For the first time in quite a while I feel a bit calm. It’s nice.
Book publication is always stressy for me - well, for everyone I know who writes books - but this time was for whatever reason particularly so. I don’t know if my suddenly foggy head made me stressed or my stress made me foggy, but executive function went out of the window for the last fortnight. I was late and bewildered a really remarkable amount of the time. But the books are on the shelves now (well, most of them - there’s a warehouse blip at one of the more important UK retailers, apparently, which is a bit frustrating, but it’ll sort itself out) and people are reading. There have been some early reviews (including a zinger from Doug Johnstone in The Big Issue which I should put on my wall) and it all seems good. I get to breathe out. Whatever happens now happens now. The book can speak for itself. Though I’m speaking for it - and probably reading from it - at Mr B’s Emporium in Bath on Thursday if you want to come along… (UK buy link/US buy link)
I can’t really think of anything to say about our politics - it’s such a mess there’s really nothing to grab onto. Starmer continues to try to thread the needle of “enough to give voters hope” vs “not enough to scare the shires”. He comes across as all but translucent, and he may be right: “boring” may be the most appealing banner to our itchy and inflamed body politic. By contrast, Nigel Farage was out of his box the other night explaining that Brexit has failed because of mismanagement and a lack of gumption, but even he didn’t sound like he believed it. Various other wise ones of the bullshit insurrection have pointed the finger at Remainers, the Blob and a plot by doctors (oh, sorry, that last one was Stalin). It just gives me nonsense fatigue. Brexit failed as a political and economic project because it was never viable. Nor did anyone involved in it make any serious attempt to change that. It only ever worked as mood music to marches and cries of frustration, and that mood music had familiar motifs to anyone familiar with mid-20th Century European history.
I need to write a think-piece around Titanium Noir and its themes - oligarchy, monstrosity and humanity. It’s oddly difficult to find a peg for it when almost everything plays into that discussion. I’d like to start with hope - unlike Starmer, I don’t have to get elected - and reason back. I’ll probably be doing that later today if I can find the time.
Some very interesting work stuff happening which inevitably I cannot talk about. Also I don’t really understand how it would play out yet.
I still want to live in a wood-frame passive house by a lake or sea, near a mountain with plenty of sunshine, but it’s harder and harder to imagine a place like that which wouldn’t be subject to dramatic and terrifying weather events over the next decades. But I need the dream.
Are you pondering what I’m pondering?
Titanium Noir is a spectacular book, sir. It does exactly what speculative fiction should do: wraps a philosophical examination of society's current woes in a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining narrative. While reading I put it down only reluctantly to work, sleep, and (quickly) talk to my family. It was just so great, I devoured it.
Anyway, looking forward to the think piece; the allegory stands in its own, for sure, but always excited to read your addl. thoughts.
Being in Bellagio isn't so bad.