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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Suffer little children...

We often complain about our modern world don't we? Its excess', its violence, its seemingly idiotic notions, its indulgence and its stubborn refusal to view manners, people and events in the good old fashioned way...
However, we don't work backwards. Recently, I was queuing at the post office and the line was long, there being only two till operators, when there was a disturbance some way in front. It wasn't loud but it caused several people to hook out their mobiles and start dialling.
Naturally, I strained myself forward, tipping my head this way and that to look but I could only see a woman mopping up some red stuff by hand with a bundle of tissues. Slowly the line reduced and I edged foreword. But the line had quietened and the usual rabble of Essex folk, complaining that they hadn't seen Eastenders for a week (therefore their entire life was about to fall apart) tuned in instead to the cause of the disturbance and much proved their true worth by offering all the assistance and empathy they had to a young mother and her eleven year old daughter, a pale and choleric thin thing who was in the process of coughing up a huge amount of bright red blood.
That crimson signal appeared to galvanise an entire mini army though and all the Health and Safely issues and factors that we normally dislike so much and which forms such a large part of our modern world, were immediately acted on.
A chap got through to the emergency services. They were then patched through to security who had arrived and who gave then precise directions how to get to the shop because it was in a shopping precinct. A manager arrived and took charge, a woman with protective clothing appeared and began to mop the floor after putting down a slippery floor sign and the queue edged forward slowly.
The child was, by now, finished throwing up blood and sat back in a hard chair, looking extremely frightened and white, tears flowing and inducing the most frightful pity within all of us. However, a paramedic arrived within five minutes and took her pulse, briefly examined her and then, lead by the manager, escorted mother and child away through a back door.
I arrived at the counter to buy some stamps and mentioned to the woman, how sad it was to see a child suffer. She agreed but we could have been chatting about an incident which happened weeks ago for the space where she had been ill was empty and new customers would never know that anything untoward had happened just minutes before. Under such circumstances, she mentioned, it was important to keep the line moving and not let the ill person feel as if he or she was an item of curiosity. All had been thought out before, with all preventative measures and opinions just in place.
I gained the impression of a superb clockwork machine, working continuously just below the surface of everyday life and one continuously geared moreover to our...health and safety. Later, as I left the precinct, I walked past an ambulance, no doubt with the child and mother in it and everywhere was so silent. If I see mother and child again, I will let you know.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sue Pollard and Def Leopard and J. K. Rowling

I had the delightful pleasure of being introduced to the the wonderfully effervescent Su Pollard last night and our short time together cemented an idea that had been running around inside me old brain-box for some time. That she is as bonkers as a box of frogs on Acid. I don't mean of course that that notion about her had been with me for a time but something else.
But why? I, as most of you, will remember her as the dotty chalet maid Peggy Ollernshaw in Hi-de-Hi and I am not in the least surprised that she has somehow reinvented herself as a charming loon with that distinctive voice. What other way could she go after the series ended twenty years ago? Go on to play Ivy Teasdale in the sitcom; You Rang, M'Lord of course. Like attracts like.
I can see how easily it must have been for her to realise that she had struck the Golden comedy nugget and over the years, merged those fictional characters into her own personality. After all, we all wanted to meet chalet maid Peggy last night. And we did. Even through there was not a camera in site. I was waiting for her to mention that she had always been as mad as a box of frogs on acid. Or the equivalent at least. Never a depressed moment.
And then there is Def Leopard, wining and un-purposely expressing themselves about how much music meant to them around the time they were infants. I just had the impression that they were supposed to say that, as if uttering those things actually justified their wealth, talent and fame. I did wonder if they would have thought the same thoughts or expressed the same words though had they failed in their musical efforts and became motor-car salesmen, insurance advisors and mangers of MacDonalds instead.
I hear J. K. Rowling (as an author of which I do not envy at all) had the plot-line of all seven books in her head when she wrote the first one. I do not doubt that. What I do find hard to swallow is that she would have written book two and the rest had she failed to get a publisher for book one. I know of no mortal man or woman who would spent fifteen years writing 2,000,000 words, all for them to be parked on a hard drive somewhere and never to be read by an exited face. She exists because she exists in other words. She is famous because she is famous, not because she invented Harry Potter.
So what am I on about today? Lost intentions that's what. For every one person who has has luck bestowed upon them, there are probably hundreds or thousands who lay dead beside the road, clutching their novels, their songs, their art, their poetry. Each one probably, having the potential, once the back-room boys get on it, of becoming just as special in our hearts and lives as any other celebrity. Yet, such is life and that's the way the system works. We can't all be famous!
So what is my point? I'll tell you what it is. I wish people would be more honest. I wish people would say; Christ! If it wasn't for that incredible stroke of luck, of being in the right place at the right time, I too would have probably become a lowly-paid cilvil servant, shuffling papers around at my local town hall. Or, I had no talent at all when I was a kid! The fact that I am here doing this and earning a fortune is a fluke.There is only one celebrity I am aware of that has become that honest and that is Bob Hoskins. So that's what I want them to admit. Because greatness has been thrust upon them, they believe they are great and have always been great. And many...most...and I am one of them...are not.
George Handel (1685-1759) breaks my theory. Damned infant!
I do inherently believe that we grow towards not only on our strengths and weakness' but also on other's opinions of us. There have been enough experiments to prove this assumption as well. And that is why we ultimately fail...or succeed. Believe in someone today. For God's sake, just do it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tribal Wives

I have been watching Tribal Wives, a documentary series on BBC 2 about white women with their own brand of particular problems who go to live for a month with an isolated tribe only to return, complete, happy and fulfilled.
Its not a bad program although I wouldn't walk through a snowstorm to watch it. While I see and understand the changes these women go though, I do feel sorry for them in a way that they could not find the means and strength within themselves to overcome their difficulties in their own country and with their own people. But hey! Do whatever works I say.
However, watching the unfolding drama of these primitive, yes and I meant to use that word, people's lives, I am more than convinced (as if I needed any anyway) that these people can keep their often barbaric, tyrannical and ferocious way of life to themselves.
Husbands are allowed to beat women or even kill them without condemnation, fear is ever present by all, their society is completely unequal in religious, legal and social terms thanks to the ever-present plague of religious belief, animals are slaughtered for celebratory purposes, immaturely, there is little understanding of any other way of life except their own and consequently, there is an ever present need to change what is into what they feel comfortable with instead of maturely accepting a person and their worth.
I'll be honest, I have nothing but contempt for these people, these tribes. I cannot say with any truth that our society is much better in many regards (we do have our own problems to be sure) but when it comes to protection of the person, recognition of a person's status and respect for who and what people are, our Western Christian civilisation wins hands down. I am surprised slavery is still not in operation.These people are no more civilised than the Romans.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I love this story

Perhaps the most memorable story regarding the first editions of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone comes from a journalist in the UK. Nigel Reynolds is the arts correspondent on the Daily Telegraph and he was persuaded to meet JK Rowling as she attempted to publicise her unknown book.

They met, had coffee, chatted and JK handed over one of the first editions. Nigel said his farewell and headed back to the office where he skimmed through the book and tossed it into the garbage bin – easily the most costly mistake of his career. Good first editions are now going for about £30,000!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Road safety?

There is a perfect illustration of road safety. It took place in 2005, when road markings and signs, as part of psychological traffic calming measures, were removed. In Holland, Germany and Sweden, accidents were decreased by a third and speed fell by an average of 5%.
It was found that instead of relying on the street system for security, drivers were forced to use their reactions! Heavens! What next! It is believed that the lack of clear markings encouraged drivers to slow down and mingle with pedestrians, forcing them to make eye contact with one another.
I've just seen an advert for Nissan's new intelligent, all mode, SUV 4X4-i; an x-trail behemoth. An earth-resource draining, gas-guzzling, forefinger-up to humanitarianism and a product which serves to undermine the owner's intelligence and driving ability to a degree unheard of. Never before have I unfortunately witnessed a vehicle so designed to offer the driver such a false sense of security and a perfect way to send him or her on a downward spiral of complacement.
Yes, this is what the world needs; A DVD watching, loud music fixated, mobile using, GPS obsessed, air-head, amateurishly and unintelligently driving a 3,000 Ib battering ram. This life-destroying tank just encourages selfish, insecure, by probably overweight and misplaced drivers, to forget caution and restraint and that can only be a bad thing. Almost an evil thing. Nissan and the rest of them ought to be ashamed. Let's hope its a fad and that one day, they and other car designers will take themselves out of the boy's playground, grow up and begin to take their job seriously.
I believe designers have got seriously out of hand. ABS with EBFD and CSC, air-bags, side bags, side impact bars etc, etc, etc. Its all too much. Take away the safety measures and let the human brain do what it does best. Self preservation.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Change

I think I'm going through the change. No, not that one! That one, the hot flushes, the tiredness, the noticing of grey hair and the realisation that there are probably more days behind me than in front, was a walk in the park really...compared to this.
Yes, this manifestation is wholly more insidious and sly. It catches me unawares, as well as smacking me squarely in the face. For this one consists of a number of things that no one taught me to expect. Items such as, unexplainable skin conditions that wax and wan, the temptation to stay in on a Saturday night, the inability to sit through a two hour film at the cinema without wishing the whole thing would hurry up and end so I can go home and make my hot chocolate, the impossibility of taking a cup of tea after six in the evening without peeing all night, an increased sense of right and wrong, warranting an equal amount of grumpiness, a sad sense of futility as established and long-cherished habits fall away, as I realise that I don't need them anymore and an appalling sense of loss as I discover that I no longer want to learn. That last one, coupled with the knowledge that many of the things I once held so high in principle and that were so important, are surely now gone for good. And worse of all, that I do not care that they have gone.
This change sees me delving more intently into the past and revelling (even wallowing) in nostalgia than ever before. It convinces me that even the periods and habits I once had little time for and the places I had no longing to remain at, I now find fascinating and instructional. And therefore enjoyable. I seek them out. Interest in many subjects is waning. I feel as if I am leaving the intellectual world and all its problems and joy behind, hurtling forwards towards a metaphysical and spiritual place which has no name. It is not exactly discomforting but not too strange either as I have the feeling that this is a path well trod before me and also that I have many brothers and sisters that are experiencing the same. I now understand how my grandparents and later, even my parents were able to leave watching an exciting film on television to perhaps make tea. Yes, the entertainment was not deemed that important. To children, things are so important aren't they? I understand now why my father eventually didn't mind so much when his roses died inexplicably, or why mum ceased making a fuss over small issues. It was, the change.
My need to create is diminished. My need to be recognised is on its way out. My organisational ability has increased. My urge to control my destiny has almost vanished. Names are harder to recall. My imagination does not scare me as much as it once did and I pay less attention to it. It, no longer feels the need to be expressed. Which brings its own sort of sadness.
There is a lesser need for communication, a humbling of spirit. I have begun to understand why authors write less as they age. It is not because their creativity ceases. It is because the soul within grows tired. This new change then would explain why I choose to rest, sitting upright in the morning before I stand, why losing weight is extremely hard, why certain foods, once so freely eaten, enjoyed and digested, now have the same effect on me as poison. Or close enough to it as to cause discomfort. And why my medicine cabinet is stocked with so many life-saving goodies! It explains my choice of going to bed early with a good book instead of a bad person, it explains why I like to snooze in the afternoon, how I can chat with the elderly easily, and why I purchase lots of things of which I have no need. I am in a dilemma. I have the facilities of a strong person yet with all the inherent problems of a weak one.Yes, its the change. Hopefully, the final one. But somehow, I don't think that's true. For I have this almost awful feeling that in perhaps twenty years time, I shall be here (God willing) ready to explain away the experiences of the true last and final frontier of my life.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

They are still, my people.

They are still, my people. Perfectly still, if one does not account for the occasional twitch of an eyelid or the sound of a rasping dryness which twitches indiscreetly around their dry lips.
They have a unwieldily detachment. As far away from their youth as one can imagine, these elderly, wheelchair-bound statues whose eyes dry off into the distance, many seeing no detail, but reduced to shadows and the few textures which remain to them.
They are not hungry anymore. They look forward to nothing. And the odours in the still air attest to it. These people, perhaps more than most, live just for the next few moments. Their perspective, if we could ever witness it, would be inexplicable to our earthbound mortal eyes and ears.
Yet, their legs bleed continuously, their weekly perms glow when the summer sunshine strikes them with an unfathomable blueness, their forehead's crease and they cry with anguish at the impossible and the unknowable. It is heart-breaking. And each day I dread going in to work for one reason; ugly news that another has died during the night. It is an impossible job.
The wheelchairs are kept spotlessly clean and oiled. As is their last place of residence. Lined up like some macabre race in the living rooms, they are left, always turned towards the sun. As if that is what they have to look forward to. Their clothes too are boiled spotlessly clean and parched, some to the extent of losing colour. But the few visitors notice details like that. Mother is clean and silent, and therefore content. That is what they notice.
Death reduces us all, it has often been said. But when it catches up, and overcomes, as it will, our feeble and time-limited attempts to keep it at bay, address an expression of thanks to your God that you have friends and family around you; not dry and, to my eyes, still incomprehensible statues.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Doctor Who confidential

This blog is interesting (at least to myself) Well, it would be wouldn't it! Because its tending to give my wallowing brain free-range and we all know what happens when a vacuum exists; Rubbish (mostly) flows in.
So what has visited me this morning? Perhaps as a result of a back and shoulder injury which has troubled me for the last twenty-four hours, the dregs and obliteration have been flowing nicely!
Yes, what has been brought to my attention has been the repeated and everlasting rantings of famous actors and actress' expressing how awful their jobs are sometimes. In particular, how terrible it is that they have to stand around in rain and other hardship conditions whilst earning thousands of pound an hour. That's awful!
And as for the production technicians and crew! Just imagine having to hang about with the wise, the beautiful, the talented and the famous whilst perhaps shooting on an exotic location. Or even a location that they have never visited before? How sad and just downright terrible that these people have to earn considerable amounts of money a day joining with others to conceive and construct a one off, original work of art. It must be damn terrible for them. My heart bleeds.
In my early working life, ending some twenty years ago now, I had ridden a motorbike, over 2,000,000 miles in heavy City of London traffic in all weathers, delivering letters and packages from dawn to dusk and sometimes all night, for what was, in those days, little more than the minimum wage. I have endured blizzards on Dartmoor, one particular night, even sleeping in an exposed old fashioned red telephone box on a west country moor in three foot of snow and nearly dying. I have driven out of my garage at 6 am in the middle of the winter, in an absolute freezing downpour and been soaked to the skin (we called it the icy fingers in the groin) (literally) within five minutes, knowing that I had another fifteen hours to go before I could return. I once fell off my bike whilst at traffic lights because my frozen and weak legs could not hold me up. And all for a minimum wage. Cold, mind-mumbing boring and incredibly dangerous. That was a job to complain about!
It is sad that this has been brought to my attention. But blame Doctor Who confidential on BBC4 who, last night, found the actors bemoaning the fact that they had to stand around in the rain. Yes, and to repeat myself, earning vast sums of money, whilst being looked after by a team of hairdressers, makeup artists, wardrobe personnel and personal runners who have been instructed to fetch anything they need. Damn! That's a hard life!
I've been, 'on set'. On several sets actually, earning around a £100 for a long days work as an extra and I did do a lot of standing around. But I have to admit that those times were the most exciting working times of my life. I watched Jeremy Brett play Sherlock Holmes, I was privileged to be in the last but one episode of "Drop the Dead Donkey", I created computer graphics as far back as 1987 for the film, "murder on the Moon" starring Bridget Nelson (£500 a day) and been in one or two more modern productions. I've felt honoured to be involved in any creativity.
Sour grapes? Of course its bloody sour grapes. And I would not be human if I thought anything less. But its a sense of sadness which drives my words this morning. For, in truth, I cannot be around film sets anymore. I cannot watch them on TV either. I just weep. Uncontrollably. Why? For past wrongs. Lost opportunities. Failed attempts. If you are young, don't let this happen to you. And actors? For Christ's sake; cultivate a little more gratitude.
Gentle Breezes to you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where was I?

I've been watching Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain and I've been astonished. Why can I not remember these events? Political marches, Diana's wedding, strikes, sex scandals, the three day week, the winter of discontent, the recession, unemployment, the Big Bang, Poll Tax riots, lower speed limits, hippy happenings... Where was I when these current events were taking place? I watched a rally for CND and one for Ban the Bomb and saw tens of thousands of young people from the London area marching, protesting and getting into trouble. Where was I? Getting drugged up to my eyeballs that's where. I'm aware that I've never had an interest in current events. All that sort of news just washed over me like white noise.
However, I see the connection now between my juvenile dismissal of those events and the current difficulty I now have with the industry I wish to become recognised in; publishing. For its all about making connections isn't it? And while I was, cabbage-like, sitting on the end of my single bed, staring at my toes for eight hours at a time, whilst under the heavy influence of LSD, my peers were attending parties, getting PHD's in English and, in those days although they would not have called it especially by its name, networking their little minds out. I don't deserve to be a writer.
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Don't you hate the fact that people are not named in the various media or is it only me who finds items like these two so very annoying;

1. Despite good ratings and critical acclaim, ITV decided not to re-commission the show for a third series.

2. "No comment", said a Home Office spokesman.

3. "We think your novel is rubbish", (just place any agent or publisher in here)

Just who are these people who make these decisions? I hate their anonymity. Name them for God's sake. So we can have a good go back.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ashton Kutcher and Kris Marshall

I'm in a fantasy kind of mood today. Yes, the two guys above are the finest young male comedy actors actors I can think of that possess the brilliance needed to play the parts of Stewart and Frankie in my novel, Alien Queens. If you are familiar with their work (for a perfect comedic experience I recommend you check them out) you're know why of course.
Their humour and style is quite mad, perhaps even bordering on the genius and I've no problems in understanding why they are both A-listed men. They are damn good looking too. I've never seen these two acting together and I have no idea, being that they live on separate continents, if they even know each other but they must at least have an awareness of the others comic genius' (there's that word again) timing. Someone put them together please!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dead again?

Here's a question you won't want to think about for too long. Someone dies. A woman. How do you describe the event? Perhaps, 'She just died.' Or what about, 'It just died.'
Which one feels better to say? And why? Was your decision bound up with a faith, a belief or circumstances? In using the first one, surely, as 'she' is not present anymore, is it the correct sentence to use? After all, there is just a collection of complex molecules in front of you now. No different to any other collection such as, say, your morning breakfast. Yes, but that does not sound respectful. We know this. And as for the second? Well, that's a no-brainer isn't it? Of course she's not an 'it.' Perhaps she was a relative or a close friend. Complex eh?
However, a week goes by. The body is now not the same as you remembered her. It has changed in many complex chemical ways. Notice I wrote the word 'it.' Is that now a little more appropriate? Now that 'she' no longer has the close appearance of the person you were once fond of? Where and when and how did this change of subjectivity happen? Would it be the same for all people? When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'?
Is this a useless piece of speculation? Perhaps. But by considering it, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and the way we look at the world, and more importantly, the relationships we have with people.
Okay. Its now been a year and, (do I still write 'it' or is it still 'she' in your mind?) lays there, perhaps an almost complete ruin. Nature has taken care of the situation. But what do you think? Has your opinion been divided? Have you changed your mind? And if so, when did that happen for you? Would you have the same opinion about, not a human body but an animal or even a pet? I ask again; When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'? Ah, language. We still have such a long way to go.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pity the poor pornographer.

The other day I was watching some pornography...if I mention that it was serious research for my forthcoming novel, Executrix would you believe me? Anyhoo... the piece in particular was filmed at an extremely raucous hen party in Denmark and featured, if I can use that word, three very naked and heartily-built men of quite huge proportions, dancing, cavorting, sweating, parading and exciting a room of about thirty females who were in their twenties I should say.
It was a clever set-up. Another two men, each wearing nothing but a black bow tie (!) and a pair of the tightest and briefest of white briefs, whilst holding a white towel over an arm, ranged about pouring free wine liberally into the women's glasses while (I counted two) unbelievably drably-dressed females armed with expensive video cameras also sneaked about making sure the action was not wasted, but committed to eternity.
The music was at a heart-attention getting, 120 beats per minute and was unrelenting. A good set up also was the staging area where this happened for it consisted of a round stage upon which the men danced and which was at the perfect height of about three feet, for the women, dancing and therefore upright, for their heads to be at the same height as the men's crotches. Perfect for film. However, fellatio was not the only sex act that was to be performed on those poor men. Oh no! This was Denmark after all.
At some point, about ten of the women jumped up on the stage and continued to do what the cameras enjoyed filming, when whoosh! A burst from overhead pipes, doused everyone in warm, and I would have thought, given the amount of time that it had taken them to get this far, refreshing streams of water. I could see the three men were almost eternally grateful that they had reached this point in their performance. One could really see it on their faces and they took a little time off to splash water over themselves before their attention once again returned to the two dozen or so hungry mouths which seemed to be all over them like drunken slobbering mastiffs.
However, the women, their Friday night party frocks (what there was of them in the first place) were now ruined and with the aid of that wine, were therefore shed and most of them disappeared into the watery mayhem, followed quite quickly by their bra and panties. Then, as if they were not before, the men became free-range and fuelled by the still flowing alcohol, the women went wild and a mass orgy took place, the women very much in charge and control and receiving absolutely everything that they demanded. I hope you can imagine this scene.
So what I am getting at? Why am I painting this picture for you? Well, it's because of the sudden attitude of the men. The three of them. Earlier, strutting and domineering, one would imagine that these guys would have been in heaven yes? But they were not. They were being overwhelmed and that's the most politest way I can describe it. In fact, they were losing the plot completely and that could be seen by observing what the women had paid good money to see. Hard manhood. Or not in actuality.
So in desperation, the men tried to resurrect themselves by the one thing that they had not tried. The one thing that this hoard of sexually hungry and perhaps frustrating young women had withheld so far. Kissing. And that's what these three men wanted to do. They wanted an emotional experience, a experience connected with some tenderness. Even perhaps some affection. Here were these men having an experience that almost any man, I would imagine would pay dearly to have and these guys just wanted to kiss. How girlie! Explain that!
It was very obvious to me and to tell you the truth, sad to watch. For in the end, all of the people in that club became diminished; the dancers, the women and the filmmakers. Even the bar staff which I could sometimes glimpse, stood quite still and shocked as the women, no longer being satisfied by the men, took to drunkenly pleasuring themselves and each other. I was diminished by it as well. So what was the point of that evening? Well, finer brains than mine have debated this point but surely it cannot be about money? But if it is, perhaps I ought to grow up and pity the poor pornographer. Not my finest hour.

Probably not a popular blog!

I do hope this column is not becoming a platform for misery! A forum for complaining. But I've been re-reading a few past entries and it does seem that I am edging into negativity perhaps just a shade too much. But that's what this blogging business is all about. A personal reflection of my thoughts. Oh dear! Well, we can always stand to learn a few things about oneself. What would you write?
I was at Tesco recently and, keeping my eyes and ears open as you do, noticed a man of about thirty-five accompanied by a child out shopping. Or at least, they were in the shop. For while he was leaning up against the frozen vegetables, his mobile clamped to his face, annoyingly barking into it, she was pouting as only a bored annoyed eleven year old can, her arms folded and her foot tapping in the manner of someone who was terminally frustrated. I lingered naturally as the situation warranted it! To hear him ranting about some recent football game which had been shown on the box the night before.
And it struck me how little this chap didn't want to be in the company of this child. His daughter I am presuming. And the not so hidden message she was getting from that missed opportunity of communication. Of course, then I noticed it everywhere and remembered also the hundreds of similar times that I had been in the same circumstances as that kid.
I have visitors who seem to spend their time with me with one eye on their mobile or PDA. Who break off important conversation just to read an incoming text message. Who drive reading text messages! Who receive and make calls without so much as an excuse me. I realise that I am old fashioned and getting on in years but to me that is just unpardonable rudeness. It would be different if it were business of course but I would still expect an apology. Now I have to ask you, what is that saying about their friendship with me? How much respect are they showing to me? And therefore to themselves? How much respect was that man showing to his daughter? And will he understand why, when she grows up and exhibits delinquent behaviour, that he was partly to blame? For unloved kids almost always go down the path of problems. When his wife leaves him and his kids no longer care to live under his rules, and he becomes as lonely as hell, will he admit that he had a hand in it? Sadly, probably not.
In general, it seems as if people do not wish to be with people. Oh yes, they want to be in their company but not actually with them. I've lost count of the times I've noticed a couple out walking and both have been speaking to other people! Who are they talking to? And if they were with them, would they be using their phone to talk to yet another person? Its bizarre behaviour and everybody seems to be doing it, probably including you.
My most difficult memory so far concerning this occurred a few weeks ago. A teenage mother, her phone jammed under her chin, was absentmindedly pushing her pram with one hand while her tiny daughter, probably no older than eighteen months, was being dragged along by the other. You can imagine this picture. Then the child stumbled on a piece of broken pavement but was saved from falling because her hand was being held. However, the mother did not notice and for a full, I guess, seven seconds, she dragged the girl along like someone would pull a sack along the ground, the child's toes scraping on the pavement. I just could not believe what I was seeing. So why do you do it people? Why can't you just be with the person you are currently with?
A very dear friend of mine, someone whom I no longer have contact with unfortunately as he died, as soon as I entered his house, he would switch off the TV immediately and always let the answering machine take calls. Of course, in those days, there were no mobiles or text messages but I'm sure, had there been, he would have ignored them as well. He always gave me his full attention and naturally, I loved him for it. Because he made me feel wanted and worthy. Respected and loved. I have to admit then, that the current crop of people that I associate with, will almost certainly not be remembered in the coming years with as much affection as I remember my old friend. I wonder why that will be? Duh!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Archaeologists

Hold on! There's a high horse. There! Got it. I've mounted it now. So...archaeologists. What's the deal with them? When I was ten or thereabouts, I remember visiting the British Museum in London ( I think I was always at some place of learning!) and specifically found myself wandering around the Egyptian hall where the mummies are (still) on display. I do well remember how sickened and upset I was that these unfortunate remains of people were not allowed to rest for eternity in the manner of their beliefs.
I have not one single doubt that, if any of those ancient people, when they were alive, had been informed that one day their mortal skeletal remains would have open to the leering gaze of all and sundry, then they would have been utterly horrified. For these people, that society, perhaps more than most, valued the sanity of what to do with the body after death.
Thus, with the indignation and precociousness that comes from being a ten year old (and remember, ten year olds can do anything) I insisted that I spoke to someone in charge and soon, a nice lady appeared and I began my miniature and immature diatribe, which basically consisted of how I believed it was wrong to parade the remains of these people and how they should have been left in peace. I think she was a bit taken aback! Unfortunately, I forget her side of the argument.
Now for a child to have such strong opinions about such a subject is a little surprising in itself but that's not the reason I'm mentioning it today. No, I'm thinking of how two-faced archaeologists are. For, a short while ago, by international agreement, it was agreed not to touch the remains of the Titanic and not to bring up any artefacts from the decaying vessel itself. Why? Because its now recognised as a memorial, a graveyard if you will.
So...can someone please inform me as to the difference between digging up bodies as archaeologists do on a daily basis and, not disturbing other remains? And make it a good argument please because the phrase, 'thin ice' comes to mind. In short, why do we we display some people from the past and not others?
This is a damn fine question and any answer would tell us a great deal about the person (or society) answering it. Think about it. The remains of a Spitfire is discovered in a field...the skeletal remains still in it...we take it out, pin the skeleton together and mount it, still in its original clothes in a local museum where we pay £4 to see it. Is that permissible? Or how about if we find a hundred skeletal remains plus all their original kit of First World War soldiers huddled together in a mass grave. How about shoving all them on display? No? What about recent murder victims? We can all have a good look at those.
So what's the fundamental difference between that and what is still currently going on in museums all over the word?
Distance. That's what is going on. Distance in time and respect for the living. But until we have respect for all those who have passed away, our current level of respect for ourselves will continue to be minimal. And minimal respect will always cause trouble and problems. Talk about learning from the dead eh?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How about chewing on a live baby, outside the doors of the BBC in Regent Street whilst juggling in the nude?

Many of those who know me, even without having their arms twisted behind their backs, I think would agree that my personality is of a placid and mostly agreeable nature. My life operates uncompromisingly by the Golden Rule and I like to see fairness and tolerance everywhere. Indeed, if I may champion myself for the moment, I live for the underdog.
Therefore, although what I am about to write, I know does not fit into that ethos, nevertheless, I fear the following must be publicly acknowledged by me.
The Golden Rule states that what we give out, will eventually come back but this must be written; The book, Writers & Artist’ yearbook [any year], published by A&C Black (and similar ones by other publishers) is nothing more than a huge waste of expense and paper.
I have to justify that naturally. Here I go; I’ve been buying these editions each year and sending off, at great expense, polite letters (exactly of the type as requested), stamped addressed envelopes, long and short synopsis’ and three page introductions, for as long as I can remember. The amount of rejections and the nature of many of them, although immediately dismissive, are, in truth, personally harmful, as the hidden emotionally destructive nature of them has accumulated over the decades.
Literary agents (each) are receiving perhaps as much as 300 submissions a day but take on perhaps two or three authors a year. Very few of the main publishing houses (like Penguin) will not even accept an introductory letter anymore unless it comes from an agent so they have a locked door policy and correspondence is (sometimes) simply returned, occasionally with the barest of explanations.
My point here being that if the agents and publishers do not wish the common unpublished Hoi Polloi to write to them, then what I wish is for them to TAKE THEMSELVES OUT OF THE BOOKS and stop wasting everyone’s time and money.
I am beginning to believe the only way I can draw attention to myself would be to chew on a live baby, outside the doors of the BBC in Regent Street whilst juggling in the nude. Naturally I blame the Internet and the ease in which the so-called creativity applications have made it seem that anyone can write a best seller without first putting in the necessary years of study.
For if these new modern, ‘typists’, who are clogging the system up, had to bang their stories out on a typewriter whilst not having the benefit of spelling or grammar checkers or the help of those proliferation of programs which purport to help those buying them write better, then I am convinced many would not bother. They would probably just continue to mindlessly watch Eastenders, ‘Coronation Street’ and Hollyoaks. The trouble is, everyone wants that fifteen minutes of fame.
To write a decent novel takes many years out of one’s life and is a huge commitment, a state of mind that many in this speedy Internet age do not possess. Or have lost the ability.
I do not blame the agents and publishers per se. They have had to take what measures they have taken to safeguard their resources. Quite understandable. However, that does not assist me, an impoverished writer, of doubtful heritage, gender and education, existing without the benefit of any nepotism whatsoever, and who now comes across as mean and angry and whose works are being swept away with the poorly-written dross of the masses.
I had to laugh the other night. A sad sort of laugh. The South Bank Show did a special on Sarah Waters the esteemed British lesbian author. At one point, Melvyn Bragg mentioned that he understood her first novel was a bit hard to get published. Oh yes, she said, about ten publishers rejected me!!!! Only ten? I sputtered over my hot chocolate. I’ve had tens of hundreds of rejections over a period of twenty years. What lives of cream some people lead.
I am fully aware that the relationship between a creative and a financier is inherently hostile. They don’t think about the same things, they don’t talk about the same things; they don’t do the same things. They don’t even speak the same language. About all they have in common, in this business, are words on paper. Again, for the caricature, financiers see writers as flaky and artists see financiers as the soulless bean-counting robots… in charge. Yea, it’s about power. Whoever pays, decides.
Nothing in this diatribe will change anything but it was good to get it off my tiny chest. So, back to the Golden Rule.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'd like to give up my computer

I will admit to passing through some odd phases and I am currently working my way through one at the present time. But if I were to carry my current thoughts through to their conclusion, it would be like severing my own throat (sorry about the wording. I'm probably still thinking about yesterday's blog) in that I'd like to get rid of my computer. Or at the very least relegate it to a corner of the room where it gets switched on just once a week.
You see, my Apple Mac (or both of them actually) is alive (!) twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and I live and breath at the keyboard, something which is probably not good for me both physically and mentally. Or even spiritually probably! It has become my best friend and I recognise that as a failing.
Besides that, the tools I use, Word, Photoshop, Indesign, Painter and others, I have this feeling, that despite what the blurb says, these programs actually restrict my creativity, not enhance them. Why? Because I have to operate within the parameters of other people's programming and besides, I have to learn to use them by obeying other people's rules. One cannot get simpler than a piece of paper and a pencil. Oh, how I should like to be able to use it for just printing out a final version of a novel! Because that's what its good at.
Of course though, nothing exists in a vacuum and so I would have to ask myself, what would I do with all my free time? Yes, all the time I spend answering emails and writing blogs and articles? Well, I'll tell you. I'd begin to learn the piano once again, I'd take up water-colour landscape painting, I'd move to Cornwall and live a much simpler life, I'd walk a lot in the rain and mist, I'd just sit a great deal and do nothing but stare at the scenery, I'd enjoy the money that I would save, I'd do bookbinding, making special, hard-backed copies of my novels for friends and I would free myself from this open prison that we have all brought into. Some obviously more than others!
Will it happen? Could I get rid of my computer, my cynosure of my life? That would be like giving up hard drugs. But how beautifully simple life would be after. No more computer crashes, no more gnashing of teeth, wishing to toss the damn thing out of the window when it went wrong! No more expensive upgrading. No more technological problems. Just pure freedom with the simpler and free things in life. What a dreamer I am. Probably just another phase.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Any one for swearing?

When I was a child in the fifties in East London, poor as we were, there existed a type of poverty which did not include being manner-less or rude. I believe this behaviour was adopted and drilled into us as children, just as much as it was punched into our parents as a visual and verbal means to show society that, although belonging to the lower class, we still possessed a type of homely dignity.
Certainly, my brother and I learnt extremely rapidly that any form of foul language would never be tolerated. Even in the mildest of forms. We never heard our parents or any of our elders and close family use any of the forbidden words and therefore, naturally, we silently copied their behaviour. Indeed, when people swore on the TV, it was a source of embarrassment to us all.
Even now, some half a century later, I am known as a person who does not swear a great deal; a testament to my upbringing.
But what was it they were trying to suppress? What is the basis of swearing? As I do not have space, let me cut through the minefield and offer the explanation of anger as an original intent.
Little kids are not supposed to express anger are they? What they are supposed to do is become drones like their parents. Any expression away from this central core of learning has to be suppressed.
Take any swear word or exclamation, as feeble as, damn! or blast! to the other, unfortunately, more used and, ‘dangerous’ ones and I defy you to use it in a sentence which does not have connotations of anger. It’s very difficult to be loving in a sentence when one is swearing.
And that is what my parents were trying so hard for me and my brother to avoid; showing anger. Because anger implies individuality. Maybe I’m wrong here. Perhaps I’ve got things about-faced. Perhaps I lack the intellect and knowledge to put forward a proper discussion? I don’t know really. Fuck.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Catharine Eddowes

My web site describes me as...a little dark. And I don't see anything wrong in that. We all have some in us, even if its just occasional thoughts about subjects upon which we don't usually dwell, like death and other morbidity. Some, one in particular, I won't mention names, attempt to go through life permanently displaying the qualities of an exuberant eight year old which can be draining and false. And there are some, again, one comes to mind, who may as well be already dead, such is the amount of time he spends with them. Morbid much?
But on the whole, I think it is more life-giving to daily turn over part of ones thoughts to the deeper side of life if only for comparison's sake. I am in the process of reading about seven books at the moment, snatching parts of them at different times of the day and although life is not exactly what I wish for at the moment, if I re-read one particular extract from one particular book which contains a description of the possessions of one woman's life, then, for myself anyway, it thankfully puts my entire life in context and releases me from the ever-present self-guilt and recriminations.
This poor woman, Catharine Eddowes was 44 when she meet her terrible end, as the fifth victim of the infamous Jack the Ripper. And at her autopsy, the list of her sole possessions in life; all that she had garnered from her years of living were thus listed;

A large white handkerchief.
One blue striped bedticking pocket.
Two unbleached calico pockets.
A white cotton handkerchief.
Twelve pieces of white rag.
A piece of course linen.
A piece of blue and white shirting.
Two small bedticking bags.
Two short clay pipes.
One tin box containing tea.
One tin box containing sugar.
One piece of flannel.
Six pieces of soap.
A small tooth comb.
A white-handled table knife.
A metal tea spoon.
A red leather cigarette case with white metal fittings.
An empty tin match box.
A piece of red flannel containing pins and needles.
A ball of hemp.

It humbles me somewhat to think of the way I collect possessions and what I am currently worth. In essence, Catharine was absolutely no different to you or I. She had a head and a heart full of hopes and dreams. She must have felt that she belonged somewhere and that she had a past. I have no doubt at all that she dreamed of a better future. She was human and therefore must have. As we all do. Apart from the time difference of some 120 years, a time now of shadows, she could have been our own sister or mother. A best friend or a lover.
I had an occasion to bemoan myself recently for not becoming that which I wanted to become but then read that list again. I should imagine that wherever you are, if you look away from these words, the very first thing your eyes will alight upon would be worth many times what this unfortunate sad little woman managed to collect in her entire lifetime. Now that causes me to pause for thought. And then more importantly, allows me the time to feel that which offers me the best comfort; gratitude.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Martin Clunes

Have any of you noticed what a sublime actor Martin Clunes is? Yes, he of Doc Martin and if you are old enough, of Men Behaving Badly. Apart from many other fine roles, he directed and starred in Staggered and appeared in Shakespeare In Love.
Did you know his cousin was the late actor, Jeremy Brett who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in the long running ITV show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? In 2002 he playfully played serial killer John George Haigh in A Is for Acid, but as far as I am concerned it is his performance in ITV's production of Goodbye Mr Chips made in 2002 which sets him apart as an actor of supreme skill.
I had always been a fan of the films of the novel by James Hilton and one of my favourites is the 1969 musical version with Peter O'Toole (which many critics hated!) But Martin's portrayal of Mr Chips borders on the genius I believe. Don't believe me? Look at what his eyes are doing when he receives the worst news of his life. Outstanding. Never before was I so drawn into a character's sadness.
We look at Martin and think we see a comedy actor but I believe he is far more than that. Look out for him in the future.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bad Blogger

Well, this proves my point. The fact that you are now able to read this. Because as I typed, when I looked at the screen, my words were in hindi!!!! And I couldn't change it to English either. That wasted ten minutes of my life, farting about in settings, clicking here and there until I accidentally discovered what had happened. But as to why, today, the damn program decided on on its own to change into a different language I still have no idea.
Anyway, as to prove my point, I hate Blogger. For the last twenty four hours, I have been attempting to place a counter on here so I can see how many visitors I get. One would thing, given the vast complexity of the damn program with its array of different settings and adjustments that one can make, that the creators would have incorporated something like that. But no! That would be too easy wouldn't it?
Why so complicated? I do suspect its a 'filling up" exercise. Pack it out with fluff; insubstantial nonsense to make it feel as if the end user is getting their money's worth. (Except here, mysteriously, its free) Its a blog site for Heaven's sake. A simple place where one's thoughts are laid bare. Why give us the option of different type fonts, sizes and colours?
I've been around a few years. And I so I know a few things. I know the meaning of life for instance. Why we are here. I also know who I am (and therefore, who you are) Now I could write a book about that. I could make it, say, 100,000 words in length. I too could pack it out with fluff and history and opinions but I could also tell you in just half a dozen words. Which is why I haven't written the book. How can I justify asking people to part with £15 of their hard earned when the essence can be given in a sentence? There are quite a few authors out there doing just this and I find them deplorable. People might spent £10 on a book about losing weight and the truth is, to lose weight we must eat less and move more. Thank you, that'll be £10 please. What's to learn?
I know I'll never be rich. But I sleep extremely well at night. And I still don't have a counter. Can you see one? No, nor can I.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Martina Cole's new book, Faces

I know, I know, I know! I did promise that this post would be positive but I'm not in control of this stuff! :-) Anyway, it could be construed as positive...in a sense...to someone. Perhaps on Mars.
So I saw an advert on the side of a bus yesterday which surprised me somewhat, and then, giving it some thought, this feeling morphed into indignation. (At my age, it doesn't take much for this process to occur)
The advert in question was for Martina Cole's new book, Faces. Not a problem there one might think, except that her publisher, Headline Book Publishing (and we must remember that the lady has published over twelve best sellers) has felt the need to entice readers by using the ploy of downloading the first chapter free to your phone. Is there something 'tacky and tasteless' about this? This is a well established and renowned author. I think people should queue for the privilege of reading her work. Are her publishers so afraid of losing profits that they feel they have to set themselves on this course?
I know what you are thinking. So what if they are? They are just taking advantage of the new media and of new forms of promotion. Its just sour grapes on my part isn't it? Well, there's a 5% truth in that. However, I guess I am overly concerned with the quiddity of writing and with the the non-prostitution of myself. For what I write is not just words, marks on a paper, but an altogether complete expression of who and what I am. And I believe that that essence should not be given away lightly and especially for free. I am worth more than free. And so is Martina Cole.
We know things are getting tough in the publishing world. Oh my God! There are events taking place globally that are changing everything. Recently, I read of a fellow author who has had six books published and his seventh was rejected. There appears to be little stability under this current climate of financial fear.
Sometimes, I feel as if I am selling myself too easily and I feel a little sick rise up into my mouth. And at times like that, I feel like taking myself off-line and becoming what nature has intended me to become all my life; a proper penniless writer. All I need is a garret. Can't afford one though.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

SIMON & SCHUSTER

Suzanne Baboneau and Julie Wright. Remember those names. So, let talk about rudeness. Today, I've recently returned from a shopping trip which took me into the heart of the city of London. Its been some years since I undertook anything similar and although I expected my experience to be, perhaps, a little on the stressful side, nothing had prepared me for how rude Londoners had become.
I won't offer any examples but if you can imagine the common and unsettling things people do to other people when they are in a state of unconditional selfishness, then you will have hit the mark. At times I was left open-mouthed. What hideous people (and if your work in any large city you are probably one of them) Everyone was rushing about as if they had just five minutes of life left to them. Astonishing. You will all be dead soon from heart disease.
What else? Oh yes, waiting for me when arrived home was a letter, the contents of which basically floored me. For in all the years I have been sending material to publishers and agents, and receiving the usual silliness by return of post (sometimes months later) I have never open up a returned letter to find what was inside this one.
You see, a few days ago, I had sent out 70 letters to see if anyone would be interested in my latest work and, (of course) placed an SAE in each one. So when I noticed a letter from SIMON & SCHUSTER had arrived and that being one of the companies I had written to, I was fairly sure it was going to be a common rejection, complete with the normal inane platitudes that they feel they have to bulk the letter out with. As if they care a jot about me or any other writer.
However, not this time! For inside was my...SAE...folded up. I looked of course for any accompany letter and there was none. Nothing. Some rude and hate-filled person had spent 34p (of their employers money) and wasted an envelope to return my second class SAE! There was not even a rejection note. Get your head around that! How unprofessional. And how just plain awful to be in that person's head! Can you imagine being married to him or her or even just going out with them? Ugh! And what a poor reflection on SIMON & SCHUSTER if that is the type of person that works for them.
I do remember sending off three letters to Africa House, Kingsway, to three imprints registered under their umbrella name but I have no way of knowing if it was Suzanne Baboneau or Julie Wright or the Devil with the upright handwriting. I'll probably do the simple maths if and when the other two return my SAE's. I think I'll keep the envelope.
Something positive next time. I promise!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lets go for mentioning something today which should, depending on your sensitivity, send you quite mad for up to three days if you really understand what I am about...or not at all! Now, imagine I am a secret agent. Here I am, Miss Molly Bond! And I have been given the task of preventing an hydrogen bomb from exploding.
There I am, sitting next to it, my face perhaps nine inches away from the control panel as the clock counts down. Three, two, one...Boom! Except there would be no boom. Not for me anyway. Why is that?
Now when one of these explodes, it reaches an internal temperature of 400,000,000°C!!! Which, as that's just plainly impossible to visualise or experience, here is a guide. Think of temperature as length. And take one centigrade to be the equivalent of 1 millimetre. So a lovely day in the Mediterranean, 40 C would be the equivalent of half the length of your thumb. The hottest flame we can make is about 3300 C which works out to nearly 11 feet. Therefore the temperature of an exploding hydrogen bomb reaches out to 248 miles!!! Get your head around that!
But anyway... Why will there be no boom for me? Because the expanding fireball produced (about 180 miles a second!!) will be of such tremendous velocity that by the time I've noticed that something strange is happening with the control panel, the fireball (of some millions of degrees) is already some 200 feet past me! And completely evaporated me of course. Almost totally instantaneously. So I'm not going to notice anything. Not a bad way to go actually. One moment I am sitting there with my screwdriver poking away at the control panel and then

Monday, June 02, 2008

Our dear friends, the animals.

Ok, I'd like to try and keep this summery of my thoughts somewhat on the positive side. However, at my age (and we are supposed to become a bit grumpy as we reach a certain age aren't we?) it might prove to be a little difficult! So, I'm going to do my best by alternating a positive blog with a negative. If I do feel the impulse to put one in!
And today is lucky expression day! The licensing of carted deer hunting and hare coursing. In the 15th century, the people of England thought it was quite normal to chain bears to a wooden post and set large fighting dogs against it until it bled to death. Besides asserting that the meat tasted better, it was considered entertainment. However, despite the hundreds of years which have passed, this very same unimaginative and singularly barbaric mental altitude exists in the same form the way some people view fishing and horse-racing today. Some may comment that it is not the same but where it counts, where it originates, in our minds, it is the same. Disrespect and disregard, cruelty and bloodthirstiness originate from the same place.
Some may squirm and writhe at this accusation, this suggestion; this association of events and topics but a death for amusement is a death for amusement is a death for amusement. How you take what is being offered here depends, of course, upon your personality, your point of view, your humanity and the level of respect you show for all life. Not just human life but life of any kind.
When the Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli took it upon itself to deny the greater public access to public executions in May 1869, a great sense of ill feeling and resentment was generated. Partly, no doubt for the revenue the, 'hanging days' generated (because of the sensational amount of crowds generated) but the need to satisfy an ancient bloodlust was, we can have no doubt about it, also a mighty factor.
However, how many today clamour for the, 'good old days' when up to 20,000 people could witness, even children gasping for their last breath as they pointlessly struggled and fought to live whilst tied and blindfolded? Very few I would imagine. At least here in the UK.
The youngest children ever hung in Britain were Michael Hammond and his sister, Ann, whose ages were given as seven and eleven respectively. They were hanged at Kings Lynn on 28 September 1708 for theft.
The corruptible mentality continues today of course bolstered up by reality shows where crowds abuse solitary 'victims' but the desire for real bloodshed is not entirely diminished. There are companies and individuals, perhaps altogether acting irresponsibly and most probably illegally, who make a crust selling films of death scenes. Beheadings, shootings and hangings appeal to the barbaric just as much today as they have in the past. When a certain African government recently advertised for an executioner, over 200 people applied, some from the UK and some were women. Naturally, whatever is good enough for men is certainly good enough for animals. Cockfighting in Cumberland is still known to exist. (2006)
But I am no 'creature cuddlier' I derive no emotional fulfillment in the friendship or companionship of animals of any description. However, everything lives at the expense of other creatures. In Chief Seattle's words: "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man. All things are connected"
Even our own decay is brought about by other organisms. We must be honest. Our race is still immature. Intellectually, we sit atop of an irrepressible, evolutionary, dynamic pyramid of life. All competing for the next meal, it is only right and proper that the most specialised succeed and develop. There is a Zen to the process and of course there is no doubt that human beings, with our intelligence and advanced sense of self consciousness, are more than equipped to succeed than any other animal. Social or solitary.
However, we will not arrive to where we are supposed to go in evolutionary terms unless we give up our past. And here we immediately arrive at an impasse for how can we rise above our animal ancestry while we still need them? I believe that is a good question.
What has this to do with the licensing of carted deer hunting and hare coursing? The answer to that is within yourself.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

It is difficult, given the passage of time, to remember how outrageous the first film was. I remember, in the cinema, showing a preview of the 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, two older men laughing and ridiculing at the sheer silliness of it, mentioning that this was such rubbish and that it would just disappear without a trace. How wrong! That has to be up there with the once popular notion that men will never travel more that fifteen miles per hour because the air would be sucked out of the vehicle!
However....(and I love CGI) I do feel as if there were too much of it if we are expected to believe in any sort of continuity between this and the last three films. I did not think this looked or sounded like a 'B' movie at all. But it was a first rate, twenty-first century piece of filming, let us be sure of that. And no more fantastic than any other fantasy.
The film had a heart, had a history and had a dream. It did work for me...as long as I forgot about those other three wonderful and ground-breaking films.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Women Drivers

I have to say that I'm not usually one for ranting but now is the time to speak up! So, what's my issue about? Quite unfathomably, considering who I am, its about women drivers and specifically about tail-gating. Why am I targeting them and not men? (Who, by the way, are just as guilty)
Its because, while men's appalling driving appear to be driven by ego, women, and its the only explanation I can offer, are just plain dumb. There does not appear to be any thinking involved. Which is bloody dangerous if a car is involved. It doesn't matter if they are on their own or even if a toddler or any family is being driven, they will drive hell for leather whatever the circumstances and basically turn driving into a thoroughly miserable and dangerous experience.
I ask you, why would a driver, in heavy rain (but weather conditions just don't figure into the equation at all by the way) tail-gate? Specifically time and time again, each and every day and night, woman tail-gate me, their vehicles perhaps just ten feet away whist we are travelling at 50 miles per hour? They accelerate up behind me and then just sit there, perhaps fuming or even worse, using the slower car's pace as an excuse to get something done, like making a phone call. Somehow, in their inexperienced brains, they think that by hugging the car in front, it affords them some sort of safety!
Don't believe me? Then start looking into your rear view mirror more often. And you will see them. Mostly young woman that's a fact but the older ones have got into this unfortunate habit as well. So how has this dangerous state of affairs developed? Certainly, because twenty or even ten years ago, things were not this bad. It has to be partly down to men, specifically driving instructors who just unconsciously pass on their bad, ego-driven habits. But once set free with a licence to drive on their own, there can be no doubt about it, women, lemming-like follow the bad examples of everyone else. And once that happens, then we get writers like me wasting my time writing this.
Make no mistake about it, this sort of driving is pandemic with only a tiny minority of women driving properly. I know, I look out for these things. Out of concern for my own safety. Not having had an accident for forty years, I can say that I am a bit of an expert when it comes to self-preservation. There, I've blown my own horn. Oh, and by the way...the closer you get, the slower I go. I will maintain that two second gap that is supposed to be between us. Have a nice day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The way to go?

Hi, For a while now, I've been toying with the idea of making my own books. Because after years of trying to go the traditional publishing route, I's like to return to the Indie way of life and recapture the fun of producing my own work. And it might be better to propagate indie press alternatives to the mainstream publications.
What do I need? A colour laser printer with duplex to begin with (about £250), a paper folding machine (about £50) and a £20 program to imposition the files. All I need to know about actually making them is on the web and so a small cottage industry may be born! Its unlikely but it may be born!
I wish there were thirty hours in a day.
Bye for now.
MollyX

Friday, May 16, 2008

Well, its been a time...


Hello Everyone,
So, I am trying out this new blogging business and I shall see how it goes. I hope to write weekly but as many of you know, I am mostly occupied with other writing and there are only thirty hours in a day! I've only just completed my novel Alien Queens, which I describe as, "A fantastic and mouth-watering, 136,000 word, time-travel comedy that takes the Grandfather paradox and plays footsie with it before wringing its neck and throwing its carcass on a heap!"
If you get time, please pop over and visit my site www.mollycutpurse.com. There you will find a whole raft of free titbits as well as entire novels free to read and many, many other things. I am known as the English transgendered author so it won't be boring!
All for this time
Love MollyX