Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sharpe's Festival

I've just returned from taking my little brother and the T.P. to a strange festival and it was marvellous. I'm not a huge fan of camping, the idea of sleeping somewhere with terrible loos in something that is basically a kite doesn't really appeal. I quite like the small plates and kettles you get for camping but the horror of washing them up reduces the appeal and lets just not speak of the sort of jackets people who take camping seriously wear.

However when fun is a possibility there is almost nothing I won't do so it was stiff upper lip time. My little brother was in his element, he didn't want it to end. It's a very safe festival, tiny compared to the mainstream ones, so he got to go off in a large pack of children his own age causing mayhem and getting covered in dusty mud like a proper small boy. We wouldn't see him for hours and when he did return he would have stories of how he saw something amazing and then ate some chicken.

There was even a casino at this event, run just for fun and the T.P. went in it then left only occasionally, getting through to the final of the poker tournament and impressing everyone. I mean really impressing, she is definitely going to be sent back to that tent next year.

The weather was gloriously hot and I'm sporting a fine Farmer's tan on my face and arms. I'm exhausted to my very soul, but refreshed, there is something about being outside for a few days, in the (relative) countryside that always makes me feel more human. Perhaps it is the call of Devon or just that I always have fun at these things.

On the way back from the Festival we listened to Paul McGann read Sharpe's Havoc and now I want to be Sharpe. I mean, look at that spiffing jacket and his steely gaze. He might be a simple man, but he is a man of honour (with a lovely coat).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I just watched an episode of Countdown. It's not quite the same as it was before, actually that is a lie, it's exactly the same. I like the way it doesn't change and how in every region where it is shown they have someone like Richard Whiteley, in Belgium it's a very nice gentleman who happens to be the uncle of one of the chaps from Too Many DJs.

He makes vague jokes and chuckles to himself a lot, just as the host should. I've never been that tempted to go on Countdown, but if I did I have a plan. Oh yes.

On the letter round I'd ask for a vowel, another vowel, yet another vowel, some more vowels and so on. I can't imagine there are that many words that are composed entirely of vowels so it wouldn't be too hard to memorise them all.

I haven't got a plan for the numbers round though. So I'd probably just throw bits of paper at Carol Vorderman.

What is going on?

I'm waiting for all sorts of things at the moment. I suppose that is a good sign, it means I'm doing lots of things but it's also annoying. I hate waiting.

I'm waiting on a wide range of people to get back to me about a range of subjects, it's not as if I'm not diversifying my impatience. I might even see if I can outsource it, and have some other people wait around fretting lightly while I can get on with the important business of the day like choosing socks for the weekend.

Well, I suppose if I'm waiting, I might as well start something else.

That's what the A-team would do.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wanted: A killer first page

I'm trying to write a first page for a book I'm working on. It's got to be so gripping that anyone who reads it can't help but read on, desperate to know more. In what could be described as a 'ground breaking web experiment' I'm going to post the first page and see what the people of the Internet think, all 4 and a half of you who read this blog.

If you like it, it stays. If not I will start again.

So here it is.


I looked down the cliff, and realised I was going to die.

“So how fucked are the brakes Henry?” I asked.

“Gone,” replied Henry “we’ve got nothing.”

“Just to confirm, we are both knackered, it’s starting to get dark and we have to drive down one of the most dangerous mountain passes in the Alps in a Volvo that’s older than I am and we don’t have any brakes?”

“It’s foggy too, oh and I think the offside wheel bearing is going.”

I was going to die, and what made it worse, I kept thinking of that woman.

To clear my head I looked behind us; the ancient Volvo was burbling away happily and occasionally plinking to itself. Over the last few days the car’s strange mechanical failings had been a constant source of amusement and now it was going to kill us. The skull and crossbones we had painted on it seemed a bit ironic now.

I caught myself wondering what she would be doing right now and that made me angry. I wanted my last thoughts to be at least of someone I liked, not of her.

“Well I’m going to change my shirt,” I said to Henry and the mountain side. We hadn’t seen another car for hours so it felt like we were the only people on the planet.


“If I’m going to die, there doesn’t seem like much point in saving my best shirt for later.”

As I put on the shirt I thought about how I had ended up here. I tried to think back through the events to find the one that led to me facing a really stupid death. Where did it all start? Was it the fake Nazis, the Transvestite builder or the porn star? No, it was further back then that. Before I became any sort of womaniser, and way before I met her.

No it all started a long while ago, on another hillside, in Scotland.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Being a monkey

I feel like a monkey, or to be exact I feel like the monkey at the start of 2001 (the film not the date).

I'm trying to write this plot stuff for a book I'm working on, and it has me rather baffled. Actually the whole thing has me a bit baffled. No one can tell me exactly what I am supposed to do, or how to do it but they can say when something is wrong.

This is making it very hard to get it right and so I feel like an ape who is looking at bone trying to force out that spark of inspiration that will let it go and lay a monkey smack down on some other chimps and become the primeape. So maybe inspiration is there somewhere, but until it decides to turn up I'll be stuck, glaring at the bone trying to work out what to do with it.

It's not writers block, that's when you know you should be writing about say, cars but can't think of anything to say about them. This is more primative, I'm trying to force inspiration out of my head like Primula Cheese but I think I still have the cap on. No, that's not right either.

I'm a monkey, looking at a bone trying to see if it could be more than just a bone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Living with a Bene Gesserit

Last night I explained the cultural importance of Dune (The David Lynch version) to T.P. This was part of her orientation for watching it tonight. You shouldn't hurry Dune the first time as if doesn't make much sense and you are say, a fiery latina who gives new things about 30 seconds to be rewarding before giving up you might not get the best out of it.

Anyway, in the film (and the book by Frank Herbert of course) there are these funny witch ladies called the Bene Gesserit, I mean funny as in weird not as in 'Three Fremen walk into a bar', anyway, these ladies can do a special voice that makes people do what they say. It's like a power voice and in the film David Lynch made them do it in a weird scratchy voice with some effects laid on.

It's possible to do a reasonable impression of this and the idea of having a voice that made people do exactly what you want appealed to T.P. So the rest of the evening while I was trying to read a book I kept being told in a voice not unlike a Gremlin whose voice was breaking.

"Go out and get me chocolate milk"


"Give me the cushion"

Proving yet again that knowledge is a dangerous thing. Luckly I am the Kwisatz Haderach so it didn't work on me.*

*This is funny if you like the books, otherwise it will be lost on you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Two simple things

We had the casino party on Saturday night, and it was a huge success. Who would have guessed that people like playing cards for chips? The bash ended at 7am with the final crowd of poker players being reluctantly pushed out of the door. I was rather unwell for the party (I had caught a nasty bug off T.P. while looking after her) so I couldn't drink and spent quite a lot of time feeling like I was about to explode, and yet I still had fun.

Such is the power of card games I suppose. There was even a hint of love as two different friends took a liking to each other and spent the whole evening loudly flirting while playing cards. This flirting took the form of trash-talking over who had the best hand but it was all very amusing to watch. After the party was over the male of the pair requested I get the females phone number and the very next day I had a text message from the female asking for the male's number to apologise for her behaviour.

It's like a Rock Hudson/Doris Day film.

I'm still waiting to hear back from various people for work but this is more bearable as I've shown some of the work stuff to people I know and respect and they liked it so it seems just some agents miss the point entirely. Silly chaps, still one mustn't hold a grudge, it's petty.

Of course if in the future the agents find themselves destitute and for some reason in a burnt-out building covered in soot shouting "Why god. Why?" at the sky, I might allow myself a wry smile.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Punch in the face

I took a bit of a knock today. I saw an agent last week to talk work stuff, she got all excited when I told her about the project but when I sent it across she was less enthused.

On the positive side in the email she sent me said she was completely charmed by my writing style but she feared the subject was too quirky for her to be able to sell. After talking to my friend J, who has written films, ones you would have heard of, he said you should always see three agents as once so they fight over you a bit. He also said he has some names to talk to. Either way it's a pain.

It's a bit annoying to say the least so I spent the rest of the day furiously baking as a way of dealing with it. Several rounds of cinnamon biscuits later and reasonable bash at ginger snaps and I was feeling much better.

I suppose if the writing really doesn't take off I could always open a bakery.

P.S. this picture makes me yearn for braces, and a beard.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No thank you, Mr Sid Meier

I had rather descended into a fug of late. I was waiting to hear back about things so instead of starting new projects I was just sitting around fretting.

If I did even feel mildly productive I would start off okay, do some work in the morning then decide to 'just have a couple of turns' of Civilization IV during my lunch break. I would look up after a pause in the action and it would be dark and I would have wasted a whole day seeing if it was possible to take over the globe with out the power of flight.

For those who don't dabble in games Civilization is a classic, you start off with a tribe of settlers and you have to build an empire to stand the test of time. You get to found new cities, explore new lands, start religions and even change forms of government. Okay so it doesn't sound thrilling but I got the T.P. to play through the tutorial and then she wouldn't stop for three days. Her Eyptian empire managed to finally defeat the Romans and she was hooked.

Needless to say, if you have any sort of job that requires self control DO NOT get it. I deleted it yesterday as it was too dangerous to have around. I'm going to get a nice, safe, manageable hobby like smack instead.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I think this blog is going to have to change. It used to be a blog of wistful thinking about girls and the such, but my situation has moved on. I've got a girlfriend one who has been around for a while now (6 whole months, and yes I was the one who remembered the date).

So things are going to be different around here, I may whiffle on about gloves and hats on occasion but I think it's mostly going to be things about my girlfriend I don't understand.

Here is the latest one. We were talking about Horoscopes, I told about a website I visited on occasion because the predictions were enjoyably specific. It once said my bike chain would break (amazingly it did) and this month it was warning me about getting insurance for water damage.

Anyway she read hers and it said something about how someone very close to you will do something you really disapprove of at the end of the month. It was more specific than that but I was laughing too much to really concentrate. She then read my horoscope to see what was going to happen to me. Apart from the potential of water damage it said something about a friend will do something to shock you, or words to that effect.

She has taken this to mean some friend will try and hit on me, and so has banned me from touching or being too close to anyone male or female for the last two weeks of the month. She even checked the other horoscopes and so she thinks it's likely to be a Taurus or a Virgo.

This isn't a joke, it's to save our relationship. Yesterday while walking back from the park she was mentally going through all my male friends trying to work out which ones could be bisexual and thus more of a threat.

This is brilliant, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I've been invited to a party where the dresscode is vintage swimwear. Going to a party in just swimwear is a challenge in itself, but vintage swimwear? Male swimwear of the past has not been very inspirational.

I can't bring myself to say to the person organising it 'I'd love to go but I just don't want to go drinking in a pair of beige speedos.'

Maybe it's just a sign that I'm getting old, or at least tasteful.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A note to my ex-girlfriends

Dear All,

I do hope you are well and all that. I know I haven't spoken to some of you in a long while, years even, but I'd like to think we can still remember the good times.

We aren't together anymore which is fine, it wasn't working and I have no doubts you will find someone who will make you very happy. Which brings me to my request, please can you stop getting married so much.

Over the last week 4 different ex-girlfriends (You know who you are) have got married and have sent me the pictures. While I wish you all the best can you not do this all at once, it's a bit weird to see you prancing around in a smashing frock with someone else. I don't want to be going out with you or anything, I think we gathered that when you threw a plate at me, but it's still a bit strange.

Anyway, hope your hair has started to grow back and that your mum is well.