Saturday, 27 February 2010

Poker Players, Travellers and Time Travellers

Well, there might be a bit of radio silence for a little while since my girlfriend comes into the country today.  But to keep you going I thought I'd add a couple of interesting links that I've come across lately.
I watched a programme called The Bubble recently, a new bbc show where the celebrity contestants are hidden away for a few days before then asked whether they think certain news reports are real or fake. It was a fun programme, and the first one starred Frank Skinner, Victoria Coren and Reginald D Hunter. While watching it I couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be some closeness between VC and RDH (not just the fact that they were sitting together).  I decided to explore this idea further and came across VC's blog page.  Turns out to be an interesting one, she also plays Poker apparently, so here's Victoria's blog.
Next up is a site that I came across rather randomly (I was checking out the location of the River Fleet, so go figure), and it's Michael Palin's travel site.  I'm a big fan of his, even saw a live show with him last summer, and as an amateur traveller myself his shows and books have an inspiration.  So his travel webpage is a kind of internet heaven.  I haven't checked it all out yet, but the great thing is that you can read all of his travel books online.  I think I'll be here a while.
Finally some music, and this is via spotify, Doctor Who - Series 3.  The soundtrack album from the series.  I've always loved the show, time travel has a kind of fascination for me, all those what ifs?  But I saw "Blink" the other day, which is a great (and award winning) episode, which starred Carey Mulligan (who I hadn't actually heard of until a week ago when she herself won an award).  Strange how things work out like that.  Anyway, if you can, watch it...and remember...keep reading this site...don't, whatever you do...blink!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

All Quiet

Been a bit quiet for the past couple of days I suppose, but I've been catching up on some dull things like washing and sorting out my electronic photo albums.  All done now though.
I've also been working on a short story which I plan to submit to a magazine, as well as working on some poems which I also plan to submit.  I've got some other ideas for submitting things for different places too, or at least they're more like partial ideas right now.  Don't really want to say too much yet as I'm not sure I have too much to say.
Finally got around to seeing Avatar last night, in 3D of course.  I'm still not certain that it actually enhances movie going, the lines around objects still feel a little indistinct and sometimes it feels as if you're looking at the world through somebody else's prescription glasses.  But the film itself was decent, if full of strong political messages that get a little preachy after a while.
Moving in places, and I could connect with the concept of falling in love with someone who speaks a different language and comes from a different culture.

Monday, 22 February 2010


From today I'm going to be posting some mini-flash stories on a regular basis.  Here is the first (along with its introduction).

On this day in 1879, the first Woolworth five and dime shop was opened in the US but now, sadly, they no longer exist in the UK.

‘It’s all changed’, Craig said, staring.  ‘And it’s only been four years.’
‘Things change’, Maria replied.  ‘Nothing stays the same.’
‘I know...but...I wanted to show it to you as I remembered it. Even Sainsbury’s entrance wasn’t always like that’, Craig pointed, turning to Maria.  ‘What?’
She gave him a loving smile.
‘You seem so disappointed that some shops have changed’, Maria replied.  ‘It’s sweet.’
‘It’s not just shops, I lived here for three years and it was part of my life. A past life admittedly, but still...’
‘I know’, Maria said, putting her arms around Craig.
They hugged for a minute, ignoring the people around them.
‘I’ve got lots of good memories here’, Craig continued.  ‘In some ways I wish I’d never left, although...If I hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have met you.’
‘Ohh!’  Maria said, hugging Craig again as he spoke sadly.
‘Waitrose just looks wrong here.  I miss Woolworth’s.’

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Back to Childhood

Today I watched one of the UCL lunchtime lectures online - it was about dinosaur evolution and absolutely fascinating.  If you like that sort of thing, and I do - have since I was a kid to be honest.  It got me looking at dino type things on the internet and I came across some colour-in pictures which looked fun.  They are from the Dinosaur Museum website, the museum being down in Dorchester.
And so I downloaded one and have turned it into a watercolour painting.


Quite nice I hope you'll agree.
I've also been doing some writing, flash fiction to be exact, two stories of less than 500 words.  And I have submitted them to this magazine Vestal Review.  Will hopefully hear from them in a few months.

Feels a little strange to be back in London, hard to believe that two weeks ago I was looking forward to travelling to Sweden.  But I get my girlfriend with me again in just a weeks time as she's coming over for spring break with her dad.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dirty Scriptwriting

Last night I was forced to watch Dirty Dancing.  Up until that point I had never seen the film, and had no real intention of seeing it either.  Now I can say that I don't want to watch it again.  I'm certain that my brain had actually started melting by the end of it, and I had to go outside to bury my head in some snow to save my sanity.
My girlfriend claimed that it was because it was an 80's movie to which I replied that there were lots of good films in the 80's.  Here are just five classics from the same year even!

The Lost Boys
The Princess Bride
The Untouchables
Empire of the Sun

Watch these, don't watch Dirty Dancing!!

Valentines Day - A Snowy Walk and Feeding the Ducks

 Here are a few photo's from the walk my girlfriend and I took on valentines day.  Despite the snow it was a very warm day, not even a need for gloves sometimes, and a feeling that Spring was close.


And here's a photo of one of the gifts from my girlfriend, it is a really cute owl.  She's also made up a CD for me of swedish artists.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Behind the Scenes

Having a great time here in Sweden.  There's about half a metre of snow lying around and it's pretty cold outside, so not venturing far, but i've been having fun with my girlfriend, as you can see below:


I've also been helping with making the fake walls for the school's production of Sweeney Todd (remember my earlier wall pictures?) It was a bit weird to see photo's that I had taken in England up on a wall here in Sweden as inspiration for their play.  Here are some photo's of us at work:


Please don't ask me what the logs are supposed to be for.  I haven't quite worked that one out yet.  Not managed to do much writing since I got here, other things on my mind and all that, but have made a couple of little sketches.  Just looking forward to a nice Valentine's Day tomorrow, which will be our first together.

Monday, 8 February 2010

A Wander

Tomorrow I travel to Sweden again.  It seems like its taken ages for it to come around, and yet it was only a month ago that I last saw my girlfriend.  This time I fly with SAS, so it should be an interesting experience.
I completed another short story yesterday, using the same main character as the previous story.  I have other stories in mind for her as well, so we'll see how long this lasts.  It's been fun though.
Felt in an exploratory mood today, and so went out for a walk.  The weather is very cold, damp and it even started snowing a bit - just to get me into the mood for Sweden i guess.  Here are some photos:


An interesting house on Blackstock Road, with an English, Dutch and French flag flying on the roof.

The old Highbury - It's hard to believe that this was a football ground a few years ago.

Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium, taken from the Clock End Bridge

The entrance to Gillespie Park - not another brick wall photo.  And the pond inside.

The garden at the Ecology Centre in Gillespie Park

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Competition Win

One of the poetry competitions that I entered two weeks ago has come back with the result that I was one of the winners, and will be published within a book by Turner Maxwell, entitled 'The best poems of the year'.  This link will take you to the page, which lists all the winners.
I'm not certain how much of a competition there actually was, and the wording used in the email to me suggests that royalties would be hard to come by, however being published in some sort of anthology is something, or at least a beginning.  Mine is a nice poem by the way, and I would suggest you purchase it just for that...I would if I was trying to be self-promotion guy that is.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Picture Map of London

Same concept as before, but this time in map form.

Around Town

Today I've been photographing some bits of wall.  That may sound odd to you, but there is reason behind it all.  Not hiding, ready to spring up and over it like Jack, but in the metaphorical sense...anyway...My girlfriend is doing the scenery for a production of Sweeney Todd, and wanted an idea of what London brick walls look like.  So here they are...


I've also been around town for other reasons this week.  My new netbook has proved invaluable, as it not only allows me to get out of the house, but I can write while I'm out too.  And there are so fewer distractions than when you're in your own home.
I finally got around to visiting the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road.  A bizarre place with a collection of false limbs, a torture chair, some glass jars, phallic sculptures and a mummified corpse amongst other things.  They also have a collection of artistic sculptures based on modern medecine, amongst which you can find an eye which flicks open on a regular basis and a skeleton where the skull and the pelvis have been swapped over.
Their special exhibition at the moment explores the idea of The Self.  It does this by looking at famous diarists, actors, genetic fingerprinting, twins, sex change, phrenology, eugenics, and photography - well worth a visit.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

London Underground - in pictures

An interesting concept - I'm sure you'll agree

Brooding Sunset


This is my first painting on watercolour paper.  I bought some post cards in my girlfriends favourite shop yesterday - it's also one of my favourites if i'm honest.  There are so many wonderful things in there to inspire you to make and create anything.  It really is wonderful!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Monday, 1 February 2010


This weekend I submitted an entry to a flash fiction competition.  The voting is currently underway.  You can read the entries here, although voting is members only.  Mine is entry number one by the way.  I'm not sure what you get for winning...hmm.