Goats, Blogs and Chinese Travels
It has been very busy recently, with moving house back home in the UK, and then — only a few days later — relocating to China for a year. I’m here in China to take up an associate professorship at Sichuan University, in the College of Literature and Journalism. About which more below.
But first, I should say something about goats! Because I’m delighted to say that my author copies of Goat Music, my latest novel, arrived today in the UK. They are four thousand or so miles away, and so I haven’t really had much of a chance to look at them yet. But from the photograph below, courtesy of Elee Kirk, they are looking good.
Goat Music is a bit of a departure from my usual work. It is an attempt to write a kind of modern-day satyr play, taking up the myth of Apollo and the satyr Marsyas, as well as pillaging the ancient Greek playwrights, to weave a tale about music, power and its abuses. In this sense, it forms a pair with my earlier book, The Descent of the Lyre, although the sensibility is somewhat different. In the UK, you can get hold of a copy here. It’s on general release, so should be easy to track down. I’d be interested to see what people make of this one, as it’s by any measure quite a curious book.
The next thing to mention is my moving to China. This has been in the works for a long time, and I’m glad to be here at long last. This is a chance to put my spoken Chinese to work, and to plunge more deeply into the world that was first opened up for me when I wrote my Sixty-Four Chance Pieces, the novel and/or short story collection that I wrote based upon the Yijing. So far, it has been good to be here, and I’m beginning to find my way around the various bureaucratic demands of life in contemporary China. I’m also managing to pull down my Chinese language from the dizzy heights of reading and talking about philosophy and literature, to the more practical business of daily life. How is it I knew the words for metaphysics, semiotics and hermeneutics when I arrived here, but not for washing up liquid? Anyway, teaching starts in October, and until them, I’m pursuing a number of tentative leads for new projects, whilst also making the most of the local food.
Finally, and in connection with this current move to China, I should say something about my new blog. Because I have a bit more thinking time, being freed up from some of my previous academic burdens, I’ve decided to set up a new blog. This will be more or less philosophical in tone, and it is over on waywardphilosophy.com. So I’ll continue to post general news and snippets over here, but leave the heavy-lifting, and the more wayward flights of fancy, for my other blog. When I get time, I’ll integrate the RSS feed into the sidebar of this present blog, so everything will be nice and tidy.
That’s all the news for the time being. Now you’ve read this, go and bookmark my new blog. Oh, and buy yourself a copy of Goat Music. It has short chapters, and songs, and jokes. And, as I said above, it’s a strange kind of beast, just as a satyr is a strange kind of beast.