This summer we drove down to Brighton, ran a 5K along the seafront, had a bunch of paint thrown at us, and drove back. It was only the second time I’d set foot in the town, and the first—a few years ago—wasn’t much fuller: a single day bracketed by train journeys that didn’t leave all that long to explore. And by all accounts Brighton is a place I should enjoy; I have friends who grew up nearby and friends who attended university there, all of whom have great things to say about it. So last week we took Friday off and booked a guest house on the coast, to spend some time looking around.Read More
Adrian Tomine is probably my favourite comics writer & artist. I got into his work with Shortcomings (2007), and immediately went back through Summer Blonde (2002), Sleepwalk (1998) and the rawer Optic Nerve stuff (-1998). Since then I’ve picked up pretty much anything with Tomine’s name on it: the 2004 scrapbook of uncollected work, the postcard set, and 2012’s New York Drawings - a wonderful hardback collection of the covers and pieces of artwork that Tomine has contributed to The New Yorker over more than a decade.
The cover of that book features Tomine’s best-known piece: ‘Missed Connection’, which was first published as a New Yorkercover on the 8 Nov 2004 issue, ten years ago today. It depicts a man and a woman, seated on separate subway train cars, making eye contact and holding copies of the same book.Read More
Three months ago, on 1 Aug, I started a project to finally make it through David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. I had failed to finish the gargantuan novel on three previous occasions despite being in love with Wallace’s writing; it was just too big, too unwieldy a physical artefact, and too demanding of the reader’s engagement to be picked up lightly or granted anything other than one’s full attention. Which is why I started Infinite Jetzt: a scheduled reading of the novel where I would tackle about 10 pages a day for three months. I sent out word on Twitter and was joined by a group of friends who picked up copies of the novel, printed copies of the schedule, and read alongside me.Read More
In 200 days, on 26 April 2015, I’ll be doing something perhaps a little crazy - something I wouldn’t have believed, a couple of years ago, that I even would have attempted: I’ll be running the London Marathon.
I haven’t been running all that long. Having grown up asthmatic and bookish I spent most of my teens and even 20s eschewing pretty much all kinds of exercise where possible, and only laced up a pair of Nikes about three years ago. I remember distinctly, in the early and even medium stages of the ‘couch-to-5K’ programme I was on, feeling like completing a 5K was near impossible… then it was something I accomplished. After that it seemed like trying to break 30 minutes was an insurmountable barrier… until I did it. It’s still kind of shocking to me how quickly running 5K became just something I do a couple or three times a week. The next challenge was longer distances, and recently I broke the hour barrier for 10K. Not world-beating pace, but another personal goal achieved.Read More
The difference between music played from record and music played live is, or should be, the human elements: spontaneity, invention, emotional immediacy. A good record can be wonderful company, its unchanging nature a great comfort - knowing you can return to it, an old friend, and avail yourself of its familiar charms. And it may seem to change, a little, as you change. The act or manner of your receiving it is altered as you are through time, but the recording is a static object.
A great majority of my relationships with art are of this nature. The books, films, paintings etc. that I love, like the records, don't change. I change, my perception of them changes, and there's value in that evolution; one can see oneself reflected in it. How you relate to a book differently to how you once did. What a painting used to mean to you. What you thought a movie was about.Read More