Thursday, February 15, 2007

For Negley Farson


The dawn-posting grandee may be unable to post at dawn tomorrow because somebody is launching an anti-ageing magazine. With the noble aim of pouring cold water on this enterprise and, of course, flogging my book, I shall, therefore, be on BBC Breakfast TV and on both Radio Four and Radio Five, all in the space of 85 mins. As consolation, therefore, I offer this photograph of The Way of a Transgressor by Negley Farson. I have never heard of the guy but he does seem to have done the journalistic rounds. Alas, all his efforts ended in obscurity and a second hand bookshop. It is very chastening.

11 comments:

  1. One further uncertainty about tomorrow is that I have just discovered the man I am supposed to be having lunch with may be in jail. Trying times.

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  2. Still not read your book Bryan - still waiting for the signing tour - it's on my pile of ones to buy, maybe (where do I find it in Blackwells?).

    However, not the point of this post. Cogitating the strange confluence of your book on personal immortality and Stephen Hawking's idea that mankind has to colonise the cosmos in order to avoid extinction by terrestrial cataclysm. This is plainly laughable - we wouldn't get past Pluto - some idiot would burn the spaceship down smoking in bed.

    However, a more scientific approach would consider the fact that we can now manipulate DNA. We already achieve immortality of a sort by passing our genetic material onto future generations even though we won't make the trip ourselves. How about engineering a robust container for DNA and seeding the universe with it hoping it will establish itself wherever the stellar wind (or eventual supernova) blows it?

    Origin of life on earth by cometary viral infection isn't new, but here's the thought experiment ...

    If I were in charge of the project, I'd ensure that the code (DNA) contained enough in-line documentation to ensure that anyone with sufficient wit could in future understand my intentions and what made it tick. Maybe that's what all the redundant DNA we seem to have is - comments. It would have to be invariant in some way under the many inevitable mutations. Instead of looking for non-existant needles in the cosmic haystack with SETI, maybe we should be looking inside...

    One problem of course is that in any sufficiently complex pattern, you can probably find whatever you're looking for (hence books on 'hidden' messages in the bible).

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  3. This means I will actually have to be fully awake for the Today program! Please do not let the interviewers take charge! And, show them your wry sense of humour.

    Good luck.

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  4. Perhaps not all that obscure: he was the prototype JR Hartley - and a friend of Jack Hargreaves
    http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/reviews/book2.htm

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  5. So it's lunch with a transgressor. Nevermind. The food at Her Majesty's may be nothing to write home about, but I believe the service is quite good. However, the tipping etiquette can be a bit of a minefield if you're not a regular. And it is closely observed.

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  6. I have a modern reprint of his book, very interesting it is too, if you like fishing..... people of a certain age may remember his son Daniel Farson, writer, broadcaster and poof ( before such became fashionable).

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  7. Let m be the first (!) to say that I enjoyed hearing what you had to say on Today programme (and mercifully this was after 8.30am). And you gave JOhn Humphries reason to be light-hearted (rarely happens). And you also got a parting shot of being 'young'.

    What were your impressions from all these studio tours?

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  8. My impressions, Rebel, will, God willing, be in the New Statesman diary later this week

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  9. I came across The Way of a Transgressor a couple of years ago, and marvellous it is too. But a word of warning. I had the new edition, published by Edward Gaskell, Lazarus Press, and the standard of proof-reading is atrocious. At times it becomes downright distracting. If you find an old and battered copy of the original I reckon that would be better value.

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