Arrived in New York with the kids flying first class following a surprise upgrade I will write about tomorrow.
Missing Mike/M John Harrison out here on the internet following his decision to lower the shutters over at his blog Uncle Zip’s Window. Reading Mike there has been such a pleasure and an inspiration. Watching his evolving collection of writing fragments, thoughts on fiction and the process of making it, autobiographical stuff, found fragments etc was one of the things that kicked me into writing here. Mike’s going out with some nice stuff about his central theme of worldbuilding – his persistent championing of the delirious, and essentially linguistic space and possibilities of fiction as opposed to the ‘thought-through’ and supposed internal coherence of so much science fiction has been great to read.
I’m liking the images of this work by Joshua Callaghan very much. Also this project by the same artist – a rather small looking collection of ‘good news stories’ clipped from an L.A. newspaper during the course of 2004 – everything from dog survives two weeks in a pit, to a potential cure for nicotine addiction.
Arts Council of England has been ‘cleaning-house’ rather vigorously in its latest funding awards announced a week ago. DCMS/Government gave them standstill plus inflation but ACE warned that this would necessarily be passed directly (or as a matter of course) to their RFOs (regularly funded organisations). In a pretty drastic cull, it looks like over 200 organizations have been given notice that they’ll be ‘dis-invested’ come April 08. (This dis-invested is pretty abysmal ugly euphemism of a word, even in quote marks). In selfish terms Forced Entertainment got what it wanted from the latest round – an inflation linked increase over the next three years – so our own work to redefine the ‘distribution of the sensible’ is safe for now, but there were plenty of cuts that will undoubtedly cause questions. Organisations slated for ‘disinvestment’ have until next Feb to appeal, and as the Guardian noted already “petitions will be springing up all over the land”. I wrote my first letter of support last weekend already – for Station House Opera – whose maverick work of reinvention at the intersection of theatre, visual arts and architecture has always been valuable to me as perceptual shift, and provocation. Station House’s relatively modest grant (for core costs) has been cut to nothing – a move which, if not reversed, may prove terminal for them.