Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

 

Taken at the Flood

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there is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

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over a decade ago, in 2002, river Vltava flooded.

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people called it a Hundred Year Flood (some said Four Hundred Year Flood) meaning a flooding so extreme that it occurs only once in a hundred (or four hundred ) years.

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 it was a truly strange time. 

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back then, I lived with my partner in the enormous, shabby glamour of his fifth floor family apartment. Much of Prague city center had been drowned, blacked out and evacuated. We, on the periphery of the center, were also beginning to be evacuated. In the end, as it transpired, we were not forced to leave because our apartment building was on a hump in the street, which lofted us above the high water mark.

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when I leaned out the window before most of the street was flooded, I saw people moving and meeting in clots and singly in a slow chaotic dance that bore little resemblance to the purposeful hither and thither of normal days  Even at that distance, it was possible to see something had changed.

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later, when we went out to try to find out if we were required to evacuate, we called into one of the cafes higher up where many continue reading

 

Wings of Desire

 

 

one of the most beautiful, moving, poetic films I have ever seen is Wings of Desire..

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i mean the original Wim Wenders version in German with subtitles  (German title literally translates as Wings over Berlin), with a script chiefly written by the brilliant and controversial Austrian writer Peter Handke. Not the hideous American remake starring the Nicholas Cage as an angel and dandelion haired Meg Ryan as a brain surgeon.

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wings of Desire is one of those exquisite films you can see over and over, but not often for it is very potent.

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everything about it is beautiful;The idea, for a start.

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it is the story of two angels, Damiel (played by the sublimely perfect Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (played by Otto Sander) who hover over and move about Berlin outside time, witnessing all thoughts that occur to humans. They live in a parallel black and white world, and are unable to feel or be seen or felt by humans. Then Damiel falls in love with a beautiful tightrope walker.

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made just before the wall came down, the theme of  divided worlds permeates the film on many levels. It exploits the tension between the overlapping states of angel and human, but Wenders’ angelic realm does not conform to traditional ideas of angels.

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 having carefully watched human beings from the beginning of time, the two angels know humanity better than we know ourselves. But while their realm continue reading

 

E book – an evolutionary step or a fork in the story road?

taking a walk around my neighbourhood in Prague one windy day last week, I found myself reflecting upon the online month long self destructing launch of my first self-published E book, Greylands, in the light of the sales figures I had just rounded up for the first time.

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the launch took place late last year and the story of my decision to self publish the out of print Greylands as an E book is reasonably well known.

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why did I do it?

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i wanted to see what it would take in time and money, in expertise and stress to turn a print book into an Ebook. I wanted to find out if it was inevitable that the layouts of E books were so lousy. I wanted to find out if it was mind bogglingly time consuming or hideously expensive or requiring stunningly difficult technological knowhow. I wanted to see if I could believe that Ebooks really were taking off as all the hype suggested, and were destined to make print books (libraries, book shops, book buses, book sellers, bookshelves) obsolete. 

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or not…

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if you don’t know the back story, I invite you to delve into the virtual cellar of this blog and dust off the archived Greylands Launch site with its thirty fantastic essays about E books by book folk ranging from writers to publishers, editors, artists, book shop owners, teachers, government people, journalists, kids … well, you continue reading