"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex [more inside]
So does any of this matter to the most important people in the equation, the audience? Live shows sound great these days, that's for sure. How could they not, with bands of our era being able to play along to studio-quality backing tracks through more powerful and more accurate PA systems than ever before? To me it boils down to what audiences really expect from a live performance. What is the point of seeing a band, or act, live? [more inside]
Eerie computer-generated images reveal how UK landmarks could crumble and decay if humanity was wiped out. Gallery
The Fall have a new record out, Ersatz GB. It's their 29th studio album. An excellent interview with Mark E Smith from The Independent. [more inside]
"What are you f**king playing at?” Mr Murdoch asked Mr Kelner in a loud voice and in front of dozens of bemused journalists."This week, 300,000 copies of the UK's Independent newspaper were distributed for free advertising the paper's claim to editorial independence stating, "Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will".
According to the Financial Times, Murdoch's son James subsequently stormed into the Independent's newsroom brandishing a copy of the edition, protesting it besmirched his father’s reputation. "Lively times," the Guardian observes.
Bonofilter: Yesterday, May 16, U2 front-man Bono was a guest "editor" for the UK newspaper The Independent. Called the "RED Edition," half of this issue's proceeds went "to help fight HIV and AIDS among women and children in Africa." Highlights included US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice offering her take on "The Ten Best Musical Works" and an interview with Eddie Izzard on immigration in Europe. Is there a downside to celebrity editing, or is it a win-win-win for Bono, The Independent, and some people in need?
Robert Fisk in the Independent Today's front page of the UK broadsheet comprises solely of a text-only report of yesterday's bombing of a Baghdad marketplace, beginning: "It was an outrage, an obscenity. The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smouldering car..." This is how war reporting should be.
Xenophobia at its best! " The British and the North Americans are often said to be divided by a common language. Now it seems this linguistic split may apply to the natural world too. [¶] A pair of Canadian otters brought to Britain a year ago are under 24-hour guard at the National Sea-life Sanctuary, near Oban in Scotland, because of fears they will be attacked by indigenous cousins unable to understand their "foreign accents". "
YES!!11 GO CANADIAN OTTERS!!!
YES!!11 GO CANADIAN OTTERS!!!
J.K. Galbraith shocked at scale of corporate failures. "I can only say I hadn't expected to see this problem on anything like the magnitude of the last few months – the separation of ownership from management, the monopolisation of control by irresponsible personal money-makers." Myself and chrispy came to the same conclusion on the drive home from the resolutely un- (rather than anti-) corporate Glastonbury Festival today. Profit is valued and rewarded by the vast majority of corporations above all else. As a consquence, people with the same values dominate executive positions, to the exclusion of those with more 'humanitarian' or longer-term outlooks. Where is the balance? Should we make hippie non-exec directors compulsory? Or should I just go back to bed and let the drugs wear off???
New Hope? Cancerous cells isolated by freezing, then killed with drugs. From the Independentco.uk (via New Scientist)
The Independent runs this story by Robert Fisk: Bush is walking into a trap