Monthly Archives: June 2008

Spook Country (a review)

I feel slightly guilty for admitting it but I’m a big fan of William Gibson. I finally got around to finishing Spook Country (I know it’s been out a while) and I have to say I was mildly disappointed. For starters, on a purely technical level, the proof reading was shoddy (a character’s name was mistakenly interjected into the wrong conversation for example). Then there was the slight problem that nothing much happens. It’s a techno thriller without much in the way of thrills. The plot concerns the concept of geolocative art (mentioned a few blog entries below) and how one such artist also uses his indepth know-how to track the GPS signature of a mysterious cargo container in the Pacific ocean. Various factions are trying to get hold of this container but the factions only ever encounter each other briefly so there’s very little in the way of drama. The geolocative art is only secondary to the plot and the container itself is merely a Mcguffin (see wikipedia for information if you don’t know what a Mcguffin is).

What Gibson DOES do well is speculate on the way humans interact with technology (both now and potential future uses) and I loved the concept of cyberspace ‘everting’ itself. That is to say the tagging of abstract information with geospatial co-ordinates so that what exists on the internet becomes meaningful in the real world. He also has a good turn of phrase for eample "Tito noticed the dull gold of his wristwatch, its dial and hands almost lost behind the worn plastic crystal. A dead man’s watch, like the ones jumbled in battered cigar boxes at the flea market."

Jesus, walk with me

[Club 8 are a swedish indie band and you can listen to the song here:

http://www.myspace.com/club8

I hate most religious sounding music but this song made me smile]

Jesus walk with me

When I wake up in the morning
feel the sun shine on my face
I get up and I'm yawning
There is so much time I can waste

Cause I need this
God feed me with your love
And take me through the day

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
I wouldn't want it any other way
‘Cause then I'd only stay the same

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me

When I wake up in the dawning
And the day is not far away
Find my way in a dark room
That my eyes fail to see through

If God made me
Will Jesus save me?
And take me through the day

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
I wouldn't want it any other way
‘Cause then I'd only stay the same

Fool me into believing
I don't care if your deceiving me
Before I go I need to be
Something more than the skin and bones you see

‘Cause everywhere I go
Everywhere I've been
And everywhere I'm going to
I only go with you

An Open Letter to the makers of Project Gotham Racing

[NB it is entirely possible that you might not understand this so don’t worry]

Dear Bizarre Creations,

You make fine videogames. How I love to pretend I have the wind in my hair as I hurtle around a virtual race track. How I laugh and cry as the car prangs a wall and tumbles sideways at hight speed. However I feel there in something missing from the experience.

How about a racing game in which the cars represent atavistic throwbacks to ones childhood? We earn an Audi in the game only to be reminded constantly that this was the car that father left us for the final time in. His arm around some other woman. Mother weeping silently in the corner…. The car a symbol of creeping dread and deep rooted Freudian angst. Or the cheap toy ferrari, the one we loved which was destroyed in a freak accident with a cheese grater. The first time we began to identify with our possessions. A trait that will haunt us all our adult existence.

You could also make a racing game which acknowledges the untenable absurdity of car racing and sees sport as nothing more than a Sisyphean challenge marked out only by constant repetition. In a way motorsport as a metaphor for the 9-5 rat race.

Press A to start your engine. Press B to overcome your existential crisis.

Yours

DW