Velvet Underground song, from their first album The Velvet Underground and Nico. Sung as a duet with Nico's voice out in front and strong, while Lou Reed's accompaniment hovers like a ghost in the background, barely heard. (The version on the CD dispenses with Reed's voice entirely on this track, which is a shame.) It was Andy Warhol's favorite song by the Velvets.

The name of William Gibson's latest book in his second trilogy. Buy it, read it, love it.

The other two books are Virtual Light and Idoru. This trilogy is not quite as good as the first (which was Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive), but it is still thoroughly enjoyable. Gibson takes less time to develop the worldview (which was why the first trilogy was so impressive - there were many short stories already set there that he'd written, including the great story but lousy movie Johnny Mnemonic and the even better story Burning Chrome), but makes up for it in scene and character development. At risk of sounding like my high school english teachers, the imagery and allusions are incredibly rich. And choosing a Velvet Underground song as the title is but a small part of it.

I attended a Toronto reading of All Tomorrow's Parties. Things that my friends and i noticed were that William Gibson speaks the way his characters do. Or more along the lines of speaking the way his narrative is written. This doesn't seem that stunning, until you (a) consider what his narrative tone is like, and (b) hear it for yourself.

The other neat comment was after someone asked about how apocalyptic his novels are, how the world is always about to end. He remarked that, well, the world ends in All Tomorrow's Parties, and none of the characters notice.

This song has been covered by Japan, on the album Quiet Life, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on Kicking against the Pricks, by Bryan Ferry on Taxi and by Connie Champagne on Strada.

"...nothing is perfect, really. Nothing is ever finished. Everything is process."

It is hard to believe that William Gibson has only been publishing novels for about fifteen years. After virtually establishing the technological conventions of the cyberpunk genre in the loosely-knit Sprawl trilogy, his second trilogy of Virtual Light, Idoru and now All Tomorrow's Parties deals with a much closer and palpable future. This latest book continues the more hopeful tone of Gibson's recent work -- markedly different from the absolutely dystopic world of Neuromancer. Whilst the overtures of sinister corporate expansion are still apparent, the characters themselves are not the shadowy anti-heroes of his earlier work. Rather than cybernetically-enhanced super hacker/ninjas, the characters tend towards the more mundane and human – bicycle couriers, rent-a-cops, anthropologists.

Taking its title from the anthemic Velvet Underground song, All Tomorrow's Parties focusses on the claustrophobic sense that the world is on the "cusp of some unprecedented potential for change" but that no one really knew what would change or how, in a direct reflection of fin-de-siecle millenarianism of the year 2000. Gibson returns to familiar characters Colin Laney and Rei Toei, as well as to a few characters from 1993's "Virtual Light", hurtling them towards some sort of sociological singularity focussed in the Bay Area.

Following from Idoru, Laney is now in hiding amongst the Tokyo homeless after succumbing to the “stalker effect” of the drugs that once helped him pluck nodal islands from the sea of data. Paranoid and strung out, he is convinced that something earth-shattering and possibly disastrous is about to happen in San Francisco involving the shadowy goals of entrepreneur Cody Harwood, and the idoru Rei Toei.

Gibson is obsessed with interstitial cultures, the things that grow organically between the gaps of society, and this is evident in All Tomorrow’s Parties. The book builds climactically towards the ruins of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is closed for traffic after the “Little Big One” and populated by any of the outcasts that can epoxy footholds onto its superstructure. The idea of being between things – jobs, housing, and greater society – seems to permeate the novel. All of the characters are mobile and unfixed, and inexorably drawn towards the interstice of the bridge.

Like most cyberpunk fiction, the ending is not nearly as vivid as you’d expect. Although Gibson constructs incisive and nimble prose, the conclusion seems to slowly drag itself to a halt. It seems as if Gibson was reluctant to relinquish his characters for new ground and that his second trilogy is far from over.

All Tomorrow's Parties is a small scale music festival in East Sussex on the south coat of England, at the Pontin's holiday park. Each year a band is chosen to host the event, and they choose the bands that perform. The accommodation is quite strange for a festival - rather than tents, the camp's chalets are used. To the average festival goer like myself who's more used to Glastonbury, this is a distinct break from the norm, and can be a little odd. The bands play on the two indoor stages, and there's an on site pub. You even get a TV in your chalet, where the curating band gets to put on films and programs of their choice. The small size and unique location present a rather iconoclastic and civil experience compared to the mayhem of a festival such as the legendary Glastonbury. There's even a nice sandy beach a few hundred metres away.

When I first went, the populace was a rather curious mix of geeky art students and fans of the bands who were playing - mostly experimental or techno orientated. The studenty types were the regulars, having been to previously far more indiepop line-ups whereas the fans of the bands were into glitch, noise, ambient, techno, hip hop or experimental, reflecting the bands who were on. Quite an assortment. The audience numbers are low - around two thousand at the most.

It began as a festival called the Bowlie Weekender, organised by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian, and was then re-named as ATP. The ATP festival has been hosted by Tortoise, Mogwai, Shellac and Autechre. There are also ATP festivals in the US, in NY and LA. These have been hosted by people such as Sonic Youth and Matt Groening, of Simpsons fame.

Bands of note that played the 2003 UK festival:

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.