Shenanigans: Hits and Myths
Saturday 29th August 2015
Canal 125, 125 Caledonian Road, N1 9RG
£5 (£4 NUS/NHS)
10pm-11pm: DJ Landmine
1am-2am: DJ Spunky Lobster
And that's also going to be the penultimate regular Shenanigans night ... after that ... the silence.
- Various artists - NCIS: Benchmark (soundtrack album)
- Poe - Haunted
- Show of Hands w/ Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton - Centenary: Words & Music of The Great War [CD1 - poetry]
- Show of Hands - Centenary: Words & Music of The Great War [CD2 - songs]
- Wardruna - Runaljod - Yggdrasil
A variety of genres - soundtrack compilation, indie (including some strange atmospheric elements - her brother wrote House Of Leaves), poetry (with folk music), folk, and some odd atmospheric Nordic stuff inspired by the runes of the Elder Futhark.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A deserved classic.
It's interesting how many of Poirot and Hastings' notable characteristics are there from the off. Poirot's backhanded compliments, and Hastings' obliviousness to them, are a particular delight.
The plot is reasonably classic Christie, full of little misdirections and barely spottable clues. It has been long enough since I read this that I had forgotten whodunnit, so the puzzle aspect was there in full joy for me. I fell for trap #2, and thought for a long time it was actually (view spoiler)[Cynthia, despite her obviously having been drugged (reasoning that this could have been self-administered, or, as it turned out to actually be, nothing to do with the murder) (hide spoiler)]. The only slight difference between this and most Christie is that there's only one murder (not an increasingly desperate murderer making it to 3 or 4), and that there don't appear to be any same sex couples (seriously, the number of "lady companions" & "old friends living together for company" in Christie is a joy).
Similarly, Christie's writing style is pretty fully-formed here. For a first novel, that's actually astonishing. Oh and while I'm here, I have no truck with those who say that because Christie wrote lots of page-turners in easy-to-understand language that means she's not a great writer; to fit that many ideas and that much creativity and that much sly wit into simple texts is a lot harder than doing the literary equivalent of Yngwie Malmsteen-esque wankery, and more people should respect that.
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I'm off to see trains on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway today, so comms will be either very light, or flooded with pics of trains.
Perhaps its my Asian DNA, but I’ve always been more of a savory breakfast person than sweet. Whether it’s a bowl of Pho, or an Eggs Benedict I’ll almost always chose the savory path when dining out. The trouble is, savory breakfasts tend to take more time to make than a slice of toast or […]
1, Entryism. Yeah, I know, we're the Lib Dems, who's going to bother? But the current system of conference reps does at least mean that someone who comes to conference with a voting pass has at least been given a cursory glance over by their local party. This could be mitigated by having a length of service clause (you can't vote till you've been a member for a given amount of time) but that wouldn't deter really determined entryists, and would mean that the one person you've thought of as a natural lib dem, who your local party has been courting for years, would also be denied a vote when under the current system they aren't. Also people who continually let their memberships lapse due to forgetfulness would be perpetually unable to vote. This could be mitigated by people signing up for direct debits.
2, Geographic concentration. This is already an issue - wherever conference is closest to supplies the majority of voting reps for that conference. I can't see OMOV making this any better, and I can see it potentially getting worse. A lot of policies we vote on have different applications in different regions. This could be mitigated by allowing online voting, but that opens up whole new vistas of cans of worms.
3, Tyranny of the Majority. Y'all just knew I was going to bring up John Stuart Mill at some point, didn't you? Dear old JS. If you have OMOV, and geographic concentration, and entryism, you run the risk of packing of policy votes. Now, arguably, this already happens. We've all** been in the hall for Julian and Evan's traditional "get rid of faith schools" motion/amendment, which it's quite clear the hall is going to vote for, and then the payroll vote come rolling in and vote it down. The payroll vote is smaller now, but that doesn't mean other packing factions won't emerge, and OMOV would make it lots easier for them. Packing of votes necessarily means smaller local parties/AOs/SAOs get less says, and I, for one, am in favour of diversity of opinion. This could be mitigated by retaining the current conference rep system.
4, Single Issue Pressure Groups. People would turn up en masse to vote on one motion. Can you imagine what 38 degrees would do to conference? This could be mitigated by retaining the current voting rep system, or by the long service requirement
5, Doesn't solve the problems it claims to solve. Becoming a conference rep is touted as a major barrier to participation in conference by proponents of OMOV. I have never known of a local party that does not have difficulty filling up all their available conference rep slots, even the ones that believe the emails that come from head office telling you you're entitled to less than you actually are. If turning up to your local party AGM and putting your hand up when the chair says "Who's going to conference, then?" is an insurmountable barrier to participation for a particular individual, I don't think that OMOV will make them more likely to participate. Maybe it will for a few, but not the majority. And yes, there IS a problem with moribund local parties in some areas, but OMOV doesn't suddenly invigorate them. No, the major thing that prevents people participating in conference is that it costs a small fortune, and again, OMOV does not solve this. This could be mitigated by not telling people a system is going to do something it demonstrably isn't and can't? IDK.
Now, I'm not actually dead set against OMOV. As I said at the beginning, it has a beguiling simplicity. But I would like to see genuine solutions to the problems I have with it before I vote for an unknown system over one that I know, and know works.
* up yours, Govey
** for a given definition of all
As an interested observer with no dog in the fight, I've seen a party I once considered voting for* tearing itself to shreds. There seems no prospect of this ending any time soon**. I have also seen lots and lots of people offer both sage and less sage advice to the party on what they should do differently next time they have a leadership election.
- don't let people join up for £3 to troll you
- let everyone vote and be truly open
- vet people better
- don't vet people at all
- don't nominate someone you don't want to win
- nominate more and more varied people, not one person on one side and three on the other
All of those things are things I would be looking at and considering, were I Labour, mutually contradictory as some of them are. But I don't think any of them is the major problem. The major problem is this: we live in the internet age and you've got a thing which should take a few weeks maximum dragging on for months.
For the love of Cthulhu and the sanity everyone else, make it shorter
If you make it shorter there is much less chance of it all going horribly wrong. If it goes well, and you have a collegiate contest with no scandals, then a short contest won't change that. It'll be pats on the back all round and on with the motley. But if it's a car crash, like this one has been, and if it drags on forever, like this one is doing, and all the political media talks about for months on end is the labour party tearing itself to bits, like it is doing now, the whole damn country suffers.
While you lot are navel gazing and purity testing each other, the tories are enacting all sorts of regressive horrible legislation - and yes, I know you guys agree with some of it - but some of it you don't, and I'd quite like her majesty's opposition to stand up and say "Hang on a minute!" when a tory governemt does really fucking awful things. And yeah, our new leader is doing his best, bless him, but I'm under no illusions that anyone gives a rats' arse what the lib dems think at the moment. You guys have enough MPs that you could actually be doing something to hold this tide of fuckery back, if you wanted to.
So please, next time, make your leadership election shorter so that you can pay attention to the needs of the country, and not the innards of your party. Please.
ETA: Just to clarify: this is not my advice for running a perfect leadership election. That would be a much longer post, and would delve into the nomination process and the voting process and all sorts. This is just the one simple overarching thing which Labour could do to make the whole thing immeasurably better for all concerned.
* don't worry, by the time I was old enough to vote, I'd been put off
** my favourite tweet on the matter is still: "The year is 2045. The Labour leadership contest enters its final week. Jeremy Corbyn's skeleton still holds a slim lead over Andy Burnham" - which I now can't find the original of to link to :(
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another solid volume in this extremely addictive series. If you like your fantasy modern and set in a believable world, the Alex Verus books are great; full of rounded characters and interesting ideas about what makes a person human - even if they are a fox or a giant spider.
Caldera remains the character I identify with. I loved Vari's tutor, the wizarding world's Captain Flashheart. I would have liked the new characters to have been a bit better gender balanced, although the continuing cast remains spot on in that regard. And I await the next volume with interest - I meant it when I said this series is addictive. I really do want to know what happens next.
The Silent City by Elisabeth Vonarburg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm giving this a three because while it has some nice ideas and interesting scenarios to explore, it's frustratingly full of really creative plot points that go nowhere, interesting moral dilemmas that are skated over, and then other, far less interesting, stuff that's gone into in ridiculous and pointless amounts of detail.
Add to that some of the incestuous sexual stuff is just disturbing. Also I find it incredibly unlikely that a society in which 50 girls are born for every 1 boy would have FEMALE slavery, so that engaged my cynicism quite early on.
If this was a fic I was betaing I'd expect at least another three or four drafts after this.
Nick Nightmare Investigates by Adrian Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lots of silly pulpy fun. Could have done with more non-male characters - there's nothing to stop a police officer or two being ladies, for example - to say nothing of authors, sea captains, shopkeepers, & retired superheroes - but this is a flaw in the source material as well, so I'm not going to complain too hard about that.
The writing is fast-paced, descriptions are creative, and the plots of the various short stories are engaging enough, if occasionally a little repetitive. And I always enjoy games of Spot The Reference.
So yeah, this gets a good solid 4/5
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I reread this for comfort reading. It's still just as fantastic as it was the first time around.
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