An Evening to Myself

This evening I have the house to myself because the other half is out at her staff summer do.  I had the whole of last week to myself also, but I was out every evening, so that didn’t really count.

Anyway, I would usually waste such an evening loafing about watching TV I didn’t really care about (not being able to carry on with the current boxed set without the other half present).  but I have decided not to do this tonight.  I am going to be productive and get stuff done, so here is a list of what i want to do tonight:

  • A half-hour of TV (probably The Simpsons) (it was the episode where the hobo tells them stories.  A bit meh)
  • Type up all of the handwritten stuff I have for one story (All handwritten work on Nation of Duty now typed up)
  • Write a song (attempted, and riff roughly sketched out, but no lyrics ready, and no subject forthcoming)
  • Listen to 2-3 records I haven’t heard in a while, and have been yearning to listen to lately (one of these is Kind of Blue) (I have listened to Miles Davis: Kind of Blue and Silkworm: Developer)
Wish me luck!

Some writing resolutions

This summer I am not going away on holiday anywhere, but I will be moving.  This means I will probably have a whole pile of stress going on in my life, which will need dissipating somehow.  I’m going to try and do that by committing some real time to writing.  that way, I will be able to work out stuff while I think of it and might even be able to get stuff finished and feel good about myself.  Anyhow, here are some resolutions I am going to try and live by (they are a hierarchy of sorts, so stack up):

  1. Write SOMETHING at least once a day.
  2. Write at least 750 words on the computer once a day (using this brilliant online tool, made by a guy who is not a tool)
  3. Finish the story tentatively titled ‘Born Into Trouble’
  4. Finish the story tentatively titled ‘Grand Gesture, Poorly Executed’
  5. Come up with 5 possible things on which to base a novel.
If I can achieve these things over the summer, I will be a happy guy. The novel thing is not entirely serious, but it is something I’d like to think more about as I grow older.

Pathfinder RPG

So I’m planning on starting running a game of Pathfinder as GM in the next month or so.  I’ve never GMed a game properly before but have always had something of a desire to sit in the GM chair.  When the desire hit me again recently, I decided to actually try and find a game I’d like to run.  As the first RPG I ever played was AD&D (2nd ed. I think) I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the old sword and sorcery games.  I didn’t like the look of the new 4th ed. of D&D, however, so I started looking at older editions.  3rd Looked like a good bet, with lots of stuff available for it 2nd hand, but then I came acros Pathfinder, which is a continuation of the development of D&D3.5.  This seemed like the best bet to me as it is a rule set I like the look of, and one which is still supported, and very well supported too.

Anyway, I’m starting to put together a bit of a campaign idea mostly based around a small medieval style feudal village.  I started off trying to create a village all by myself, but soon got bored and felt a little swamped by the amount of detail I wanted it to have (I’m hoping the campaign will have quite a ‘sandbox’ feel to it).  Then I stumbled upon this nice little website that gives a huge amount of detail about a medieval town in Kent, based on records from the time.  It is intended to be a resource for a research project for secondary schools, but gives all of the right information to create a village and populate it with NPCs.  One of the tables on the site even tells you how good each of the men were at archery!

Anyhow, I’ll hopefully be putting updates on here of how I do learning to be a GM…

The Darkling Plain

This has been a busy week for me.  My other half has been off on a jolly jaunt around France with her school (45 first years in tow) so I’ve been left to my own devices.  Obviously paranoid of wasting my time watching Seinfeld on my own eating ice cream out of the tub, Imanaged to book myself solid all week.  The best thing that I have done is to go and see this play by a friend of mine, Bea Roberts.  It was a new production of an old play, being performed as part of Pride Bristol.

Bea wrote The Darkling Plain a few years ago and she took it to Edinburgh in 2008, where it received good reviews.  I didn’t really know her back then, so didn’t see it, meaning I was very excited about being able to watch it this time around.

The concept (if it is not too insulting to boil a significant piece of drama writing down to one idea) is to imagine how the people of Britain circa 1940 would cope with, rather than a war in which they are fighting a specific agressor nation in a bid to prevent at nation attacking their sovreignty, a war against an abstract concept; terror.  But it is obviously more than this and encompasses class difference, sexuality, love and friendship.  The most impressive thing I found was the seeming effortlessness with which Bea writes in the breezy, quick style of Noel Coward’s satire, to which this play is partly an homage.  At first I was worried that this would stop me from having a genuine emotional reaction to the characters, but as the plot darkened (the second half is much more serious than the first, as the reality of war sets in) I found my self more and more affected.  The two final scenes, with their dramatic and tragic climax, left me a little bit of a quivering wreck.

One final point about this production is that it was cast ‘gender blind’ in that actors were cast based on their suitability for a role, regardless of their gender.  This worked very well and I cannot fault the casting at all with particular mention going to Nick Finegan, who managed to convicingly portray both the middle class girl Rose and the cockney bloke Frank, resulting in being on stage for most of the play.

Direction was by another friend of mine, Emma Henry, who did a fabulous job at bringing out the human qualities of each of the characters with the simplest of touches (a maid precisely arranging the furniture during scene changes, for example).

All in all, a ruddy marvellous show!

Poppit Sands | polite records

Bizarrely, just as I was typing that last entry, Henry was busily putting something else good onto the Polite website.  This is the only album to be recorded by the band that Henry, Olly and I were in for a good few years, called Poppit Sands.  It was recorded in a holiday cottage near the eponymous beach on a summer (or Easter?) holiday one year.

You should probably buy it…

Poppit Sands | polite records.


Dowry | polite records

A long time ago I started a record label called Polite Records.  It started small and has remained that way.  Up until recently, most releases on the label were burned onto CD-Rs by hand (a couple of CDs were duplicated for us by companies such as Hi-Fi Copies).  Now, however, we have been able to release something on vinyl, which has long been a dream of mine.

I can take very little credit for this turn of events, as Henry Ireland has been the driving force behind getting the record out and as supplied the money to make it happen.  He and Olly Watson are the Tiger and Panda of the record, so it seems right that they get all of the credit, if anything it is nice that they put the Polite Records name on it at all.  Oh, I did record it for them, but that’s minimal input really…

Anyhow, the point of this rambling post is to say that you should totally buy it from here:

Dowry | polite records.