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Jul. 1st, 2015

Casino Royale

Answer for question 3387.

'Best'? Or 'my favourite'? Luckily, IMHO the answer is the same.

Who is the best James Bond?


Time may not have been kind to Timothy Dalton's hairstyle, but I still rate his performance above all other Bonds. To me, he is the closest in appearance and attitude to the Bond of Ian Fleming's books (this is one measurement of 'best'; it is mine), and he's the Bond I can believe in as both cold-blooded killer and ladies' man.

Jun. 23rd, 2015

Husky Airways

Salter Buys the Farm

I have only just found out that author James Salter died on Friday.

He was so full of life when I saw him at the South Bank a couple of years ago that I was surprised and shocked by this news, even though he was 90.

I read an interview with an author recently in which she described attending the same event, and observed that almost everyone in the signing queue was also an author. (Including me! Obviously!) To be a writer respected and looked up to by other writers is to be something very special, and Salter was.

I enjoyed his swansong, All That Is, which has possibly the highest sex content of anything ever written by an author in their late 80s, but it is The Hunters, his story of the Korean air war, steeped in sweat and oxygen, that I will be revisiting over a drink.

From my account of seeing him in 2013:

"Have you had that much sex?" asked the interviewer.

"More," Salter replied.

Then he read a passage about blow jobs which was easily the best depiction of oral sex in literature I have ever encountered.

Afterwards I queued to have my paperback Hunters signed. Handing it over, I blurted out "What was it like flying Sabres?", a topic mysteriously not covered during the interview or subsequent Q&A.

"Oh, I can't tell you in one word," he said. "It's a kick, that's what it is. It's wonderful."

What a guy.
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Jun. 22nd, 2015

:)

Actually, THIS is my Spirit Animal

eosfoxx-canis-candis-close-up

Canis candis by EosFoxx
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Jun. 19th, 2015

Gerbils

Catsitting Capers

This week I found myself catsitting for two friends at once, which sounds like the basis of a comic novel but falls flat because there was absolutely no need to keep the details of one catsitting gig secret from the second cat owner and vice versa.

The first cat lives near me. A former stray, all she requires is the odd pouch of Whiskas, a topup of her dry food, and clean water, plus a few cuddles. I have been whizzing back from work, feeding her, then heading off to Romford and the second batch of cats.

These three are more demanding, coming with detailed instructions about how many scoops of dry food, how many teaspoons of wet food, and which one is on a diet (clue: it's the fat one). Two are girls from a rescue, one is a boy who just turned up and wouldn't leave.

I have been staying over with them, which means a refreshing change to my commute: onto the M25 and over the Dartford Crossing. It's all gone surprisingly well except for yesterday, when two lorries crashed into each other just before the bridge and caused several miles of tailback.

This morning I was treated to the sight of the male cat falling off a kitchen worktop with an empty pretzel bag jammed on his head. I think I've found my spirit animal.
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Jun. 18th, 2015

Swimming

Radio Odyssey

I've been lucky in the BBC's ticket lotteries lately, though less lucky with actually getting in to the show. Still smarting from my recent Donovan disappointment, I made certain to be on time for last night's performance of The Penny Dreadfuls Present: The Odyssey.

I had not, I confess, heard of the Penny Dreadfuls, though I had heard individually of at least two of them. I could just about remember the Odyssey, and so could my companion and fellow Classicist, Dave. We met in front of Broadcasting House soon after six, got our tickets stickered, and grabbed a quick coffee before the show. (If you get free tickets to BBC things and then invite your friends to partake, they not only provide the pleasure of their company but very often buy you a drink, too. It's a win/win.)

This version of the Odyssey lasted an hour, with a cast of six portraying all the characters. The three Dreadfuls were joined by three guest stars, including Robert Webb as Odysseus himself (I learned that he corpses in a very sweet and funny way, then hits people with his script).

The humour was more gentle than hold-your-sides funny, taking the mickey out of the outstandingly surreal or horrible parts of the source work, which are many, and of the times when Odysseus comes across as a bit full of himself, ditto. There were running gags and sexy sea-witches and terrible Greek-name-based puns. I enjoyed it very much.

It will be airing on Radio 4 early in September, so keep an ear out.
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Jun. 17th, 2015

Muskehound RedCoatCat

21st Century Muskehounds

Rumours of a Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds movie have been floating around for years, but the first concrete evidence has now been released at the Annecy film festival:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/annecy-brb-mili-unsheath-dogtanian-exclusive-1201521138/

dogtanian

If anyone from BRB Internacional reads this:
  1. How about a ticket to the premiere for the owner of the longest-running Muskehounds site on the internet?
  2. The internet needs images of CGI Aramis. Preferably topless.

Jun. 9th, 2015

Something So Right

When I Get to Warwick Avenue

I was very excited to nab a ticket for the BBC's Mastertapes recording of Donovan talking about Sunshine Superman, taking place at Maida Vale yesterday evening. (BBC tickets are free, and dished out by lottery. They also distribute more tickets than there are seats, to ensure a full house.)

I left work half an hour early to get to the studio well before the 6:30 doors, but, as often happens when I go to a strange part of London, I got lost and wasted some time. When I arrived at the venue, I took one look at the queue and knew I needn't bother taking my bike trousers off. I stuck around anyway, just to be turned away definitively.

Should've left work an hour early.

Should be better at navigating after all these years.

Stupid.

Ah well. Nobody died, as I remind myself when sad or annoying stuff happens. I did what I thought was best, and I was unlucky this time. Nor did I get angry with the young BBC bod who was only doing his job, unlike the people in front of me. But I did spend most of my evening riding around central London with absolutely nothing to show for it, and I missed out on seeing one of my favourite musicians live in an intimate setting. It's going to be a few days before I stop being miserable about it.
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Jun. 8th, 2015

Secret Agent Dog

Top Secret

I have a couple of pieces in upcoming furry anthologies, and coincidentally (though perhaps not surprisingly, me being me), both are espionage-themed.

Meena Mae, appearing in Heat 12 from sofawolf (link a bit NSFW), is a poem about 'a new kind of special operative: feline, seductive, and more than her handlers realize'. It is based, FYI, on the somewhat filthy wartime Ode to a Gezira Lovely, which I recited at my boarding-school's Senior Verse Speaking Competition largely so I could say the word 'fucking' in front of the entire Drama department.

Gerbil 07, in ROAR 6 from furplanet, is the tale of a genetically engineered surveillance animal who wants to be James Bond. It is, I hope, funny (I read it aloud to an audience at ConFuzzled and it got a very positive reception). Sample under the cut!Collapse )
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Jun. 2nd, 2015

Monocle Husky

Mixed Bag

It's been a mixed day on the writing front.

I had a story rejected, over a year after I submitted it. I am very fond of the story and I badly wanted to be in this particular anthology, so a small part of me had been on tenterhooks about it for, well, over a year. (It's not the fault of the small press involved that things took so long, but it did rather feel like adding insult to injury.)

In happier news, another story of mine, Cold Scent, has been nominated for a Cóyotl Award!

Furry writing, as I've said before, is a niche within a niche, and I suspect only a pawful of people have heard of the Cóyotls, but that pawful represents a significant chunk of my readership, so this is a Significant Thing for me.

Also, the two other finalists in the short story category, ursulav's Jackalope Wives and Pavlov's House by foozzzball, are both achingly amazing, and I'm delighted to share a ballot with them. (I had dinner with Foozzz last night, coincidentally, and now we're both terrified that we have somehow engaged in collusion.)

Ideally, these two things would have happened in the order in which I list them here, but because life's not like that I got the nomination news at the start of my day and the rejection letter at the end. Ah well.
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Jun. 1st, 2015

Dangerous Curves

Czech It Out

My writeup of last summer's trip to the Czech Republic is featured in the latest issue of Overland, 'the magazine dedicated to motorcycle travel' (physical/digital).

I'm sharing column inches with Sam Manicom and Lois Pryce, who are probably the second and third biggest names in the admittedly small world of motorcycle travel writing (top slot goes to Ted Simon), in a proper magazine you can buy in WH Smith for the price of a medium-sized paperback novel.

I'm very chuffed.

I need a better camera.

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