Thursday, September 27, 2007

A day at the races

I went to the Gold Cup horse race meeting in Ayr at the weekend. I had never been before. It was expensive to get in (18 quid) and a lot of people were wearing their posh clothes. Neds were also in attendance. The whole event was broadcast live on TV.

I bet on a few races in my normal Aspergers manner. I won £13.20 when one horse came in first although my totals bets amounted to £28 leaving me 15 quid down overall. It's a lot slower than dog-racing and less fun in many ways. It's also harder on the pocket.

An interesting experience.

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

This is another book that I picked up after reading the article on science fiction in serious literature in SFX magaxine recently. I believe that it is about to be made into a film (although I am unsure if an accurate celluloid adaption will be possible).

The book opens with a man who cannot remember his name. He visits his psychiatrist who tells him this has happened to him 11 times before. He begins to recieve letters written by himself before he lost his memory. These letters hint at danger. It is unclear if these letters represent thought disorder (schizophrenia) or are real.

Eric (the man) embarks on a quest to discover the truth.

The book is written in an interesting manner, with diagrams and examples of 'concrete poetry' (if I remember the correct technical terminology from my high school English classes). The story is OK but it does drift into the territory of 'The Matrix' at times.

Worth a read if you can put up with the sci-fi bits.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Knocked up - film review

Two people have a one night stand and the girl gets pregnant. It happens in real life. She then decides to keep the baby and informs the unknowing father. Hilarity ensues.

This is actually another enjoyable comedy in the style of 'superbad' or '40 year old virgin'. I was laughing a lot when I watched it and it seemed realistic. The birth scenes reminded me of the babies I delivered as a medical student.

I will buy the DVD but I have more money than sense.

8 outta 10


Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks by Christopher Brookmyre

As anyone who has read any of this blog will know I'm a big fan of Brookmyre. His latest book 'Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks' is not his best but it is still good. I found it difficult to get into at first, probably because the first chapter is written in the style of a Daily Mail journalist. Brookmyre simulates the Mail style so well that it made my blood boil. The other weird thing about the book is the narration by the ghost of Jack Parlabane, the recurring hero of several Brookmyre novels.

Brookmyre again uses his writing to take well-aimed potshots at the idiots and wrong-doers of this world. My only complaint would be that spiritualists are too obvious as a target but it is still enjoyable.

Worth reading but not his best. Start with 'quite ugly one morning' or 'a tale etched in blood and hard black pencil'


On being 30

I turned 30 on September the 9th. It was a bit weird. I had a meal with a group of friends and spent the night in a Glasgow Casino to celebrate. I had a good time.

So much has happened in my life in the past ten years. I think I've done well. Ten years ago I had long hair and a beard and I looked like a scum-bag. It was intentional. I wanted to be a rock-star or a journalist or an anarchist. Now I'm a doctor. You can't predict these things.

I try not to plan my life too much. Everyone likes to make plans but it is nice to let fate and accident guide things a bit.

Good things and bad things have happened over the last decade. I've loved people and lost people. I've done some cool stuff. I'm almost where I want to be now.

I don't know where I'll be at 40. Hopefully I'll have a steady job. I hope I'm married or with someone. It would be cool to have kids. All the sentimental shit.

It'll be interesting getting to 40


Superbad - film review

This film worked with my infantile sense of humour. The girl I was with seemed to enjoy it too. It tells the story of 3 teenage guys on a quest for sex and alcohol. The guys, as you would expect, are nerds. The girls are pretty. The audience roots for the underdog.

There is some good gross-out humour here. The 'dirty dancing' scene was a personal favourite. Watch if you have a coarse taste in comedy.

8 outta 10


The end of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

As always I have used my holidays to catch up on some recreational reading. I bought 'the end of Mr Y' after reading an article in SFX on science fiction in mainstream modern literature. I have not read any other books by Scarlett Thomas although I may check some out.

The story revolves around Ariel, a PhD student who is writing a thesis on 'thought experiments' and the work of Thomas Lumas, a nineteenth century writer. Lumas had an unfortunate life and was the author of a lost novel, 'the end of Mr Y' which is said to be cursed.

As one would expect Ariel finds a copy of the lost novel and is drawn into the curse.

The book is well written and it contains some interesting ideas. It has some 'hard' science stuff as well as fantasy but it isn't boring. I read it in one sitting. You might like it.


link -

Crooked little vein by Warren Ellis

I've been a fan of the comic books and internet ramblings of Warren Ellis for some time now. I was keen to read this book but I was worried that it would disappoint me. Could Ellis write a real book or would he disappear up his own arse? Thankfully he can write as this short novel demonstrates.

The book is not too far removed from the subject matter of his comic books, especially 'transmetropolitan'. It deals with a detective who is charged with the task of finding the only known copy of an alternative version of the constitution of the united states of america. To find the books he has to trawl through the perverts and lunatics who haunt the American underground. All very run of the mill for Ellis.

Not groundbreaking but a good, quick, easy read. Looking forward to more.


The Go-Team and Caribou - Live at the ABC, Glasgow

I've liked the Go-Team for a while and I was keen to see them. The additional presence of Caribou on the bill was an unexpected bonus. I've listened to them since they were called Manitoba and they released the 'up in flames' album. I nearly went to see them a week earlier so I was glad to have saved my money. That does not mean that Caribou were not good (they were good). It just means that I'm a cheap bastard.

The Go-team are like an indie-pop 'united colours of beneton'. They were bright coloured clothes and they and of mixed gender and ethnicity. They are loud, energetic and fun! The muisc is a cross between AWOL dance legends 'the avalanches' and Glasweigan fey popsters 'belle and sebastian'. Lead singer Ninja is like a demented Blue Peter presenter cheerleading the crowd through supercharged soundbites of indie-rap goodness.

I liked the show. I want to see them again.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunshine - film review

This is another film I missed at the cinema. I regret that because I think it would look great on the big screen. It's a science fiction film by the Trainspotting/Shallow Grave/28 Days Later Team with a script by Alex Garland (who wrote The Beach).

It looks like a classic sci-fi film with great colours and the claustrophobia of travel in a space ship. It reminded me of 2001, Alien and Event Horizon. Not a bad thing.

The story is about a group of scientists on a 'last hope' mission to save our dying sun by dropping a massive nuclear bomb into it's heart to reignite it. They realise that they are on a suicide mission and that they are our final chance at survival. An earlier mission failed mysteriously 7 years earlier.

Everything is going smoothly until they encounter the missing shiop, Icarus one.

I won't give away any more of the story but it looks great and the soundtrack is cool. I liked it but I don't know that everyone else would.