Newsletter 154 – October 2009
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 154 – October 2009 – ISSN 1470-1863
Music, Arts, Culture, and Technology
as seen from digital hub Manchester UK
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0— F.R.E.E – The Future of a Radical Price
This is one of the most inspiring and exciting books
I’ve read since Chris Anderson’s last work – ‘The Long Tail’.
It’s the logical extension to it. He examines the
state of commerce in the digital world, and comes
up with some breathtaking conclusions.
Such as – if you’re selling digital products, the
only way to make money is to give them away.
That’s right – make them, wait for it – f.r.e.e
So how do you make the money then? Answer – you
find other products to sell alongside them.
Bands give their music away free – then make money
on concert tours and selling glamorous boxed-sets of CDs.
Google gives its search results away free – and makes
a fortune selling advertising alongside it.
There’s much more to the book that – as
you’ll see if your read the review at –
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
What is the capital of Chile?
0— ‘Igor Stravinski: Biography Part II’
This is the second volume of Stephen Walsh’s
monumental biography of Stravinski – the
composer who more-or-less started 20th-century
music with his “Rite of Spring” in 1913.
This volume covers the period which includes
his taking up French citizenship in the 1930s,
his move to America with the onset of war, and
the gradual process of adopting twelve-tone
serialism in his work.
These later years are also complicated with
further difficulties over copyright, and his
own increasing dependence on Robert Craft,
who eventually became not only an eminence
grise but even a guardian of Stravinski’s
reputation after his death.
There followed a series of court cases as all
and sundry fought for a slice of the Stravinski
pie. It all ends in a mess. Fortunately, the
Part I covering the years 1887-1934 is at
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
Which fashion designer uses the Emporio label?
0— ‘Women Who Did’ – short stories 1890-1914
This is a really interesting collection of short
stories I picked up recently, and I’m surprised
it hasn’t been more widely publicised.
They all feature examples of The New Woman – who
made her appearance at the end of the 19th century.
She decided it was time to take her life into
her own hands, wear what clothes she liked,
travel without a chaperone, ride a bicycle,
and even smoke cigarettes.
The centrepiece is Kate Chopin’s ‘The Awakening’,
but there are many stories by now-forgotten
writers, some of whom deserve to be resurrected.
This is an excellent volume of short stories
themed around a socially interesting topic.
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
What is measured on the pH scale?
0— ‘Virginia Woolf: An MFS Reader’
Virginia Woolf fans (and I am one of them)
will welcome the arrival of yet another
collection of critical essays throwing
light onto her major novels.
The items in this publication are all drawn
from the distinguished American academic
journal, Modern Fiction Studies. But I have
to say that they are ‘varied’.
In other words some of them are sensible,
well-informed, and comprehensible. But
others suffer from being written in a
style which is designed to impress
academic promotion boards. They represent
the current state of literary criticism
at its worst. Judge for yourself at –
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
To which country do the Azores belong?
0— ‘A Reader’s Guide to Proust’ – new book
If you plan to embark on the long intellectual
journey which is a reading of ‘Remembrance of
Things Past’, you will need to be in good shape.
Indeed, you might even need a little assistance.
Patrick Alexander felt this need when he first
read Proust, and having been transformed by the
experience, he decided to write a book which
would help others making the same journey.
His guide offers a grand plot summary of all
seven parts of the novel, thumbnail character
sketches, historical notes, and more besides.
This is a worthwhile supplement for those
about to embark on the epic journey – and
yes, it might change your life.
All the available editions of Proust are
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
What is another name for the Plover or Peewit?
0— Techno-fashion trends
The latest thing for fashion conscious geeks
is a GelaSkin for your laptop or mobile phone.
GelaSkins are removable covers for protecting
and customizing your portable devices. They
feature stunning, photo-quality graphics
ranging from fine art prints to contemporary
Stand out in the crowd with personalized
protection. It seems amazing, but these
videos prove it works.
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
What is Oloroso?
0— Joseph Conrad ‘Nostromo’
I re-read ‘Nostromo’ as part of a recent
reading week re-visiting of old literary
experiences. It’s undoubtedly a modern
classic – and my admiration for Conrad
remains reasonably intact.
He makes considerable demands on his
readers, but if you can stick with the
long sentences, the odd syntax, and the
pile up of intensifying adjectives – then
the dramatic scenes and ironic tensions
make it all worthwhile.
This is a story of revolution, greed,
obsession, love, and international
politics set in Latin America.
If you’ve not read it before, give
yourself a treat. Here’s a full review :
0— Pub Quiz – Question #7
In which country is the port of Bergen?
0— Confusing Words
Confusing Words is a collection of 3210 words that
are troublesome to readers and writers.
0— Pub quiz – Question #8
Which film won the most Oscars ever?
0— ‘Netbooks: The Missing Manual’
If you’re thinking of buying one of the new,
small netbooks, here’s a word of warning.
You won’t get a user’s manual with it.
Netbooks are a minor revolution in computers.
They’re small, cheap, and they mainly use
open source software, which is f.r.e.e
They’re packed with features, and the one
I bought last year connected with broadband
straight out of the box.
But to learn how to get set up with an email
account, how to configure them for maximum
usefulness, and how to get even more f.r.e.e
software, a guide will be helpful.
Jude Biesrsdorfer’s ‘Missing Manual’ does
just that. It covers everything you need
to get started – and productivity tools
for later too. Full review here –
0— Pub quiz – Question #9
Which of Verdi’s operas is set in ancient Egypt?
0— ‘Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations’
New edition. Ned Sherrin was the very camp and
rather annoying presenter of a UK radio chat
show – but he knew his stuff on who said what.
This is the latest edition of his compilation
of funny quips, witty ripostes, catchphrases,
and quotable quotes.
Groucho Marx: “I never forget a face, but in
your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”
Mae West: “Marriage is a great institution,
but I’m not ready for an institution yet.”
George Best’s self-defense: “People say I
wasted my money. I say 90 per cent went on
women, fast cars, and booze. The rest I wasted.”
Fully indexed by names and themes. Great fun.
Full review at –
0— Pub quiz – Question #10
Who wrote the song ‘White Christmas’?
0— Coming soon
Mistress of Modernism
The Tradition of Constructivism
Small Things Considered
Memoirs of a Novelist
Literature and Revolution
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 What is the capital of Chile?
#2 Which fashion designer uses the Emporio label?
#3 What is measured on the pH scale?
#4 To which country do the Azores belong?
#5 What is another name for the Plover or Peewit?
#6 What is Oloroso?
ANSWER: A dark sherry
#7 In which country is the port of Bergen?
#8 Which film won the most Oscars ever?
ANSWER: Ben Hur
#9 Which of Verdi’s operas is set in ancient Egypt?
#10 Who wrote the song ‘White Christmas’?
ANSWER: Irving Berlin
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