2. I watched an interview with Conrad Black, the Canadian tycoon who's just been sentenced to 6 years for fraud. Even on a crap video link the charisma comes across. He's charming and arrogant- and innocent (of course). No wonder he flourished for so long. When you're as self assured as he is ordinary people just buckle in front of you. He's recently published a book about Richard Nixon and apparently it's really good.
3. I finished Murakami's short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. I don't think he's a great short story writer. Entertaining, amusing- but not great. Great short story writers pack a whole world into their miniatures. Murikami achieves that once or twice but what you mainly get is anecdote. The novel and the short story are very different disciplines and few writers are equally good at both.
4. Doris Lessing gave an interview in which she slagged off blogging. Silly woman. She's a great writer and I admire her enormously but when she wanders off onto the subject of "these young people today" she's just somebody's grumpy, old granny.
5. I had a dream about a new born baby who could talk. She looked round, took in her new surroundings and said, "Big mistake."