2019 Newsletter

Hello dear friends,

Thank you all for giving me your email address recently. For quite a while I have been busy travelling and working and out of touch, radio silence over here, and everybody is asking me what’s up at the same time. So I thought I would check in with a long-ish email.

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Short Story: Don’t Fence Me In

This was meant to be book-length, but let’s face it: I am not going to ever develop this as much as I hope I one day think I might become interested in wanting to develop…

Also, fuck hometowns.

With the fourth swing of the axe, the last of the locks gave way, and the door swung open. And I saw the stars.

The stars were rotating quickly around my field of view. I gaped in astonishment and curiosity, but soon felt nauseated and had to look away and close my eyes for a moment.

When I looked back, the stars were still rotating quickly. It took my mind a little while to catch up to my eyes and figure out why this was so weird.

The stars were not overhead. The stars were directly in front of me. It was as if I had opened a door to the universe.

As my eyes adjusted to the strange lighting, I took in more of the surroundings through this, the last locked door down corridor 18. And without hearing him approach, suddenly Steve was at my elbow.

“You alright, Andrew?” I nodded, still utterly bewildered, and he continued: “Hey, you aren’t supposed to be down here, you know. None of the cargo are supposed to figure out the crew exit. I have to turn you around right now.”

The steam in the dark and noisy corridor blasted my face, and then was sucked into the roof vent – if indeed that was the roof. I was beginning to feel detached from the three dimensions I had come to know and love.

“What’s happening down here, Steve?” I lobbed the question at him with as much weight as I could. Things were not right, and I was worried. And he was my friend. But he wasn’t going to budge. “Let’s just get back to town and we’ll talk about it later” he said kindly but dismissively, and suited action to the words by leading me by my shoulder back toward the other cramped corridor we had sprung out of. But I made him stop.

“No. No, I need you to tell me what’s happening. Why are the stars moving like that? Is it a video screen? Why is this right here behind an ordinary door?” I was perplexed, and disoriented, and I needed more information before I could even figure out what my questions were.

But he didn’t answer me. He tried to pull me along by my shoulder a little further, but when he found he couldn’t, he simply gave up his little pretence that everything was still okey-dokey, and looked me full in the eye.

“I’d better take you to see the captain.”

“Captain?…” Nothing made sense.

“Listen, mate, this town isn’t what you think. If you start to bust out and we can’t keep you in anymore, I am allowed to tell you a little bit so that you’ll calm down. We’re on a generational ship.” I had no idea what he meant. Our town was landlocked, with no ocean for thousands and thousands of miles in any direction. The ocean was so far away I had never even seen it. I would need to ride a horse for weeks to see it. Why would ships or boats or their captains have anything to do with this bizarre doorway to a starfield in the middle of town?

“Just…trust me. I’ll take you to the Cap and he’ll tell you everything you need to know. Come on, now.”

Steve is my friend, and I trusted him. I shut my mouth and walked with him out of the corridors and back to our town, glancing back at the rotating starfield as we left. It just kept on spinning at its constant speed around its fixed point. 

My 2019 Ranking of the Bond Films

Well, friends, there has been an upset. This ranking follows my previous inaugural ranking from 2018.

1. Goldeneye (no change)
2. The Living Daylights (no change)
3. Skyfall (no change) 
4. From Russia With Love (+19!)
5. The Man With The Golden Gun (-1)
6. Tomorrow Never Dies (no change)
7. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (+1)
8. Casino Royale (-1)
9. The Spy Who Loved Me (+1)

10. Spectre (-1)
11. Quantum of Solace (no change)
12. Moonraker (-7)
13. License To Kill (-1)
14. Die Another Day (+1)
15. The World Is Not Enough (+3)
16. Goldfinger (+5)

17. Octopussy (-4)
18. A View To A Kill (-4)
19. Live And Let Die (-3)
20. Never Say Never Again (unofficial) (-3)
21. Casino Royale (1967 spoof) (new)
22. You Only Live Twice (-3)
23. Dr No. (-3)
24. For Your Eyes Only (-2)
25. Thunderball (-1)
26. Diamonds Are Forever. (-1, but still the worst by a long, long way. This movie is poop).


Connery makes a return! On closer inspection, I realised that From Russia With Love has a lot of great stuff in it. It shoots way up the charts into the top third. Goldfinger also, while paced poorly, and badly, badly dated, has lots of stuff in it that is *interesting* to watch or listen to. For example, the ejector seat. The way they shot that car chase where Bond crashes his car because of his own reflection.

Moore has his average shot to heck by dropping Moonraker from a very high spot down to 12. When re-watching it recently, I realised it is only good when you have a lot of people around to laugh at it with. When you watch it on its own, it’s just excruciating. The Man With The Golden Gun, though, I will continue to back! It’s great!

Craig, Dalton, and Lazenby are virtually untouched, but all four of Brosnan’s have been given a boost or remained very high – there is just something so great about the period his films were made. The optimism for the internet and technology in that age of the late-nineties-early-noughts made these films really cool. And Brosnan is just gooooooood to watch. He is a man oiled with just the right amount of cologne to be Bond, and I enjoy him a great deal, even when trying to pull off those awful scripts. I watched a bunch of Bonds lately, capped off with Goldeneye, and it really, really, really is the best damn one. Such a good movie.

Note: The places where the best, middle, and worst thirds break down has been moved slightly.

Note: For comparison, the 1967 Casino Royale unofficial spoof has been added to the list along with the unofficial Never Say Never Again.

Poem: “I Burned My Ukulele”

I burned my ukulele, it was
Only wood and strings, and
Little scraps of metal, and a
Few other things.

Meditation Struggles #1

“One, one, one, one, one…” I count the number slowly to myself as my first inhale fills my chest.

My ear itches.

“Perfect!” I think, remembering immediately to abandon all thoughts, and feeling guilty and like a failure. “An itchy ear during meditation is a great way to test my concentration!”

“One, one, one, one…” I continue counting as the inhale reverses and becomes an exhale, feeling great that my ear is itching badly but I haven’t yet moved or reacted to it. “I am a fucking wiinnnnneeerrrr at this concentration thing!”

I rest in between breaths, and begin the second slow inhale. “Two, two, two, two…” throbs the count in time with my slow heartbeats. Everything is fine. This is fine.

My ear really, really itches.

“No worries,” I think, remembering again not to think anything, “I already made it like twenty seconds without it bothering me much. It’ll be cool just to observe the itch without reacting to it. I wonder what that will tell me about my concentration and willpower?”

The second slow inhale turns into the second slow exhale. “Two, two, two, two, two….”.

Again internally and sinfully thinking: “Gosh this has been like a full forty-five seconds without even bothering about this annoying itch. It’s getting worse but I can totally hang on and prove this to myself. I am going to be a fucking transcendent being if I can get to slow breath number one-hundred without itching this thing. Bring it onnnnn!”

“Three, three, thre–”

Fuck it.

I itch the hell out of my ear like a dog going crazy on a flea.

Enlightenment tomorrow.