Do Androids Dream of Ceefax

May 27, 2010

After years of not quite getting round to it, I have finally read Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Don’t worry if you have not read it, there are no spoilers here.

Something funny struck me. The Penfield Mood Organ, which has a selection of moods you can dial up, has a setting called “The desire to watch TV no matter what’s on it”. And the number for this mood? 888 – the old Ceefax number for subtitles. I wonder if this is coincidence or significant? Did the organisers of Ceefax has a sense of humour? I doubt anybody will ever know but it did make me chuckle to myself.


Entertaining ourselves

May 17, 2010

Television: Long-time enemy of social life. It sits in the corner surrounded by the ‘nuclear family’ continually shouting whether anyone is really listening or not. It does not defer when people try to talk and is often louder than their voices any way. No thought required, sit down and absorb.

Books: Perceived as the gentler alternative to television. Non-intrusive. Quiet. Dignified. Said to inspire the imagination.

But are books any more social than tv?

Two people in a room watching tv will inevitably pass comment now and then. Two people in a room reading different novels – silence. What is more sociable?

But I still prefer books 🙂

All that glitters…

Jul 17, 2009

It takes more than a nice shiny new building to improve things.

Yesterday I visited Wymondham’s spanking new, award winning library:

Wymondham Library

Wymondham Library

Yes, the building is impressive, light and airy but overall I was left feeling cheated.

Despite only being open now for 6 months it already smells of old people inside. There is plenty of space to move around inside, with a flashy, trendy area to read magazines and newspapers over a cup of coffee, but the internet area in the main library area consisted of 6 computers the looked randomly placed on old school tables in the middle of the room. The quality of books was less than expected, looking very rough around the edges (OK so I know a lot of them would just have been moved from the old library, but even so!) and there was nowhere near the selection of books that I am used to in my local village library at Hethersett; and this is supposed to be for a Town not a village. For example they only had 1 Stephen King and 1 James Herbert, both of which I had never heard of, and I struggled to find anything I wanted to borrow.

When I did eventually find something, I then had to contend with their self-service booths which, being somewhat technologically minded, didn’t daunt me at all to begin with.

Step 1 scan your card:  BEEP <There is a query with your card>

Look around, no staff to be seen so try a different station.

BEEP <There is a query with your card>

Finally track down a staff member “Oh they probably just want to check you’re still at the same address”

He confirms I have not moved and issues me a new card anyway.

Right here I go again. Step 1 scan your card: BEEP <OK>

Step 2 place book in hole: I put my book in, only to discover somebody has left something in there already and it scans them both in AND there is no cancel button on the screen and I really didn’t want to take out the Audio CD of Heidi no matter how good the story might be!

After finding the member of staff again we concurred that the only thing to do was to “Borrow” Heidi finish on this terminal and then return it again immediately.

This self service thing seemed to be very staff intensive to me!

Oh well, I think I shall stick to good old Hethersett.

“Read me”, I hear them cry!

Jan 28, 2009

I am really excited about the two books I received for Christmas, I just haven’t had a chance to start either of them yet.

One is a really nice, illustrated, hard-back, abridged version of Herman Mellville’s Moby Dick. I have wanted to read this for a long time and this version does not look too hard work.

The other is the screenplay for Dennis Potter’s Karaoke and Cold Lazarus.
These two tv plays were produced and screened jointly by BBC and Channel 4 as decreed by one of Potter’s last requests.
Unfortunately, because of this it has never been repeated or released on DVD as BBC and Channel 4 cannot decide who actually owns the rights to it 😦

But at long last my other half has tracked down the book and I can’t wait to start it.