Monday, July 30, 2007
Right back to chapter 15, it's getting exciting if I say so myself, so I better finish writing it.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Sunday Scribblings prompt word this week is phenomenon. I suppose I could have saved the phenomena of Oscar the Death Predicting Cat until today (see post below), except as soon as the prompt went up on Wednesday I knew exactly what I was going to post. YouTube exceeded all my expectations this time. Hope you enjoy the clip as much as I did!
Phenomena do dooo do do do, phenomoena do dooo do do...
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I suppose the thing I like most about The Word is that it comes with a free CD. The CD reminds me of one of those C90 tapes you used to mix lovingly for your friends, except here they package it into a nifty little cover and charge you an arm and a leg for it. The CD tends to cover new or upcoming bands, plus a bit of what they think you should be listening to. There’s usually a couple of tracks that stand out on the CD; for instance I discovered The Decemberists a couple of years ago, now they really stood out.
The CD tends to start off with a corker. This month I found myself putting down my sudoku puzzle and listening ever so carefully to the lyrics, they were brilliant. Even the bizarre background of synth sounds couldn’t stop me listening to the utter dreariness that Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld recounted. The Day Before You Came while still familiar is sufficiently different to actually grab attention, ‘But who did the original?’ I asked myself. I almost fell off the sofa when I read Abba! Being a child of the 70’s I had difficulty putting Dancing Queen with this song. Still it’s kind of nice to hear a cover that makes you re-appreciate the original.
Which kind of leads on to the next track. Yet again, there I was on the sofa (bad writing day) with this tune that sounded like something else but I couldn’t work out what, going through my head. I can’t remember which came first? The fact that I realised that The Felice Brothers sounded so like Bob Dylan, or that I knew what I was going to write. Anyway, despite their obvious influence, I quite like Roll on Arte.
The last one I’ll mention from the CD is The Broken Family Band’s Don’t Change your Mind. It’s got a catchy little chorus you find yourself singing along to moments after you’ve listened to it, but ... some of the lyrics are a little bit silly, I find myself arguing with them as I’m washing up. Why? Why can’t she sleep naked if she wants to? If she has to get up she’ll put clothes on.
Anyway you can listen to snippets of the CD here and if you like anything well in the UK it’s £4.50 and if you can get it anywhere else then DON’T it’s a rip off at that price, unless of course you buy it for yourself as a holiday treat.
Lastly, have you heard of Oscar the Grim Reapurr (Daily Mail headline)? Yesterday I read a short article in the Guardian, today he’s globally famous. Well, just in case you haven’t heard he lives in a hospice (you see I didn’t even pay attention to which country) for very ill old people, and when he pootles into their room and sits on the end of the bed the nursing staff throw themselves into a frenzy of calling relatives and arranging chairs and sure enough a wee while later, the old person is no more. Scientists are not sure how Oscar does it, but he’s predicted 25 deaths so far.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Then this morning I trawled through the news. I considered subscribing to the Guardian Weekly, but I think they need to do their maths. You get the four first issues free, yet a year’s subscription is still more expensive then buying it from them at their weekly rate of 2.45€!
Next up was the fact that Rasmussen the current yellow jersey holder of the Tour de France, had been chucked out by his team for suspected doping and that the whole team were thinking of pulling out too. Now I know this may not interest you, but hang on in there a second. I am not a huge sports fan, I watch big football competitions and I admire the stamina and endurance that goes into the Tour de France (and the scenery). Although I have very very little in common with these sports people, the one thing we do share is determination; we all want to do well in what we do. The big difference though is that writers can’t cheat, there isn’t a magic drug that will suddenly make their writing immensely better, we have to work at it. I shook my head as I read about the doping scandals that have plagued this years Tour. I’m wondering whether to even bother to go to the last stage on Sunday. The barriers are already being put in place, but it just seems silly, I’ve been routing for Chicken man (Rasmussen) and now it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
So I guess it was kind of cheering to read about 33 year old Luke Bream who is cycling the Tour de France on his own. He is doing each stage a day ahead of the main tour. His mum keeps him going from her camper van, feeding him Jam butties and Coca-cola! He seems to have the crappiest diet of any rider on the tour, but he’s giving it a go. Maybe I’ll look out for Luke on Saturday when he is due in
Oh and if you need to persevere with your writing don’t forget that Jason Evans is running his 6th Short Fiction Contest over at The Clarity of Night and that Maht at Moon Topples will open his 3rd Contest next Wednesday (the day after a very important day). Oh and on the same day the First issue of Blagger by Opening Chapter (aka Skint writer) will be coming out.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
And why shouldn’t I be? You may be asking. Did she have a near death experience?
Well the answer is no, although I could be accused of having suicidal tendencies.
See it started like this. In my neglected blog inbox I found a series of e mails which started very politely and dare I say complimentary and ended up somewhere along the lines of: ‘Are you reading my bloody e mails or what?’ I decided that truth was the best answer and replied that I had actually forgotten that I had the blog email, but I would put everything else aside and get on with the proposed task. Part I of the task did not involve a great deal of effort as I was sitting in the right place to do it. Part II involved taking pictures in 5 different locations around the city. Now normally this would not be a problem to one equipped with a navigo pass (like an oyster pass in the
Anyway back to the point, so five locations, no charged up metro card, what could I do? And then in a flash of madness it came to me: Velib. Like I say it was a flash of madness, by the time I met Colleen yesterday evening for an aperitif after my afternoon constitutional I was already having second thoughts. I started: “I’ve been thinking about this Velib thing, I’ve looked at the map and to get from Concorde to
After many hours on spent on Mappy and staring at my Paris Pratique I realised that it’s absolutely impossible to drive around Paris (according to Mappy a bicycle is not a vehicle). I realised I didn’t know the road code (or whatever it’s called) and I remembered very clearly the terror of the last time I had ridden a bike.
When my alarm went off this morning (I was already awake), I sent Colleen a text telling her I was too young to die (even if Adrian Mole has decided that I am middle aged – bastard!) Unfortunately Colleen didn’t get it until she was already on the metro with the bike helmet attached to her bag.
I took the first set of pictures and the dreaded moment arrived. I decided to go first up seeing as to be honest I didn’t even know if I could still ride a bike, but in the end it turns out it’s like sex, you don’t forget. One of the waiters in the restaurant by the bike stand even came out and said I looked charming on the bicycle. So I made damn sure that after I had cycled round the block he didn’t see me slamming the bloody hulk of a thing back into its holder.
There is no way I am ever going to cycle around
Anyway, I’ve done it, I’ve tried it. The bikes are easy to hire, easy to ride, but ... I’m a pedestrian and proud of it.
So other news on the bloggernet is that I can’t leave comments because Blogger is playing up and Jason Evans over at The Clarity of Night has just opened his 6th Short Fiction Contest. Right, where’s the wine?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It’s kind of slow season over here in the news department and if it’s not: Wolves run rampage in the Alps, followed by images of the concerned faces of many lopsided farmers and corpses of fluffy sheep then it’s scenes of utter destruction as more rivers break their banks in the UK. So these articles caught my eye:
Flirting and Fornication tells of the runaway success of the online dating site Meetic. Did you know for instance that it was French? I didn’t. Did you also know that:
No, moi non plus, but what I was more interested in was that last year their profits rose by 70% to £18m, kind of makes you wish that you had thought of it first hey? On the down side this 25 year old Parisian had this to say (just imagine the accent):
"I have no more time to waste trying to charm girls in cafes ... the process is too long and too arduous.. With Meetic ... I often score on the first date. Not long ago, when I was a teenager, girls kept me salivating for weeks. Forget it."
Sex discrimination rife and equality will take generations, says axed commission, is pretty much what it says it’s about.
20% of MPs are women and it will take 195 years to close the gap.
40% of women have less pension than men and it will take 45 years to close that gap.
38% of women earn less in full time jobs than men and that gap will take 25 years to close.
17% of women earn less in part time jobs and it will take 20 years to close the gap.
The Equal Opportunities Commission goes on to say:
‘...we are living with the consequences of an unfinished social revolution. We are still faced with many workplaces, institutions and services designed for an age when women stayed at home. In other areas of modern life, inequality underpins life and death issues. For example, every month seven women are killed by their partner or ex-partner.’
If that is too depressing for you then my suggestion is that you stock up on your winter woollies and move to
Ethical shopping is just another way of showing how rich you are is an interesting look at man’s obsession with shopping. But as Monibot says: No political challenge can be met by shopping. The rest of the article is quite interesting too, I didn’t know that you could get recycled biros for a start. His website also seems to be full of interesting little gems too.
Lastly this review caught my eye:
Peter Bradshaw gushes. I think he wants us to go see it.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
At the beginning of the session we were asked to introduce ourselves (sigh) and say what books we like reading (sigh). I hate the fact that when you get groups of people together you have to do these faux getting to know you bits. After all, you are about to read out a piece of your own writing which can reveal far more about yourself then any glib comment you make about what you're reading. Still, that's not the point, I'm getting there. Later in the bar one of the members asked me if I had read Rimbaud, to which I replied: No. In retrospect I now realise that I what I should have answered is: Of course not, he's dead. I'm looking at my bookshelves and what I read and it seems that I don't read very many dead writers. In fact the last dead writer I read was Kurt Vonnegut and only because he shuffled off this mortal coil before I had finished reading his book.
I suppose that the logical beginning of this train of thought began when I read about David Lassman who rewrote the works of Jane Austen, changing a few names here and there and then sent them to various publishing houses to see if she would get published nowadays. Unfortunately for Jane, she was universally rejected, but only one publishing house recognised the work as Austen's in the first place. So how well would you do? Try this wee little quiz here. I got a pathetic 4 which is not bad considering I've never read Jane Austen (cos she's dead ain't she?), but I feel a hefty pile coming my way; I mentioned this gap in my literary canon to Claire.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Ugh ugh gurrnuuh ugh ugh "Hello," said in very sleepy voice.
"Hello it's your postlady, you have a parcel," said in the bright spritely voice of one who has been up for hours.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Much spinning and frantic throwing on of clothes. Oh that's inside out, never mind. Oh!Oh! Skip, skip, skip. oh! Oh! Ooooohhhh!! Out the door, across the courtyard, open the door, jar arm badly as I try to open other door which is locked. Press the button you fool I can see written across the beatific features of the postie. I press the button, reach out my hand, say thank you and...
OH MY GOD I'VE GOT IT!!!
Oh look at it!
Oooh let's look at it some more.
I've now owned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for just under an hour. Normally I would be on page 55 by now. It's just that if I start it ... well, I'll finish it, and once it's finished, well it's finished.
Friday, July 20, 2007
The other e mail was from Live Earth. I used their carbon calculator a few weeks ago and have been bombarded by e mails from them ever since. I don’t like e mails like this, they annoy me. I know that I did something on their stupid site weeks ago and I don’t need to be reminded every few days. All the same I clicked on something on their stupid site and discovered this: every now and again the O in the corner of the screen turns into SOS. This stands for SAVE OUR SELVES. Is it just me, or does anyone have a problem with this? Isn’t that just a little ... selfish? Do we ignore the ring necked possums whose habitats we’ve destroyed? Wasn’t it saving our selves that got us into this mess in the first place?
So I suppose that already being a bit niggled by this site I was looking for stuff to annoy me. It didn’t take very long to find it though. Right there on the other side of the header are the corporate sponsors of Live Earth: smart, Philips and MSN. Yes! smart who make those rinky dink cars that tell the world it’s alright to have only one person in the car and that pedestrian crossings are for parking on. I hate them, I really do, but now I hate them even more. Listen to this crap:
Why should people spend more money on gas than on the milk they carry home? The smart fortwo cdi (diesel version) is the only car that gets 60 miles per gallon! That not only saves money, it also saves our environment.
Oh, but if that’s not enough, get this:
smart helps tackle this global challenge by taking action and retaining the fun factor in driving.
The only way I can finish is by saying that I am flabbergasted by the hypocrisy of this. I’m thinking of writing them a letter asking them what was the criteria for the choice of their corporate sponsors, but in the end I don’t know. There’s a part of me that says that some of what Live Earth is doing is good: it’s a big event, it’s brash, it’s spreading awareness, but it’s being done in such a clumsy way that even the Daily Mail can pick a million faults in it and I really hate it when I agree with that trashy newspaper. Do we have to dumb down the message to spread it?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The book I am reading at the moment is about a world gone rampant. The characters are extraordinary and varied, but the main protagonists are hell bent on destruction. As I read of their catalogue of horrors each night I go to sleep with a deep feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. It’s not that the book is predictable, far from it, it’s just there can only be one ending: Apocalypse.
So how comes I find myself reading the scariest book since ‘The Thief of Always’? Well I may have mentioned this before, but I’m reading ‘The Weather Makers’ by Tim Flannery. I think the type of books he usually writes are light hearted romps into the world of Natural Science and his native land of
- Change to a Green Energy company.
has finally taken the energy monopoly away from EDF and GDF and companies like Enercoop produce energy using only sustainable/renewable energy sources. France
- Walk/cycle/take a bus/metro. In fact please do the first three so that I’m not so cramped on the metro.
- Do you have to take that plane? Could you let the train take the strain?
- Do an audit at work. How many people turn off their computers when they are away for more than five minutes? And lights? (OK lights are a tricky one. If you use fluorescent ones, it’s actually more energy efficient to leave them on, otherwise turn them off. Also in this climate of Global Warming light creates heat, so leaving lights off means you are a wee bit cooler and don’t need so much air con).
I know that the green lobby can come across as evangelical, but we don’t have much time left. Read the book, you’ll see for yourself.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Doesn't look like I'm going to get run over today! OK I thought that one was a bit mean so I took this one as well.
On a separate note, this new hobby of mine is going to be a bit expensive: 4,50€ for a pot of tea today! It came with a wee biccie which I made sure I scoffed before I left. Anyway here is today's offering from Kafe K.
Camille fiddled with the antique dress ring she had picked up in the market that weekend as she waited for her document to open.
Buh dup: Hiya Camille. A little box in the corner of her screen bleated.
Ros!!! Camille typed back
Her phone began to ring. “Camille Delon,” she answered.Read the rest here. I fully intended this to be a 'free' writing exercise, but oh well. I also finally sat down in the shade rereading the book that is currently going nowhere. I think I need to stop adding new beginnings and just get on with it.
Ok, a demain.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The whole week has been like that. Even on the train I was wondering if the sky was different in the 70’s. I just don’t remember it being so blue and balmy. Is that a sign of global warming, or is it just those Kodak prints?
And then when we went to the Prologue of the Tour de France; now, I grew up in
On the Eurostar back, I let the guy next to me read ‘The Weather Makers’ over my shoulder as I wondered some more. I guess the reason that it was more like a journey into the past is that most of the people I visited are kind of from the past. The time when we used to spend lots of time together was years and years ago, nowadays we meet and ‘catch up’. I know this isn’t particular to me just because I live in a different country; we’ve all moved on. It just seemed weird that the two people I met where I have an ongoing relationship with nowadays were Debi and Estrella and isn’t that weird because most of the time the two of them are just little photos in my comment box or Messenger window! I suppose I’m just missing my friends because I’ve seen them. Silly, I know.
So on a separate note I’ve joined Friends of The Earth. I was on my way to Monoprix and I’ve become very adept at spotting the charity workers (I generally lump them all together) and I’ve discovered that if you stare up into the air and look vacant you are generally taken for a tourist. Unfortunately when you’ve got your Monoprix bag and recycled toilet paper tucked under your arm it’s not so easy. I knew I was going to get caught, so I read their t-shirts. “Have you heard of Friends of the Earth?” Flo asked me. “Eh, YES.” Sorry, couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice, but man who knew? The next thing I was surrounded by a posse of ‘friends’ who announced that I was the first that morning! “And the five minutes for the Earth?” Were they trying to catch me out? “I did it.” So I joined and now I’m finding out how crap my bank is.
I also did the first of a little writing exercise I created for myself before the holidays began. The idea is to sit in a café and people watch until a little vignette pops into my head. So I listened to the crusty sax player’s mellow vibes and deliberated between the guy whose hand shook as he furiously tapped away at his mobile phone and the kid who was eating breakfast as if there was no tomorrow. The music was like a sound track from a film noir and this popped into my head:
He was looking into the not so distant past as he ploughed through his fried eggs and ham. He was still annoyed with Keeler: Keeler the middle aged, middle grade, middle sized lump who couldn’t stand the fact that he was better at the job.
Read the rest over here.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
©copyright, 1999, Verilion
As I wandered home today I decided to take some pictures of interesting things.
I noticed that there was a rash of sandwich/wrap/salad shops that have opened up that seem to signify the end of the traditional two hour French lunch. I noticed the model shop with the train sets in the window and the antique shop with all the Art Deco lamps, and then I looked on the other side of the road and felt like I had just stepped back a century. I’d never noticed this shop before and yet how many times have I walked up this road?
I was getting into this exercise now, so I knew what I wanted to take a picture of next. It’s been intriguing me for months. I thought it had been removed from the cemetery, but as I waited to take the picture, I realised that the workmen were coming from the building around the corner that’s being knocked down, or rebuilt – it’s kind of difficult to tell. So I suppose this is part of the façade that they are going to preserve. I can’t wait to see exactly what it looks like. I wonder if I did ever see it, but just didn’t perceive it.
Again I knew what I was going to take next when I realised that the ivy was hanging low over the wall. When did it grow? I walk this way home everyday and again I wasn’t aware that there had been an ivy growth spurt. And the trees, I never look up into the trees.
But ahh, he’s still there. Maybe he’s a little remainder of the squat that was across the road but which is now sealed with breeze blocks.
So that’s why I got back to thinking about that painting. I know what it is, I had spent months working on it, planning it, trying out stuff, I knew what it was. I was so into it, I couldn’t see anything else and it took someone else telling me something completely different to ‘look’ at it again.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Awen: He came back.
Aduviri: Who did?
Awen: HE did.
Aduviri: NOOOOO!!! When?
Aduviri: Did he say where he’d been? It’s been what... almost a year, no?
Awen: Yeah, almost. No of course he didn’t say where he’d been.
Aduviri: Man! What are you going to do? Are you going to let him in again.
Awen: I don’t know. There’s the other one now. He’s sulking, I don’t think he’s gone away, he’s just sulking... I think.
Aduviri: What do you mean you think? Have you even tried to get in touch with him?
Awen: A little bit.
Aduviri: A little bit. What do you mean a little bit?
Awen: I got his book out and I kind of flicked through his notes and that.
Awen: And then Alex arrived again.
Awen: Do you think I can do both of them?
Aduviri: Well... Alex isn’t just Alex is he? There’s that tall hairy one, and the other tall hairy fatter one, and the girl and his brother. I mean he doesn’t come alone.
Awen: No, I know that.
Aduviri: And then the other one (sighs)?
Awen: I think he may have stopped sulking, or he’s beginning to (nods).
Aduviri: OK (nods too).
Aduviri: But Alex is never going to go away for good is he?
Awen: No (slowly). Not till I've got him all out, no.
©copyight, 2007, Verilion.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is: What’s your Sign? Well, unless this is the very first time you’ve been here I’ll let you off; otherwise it should be no surprise to anybody that I am a Leo.
But what it is it that makes a Leo a Leo? I don’t know. I’ve read all that astrology stuff and I’ve met people that are well into it, but I don’t go for all the 'your ascendancy is in Uranus' and 'rising moon' thing. Well, for a start I just don’t get it and secondly the horoscopes that we read in the paper are aimed at millions of people. They may as well say: ‘You’ll have a good day today’, because it will probably still be applicable to the same amount of people. I read one horoscope about a month ago that told me it was time to get my teeth cleaned! In a way that one was kind of amusing because there was no pretence in reading the future, no, it was just openly saying: We are sponsored by Colgate.
Anyway, that’s my point. That stuff that says ‘A typical Leo is...’ will probably have one sentence that says something about you, but it might have twelve that have nothing to say about you. So are you typical or not?
Really, at the end of the day I like to think that I am an atypical Leo:
Atypical Leos like cats of all shapes and sizes the reason being that an atypical Leo generally likes to snooze in comfortable places. Uncomfortable places do not equal the number of hours an atypical Leo needs to sleep. Atypical Leos relate to their feline counterparts. Note the ‘fe’ in feline like ‘fe’ in female. Tigers have stripes; atypicals have wardrobes full of stripy socks, t-shirts, tops, hair bands, jumpers. Lions have manes; atypicals generally have hair that cannot be tamed. Big Cats roar, atypicals have been known to roar. Cats tend to be independent, apart from the atypicals, which pretty much sums up the atypical Leo. Leo the constellation sparkles down on us, flickering inspiration into open heads and atypicals live with their heads in the clouds a little closer to the stars than most. Leo’s are a fiery sun sign, atypicals can live with that.
You are what you are: a snippet of Leo, a whisper of meaning in the vowels of your name, your eastern side described by the Chinese, your number, your colour, whatever. There are so many different ways to discover our true inner meaning, except actually there’s only one way. Only you can go on the journey and find out who you really are.