Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Kill and Quell and Cull and Collect.

Hello Neil,

A few entries back you mentioned a web site that you had allowed to post the Strange Little Girls stories. I was unable to attend the tour and though a friend of mine tried to mail me one of the programs it disappeared in the postal system. So, do you remember what site it was that posted the stories? I'd love to read them.



A quick google reveals that the stories are at


For those of you keeping track of the cat population in this house, Buddy (a ragged-eared brown male who turned up here the week after the Black Cat went to his new home, seven years ago) disappeared while I was in Europe recently. This is sad, and Maddy was heartbroken.

Because of the law of Conservation of Cats, we almost immediately found ourselves being presented with a choice of kittens. Maddy picked a small white female kitten with grey blotches, who she called, for reasons that I do not yet understand, Coconut. A quick trip to the vet, and Maddy discovered herself to be the proud owner of a small white male kitten with grey blotches and an ear infection named Coconut.

Watching Coconut move, in a series of unlikely bounces and pounces and springs that defy gravity, I found myself thinking of Fritz Leiber's marvellous short story "Space-Time for Springers", a story that everyone who's ever tried to understand kittens should read. Harlan Ellison sent Fritz a copy of my own "Dream of a Thousand Cats" with a note from me saying it was probably Fritz's fault.

Which reminds me, they are culling (or more precisely, killing) cats in Singapore. (Hm. A few seconds with a dictionary reveals that kill and quell come from the same roots. Cull, on the other hand, comes from the linguistic branch that gives us words like collect.)

Dear Neil:

I would just like to point out that 3,440 people from Singapore, out of a population of 4.5 million, represents 7.4% of the population. Japan, on the other hand, with 2240 out of a population of 126million, clocks in at 1.7%. Therefore, in terms of percentage, Singapore still likes you better.

My FAQ: If all the 3,340 people in Singapore sent you a dollar, would that be enough to get you here?

PS - The cat culling is slowing. But it's been an interesting two weeks - Singaporeans as a whole aren't used to the idea of civic protest. (Not anymore, anyway). I'm very excited. We even have a petition, that I'm not in any way pimping - really. summary of the situation:

I think there are some misplaced decimal points there, but your point is certainly well taken.

Hi Neil,

On the Radiohead/Thom Yorke subject, I heard Thom being interviewed on Jonathan Ross' Radio 2 show at the weekend. Yorke said that for a while they purposefully didn't include lyrics with their albums as they wanted to make journalists work a little harder when listening to their music. Eventually they found the misquotations far too depressing and so the new release includes full lyrics. You can listen to the show online through the BBC site.

On a connected topic, I know that you used to do a bit of rock hackery yourself, have you come across the excellent Rocking Vicar website ( and weekly newsletter?

John Innes

I hadn't -- but I just lost much too much time I could ill-afford to lose, reading it. What a wonderfully scurrilous rock site. I'm not sure whether Ronnie Blackmore's wig or Ronnie Corbett's V-sign at the young Captain Sensible amused me more. And it was nice to get an inside look at the famed Brinsley Schwartz in New York debacle.

I should probably mention to anyone that doesn't know that you can listen to Jonathan Ross's show on the web through -- they keep the shows up for a week. (Full disclosure laws probably force me to add, for purposes of something or other, that Jonathan is my friend, occasionally my landlord, and even crops up in a short story of mine called "The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch". Also that he's very funny.)