Stripped attic

And here’s the attic after three days of building work. Walls gone, ceiling gone, insulation gone, floorboards gone, dust everywhere.

28 November 2012 · x2 · Journal

Our empty attic

This is the attic above our flat, yet another reason my posting has ground to a halt lately. Edinburgh top-floor flats don’t usually have title to the attic space above them, but ours does, and after five years of using it for nothing more than storage we’re finally about to release the inherent value that made us buy the flat in the first place. We’re getting the collars raised (those beams on the ceiling, which come down to my chin), two extra windows put in, proper insulation, and a staircase up to it rather than the ladder that’s been there since the place was built. (That was the original impetus. The kids are big enough to climb up the twelve-foot ladder, but small enough to fall down the hole.)

Read More · 23 November 2012 · Journal

What writers most need is the talent of the room.

A chat with Jon Ronson.

Inside the world’s narrowest house.

Dot dot dot dot dot dot dot.

“For several minutes, everyone stood and applauded as Michael smiled broadly, his face electrified by the joy of the moment. ‘I thank God this wasn’t a capital case,’ he told the crowd.” The Innocent Man, Part One and Part Two—a staggering read (via Mefi).

Ticks are making victims allergic to red meat (via Mefi).

Animals Without Necks.

Surviving is only the beginning.

23 November 2012 · Weblog

You Haven’t Been Watching

Nestled in this piece on the Jimmy Savile fallout at the BBC is an eye-opening quote: “BBC4 had been targeted for cuts because it delivered the smallest amount of ‘unique reach’, viewers or listeners that did not use any other BBC service.”

What a bizarre way of judging its importance. Are they seriously suggesting that TV channels only matter if they’re the only one that some people watch? That BBC4 viewers shouldn’t occasionally stray as far as BBC2, or that they shouldn’t listen to Radio 4? What about iPlayer, which jumbles up shows from all BBC channels by design?

Are they judging on the basis of viewers who’ve lost their remotes?

23 November 2012 · Television


I wish every gallery and museum could follow the example of Rijksstudio, the new online gallery of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. When I’m visiting a gallery in a place I’ve never or rarely visited, I take photos of particular works (if photography is allowed) not because I’m trying to make perfect reproductions for nefarious purposes, but to flag them in my own memory, so that I can remember what I really liked; the photos are mental triggers. And if I want to do that, I have to do it while I’m walking around the gallery; the alternative of buying a postcard in the gallery shop at the end doesn’t usually work, because most of the time they won’t have that specific image.

Read More · 15 November 2012 · Art

The trouble with leaving it so long between posts is where to begin, when the news keeps piling up and being newsworthy. A Hurricane Sandy post-mortem? Obama’s re-election? The Jimmy Savile fallout? Or how about on the home front: the whole family coming down with a virus for two weeks? Edging towards a start-date for building work on our attic, which we’ve been working towards all year? Zürich, which we visited in October—or Switzerland, for that matter, which I’ve now visited five times in two years, and am soon to visit again for work? It would all need so many words to do it justice, yet once again I have to write more words of assignment feedback instead.

I really shouldn’t have abandoned the post-a-little-every-day idea, as it’s the only way to chip away at this stuff. Maybe I’ll reward myself with a post or two between feedback sheets.

Read More · 15 November 2012 · Weblog

October 2012