Shimura Curves

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

There's Always Someone Somewhere With A Big Nose, Who Knows

I've been walking around, trailing my bad mood like a poisonous miasma lately. No more dwelling. Transcending.

I finally got a decent night's sleep last night, by moving my pillows and sleeping at the other end of the bed. Fell asleep reading Nelson and dreamed about finding lost editions of Blake books, with gorgeous plates.

I've been reading Peter Ackroyd's Chatterton on the train this week, as a break from all the maths. I'd already figured out the plot by about a third of the way through - Ackroyd plot twists stop being a surprise after you've read a few of his books. But still, his books are so dense and so layered and so packed with tiny factoids about London, and brilliant throwaway one-liners that it's still a joy to read. It's not about time travel - no, that would be cheap and tawdry and science fiction - or ghosts, but some kind of overlapping palimpsest view of past and present and future where everything in all timelines coexists in a place. (Stop me if this is starting to sound like quantum physics again.)

The book itself is about plagiarism and forgery and the nature of originality in creative works. I mean, what do I know about that? I nick riffs off every piece of music I've ever listned to, but then people go "Oh, that sounds just like Band X!" when I snigger myself rotten because it's actually a straight copy of Band Y. But that's the way music (oh, and scientific theory, too, while we're at it) grows, a little borrowing, a little tinkering, a little offshoot and growth and there you go.


At 11:34 AM GMT, Blogger Miss Daiquiri said...

I'm being followed by The Death of Chatterton this week. I pick up a postcard of it someone's room on Monday; colleague forwarded me a copy of it randomly yesterday and you put it up here today.

What's the word for that kind of cultural stalking? Is there one?

At 11:38 AM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

I'm sure there is, and I'm sure Ackroyd uses it somewhere in this novel.

At 1:02 PM GMT, Blogger Andrew Farrell said...


At 10:48 AM GMT, Blogger Masonic Boom said...

OK, I got pwned by Ackroyd. The plot twist at the end was NOT what I was expecting at all. Well done!


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