Hello from out here on the Thames Delta. The frost seems to have passed. I'm writing this in the early part of the week, waiting on some updates - if this seems short, it's because I've had to wrap up fast and have entrusted this email to the scheduling software. Which has let me down in the past, so we'll see how this works out.
Thanks to the people who shared their experiences of primary hyperparathyroidism - their messages got routed to me and were very useful, and I'm grateful. Also, for a supposedly rare disease, I have to say, four or five people out of a sampling of 22,000 or so... wow. As I write this, we're waiting on some test results and appointments for more tests, and we're hoping the road to a solid diagnosis isn't as long as it looked. It's still taking up a lot of mental real estate and time here.
But! Got an email from Dougald Hine the other day:
My copy just arrived! It's out in a few weeks. Read more about it here, and (UK) (US) among other places to order it. I put this here because if I don't do it now I'll forget to do it later and the email will go out without it! Also the "...& all the other emergencies" makes me smile every time I see it.
As you read this, I should have landed all my first drafts on the second audio drama serial. Now I go back to the DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT scripts and give them all a polish draft to clear out errors and as much bad stuff as I can and to bring them a little more in line with the actors' voices. Writing scripts for performance without knowing the actors is, for me, as difficult as writing a comics script without knowing who the artist is. I can do it, but I prefer not to.
Once that's all done, I'll have my notes on the second serial and can start rewriting that. Episode 101 of the second serial just got approved for production, so that's in train now.
But, for right now, I just agreed to do a time-sensitive high-priority consultation job, so it is time to roast and grind many coffee beans.
I love COLUMBO. When my partner got Covid, I spent ten days in the room next to hers, listening and waiting and watching the complete COLUMBO from top to bottom. That particular NBC Mystery Movie styling, with the yellow text, is a little comfort zone.
I started watching POKER FACE, the NBC Peacock mystery show created by Rian Johnson, and look how they style it:
They run the credits all the way through the cold open in this style, exactly like COLUMBO. What a clever, conscious little touch.
Some of the Celtic Christian literature that emerged from these centuries took the form of the immram, a word which might be translated perhaps as a ‘wonder-voyage’, a sea journey to an otherworld.* The immrama – The Voyage of Mael Duin’s Boat, The Adventure of Bran and The Voyage of Brendan being among the best known – are set on the seaways. They are narratives of passage, which move easily from the recognizable to the supernatural, fading from known into imagined geographies with minimal indication of transition. In these tales, the actual territories of Scotland, Iceland, Orkney and Shetland are connected by the sea roads with fabled places such as the Hesperides, the Island of the Blessed, also known as the Fortunate Isles (an archipelago that was still marked on charts of the west Atlantic into the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), and Hy-Brazil, the island of happiness off the west coast of Ireland, where sickness is impossible and contentment assured.
My name is Warren Ellis, and I’m a writer from England. These newsletters are about the work I do and the creative life I try to lead. I send them every Sunday to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to orbitaloperations.com , where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe for their own.
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I've just deleted 725 emails from Bandcamp informing me of new releases from labels I've purchased from before. I decided that at least some of 2023 is about spending time with the library I've already got. I have a huge number of CDs, some of which may only have been listened to once or twice, some of which probably haven't been played in years. And my podcast queue got insanely backed up.
I acquired EARTH HORNS WITH ELECTRONIC DRONE by the late Yoshi Wada at some expense, a couple of years back. Turns out it's on YouTube.
... recorded live in 1974. Combining four of Wada's self-made "pipehorns" (made from plumbing materials, over three meters in length), with an electronic drone tuned to the electrical current of the performance space, this is a lost masterpiece of early minimalism... Recorded live in Syracuse, New York, this recording captures the room-filling complex overtones generated by the ever-shifting interplay of the breathing horns and the constant electronic drone.
GOT MORE TIME?
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A fairly dense week on LTD, so here's a reading list for later:
FOLKLORE OF ESSEX, Sylvia Kent - a good book about my part of the world
The Garden Is Frozen - actually more about writing online, knowledge work and "digital gardens"
The Real Gray Man: BACK BLAST, Mark Greaney - saw the film on Netflix? This is what one of the actual novels is like.
YELLOWBACKS - brief notes on an sf tv play from 1990 that popped into my head that day
DUNE: The Throat Singing - you know the bit.
Okay. Short one this week. Things to do. And I'm hoping that by the weekend the ground will be thawed enough that I can dig out a couple of patches in the garden and chop some more stuff down. I'm looking forward to it. Give yourself a little gift this week. Even if it's just five minutes to yourself with a glass of something cheerful. Life is supposed to be enjoyed. Take care of yourself, and I hope to write to you next week.