Thank you for Gen Con

Oh dear.

Thank you for Gen Con, everyone.

What I thought would happen when I got back from Indianapolis would be my sitting down at this desk to collect my thoughts together and then write some words of appreciation. What actually happened was that I slept for twelve hours, peered at the world for about four and then slept for another eight. My first Monday back is a day that I will never know anything about. After, I had the worst (still ongoing) case of writer’s block in a year and I found collecting my thoughts on everything that happened was actually a lot like trying to separate salt from sugar.

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What matters to me about Bruce Springsteen is that he’s a person who writes songs about what it’s like to be poor, songs about working hard and having little. Songs about attempts to escape or the desire of the underprivileged to achieve at least some kind of personal fulfillment.

Most people who have lives like that aren’t so well represented in popular music, particularly nowadays. There’s songs about feelings or about relationships or about power or glory or partying hard, but most artists don’t want to write and perform music that’s about being poor because nobody wants to hear about that.

What particularly impresses me about The River is the compositional contrast between the chorus and the verses. The chorus is a vibrant retrospective, a glance back at happier times of no responsibilities and wondrous possibilities. The plodding verses are set in a present of unemployment, penury and teenage pregnancy.

What haunts me most about The River is how the two are united in a reflective bridge that asks the question “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?

I’ve heard that the titular river is a metaphor for passion and drive. By the end of the song, it has apparently run dry, yet the strains in the singer’s voice belie this. He on keeps visiting that river, later bringing his wife along with him. He keeps trying.

A man has been sleeping rough in the hall outside my flat for at least two weeks, possibly much longer.

A man has been sleeping rough in the hall outside my flat for at least two weeks, possibly much longer.

Timepieces for sale on Wentworth Road. Some are even running.

Timepieces for sale on Wentworth Road. Some are even running.

I really bothers me how the tomb doesn’t quite line up with the church.

I really bothers me how the tomb doesn’t quite line up with the church.

Patrick Dempsey nominated me for this challenge and I accepted. I’ve donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, ALS and Shelter, because why do things by halves?

Visit The MPT’s website.
Visit the ALS website.
Visit Shelter’s website.

Remember that you can also volunteer your time and skills to a cause, if you don’t feel able to donate. I used to be a volunteer/charity co-ordinator and I can’t emphasise enough how volunteers are a remarkably valuable resource (and the third sector in the UK has suffered considerably during the recession, further compounded by government cuts).

Matt Lees explains how silly and irrational this often recycled topic is.

jamsponge:

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As an ex-journo turned internet-monkey, I’ve spent the last week carefully toying with the idea of producing a video about the belief that the traditional games media is ethically compromised and/or corrupt.

After much consideration, I’ve decided that this would be a massive waste of time…

Here’s a photoset from GenCon, showing just a tiny fraction of the adventures we had and the things we saw. Watch Shut Up & Sit Down, because we have an exciting and irreverent new full-length episode on the way that will detail all our adventures AND MORE.

Along the White River Trail, Indianapolis.

Along the White River Trail, Indianapolis.

Inside the Indiana World War Memorial, Indianapolis.

Inside the Indiana World War Memorial, Indianapolis.