It’s that time of the year again. Forget the Oscars, bypass the BAFTAs, and just ignore the Grammys and the Brits, because the Diagram Prize has returned once more for its annual celebration of all that is literary and odd. Yes, the quirkiest literary prize of the awards season is back and celebrating its 35th birthday…
Awarded by The Bookseller magazine since 1978, the Diagram Prize exists to honour not the book of the year, nor even the oddest book of the year. Instead, the prize goes to the oddest book title of the year; a concept that greatly appeals to me (as you can probably see from my posts on previous Diagram Prize nominees here and here).
So, without further ado, here’s the nominations for this year’s oddest book title:
Was Hitler Ill? – Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)
Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts – Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies)
God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis – Tom Hickman (Square Peg)
Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop – Reginald Bakeley (Conari)
How Tea Cosies Changed the World – Loani Prior (Murdoch)
How to Sharpen Pencils – David Rees (Melville House)
I’m still debating my choice of favourite title, although I’m wondering how you goblinproof anything – and I’m singularly curious to know how a whole book can be written about sharpening pencils…
If any of these bizarre titles have piqued your curiosity too, you can vote for your favourite here – the winner will be announced on 22nd March.
It may still be distinctly chilly in London, but there are already signs of spring in the air. And this means that Syon Lane Community Allotment is beginning to come out of its winter hibernation at last. If you look very closely, you can see new growth appearing everywhere as the cycle of the seasons repeats…
Interested in what we’re doing at the allotment? You’re in luck. Spring also means that the Syon Lane Sunday open days are back each week from 12pm. All are welcome!
You can find more of my photographs from Syon Lane here.
It’s hard to believe that this year’s Reclaim Love was the tenth of these annual events in London. My first was in 2010, and that seems like a mere five minutes ago… (you can find photos from previous Reclaim Love events here, here and here).
After last year’s downpour, the weather gods were kind to us – and old friends came from near and far to celebrate ten years of bringing peace and love to the streets of London. Here’s a few pics from Saturday’s gathering at Piccadilly Circus…
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…
OK. It’s time for a little self indulgence, for which I am sure you will forgive me! Feel free to ignore this post if you’re not interested in such geeky housekeeping, but if you are, here’s a few interesting stats concerning my #Top50 albums list (which you can find in its entirety here and here)…
5 – the number of decades covered by my #Top50 list
2 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1960s
6 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1970s
11 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1980s
30 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1990s
1 – the number of albums on the list released in the 2000s
It’s really not uncommon these days to find social media sites up in arms about something or other on a regular basis – and last night’s overexcited Twitter storm was no exception to that. But this time, surprisingly, Twitter wasn’t getting its collective knickers in a twist about the latest political outrage, celebrity foot-in-mouth comment, Daily Mail screed of hate or exploitative reality TV show.
Instead, and to the astonishment of music fans (of a certain age, mostly) everywhere, the mysterious and now almost mythical shoegazer band My Bloody Valentine finally released the very belated follow-up to their classic 1991 album Loveless onto their website in the early hours of this morning, to a response on Twitter that can only be described as mass indie hysteria.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for mbv (as the album is inventively titled) almost instantaneously crashed the band’s website, and it remained down for several hours – leading to frustrated jokes aplenty about MBV frontman Kevin Shields breaking the internet or spending 22 years creating a beautifully crafted error message instead of an album.
In a way, all this was typical of My Bloody Valentine – they’ve never been a band to do anything the conventional (or even easy) way. The recording sessions for Loveless, for example, comprehensively demonstrated Shields’ notorious sonic perfectionism at its peak, plus the completed album ended up almost bankrupting Creation Records in the process.
Here’s the second part of my #Top50 album countdown (you can find Part One and an explanation of all this geekery here)…. plus a few long-players that didn’t quite make it onto the list but definitely deserve an honourable mention… Thank you for all of your responses to this!
25) LED ZEPPELIN – IV (1971)
24) HÜSKER DÜ – Candy Apple Grey (1986)
23) THE CLASH – The Clash (1977)
22) R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
21) NICK DRAKE – Pink Moon (1972)
20) SEPULTURA – Chaos A.D. (1993)
19) JOY DIVISION – Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Some of you may remember that last summer I was challenged on Twitter to come up with a list of my Top 100 songs (you can find those here). As a sort of follow up to all that fun and games, an albums list was proposed by various music-loving tweeters (for more on that, see here), and I couldn’t resist. This new list turned out to be quite a challenge – my Top 50 choices were painfully whittled down from a very long longlist which could quite easily have grown to twice its size again!
In compiling the final list, I worked to these (very) basic guidelines:
1) Only one album per band/artist is included on the list, otherwise it would, quite frankly, get boring
2) The list can contain studio albums, live albums, soundtracks, mini-albums and compilations
3) This is not about appearing ‘cool’ or ‘hip’: these are all albums that I love and which mean something to me.
Now that’s all clear, here’s the first half of my #Top50 from 50 to 26…
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for Another Kind Of Mind (thank you stats helper monkeys!):
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals
And a very big thank you to everyone who visited and read in 2012. I wish you all a happy new year and lots of light, luck and love in 2013!
The arrival of the huge Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square each December is a familiar part of the festive season for many people in the capital, Londoners and visitors alike. Some years back, entirely by accident, I found myself in the Square on the evening the tree was due to be lit. As darkness gathered over the city, carols were sung and speeches made – and, with great ceremony, the switch was flicked, lighting the tree to an admiring chorus of oohs and aahs from those watching.