A fantastic polemic by one of my favourite ever songwriters.  Read it, digest it, pick up a guitar, write a song.


Suspension Suspended

So a while back, my good friend from university, John Doak, set up a little online poetry zine called Suspension Magazine.  He had loads of submissions from people around the country and some of them were really good.  I very much enjoyed being able to read the poetry people had sent to him and it gave me a chance to experience poetry that I might not normally read, as it was unpublished in book form.

Well, I don’t know why (I’m sure he has good reasons), but a message appeared on the zine today saying that it’ll having a hiatus for a while.  I hope that whatever it is forcing him to take a break goes away soon so that more great poetry appears on the internets soon.

Writing Resolutions Revisited

On July 19th, I wrote a post setting out some resolutions for writing this summer.  They were:

  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.
Unfortunately, I have already failed the first two resolutions.  I have found it very difficult to make myself sit and write every day and have had a lot of my time taken up with things like preparing to move house and looking at wedding planning stuff.  I know that these are excuses, but they are my excuses and I’m sticking with them.
The other day, my friend Bea gave me a copy of Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande and it has shown me some of the reasons why these resolutions haven’t worked.  Therefore, once I’ve finished reading this wonderful book, I’ll get back to you with a new plan for making myself a more effective writer. So stay tuned!


I feel compelled to write something about the chaos that is currently washing over our country, but I’m finding it hard to come up with much to say, as I feel like I haven’t really developed an opinion on it all yet.

Obviously, I’m never going to support the actions of these people, there is no discernible political message or driving force behind what is happening, and those are the only things that justify any form of civil disobedience in my mind (and even these would never have me labelling the widespread burning and destruction of houses and businesses as justified).

The problem I’m having is with all the people labelling this as ‘mindless thuggery’ or ‘purely criminal’ or calling the perpetrators ‘scum’.  Worryingly, I’ve even seen people that I’m friends with on facebook say that the people involve don’t deserve human rights.  This, I believe, is the start of an escalation of rhetoric that can only end in a deeply segregated police state.

So here’s an attempt at an embryonic working out of what is happening.  There as been a deep-seated current of resentment gaining a lot of momentum in all areas of society over the last year or so, it has been made stronger by austerity measures imposed by a government with a very shaky mandate from the people, thanks to our archaic and useless electoral system.  People are genuinely angry and anger always needs an outlet.  Most of my friends on facebook who are angry are white, middle class professionals, so our outlet for anger is sarcastic comments on facebook and the making of amusing images of David Cameron on photoshop.  At the end of the day, we are still (mostly) earning about enough money to get by in life, and still afford a few luxuries (I could even afford to buy a diamond ring recently).  We also still remain the most listened to group within the British electoral system (no matter what people who claim they are part of the ‘silent majority’ claim).

Problems like we are seeing at the moment arise when groups who don’t have these privileges and outlets for anger suddenly start feeling it.  They are often not as politically aware as the social groups I move in, or feel like they don’t understand politics, so they channel their anger through something they do understand.  The one thing that we, as a society, have taught our young people to really believe in is property; preferably property that shows status to others.  Under-privileged kids see that other people have massive TVs and diamonds etc. so get angry that they don’t have them.  because they can’t see a way that they will ever be able to get these things through working, they decide that it is their right to just be able to take it.  Now all they need is a trigger to make them think it’s okay to exercise that right without being punished.  All of a sudden, they see images of people going into shops through smashed windows, it is given a legitimate name like ‘protest’ and all the pieces have fallen into place.

Maybe that’s what we’re seeing.  Only maybe, I’m only a teacher from Gloucestershire, but maybe that’s what it is: genuine anger at being put on the trash pile of the country without even being given a chance, but refracted through the prism of our consumerist and material society.

Overly simple, I know…

Weddings etc.

I’ve just got back from the wedding of my very good friend Pezzy, who I have known since I was very young (about 3, we think).  I had the honour of being best man, which was great fun and meant I really felt part of the day, which you often don’t if you’re just a guest.  The downside was having to do the speech, I was so nervous I barely ate any of the lovely dinner.  But it turned out to go down very well and lots of lovely people told me how much they enjoyed it afterwards, which was fantastic.

In other, related news, I proposed to Tish on Thursday and she was foolish enough to say yes, which was nice.

Nothing much more to say at this point, I’m going to sort through the photos from last night and get them up on Picasa…

Space Hulk

I’ve just had a great couple of games of Space Hulk with my good friend Ted.  I didn’t get around to taking any photos, so I’ll keep this short.

The first mission we played involved the marines starting with just two guys and having to move around the board reactivating a bunch of others who were unconscious.  The map was really claustrophobic with very few long corridors (in my experience, the corridor is where the marines really shine), so it was a tough struggle for Ted.  I’d also made sure I placed the heavy flamer marine furthest away from his start zone so he didn’t have that to help him clear rooms.  I was able to swamp him with Genestealers pretty quickly and some ridiculously bad rolls made sure his Librarian died.

We kept the same roles for the next mission, which was just the next one in the book and involved the Marines having to cross the map, pick up a cup and take it back to their starting square.  Ted played it real cautious, moving nice and slow and putting as many marines as possible on overwatch.  While this was a little frustrating for the ‘nids, it did give me plenty of time to build up a stock of blips out on the board and move them around so they were where I wanted them.  He managed to cross the map to where the cup was, but had lost 4 marines by that point (most killed when he got close to the cup room).  The remaining 3 hung on for a while and managed to get about halfway back, but I had had plenty of time to build up a stock of blips around the starting squares and in the side corridors ready to ambush marines as they came by.  In the end the last two marines were totally surrounded and there’s just no way for them to deal with that.

So all in all, two wins for me!