Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, June 07, 2021

written with a blackberryThere’s something intriguing about using a one-sided communication missive as a storycrafting tool. By nature of its structure, presenting only one side of a letter/email/phonecall narrows the narrative, hewing the reader even closer to a single character’s point of view. It also allows the author to unfold the plot at a more deliberate pace, revealing essentially half (or less) of the story while building it up.

Countless authors have used this device. But I’m not sure anyone composed an entire book largely out of the protagonist’s inbox/outbox email exchanges, as in Lucy Kellaway’s “Who Moved My Blackberry?”.

I’ve seen ads and reviews for “Blackberry” for the past couple of months, and have had it on my mental check-it-out list. This excerpt has cemented my resolve to pick up this novel. I was afraid a preponderance of heavily blockquoted text in the format of fake emails might be a chore to read; but I found that I got used to it after the fourth or fifth To:/From: sequence.

It’s worth a pickup. And if I don’t like it, I can always Forward it on elsewhere.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/07/2021 11:11:36 PM
Category: Publishing, Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback


A big selling point for the new wave of Internet-powered jukeboxes is that patrons can choose from millions of songs, opening up untold possibilities for public playlists. Practically any song, at any time.

There is a dark side to that. Wendy McClure, along with a barroom full of fellow sufferers, had to endure an hour of Brian Eno experimental soundscaping:

“When’s it going to play my stuff?” the other college guy asked. By now this seemed a hypothetical question. Elsewhere throughout the bar, there appeared to be considerably more fidgeting and peeling of beer bottle labels than usual. Darts seemed to miss their target more frequently. Ting. . .ting.

“Weren’t we going to get dinner shumwhere?” I said, with difficulty. We were on our second pitcher of beer.

Chris shook his head. “We can’t leave.” Either he wanted to stay until the end of the song, or else the song was making it physically and inexplicably impossible for us to leave the bar, as in that Buñuel film where nobody can leave the dinner party. Imagine replacing the brass cylinder in a music box with a Möbius strip made from nerve endings, and you might get a sense of how “Thursday Afternoon” felt after 45 minutes. The mood in the bar was approaching that of a hostage crisis.

To experience this piece of Eno-ness for yourself, download away. Beer optional, but probably a necessary sensory enhancement.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/07/2021 10:31:47 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Comedy, Society | Permalink | Feedback (9)