September 15, 2012 · 12:13 am
How often do you encounter – or read – something completely fresh?
Rarely, I’d say.
This is fresh. Or to be more accurate – it’s sulphurously original. Continue reading →
Filed under art, friends, What I'm Reading
Tagged as beelzebub, Belfast, blackwater, blackwatertown, Blasted Heath, books, books I like, Crime Scene NI, demon, demonic, devil, friend, gerard brennan, lucifer, mike rocks, Northern Ireland, religion, review, satan, satanism, the point, wee rockets, what I am reading
December 21, 2011 · 4:53 am
Thank you Culture Northern Ireland for giving me a £100 Amazon voucher (for
winning a writing competition completing a survey). And thank you Gerry Anderson and politician Gregory Campbell for helping me spend it. Well, to be more precise – they had a row. But Continue reading →
Filed under art, media, Music, What I'm Reading
Tagged as Andrea Camillieri, anna calvi, art, arthur magee, at the edge of the union, banned, BBC, Belfast, blackwater, blackwatertown, blue orchid, books, books I like, Christy Moore, creatures of light and darkness, DUP, Eoin McNamee, folk tale, gerard brennan, gerry anderson, gregory campbell, history, IRA, Ireland, Jackie Leven, jinx, Jinx Lennon, know your station gouger nation, lianne la havas, lisa hannigan, long player late bloomer, lost and found, martin mcguinness, michael d higgins, Music, music I like, mystery of love is greater then the mystery of death, Northern Ireland, passenger, politics, president, queen beatrix, Radio Ulster, real lives, Roddy Doyle, ron sexsmith, the crack was ninety in the isle of man, the dead republic, the point, the track of sand, the wings of the sphinx, troubles, TV, wee rockets, weekend in amsterdam, what I am reading
August 9, 2011 · 6:07 pm
A pint of Rebellion - Too warm? Too cold? Don't care? Care too much?
Does shared hatred bring us together more than shared enthusiasm?
A character in Reginald Hill‘s book Pictures of Perfection suggests “that when a politician wants to really unite the electorate, he looks for a common hatred rather than a common enthusiasm.” Is he right?
I go through three stages with Reginald Hill’s writing. I begin by finding it a bit contrived, then some flash of humour trips me up into enjoyment and by the end I find myself relishing the surprises and satisfaction he offers. So I commend Pictures of Perfection to you – though I think The Reckoning would have been a better title.
But back to the hating. Two characters – police officer Wield and bookseller Digweed – overcome their initial antipathy through shared whisky and a discussion about what they hate. It’s a pretty good list.
“Snobs. I don’t like snobs. How’s that for starters?”
“Excellent. No quarrel there. My turn. Little Hitlers. People who turn a molehill of authority into a mountain of obstructionism.”
“Fair enough. Politicians.”
“Spot on. Undertakers.
“They’re only doing a job,” said Wield defensively.
“Of course. But do you like them?”
“No,” admitted Wield. “Beer that’s too cold.”
“Beer that’s too warm.”
“People that don’t care about beer.”
“People that go on too much about beer Continue reading →
Filed under art, What I'm Reading
Tagged as art, beer, blackwater, blackwatertown, books, books I like, hates, pictures of perfection, reginald hill, what I am reading
June 13, 2011 · 6:55 pm
I have some books I’d like to give away – old (1947), new, mystery, thrillers, Irish,English, French & poetry. From Pepys and Proust to McGilloway and Haddon – via 1970s London Mystery paperbacks.
But how should I do it?
A competition maybe?
But what? Any ideas?
We’ve done embarrassing stories recently – Sorrygnat and WiseWebWoman came up with a couple. Anyone else fancy chipping in. Perhaps a prize should go to the most excruciating anecdote?
Or should it be something new? Best joke/story?
Like this one – Speeding in Wyoming
A young woman was pulled over for speeding. A Wyoming State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book.
She said, “I bet you are going to sell me a ticket to the State Trooper’s Ball.”
He replied, “Wyoming State Troopers don’t have balls.”
There was a moment of silence. He then closed his book, tipped his hat, got back in his patrol car and left.
Or Continue reading →
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Tagged as balls, blackwater, blackwatertown, boob, boob cam, boobcam, books, books I like, camera, cleavage, competition, contest, decolletage, dekko, French, funny, haddon, joke, london mystery magazine, mcgilloway, pepys, poetry, proust, speeding, spy, spy camera, spycam, state trooper, what I am reading, wyoming
June 1, 2011 · 9:49 am
Not sure which end of the lead is in charge.
It’s hard for someone who has a real bond with an animal, especially a dog, to explain the nature and strength of the connection to someone who has never experienced it. Or to convey the sense of loss if the animal dies or is taken away.
But Ninni Holmqvist may have managed it Continue reading →
Filed under art, life, What I'm Reading
Tagged as absence, animal, art, badger, blackwater, blackwatertown, book, books I like, crossmaglen, dog, dogs, dystopia, dystopian, ewan maccoll, ewan macoll, jock, loss, lover, luxury slaughterhouse, marlain delargy, nation of animal lovers, ninni holmqvist, Patch, pet, pets, ralph, Sweden, swedish writer, the unit, what I am reading, wordless communciation
May 11, 2011 · 5:29 pm
I’m telling my children about Hitler. But how do I teach them about Stalin?
Looking back to when I was at primary school, I was appallingly ignorant about the Holocaust.
I don’t want my children to be as in the dark. Continue reading →
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April 10, 2011 · 5:30 pm
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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October 16, 2010 · 3:07 am
Bitterness, rejection, suffering, loss. Must one crush broken dreams underfoot with the smell of death in one’s nostrils to produce good writing?
That’s one road. The dramatic road.
But confidence and productivity can also spring from the support and security provided by those around one. That’s my road.
I’ve been reading Ford Madox Ford‘s The Good Soldier. This passage caught my eye. He talks about love and achievement or creativity: Continue reading →
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Tagged as Angola, blackwatertown, books, Buraka Som Sistema, creativity, Exodus, Ford Madox Ford, Good Soldier, home, kobus, Kobus Moolman, kudoro, love, Marriage, moolman, poem, poetry, Portugal, stoicism, The Good Soldier, The Saddest Story, what I am reading, writing
September 21, 2010 · 11:34 pm
Dickens showing off his trousers. Scroll down for the intimidating panda.
The closing paragraphs of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens had my eyes tearing up. The final sentence is iconic.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.
I won’t spoil it by explaining why it’s such a tearjerker. You should read the book yourself. But don’t be deterred by the disappointing opening sentence. Continue reading →
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Tagged as A Tale of Two Cities, advert, advertisement, adverts, Andrew Pepper, art, blackwatertown, Blood-Dark Track, books, books I like, Boz, charles dickens, cheese, commerical, Dave Eggers, Dickens, Elmore Leonard, Ford Maddox Ford, intimidation, Joseph O'Neill, literature, Maurice Leitch, never say no to panda, opening lines, panda, panda cheese, punctuation, The Dectective Branch, The Good Soldier, Tishomingo Blues, True Love Ways, what I am reading, You Shall Know Our Velocity
July 19, 2010 · 1:39 pm
I’m torn. I don’t know which way to turn.
Filed under art, Influences, My Writing
Tagged as art, blackwater, blackwatertown, book, books, books I like, Count Zero, cyberpunk, cyberspace, Finnegans Wake, Garda Siochana, Gardai, Gibson Joyce, I write like, Jack Taylor, James Joyce, Joyce Gibson, Ken Bruen, London Boulevard, My Writing, Neuromancer, Nora Barnacle, Oliver St John Gogarty, police, quark, Stephen Hero, story, what I am reading, William Gibson