Monday, January 13, 2014

On Jogging, Bees, and Wordless.

It's good to be on your own, sometimes. I'm spending the first few days on my own just looking after myself: juicing and jogging and getting back into shape after the OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE tour which went on for several exhausting months and became the FORTUNATELY, THE MILK tour at the end. Months of hotel and restaurant food, and exercising as and when it was convenient, which often it wasn't.

I'm using my iPod Nano to track the running.

I hated sports as a kid, hated running, hated anything that wound up with me covered in mud and shivering with cold while teachers in track suits told me that I was a bit rubbish and was not being sufficiently enthusiastic and where was my school spirit anyway? In the good and bad at organised games equation, I was firmly in the bad at games camp. I liked reading, and if it was snowing or raining, I liked reading inside in the warm.

In truth, I have not changed that much. I'd still rather read than go outside and run. But...

I like how running makes me feel afterwards.

I like the way it clears and unclutters my mind, and, sometimes, leaves room for new things to come in, like stories.

And I like the idea that time I spend running is Free: it doesn't come out of the hours of my life, but it adds to them instead. According to the New York Times:
In the long run, various studies have found, jogging adds years to life. Over all, each hour spent exercising (up to 30 hours a week) adds about two hours to a person's life expectancy, according to the Harvard Alumni Study, which has tracked deaths among 17,000 men for more than two decades. 
Even those who did not start exercising until midlife had a 23 percent lower risk of death over the next 20-odd years. Endurance activities like running, cycling, lap swimming, brisk walking and cross-country skiing conferred the greatest benefit, adding six years of life expectancy over that of a couch potato.

I'm not getting much writing done yet. Mostly I'm thinking about things, clearing my head and preparing to write.

Also, I have reached that point where Not Having Shaved since Christmas has turned into a beard.

Several people have written to ask me about the beehives, and will I be taking them to New York?

No, I'll leave them where they are, being tended mostly by the Birdchick and Non Birding Bill,  but I imagine that once I get established in the new house I'll put in some hives.

(The amazing bee photo above is from this fantastic Flickr account: where they have over a thousand photos of North American Bees taken by the U.S. Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.)
 (Via the Guardian and you can see them huge and glittery-glorious at Slate.)

Amanda is in Australia, where her show at the Sydney Festival is a hit -- stonking reviews, it sounds amazing, and I'm glad that she's singing the Vegemite Song again, which is the nearest thing she's ever come to writing a love song for me. I wish I were there -- or more realistically, I wish I could pop in for the day, have a meal, watch her show at the Spiegeltent, hug some friends, and then go home, leaving her to write, and for me to get back to the stuff I'm doing.

I don't think I've posted this here yet -- it's an afternoon at Google in New York a couple of months ago, at the time of the EVENING WITH NEIL AND AMANDA show at the Town Hall.  I read and Amanda made music, then Alan Light interviews us, and the audience asks good questions.


If you are in the New York /Brooklyn area, you want to see this. It's for one night only, January the 18th, at 7:30, tickets are $30, and if you are interested in comics, in graphic novels, in the wordless novels in pictures of the early Twentieth Century, or you just want to feel like one of the cool kids, you should go.

Here's the blurb from the website where you can get tickets:

Picture stories by Frans Masereel, H.M. Bateman, Lynd Ward, Otto Nuckel, Milt Gross, Si Lewen, and Art Spiegelman

Celebrated cartoonist Art Spiegelman comes to BAM with WORDLESS!, an innovative hybrid of slides, talk, and musical performance created in collaboration with acclaimed jazz composer Phillip Johnston. Spiegelman leads audiences on a personal tour of the first graphic novels—silent picture stories made by early-20th-century masters like Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, and Milt Gross—accompanied by an all-new score by Johnston, who performs with his sextet. 

And if you are wondering what it will be like, here's a preview from the Sydney Opera House, the last time it was performed.

Here's the link:

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