Sunday, 19 August 2012

Better erotica

Everyone is talking about that book, I haven't read it because life is too short (and have read enough appalled bloggers quoting it to feel like I have read it anyway.)

When I worked in the bookshop anyone purchasing something from the 'adult' shelf would be sure to buy two other books about something innocuous, that they could sandwich their saucy book between when paying at the counter. I think the success of Fifty Shades of Grey is down to a perfect storm of technology (Kindle) removing the embarrassment factor, and good marketing.

People are despairing of its success, but I think the ones reading it are people who do not usually read books, so they are not judging it in a literary way.

I wish there was better erotica though. I don't mean the genre ones - I think there's something a bit silly in the idea of a book whose sole object is to make you feel frisky.  It's the same reason I can't take porn seriously - there's no STORY, and no characters. No plot.  I can only think of a couple of writers who write sex scenes well - one is Anais Nin, and the other is an American author I read when working at the publishers, Louise Redd, who wrote an excellent book called Playing the Bones.

Do you have any recommendations of good authors to go on the Adult shelf?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Next project

about Pavement-mongers and smoke-doctors, over here 

In fact,you can help with this. I need significant people, places, events that you associate with Westminster. From any time in history.

I'm trying not to go for the obvious (eg Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament) or it will be too corny.

And preferably I'm after associations that people will have heard of - not personal memories (like, the time you had a whitey on the Poll Tax march down the Mall, because you'd been to a house party in Peckham the night before & had drunk and smoked and had no sleep and then got up and marched, marched, marched with a riotous crowd in a heatwave with no water.)

Help me out here. Westminster.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Six years of running around after kids, up & down stairs, to the hall, to the class, to the playground, to the computer room, up, down, up, down...  followed by a couple of months of sitting all day at a desk job... oy. It doesn't take long. I feel like the Michelin man.

So I was very inspired by this Horizon programme by Michael Mosley, who is a great presenter. He does science-y health programmes.  Some people do the CRON diet, which is meant to stop you getting ill as you get older. The doctor he spoke to said if he fasted 2 days a week, for a year, he'd cut his risk of getting cancer and heart disease down to virtually nothing.  They rather cruelly filmed him out at a Korean restaurant with the crew, where they were all eating meat roasted on barbecues at the table, while his only food of the day was a cup of miso soup.

The idea is the amount of  protein consumed in the Western diet is telling our bodies to 'go' all the time. If you restrict your intake the body goes into repair mode and it has health benefits.  (You might want to watch the programme for a better explanation. )   But fasting is pretty extreme.

A less harsh experiment was being undertaken at another American university, where they found the health benefits were just as good when people ate nothing but fruit and veg one day and just ate normally the next.

I can do that! I thought.  How hard could it be?

How long did I last? Probably four hours. I went to shop at the (pretty basic) local corner shop and suddenly all the food was shouting at me from the shelves.  Cheese. Crackers. Biscuits. Cereal. Cadburys. Sweet Thai Chili Crisps. FINDUS CRISPY PANCAKES! Food of the gods.

I am weak.