Monday, 30 January 2012


I fucking hate stations.

It doesn't matter how much practice you get at saying goodbye, it never gets any fucking easier.

Here's a completely unrelated picture of Vladimir Putin -

Normal service will resume on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Down to the Bone

(January 2012)

Pacey, undemanding, fun. At last. After the weightier, more blatantly intellectual or satirical stuff I’ve been reading recently I figured I deserved something more obviously frivolous. Cyborgs, demons, faeries, and elves. Sit back and go with it.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Nadeshiko Redux: Keeping the Punters Happy

(Skip This Bit if You’ve Come for the Ladies)

I’ve recently inadvertently discovered the benefits of link-bait/search engine optimization. As well, I suppose, as the benefits of putting stuff up while it’s fresh instead of sitting on it for a few weeks in case I don’t get any other new ideas.

It used to be said that the easiest way to ensure a decent hit count for an online article was to include the words BRITNEY SPEARS SEX PICS in it. Though this was back when the internet was young and lawless, and when pictures of Britney Spears getting serviced were something you might actually want to see. I don’t know who the current equivalent would be. One of those ‘reality’ stars maybe. Simon Cowell? Please god not Simon Cowell. Don’t make me link to SIMON COWELL SEX PICS.

Fuck. I feel dirty and cheapened (yet also ever so slightly aroused).

My own personal version of BRITNEY SPEARS + SIMON COWELL SEX PICS has turned out to be Homare Sawa. I suspect that sentence may need some explaining.

Friday, 20 January 2012

7 Deadly Virtues – Interlude

A Scandal in Suburbia

Doraemon has a magic pocket. That’s a pretty useful power to have. Anpanman has an edible face, which is possibly less so. Still, it’s better than your resident gaijin’s superpower which is, what exactly? Being really tall? Having a small face (which somehow still manages to contain big eyes and a tall nose)? Just being different?

It’s the last one, I think, and as powers go it’s pretty crappy. It’s like the power of a lie-detector test or a placebo, in that it only works if people believe it works.

I do have a wicked cool secret identity though

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Fat Years

Chan Koonchung, 2011
(January 2012)

Trailers for movies suck, in that they have no qualms including massive spoilers if they’re dramatic enough. Being the intellectual snob that I am, I’d thought that books were above this, but increasingly it appears not. The blurb on this promises, in addition to “a message that will rock the world…” (their bold and ellipses), a kidnap (again, their bold) which doesn’t occur until page 225. This is a 300 page novel.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Who's Afraid of Homare Sawa?

For those of you who may have missed it, Japan won the women’s football world cup last summer. It’s easy to be cynical about all the manufactured emotion surrounding events such as this, but after the March disasters it was a genuinely uplifting occasion.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Breaking the Wa

Japanese people hate ambiguity. No, really they do. I know that many people, eminent people, have said otherwise, but they’re wrong. Get me, picking a fight with a Nobel Laureate. This can only end well.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Transmetropolitan Vol. 3 and 4

Vol. 3: The Year of the Bastard, Vol. 4: The New Scum
Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, 1998-1999
(December 2011)

After the last couple of books put me through my paces, cerebrally speaking, I was very glad that my christmas presents to myself turned up containing something a little easier to get my head around.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Helmet of Horror

(December 2011)

This is a retelling of the Minotaur myth, something I (British) previously had a bit of a stab at myself. I chose to go down the ‘bitch about an airport’ route, Pelevin (Russian) has aimed slightly higher and opted for the ‘eight*-way solipsistic dialectic on ontology, memory, and perception’ path instead. You pays your money and you takes your choice, I suppose.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Cat Shit Coffee

Once again proving that somehow, improbably, extraordinarily, I fluked out massively when I found my wife, she bought me shit for christmas.

It’s worth pointing out at this point that my wife doesn’t drink coffee at all, yet she managed to do the research and nail the perfect gift (fit for a prince, almost). The last year has been pretty testing at times, what with the birth of our first child, a month long intercontinental trip with said child, and buying and moving into a new house almost immediately after. We’ve had more arguments in the last 12 months than in the other 8 years of our relationship combined. Yet she consistently comes up with stuff like this. I hope I deserve her, though I’m not sure I always do.

But enough real emotion and slush. I know there are a couple of caféophiles in what passes for my readership, so on with the details you really want. On with the poo tasting.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Origins of Political Order

Francis Fukuyama, 2011
(December 2011)

Obviously we all know this guy as Mr End of History, though I’ve never actually read any of his stuff before. Being a parochial Little Englander, I was particularly pleased by his repeated use of the phrase, ‘Britain, and its colonial offshoot the United States’, which proves that there’s at least one yank who knows his proper place.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Kicking Puppies

Right in the Kisser

(I was a little cranky when I wrote this. It might be a touch sweary)