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.


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


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.


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:


October Link Round Up

08 Nov 2016 Category: link round up

Summer is a distant memory now. We huddle around the fire for warmth and watch the leaves slowly drift to the ground. It’s chilly outside. Best to draw up the blankets around you, grab a hot drink and hibernate for the winter. Here are a few links to keep you going

  • As I write the whole world is waiting for a result in America. Perhaps you know the result now. Either way, remember that America is just a story.
    This is a great article by Laurie Penny behind the curtain of American politics, which goes...


The importance of a creative routine

02 Nov 2016 Category: creativity

One of the most important changes I have implemented in the last couple of years has been a creative routine. I find it helpful to work regularly towards a goal, writing every day instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. Showing up whether I feel like it or not. When I was writing Amber Stars: One Night of Stories, I woke up at six every weekday, wrote for 45 minutes then got on with the rest of my day. I’ve kept it going since and have drafted several short stories, a play and a novella in the past months....


Nick Cave and music that is too difficult to listen to

28 Oct 2016 Category: music

I finally got round to listening to the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Skeleton Tree. It is an incredible listen, but also quite harrowing. After twenty-three years as a band and sixteen studio releases, the music still manages to sound fresh and different. Warren Ellis’ sparse but haunting instrumentation adds a strange melancholy air to the proceedings. I’ve listened a few times now and I think it might be one of my favourite albums by the band. But also, I don’t plan on listening to it too much.


'The Shock Doctrine' and the Modern World.

19 Oct 2016 Category: book review

Oh boy. If ever there was a book that was designed to make you furious about the current state of the world, this is it. Although The Shock Doctrine was published in 2007, Naomi Klein’s insight into the conservative mindset still remains sadly relevant to the world today.


'With us or against us': Brexit and The Daily Mail

12 Oct 2016 Category: politics

So I was going to write about something else entirely, but then the I stumbled on The Daily Mail on Twitter. I try to avoid it when I can because it is always a hate-filled rag, but I couldn’t avoid it. Today it published this front page:

It brings to the surface a lot of feelings that have been brewing in this country recently. It’s also widely inaccurate and scary. Everyone has accepted Brexit is going to happen, it’s just a case of how badly it is going to hurt the country. Front page spreads...


September Link Round up

06 Oct 2016 Category: link round up

Summer has flown away, the trees are turning and autumn has hit with a punch overnight. All of a sudden it’s a bit grim outside and we hunker down, gather straw around us and hibernate until winter. Ah well, here’s some things that I enjoyed in September, and you might too:

  • Had this poem by Don Marquis flagged for a long time, but finally got round to reading it. Not much to say, other than it’s great. Can’t remember how I found it, but I know very little about the poet and their work.
  • This article by...


Rediscovering poetry

28 Sep 2016 Category: poetry

When I was a teenager, I wrote poetry. Well, maybe that’s the wrong word. It was half-baked doggerel chopped up into lines that showed how really angsty I was, man, and how no one understood me. You know. Teenage stuff. I scrawled in notebooks, filling endless pages with such nonsense.

I grew out of it of course, like so many do. We regard our juvenilia as a source of embarrassment. Items made when we were still learning to exist. So I stopped writing poetry after the first year of university, lacking the inclination. I tried to carry on for a...


A report into the spread of M3W

20 Sep 2016 Category: stories

Thank you all for attending in such trying circumstances. Dobson sends her apologies.

On July 31st, strain M3W appeared on the App store. As far as we can tell, patient zero downloaded the app that day. This whole mess started on that day.

It was published by a developer under the pseudonym TranZo. We have still to track them down. M3W was their first app and they did not pay for any advertisements or promotion. Typically, small apps appear then sit dormant on the store for years. If only we were that lucky in this case.


The Ambiguity of Captain Fantastic

14 Sep 2016 Category: films

Captain Fantastic is a brilliant film. Sensitive and compassionate, it tells the story of a family isolated from society, who are forced to go cross country to attend their mother’s funeral. In doing so, they have to enter mainstream society for the first time. It is remarkably beautiful, with an excellent script and nuanced performances, especially from the children and Viggo Mortensen as Ben.

Ben is a dropout from society, obsessed with Noam Chomsky. He has removed his children from society and taken them deep into the woods. There, he raises his children on a steady diet of exercise and...


August bits and bobs

06 Sep 2016 Category: link round up

I was away for a large portion of August, with my phone deliberately turned off. I was in the Isle of Skye and saw amazing things, like the sunset above. As such, I don’t have much this month, but there are a few things I enjoyed:

  • I wrote about Free Speech a little while ago, so was interested to read about the group who try and promote it as a big issue. The only problem is, they seem to be achieving the opposite:


Theatre and the Art of the Possible

01 Sep 2016 Category: theatre

I’m just back from a week in Scotland. I spent a couple of days at the Edinburgh Fringe, then onto the incredibly beautiful Isle of Skye.Then back to Edinburgh for a night. It was an excellent trip, filled with delight.

One of the particular delights was seeing so many varied and interesting shows at the fringe. Living just outside London, I should be able to see as much theatre as I wanted, but the cost of tickets and transport to the centre is often off putting. As a result, I have not been able to see as much live performances...