22 Mar 2017 Category: television
Over three years ago, I stopped watching TV. I didn’t have one in the house I was in, so I just stopped. At first, it was strange to not constantly have noise and visual distraction. But soon, I didn’t miss it. I preferred the silence and space to think, giving myself time to immerse myself in reading and writing. Television felt mind-numbing in comparison. I did not miss switching my brain off. In the same way as I occasionally need to disconnect from the internet to improve my attention, I never got another television because I found myself more...
15 Mar 2017 Category: politics
Finally, after 9 months of legal battles and back and forth in parliament, it looks like Article 50 is about to be triggered and the UK can start its negotiations with the EU. No going back from that point. It seems since the vote months ago that hard Brexit is now a religion, an unstoppable dogma that cannot be argued with. The UK is willing to sacrifice almost everything for the promised hard Brexit. Turn this island into a tax haven? Sure, why not. Public Services? Tories were getting rid of them anyway. Even the United Kingdom itself...
08 Mar 2017 Category: stories
[Prompt from here]http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2017/03/03/flash-fiction-challenge-right-vs-wrong/
I am at a stage in my life where the internet is my only source of life advice. After the divorce, then the breakdown, I have very few friends left. No one in fact. My therapist was no use to me, a newly trained child with no time to do anything but read from a textbook. I feel like an alien, able to observe humans at a distance but never able to connect with them. So I find myself endlessly typing questions into Google. How do I improve my life? How do I make friends? How do I...
01 Mar 2017 Category: book review
If you are a woolly liberal like me, someone who believes in compassion for all and the importance of civil liberties, then these are dark times. The prevalent mood, both in the UK and the USA appears to be an inward turning nationalism, a conservative rhetoric that is looking backwards to some imagined age rather than forward to the future. There’s an emphasis on military spending and reducing the state. The hard-won luxuries we enjoy, such as the NHS, are continually being eroded, while at the same time the super rich refuse to pay any more tax. The gap between...
22 Feb 2017 Category: stories
If you are reading this, congratulations. You have successfully made your way into the belly of the Penumbra. The journey to this point has been difficult. I know, because I did it myself.
Unless things have changed drastically since my time, it was a difficult path with many obstacles. I was almost discovered multiple times. I cannot believe I find myself in the hold of Penumbra, on my way to a new destination across the void....
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...
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
advice 1 art 2 book review 12 books 1 creativity 13 erasure poetry 31 films 5 link round up 9 music 5 photos 25 plague notes 4 podcasts 1 poetry 121 politics 16 publications 16 stories 15 television 3 theatre 1 this was meant to be the future 10 update 1 writing 10 year in review 8 zines 2