Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Had a listen to some of the Favourites compilation by the Clouds in preparation for tonight’s concert. It’s an interesting compilation, including an extra disc called Pretty Greens featuring unreleased tracks. There are also some b-sides included, like Midwinter and their cover of Witchita Lineman, which are nice but not essential. And there is one glaring omission, in my opinion. Why on Earth isn’t Never Say Forever on there? I could add a few more, but this is always the way with compilation albums, isn’t it? I guess they were covering their bets with that title: this is their favourites, not yours or mine. I won’t say much here about the concert, since I’ll leave that for a full blog piece. I went, I had a good time, that’s it.

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I read more of the novel Timescape on the train to and from the gig. I’m over half-way now. There are lots of details I don’t remember from the first time I read it. Some chapters seem to veer off from the story, they feature domestic details about the character’s lives with hardly any mention of either the ongoing crisis in 1998, or the efforts to communicate with the past in 1962. There’s an interesting detail in a restaurant dinner scene in the 1960s storyline where main character Gordon’s girlfriend, Penny, mentions Philip Dick’s excellent novel The Man in the High Castle. It’s a pointed, and very meta, reference to the idea of split timelines that features in that novel. It got me thinking that the author, Gregory Benford, is inserting subtle hints that the characters’ timeline in the future is changing. Benford’s characters wrestle with the possibility of paradoxes and ways of overcoming them, and his solutions to them are intriguing – if not always completely comprehensible. It’s a good book. I’m looking forward to reading the new sequel.

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