February 10th, 2008

Hermione Ire

Hermione Eyre in today's Indy: "Intelligent time travel: the main character was in a coma, not a Tardis. You can do an awful lot more with a coma."

Eno, Eno collaboration

Have read a 2nd hand copy of the out of print 'A year with swollen appendices' by Brian Eno. This is, as the title kind of implies, a year of his diary (1995) with appendices. The diary includes all sorts of stuff, from descriptions of his working with U2 and Bowie, War Child, his recipes (heavy on fish so not directly useful to me though made me think I should try a couple of things), and complaints about H.M. Customs seizing his porn ordered from the States - the things we had to go through before broadband :-)
The only faintly risible bit is where Eno, in a fine piece of intellectual passive aggression, complains to Bowie that he isn't getting a big enough cut on their collaboration by means of sending Bowie a 15 page essay on the history of intellectual properly rights in the context of their application to music - this is reproduced as one of the appendices.
Compared to most people of his stature, Eno comes over as a genuine guy who knows what he is talking about. My main 'take home' from the book, which is probably not what is intended (:-)) is that living in London, and particularly living in London with small children, is pretty pleasant if you have shed loads of money. Probably obvious, but sometimes the bleeding obvious benefits from being pointed out.
He is one of 'the gang' with Stewart Brand and the book features lots of letters to and from Brand. Eno, therefore, is in some sense the 'link' between Stafford Beer and Stewart Brand, the secret masters of the universe. Such is my admiration for Eno, having read this book, that this raises Brand's stature in my eyes, there are aspects of Brand I am slightly dubious about, I suspect that after meeting him I would have a vague desire to count my gold fillings to be on the safe side.
Inevitably, it would have been nice to have some more concrete details of what he was doing with the music software, generative music and so on he was playing with, but then I often think that about books.