VSX, A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist: Starbuck Powersurge - a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of Viper Squad Ten, a long-disbanded group of stranded timetravelling troubadours, formed to help finance repairs to their time-machine. Now very much stuck in C21...
All text is copyright the Viper Squad Ten blog team 2003-2006 unless otherwise quoted or credited. If we've not credited you properly, please let me know. Throw us a link if you're desperate enough to use this guff...
Well, what felt like the longest working day of my life has ended. I know I've been known to stretch the strings of space-time beyond the levels of elasticity in the past/future - the plasticity of previous distortions of the fourth dimension leaving me stranded in this century - but whatever, this day has dragged! Every minute has seemed like an hour. Which would made my working day 480 hours long. No wonder I'm knackered...
The trouble with today was that the weekend was just so damn perfect. No solid arrangements or responsibilities, just my girl and me, with mid-summer London as our playground.
We saw a lot of wonderful things over the course of our travels. But my eyes have now been opened to a whole new angle on the city. Sunday afternoon, after exploring the vibrancy of Regents Park - the loveliness of the gardens strangely complemented by the vibrancy of the endless pools of people enjoying the sunshine - we crossed over into Primrose Hill. At the base of the hill, well-kept houses on one side, London zoo across the road, the city at large shrouded by trees. As we climbed the hill, more and more of the city revealed itself above the tree-tops - every few metres, another distant landmark rising out of the greenery. And from the top of the hill, the most picturesque view of the city that I could imagine. Most of the famous buildings becoming apparent, whether looming large and unmistakable - Saint Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye, the BT Tower, Battersea Powerstation - or those perceptible more by calculation of angles and colours and relativity. And the Thames, hidden of course, but its course traceable from the pieces of the city on its bankside. The panorama, from the lowlands of the south-west of the city, to the sweeping hillsides against which the south-east nestles against, the vista being spiked by skyscrapers as it stretches over to the north-east. Magnificent.
And this seemed to be the key to the identity of the people of London. People all around, excitedly pointing out the buildings they recognised to their friends, marvelling at the beauty of seeing the city they love through a different lens.
And after, the gentle walk along the deeply-cut Regents Canal, an unspolit world separate from the city at large...
Suicidal tiny moths, flittering round my computer screen, a steady stream being crushed into dust by my hand of god. Moby performing Honey live from Glastonbury on the TV in the corner, distracting the luckier moths from my screen of death.
Honey, a song seared into my head from my overuse of Moby's Play CD in the fantastically bizarre Japanese music videogame Vib Ribbon. Oh my! Trying to ignore Vibri's hyper-kitsch Japanese screeching in my left ear, Moby's now covering Radiohead's Creep in my right ear, very authentically (plus DJ). It's enough to bring a tear to my (right) eye. And back to the well and truly arseholed Phil Jupitus in the studio, followed by footage of hilariously bad stadium rocker shitehawks The Darkness - some far less poignant experiences to soil my dreams with.
I've been watching 24 out of the corner of my eye tonight, trying to spot bad-death-scene-actor-and-Master-of-Bouncer Jim Robinson from Neighbours, who I've heard is Vice Bleedin' President of the U.S.A! I didn't actually see the Neighbours superstar, also known to his family as Alan Dale - most disappointing. But googling him - berlimey, he's got some TV CV on him! Reason enough for me dig out that last episode of the X-Files which I've not got round to seeing, or seeking out a cheap copy of Star TrekNemesis. He truly is a cult celebrity. (Or something not too dissimilar...)
Re-reading the Architect transcript from Matrix Reloaded again (this should be made essential reading to anyone who's seen the film; they should make filmgoers sign a contract on entering the theatre.) Reinforcing thoughts in my head. This stuff was all obvious to me once, but too much information is coming from too many opinions being written as too much fact. Theories are blurring the truth - they are hiding the evidence in front of us.
When the previous iterations of The One have chosen (due to their "profound attachment to the rest of their species") the door to the right (that "leads to the source, and the salvation of Zion"), they were then "required to select from the matrix 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male, to rebuild Zion". Simply put, the return of the One to the source caused the reloading of the matrix from scratch, but the One would also act to disconnect 23 people from the matrix as he knows it; they would be taken to the matrix simulation of Zion, also freshly rebooted. Back in the first film, Morpheus told Neo about the first person to be disconnected from the matrix, the one who released the first of the others from it. In the next reload of the matrix, in this sort of situation they would be referring to Neo. That is, they would if Neo hadn't potentially messed things up by causing "a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race". Bugger!
Why the existence of the doors, anyway? The doors may be there to allow Neo that essential factor of choice at the end of the cycle, during the end-game with the Architect when the artificial nature of Zion is revealed. (Choice: 99.9% of all minds would accept the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level; that choice, if they could find it, facilitated by the possibility of finding their way into the real world - or the Zion program's simulation of it. People are always convinced there must be more to the world than what they can see.)
But that's getting away from the basics. As I said at the start, too much hypothesising just clouds the issue. I'll wait for the next film. (Or more likely, I'll complicate matters by googling transcripts from the Enter The Matrix game and the Animatrix shorts. Gah!)
But one last thought. Maybe schizophrenics are the true seers of the matrix. They can make sense of patterns in the algorithms of the code.
I do like this new Blogger build. Nice and solid. Lovely. And I don't feel the need to keep irrationally CONTROL-C'ing my posts-in-progress, just in case (the result of early cack-handed blogging forays).
Previous Blogger was never that bad, but it's interesting how quickly we forget the architectural deficiencies blighting past iterations of much-visited websites. Checking out the earliest versions of Hotmail on the Internet Archive - jeez, did we really expect so little back then?
Thrash-metal stereotypes Slayer once wrote a song called Dead Skin Mask. After peeling my watch from my wrist (something that I've probably only been done a dozen or so times over the last half-decade), and inspecting the yellowing accretion of keratinocytes now integral to the structure of the strap, musical inspiration has struck: "Dead Skin Watch". One for the Dieticians rather than the Squad, there. Or maybe not.
Talking of dead skin, one of my favourite smells is the smell of the skin behind my ears. Now I do wash regularly. But if I rub my fingers behind an ear, they pick up an exquisitely natural fragrance. (Maybe it's my genetically altered biochemistry at work here, either in secretion or detection; my money's on the former - my fingertips also seem to have some sort of advanced exocrine function, acidly burning through the ink of magazine covers with ease.)
I remember jug-eared superstar Martin Clunes once saying in an interview once that his favourite smell in the world was the smell behind a dog's floppy ears. The filthy ear-pervert. Well, doggy-ear-undersides may be good, but he's thankfully never inhaled my back-ear-odour.
Just when I think I've broken free, when I'm getting through the cold turkey of Matrix discussion, I briefly drop back in to Matrix Essays, and find myself caught up within an essay called The System (parts 1, 2 & 3). Very interesting perspective. And from there I predictably follow the white rabbit to yet another discussion site (Wondering). I must stop this. We will all know what's officially going on soon enough. And hopefully the revelation will not come about for me before I see Revolutions.
Hmm. That bloke (Aaron Barschak) who dresses up as Osama Bin Laden in a dress and who gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party. Alleged comedian. Not too funny on the face of it. I think his dad pretty much summed it up on BBC News. "He is a zany character with a zany sense of humour." Anyone who describes themselves (or is described by their loved ones) as "zany" is usually massively lacking in the slightest semblence of any sense of humour. Attention-seeking is no substitute. (The Dieticians were not zany. Their tunes were finely honed by expert jokesmiths.) And as for appearing as a Comedy Terrorist - Barschak's got no idea. Comedy Ostriches, that's a different matter. Now, if he'd broken into Windsor Castle dressed as Bernie Clifton's Comedy Ostrich, that would be an amazing comedy coup. Especially if the TV Funnyman was still strapped to the unruly mount...
(Post-script: A "rivetting" discussion about the interconnectivity of modern UK TV comedy figurehead follows, lacking in any depth or deep thought. And it doesn't even mention The Office. It's balancing on the knife-edge of deletion at present. I'd be best off recycling it into a editorial-free list of links. I didn't even have any excuse to include US classic The Larry Sanders Show in there (Best Thing Ever!) . My advice would be to click hereto jump to the next post to avoid it, and we'll forget it ever happened, okay?)
Now Simon Munnery. His League Against Tedium's Attention Scum, that was quite an interestingly different, funny series. He is also associated with Lee & Herring - also very funny. And the mighty Kevin Eldon has worked with all of the above. As well as Chris Morris on Brass Eye and (Blue) Jam. As with most of the writers and actors in this cross-fertilized pool of shows (Simon Pegg, Armando Iannucci, Sally Phillips, Peter Baynham, David Schneider, Mark Heap, etceterbleedingra) Eldon has also appeared in Alan Partridge's various projects, Big Train , Spaced, and judging by his peers has in all probability appeared in Friday/Saturday Night Armistice. If I could be arsed to turn this nightmare pointless paragraph into some sort of family tree of comedy shows, I'd be linking in to The League Of Gentlemen and Father Ted round about now.
But I won't. Because, glancing up the page, this post about comedy looks to be the most boring thing I've ever read. Much less comedic than Noel Edmonds. Much less sophisticated than Viz. Less adult even than The Chuckle Brothers. Chu Chuckle. Aaron Barschak's got a lot to answer for.
I've travelled the world, and I've been to some amazing places. The transcendental wonder of China, the beauty of the diverse natural environments paraded within the vastness of America, the arrays of raw unspoilt worlds making up New Zealand, the rich heterogeneity of Europe. But London never ceases to be the most beautiful city in the world for me.
I spent yesterday evening in Blackheath - an extremely green and pleasant suburb, a small peaceful town transplanted into the midst of London. A more central Richmond Upon Thames. The short journey to work in Central London by train this morning took in the magnificence of the skyscrapers of Docklands, as well as snatched glimpses of the more historic constructions of the tourist guides. And the bus home, through the bustling City streets cutting between buildings both majestic and discarded, and across the Thames at Blackfriars - the tide high, water chopped by the wakes of boats and dappled by the dark clouds, texturing the landscape with slabs of grey-brown, shards of light piercing the vault of the heavens, casting currents of gold through the water. Tower Bridge peeking above the carriage roofs of the train crossing the rail bridge on one side, Westminster and the London Eye proudly standing facing each other across the water on the other.
And on to Tesco Metro at Elephant and Castle, where the genetic wasteland seems to be pooling tonight. The spell broken by screaming children. Gits.
(Bugger. Powersurge's PC just got rebooted by a powersurge, mid-post. Fingers crossed for this attempt.)
A big thank you to Stu for sharing his deepest thoughts on the big issues of the day (below). You say you felt a bit weird and a bit dirty blogging your first. In my experience you're always feeling a bit weird and dirty...
The only problem is that you write too damn well. If we ever get Viper Squad back together again, and if I ever need someone to ghost-write all my lyrics, I'll know who to turn to. With the superior quality of your blog compositions, however, you have in one fell swoop reduced the quality of my own posts to that of a cider-lashed 12-year-old after devouring a bag of glue for inspiration.
It wasn't always like this. It's just that in the future we used a (far more complex) dialect, and I've had some problems downgrading the level of my mental operations to that appropriate to this era. Maybe I've downgraded too much. Back in the future, I was a renowned genius of the age; hence the time-machine. As some sort of vainglorious self-celebration of the expressive and fluently-flourished manner of my articulation (and that), I even back-implanted the following lyrics about me into the mind of Les Claypool (of Primus "fame"), although no-one unfortunately seemed to notice: "My name is Mr Knowitall, and I'm so eloquent. Perfection is my middle-name, (and whatever rhymes with eloquent.)" (click HERE to download a bootleg of it, recorded in the bogs next door to the San Jose State Student Union Ballroom by the sound of it).
Classic lyric. Right up there with Obie Trice's "I cook up that hot shit like Ainsley Harriet" on his (unintentiontally?) hilarious Adrenaline Rush (parental advisory explicit lyrics).
OK, enough shite lyrics. A seriously good song with seriously good lyrics from a seriously good band is currently drifting through my head - Do You Realize? from the seriously good album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips -
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Back to Stu's post.
Can't argue with the ability of NIN's Downward Spiral to stimulate cathartic miserableness (although nowadays it induces hyperactive mania within me.) And Faith No More's The Real Thing (followed in my timeline by Angel Dust and Introduce Yourself) did so very much change my life, as did Jane's Addiction's "Three Days" (for me), but then not as much as The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld (and it's sequels). The thing with music, though, it's the same situation as with people. We all like different things. We've all been moulded differently, we all get different things from different sounds and emotions. So when I hear "1992" or "Mellow Song" or "Caramel" or especially "Trimm Trabb" from Blur's 13, then I get the most intensely emotional feelings - heart-wrenching, desperate, strengthening or beautiful, we get what we've put into stuff like that. Somewhere along the way, and even if we can't even remember what it is further down the line, a lot of personal stuff will still have seeped in there. And in this bland world of pop-culture that tries to stifle emotions, then whatever induces them, that has got to be a positive thing.
As for Exit Planet Dust, I'm afraid I can't comment. Our copy is covered in foodstuffs.
I feel very wierd doing this, and a bit dirty. But I've been invited, so i will attempt to embrace this wonderful technology as best I can. Far be it from me to say that i didn't know what a "blog" was until six months ago, and that's only becuase teh Guardian website kept going on about them (i realise the word "Guardian" should be a link, but i dunno how to do that. YET.)
Think Tank and 13 are profoundly unmoving, emotionless albums. Music should stir the heart, lift one's spirits (or indeed provide cathartic miserableness when required - I'm looking at you, Downward Spiral) and I don't think either of those albums do. I was at a party at the weekend and discussing excitedly my musical evolution (er, basically Madonna - Bon Jovi - thrash metal - Faith No More - indie - dance - pretty much anything), the important bit being Faith No More, and this guy had a similar sonic trajectory and we both agreed that FNM changed our lives (sadly). THINK, if you will (well Andy should anyway, as i know he's been through this to a greater or lesser extent) when you first heard FNM. First bought The Real Thing. First heard Been Caught Stealing by Jane's. THAT'S the power of music, and not every album or song does that, but they could (and should). And neither 13 or TT do, for me at least. WHEREAS look at Parklife, and even Blur - brilliant, stirring, wonderful.
P.S., Harvey, I was listening to Come WIth Us last night, and again, it's just not top notch. Compare any of it to the first two tracks from Exit Planet Dust - pah.
But anyway, i'm a ridiculous musical snob who's read NME for too long and is too old to do so now. I always remember Gill saying that I liked music in the way a virgin does, sort of like a 14 year old boy. I took that as an insult at the time (er probably because i WAS a virgin at the time) but now i take it as a compliment.
Er anyway, is that the sound of a million computers turning themselves off? Bye...
Slightly fuzzy head after a day-long stag night. A lot better than when I woke up, my mouth feeling like I'd been chewing on the contents of my vacuum cleaner.
What better way to deal with it, than a day fuelled by Monster Munch, hiding from the sun, lost in a pyschedelic trance. Something caught my eye in the latest Edge magazine, something which I've been yearning for for a long time. A freeware PC version of Jeff Minter's classic, Tempest 2K, going by the name of Tsunami 2010. It's available as a tiny 96K download from Apocalypse Inc, also available from Classic Game Remakes. Shove your own CD of banging music into your PC (in-game disc of choice right now, White Label Euphora CD 2), load up the game, let the sweet swirling visuals wash over you, and let yourself go. Just you and the game, at one in the zone. Fabulously addictive old school blasting action. Looks set to well and truly take over from Spheres of Chaos as my quick fix adrenaline-inducer. Fantastic.
[ Friday, June 13, 2003 ]
I've received some feedback from a couple of people about the stream of unconciousness that spews out of my fingers onto this site.
My very good friend Andy from Bristol - a physicist by birth - was asking why I didn't have any decent web links like MathPages.com or Hunkin's Experiments... My god, that man is way too asymptosical. Or something. Actually, some of MathPages.com could turn out to be quite interesting, even if most of it means bugger all to me. Got to fulfull those nerd tendancies somehow. And if not, at least it's got a a bizarrely out-of-place MIDI music page. Hunkin's Experiments looks to be a lot more useful. As the blurb say, "Cool cartoons that will have you experimenting with food, light, sound, clothes, and a whole lot more!"
Ah, thinking of Bristol makes me realise how much I miss it. Such a peacful, wonderful place. Especially on a beautifully sunny day such as today (although you don't get many of those down that way)
And how much I'll likewise miss London when I move back to the Midlands later in the year to be with my girlfriend. But then, I miss her even more...
Anyway, enough wistful thoughts.
I Received another email, this time from Stu, after postcarding him to this post. As I'm big enough to admit that other people often differ in their opinions from me (and are therefore wrong), I'll paste his email below:
"Thank you! I’m touched! It’s 9.31am and me and my boss are listening to This Corrosion – God this song rocks like a mutha, and rocks like no other! I’d forgotten the crap rap at the end! I’ve bled all I can I’m can’t bleed no more… ace.
Good blog action, although I’m still not wholly convinced of this medium’s usefulness. But I got a mention, so what do I care?
I don’t like the description of the Blur album. It’s not that good, dammit! And neither is Radiohead. If you want absolutely beautiful melodies and songs that make you want to cry in a good way, get the new Grandaddy album, Sumday. Or even better the last one, Sophtware Slump, which will be more up your street as it’s got a really sad song about a robot on it. PS although I only ever heard about it from you after the event and was never involved, Dieticians featuring Fat is still very funny. PPS ExistenZ is rubbish. You diss the man, but you’re second to Knowles for raving about mediocrity!"
First of all, The Sisters Of Mercy's This Corrosion. Top song, true, and I must try and get a copy of Floodland again. However, Lucretia My Reflection doesn't just rock like a mutha, but it rocks like a Noisy Mutha - the best. (Interesting pre-GulfWar2 interview with the Sisters' Andrew Eldritch on George W Bush and his so called War On Terror on their website, by the way. Though I'm way too shallow and/or hungry to read it properly right now.)
I very much disagree with Stu's opinion on Think Tank (we also big-time disagree on 13, which I reckon is one of the best albums of all time.) And I'll have to reserve judgement on Radiohead's Hail To The Thief, which I bought a few days ago along with Massive Attack's 100th Window; both of which I'm very much looking forward to delving deeply into, even if I've not found the time to concentrate my focus on as yet. They sound good on first listen, however. (And Massive's website is a stunning multimedia marvel, once you've learnt how to navigate round it properly, and worked out the best command-line prompts. Been spending alot of time in the area where you can mix together your own tracks by progressing the different images on screen, knocking together Aphex Twin-style ambient masterpieces on the fly. But my PC is now going slightly crazy, as I've got windows from loads of different sites all playing their own thing - The Massive Attack stuff, and Radiohead Television is playing some cheesy test-card music, announcing that programming starts in 22 minutes, and Warp records is bleeping and buzzing away, and my TV is on in the corner, and it's all DRIVING ME MAD!
Anyway, the main reason for pasting Stu's email, was to bring attention to his comment that "Dieticians featuring Fat is still very funny". So there you go, anyone just surfing by. Dieticians Featuring Fat - top comedy band. Viper Squad Ten - top slightly-less-comedic-but-more-musically-sophisticated band. Covers all bases.
And Hormone Hell. A film that Peter Jackson might have made in his early career. If my old BT-friend Douglas Elford-Argent can get his film The Fast Life on the market, we can manage with the Hell.
Send me your money, and you can join the cult of the enlightened.
I will have to fill in more details on these ground-breaking projects in future posts. Spread the word.
That's enough by a long way for one post. There's a bottle of wine with my name on it, and I want to make it's acquaintance.
Car alarms I can deal with - with your pillow wrapped round your head, they can even lull you to sleep. Drunken passers-by in the street, no problem.
But May-flies / May-bugs. No way. Drifting off to sleep last night, I hear a shuffling under the bed. It sounds like a rat, desperately trying to escape from the assorted junk "stored" under there. The rustling continues. Stops for a moment. Then the rat sounds to be trapped in the light-fitting on the ceiling. I shot out of bed, turned on the light, and the rat turned out to be a massive bug, flittering around the light, dislodging dust in its random panic. A flying invader that has breached the hermetic seal of my sleep. Maybe a May-fly, maybe not. It's not even May - it's chosen the wrong month to carry out it's life-cycle (a life-cycle which I have fore-shortened.) Maybe it's a time-travelling May-fly, with big ideas for its 24 hours of activity, with hopes of exploring the unknown of the world after May. Hopes, and carapace, now crushed.
Just thinking, whilst replying to Matt's Matrix-related email, that the more you think about all aspects of the films, the more you can create for yourself all manner of meanings. Maybe that's the point. As that could be what humanity has done in real life anyway, in creating all of it's belief systems and superstitions, let alone creating non-religious aspects of society around loose trains of thought. We've got a lot of space in our minds. Free will allows a lot of powerful thought. Given enough space we can dream up anything. Be anything. Ambiguity of reality. It's an evolutionary advantage.
Am I a nerd? Am I a geek?
Is the fact that I check The Register and Slashdot most days (even though I don't understand half of it alof of the time) a sign that I'm badly in need of more active personality? Or just that I'm badly in need of more exciting websites?
Or am I some horrible Streets style wannabe? Or just some horrible amalgum of the two?
Whatever, the nerd side is winning through, as I get all excited about Qualys' Browser Check. Most interesting. A nice way of quickly looking for basic browser insecurities. Got very geekily caught up late last night with yesterday's Adaware reference update as well. Spent way too long googling and searching the Lavasoft forums, checking the background for some IGetNet object in the registry which came up as a Data Miner; as hoped, it turned out to be a spyware false positive, and has now been removed from todays ref file. Yawn. The one positive/negative aspect is, I've seen that there's a wealth of good advice going on in their forums.
Like I care. (breaking open a beer) Computers are boring, they do boring things, they are created by suits to fill their pockets with their shoddy (soft)wares, the net is propped up by wide-boy companies doing things with your data and your lives that your unaware of.
(Downloading my emails) Or maybe I'm kidding myself. Perhaps I want to be suffused in data. Perhaps I want the digital to merge with my neurochemical. Maybe I want the ultrastructures and inter-connectivities of computers and their space to reach such a level of complexity that I can merge metaphysically with them into one confused unit.
More late night Reloaded discussion surfing, when I should be unpacking / bathing / sleeping.
Thanks to Stu for the transcript of the Architect's speech from Geekroar. Lots of other good stuff there, and the Matrix stuff is now also being mirrored, digested, and threaded (as far as possible) HERE (looks to be a very useful resource, but I'm just too fracking tired to read any more on this tonight.
I wanted to go to sleep. And I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky Wachowski brothers.
Back in England after a very relaxing week and a bit in the Costa De Blanca / Murcia region of Spain . A wonderful week. The weather was mostly baking, the beaches beautiful, the food and wine plentiful, and the company very good. We were staying in a lovely villa in the El Pinar De Campoverde urbanisation (click here for a map of the area, nearest town Pilar De La Horadada). And it was soooo good to spend a decent amount of time with my girl, after months of snatched days here and there. And now I am back in England, in a different town, still bathing in her afterglow, but missing her immensely.
But enough.This site isn't here for the personal things in life. Baring my soul will now bring about the reconstruction of the time machine. It will not bring about any reunion tour of Viper Squad Ten. It will not get any Dieticians Featuring Fat albums back on the shelves of the world's record stores. It will not get Hormone Hell into the multiplexes.
But then, maybe I'm too caught in the present to escape this timeframe anyway. Too addicted to the early 21st Century. Too stuck on its popular culture.
Talking of popular culture, one of the greatest things about holidays, is freeing up the time to actually read. I started reading Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk whilst on a skiing holiday in Vail, Colorado earlier this year. Loved it to death, an immensely satisfying read. And a much more edifying read than Chuck's previous, Choke, where, as warned in the first chapter, you just weren't going to like the central character. As Palahniuk's books are mainly written in the first person, if you are in the mind of someone without many redeeming features, it can be tough going. The anger and raw visceral primitive instinct-led narrative of that book totally contrasts with that of Lullaby and Fight Club, where the narrator's are (seemingly) more witty and intelligent. Lullaby's character, Carl Streator, a journalist, is written in the descriptive style of a hack; details matter. The structure of the book plays with the reader. Whilst Choke's self-loathing could sometimes suffocate the reader, perhaps appropriately. But then, only two-thirds of the way into Lullaby, and I've got a feeling that anything could happen.