It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible


The Truth is Out There

“One of the most common critical mechanisms of hard-line fandom is the rationalisation of shabby prose as ‘entertainment'”. Discuss.

From a review of Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree written in 1969 by M John Harrison, and collected in Parietal Games: Critical Writings by and on M John Harrison, edited by Mark Bould and Michelle Reid. It may be worth noting that Restoree was apparently still in print as late as 1999…

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More Stars on 45

Here’s another death metal cover of a pop song. It’s by ZX Spectrum, a Latvian death metal band. Yes, that’s really what they’re called. The song is ‘Sleeping in my Car’, originally a hit for Swedish pop-rock duo Roxette in 1994. Listen and, er, enjoy…


By Popular Request…

Here are a couple of true stories I’ve been told I should put on my blog. And as I don’t like to disappoint my public…

Interview Technique
A few years ago, I worked for an ISP. At one point, management decided to put together a new team to work on the next generation platform. So they placed ads on the web site, contacted a bunch of recruitment agencies, and waited for the applications to roll in. Which they did. I ended up interviewing several of the candidates. One of these candidates – call him Ed… It’s his real name; there’s none of that “names have been changed to protect the innocent” here since no one is innocent.

Anyway, I interviewed Ed. And during the course of this interview, the subject turned to degree courses.

“I have no respect for anyone with a degree in Business Studies,” Ed told me. “Er, you don’t have one, do you?”

“I’m afraid so,” I replied.

We didn’t offer Ed the position – for a number of reasons, none of which were related to his remark in the interview.

One year later, I was down the pub with Craig, who had also worked at the ISP. Like me, he’d since left their employ. Some colleagues of Craig’s entered the pub. One of them was Ed. He didn’t recognise me – mind you, it had been twelve months since the interview. After around thirty minutes, Ed turned to me and asked me how I knew Craig.

“I used to work with him,” I replied, and named the ISP.

“I went for an interview there,” Ed said. “But some twat wouldn’t give me a job because I told him his degree was crap.”

“That was me,” I said.

Shared Cultural References
Before the ISP mentioned above, I worked in the Middle East. In Abu Dhabi, to be precise, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. My last job there was for a national oil company, and I worked in the Training & Development department, managing an application used in competency development. One day, I was talking to Vanik (Iraqi/Armenian), when Mohammed (Palestinian) poked his head into Vanik’s office.

“You have spoken to Saeed?” Mohammed asked Vanik.

“Yes. I saw him earlier. He said he’d finish it by one o’clock.”

Mohammed frowned. “He just told me he had not started it.”

The two began to argue about whether or not Saeed had actually started his assigned task, or would complete it in time. It was a good ten minutes before they realised they were actually talking about different people called Saeed.

“Well, you know what they say,” I said. “There’s two Saeeds to every story.”

Apparently, it’s funnier if you’re English…