Thursday, February 21, 2008


Every now and then, I turn into a character from whatever book I'm reading. Last night (this morning) I fell asleep with a book in my hand. It's been a long week already. I usually catch myself nodding off while reading and manage to acquit myself properly before slumber hits. But this time, the book hit right after slumber did. In the face, since I was lying on the couch.
I'm about 50 pages from the end of Hide & Seek, Ian Rankin's second Rebus novel. It's a relatively new edition, 2005, I think and features a forward by the author that has given me one metric tonne of inspiration and hope regarding my own fictional aspirations.
Yes, it's another of my beloved books about places (see also: Carl Hiaasen, Mordecai Richler, David Simon, etc.), and so fits in with this months CITY theme. This time it's Edinburgh (the one in Scotland). Rankin makes his city just palpable enough, but what's really giving me the thrills is the subtext of Edinburgh's economic growth contemporary to the novel, and the parallel with what seems to be going on in Regina right now (and even Vancouver, a little bit.)
Rankin is another in the long list of things I've picked up from my dad (see also: Carl Hiaasen, John Hiatt, facial structure, etc), though for I was immune to it for a while. I wasn't actively trying to resist, but I just didn't read any Rankin until last fall, despite having ample access to them for about five years previous.The first Rankin book my dad gave me was a Rebus Omnibus, three books in one, and, y'know, it was just too big. Y'know, a real monster. Even though I knew that each book within was entirely manageable, the physical HEFT of the volume intimidated the frug out of me.
Now that I'm actually into Rankin/Rebus, though, I'm into it.

Today's mp3 comes from the Human Bell's new self-titled debut, The Human Bell. It's pretty swank post-rock instrumental polyglot guitar foxiness from a former member of Lungfish and another guy who's probably played on a few records you own too. We saw them open for Will Oldham in the fall of '06 and they were worth being early for.

Like Rankin's Rebus novels, the Human Bell's music is dimly atmospheric and oddly comforting, even when it's actually quite harrowing.

mp3: "Outposts of Oblivion" by the Human Bell

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