Fourth of July arrives one day early for Beach Boys

The Independence Day fireworks celebrations are being held in Boston one day ahead – on the third instead of the fourth of July. That’s because of the weather – and the Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys

Hurricane Arthur is expected to hit early in the morning on the fourth, so the Boston Pops concert organizers had two choices – hold the fireworks show on the third or the fifth. They chose the third because the Beach Boys couldn’t come on the fifth – they have another concert elsewhere that day. [Read more...]

Bloggy and blog: The difference

India Ink

India Ink

The New York Times has shut down the India Ink blog. When it was launched in September 2011, the newspaper called it its “first-ever country-specific site for news, information, culture and conversation.” Its shutdown follows the closure of The Lede blog in May. The New York Times blog I miss most is The Booming blog which was targeted at baby boomers. It appeared for the last time on February 4. [Read more...]

Love is… the Swinging Sixties

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

That’s how Philip Larkin concluded his famous poem, Annus Mirabilis, though why he said life was never better than in 1963 you will have to find out for yourself. Read the poem. See the first line. Now you see why it couldn’t be mentioned here?

Actually, 1963 was too early for me, but never mind. The Swinging Sixties was the most glorious decade reckoning. I didn’t catch the Beatles’ first hit immediately after it came out, but I caught on pretty soon, oh yes,

Love, love me do
You know I love you

(That was their first hit)

And what a medley of hits followed: Please Please Me, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love, A Hard Day’s Night.

So here they are. I Saw Her Standing There was on the flip side of the US release of I Want To Hold Your Hand, according to Wikipedia. [Read more...]

Happy birthday, Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

Happy birthday, Salman Rushdie!

He is all of 67 today. What a pity a book he began with such brio has haunted him ever since.

Few books open as memorably as The Satanic Verses. I cannot imagine any other writer describing an air crash quite like him. After the plane explodes over the English Channel, the two protagonists, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, are the only survivors, found washed up on a snowbound English beach.

I have not read beyond the opening because I don’t want to get into any religious controversy. All religions should be respected. I don’t want to hear ill of any religion.

But the opening of this novel is unforgettable. The two characters falling from the sky, flapping their arms and singing as they fall, reminded me of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins. [Read more...]

The Circle’s a must for Google, Facebook users

Anyone who uses Google, Twitter or Facebook – and that’s practically everybody – needs to read The Circle by Dave Eggers. Fiction, but a chilling possible look into our future. Good book.

Actually, I am quoting somebody else to give my own views on The Circle, Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel. It is 1984 updated, with a Google-like company playing Big Brother’s role.

I thought it would be apt to use social media to review a book about social media. So here you see what others have been saying about the book on Twitter, Google Plus and in newspaper reviews.

Eggers was asked in a brief interview with McSweeney’s, a magazine he cofounded: “Is this book about Google or Facebook or any particular company?” [Read more...]

A Steve Jobs favourite

Autobiography of a Yogi

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda

I am reading what was probably the first book downloaded by Steve Jobs on his iPad 2. The book: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, an Indian yogi who moved to America in 1920 and died in Los Angeles in 1952.

Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, saw the book on the Apple cofounder’s iPad 2 the day after the tablet was launched on March 2, 2011. Isaacson writes in his biography, Steve Jobs:

At his house the following day he was still on a high. He was planning to fly to Kona Village the next day alone and I asked to see what he had put on his iPad 2 for the trip. There were three movies: Chinatown, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Toy Story 3. More revealingly, there was just one book he had downloaded: The Autobiography of a Yogi, the guide to meditation and spirituality that he had first read as a teenager, then reread in India, and had read once a year ever since.

[Read more...]

The News: A User’s Manual

The public and the media both expect journalists to get their facts right, but is the concern for accuracy resulting in boring news?

Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton

Alain De Botton seems to think so.

According to him, journalists need some of the skills of writers who can get readers to read and relate to their stories.

In his book, The News: A User’s Manual, he finds reason for public indifference to foreign news.

The news has to be more compelling, he says, to interest readers and viewers. [Read more...]

Janis Joplin and Simon and Garfunkel

I am enjoying reading the early chapters of record producer Clive Davis’ memoir, The Soundtrack of My Life, where he recalls working with artistes like Bob Dylan, Simon Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Sly and the Family Stone, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Johnny Winter and Miles Davis.

Davis, who became the president of Columbia Records and later founded the Arista record label, made his name with Sixties artistes and bands.

Janis Joplin

Big Brother and Holding Company was his first major signing. He was wowed by their lead singer, Janis Joplin’s performance at the legendary Monterey festival in 1967.

[Read more...]

A permanent library in Pocket

Hail the online Permanent Library. Now you can read even content deleted from the internet if you have already saved it on Pocket. What surprises me is the news about Pocket’s new features is completely silent on its precursor. Is public memory so short?

Pocket Premium, the newly launched paid version of Pocket, gives you access to what’s being called a Permanent Library. The Pocket blog says:

Permanent Library automatically stores a copy of the articles and web pages you save. This means the content you care about is safe and always available, even if it changes or is deleted on the Web. From the moment you upgrade to Premium, both new and existing items in your list and Archive become a permanent resource.



[Read more...]