Friday, January 26, 2007

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day. We get a public holiday for the occasion so it's popular for that reason.

I am not going to go all nationalistic and put the Australian flag on this entry.

I find it quite disturbing that the flag has become an issue in terms of The Big Day Out, where the organisers attempted to ban people wearing it in an attempt to curtail racist violence. The PM of course was all against this action by the organisers and forced them into an about face.

Since when have Australians become so nationalistic? It appears to be a fairly recent development and has escalated since the Cronulla riots of 2005.

In my youth, the only flags I was interested in waving were revolutionary flags when we marched our little feet off in the anti Vietnam war rallys of the early 70s.

Australia, being such a multicultural place, has never been all that nationalistic until recently. Yeah, we had to salute the flag when we were at primary school and parrot the words:

"I love God and my country, I will honor the flag, serve the Queen and cheerfully obey my teachers, parents and the law"

But that was more king & country sort of stuff.

My most vivid memory of one of these occasions was in Woods Point...
There was a epileptic child who threw fits and he succumbed to one during the patriotic ceremony, much to the fascinated interest of us children. I also remember this child every time I hear the song "Irene Goodnight" as he used to wander around the school and into classrooms where he'd say "I'd like to sing the children a song" and launch into "
Irene Goodnight". Actually, I really like the song - it has great lyrics and was apparently written by Lead Belly.

Anyway to mark Australia Day in my own fashion, here are a couple of family photos from the 1930s.

The first is of my Uncle Edgar, my mother's older brother who died during the second world war. This photo is one of several sent to me some years ago by one of Edgar's old girlfriends, a lady called Betty Cox. I've never met her, but she rang me up and asked if I wanted the photos as she was getting on in years and wanted to pass them on to someone in the family before she died. I was only too delighted to take them as I have quite a collection of old family stuff donated through the years by various relatives. I seem to have taken on the mantle of family history keeper. One of these days I will have to pass it on to someone else.

The photo shows Edgar with Betty and another friend, out on the town in Manly (a suburb of Sydney) in 1932. It has a wonderful dated look with the three friends so stylishly dressed for a day out.

The second photo is of my parents (in the foreground) and was taken in 1936. As they weren't married until 1945, it's obvious they knew each other for a very long time before they did tie the knot. My mother in the photo must be 19 years old and my father 26 (he's the one missing a leg). The other people, as is written on the back of the photo, are Girlie (peculiar name), Aunt and Frank whoever they are.

It's a picture of an Australia that no longer exists. Like, I mean, can you imagine the above young people attending The Big Day Out draped in an Australian flag?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Review of Mary Gauthier/Steve Young Concert

My review of the Mary Gauthier & Steve Young concert is now up on Nu Country with a few different photos.

The next show I intend to go to is on 22 February and is The Handsome Family , whose music has been described as "...alt. country, Americana, backwoods noir, post-millennial folk, American Gothic, Appalachian folk, murderous balladry, and, perhaps most imaginatively, "honky-pop and avant-tonk country music"

I actually haven't got any of their CDs and have only heard one of their songs, but they appeal to me as the sort of artists I will find interesting. I have a liking for murder ballads, American Gothic and Appalachian folk music. More on this later.

Autumn Racing Carnival

It hardly seems any time at all since the Spring Racing Carnival, but here it all is again - the Autumn carnival to reignite my interest.

All the Spring stars are coming out of pasture and participating in races as early as tonight.

Tomorrow, the hyped horse of Spring, Haradasun, starts his Autumn season. He's still hyped, so hopefully he lives up to it. He was retired early from the 2006 Spring racing calandar due to a minor injury, so this will be his first race since then.

I'll be listening on the radio for sure.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mary Gauthier & Steve Young Concert

A bleary blogger here to report on last night's show at the Northcote Social Club...

It was a very long night in terms of hours spent watching live music, though not by any means boring. As is my wont, I arrived early to snaffle a good position up the front. As the show was a sell out, this was a wise move as the venue filled up pretty fast. Because of this I had to stand most of the night, but stoic that I am, I and the rest of us up the front endured it with good cheer. Actually, I'm pleased that I am not such an old crock that I can't tolerate standing for several hours straight.

The show began at 9.00pm with the Australian support act, husband & wife duo The Yearlings. The Yearlings are a good act and their music is pleasant to listen to. They are a sort of Australian Gillian Welch/David Rawlings act, though they lack that couple's charisma.

Steve Young came on at 10.00pm and played for about an hour and a half. His set was great. He didn't appear to have a set list, but sang songs requested from the audience most of the time. I was delighted he sang Seven Bridges Road - one of my all time favorite songs, as well as other great standard Steve Young compositions/ renditions like Lonesome, On'ry and Mean and Utah Phillips' Rock, Salt and Nails.

He said, during the show, that he has more fans in Melbourne than anywhere else in the world. Whether his appearance was responsible for the sell-out, I'm sure the parts of the audience who were there to see him, would have been blown away by Mary Gauthier's part of the show as well.

Mary Gauthier was the obvious highlight of the night. She is simply sensational live. It was a pity that she was on so late - her act started at 11.30pm - as she only played for about an hour. I would have liked to have seen more of her and less of the rest.

Naturally, I took photos and wrote notes for a review for the Nu Country site. When I have deciphered my notes - they were written in the dark - I'll write the review and post the link.

I've ordered a nifty penlight to help with keeping notes in the dark. It's a pen with a built-in LED light which provides illumination when writing in subdued lighting. Just the thing for concerts!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mary Gauthier at Basement Discs

Hot off the press on a very hot day here in Melbourne (40◦C), I ventured down to Basement Discs today to see Mary Gauthier performing in-store.

Needless to say, being a great fan and all, I thought it was a fabulous performance.

Mary came across as very friendly and relaxed. I loved her “look”, rose coloured glasses and all. Accompanied by an ace guitarist called Thomm Jutz, she played both guitar and harmonica as well as singing.

The mini show lasted for about 45 minutes and Mary sang songs off her latest CD, Mercy Now as well as some new compositions, which I’ve never heard before but sounded great.

There was a good crowd there, but I managed to get my usual position directly in front of the stage.

My anticipation for the show on Friday at Northcote Social Club has grown exponentially.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Currently Reading…

For the past week I have been re-reading a charming magic realist novel called The Road to Baghdad by Guneli Gun. The book is described on the cover as “A picaresque novel of magical adventures, begged, borrowed and stolen from the Thousand and One Nights”. It is all the above and more. The novel follows the adventures of Hürü, a young Turkish girl of the 15th Century cast adrift in time on a journey from Istanbul to Baghdad. Hürü is an endearing and feisty heroine and her adventures read like a feminist version of the Thousand and One Nights. The novel is written in an ironic vernacular style and is both humorous and touching as well as being highly original. A hugely enjoyable novel, I recommend it highly.

This book was first published in 1991 so it is probably out of print these days, but you should be able to find a copy at Alibris or ABE.

How I could forget to include the following books in my end of year list I can’t imagine.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke is a book of short pieces set in the same alternate England of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Some people found it hard to finish the Jonathan Strange novel, but I loved it. The stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu are enchanting fairy and folk tales which, if you haven’t read the novel, will give you a taste of Clarke’s inventiveness. Susanna Clarke writes in a whimsically ironic style and her fairy tales have an atmosphere of delicious malice. You can read two of the stories
online here and read Peter Wild’s review of the book on the Bookmunch site here. The book also has wonderful illustrations by Charles Vess.

I bought the limited edition hardcover of The Ladies of Grace Adieu directly from Bloomsbury. One unforeseen benefit of doing this is that every day I receive two emails from Bloomsbury, a Word of the Day and a Today in Literary History, both of which I find most informative and enjoyable. The word a day is particularly edifying in that is generally an unusual word like antejentacular, which means “before breakfast” and is a handy companion word to post prandial (after dinner).

Ten Sorry Tales by Mick Jackson is another book of short stories – ten comically black Edward Goreyish tales of odd bods and eccentrics. My favourite was The Lepidoctor where butterflies exact an appropriate revenge on a butterfly collector with help from the lepidoctor of the title. This book too has great illustrations by David Roberts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

10th January 1967

As promised, here is the next entry in my diary of 1967.

"I didn't go to bed early after all & I didn't go walking with a guest either. The afternoon I spent basking in the sun by the pool talking to Tony, Benny and a couple of others.

I went fishing last night with Benny & caught two fish much to my surprise & delight. Benny caught one. Benny's easier to control than Robin & behaves better anyway.

Nerida thinks she's pregnant & has had a miscarriage, because of all these mysterious pains she is suffering. I learnt from her yesterday Joscelyn, just before the exams, was pregnant & had an abortion. My friends... what a crowd! Still, I like them because they are so frank & I'm far from being an angel myself.

My guests (some of them) are pretty beastly. One of my tables is absolutely beautiful - lovely people, polite, undemanding, patient and friendly. The other table are sullen, demanding, uncooperative & complaining. They monopolised all the toast this morning so that the other table scarcely got any at all."

You may well be wondering where all this stuff is happening with guests being mentioned willy nilly.

The place is the Mount Buffalo Chalet , a mountain resort in north eastern Victoria. In those days the Chalet was run by the Victorian Railways and we students could get summer jobs there as waitresses. It was a great place to work being very picturesque and accommodation and meals were included as part of the job.

It was easy work and we got most of the afternoon and the evenings off. As there was nowhere else to go - we were stuck on top of a mountain after all - we amused ourselves as best we could.

The Chalet is a grand old guest house (see photo below). It even had a croquet lawn and was just a step away from a spectacular gorge, where in the early morning the mists used to rise up from the bottom and swirl around in a mysterious way.

As we were part of the staff we fraternised with them and also the with younger guests. Interestingly, at that time most of the guests were Jewish families and most of the kitchen staff were Arabs from Lebanon. So I got to know both sides of these levantine cultures.

While looking for chalet information on Google I discovered, to my dismay, that the Chalet is no longer in operation. I've always intended to one day go there and stay as a guest. Perhaps it will open again one day.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

9th January 1967

I mentioned in my initial blog post that I might delve into the diary I used to keep way back when.

To follow is an entry for this day 40 years ago:

"I'm absolutely furious and also a little worried. Last night I went up to Benny's room. He coaxed me into a bit of love making, but unfortunately we were seen from the terrace by Norma who immediately dashed in and spread the word around that I was wrestling with Benny - what a vile turn of phrase to use. So my reputation is shot. I'd better watch my step or they'll have me pregnant in no time at all. I'm going walking this afternoon with one of the guests & I'm going to bed early tonight and all nights"

Tune in tomorrow for what happened next...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Best of 2006 – Music

As Ryan Adams (my all time favourite artist) didn’t release any new recordings last year, other artists managed to get a decent hearing on the CD player. At lot of what I found interesting last year were new discoveries like Teddy Thompson and Ray Lamontagne. Some of them I saw live and that enhanced the listening experience.

Top Ten – In no particular order

Teddy Thompson - Separate Ways
The more I listen to this CD the more I like it. Dark pop folk tunes with clever twisted lyrics. Teddy’s voice is powerful and affecting and seeing him live made the CD even more special.

Shane Nicholson – Faith & Science
Shane Nicholson is a singer songwriter from NSW. I discovered his music a few years ago at a Kasey Chambers concert where he was one of the support acts. I ran out the next day and bought his debut solo CD It’s A Movie and it became an instant favourite. Faith & Science is the follow up CD to It’s A Movie and it is just as catchy with attractive pop tunes and great lyrics. Seeing him live again this year was great though it seems he is yet to be discovered by the mainstream. One show of his I attended had an audience of about 20 people. I think he is quite brilliant and is a mesmerising live performer.

The Audreys – Between Last Night and Us
This fabulous little band hails from South Australia. They seem to have come out of nowhere into instant stardom owing to the quality of their debut CD. It’s a winning combination of pop rock, folk and country. Lead singer Taasha Coates has a great voice and a winsome stage presence and the other members of the band, playing an unusual blend of instruments, support her admirably. I saw this band live a couple times as well. They are accomplished and cheerfully confident in their performance.

The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
This trio of Canadian singer songwriters toured Australia earlier last year. I had heard of them but hadn’t listened to any of their recordings, so it was a thrilling experience to hear them live for the first time. If you like harmony singing, these girls are simply wonderful. They are also very skilled multi instrumentalists. I was hooked from first listen and instantly acquired their earlier CD 40 Days. Their music encompasses folk, country and rock and they write most of the songs themselves. The songs are very fine examples of the song writing craft. Both 40 Days and Firecracker are highly recommended.

Ray Lamontagne – Till The Sun Turns Black
This CD has to be one of the most beautifully produced recordings of the year. Ray Lamontagne is a mysterious backwoods artist who emerged from nowhere some years ago with a CD called Trouble whereupon he was hailed as the new Van Morrison. Actually he is not at all like Van Morrison, other than perhaps in the manner in which his songs incorporate repeated phrasings. He has a very affecting voice, slightly raspy but full of angst. His songs vary in quality, but some a very good indeed with lovely melodies. He appealed to me because there is something Ryan Adamsish about his music, possibly because Ethan Johns, who has also produced Ryan Adams, produced Lamontagne’s CDs. Producers, because of their individual style are often recognisable in the CDs they produce. Take for instance Daniel Lanois, whose productions are very distinctive.

The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
I’ve been a fan of the Tanyas since hearing their CD Chinatown, which spent quite some time on the player a few years ago. Hello Love is the follow up CD and is very similar in tone and sensibility to the aforementioned record. The Tanyas are another Canadian trio reinventing folk music. The music is acoustic and very much influenced by Joli Holland who was an original member of the band. Slightly weird in a very nice way, their music is mesmeric to listen to and the vocal harmonies are exquisite.

Grant Lee Phillips – Nineteen Eighties
I haven’t really had much chance to listen to this CD, but from what I have heard I liked it a lot. It is Grant Lee Phillips’ tribute to the music that influenced him in his younger days. Grant Lee Phillips formerly headed the Grant Lee Buffalo band and has a very individual voice. I saw him perform at the Basement Discs in 2004 and was very impressed with him, so I’ve been a fan ever since. His 2004 CD Virginia Creeper still gets a spin these days. It has a great version of the Gram Parsons song “Hickory Wind”.

Various Artists – Sail Away – The Songs of Randy Newman
Occasionally I do acquire compilation discs and this one is pretty good. Randy Newman is famous for his satiric songs about America, Sail Away is a tribute and the artists involved in the recording give interesting interpretations of his songs. Steve Earle does a great version of "Rednecks", for instance.

Bob Dylan – Modern Times
This is another CD I haven’t listened to all that often, but I did get the impression when I did that it was Bob at his best. This CD has made the top ten on quite a few lists so I’m including it here myself as I’m sure it’s appropriate to do so.

Dixie Chicks – Taking the Long Way
When I first bought this CD I played it once or twice then not again until after I’d seen the Chicks live in concert whereupon it suddenly became compulsive listening. It is a departure from their earlier CDs, more Rock n Roll than country. but it’s got attitude with a capital “A” and Natalie Maines voice has never sounded better.

Honourable mentions:
Various Artists – I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen Tribute
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – All the Roadrunning
Jenny Lewis – Rabbit Fur Coat
Robyn Hitchcock & Venus 3 – Ole Tarantula
Ron Sexsmith – Time Being
Eric Clapton & JJ Cale – Road to Escondido
Jinder – I’m Alive
Dave Alvin – West of the West

Best live shows: (click on the links for reviews of the shows)

Teddy Thompson – Northcote Social Club
Dixie Chicks – Rod Laver Arena

Kathleen Edwards – Northcote Social Club
The Wailin’ Jennys & The Audreys – Don’t’ Tell Tom

Shane Nicholson – Northcote Social Club
Robyn Hitchcock & Venus 3 – Basement Discs
Ron Sexsmith – Basement Discs

2007 promises to be another good year for music. One of my favourite artists Patti Griffin has a new CD coming out in February as does Lucinda Williams and surely Ryan Adams has at least one if not two or three in the offing. And maybe, there will be more new artists for me to explore.

My first live music show for the year is only two weeks away when Mary Gauthier and Steve Young take the stage at the Northcote Social Club. I’ll be sure to keep on rocking throughout the year even if 2007 is a significant year in my life as far as adding another decade to my age.

Happy Birthday Ms Lizzie

Lizzie the cat celebrates her 11th birthday today. This middle aged puss is one of the best cats I have ever had the pleasure of befriending. Unlike the wild and wilful Willie she is a steadfast human and home loving cat. Almost dog-like in her devotion, she follows you around from room to room and sits companionably by your side wherever you happen to be. She appreciates attention and is very affectionate. She comes with alacrity whenever she is called . As you can see from the photo above she's got a middle aged spread these days - a far cry from her former slender self. She can be quite a pest sometimes with her determined efforts to get noticed. An in- your -face demanding cat, it's hard to be stern with her. Her face is very expressive - it's the finely delineated eyes that give her expression. Her coat colouring and markings are quite exquisite - her coat sparkles in sunlight and her face markings look as if they've been painted on with water colour. At certain times she looks like a wild cat, but there's nothing wild about her personality which is gentle and good natured unless Willie is around. Even after three years she still won't be friends with him and generally greets him with a hiss or growl, though he never reciprocates the aggression.

So now she's 11 years old and so far in good health and spirits. Long may she continue to flourish.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Welcome 2007 – The Best of 2006 - Books

So far 2007 has been pretty much OK – long may it last. I had a sober, early to bed New Year’s Eve, which was my preference, as I seem to have grown out of New Year celebrations and feel that if I never hear Auld Lang Syne again it will be too soon. One of the pleasures of New Year is putting up a new calendar. I normally buy myself a couple of calenders every year, one for work and one for home. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology produces a weather calendar every year. These contain spectacular photos of weather events in Australia and the Antarctic. There are generally a few dramatic lightning photos, unusual cloud formations, mist , rainbows etc. This is the calendar I take to work. I love looking at a different photo each month. My home calendar this year is the 2007 Michael Parkes calendar. His paintings are exquisite magic realist depictions of exotic women, strange creatures and big cats often all in the same frame. Check out his site and see for yourself.

For the nonce it’s back to 2006 with my best of lists.


It is difficult to recall just exactly what I read during 2006. Mostly I re-read books from my personal library as books in Australia are quite expensive, so I don’t tend to buy as many as I used to pre-millennium. Also B is always on at me over the crowded state of my bookshelves and there is no room for more shelving, so buying new books is fraught with anxiety, though a guilty pleasure nonetheless.

These days new books are only those that I feel I must own. Generally they are hard cover first editions, as I like to collect Modern Firsts under the impression that they will gain in value over the years. Australian booksellers do not tend to stock hard cover editions of new novels. New novels are issued as special trade paperback editions especially for the Australian book market. I obtain my hard cover editions online or through Slow Glass Books which is a small mail-order business run by a former work colleague. He can get me any edition I want as long as it is in the speculative fiction field and does sell some hard cover editions at the same price as the local trade paperback editions.

The following are a few new books I found quite interesting.

The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow This is a delightful novel that tells the tale of Jennet Stearne daughter of a witch finder. Narrated by Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica it is a picaresque tale of high adventure, and also delivers a cogent condemnation of the witch trials of the 17th Century in England and the New World. James Morrow is the author of a wonderful trio of apocryphal novels, Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon and The Eternal Footman. He also wrote This is the Way the World Ends about the aftermath of a nuclear war and Only Begotten Daughter another apocryphal tale involving a Jewish man giving virgin birth to God’s daughter. All the above are tremendously amusing novels by one of the most unusual and original authors around.

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (read an excerpt ) I first discovered this highly unusual novel when I read an excerpt of the original short story online late in 2005.. It is beautifully written and describes the lives of the dead who inhabit The City , as it is called. The dead lead normal lives in The City. Sometimes residents disappear overnight and no one knows what is beyond The City. It is rumoured that so long as someone on the other side (alive) still remembers you, you will continue to live in The City. A second story, that of Laura Byrd, a wildlife specialist hired by the Coca-Cola corporation to do some PR-savvy research in Antarctica, alternates with the stories of the people in The City. How the two stories are linked is the central mystery of the plot.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
I decided to buy this novel after re-reading Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day and felt like reading more of his stuff. This is an extremely affecting book about what it means to be human. It is bleak but not without hope. Ishiguro writes in a deceptively simple style, but this subtlety expresses beautifully the depth of ideas behind the novel.

I have mentioned on this blog some of my other reading last year. There’s a short review of Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn which was one of the best novels I read last year. Also I was very impressed with Arthur and George by Julian Barnes and David Mitchell’s latest novel Black Swan Green, which, though being quite a departure from his previous novels, was a splendid and unusual coming of age story. If you haven’t read David Mitchell, I highly recommend his earlier novels Ghostwritten, Number 9 Dream and Cloud Atlas – all are highly original and beautifully written. He’s one of the best new writers I have come across in ages.

As well as reading literature with a capital L, I do occasionally resort to more frivolous reading purely for the entertainment value. As long as the books are not badly written, I don’t feel all that guilty about wasting time on them.

I received a book voucher for Christmas and as soon the shops were back in business I went and redeemed it. My intention was to get Cormac McCarthy’s new book The Road, but unfortunately it was out of stock at the time, so I went feral and selected the first two books in the Temeraire fantasy trilogy by Naomi Novik. Travelling home, I started reading the first volume and was hooked. I had been reading Pilgerman by Russell Hoban as a follow on from Riddley Walker, but this was put on hold until I finished the Novik novels. They were certainly a break from serious literature, but great fun to read. They can be described as adventure ala CS Forester’s Hornblower - with dragons. The characters are endearing - especially Temeraire the dragon - the plot is engaging and the action sequences are satisfyingly exciting. I screeched to a halt half way through the second book, when it all of sudden became another novel – very frustrating! A dash back into town resulted in a satisfactory exchange. I managed to find the third book today after searching three book stores to no avail. Guess what I’ll be reading on the weekend!

Other light reading has been Jacqueline Carey's The Sundering duology comprising the novels Banewreaker and Godslayer. They are a kind of inverted version of Lord of the Rings a clever concept that works very well. Carey’s novels are one of my guilty pleasures. She writes with enormous assurance and her Kushiel sequence is racy stuff though very entertaining. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out in paperback.

My re-reads, from memory, encompassed Angela Carter’s complete short stories, 1984 by George Orwell, a couple of Jane Gardam’s books and many others including Little Big by John Crowley, one of the most original fantasies ever written. It’s a sublime novel and one of my all time favorites. I also re-read, for the umpteenth time the last two volumes of Edward Whittemore’s Jerusalem Quartet, Nile Shadows and Jericho Mosaic from which exercise I emerged convinced all over again of Whittemore’s genius. Nile Shadows is set in Egypt during the Second World War and involves espionage among other things. However it is not at all like a regular spy or war novel. Much of the novel is taken up with conversations between the characters and what conversations they are! Set in more recent times, Jericho Mosaic is the most serious novel of the Quartet and the least fantastic in content. It is the story of an Israeli spy who infiltrates Syrian high command, masquerading as an Arab. It is based on the exploits of Eli Cohen the famous Israeli spy. While reading it again, I found so many wonderful quotable passages, one of which is below:

Anna wasn’t surprised that Tajar had become so friendly with Bell. She only wondered why he hadn’t looked up Bell sooner. Were you being shy? She asked him merrily.

Tajar smiled. I’m always shy with holy men, he said. It’s just not seemly to go banging into the life of someone who’s considered a holy man, Besides, this hermit-in-residence happens to reside in Jericho and Jericho runs on a different time. Jerusalem is old but Jericho is three times older, and who can imagine such a thing? In Jericho you might meet a neighbor in the morning, then a dozen years later you might greet him in the afternoon and ask him how he is that day. Down there time isn’t going anywhere, in other words, and neither are you. Bell says Abu Musa thinks he’s three hundred years old and maybe he is. The corn gets harvested in May. Bell also says Moses the Ethiopian thinks he’s living in the age of King David and maybe that’s true too. What makes sense in such a place? Jerusalem is timeless, but what then of a place that’s three times older than timeless? Surely it must be another realm altogether.

It is a fine way to end this entry. I am looking forward to a number of new books in 2007, foremost of which is the final book in John Crowley’s Aegypt sequence. I have preordered it and expect to receive it in May when the 25th Anniversary edition of Little Big will also be published. I’m also looking forward to a new book from William Gibson, called Spook Country and Rose Tremain, another of my favorite authors, has a new book out in August. So there appear to be lots of treats in store for 2007.

My music best of rave will follow shortly.

Finally, I would also like to wish the readers of this blog a very happy New Year full of good things.