Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
What could be better than a walk in the Lake District? It was sweet. Fond hours along a nature trail with only the pleasing sight of RAF planes navigating by, rather than queues of static motor car traffic.
A nice day. A nice walk. Done. But on the way home...
A car – the very next car in front of us, on the motorway, doing 60 at least – drifts out of the left hand lane. I didn’t see that bit, to be honest. I just heard Julie saying “F*ck!” in that special tone of seriousness reserved for things that truly surprise or shock us. Now, Julie NEVER swears. The very first glimpse I got of the accident unravelling right in front of us was of a car rolling onto the grass beside the motorway and bouncing off a farmer’s dry-stone dyke.
The absolute key detail* is the blond female hair I saw coming out of the open sunroof as the car rolled. A car, flying through the air upside down, and blond female hair cascading from the sunroof. Then it came to rest and the second detail my mind recollects is the passenger, a man, get shook back into his seat like a doll.
Our speed takes us past them but then we pull up. I didn’t want to get out the car. I didn’t want to see. I’m not one for blood and gore. If her hair was hanging out the sunroof, then her head could have been too. That girl’s head could be like an egg for all I knew. One thing for sure, it was a damn serious crash. Off and rolling at motorway speeds is always going to be a serious crash.
It all happened so quick. And in slow motion at the same time. Weird.
I was expecting blood. I was thinking crimson. The idea that the car might explode never occurred to me, but the thought of a messy-bodied woman tangled in metal held me back for a good ten seconds at least before stepping out. The responsibility of being first on the scene is massive. It’s also horrible. You don’t know what the nuts to do.
But this girl is out before me. There’s a scratch on her finger and that’s it. Her passenger, her dad, is also unmarked. She is absolutely unscathed, considering. I’ve just seen her get tossed about, upside down, with her hair billowing out the sunroof, off the motorway, off a wall, and she’s just like, huh, totally fine. Completely fandabbydozy.
She’s shocked, oh you bet she is, doesn’t utter a single word, all distant and vague, but she’s actually on her feet, she’s stood up, looking girly and pretty and blessed and alive. A cut finger, nothing more. I wanted to hug her. I actually wanted to hug her. I did a kind of mild manly half cuddle with one arm and said something along the lines of “Well in love, I could see your hair blowing out through the sunroof, I’m glad you’re okay, you’re lucky to be alive, put the lottery numbers on this week.”
Eventually she sat and by the time the ambulance arrived she was breaking down into tears. Until then she remained blank and staring and in shock. Perhaps she did bang her head, and to be honest I don’t see how she couldn’t have banged her head (view picture), what with her head more or less dangling out of the sun roof as her small car’s flipping every which way but loose. The driver’s side is caved in. She must have been flung towards the passenger side when that happened.
We took her number so I should be able to find out what happens at the hospital, but like I say, the girl was standing up with a scratch on her pinkie when she should have been stuck red and dead. She cheated death. She told it to do one. Her name’s Emily, and here’s to her.
*Passing a separate wreck several years back, I remember seeing a potato on the road, which had come clear of some shopping bags. This car was upside down on concrete, and the driver had already been whipped away in a body bag. Absolute key detail.
Monday, 21 March 2011
They were FAIR GAME, TAKEN, THE SUNSET LIMITED, and SHOOTER. I almost turned the last one off after 90 minutes to watch something else, but stuck with the last quarter determinedly. The first one nearly got switched after just twenty minutes, but Naomi Watts can be very persuasive.
The Quentin Tarantino related his habit of watching three movies a day once in an interview, so ever since I considered this behaviour standard practice. Perhaps he has much better reason because he makes them, but still. If they’re decent movies, it’s time well spent. There’s a lot of crap about though. A ton of crap. The moviefilms I watch are carefully selected. Sometimes the title and/or front cover is usually enough, but if in doubt I like to see who’s in it, or try to glean a few plot details. If I ever watch a trailer in full, it means that I’ll never watch the film.
I distinctly prefer NOT to know the premise of a movie before I watch it. The less known, the better. Very rarely one knocks you off your feet anymore though; perhaps they had more effect when you were growing up because you were more emotionally receptive?
If it’s got Val Kilmer and Dakota Fanning in it, I’d much rather be pleasantly surprised by their sudden screen presence than by their names appearing at the beginning. I’d rather wait until the end for the director’s name too.
(One of the movies consisted of two men sat in a room talking about faith for ninety minutes. Not to most people's tastes I'd imagine, but right up my street).
Sky News reported that Colonel Gaddafi’s forces have been ‘degraded’ by the recent coalition assaults. Degraded? What did we do, rush over there, line up all his troops, pull their underpants down, take some pictures, and post them on the web?
DB TINKERBELL has found a new muscial avenue. Doesn't happen very often. In fact, only twice - once when he discovered Trance, and once when he discovered Symphonic Metal. How does your musical history pan out? Do you have special songs that trigger special memories? A kind of music that speaks louder than the rest? How tough would it be narrowing all you like down to your fav top ten songs? The bounce-bounce-heavy track below has brought the Asian download chart into vested consideration. Kicks in at 48 secs.
* reality, boredom, writing, cleaning, fingerbanging the neighbour's cat
Friday, 18 March 2011
The most pleasing aspect of the cup so far are the faint white squiggles to the left of the handle there (click to enlarge).
The above is a wall ornament (Sumerian Wheel). The Sumerians were an early civilisation, BC. I don't think they invented the wheel but it was an era when the development of writing was getting into flow. The best thing about this wall ornament is the lovely flash from the camera - not bad for a measly 2.0 megapixel. What I don't like is how faint that shade of olive green paint looks on the wall (Dulux, that, not cheap basic line gunk. Yes, Dulux, who claim to have over 15,000 colours in their range of paints. 15,000? More like 2 - bull, and shit).
The Ceramic Devision
Wheel of Life
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
"From the sea is where we came (said a lady on the radio last night) and to the sea is where we go..."
About the only jolly tidbit to reach me from the other side of the world so far in this most recent of cataclysmic events is how a BBC News reporter pronounced the TSUNAMI as a ‘TOON ARMY’. I did allow myself a quarter of a giggle at that, so I did. The thought of a countless herd of Newcastle United hooligans running riot 10km inland is enough to reduce any country to its knees.
I recall Roy Chubby Brown making a joke about the last great wave in 2004. Something about looking for his hotel and then seeing it float past him!
Aside from that, there really is nothing much to say or feel, apart from the usual mixture of awe, pity, and condolences. What is alarmingly obvious is how the cost of the economy and the stock market is rather more crucial than the human loss, which seems only to be addressed as a mere afterthought.
The most radical footage I’ve seen so far is a man calmly standing on top of his truck as the wave threatens to smother the motorway. All he can do is watch. It’s impossible, from the helicopter camera, to determine if he is just about high enough to be safe or not. Therefore, I gather, he has absolutely no clue if he will live or die. It’s close, though. It's too fookin' mighty close to be true. We're talking 50/50. We don't see his fate. How much must you pray and wish and cross your fingers in a fix like that? Talk about nail biting. Talk about hair raising...
another wallop from mother nature leaves us reeling, though there's little time to cue the big picture, because after the loss, and the tears, we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off...there's plenty of work on
Sunday, 13 March 2011
I also remember reading some leather bound adult espionage book, in one of those readers digest type dust jackets. This took my mind somewhere else for the first time.
Later, in English class seniors, Mrs Rogers complimented one of my short story assignments to the whole class and told them I could be a writer. Soon as she said that, the deal was sealed.
I remember reading Stephen King’s Insomnia when I was 20 and working out how many books I would have to write by the time I was forty to be anywhere near as prolific as him.
Reading James Herbert’s Others in my early twenties changed everything. It was and forever will be the best story I have or shall ever read. Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing is the most atmospheric.
The rape and murder of a woman by a gang in Bag of Bones by Stephen King sticks out as a potently powerful scene. Amazingly, he added humour to it.
Of late, my preferred reading is short story anthologies, because you can briefly breeze in and out of so many different styles. The Mammoth Books of Best New Horror (pictured) are excellent.
Horror is the best because it is the mother genre. It has romance, comedy, the lot.
(I just this minute discovered James Herbert has a new book out called ASH after four years since the last. Get in!)
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Take Danny Dyer. You might see him as a TV presenter who fronts those hard knock shows late at night, but I see him strictly as an actor. For a while, he was gold, proper talent, but for me, now, he’s done too many films in too short a space.
Some writers complain when their scripts get optioned and made into movies, because the end result doesn’t match their original vision. I’d be absolutely keen for someone to rework some of my material and do whatever the hell they liked with it – as long as it didn’t involve Ewan McGregor.
The best movies, the real gems, almost always feature unknown actors – faces you haven’t, at the time you watch them, seen before. A movie could come out tomorrow starring Russell Crowe, and it doesn’t matter how good it is, or what it’s called, because it’s just another Russell Crowe movie. You get me?
Mulder’s good in Californication. He lives the life. He blogs. I could do that, I thought, because it’s just rambling with words, expressing yourself like in a diary. Of course, there’s blogging, and there’s blogging, just like there're movies, and there’re movies.
After just over a year doing it, there have been too few personal entries. I’ve been making an effort trying to keep me-time to a minimum, stressing over pictures and colour and presentation of external subject matter, when most people on the web are talking a load of shite. It’s time to start talking shite myself. And if you think I've been talking shite already, then you ain't seen nuthin' but nuthin' yet.
Pish. Tosh. Piffle.
Sunday, 6 March 2011
‘Working for the press is like being a cop in some ways because you develop a natural instinct for people. You know, hunches and gut feelings and first impressions and all that palaver. Now I don’t know hack about football, I just get given a high profile name and an address and turn up with my Nikon, who plays for who and all the rest of it doesn’t really interest me.
‘Diego Maradona’s residence looked very hush-hush. All the cars in the garage, all the lights off, all the curtains drawn, very quiet. Now I know we paparazzi have a bad reputation, and I’ll be the first to admit that we do hound people, we really do – we intrude upon their private lives and cause all kinds of inconveniences for them and their loved ones, but come on here, that’s not much compromise for the benefits of super stardom, is it? It’s give and take. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, is what I say.
‘Anyhoo, this Maradona guy starts shooting at us with an air rifle from 25 paces. He actually had his gun cocked out the window taking POT SHOTS at us! Drunk, coked up, in front of his family and the world’s cameras, SHOOTING at us!
‘Now Teddy Sheringham, when he opened HIS front door at 7am and saw us gathered there at his garden gate, was in a different league. I was expecting bow and arrows, thinking all these footballers were like Maradona, but know what he did, eh, did you hear about what he did? Bring out a tray of tea and biscuits on his finest china for us is what he did, like he was some kind of waiter in a café and we were paying customers. How much of a lesson is that to all those lens-haters out there? TEA AND BISCUITS ON HIS FINEST CHINA. Meat pie, sausage roll, come on Teddy, give us a goal!’
Diego REALLY did shoot at the press and Teddy REALLY DID offer the press tea and biscuits. I saw it with my own eyes on the news! A.D
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Prison writing, eh? The bad are very bad, but the good are awesome. I get the feeling that some of the KOESTLER entries were written besides cell bunk beds by individuals screaming out their intent quietly through a pen onto the page, tight lipped, soul burning. They are trapped in a place (mentally and physically) where their best option is to let the ink flow, full steam ahead, with turmoil and/or passion on tap and enough time to channel it into something constructive. Something talented. Something meaningful.
Prisoners and secure patients are forgotten about in society. Lock them up, shut them away, out of sight, out of mind. That’s how we like it. This is them reminding us that they are still there, in a structured, disciplined, creative fashion. They are given an annual opportunity by Koestler to dump their artistic voices out into the airwaves and I have privileged access on the other end of a direct line.
Forget Dickens and Shakespeare. This is the kind of dynamic stuff that I’d much rather be reading. People hurling their voices at you from whatever cycle of oppression or retribution they happen to be in; desperate voices, calm voices, demanding to be heard, coated in adjectives, sprinkled with verbs.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Peak sequence in the movie Skyline (below). It’s very brief but very densely packed. Take people out of the question, or life in general, and it’s hard to see where a emotional response is going to come from within cinema. The next step is so obviously machines, at least in the sci-fi world of tomorrow’s future.
The point here is to identify with the Stealth aircraft in this clip. There’s obviously a pilot inside, but it seems to have a personality all of its own. People talk about supercars being objects of beauty, and belonging in galleries, not on the road; the same goes for this particular kind of propulsion aircraft. It is an absolute marvel of human engineering, craft and design. The thing is slick and sleek and sublime and downright beautiful. It looks mean and ruthless at the same time. Among the ugly alien machines here, it even looks cute.
It’s a character. That’s the nail on the head. It’s a bleedin’ character. You’re on its side. You’re rooting for it. It’s all alone, with the odds stacked against, trying to forge a narrow path through the enemy lines towards the hostile Mothership. If it can just get through, to have one single shot, one single chance. It’s your only hope, your last line of defence against the invaders. Mankind depends on it.
There’s no going back. It has one mission. Like a nose-bombing kamikaze. It’s own life has gone > that’s history. The only thing in question is whether it can hit its target...