The Two Faces of the Spinning Plates

So we come to the end of a challenging year — leaving aside reviews, I’ve published chapters on British sf short stories, Adam Roberts and YA gay fantastic fiction, all of which have been in the pipeline for ages. I’ve submitted two survey chapters and one on Star Trek, two of which seem to be MIA, one of which is awaiting galleys. Was there more? I forget. Ah, a chapter on Wyndham.

My energy level is zilch.

I gave two keynotes, one in Dublin, one in Lisbon, and papers in Woking, Canterbury and Liverpool. Again, there may have been more. A poster session on drinking in Bristol.

I’d been in Dublin in the previous October, so the return visit was rather sooner than the twenty year gap since my earlier trip. Meanwhile for the first time I visited Amsterdam (which is promising but knee events conspired), Den Bosch (nice town), Bergen (a lovely town), Paris (which is a shit hole*), Dijon (more than just mustard), Lisbon (which I saw little of) and Uxbridge.

I saw more fantastic exhibitions than I wrote about — David Jones, Caravaggio, Paul Nash, Wifredo Lam, Georgia O’Keeffe, Nickolas Astrup, Hieronymus Bosch, James Ensor, Christopher Wood, Julia Margaret Cameron, Francis Bacon, Maria Lessnig, Vincent Van Gogh, and so on.

The good news is that ideas for articles continue to form — I want to write something about Passengers, but that must wait.

Energy-wise I’m grinding to a halt though. Too many late nights. I bruised my foot in last year’s visit to Dublin, so was limping more or less up to Christmas. Then this year I had bursts of gout and pulled my right knee in Dijon. This had more or less cleared up before I went up north before Christmas but, after a recurrence of almost gout — the left knee decided to stiffen up. I gave peas a chance, as well as broad beans.

But I am stupid so I have a new year resolution to get out of bed when I wake up rather than losing too many mornings to the doze. I’ve renewed my Curzon membership, so I will see at least one film a week, and along with various forthcoming comedy gigs, I’ve booked a concert for the first time in years. There’s also two plays I want to see at the National.

2017 sees trips to Liverpool, Birmingham and Helsinki, and I’m tempted by Brussels for Ensor (and of course Magritte). I was thinking of going to Vienna for a Bosch exhibition, but there’s no mention of it in their website and I think survival should kick in. If I can get back to Bergen I will, and maybe finally do Oslo, and I’ve yet to book for Edinburgh.

  • article on A Scanner Darkly — 23 January
  • book proposal for Sekrit TTTTTTTT project – asap
  • revise bounced book manuscript – asap – this has travelled miles and miles
  • three book reviews
  • turn EX_MACHINA, War of the Worlds and The War in the Air papers into articles
  • Chapter on Star Wars — 22 February 2016 — I’ve started watching films and assembling reading, and I need to find some comic books I have somewhere, which were lost when I cleared the back bedroom
  • continue beer research

* Paris is the closest I’ve come to getting mugged — someone bumped into the back of me and the person I fell against seemed to be reaching in my pocket. Station signage is appalling, and as far as I can see Metro maps are on the inside of the barriers rather than also being outside.

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