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The New Ik

Friday 11th January, very pretty day (first time I've been able to say that in a while): blue sky, white cloud, calm and chilly. Peter, from Lewes, reports The Railway Land is flooded deep today, all the streams running strongly, and some new opportunistic streams charging about too. The Ouse brimming its channel through town and the tide still rising. But that's why The Railway Land is there, and there'll be no trouble.

News Flash! The Institute of Arts and Ideas has released a video of the very interesting and entertaining Philip Pullman panel on Fantasy, from their "How The Light Gets In" Festival, and would love you to watch it. I'm on the panel too, but don't let that put you off:

http://iai.tv/video/the-great-escape

Climate Change, Is It A Real Threat?

At first I was bewildered by climate change deniers. How wouldn't the huge presence of the human race, all that mass and heat and chemical activity, be changing the planet's climate? That's like agreeing there's an elephant in the living room, but insisting it's isn't taking up any space.

Then I felt resigned: It's human nature, innit, naturally they don't want to get off the gravy train, they'll wake up in time. Then I found them cynical: all these people who keep saying "how arrogant to think humans can change nature!" (for God's sake), and "it's just natural cycles" know fine well what's going on, of course they do. They just think the bad stuff will only happen to poor people, far away.

Now I don't know what to think. This is insane! The old hippie expression "freaked out" might best describe my state of mind.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/09-3

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/08

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/08-1

Not to worry, children. Listen to Matt McGrath over at the BBC. He'll calm you down. Keep spending, keep driving your cars, preferrably at least two each! It's all very confused, so probably everything's fine!

The War On Women:

Isn't Africa worse than India?
Africa isn't a country, but the point bears discussion. Leaving aside places where women's rights aren't even considered, are there countries/cultures in the former so called Developing World (the World Of The Future) where women's rights are not under attack? This is not a competition, nb. It's a holocaust.

Not entirely unrelated to my first topic, I see a "scientific" study has "proved" that Chinese born since 1979, ie under the one-child policy, are damaged goods, "less trusting, more risk averse, more pessimistic"; leading to the conclusion (I hazard a guess) that the policy is antisocial, and can be dropped.

Funny thing, apart from the "risk averse" (!) you could say much the same about the same UK generation, born since 1979, and call it the Thatcher effect. Could it be that vicious, rampant neo-capitalism has been damaging China's kids too? What do you think?

Watching

Rio Bravo, with Gabriel. Not new to either of his parents, of course, but it's still very watchable, in all its limpid, Right-thinking simplicity. How good Dean Martin is in this movie! & I love his singing voice, soft as butter. Downside is Angie Dickinson's shamelessly Bacall-stealing role as the nameless girl, esp that very creepy last scene, when she dresses up so pretty in her revealing showgirl uniform, allegedly* for the pure joy of hearing Big John Wayne tell her that he now owns her body, and will not allow skimpy attire.
*Metareading shows us that Angie's undress also benefits the cinema audience...

Also watching: Alec Guinness version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, to be followed by Smiley's People, boxed set I bought for Peter. Brilliant. I now despise the 2011 movie's money-no-object C21 lovingly recreated period detail forever.This shabby, muted world looks like what I remember it looked like, when I was there. Or am I just remembering tv of the Eighties? Interestingly, I don't really recall a single scene, but vividly recall the nesting dolls credits and the Nunc Dimittis theme tune.

John Le Carre fest continues in reading matter. Currently, The Honourable Schoolboy (which the BBC were too cheap to film) is keeping me post-festively happy. Nice and fat. Like Dickens, only with tradecraft.

Troubling signs of Zelda addiction: looking out of my window, and seeing a whirl of seagulls, circling over Racehill, I think Ooh! Big Octo!

keynote image is just random, one from my search for cover design inspiration, for the epub of Escape Plans and Kairos, since I can't, I suppose, use the scribbled "tear in the fabric of the universe" from the original Kairos cover, which would be ideal. A work in progress.

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