Math Rock? Prog Rock? How about Huxley?

In my pick and mix of reading, I’ve recently introduced some non sci-fi Huxley into my little menagerie. I’ve been currently reading Point, Counter Point and it’s interesting to see his pertinent views on the distinction between high and low end art as well as his erm fecund imagination on intimacy and romance (if you can call it that) come across in different ways. I was trying to find a quotation on Huxley in a book that I had read quite a long time ago and I’m ashamed that I typed a rather crude search term in Google (g-gasp!). Whoever uses my netbook and looks up Huxley… I did warn you! I do love this quote, so it’s justified. A clue at what I typed? This is the quotation in question:

Whether it’s passion or the desire of the moth for the star, whether it’s tenderness or adoration or romantic yearning – love is always accompanied by events in the nerve endings, the skin, and the mucous membranes, the glandular and erectile tissues. Those who don’t say so are liars. Those who do are labeled pornographers. (Huxley, The Genius and the Goddess)

However, I loved his introduction of an orchestra who plays at one of the parties in PCP. His allusions to musical structure do coincide with the book, which meshes a string of character perspectives and timelines. Anyway, here it is:

Euclidean axioms made holiday with the formulae of elementary statistics. Arithmetic held a wild saturnalian kermesse; algebra cut capers. The music came to an end in an orgy of mathematical merry making. There was applause. Tolley bowed, with all his usual grace; Pongileoni bowed, even the anonymous fiddlers bowed. The audience pushed back its chairs and got up. Torrents of pent-up chatter broke loose. (Huxley 48)

Ah, reminds me of when I saw Lite play live last year. That’s almost exactly what happened. Except I was standing and dancing. Hardcore, or should I say mathcore?

Another Zelda crossover! *May contain a teeny spoiler*

Another Random Connections of the Day!

This is going to be a short one – as I see/play more games, links between certain things are more prominent than ever, and it’s hard to imagine how or why they’ve been linked (huh) together. Like Majora’s Mask and Twilight Bar (the latter of which I may come back to – actually, scrap that, I will come back to), but here’s a little comparison of a side quest in Skyward Sword and Childhood’s End. Like the previous situation, the connections only go so far, but I think they’re quite interesting given the timespan between the two. That and it’s Zelda/Nintendo and Clarke – quite different in the grand scheme of things.

So… in Skyward Sword, there is a sidequest that does nothing much to aid the plot – as it suggests, it’s a way to prolong the replay value and give you more bang for your buck (imo something that the franchise sorely needs in such a linear set up). Batreaux is a demon who has banished himself from the townspeople as well, a demon wouldn’t get very far if he were to visibly set up shop in the human world. He is very aware of this and therefore suffers understandable loneliness from a human point of view (I guess in a Frankenstein-esque manner). We find him in our quest to find a little girl that had gone missing from the village, who comes by the shack to play with him and has no fear of him being obviously different in a physical sense. Clarke’s overlords promise to reveal themselves in the midst of a new generation, whose tabula rasaΒ mentality allows them the freedom to adapt to the new species and not to be afraid of them. They are seen as “devil-like” in appearance, which would explain the reluctance to unveil themselves in human company.

Where it does differ starts from the origins of the creatures. Zelda generally runs off the genre of fantasy, and in this case Batreaux needs gratitude crystals by completing sidequests in order for him to revert back to a human form. Actually, from what I can remember, since we’re in Skyloft now – does this mean they’re human? Anyway, creatures similar to that of human. He is then accepted by the community and he can do well for them… and well, the end is history. He’ll leave the main stuff (well everything) up to you anyway, although he gives you somewhat helpful items.

The overlords of course, do not turn human, although they do exhibit their own brand of kindness as they protect earth’s civilisation. In fact, I think the similarities can stop there. However, I do feel that there may be something stirring that may create another (if strained) link. As the overlords are restrained themselves in a previously unknown hierarchy, they can be seen to provide for humans as much as a parent would do for their children. This could be seen as a reflection of the fact that they themselves are at an evolutionary dead end: “Yes, we are the midwives. But we ourselves are barren.” (Clarke 206) In fact, Batreaux and the Overlords have an envy for humans, albeit in a different way:

“When our race is forgotten, part of yours will still exist. Do not, therefore, condemn us for what we were compelled to do. And remember this – we shall always envy you.” (Clarke, 217)

Isn’t that worrying, in a way? For some reason or other, “aliens” or creatures of alterity (?) always have a fascination with humanity and their attention, whether it’s for their acceptance or a certain aspect that they desire in us. It’s a slightly settling idea in such a distanced view of humanity, I guess, and of course it’s not always the case. Quite a few of them don’t like us and still drop us a disparaging visit, but hey, how else could we write about them…huh.

Writing Updates take 2

Another helping of literary updates for you all!

If you have added me on Facebook, you may have seen a little flurry of activity surrounding new writing events. I have some plays coming up (I’ve always been excited to say that), all one act two handers actually, but all very different in terms of content! If you’re around in London and want to see a whole host of new writings, come and see some of the series that I will be taking part in:


Insignificant Theatre Rough Readings
November 29th 7:30 at Sylvia Young Theatre School
These will include scratches of pieces including my attempt on the theme of house by creating a modern twist on the classic myth of Narcissus and Echo!
Writers Bloc Christmas Special (part of a series running from 11th-16th Dec)
December 14th 7:30 at Old Red Lion Theatre, Angel
This is my short Science Fiction spin on Christmas, which I’m really looking forward to – the rehearsals and workshops are starting soon!
Brockley Scratch Night
December 16th (Not too sure of time yet), Brockley Jack Studios
This is a short scratch night including one of the parts of my romantic drama En Passant.
I’m ever so excited! It would mean the world if you could come down/up/left/right and see!Β I’m also writing a short science fiction story on ageing and the impact it has on art. Maybe *fingers crossed* it’s going to be a part of something bigger. Watch this space!

Thoughts on the Alienation Effect

Hi everyone! I know it’s been an absolute age since I last posted, and this one is going to be a quickie, but I have some good news to say that I will hold on to now for later (and not too much later).

I had a little confidence wobble as well recently regarding the PhD, but I guess the fear is understandable – it is a massive title and not a thing to be sneezed at (although it might ruin the paper of the thesis only a little). I’m not new to wobbles, let’s say – my nerves are like a massively woven tightrope so I’m used to it! I had one of those late nighters where I thought to myself – right, just calm down and get to it, and have hopefully got back on track. I should think back to my driving lessons, as I used to panic on hill starts so much that I actually went off course just to avoid waiting at a traffic light on a slope. Yes, I was that much of a pussy (or skitty kitty, whichever you prefer). Ahem. I was perfectly capable of doing it, but the panic just knocks everything over like a Jenga tower on the most simple of tasks.

Anyway, I was reading up on the Alienation technique, most commonly used by our old playwright friend Brecht, and a passage in a book I’m reading reminded me of something I asked my Dad a while ago. I asked him now that his children have flown the nest, if it feels weird to see us out of context i.e. in a shop or on the bus (the latter of which is likely as I spend most of my life there nowadays). It reminds me of this particular passage:

“The alienation effect, to be sure, is the most eminent task of art, but art has no patent on it; it can be observed step by step in social reality as a “procedure of daily life”: “For a man to see his mother as the wife of a man,” so we read in a note to the “New Technique of Acting,” “an A-Effect is necessary; it occurs, for example, if he acquires a stepfather. If a person sees his teacher oppressed by a bailiff, an A-Effect arises; the teacher is torn out of a context in which he appears big, and transferred into a context in which he appears small.” (Holthusen 109)

It’s quite interesting because we generally think of Art being the main source of feeling this way – which I’m trying to link across to cognitive estrangement in Science Fiction. The teacher and the bailiff scenario is a pretty odd choice as well – reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Bart and Skinner are temporarily friends.Β I wonder how many readers of this blog I’ve actually encountered (obviously I know a few who do), and seen me swear at a tree or something or singing to myself, thinking “what a weirdo”, then return and read this blog. Haha! That’s quite scary.


How to get by in a relationship – pretentious style

If you are ever asked why you never talk about your feelings (which has been asked of me weirdly enough!) or if you are accused of writing “Dear someone… errr… I love you” in their Valentine’s card (which, touchwood, I have never done) hit ’em with a bit of Derrida:

“Speaking frightens me because, by never saying enough, I also say too much. And if the necessity of becoming breath or speech restricts meaning – and our responsbility for it – writing restricts and constrains speech further still.” (Derrida, 1967)

Or, if in that tricky situation where you are both left in an awkward silence and he/she (oh no!) asks you what you’re thinking, hit them with an old favourite of mine – that sweet charmer Catullus:

”Β Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris. Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.” Catullus Carmen 85.

“I hate and I love. Why do I do this, perhaps you ask? I don’t know, but I feel it happen and it torments me” (my bad translation, putting my A level Latin to some use, yay!)

In fact, you can stick that in a Valentine’s card. Providing he/she does not know Latin or know how to use Google.

I will add some more scenarios later. No, you’re welcome.