Never Let Me Go On and On

[Many spoilers ahead, so caveat lector.] Among many other factors — financial, emotional, psychological — the theoretical factor that drove my work towards a PhD (in automatic story generation) off that Thelma and Louise cliff was the growing realisation not just that meta-level processing by readers/viewers of a story is, ...

Making a Scene

Someone asked me a while ago — paraphrasing, but not much — how someone bottoming could get into my head as a top. The question threw me, and I struggled to answer — and I think the reasons why that was the case are instructive. There are (at least) two different ways to interpret the ...

Blessed Be The Cheesemakers

Watching an episode of Miranda Hart’s new sitcom tonight pulled me back to something I’ve been thinking about for a while — and slightly unsettled by. The co-writer on much of the series is James Cary, whose work I’ve come across a few times. He’s also co-written the majority of Milton Jones’s ...

Don’t Label Me

The debate sparked by this year’s billboard campaign by Ariane Sherine and the British Humanist Association — not the campaign itself, which is crystal clear, but the subsequent debate — turns out to be as muddy and straw-man-ish as one might expect. The campaign slogan itself — “Please don’t label me. Let ...

Souvenirs

Two quick thoughts on the Berlin Wall’s 20th. The first is how moving it was to see the photos of Gorbachev with Merkel in the middle of the crowds on the bridge that I mostly — in a cheap, pop-culture sort of way — associate with Michael Caine and the film of Funeral in Berlin. ...

The Library People

An idea for a short story, told as a sequence of diary entries as written by the first-person narrator. It’s called ‘The Library People’, or perhaps just ‘Periodicals’. Maybe it’s a screenplay. Maybe it’s been done already. Circumstances force a man to work in the big local library ...

The Wrong Tree

[An augmented version of a comment posted on Boing Boing concerning the public release of Chris Crawford’s ‘Storytron’ interactive storytelling engine. I should write something longer and more thoughtful about this endeavour, because I’ve never believed that there was anything to be gained from the ...

What’s in a Game?

A trivial but surprisingly passionate argument with A. a few nights ago, which reminded me of the scene in Radio Days in which the fictional Woody Allen describes his parents arguing about which is the greatest ocean, the Atlantic or the Pacific. How we got there isn’t important, but our point of contention was whether ...

Shibboleth on Toast

I don’t need to worry any more about drifting towards bastardised mid-Atlantic speech-patterns. Or, rather, I still need to worry about it, but I don’t need to worry that it’s already happened, because I have what seems to be a foolproof test: if I can ask for some butter at a commercial eating ...

A Familiar Face

Lunch yesterday at Wendy’s near USC (a large #7 combo with a small chili). I was wandering away from the counter with my tray when the server asked, as if he knew me from somewhere: “Are you a producer?” “A producer?” He hadn’t said what sort of producer, but this is LA, so it was ...