Monthly Archives: June 2012

Hev you got a loight boy?

Probably not Molly Lindley herself. From the Philosophy of Science Portal. (Click on the pic to get there.)

Light. Light! Light?

The word may prompt all sorts of noble concepts and ideals of faith and idealism in your mind.

As for me – it’s this song. All about…

Molly Lindley, she smokes like a chimney
But she’s my little nicotine gal

It’s Allan Smethurst aka The Singing Postman – postman and singer from Norfolk. More information and song lyrics here.

My friend Sara used to Continue reading

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The brave boy band of the Royal Airforce on beating Hitler

Writers are supposed to think of innovative ways to promote their writing these days. Short films are the latest thing. Here’s a good example that is advertising a thriller by a writer I like, Stuart Neville. It’s for his second book Collusion.

I got into reading Stuart via his earlier book The Ghosts of Belfast (in the USA) or The Twelve (in Ireland and the UK). It was excellent and based on an inspired idea. The only problem with his promotional film from Collusion is that, exciting as it is, it doesn’t really reflect the book itself.

Though thinking about it… Maybe that’s not a problem after all. As long as people reading the book.

Which means I could have found the perfect film for my own ebook The Obituarist. It features the heroes of a daring air mission to turn the tide of World War Two – now retired and facing a devious threat from an unexpected quarter. But how to convey the devil-may-care courage and insouciance of their younger days?

This film does it.

If you’re unlucky enough not have already encountered the Horrible Histories crew, I strongly commend them to you. Thanks to Barry Turley for giving me the idea. (The cheque is not in the post. Have you seen the price of stamps these days?)

And thanks also to this great blogger on the UK and US media – Bill at Trading as WDR – before whom the titans of telly tremble and the top ranks of radio reel Continue reading

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My first memory

See – I told you it was a tank. This British Centurion tank was out during Operation Motorman. So perhaps it was a tank I saw. The photo is by Eamon Melaugh – click on the pic for more of his work.

Memory is tricky. Childhood memories even trickier.

Which memories are real. Which are from stories or photographs?

Top Boy shares his first memory with me. He was running up and down the street in from of our house. Past houses, back past houses, back past houses again, then past a house with a low white wall and a blue triangular prismatic top… (the shape details are quite extensive and go on for some time, so I’ve skipped them – funnily enough he’s now a big science fan) …then he fell over and hurt his knee. What happened next? Doesn’t remember.

Mine is one of these. I don’t know which.

1. When I was five (or thereabouts) we moved house from a more troubled to a less troubled area of Belfast. I don’t remember anything before or during the journey until we turned onto the new street. It was more shaded, quieter, greener, with trees and hedges. I remember that. Nothing before. Except maybe for…

2. Seeing my first tank. Very exciting. Big. High. Wide. Dark, maybe green but definitely spattered with white paint. On the road outside the Busy Bee shopping centre in Belfast Continue reading

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An awkward encounter with The “other” Obituarist.

This could be awkward. In the period between me deciding to publish The Obituarist online and actually giving it the final go-ahead, someone else published a book of exactly the same name. Aargh!

I don’t know which of us thought of the title first – mine’s been lurking around for ages – getting its first mention in 2009. (Oh yes, that’s how fast I work! Speed of light we’re talking here.)

But annoyingly, it is clear who actually published his first. Him.

So what to do about it?

Well, I had already altered my name so as not to – and not appear to – claim credit off the back of another writer‘s success. So I didn’t fancy changing the title too.

But then – the author of The (Other) Obituarist got in touch! Cue dramatic music.

According to German folklore we should both have immediately dropped dead – or at least have our stories disappear. Isn’t that what happens when you encounter your doppelganger?

According to American Western custom, one of us should be growling that “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us. The stage leaves first thing tomorrow. Be under it.”

What actually happened was that I read his email, titled The Other Obituarist. You can read it for yourself: Continue reading

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Wedding blues

The father of the bride

I met this man on the train. He had a blue moustache which matched his blue jumper.

I had to ask…

Apparently he dyed it red, white and blue for Britain’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Now he has it blue to match the bridesmaids’ dresses at his daughter’s upcoming wedding.

Strangely enough, she’s not keen on the idea. But he figures it will lighten the mood and take her mind off stressful wedding planning. What a considerate dad.

Actually, he is considerate. He’s going to shave off the moustache completely.

And then replace it with a Continue reading

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The last three people I spoke to…

The last three people I spoke to before I closed my eyes were…

1. The bloke asleep on the train: He looked like a daddylonglegs. A sleeping daddylonglegs – all splayed out across six seats. His wallet there. His phone here. Dead to the world. Continue reading

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The Obituarist: Early days for the ebook

Here’s the latest news for The Obituarist – that stupendously thrilling ebook written by me.

But first – if you’re wavering – how’s this for a review?

Really enjoyable ride! A page turner from the outset!

Beautifully insightful characterisation, delivered with a good helping of dry wit and with just the right amount of information for the book to play like a sumptuous film in your head!

Paul does justice to our wonderful World War II heroes, capturing perfectly the upstanding nature of their morals, together with their playful, youthful comradery. The Obituarist is a delicious juxtaposition of the pinnacle of our war heroes’ lives, perfectly ‘twisted’ with today’s unscrupulous media-crazed society.

There are some fabulous observations of human behaviour and thought processes, which are simply sublime and rather thought-provoking in their description.

This is not just a well written story which kicks along at a hell of a pace but also a clever multilayered observation of human behaviour, with a backdrop from two eras and what happens with the passing of time. The Obituarist certainly leaves you with something to think about.

Thank you to the most lovely and discerning Su Verhoeven who downloaded The Obituarist from Smashwords.

Thank you also to Speccy for her encouraging review at Me, Mine and other Bits.

And to Emma for “devouring” The Obituarist and writing a “small but perfectly formed” review on her Adventures of an Unfit Mother blog.

So this is what’s happening…

  1. The Obituarist is now available on various platforms, including here on Smashwords.
  2. And here at Amazon.co.uk
  3. And here at Amazon.com
  4. And for kobo devices here.
  5. So far only one typo – a very small one – seems to have sneaked through. Thank you to the spotter for letting me know.
  6. The Obituarist has been awarded “premium status” on the Smashwords site.
  7. People like the cover.
  8. Some people – who I love – have actually downloaded Continue reading

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Mayor bans umbrellas for London Olympics

A headline to bring joy to the hearts of millions.

A headline that might even, maybe, persuade me to vote for Boris (should he try for a third mayoral term instead of going for prime minister).

A headline that is long overdue.

And completely true. But Continue reading

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She should have married Arthur

She’s just realised she should have married Arthur instead of Philip.

The Diamond Jubilee could have been so different, if only HM Queen Elizabeth II had married miners’ leader Arthur Scargill instead of Philip.

That’s the view from Daley Bread – scene of my unfortunate mistake and then my embarrassing retraction. I’ve since realised it’s a fount of wisdom about the world.

And the view from behind the sandwich counter is this:

The Queen should have married Arthur Scargill. Then we’d have someone to fight for and someone to fight for us.

The working class have been squeezed out of the picture. It could have been so different.

Or would it have been? Arthur Scargill and Prince Philip are not as different as you might think.

  1. They’re both known for cutting themselves on their sharp tongues. Philip: To then dictator of Paraguay, General Stroessner: “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”Arthur: “Only a fool wants a confrontation and only a fool wants a strike.”
  2. Prince Philip with coal smeared over his face to conceal his true identity.

    They’ve both shovelled coal. Arthur down Woolley Colliery. Philip in the boiler room of the RMS Empress of Russia.

  3. Philip was mentioned in despatches for his role in the Battle of Cape Matapan. Arthur was renowned for his defiance at the Battles of Satley Gate and Orgreave.
  4. Arthur was branded “the enemy within”. Philip’s relations and sisters were barred from his wedding because of their German connections.
  5. Both have been smeared in connection with the British secret services – Continue reading

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