Not a huge amount has really happened personally since my last (proper) update. I finished off the HG Wells book “The Food of the Gods” last night and it was certainly an interesting read. It is a some what overlooked novel in his bibliography and while it certainly isn’t a forgotten gem it isn’t completely without merit, there are plenty of bold ideas in the material but I felt that they were never quite developed as well as they could have been.
The story revolves around two initially absent-minded scientists who invent a superfood which can promote growth and set up an experimental farm to study how it effects chickens. This results in giant chickens and, rather predictably, some of the food gets eaten by some of the local wild life which leads to some creature-feature encounters with giant Wasps, Earwigs and Rats. While this part of the book is perhaps the most consistent and certainly most dramatic, it is also lacking in much depth, so it is fortunate then the rest of the book has some more interesting material to present. It follows the story of a couple of children who were weened on the food growing up to become giants and explores where in society they fit (or not as the case may be). Now here is where I feel the novel doesn’t live up to its potential and fails to fully deliver on the situation. While there is broad social satire running throughout, it never quite has the bite it needs to work. On the plus side we do get a more rounded sense of characterisation in the giants then in “Gulliver’s Travels” and a more realised approach between the giants and the normal size folk.
The ultimately vague ending to the book manages to be a perfect epitaph for a book note quite sure of its focus.
My current tome is a Doctor Who novel titled “At Childhood’s End” and is presented as having been written by Sophie Aldred, who played the 7th Doctor’s companion Ace, but is sub-credited to Mike Tucker and Steve Cole. It has a bit of a rough start but gets going about 50 pages in and it seems that the authors have written the thirteenth Doctor and ‘the fam’ a lot better than they have been written for on the gogglebox, particularly Yaz.
I have upped my exercise uptake by throwing in a mix of squats, crunches, reverse crunches and a few other odds and sods in an order to keep myself in better shape. I have found that I am much more limited in how many squats I can do due to my long recurring issue with my bad knee, something I am sure you-know-who would point out with the delicate phrase “it’s because you’re such an old man.”
Monday I met up with Heather for the first time since the since the start of the year. Although I formed a support bubble with her, we decided that because of my Nan we’d hold off meeting for a bit while the infection rate is still high, but since Nan and Heather have both had their first jabs we decided it was ok to bubble up again. We went for a nice walk up the Wrekin via a slightly off the beaten track route devoid of people and it got a bit eerie as we were near the top and we went through some woodland swamped by low level cloud.
On a personal level Heather is good and has been starving off the boredom of solo living in lockdown by indulging in some arts and crafts. I believe she has made some stuffed lizards of some variety and done more decorating of her dolls house.
Unsurprisingly the Upton Jazz Festival has been cancelled for this year, I did entertain the possibility they maybe the organisers would push it to a later date but I somehow doubted they would, and was proved correct. It seems that Scarborough Jazz festival in September is still going ahead and I am contemplating going to that one but might decide to save my money and wait and see if something else turns up, or save for a break with Heather around September time or early next year.
I have been regularly ‘attending’ the livestream Jazz sessions organised by drummer Jack Cotterill, and each week has had a slightly different theme for each session. Last week it was a requests session and a good variety of tunes were played from a variety of styles including “Joy Springs” (Clifford Brown), “Stardust” (Hoagy Carmichael), and “A Night in Tunisa” (Dizzy Gillespie), the latter had young Mr Cotterill channelling drumming of the hard-bop legend Art Blakey. Another highlight was a take on the standard “I Can’t Get Started” which was a particularly good vehicle for Jamie Brownfield (who was disappointingly wearing a rather subdued shirt for this session) as he went and succeeded in attempting the Trumpet intro made famously performed by Bunny Berigan and not a lot of people attempt it. For more information on Jack and his music click here.
Hope you are all ok.