Blog


George Saunders and Normalisation

08 Feb 2017 Category: book review

In these days of increasing insanity in the world of politics, I find myself thinking more and more about the fiction of George Saunders. He understands that humans will adapt to any situation, however bizarre and will build their identities around it, even if that situation is horrifying. Many of his characters rebel against the situations, or come to the realisation that, like Brexit or Trump, this is not normal. Since I read Tenth of December last year, the beautifully crafted short stories have become more and more relevant to the modern age. We seem to be living the surreal...

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Step Away from the Internet

02 Feb 2017 Category: creativity

Every few months or so, an article comes around that reminds me I’m spending too much time on the internet, looking at pointless things and wasting time. This time, it was this article by Craig Mod that caught my attention. It made me realise that I was once again endlessly flicking between the same sites, watching Twitter refresh and reading the same articles over and over. It was an eloquently argued wake-up call.

I spend a lot of time on the computer at work as well as when I’m when writing. There’s an internet connection constantly. If I’m...

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Alternative facts and the rule of misinformation

25 Jan 2017 Category: politics

Bloody hell, what a terrible phrase ‘Alternative facts’ is. Similar to last years ‘post-truth’ that the UK media were so fond of last year, it seems the Americans are catching up to the Orwellian double-speak where 2+2 is 5 and nothing is as it seems.

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A Press Conference

18 Jan 2017 Category: stories

I am here today to announce there is nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Everything is fine. Rumours you may have heard to the contrary are simply that- rumours. Do not worry in the slightest. Do not worry about the Shadowlands. They do not exist because everything is fine.

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Enduring art (Same as it ever was)

10 Jan 2017 Category: creativity

I was listening to the rather excellent Book Shambles podcast the other day. It is a rambling discussion about books and literature, usually with a guest to guide the discussion. One of the hosts, Robin Ince, mentioned The Great Gatsby, saying that every time he reads it he finds new insight in its pages. It’s my experience that despite being a relatively slim novella, the complex characters and removed perspective provides a wealth of wisdom and observations. It got me thinking about art that endures throughout your life, that helps to shape you at different moments. I think this...

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A response to Laurie Gough

04 Jan 2017 Category: writing

In another example of running a controversial story to get clicks, the Huffington Post published an article by Laurie Gough that argues that self-publishing is an insult to the written word. (Of course, they also published a reaction to the original article, so they have it both ways.) As a self-published author myself, I disagree with Laurie’s argument. There has been a few angry responses to this opinion piece, but I thought I’d offer some personal thoughts on why I take issue with it.

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Best of 2016

29 Dec 2016 Category: year in review

2016 was a curious year. Politics ate itself and the internet took over all discourse. But personally, it was pretty good. I published two books, one a collection of short stories and one playscript. I wrote this blog every week, made a website and got in the habit of producing things regularly. I went to Skye for a long week and went to loads of gigs. It’s odd having this dichotomy between the terrible news of politics and the quite good personal life.

The year end is a natural time to reflect, so following the...

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2016: The Year the Internet took over

21 Dec 2016 Category: year in review

What a year. It started with David Bowie dying and somehow went downhill from there. A rabid media stirring up hate forced the British people to shoot themselves in the foot, whilst in the USA hate and intolerance won the day- if not the popular vote.

I feel this year the internet took over political debate. Now, many people get their news from Facebook or Twitter. It was a year in which the internet became central to how information is received and shared. No longer the underdog, used by a few, it is the mainstream way we connect, publish and...

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Pulp vs. Perfection

14 Dec 2016 Category: creativity

On a long coach journey back from Leeds a couple of weekends ago, I listened to Chris Gethard’s podcast Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People. I was recommended the podcast by Mel and it’s become a firm favourite. Each person calls into the program and has an hour to speak about whatever they want before the call hangs up. The only rule is that it needs to be anonymous, hence the title. It’s well worth listening to. Chris Gethard is a natural host, encouraging conversations to go in different directions and allowing the caller to speak. It’s also fascinating to...

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November Link Round up

06 Dec 2016 Category: link round up

Now the nights are drawing in and daylight is a distant memory. We surrender ourselves to the dark and cold, waiting and hibernating until spring.

Due to events and publishing a play, I haven’t read a lot of articles this month. The ones I did read tended to be depressing and ranty about politics. But with the long nights, I’ve read a couple of books I can recommend.

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Podcast

01 Dec 2016 Category: publications

Hello

I’ m featured on the latest episode of Lies, Dreaming- “The language of business”

It can be found here or listen below:

https://soundcloud.com/chutneyexhibition/lies-dreaming-7-the-language-of-business

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Surveillance, the Investigatory Powers Bill and Remain Vigilant

29 Nov 2016 Category: politics

Last week, I published a new ebook. Called Remain Vigilant, it consists of two linked one act plays set in the same fictional government agency that deals with surveillance. I actually wrote it over eighteen months ago, left it on my hard drive and forgot about it. My background is in playwriting, so this was before I got into writing short stories and other pieces.

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Remain Vigilant

23 Nov 2016 Category: publications

I have a new ebook available. It’s called Remain Vigilant: Two Linked One- Act Plays. It’s available from Amazon or Smashwords. Smashwords is pay what you like

I will write a little bit more about it shortly, but for now I hope you enjoy

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Optimism, empathy and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

16 Nov 2016 Category: book review

Science fiction is an escape from our mundane reality to another shinier, brighter alternate world. There’s a whole universe of unusual aliens to discover. It reflects the times it was written and what the hopes were, or extrapolates based on available data. As well as providing an escape, it can also show us a way forward at the moment.. We go halfway around the universe only to discover ourselves.

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What does it matter?

11 Nov 2016 Category: politics

In the shock generated in the wake of the US election, one refrain I keep hearing from people was what does it matter to us? Sure, people feel bad for the USA and all, but we have our own problems to deal with. I can sympathise with this view. The UK is a scary enough place at the moment, what with Brexit, the rise of hate crimes and confusion that has followed in its wake. However, I feel like the rest of the world needs to be concerned about the election of Donald Trump.
Here’s why:

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