Wednesday, September 30, 2009


C’était la première fois qu’Emma s’entendait dire ces choses; et son orgueil, comme quelqu’un qui se délasse dans une étuve, sétirait mollement et tout entier à la chaleur de ce langage.

It was the first time that Emma had heard such words addressed to her, and her pride unfolded languidly in the warmth of this language, like someone stretching in a hot bath.


Non-gamer, but fascinated by gaming: this made me laugh!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Up close and personal

It is not quite Wednesday yet, but close enough that I will simply say that Ed Park is doing a reading and Q&A at Columbia TODAY (203 Mathematics, 8pm, Wednesday, Sept. 30) - alas, I will not be able to attend, having entered a true DAVIDSONIAN VORTEX whose whirling elements include an as-yet-unwritten lecture on the middle section of Madame Bovary, the final revisions to the Explosionist sequel (due on FRIDAY) and a big race on Sunday (ARGHHHH, I see they have got all complicated on us, not least involving an earlier cut-off for same-day race-packet pickup - 7am rather than 7:45; it is clearly no longer realistic to leave NYC at 5am and hope to get there in time to get set up the morning of...).


"Model's own"

A hundred years of dogs in Vogue.

Nesting dolls of eggs

The Big Egg! (Via Brent, who got it from GeekPress.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nonpareil arabesques

From Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary:
Large dishes of yellow cream, that trembled with the least shake of the table, had designed on their smooth surface the initials of the newly wedded pair in nonpareil arabesques. A confectioner of Yvetot had been entrusted with the pies and candies. As he had only just started out in the neighborhood, he had taken a lot of trouble, and at dessert he himself brought in a wedding cake that provoked loud cries of wonderment. At its base there was a square of blue cardboard, representing a temple with porticoes, colonnades, and stucco statuettes all round, and in the niches constellations of gilt paper stars; then on the second level was a dungeon of Savoy cake, surrounded by many fortifications in candied angelica, almonds, raisins, and quarters of oranges; and finally, on the upper platform a green field with rocks set in lakes of jam, nutshell boats, and a small Cupid balancing himself in a chocolate swing whose two uprights ended in real roses for balls at the top.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Like nothing else in Tennessee"

I went to a very moving memorial service earlier this afternoon for a long-ago former professor of mine, Barbara Johnson.

She was an extraordinary teacher as well as a remarkable scholar and writer - as I thought about the seminar I took with her in the spring of 1992, I realized she perfectly exemplified the thing described in that essay of Wayne Booth's I recently quoted on college teaching. She downplayed her own very considerable personal and intellectual charisma in an attractive show of self-abnegation; the readerly virtues she taught were modest but also very powerful.

I dug out the syllabus this weekend from an old box of files in my office, and was struck by how strongly I was affected by many of these readings - this was the first time I encountered Saussure's anagrams and the prose poems of Francis Ponge by way of Derrida's Signeponge - I remained in intellectual thrall for some years after to the truly wonderful essay by Roman Jakobson titled "Two Types of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances".

I especially like the paradoxical combination of eclecticism and focus displayed in the cluster of texts grouped under the heading of "The Aesthetic Object: Part I": Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Wallace Stevens' "Anecdote of the Jar", Carolyn Forche's "The Colonel" and Heidegger's essay "The Thing".

People sometimes laugh at me when I say this - academics and non-academics alike! - but really the reason I am an academic rather than primarily a novelist or someone making some other kind of art (music, theater) is that the kind of thinking done by the very best people in the academy is truly magical to me. There's nothing else like it, and Barbara Johnson had that quality in spades, in her classes just as much as in her writing. To this we all aspire...

A moment I remember very vividly from that class: Barbara Johnson, mentioning as an aside that Poe originally thought that the raven of the famous poem should be a parrot, suddenly tilting her head to the side and squawking Nevermore! Nevermore!

Here is Harvard University Press editor Lindsay Waters' reminiscence of Barbara Johnson, and here are the funeral home's guestbook and the Crimson obituary.

Last but not least, the syllabus for "Approaches to the Lyric," spring 1992 (click on each image to enlarge the page):


More on Wodehouse at the Telegraph:
When he constructed a plot, Wodehouse was curiously abstract. He writes "hero" and "heroine" in his early plan for Girl in Blue, because he has not yet thought of their names, and "object" for the thing that was to be stolen/mislaid. It was only when the structure was to his satisfaction that he thought about the scenes and people: he had a cool, professional way of approaching his task.


at the Guardian: "He wrote his first story aged five. When describing what he might have been doing before he was five, he wrote 'Oh, just loafing, I suppose'."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Sad stories of the death of kings"

Titus the gorilla king is dead (link courtesy of Carrie).

"Little showers of flats and sharps"

A particularly wonderful interview with Oliver Sacks at the TED blog (link courtesy of the excellent Dave Lull). The conversation wanders far afield, but returns periodically to Sacks' own loss of vision in one eye following surgery for a melanoma. Here are two bits that particularly captivated me:
I had a tumor in the right eye, which has been irradiated and lasered, and I hope laid to rest. But that has taken most of the retina with it on that side and so I’ve only got a little sliver of peripheral vision and the rest is a great black area of scotoma, which changes its appearance as soon as I look up at the ceiling -- then it camouflages and turns white, or turns blue if I look at the sky. And it tends to be full of tiny things, of tiny letters and numbers, which look rather like incised hieroglyphics to me, along with a few other simple things like chessboards and spirals and spiders’ webs. So I’m just having fairly simple geometrical hallucinations. I’m not having faces or anything like this, and don’t expect to have them.

But they’re very easy to separate from reality?

Um, yes. Mostly. Although occasionally, I confess, certainly in the early days, when I would perhaps go in to someone’s apartment, I might think, “What an interesting … what a curious stippled wallpaper.” And I’d mention this. And the person would say, “What do you mean stippled? It’s not stippled.” So, now I realize the stippling comes from me, from the visual areas of my brain which area trying to fill in this rather large blind spot.


But still, I was absolutely terrified with this melanoma at first. I didn’t even know one could have ocular melanomas, let alone that they were much more benign than other sorts. When it was diagnosed, the surgeon brought out a model of an eye and he put in it something that looked like a little, shriveled, black cauliflower. And my immediate thought was that, in England, when a judge is going to pass a death sentence, he puts on a black cap and I saw this thing as the equivalent. I thought, “It’s my death sentence.”
(I would like to go and see the lemur colony in North Carolina!)

Warp factor ten

Ozzy Osbourne's memoir excerpted at the Sunday Times:
1982. Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman show involved the hanging of midgets, a giant mechanical arm, and a catapult that fired raw meat into the audience. But on this occasion it was a prop supplied by the audience that stole the show.

On January 20, 1982, we played the Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines.

The gig was going great. The God-like hand was working without any hitches. We’d already hung the midget.

Then, from out of the audience came this bat. Obviously a toy, I thought.

So I held it up to the lights and bared my teeth while Randy played one of his solos. The crowd went mental.

Then I did what I always did when we got a rubber toy on stage.


Immediately, though, something felt wrong. Very wrong.

For a start, my mouth was instantly full of this warm, gloopy liquid, with the worst aftertaste you could ever imagine. I could feel it staining my teeth and running down my chin.

Then the head in my mouth twitched.

Oh, f*** me I thought. I didn’t just go and eat a f***ing bat, did I?

So I spat out the head, looked over into the wings, and saw Sharon with her eyes bulging, waving her hands, screaming: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S REAL, OZZY, IT’S REAL!”

Next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair, being rushed into an emergency room.

Every night for the rest of the tour I had to find a doctor and get rabies shots: one in each arse cheek, one in each thigh, one in each arm. I had more holes in me than a lump of f***ing Swiss cheese.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


More on Google's data-gathering algorithms and the havoc they may wreak (courtesy of Nina, who has what is possibly the most sly and elegant little self-description on her web page that I have ever seen!).

That Darnton talk the other day really has me pondering the ramifications of Google Books - I want to get seconded to a task force that considers these things and have a long-term furlough from my real job!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Also upcoming

"A Blog of Her Own": Scholarly Women on the Web, this Monday at 12:30 in Lerner 555. I am moderating; panelists include Bitch Ph.D., Tenured Radical and other prominent feminist bloggers (I am too lazy to post in the relevant links, but they can be found at the event page!).


Robert Darnton will speak this evening at Columbia on "Google, Libraries, and the Digital Future" - should be interesting.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"A fleshy, oddity-filled occupational subcategory"

I can't remember now where I first read about it, but Jeff Johnson's Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink was an impulse buy that didn't quite pan out for me - it is a good book, in its way, but not in my way, which I would have seen if I had looked at a page or two instead of someone else's description. I was expecting something truly gonzo and demented, with lots of grotesque details, but in fact it is more like something you would read in the New Yorker! More on Anthony Bourdain/David Sedaris lines, much less like Ken Bruen/Bukowski/etc. than I had hoped for....

Anyway, there was one chapter that I really did like - avert your eyes if you are squeamish about medical curiosities - these are my favorite three sentences, only the rest of the chapter is then mere elaboration rather than wonderfully grotesque piling-on of further examples - the chapter on oddities:
I'm not talking about the countless skin tags, warts, and missing toenails, or even the more exotic yellow, scale-encrusted dimple of an old bullet wound, or a gnarly third-world surgical scar. Boils, lesions, psoriasis, eczema, folliculitis, active volcano acne, blisters, whatever. These are nothing.

I'm talking about black sponges growing off the skin, flippers, stumps, spines that warped to accommodate a third kidney, hairy purple square-foot patches of alien flesh, a secondary anus.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday miscellany

Very nice Times review of Nico, Sam and Thomas's concert!

(On another note, I could not endorse Ben Brantley's review of The Pride of Parnell Street, which I saw earlier this week - the performers were doing their best, they were really very good, and the language is gorgeous, but there seemed to be absolutely no reason the piece could not as well have been a short story as a play!)

Times trifecta: Jonathan Lethem on J.G. Ballard.

Finally, Christian House profiles William Boyd at the Independent - Boyd is in any case one of my favorite writers (annoyingly his new book will not be published in the U.S. till January - I might be due an Amazon UK order...), but I leave you with these excellent lines:
London, he once wrote, poisoned him with insomnia and allergies. He declared it "a tax my body has to pay if I want to live in London – the most interesting city on the planet".

Darwin's walking stick

At New Scientist, Andrew Robinson reviews Frances Larson's The Infinity of Things, a book about the medical collections accumulated by Henry Wellcome.

(I love glass eyes! In fact long ago I had a very good "eye ring" - in the end I stopped wearing it because the metal of the ring broke and I didn't think it would be worth paying to have it fixed - but it was disconcertingly very much the same color as my actual real eyes, and now and again I would be resting my chin on my hand and someone would genuinely flinch at the sight...)

Friday, September 11, 2009

"A cheese-and-tomato sandwich, a slice of cake and an orange juice"

Simon Kuper has a rather wonderful piece at the FT on epidemiologist Jerry Morris and the "invention" of exercise:
Clearly, if modern humans were going to exercise, it would have to be in their spare time. But would they? After his initial studies of occupations and heart attacks, Morris embarked on a large-scale study of British civil servants, to find out whether they did.

This was in the days before computers. Morris remembers: “I think of a room in this school, with the floor consisting of piles of documents. Men of this age, men of that age, men doing this kind of exercise or that. Going through all of these documents to extract the cyclists, then going through all the cyclists to extract those who cycle to work. Three very respectable ladies would spend days and days, and another lady would check they were not cutting corners. Changing a hypothesis now, in the computer age, is a matter of a twiddle on the knobs. Changing a hypothesis when we were doing important work was a major enterprise.”

"Let the wild rumpus start!"

Close Read goes hog-wild on FOOTBALL!

Stunt nematodes

Strange Library of Congress subject headings (via Awful Library Books).

"The restraint of this place"

An extraordinarily moving piece by Oliver Sacks at the New York Review of Books (subscription only) on what has been lost with the closing of mental asylums. He writes about a number of different books that all sound worthwhile, but I particularly must get Asylum: Inside the Closed World of Mental Hospitals, a book of photographs by Christopher Payne with an introduction by Sacks (a modified version of this NYRB piece) to be published by the MIT Press later this month.

Anyway, here's a bit:
Creedmoor Hospital in Queens, New York, ... had been established in 1912, very modestly, as the Farm Colony of Brooklyn State Hospital, holding to the nineteenth-century ideals of providing space, fresh air, and farming for its patients. But Creedmoor's population soared—it reached seven thousand by 1959—and, as Susan Sheehan showed in her 1982 book, Is There No Place on Earth for Me?, it became, in many ways, as wretched, overcrowded, and understaffed as any other state hospital. And yet the original gardens and livestock were maintained, providing a crucial resource for some patients, who could care for animals and plants, even though they might be too disturbed, too ambivalent, to maintain relationships with other human beings.

At Creedmoor, there were gymnasia, a swimming pool, and recreation rooms with ping-pong and billiards tables; there was a theater and a television studio, where patients could produce, direct, and act in their own plays—plays that, like de Sade's theater in the eighteenth century, could allow creative expression of their own concerns and predicaments. Music was important—there was a small patient orchestra—and so, too, was visual art. (Even today, with the bulk of the hospital closed down and falling into decay, the remarkable Living Museum at Creedmoor provides patients with the materials and space to work on painting and sculpture. One of the Living Museum's founders, Janos Marton, calls it a "protected space" for the artists.)

There were gigantic kitchens and laundries, and these, like the gardens and livestock, provided work and "work therapy" for many of the patients, along with opportunities for learning some of the skills of daily life, which, with their withdrawal into mental illness, they might never have acquired before. And there were great communal dining rooms, which, at their best, fostered a sense of community and companionship.

Thus, even in the 1950s, when conditions in state hospitals were so dismal, some of the good aspects of an asylum life were still to be found in them. There were often, even in the worst hospitals, pockets of human decency, of real life and kindness

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arrayed opulences

The last time I was in London, I was staying only minutes away from this shop and did not even know it was there! In fact all their locations are in "my" London neck-of-the-woods...

Say it ain't so!

File it under "Things in the Times that made me laugh" (and also make me glad I am an academic rather than a magazine editor!), from this piece on the interns at Teen Vogue:
Ms. Astley recalled a recent job applicant who was clearly unqualified to work at her magazine.

“I interviewed someone who hadn’t seen ‘Twilight,’ ” she said. “You can’t work at Teen Vogue if you haven’t seen ‘Twilight.’ ”

87 percent

At Harvard Magazine, Jonathan Shaw on the erosion of privacy in the age of the internet:
If you tell Latanya Sweeney, A.L.B. ’95, nothing about yourself except your birth date and five-digit zip code, she’ll tell you your name. If you are under the age of 30 and tell her where you were born, she can correctly predict eight or nine digits of your nine-digit Social Security number. “The main reason privacy is a growing problem is that disk storage is so cheap,” says the visiting professor of computer science, technology, and policy at CRCS. “People can collect data and never throw anything away. Policies on data sharing are not very good, and the result is that data tend to flow around and get linked to other data.”

Sweeney became interested in privacy issues while earning her doctorate at MIT in the mid 1990s. Massachusetts had recently made “anonymized” medical information available. Such data are invaluable for research, for setting up early infectious-disease detection systems, and other public-health uses. “There was a belief at the time that if you removed explicit identifiers—name, address, and Social Security number—you could just give the data away,” she recalls. That dogma was shattered when Sweeney produced a dramatic proof to the contrary.

The medical data that had been made available included minimal demographic information: zip code, birth date, and gender, in addition to the diagnosis. So Sweeney went to the Cambridge City Hall and for $25 purchased a voter list on two diskettes: 54,000 names. By linking the demographic information in the voter database to the demographic information in the publicly available medical records, Sweeney found that in most cases she could narrow the demographic data down to a single person, and so restore the patient’s name to the record. She tried this data-linking technique for then-governor William F. Weld ’66, J.D.’70. Only six people in Cambridge shared his birthday. Just three of them were men. And he was the only one who lived in the right zip code.


Dangerous biscuits!

Excellent concert last night.

Belated thanks to Tarvo for sending me the excellent Autumn Ball, which I loved - it is too bleak to be called magical, but it is visually ravishing and also extremely funny...

(The only other movies I have seen recently are G-Force, which I enjoyed more than I expected to - guinea pigs! - and the first half of District 9, which I had to walk out of due to motion-sickness issues!)

Taught my first class yesterday - it was enjoyable and stimulating, at least for me! Some Gary Lutz, a brief style miscellany - now I just have to clean up the wreckage the lecture-writing process created in my apartment...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Chain reactions

Wayne Koestenbaum, "The Shock of the Renewed":
Jesus reinvents Judaism. Duffy reinvents catchy naïveté. Injections of Juvéderm reinvent the aging face. Thom Browne reinvents the male suit and, thereby, male calves. The beverage industry reinvents the movie theater as high-fructose-corn syrup dump site. Deaf, Beethoven reinvents the sonata. Carmel Snow reinvents Harper's Bazaar. The roulette wheel spins. John Cage reinvents silence. Talkative Isaac Mizrahi reinvents Target, and Target returns the favor. Biogenetics reinvents chicken. Mark Spitz reinvents the bathing suit. Brooke Shields reinvents eyebrows; Richard Prince reinvents sleaze by appropriating a photo of 10-year-old Brooke, nude. The StairMaster reinvents the schlep. England reinvents tea.

The homeland of the threshold, the immunity of the diplomatic pouch

From Wayne Koestenbaum, "Heidegger's Mistress," at Guilt and Pleasure:
I’m trying to figure out sequence: how paragraphs connect; how generations overlap; how ideas bleed into each other. My subjects include the interdependence of fragments; the weight of incidents; subordination and insubordination; hierarchy; demonstration and denotation; shadow and palimpsest; argumentation and allusion; name-dropping and citation; causality and the aleatory; my old chestnut, overdetermination; fact and speculation; melodrama and sentimentality; time-wasting; performance and being-buried-alive; cop-out and aporia; agency and knifepoint; the beauty of detachment; misalignments; leaving projects dead and incomplete in their midst and not regretting the abandonment.

"Extremely Verbal After Midnight"

A big profile in the Independent of my cousin George Pringle! You can download her brand new album Salon des Refusés from Amazon...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Unlikelies

I read an amazing novel this weekend - I absolutely loved this book! It is so rare that I find something that really appeals as much to my light-reading side as to my wanting-books-to-be-really-smart side - but this is an absolute page-turner, and also one of the most interesting and stimulating books I've read all year. It is Victor Lavalle's Big Machine, and I found it spectacularly good - funny, scary, surprising, spiritually astute - I couldn't put it down.

(Why haven't I read more great novels about cults? What is there out there? Laurie King's A Darker Place was very good. I still remember, as a child, feeling the shock of the story of the Jonestown massacre - were pictures published in Newsweek, or am I just imagining it?)

Here is a WSJ profile of Lavalle, because I am too lazy to write a proper review myself; and here is Lavalle on his sex life during his years as a very fat man.

On a lazier note, I add that in the bookstore at 30th St. Station in Philadelphia this evening I seized upon Even Money. It lasted me pretty much exactly all the way home to the 116th St. subway stop, so I consider it money well spent; it is slightly more readable than its predecessor, but I think that the collaborative father-son team continues to misunderstand the extent to which the traditional Dick Francis hero steps over the line dividing the legal from the illegal only because there is a gap between the legal and the just, whereas the protagonists of these last couple books have a blithe disregard for the law that makes them considerably overstep the bounds of what the Franciscan reader is likely to find acceptable!

[ED. A quick search post-blogging leads me to the Largehearted Boy Lavalle playlist, with links - in fact it must be that Ed Park's Astral Weeks coverage is what led me to buy the book in the first place!]

"Tight-buttoned, non-bulbous, turgid and with no sign of ribbing"

The National Vegetable Society's Annual Championships.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Magical realism

If someone put me on the spot and forced me to name my favorite living writer, I would hem and haw for a while - it is impossible to narrow these things down! - but there would be a good chance, when it came down to it, that I would have to utter the name PETER TEMPLE...

An advance reading copy of his forthcoming novel Truth came my way shortly before I left town in August; it is the sequel to The Broken Shore, and I decided to reread that one first before savoring the new one.

They are the most extraordinary pair of books; often I will single out a sentence or passage that I especially like in a novel, but in this case it is almost impossible to do. Everything is so distinctive and lovely in its formation that it does not make sense to excerpt.

I was thinking as I read about what makes Temple so unusual. He strikingly combines the poet's strengths with the journalist's - it is a very rare combination - Richard Price occasionally gets something a bit like this, but Temple has a much better sense of humor, as well as a deeper interest in character.

His ear for language is exceptional. Sentence by sentence, the casual reader might mistake this stuff for an unreflectively realistic approach to the transcription of human actions, but the cumulative effect is to leave behind a suspicion that Temple has cunningly and covertly invented an entirely new system of notation, one that cleverly masquerades as something like normal writing but is actually mind-blowingly and deceptively original and powerful...


The gesture of a dandy

From Roland Barthes' essay "Cy Twombly: Works on Paper," in The Responsibility of Forms, trans. Richard Howard:
Through TW's work, the germs of writing proceed from the greatest rarity to a swarming multiplicity: a kind of graphic pruritus. In its tendency, then, writing becomes culture. When writing bears down, explodes, pushes toward the margins, it rejoins the idea of the Book. The Book which is potentially present in TW's work is the old Book, the annotated Book: a super-added word invades the margins, the interlinea: this is the gloss. When TW writes and repeats this one word: Virgil, it is already a commentary on Virgil, for the name, inscribed by hand, not only calls up a whole idea (though an empty one) of ancient culture but also "operates" a kind of citation: that of an era of bygone, calm, leisurely, even decadent studies: English preparatory schools, Latin verses, desks, lamps, tiny pencil annotations. That is culture for TW: an ease, a memory, an irony, a posture, the gesture of a dandy.

Learning in the present moment

From Wayne Booth, "What Little I Think I Know about Teaching", in the version given in The Vocation of a Teacher: Rhetorical Occasions, 1967-1988:
Good college teaching is the kind that promises to make the teacher finally superfluous, the kind that leads students to want to continue work in the given subject and to be able to, because they have the necessary intellectual equipment to continue work at a more advanced level. A crass way of putting this goal is to say that the good teacher is out to make converts to his or her field--not necessarily to turn students into majors or professionals in the field, but to turn them into adults who will continue learning in that field, either as professionals or as amateurs. William James once said that you could tell an educated person by his or her way of reading the daily newspaper. (Of course James said "his", not "his or her"). That may seem like a fairly low-level goal. But what kind of success could a teacher claim if a student, ten years later, meeting the subject in some journal, popular or learned, turned away from it in disgust or with the conviction that only boredom lay ahead?

What follows for teaching when the teacher tries to ensure that students will want to continue and will be able to continue after the end of ten weeks or a year or four years? Note that our goal is not that the student should want to continue with this teacher; that kind of loving attachment is relatively easy to obtain--and often dangerous when it comes. Love of the teacher is not a goal of teaching but a dispensable and often dangerous byproduct of the goal, which, to repeat, is freedom from the teacher and critical attachment to the subject.

Russian arks

An amazing post by Geoff Manaugh on Johan Hybschmann's spatial books.

Leaves of grass

Geoffrey Nunberg has an interesting piece at the Chronicle Review on problems with the metadata provided by Google Books (link via Galleycat).

Also: invisible ink!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Hidden Paw

At the Guardian, a very nice series of photographs documenting T. S. Eliot's career at Faber:
Faber Book News, detailing the story of Morgan, the Faber cat. 'One of the firm's directors, having a special affection for Morgan, who comforted him during the trying nights of fire-watching, offered to approach Morgan personally about his lives, and Morgan, with some show of affected diffidence, handed him the following a few days ago,' the newsletter runs. 'We were astonished to find the biographical note written in verse...'

Campus bunnies

Obviously one would not introduce them deliberately, but these rabbits (courtesy of Wendy) are awfully sweet...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Nordic Birds

Peter Robins asks what proportion of Swedish remaindered books end up at Ikea.

(Hmmm, I do not think it is a silly question, although it has an attractive air of superficial frivolity - now, though, I have a yen for a more concrete answer!)

Happy monkey music

Species-specific music?
The researchers played each piece, as well as several samples of human music, for 14 tamarin monkeys that hadn’t heard music before. An independent observer recorded monkey behavior for five minutes before and after playing each selection. The monkeys didn’t respond at all to Nine-Inch Nails, Tool or Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” but oddly enough, they did become slightly calmer after listening to “Of Wolf and Man” by Metallica.
(I am certain there are more commercial applications in the Music for Cats business...)

"So I think there might just be a few more"

At the Telegraph, Roya Nikkah interviews Dick Francis about his most recent book. (NB must get this!)


Richard Nash's post-Soft Skull business plan (I am late to the party with this one!).