Tag Archives: story

It should have been the Jungle Book. (My X-certificate first cinema visit.)

This is the nearest I could get to an image combining both Clint Eastwood and a Jungle local.

At GrannyMar‘s prompting, I submitted this story to See You At The Pictures, a documentary about film-going in Ireland. Er… Sorry Dad.

The first film I saw in a cinema should have been the Jungle Book. My Dad took me to the cinema in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, one bright summer afternoon.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it wasn’t car chases, gunfire and a naked lady Continue reading

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Filed under family history, Film

“Can I have a lolly and a 69 please?”

Your embarrassing stories please. There’s an absolute corker at the bottom that will have you weeping. But to start with here’s this one:

I once recorded a rather rude message onto my Ex’s pda and set it as his morning alarm call.
That isn’t embarrassing in itself.
What is embarrassing, is it going off in a packed school assembly when you are a teacher as he’s left his phone in your handbag.

Here’s another short one:

After working a double shift at my part time care home job when I was at university, I came home exhausted. Got myself a into the bath for a long soak before having to head into Uni that afternoon for back to back lectures. I was really enjoying relaxing, eating chocolate buttons, eye gel mask on. When I took the mask off I could see the window cleaner at the window, he’d had a full eyeful! I was mortified.

Ten minutes later, he’d finished and… he knocked at the door to be paid Continue reading

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Filed under life

What Woody reads

Looking for inspiration? Read what Woody Allen reads.

Or watch the pendulums. Your choice. Continue reading

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Filed under art

Three crime writers spill the beans

Deep inside the perfect secondhand bookshop, the sign above an enticing locked door says Mysteries. Above that again are crime novels and a Thompson sub machine gun. You cant beat Westsider Books on Manhattans Upper West Side for atmosphere.

I shouldn’t really be telling you this, because I’m about to flit the country again and I’m unprepared. But SamHenry from On My Watch insisted. So here goes.

The other night I sat down with three award-winning or nominated crime writers who opened up (in a non-machine gun way) about their trade. Among the secrets they laid bare were:

1. What’s the point of crime writing?
2. The difference between crime writing and literary fiction?
3. Crime writing v. noir?
4. Does crime writing change anything?
5. Does it work in colonial or post-colonial societies?
6. Can you have a whodunnit in a developing economy?
7. Should put your friends and neighbours into the story?
8. Is there too much graphic violence against women?
9. Is Nordic Noir for wimps?
10. And – What they think you should read next (apart from themselves)?

The three writers were Continue reading

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Filed under art, What I'm Reading

The jumper

THE JUMPER, worn by somebody or another.

Black and white. Or navy and cream? Chunky, practical, ratty, bobbly. Definitely Faroese. Stabbed in the shoulder, but since recovered.

The new star Continue reading

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Filed under art, life

Great inventions that could change your life

1. Beer Protector – First of all, not everyone has given up smoking. And just because the smokers have left the bar for for a drag, it doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned their pints.

Is it not bad enough for them that they’re forced to indulge their filthy habit outside, shivering in the drizzle hunched over their sputtering butts, without having to worry that someone will hand their unfinished glass of Guinness to the barman and say: “I think this one’s dead.” Continue reading

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Filed under life, media

Count Zero or Stephen Hero?

I’m torn. I don’t know which way to turn.

This...

...or this?

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Filed under art, Influences, My Writing

Pucker Up

Lipstick in School – A friend sent me this story. Apropos nothing. But I think it’s clever.

According to a (possibly apocryphal and not even new) news report, a certain private school in Newcastle upon Tyne was faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom.

That was fine. But after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the headteacher decided that something had to be done. Continue reading

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Filed under life

The Banned / A New Name

Everyone’s getting banned. Aung San Suu Kyi is banned from leaving her house arrest in Burma. Ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya is banned from leaving the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. And now I’ve been banned from using the computer on Sundays. I proudly stand with my fellow bannees. But Sunday is past. So I can now mention a couple of things.

  1. Worrying/odd treatment of the British National Party (BNP) by BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat show. See Guardian newspaper news story and Roy Greenslade comment.
  2. Something delightful I saw on the Cultural Snow blog.
  3. I’ve changed the name of the main character in my novel, Blackwatertown, to (ta dah) Macken. Or more fully. John Oliver Macken, aka Jack Macken, aka Jolly Macken. There now. Isn’t that a heroic moniker?

Macken’s previous name was too close to living people, who might themselves be displeased, or might themselves incur the displeasure of others incapable of differentiating fact from fiction. Bad for the health and all that.

Macken is a conflicted Catholic policeman serving in the RUC in the 1950s. After farcical encounters in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains of County Down, he is demoted from sergeant and banished to sleepy Blackwatertown near the Irish border. His arrival has far-reaching consequences: It wakes the place up; stirs up the murkiness round the mysterious death of the police officer he is replacing; sparks a new border war; and begins a sometimes dark, sometimes funny, wild ride through the politics of sexuality, sectarianism, loyalty and what it means to belong.

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Filed under media, Music, My Writing, politics

Getting going

Right. Write.

So I’m writing a book. It’s a story. A lot of it is true. Some of it is not. I may have to change some of the names to protect the guilty.

I may need help. Coming up with names for characters for instance. And then there are the twin evils of distraction and procrastination. How do you sneak between them without being caught?

So what’s this story about? Lots of things. It’s called Blackwatertown.

There’s lots to tell and lots for me to ask. But this is the start.

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Filed under My Writing