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Monday, October 28, 2002

Another fanzine review, together with some explaining words

It occurred to me that if I was going to put fanzine reviews here, I should say a bit about what fanzines are for the uninitiated. Luckily, I already did, during the all too brief period when I reviewed all the fanzines I got online.

Sandra Bond's Bogus is always a delight to receive; short, generally cheerful, and fannish to the core. Which is not to suggest that I don't like Quasiquote, but Sandra doesn't need to fret that she's presenting us with a Bogus instead. This issue explains why she spearheaded the anti-Silver Cross movement, and takes those of us who are late mailing fanzines to task. I'm one of the guilty parties this time, but I'm still a little aggrieved to be lumped in with the Tobeses of this world, who only ever mail fanzines by chimeric whim. My guess would be that I've spent several hundred hours, over the last five years, folding, enveloping, addressing and mailing fanzines and maintaining the Plokta mailing list. And in return I've formed friendships with interesting people from the far corner of the globe, and it's rare a week goes by without my receiving something vaguely unexpected and delightful in the post, whether a letter, a postcard, or some interesting artefact. So I agree wholeheartedly with Sandra's polemic here, apart from the bit about me.

Of course, I never mailed my very first fanzine, either, but you can read it in its entirety online if you were one of the people I never mailed it to. Or even if you weren't.

Otherwise, there's a brief note about John Otway's recent triumph, fannish clerihews, and lots of locs, mostly discussing last year's burning fannish argument of whether Nic Farey should be eligible for the Novas. All in six pages. Recommended as ever. Sandra doesn't have a website, and though she does have a livejournal I'm cagey about mentioning it in the open.

Which just leaves the issue of Claire & Mark Fishlifter's Banana Wings 18; a light issue at 48 pages. No, I haven't yet read it, apart from Michael Abbott's review of Plokta, which said something about us that is delightful and may actually reflect our true purpose. But in general, you understand, Banana Wings is a jolly good fanzine. I'm just about to curl up on the sofa with it and a large cup of coffee. See you later.

11:03:38 PM  comment []    

Steven has just arrived home from the pub bearing a small sheaf of fanzines. You'd think it was the week before Novacon or something. And Plokta 28 is ready, and I'm certainly expecting to see Floss! 3 at the weekend, having spent much of last week working on the cover. So here I present part 1 of

Fanzine Reviews in Reverse Order of Length

Tony Keen was handing out the latest issue of The Convertible Bus. The lad needs to watch his footnotes; this issue has 7. This one has two serious articles, both of are about things that remind Tony of summer. In the first, Tony ogles young women in their underwear; in the second he ogles a collection of elderly locomotive units. Spotting Diesel Electric Multiple Units is like making love to a beautiful woman - the older you get, the better the chance it's a nostalgic memory. There's also lots of jokes tucked in at the margins, including a number of double entendres.

9:45:51 PM  comment []    

Oh, yes, and I've now got iChat running on this machine. My username is the same as my LJ username and YahooMessenger username. Email me if this isn't enough to find me!

8:47:01 PM  comment []    

Gosh, I've been doing a lot of bloggy stuff today. A couple of things to catch up on -- first, I'm sure I'm the last person to notice this, but Radioio is brilliant. They mostly play new and forthcoming releases by the sort of people I like. So I keep finding myself dashing over to the popup to find out what that brilliant song is. Second, I spawned an ugly argument over on LJ, when I wondered whether it's good form to tell jokes about dumb blondes. Thirdly, I was foolish enough to click here, and I suggest you turn off pop-ups if you're thinking of doing the same.

But I had a formative experience on Saturday, in between fixing networks and upgrading operating systems. Jo Walton mentioned recently in raseff that one of the things she'd wished she'd known as a child was that growing up isn't a process that is suddenly completed at the age of majority; it's a continuing climb. When my kids get round to reading my online journals (about three nanoseconds before much of my writing is excised from the web forever, I predict), I ask them to take note of that bit, which means I can have formative experiences even at my advanced age.

After we'd been to PC World, we had lunch at Frankie & Benny's, and then popped into Hollywood Bowl, ostensibly to buy Marianne an ice cream but in fact because we expected them to have a Dancing Stage Euromix machine. Since I blogged my PSOne purchase, I've been playing for about half an hour most days, though with some longer sessions. It's grabbed a bit of my computer-based vegging time, much of the time I'd spend feeling guilty about not exercising, and a bit of time I might actually have spent exercising. I have lost exactly no weight, though I've sort of changed shape a bit, and I have quite a lot of stamina now. And <neepneep> I've scored at least an A on every dance rated at four feet or less, and can pass all but two of the fives </neepneep>. But I hadn't been back to an arcade.

We wandered into the Hollywood Bowl, and there was a big crowd of pre-teens around the machine. I'd been led to believe that every small child enthusiast was a natural at this, but they appeared to be not actually very good. TOP DDR Tip: This game is not Wack-a-Rat; you don't get extra points for stomping specially hard. I waited my turn, then did three four-steppers (including Tubthumping, which sadly is not in the home version). Got A's on them all, and when I finished, the various watching kids applauded.

Hey, I may be old, and fat, and completely uncool, and I know that in the great DDR ladder in the sky, I'm barely off the bottom rung. But I can impress children who aren't even related to me. Six of them, anyway.

7:22:29 PM  comment []    

Truly we are living in the future

On the same trip I saw one of these posters. Unlike Boing Boing, I do not think these posters are in any way irony-impaired. If you're reading about them more generally with an air of disbelief, you should note that they've been issued by the Mayor of London and Transport for London, not the Government or the Metropolitan police. More pertinently, they're referring specifically to CCTV and more active policing on buses, not in general. I know that lots of people fret about surveillance, but buses can be quite scary at night. These measures are part of a whole range of bus improvements more generally. We don't have tubes after about midnight, so late night buses are the only realistic travel option for many Londoners (I live a £30 taxi ride from the West End, for example, or a one pound bus fare.) I think this is a fabulously clever poster, which riffs not only on 1984, themes of aliens, and wartime posters, but also on the strong tradition of London Transport poster art.

6:14:53 PM  comment []    

Just waiting for our shipment from Clues Anonymous

I just popped into Asda for a fine, symmetrical large pumpkin. But while there my eye was caught by the headline on this week's Voice -- "Britain's Best Black Newspaper". "OJ Simpson has sensationally claimed he is no longer one hundred per cent sure he didn't kill his wife." Well, that seemed familiar. Did I read it in the The Onion? Turns out not, but it's an article by humourist Andy Borowitz that was circulating online a couple of weeks ago. Just in case you're in any doubt, a piece he wrote a few days later was titled " admits it sold nuclear weapons: offered free shipping to North Korea". The OJ story has been picked up by a number of allegedly professional journalists who ought to know better, and not a few bloggers (example: this confessional by Mike Brown, aka cooties). I've wondered before about the journalistic integrity of The Voice, as I often see other people reading its sensational and implausible headlines on the Tube. Best thing about this story; the number of people all over the web whinging that Borowitz's piece is inadequate satire because satire doesn't count if it's sufficiently dead-on you believe it.

I'm reminded of the Daily Mirror, who recently published a full-page apology to Steve Bing, the father of Liz Hurley's baby, in return for his dropping legal action. However, as the Guardian pointed out, the impact of the apology was blunted somewhat by the article on the opposite page entitled "Why Americans Can't Understand Irony or Sarcasm". Somehow I doubt they really meant Americans in general.

5:27:15 PM  comment []    

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