1st January 2014! A very happy new year to all Mortal Bath readers using the CE calendar.

It’s nice to be living in the future. 2014 sounds very advanced. Well, it does to me and all the other remnants of the 20th century I know/meet/am aware of. This used to be the near-distant future. I suppose that’s 2036 now. This year I think I will have quite a lot to say about cultural hangovers, and I apologise now for what may be the first of 10,500 references to temporal equivalence and nostalgia during the solar sojourn. “This is like people in the 1980s banging on about the 1960s,” sort of thing. I was 19 in 1994 – insert the 20-year cycle of your own experience.

Lots to do, lots to write about, lots to get on with. It would be – here’s one thing I’ve learned – foolish, a repeating history doom, to make the usual start-of-year manifesto claims, the sorts that leave one high and dry and looking only semi-dedicated in July. However, I am happy to note that this was the first second new year’s day in my recent memory that I wasn’t nursing some sort of monster hangover of fear… and the day was very productive… ending in Triumphs 3 Disasters 0: glass of wine, take-away curry treat and the grand return of Sherlock on the BBC. Sherlock will feature in The Mortal Bath next week.

But THIS week… well, here’s one of the presents Santa’s little helpers left under the tree:

S-book cover

The idea of S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s tribute to the printed word, had me dribbling from the moment I first read about it somewhere, I forget precisely where, probably Boing Boing. Regular readers of the Mortal Bath will be aware of my bibliophilia and a fannish admiration of Abrams’ work. What I’ve seen of Dorst’s work seems appealing also. Happily, regarding the book, the fat man in the red suit obliged…

I have yet to read the text, busy with some Xmas hols library books what I shall mention at a later date. It may prove to be a bit of a disappointment, but… O! The excitement as I slit the cover tape and had a reverent moment handling the Object.

Made up to look like a library book!

Made up to look like a library book!

Napkin map inserts!

Napkin map inserts!

Annotations and postcards!

Annotations and postcards!

Dear me. Reader, I combusted.

Thusly… that’s what’ll be keeping me occupied this first week in January 2014 (claps hands with excitement). Hope you have something pleasant to be getting on with also.

I know I keep saying ‘I’m gonna…’ There’s a running gag in Our House about our friend Anita (‘Anita Writemore…Anita Stopsmoking… Anita Haveabreak-Fromthebooze’) Well, yeah. I’m busy getting on top of lesson planning. It’s a bane of the trainee teacher’s life… This term has been v. tough for me, and I know from talking to m’fellow trainees that they’re all knackered as well. Very challenging work, teaching and thinking about teaching. It don’t come easy. Especially when, as ver Pistols also once observed, you’re a lazy sod.

Yet! Upping my work rate in all areas (Sun in Aries, digits extracted, etc) will see a marvellous cultural flowering here in relatively short order, of course it will. Anyway, short version, I’ve got a couple of blog bits and pieces in progress, should you be interested, so stay tuned.

While that’s germinating, here are my current five favourite RSS Live Links feeds, the material distracting me from adding my own two penn’orth and, indeed, from getting on with planning lessons for Year 9, but also providing inspirations.

In no particular order…

Back Towards the Locus, always interesting and neatly-phrased perspectives on items, from Ben Six. Recently discussing Libya and wrestling.

From Julia Smith in Tokyo, Ten Minutes Hate. Doubleplus good writing on politics, living and working abroad.

The does-what-it-says-on-the-tin celebration of female wordsmiths fuck yeah lady writers!

And a two-way tie between ‘one-stop intellectual surfing experience’ 3 Quarks Daily and Unicorn Chasers Boing Boing.

I’m sure there’s nothing there you didn’t already know about, and it is perhaps equally superfluous to note that there’re lots of other equally inspiring people writing about all sorts, but I’ve been digging these ones in particular. Happy distractions, and I’ll be back after these words from Vygotsky.