Friday, 2 October 2009

Less Than Zero : an apology

I blogged earlier with what some might describe an ireful tone on Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. The general gist was who the hell cares. The 80s, been there, done that. Sadly enough I still have some of the t-shirts, including a small collection of original second hand joy division dating from the 70s.

That, however, is not the point. The point is that I was unfair to Bret Easton Ellis for no better reason than I work in an office of retrohead kids who think the 80s was all industrial chic, new romantics and Notting Hill carnival. The new romantic look is back in. Big, bouncy hair that actually doesn’t bounce, off the shoulder tops and stripes. Where did the stripes come from.

I digress. Having now read Less Than Zero I feel that I owe Bret Easton Ellis an apology. Yes, the book is tedious, self regarding and hinges on two moments which finally emerge as so what. But at the time it was new, one of the things you forget with age. The moral and emotional corruption of capitalism invested in children is kind of passé and like the rich still with us, but the ideology of self had to start some place. Post medieval European aristocracy I believe, but it didn’t become available to the culture and society as a whole until the idealism of the 70s had been well and truly bought out. Less Than Zero shows us the early generation of this. Unfortunately the book is as empty and pointless as the kids it depicts. Therein lies the point, maybe even the paradox.

Therein lies also me showing my age. Have a goodun.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Yellow with dog hurt

Any of yous out there remember Warren Zevon. I have it somewhere at the back of my mind, along with the skeleton that never made it into the closet, that two of his songs defined my childhood.

I’m not that old if you’re wondering, but my parents are. Or to be more precise, my mother loved, perhaps a little too much, The Beatles and Cliff Richard. My father didn’t love anyone, but he played three songs over and over again: Bad Moon Rising (CCR, not Mr Zevon), Werewolves of London and Lawyers, Guns and Money.

To the ears of an impressionable child it was all incomprehensible, except that certain motifs got stuck in my imagination. Werewolves for one, and vague associations between them and long haired dogs. I would classify people as werewolves, potential werewolves, and food. Myself and my friends were all food. The bully in the year above, he was food too, if only for romantic reasons. The scary old lady at the end of the road, now she was a werewolf. The proof was in the fact that she kept a grey dog with a limp and mange, and the fact that she was never in the house at night. And every full moon people went missing. Not anyone I knew but people definitely went missing.

And then her dog died and her skin went yellow like jaundice. She used to go sit on the bench by the shops where the bus stop used to be. For hours she just sat there and we weren’t scared of her anymore. To us she was no longer a werewolf but a smelly old bag lady without any family who was waiting to die. I didn’t know what a bag lady was and it shames me now that I laughed at her.

I think of her whenever I see an old woman sat on a bench on her own. Maybe the world would be a better place if they really were all werewolves.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Quick blog on a slow subject

Choosing monitors for work, hands up who’s had that particular short straw. First team meeting I’ve missed in months and I get back to a bright pink post-it note. I think the colour was carefully chosen. It said, quote unquote:

4 monitors widescreen, budget ask ----------

A little explanation please, which was swiftly granted. They’re fussy buggers at work, like plenty of screen real estate, good image quality and as cheap as possible but still looking good. Like everyone wants their car to look like a Ferrari and run on air.

They knew I’d hate this job for one particular reason, in a past life I worked in IT. It’s a life I’ve tried hard to forget, mainly because I quite enjoyed it but two years slipped away in front of a computer screen. I was a generalist: simple databases, cross platform network solutions (enable a protocol on the server!), workstation build and configuration. Didn’t actually require that much knowledge, just an obsession with irrelevant detail. A tendency one or two people claim I have.

So that was a week ago and I’ve narrowed the choice down to the Benq G2200HD, 16:9 1920x1080; or the Samsung T240, 16:10 1920x1200. Hundred quid difference in the price, depends how much screen space you want. Benq probably has better colour but Samsung has a zero dead pixel policy. I spent a week narrowing it down to these two and you know what I was soooooooo bored but I couldn’t help myself, I had to read every last review of every goddam monitor that fitted the spec.

Then this morning I ordered four HP LP2475w. £700 over budget but dammit, they have an IPS panel, not the crappy TN you get on all the cheap stuff, and the best picture quality this side of an Eizo Foris FX2431.

Okay, I didn’t. Went for the Samsungs but I so need a life.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009