Search results for "literature "


Author: joe

Tuesday, 24 February, 2009 - 02:41

>> notes discrete combinatorial system of language plus 140 character limit implies calculable set of determinable possibilities with finitiude

>> approx 14066 possible tweets

>> of which perhaps 99.9999% are senseless

>> those with sense are potentially exhaustible within the lifetime of a technologically advanced species

>> for freedom of expression without limit, therefore, we rely on the possibility of ever-mutating meanings under endlessly repeated signs

Categories: twitter, machine literature, finitiude, endlessly self-similar universe,
Comments: 0

Free and not so free

Author: joe

Sunday, 09 October, 2005 - 14:32

This morning I was deeply excited by a couple of news items I read from Slashdot and Boing Boing, only to run into a mixed experience of glee and disappointment.

Slashdot reported that the British Library has made available one of Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks on their website, alongside 13 others works from Jane Austin, Lewis Carroll and the Lindisfarne Gospels. This is exactly what libraries should be doing with the Internet...

However, when Boing Boing reported that some of Dylan Thomas's poetry was avilable online, namely a reading of "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and the entire collection of the Caedmon recordings as free mp3 downloads, I ran into huge disappointment.

The first link is a page which, to be fair, does allow you hear Thomas reading his most famous poem, though only in a swf file which you therefore can't download and listen to on whatever music player you choose, and therefore it's only available for as long as choose to maintain the page.

The second link to the Caedmon collection is at, which means that the mp3 downloads are free only insomuch as you're prepared to be a premium subscriber to Salon. This twists the definition of free to a new level.

Thomas died in 1953, so while all of his texts are therefore out of copyright, other media forms such as recordings can still be controlled by copyright owners. Thomas' reading of his own poetry is one of the greatest experiences lovers of poetry and language can enjoy. So the $6 it costs to join salon for a month is almost certainly worth paying for the collection, if not for salon's other content ;)

Categories: poetry, dylan thomas, literature, recording, free,
Comments: 0

Book-porn in Hay-on-Wye

Author: joe

Thursday, 02 June, 2005 - 14:06

People who know me think of me as a book collector. I have some long bookcases packed with paperbacks from charity shops, cheap antiquarian relics, and everything in between; fact jumbled with fiction, though with some semblence of order around the science section, which seems appropriate. These people may be surprised to learn, though, that having been to my first Hay-on-Wye literature festival, I have come home empty-handed.

One of my great pleasures when visiting towns is to look through the shelves of charity shops, or to hunt down second-hand book-shops tucked away in back-streets, and then to rescue some forlorn treasure that I hadn't realised I needed until I set eyes on it. The most pleasure comes from finding just one shop hanging on to its trade by dusty finger-tips, and piling books in my arms as I roam the tight aisles, only ending when I can't carry any more.

Hay-on-Wye, therefore, while it seems a bibliophile's paradise on the surface, is actually more like a pornographic emporium. Everywhere you look there are the multicoloured blocks of books lined up, titles just beyond vision, but their presence gaudily overwhelming. You can buy any book here. You can come to buy a book you plan to buy. You can find anything - eventually. But why even start? No book here can surprise you, since finding it is ultimately inevitable. Here a book is a symbol, a badge. No-one walks without a book in Hay in May. Except me. I am a secret book-lover.

Categories: hay-on-wye, books, secret, literature,
Comments: 2

The study of critics

Author: joe

Wednesday, 01 June, 2005 - 14:04

In a book-shop in Hay-on-Wye - in the Cinema bookshop - I pass an aisle and catch out of the corner of my eye a section sign reading 'critography'. Already lost and desperate to find the exit from this maze of aisles and dust, I duck into another aisle and find pointers to the exit.

Outside, I say, "there's a section in there called 'critography' - what the hell is that?" We don't know. "Perhaps it's the art of laying out a bookshop, a methodology of how to categorise books, which has become such a debated subject it has developed its own field of inquiry. Maybe there's even a related field of how to categorise the various schools of thought on how to categorise books. A meta-critography." My companions, however, are nowhere to be seen.

None of us has seen a critography section anywhere before, or even heard of it. Back home I look it up, only to find it doesn't actually exist. This has become an anti-meta-critography.

Categories: hay-on-wye, critography, endlessly self-similar universe, bookshop, literature,
Comments: 0