heart in mouth (in more ways than one, we were all somewhat suffering from hangovers). Can't remember ever seeing a test match that was quite so exciting. Why, precisely, it went that way possibly leaves questions about England's approach, but hey the Ashes are still open. I went out into the garden for a cigarette at one point: as I lit up a huge yell revealed that Warne had finally gone. When the figure Australia needed went into single figures, the others suggested I might want to go for another cigarette...

And now I'm sitting in my flat saying "meh" and pouring myself "just a small one" at regular intervals in order to face the wreckage. Tomorrow is the heavy packing day: until now I've been concentrating on administrivia and on moving the little fiddly things into my office bit by bit via laden rucksacks. Note to self, travelling on the underground unshaven, worried looking, and carrying laden rucksacks is actually likely to garner you a certain amount of attention right at the moment.

Many thanks to all those who offered homes to books and things: I think everything will be ok (I'm using my office as storage).

Oh, and Robin Cook: a sad loss I think. Regardless of whether or not one agreed with him, and much of the time I didn't, he was principled in his political life, brilliant, and genuinely committed to the importance of Parliament, as opposed to and indeed in opposition to, the executive. I wonder what New Labour would have looked like had he not fallen out with Gordon Brown back when they were at university.

liadnan: (Default)

Actually, it's my legs that sting. My face is fine.

When I say sting, what I actually mean is "I can barely walk." No, I'm not exaggerating. I just struggled across the room to turn off the television after Today at Wimbledon and the real reason I sat down by the computer was that I couldn't face going anywhere else just yet.

All this the result of a weekend spent with my mother. Very pleasant, but she's obviously feeling the lack of someone to whom she can natter, sad in itself, and also making weekends spent with her slightly more of an effort than I should feel them to be.

Anyway, I spent much of the weekend sitting on the terrace by the pond reading. (This week's trawl through the attics for something old to read brought up a crop of Mary Stewarts, which were rather better than I remembered: I knew the Merlin trilogy was exceptional but I'd forgotten the other things.)

That, however, brought its own problems. What whim of fate was it that I was born with (a) very sensitive skin; (b) a love of lying in the sun; (c) a bone-idleness that extends to not bothering to put any suncream on? I've known people -well, two people- who are notable for on occasion having used olive oil where ordinary mortals would use sunscreen. Hah. Ah well, if I live through the next day or so that should be the worst of it for the whole summer, on past experience. And yes, I know, skin cancer.

Incidentally, if the weather next weekend in Somerset isn't at least almost as good as this weekend in Hampshire, I shall be very cross. Please take note.

Apropos of which, last Thursday evening I received an email from Wayahead, telling me they had that day despatched my ticket. Which I find fascinating, because it actually arrived two weeks before that. Evidently someone's been buggering about with temporal continuity again.

liadnan: (Default)

I was supposed to accomplish things this weekend. Specifically, to spend a great deal of time on finishing off something I'm supposed to be writing, and face up to my accounts.

Instead, I've faffed, drunk, and rehung a door (finally discovering as I did that the reason why it had been sticking for the whole of the three and a half years I've been living here was that the upper hinge was buggered). And read a lot. And danced around the flat to Kirsty MacColl...

Ooops.

Still, seems it's the same for successful professional authors.

liadnan: (Default)

what do you expect?

Ho hum.

Nov. 22nd, 2004 10:03 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Good weekend, slightly less good Monday. Saturday was Clique Christmas Dinner at Katy's (if you don't know, don't ask) which finally wound up at about 3.30-4 in the morning, then poured self into taxi back to Rob and Steph's with them and Joff, flaking out fairly soon after. Sunday I sat around with them all day because the world was frankly horrible outside, and watched Harry Potter 3 again.

Didn't do too well in court this morning: won but frankly that was because it would have required a certain amount of effort to lose. Kept calling a Circuit Judge "Sir" (instead of "Your Honour": Sir or Madam is only appropriate for a District Judge, a Master in the High Court or a JP) and then apologising, fortunately he was a genial chap and pretended he still found it amusing the fourth time. Quite unlike HHJ Nameless a while back, who I called Your Honour on the basis that's what he is normally, forgetting he was sitting as a Section 9 Judge (really, don't ask) and therefore in that hearing correctly "My Lord": it's never good when, after you've set out your stall on what should have been a brief non-contentious case-management hearing, the icy response from the bench, tongue quite clearly nowhere near cheek, is "first of all, I'm my Lord...."

Shared a table in Maison Bertaux at lunch with a v. cute woman who turned out to be a ZZ-List celebrity. Well, a presenter on some satellite Chanel 9 style outfit the actual name of which I forget. Now sitting around staring into space, listening to Goldfrapp, wondering if I exceeded even my customary dosage of coffee today, and writing tedious posts here.

liadnan: (Default)

"... well, the inevitability of it was kinda inevitable...."

Eh?

Off to sunny Hampshire for the weekend. Somewhat irritated that I've already been to Hampshire once today but had to come back for a pointless hearing, but needs must.

liadnan: (Default)

All this working stuff they expect me to do: knackering.

Admittedly I had an alcoholic weekend. Friday cocktails followed by dinner with the usual suspects, then off to see very old friends J&L and the now-two-year-old R for the weekend. Drinking into the small hours Saturday night somehow didn't prevent me from waking up at around 5, as is usual when I sleep in a strange bed, so while I was fine for the afternoon spent building mammoth constructions from duplo, on arrival back home I felt like death. And I have a string of hearings this week at difficult-to-reach county courts.

Finished de Bernières Birds without Wings on the train back, so review will follow when I can summon up the energy, as promised.

Ho hum

Jun. 20th, 2004 11:23 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Joff's Joffeoke last night (I seem to remember singing It's A Sin from a comatose position) and as a result didn't stagger home until 3 (to taxi driver: "take me to Primrose Hill please" "Que?" "Oh, soddit, just go to Camden Town"). Came round around 12.30 and promptly off to SimonG's for his afternoon party: glad to see Joff and H were in worse states than I was. Grand time at both, but I hate the feeling of sobering up before going to bed, particularly when trying to (a) cook dinner and (b) think about leasehold enfranchisement and extension at the same time.

Next weekend Glastonbury... at some point I'm going to be crying out for a weekend of doing nothing, I can feel it.

I have a horrible feeling that when I put the tent away last summer in Mystra I thought to myself "oh, I really must deal with X when I'm home", X being, possibly, an eye that needs replacing. Ooops.

Currently reading Edward Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet: intriguing but I have no firm conclusions on whether it's a neglected masterpiece or a train wreck yet. Oh, and read, on MartinL's recommendation, Varjak Paw, before giving it to Simon as his birthday present (I always do this when buying presents): despite my usual, and I admit somewhat kneejerk, dislike for anthropomorphia, it really is a good bit of work. Reminded me of 101 Dalmatians more than anything, though I'm not entirely sure why except that's another exception to my dislike for such stuff.

liadnan: (Default)

... what I've been doing. It can be summed up as (a) getting drunk in the company of interesting people; (b) working; (c) staring into space; (d) rinse and repeat as necessary.

But if you really want to know )

liadnan: (Default)

Bank holidays, don't you just love them?

Sadly, most of those usually available for drinking have buggered off to some restaurant in the south of France for the weeken leaving me somewhat aimless.

So I'm wandering round museums and galleries, and lying in parks, thinking about anything but the law and quite resolutely refraining from any work whatsoever. Hurrah. Isn't life grand?

liadnan: (Default)

So.. I briefly thought that if someone was fool enough not only to log in to, um, adult on-line dating services at a public access terminal, but also to omit to log out properly, they deserved everything that came to them. But, contrary to all appearances, I am a kind man, so I simply logged them out and erased all their details from my mind...

(I used to think I was fairly soft-hearted as lawyers go. But I was once in some last-minute negotiation in the robing room in some High Court DR, with lots of other barristers around. One of them, who I knew from my first six months as a pupil, said to me afterwards "Christ, you're scary." Which I took as a compliment.)

Went to Bath for the nuptials of Jen and Gideon this weekend, and many people were met and a fab time had by all. I know this to be true, for I danced.

I rarely dance, which is a mercy to all concerned.

Slightly concerned that everyone I know appears to be growing up, and I'm still waiting for Stuff to Happen, but there it is. Huge congrats to them both, anyway.

The next morning, having dealt with the acid some inconsiderate git had somehow poured into my skull, I wandered off and round the Baths. Yes, I am my parents' child (and anyway it was raining...) in truth I managed to fit the Abbey and a look at the Royal Crescent as well. It's been a long time since I was in Bath, probably not since my schooldays. But with my parents, both of them school teachers, we spent much of every summer holiday wandering round every minor, as well as major, site of interest in the country, not to mention beyond. And I'm one of the few Londoners I know who regularly plays London tourist round places like the Tower. People seem to fail to get around to visiting the places on their doorsteps.

Finished Oryx and Crake on the train. Good, but flawed, was my view, though I wait for Martin's review with interest. Superb prose as ever but a little more plot development wouldn't have gone amiss, in about the last third of the novel (though I approve of the way it ends).

Bah

Mar. 15th, 2004 06:19 pm
liadnan: (Default)

Sometimes, some places, Mondays are not so bad.

Not, however, now and here. The rain spits down with an air of half-hearted generalised misery, my mind and body are slow and complaining, the cases on my desk are lacking in interest, and even the half-million quid white elephant of a fountain out on the lawn looks depressed. Moreover I can't find a flight to New York for the dates I want below £370 (my dates are somewhat constrained as I have to be at one wedding on Easter Sunday and another the weekend after, but even broadening the dates I could fly to see what happened didn't give any better results).

The clock is tick ticking away my life, and far too much of it has already been wasted in not being somewhere hot with nothing to do save read, drink, eat, and talk to people. This is Just Wrong. Has the world not yet realised it Owes Me A Living? Why am I not rich, famous, and lusted after by hordes of women? Is there no justice? Surely I raised these questions a while ago, yet no response has been forthcoming.

On the other hand it may just be that I spent far too much of the weekend drunk, including an hour on Saturday night standing in drizzle on Caledonian Road while waiting for a nightbus at 3AM. Hardly conducive to good health and cheery spirits. It's partly as a result of this that I spent most of Sunday lying in bed watching the blossom be knocked off the tree by the rain and composing morbid haiku in the manner of a teenager going through puberty. The high point of the day was sorting my socks, until I managed to drag myself out of the flat to wander over to Rob and Steph's for dinner, along with Dan and Liz. Which did cheer me up, to be fair, and was very kind of them. It's just a shame I couldn't stay long enough to carry on being rude about the Mary Queen of Scots thing we ended up watching.

It's not a hangover. Hangover's are straightforward by comparison. Water, neurofen by the shitload, and there you are. It's an awful lassitude and emptiness, exacerbated by the frankly ridiculous -even by my standards- quantities of coffee and cigarettes I've had so far today, leaving my stomach queasy, my nerves strained, and my hands quivering like a sufferer from DTs so that I have to recheck every word I write to ensure I haven't double typed each and every letter. Oh, and there's a bloody T'Pau song running through and through my fucking head and I can't even remember which one it is.

The worst thing about being over thirty is that the question which occurred to you during your late 20s: "is this it?"; has been definitively answered. It, my friends, this is, always and forever. I may have said this before, but no one ever listens to me, least of all me. A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, &c.

Soddit. I'll have a double whisky, no ice, and none of your cooking scotch either, please.

liadnan: (Default)

Well, that was a rubbish week.

The only question remaining is whether it will require wine or whisky to make everything better.

That is all, as my brain has unaccountably taken leave of absence. Am thinking of following it. Maybe I will go to New York and see Dr Lovely, if there really are flights as cheap as she claims. Maybe I will go to Slough. Who knows: it's a wonderful world of mystery and adventure out there.

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