Bush of Goats

Life's too short for empty slog. ans.

Where The Road leads

I haven’t read that many books lately. In between searching out ways to pay the mortgage (Factory work? Male escort? Decisions, decisions) renovating the house, the kids and my new found love of gardening, losing myself in a book seems, if not downright selfish, at the very least, a bit impractical. So, it’s a good few months since I read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

For me, reading a book has always had as much to do with the context in which it’s read as the words on the page. Perhaps Phillip Roth’s recent claim that reading novels will be a cultic entertainment within 25 years hints at this: that the linearity, the one-dimensional attention required to fully engage with one writer’s view of a world they have created is not something we’re interested in – or even capable of doing – anymore. There are too many other distractions; we’re too keen to see it interpreted as a movie, or a theme park or a pencil tin to care about what one measly author had to say about one measly slice of the universe.

So the context for this was perfect: we were leaving London and arriving in a semi-derelict rambling pile in the countryside. We were shedding a civilisation, as the man and the boy (the nameless characters at the heart of the book), walked through a devastated world. As I mentioned, it is months since I finished it and I’ve only now come round to writing about it as I didn’t want any immediate context to colour my judgement. But it’s been 6 months and it still comes back to me. I might have already read the greatest book I will ever read. And if I have, that’s OK.

It’s one of those which makes you want to write a book, and at the same time, is so comprehensively, gobsmackingly brilliant that it makes all other writing irrelevant. It’s heart-rendingly bleak, impossibly tender, desperate, hopeful, horrifying, mundane, delightful and dreadful. It is both just a simple story and yet utterly post-modern. It is a science fiction novel you can’t divorce your reality from.

So, it was with very mixed feelings I heard they were making a film of it. I’m generally fine with films of books (apart from Watchmen) as it’s interesting to see what the scriptwriter thought was the theme, then what the director did with that. But for me, the written version of this particular story has already transcended any other possible interpretation in its post modern abandonment of its native form. Mostly, it’s because there’s no punctuation and the leads characters have no names, but the prose is so taught, so lean, that it renders form obsolete. It is a story told around a fire, a spoken word piece that, as extinction threatens all mankind, had to be written down to be remembered.

So in this context, the very idea of something as convoluted and elaborate as a film seems ridiculous. And unlike the novel, I don’t think film-making as an art is mature enough to destroy itself and rework the fragments in two hours.

But who knows? Maybe the film will do something incredible to audiences: maybe the multiplexes will be ripped apart and rebuilt on the outskirts of primitive villages as shrines to half-remembered deities.

The book on Amazon

Movie trailer on YouTube

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Future memories’ hexagonal doorway

I read a great story over Christmas, (cribbed from here) and it reminded of a thing I wrote back in 2004 when I was at Mook (RIP). And seeing as I dug it out, I thought I’d stick it on Slideshare. And seeing as I did that, I thought I’d mention it here.

The News in 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized, Writing

Godzilla

Godzilla

Since moving here (to Somerset, from London) a lot has changed: the scale of change has been a bit daunting on occasion, but generally, it’s been good. One of the biggest changes has been the sudden and very literal presence of the church in my life – the above photo is from my office window, and largely captures (albeit with a lower competence than your eyes could) what I can see from my desk.

Now I’m fairly open-minded and willing to entertain all thoughts and outcomes (unless it’s morris dancing, or that other thing) so I knew when we first saw the house that the presence of St Peter might have a bearing on our lives: I am no kind of christian, but, I was willing to think about it and, if needs or mood changed, to actually engage with… God.

The thing is, my internal, ‘Am I becoming a christian?’ dialogue was starting to take over. Every time I sat down to work, I’d look up and see that. But then one of the most astonishing things happened. You can’t make it out from the photo (Again, the limitations of not being able to see with your own eyes) but reflected on the window beyond which sits my tormentor, is my laptop.
More specifically, my Apple Macbook, WITH ITS ILLUMINATED LOGO OF AN APPLE WITH A BITE OUT OF IT is reflected in the doorway of the churc
That made me laugh (and gasp a little bit too) and there’s nothing like a good laugh to shake off an ominous sense of dread is there?
Now, whenever I start fretting about who has ultimate control of my destiny and whether I should get on side with him, I just have to look up…. and a bit to the left.

Filed under: Noticing

Housekeeping

Bush of Goats has a new home – WordPress.

It emerged recently that the blog software I was using (iWeb) was making rather a meal of things, so I’ve moved the blog to this new place as part of a general online presence tidy-up.

That’s it. As you were.

Filed under: Uncategorized,

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