Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Chance to Shine...or not.

Speaking with a friend/ client the other day about interviews reminded me of a strange one that I went through some years back.

I had taken some time out from my “normal” career to concentrate on writing. Not the wisest thing I’ve ever done. You live and learn, no? And if you don’t learn you deserve everything you get, but that’s another wisecrack for another time. Once I ran out of money, I decided to go back to a “proper” job and joined an agency.

A brief word on agencies: shite.

Anywho – I don’t like to talk about my day-job on here on account of it could get me the sack, so let’s just say that I’m “Something in Finances”. I wear a suit, shirt and tie...and that will have to be enough people.

So this “agency” set me up with an interview at a local posh hotel. I was told to turn up at 10am. Being anal about time – if I’m late – which does happen now and again – I worry about it as if I was waiting to hear the results of a biopsy at my local clinic – so I was there in PLENTY of time.

The reception of the hotel was empty when I arrived so I sat at a small chair and made myself as comfortable as I could. I checked the knot in my tie in the mirror on the far wall, picked a piece of lint from the crease on my trousers which was sharp enough to slice a ham and then looked down at my shoes which wore a shine strong enough for me to count my nasal hairs. Of which I had many. It looked like somebody stuck one of Cher’s wigs up there.

I swithered about popping in to the gents to give the old proboscis a pluck. Just then a young lady in a black suit walked from behind the reception desk...are you here about the interview, she asked?

Yes, I cleared my throat in that pretending not to be nervous way. And sniffed, wishing that nose hair was retractable like a cat’s claws.

Please, follow me, she said and then turned in to the public bar. Interesting place, I thought, for an interview and doesn’t she fill those black trousers very nicely. We sat at a small table. She put a brown A4 envelope on said table and pulled a pen from her inside jacket pocket.

What’s your name? She glanced at my tie and made a small face of surprise.

I told her and mused over her reaction to my tie. It was a nice tie, but not that nice.

She wrote my name down on the back of the envelope. And then took in the shine on my shoes.

I raised an eyebrow, thinking, this is casual.

So tell me, she smiled, why do you want to get into this industry?

Well, I paused gathering my thoughts and wondering if she had read my CV, I’ve worked in this industry since I left school. It’s what I know and what I’m good at. ( I HATE having to spout all that bullshit.)

She wrote something down and offered me a smile. Like she liked what she saw.

What about transport, she asked. Do you have your own car?

I have a car, I said wondering what a strange question that was, but if I’m successful with this interview I plan to sell it and take advantage of your company car scheme.

Her chin slackened somewhat, her brows furrowed...she put her pen down as if the penny and five hundred of her sisters had just dropped and asked, so you’re not here about the night-watchman’s job?

Oh how we laughed.

I told her I was “Something in Finances”. We laughed again. She apologised for the mix-up and escorted me back to the bar where a middle-aged man with a comb -over haircut and wearing a home-knitted tank top/ shirt and tie combo looked up expectedly. Casting for Clichés was obviously the name of the agency that supplied this candidate.

At this point a man in a grey suit rumbled in the door holding a briefcase in one hand and pulling a suitcase on wheels with the other.

Mr Malone? He asked.

Yes, I said and couldn’t help but taking a look at my watch. It was twenty minutes after my interview was supposed to start. I then realised how this action might be viewed and hid my watch-bearing hand behind my back as if that meant it never happened.

He pretended not to notice my transgression and without as much as an explanation or an apology he walked past me with a curt –This way. He bustled through the bar and into a suite of rooms beyond.

Grey Suit Man began to empty his suitcase on to the table. While I’m getting ready, he said, you may as well get out your passport and driver’s licence.

My, eh, passport, I asked?

Did you bring something to prove your address?

My address, I asked?

The agency, he pulled a video camera out of his suitcase and placed it on the table, sent you some information and in it we asked you to bring identification etc.

It didn’t arrive.

What about the CD? Did you get a chance to watch the CD?

What CD? I asked beginning to get really pissed off. The list of his transgressions piled up in my head; his lateness, his briskness, his rudeness, the agency’s ineptitude (is that a word?)

The CD that explained about our application process and the role-play that we will have to record...

...this really hasn’t been organised very well, has it? The words tumbled from my mouth, by-passing my usual very strong self-edit button.

Well, he huffed, we are going through a HUGE recruitment drive at the moment and I’m doing several of these a day and you rely on these agencies to ....and blah, blah, blah. And as he blahhed for Britain I realised that no matter how strong my performance was over the next 2 hours I was never, ever going to get past this part of the interview process.

That was 5 years ago.

I still haven’t received notification of how well/ badly I performed at the interview.

So go on, spill – what are your worst interview experiences?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Whispers and War

Sunday afternoon. Got the blood flowing, the lungs wheezing then settled in the sauna/ Jacuzzi until my skin resembled a giant scrotum. (There’s an image to conjure with, ladies.) While sat among the fizz and bubble of the Jacuzzi I looked out of the window and thought that I might just have enough energy to cut the grass (or the lawn, as the wee fella calls it) when I got home. However by the time I had dried off, dressed and jumped in the car... it was raining! Let me repeat that exclamation mark!

I love it when a plan comes together.

This of course meant that when I got home I could settle on the sofa with John Connolly’s latest novel, The Whisperers which has been burning a hole in the corner of my eye ever since it arrived from those lovely people at Hodder.

Can I just say, the man is class? If you haven’t read him and you’re a fan of thriller novels WHERE THE FECK HAVE YOU BEEN?

The father of an Iraq war veteran asks Charlie Parker to find out why his son committed suicide. The soldier was the 3rd in a small group of army colleagues who had done so. Charlie discovers that the group were smuggling antiques (circa 2500BC) from an Iraqi museum. Among them is a gold box with a complicated locking system. Locks that were designed to hold something mysterious. Something that shifts, writhes and pushes against the walls of the box. Something that whispers.

I just LOVE the way Connolly brings the supernatural into the thriller genre. He does this with a suggestion of demonic forces and with the creation of really, really bad men. The kind of men we spook our children with, while scaring ourselves.

The better novels have elements other than a straightforward narrative and clever man that he is, JC uses The Whisperers to discuss the effect of war on soldiers. Being a very, very clever man he does this without lecturing. We get the information in digestible chunks that makes us assimilate the detail, wonder at how people could be treated in such a way, but never at any time are we at a remove from the story.

As long as man has fought combat stress has been with us. In World War1 it was called Shell Shock. In WW2, it was “battle fatigue”. Now we call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are figures that show as many soldiers are dying when they return from service as there are while on active duty. Unable to process the stresses of combat they take the ultimate way out. Also, significant numbers of veterans end up on the street or in jail. Here in the UK, ex-servicemen are by far the largest occupational group in prison.

You can argue about the futility of war, the waste of lives and the rights and wrongs of the combat in Iraq and Afghanistan – and being a pacifist I would probably agree with you... but the fact of the matter is that these men and women are being sent out to battle and then on their return to “normal” society are being abandoned by the very people who asked them to put their life on the line. They deserve much, much better.

The decision makers should hang their collective heads in shame.

(BTW, my review of the book will be posted on shortly. I’m sure you can guess it’s going to be favourable eh?)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

You've gotta read this...

Sobering, frightening, inspirational, honest, spirited, compelling...I'm never going to moan about anything ever again after reading this.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

And the winner is...


And if you are having a senior/ blonde moment and you've forgotten what she won...cast your mind back a few, not as far back as that...yup the day of MCN' anniversary... I said that everyone who left a message would be placed in a draw to win a mystery prize.


And still the prize is a mystery even to me, but Thea it is on its way to you as soon as you leave me a message telling me where to send it to.

Everyone else can ignore this part. This is just for the winner. Thea, can you please drop me an email (to with your address and I'll get the parcel off to you at the weekend?

Now back to everyone else. Thank you all for dropping by youtube to watch and listen to the poem and thank you for all the kind comments. If you're a newcomer and you don't know what I'm talking about WHERE THE FECK HAVE YOU BEEN? And if you are still curious scroll down the blog and you'll come to it.

I'll need to speak to my filmmaker and see if he can come up with any more.

Monday, 19 April 2010

A poem on Youtube...tell all your pals

Do I or do I not go to any lengths to keep you guys entertained?

Here is a poem wot I wrote and which that fine young film-maker (well, he's young) David McKinlay has added some atmospheric visuals to.

We've had 9 hits so that's only 999,991 off from becoming an internet sensation. Over to you people...spread the word...evangelize...send the link to everyone on your address book....even your Ma cos there's no swearing in it or nothing...what else have they got to do cos there's nothing on the telly but numpty politicians.

Learning to Listen

Friday, 16 April 2010

Happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday may contain nuts, happy birthday...

Would you believe it? May Contain Nuts – my baby – is 1 year old. It seems like it was just yesterday when with just a wee squeeze and an exclamation it plopped out into the world - fully formed, with 10 fingers and toes and barely a hair on its head.

And in the last year it has gurgled, pooped, slept, suffered some teething problems, farted, filled a few nappies worth, learned to support its head on a weak neck, taken a few steps ...and round about now I’m getting bored with the whole “infant” metaphor and I’m going to stop.

Anywho – a whole year! Who’d a thunk it?

When I first started it was all a bit of an adventure in, wooo, I’ve got stuff on the internet I wonder who’ll read it I hope they like it will they hate it will they think I’m an arse...but this quickly turned into a big fat “So What” when it was difficult to tell if anyone was even reading it. See. They don’t tell you in the blog instructions that you could be writing away to your heart’s content with an audience of none. Which is a lonely place to be, let me tell you.

So, a GREAT BIG thank you to everyone out there who regularly visits and comments and makes me feel that what I’m doing is not a complete waste of time. It really does make my day to hear from you.

To celebrate my anniversary I’d like to offer a mystery package to one of you good people out there.

What might be in said mystery package, I hear you ask?

I haven’t a clue yet, I answer. But it will be a mystery. Well, a mystery in the form of a book. And it depends what I can blag from publishers/ authors out there –I might chuck in some of my poems for the deranged among you.

How do you win said mystery package?

Leave me a message.

In this message I want you tell me one thing about yourself that nobody else knows. (I would reciprocate but you guys already know too much about me) I’ll put all the names of the message-leavers in a hat – well not a hat, probably a mug, or a shoe, or maybe there will be so many I’ll need to use a postbag – and the one I pull out gets the mystery package.

It would be ultra smart if some of the regulars who visit and DONT leave a message actually left a message. You know who you are.

So. Leave a message and stand by for some freebies. A mystery of freebies if you will.

It could be YOU.

Monday, 12 April 2010


What has been entertaining you recently, Michael? I hear you ask. (Yes. Even from all the way over here I can hear your minds at work.)

I’ve been working my way through my humoungous To Be Read pile – instead of finishing my own book. You can call it research, if you are of a generous mindset. Or procrastination, if your mind runs to the cynical. Or lazy, if your mind works like mine.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides won the Pulitzer in 2003. On the whole I am a bit sniffy about award winning books. They can often be worthy while offering a reading experience about as rewarding as wearing cold, wet clothes in a draught while someone screams at you. ..YOU WILL ENJOY THIS BOOK.

Having said that, this relates perhaps mainly to British prizes; any Pulitzer prizewinners I’ve read have been wonderful. And Middlesex was no different. Loved it.

Calliope Stephanides is not like other girls and the narrator sets up this premise immediately with an intriguing start. “I was born twice; first as a baby girl on a remarkably smog-less Detroit day in January of 1960, and then again as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petrosky, Michigan in August of 1974.”

Middlesex is a family epic that ranges from a small Turkish village in the 1920’s where Calliope’s Greek grandparents flee from the Turkish army to an America that moves from the Prohibition-era to the race riots in the 60’s and beyond. The background of recent American history is every bit as tumultuous as the lives that the Stephanides family live and carrying us along on this fascinating ride is our narrator; Cal a hermaphrodite.

She/ he presents us with a riot of detail and a richness of characterisation that is so warmed through with humour and insight that it drives you through the book with a greedy enthusiasm. Bringing you to the end far too quickly.

Here’s how near the beginning of the book her grandmother Desdemona is described... “Her body was a constant embarrassment to her. It was always announcing itself in ways she didn’t sanction....above the jiggling of her body, her kerchief-framed face remained apart, looking slightly scandalised at what her breasts and hips were up to.”

Warm-hearted, inventive and touching. If you haven’t read it ...what you waiting for?

A movie I watched just the other day was “36 Quai des Orfèvres” with Mr Lumpy face himself, Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Autiel. The address mentioned above is the French version of Scotland Yard and this movie as the title suggests is a cop thriller. The two leads – former best buddies - are in conflict with each other as they both work towards promotion.

Here’s a brief taste of the plot for you - Léo Vrinks (Auteuil) and Denis Klein (Depardieu) are at the head of two different teams of the police forces of the city of Paris, France. An audacious gang of robbers has committed seven bloody armed robberies in Paris during the year and the Chief of Police (Dussollier) tells Vrinks and Klein that the one who'll stop the gang will replace him at the head of the police forces.

One is clearly more ambitious than the other and will do anything to get his way. Such is this drive that mistakes are covered up, lies hide lies until the cop concerned is committing acts every bit as dangerous as the men his colleagues are fighting to convict. With the inevitable consequences of tragedy ...and revenge.

I find myself more and more these days looking for French thrillers. They are every bit as cinematic and pacy as their Hollywood counterparts with the added bonus that they don’t treat their audience as if they are either mentally deficient or jingly with a surfeit of hormones.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The IPAD...again...

You will soon see that this post has got feck all to do with the ipad...this is simply my cunning plan to garner some new visitors to my blog. I’ll report back in a few days to see if it worked. If it doesn’t I may have to go back to random mentions of naked women. That gets them here by the droves.

They arrive with their mouths hangin’ open, using their left-handed mouse and what they get is little ol’ me. What a bummer.

Anywho, the real reason for the blog – apologies for the minor distraction – and hello new reader if you have stayed on – was that I wanted to talk politics. Kinda.

You see there is so much apathy concerning politics these days I was afraid that if I alluded to this in my title you would all have moved on.

For the benefit of all my overseas (and wise) readers, we in dear old blighty are just about to go through a General Election. The members of our parliament have downed tools, set aside their mistresses and dodgy expenses claim forms to try and win the hearts and minds of the great unwashed. And while they put forward their winning manifestos, slag off their opponents, weave spin into smoke and mirrors I’d like to take this opporchancity to remind you of how crushingly stupid and self-serving some of them can be.

(I love Billy Connolly’s comment regarding politicians when he said that the desire to be one should be the very reason they get barred from doing it.)

Seeing as this is a UK election I wanted to relay some quips from the UK but our people here appear to more coy when it comes to displaying their Stupid Qualifications, so I’ve quoted a few from America to get us kicked off.

Don’t blame me...maybe it’s just that the interweb community in the US is better at recording the foot in mouth moments of their public servants.

George W is always good for a quote. Someone once said that it was better to remain silent and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Mr Bush Jnr is a man who should have listened.

Perhaps if he had made more of a study of politics he might have come across those wise words of the British war-time PM, Winston Churchill who is reported to have said – “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.”

Between you and me, I seriously doubt that all of the daft things that were attributed to him really did escape from his gob. Surely no-one is that obtuse? Whatever the truth of it – and see, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, he is still good for a laugh...

"This thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw." --George W. Bush, on liquidity in the markets, Alexandria, La., Oct. 20, 2008

"I didn't grow up in the ocean -- as a matter of fact -- near the ocean -- I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2008

"Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2008

"We're fixing to go down to Galveston and obviously are going to see a devastated part of this fantastic state." --George W. Bush, Houston, Sept. 16, 2008

"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." --George W. Bush, in parting words to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at his final G-8 Summit, punching the air and grinning widely as the two leaders looked on in shock, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

"Amigo! Amigo!" --George W. Bush, calling out to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Spanish at the G-8 Summit, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

(This one is my very favourite – cracks me up every time. You can just see him – yuhoo, amigo. Oh, that’s, like, not Italian?)

And finally displaying a modicum of self-awareness he is reported to have said...

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008.

And now for some Palinisms...

"I think on a national level your Department of Law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out." --Sarah Palin, referring to a department that does not exist while attempting to explain why as president she wouldn't be subjected to the same ethics investigations that compelled her to resign as governor of Alaska, ABC News interview, July 7, 2009

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make." --Sarah Palin, July 4, 2009

"It may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: 'Sit down and shut up,' but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out." --Sarah Palin, announcing her resignation as governor, July 3, 2009

Dan Quayle did well in the stupid stakes, didn’t he?

'A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.' - Dan Quayle

'I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.' - Dan Quayle

'It's not pollution that is hurting the environment, it's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.' - Dan Quayle

'If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure.' - Dan Quayle

Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London. He was an MP but he resigned, I assume because he was tired of dragging himself through a hedge backwards before going to work. Whatever the case, dear old Boris is always good for a quote. Provided you can actually make out what he’s saying what with those posh leather shoes in his mouth.

Pyramid of piffle [no, not his views on Liverpool but a report Petronella Wyatt was his mistress]

Tremendous, little short of superb. On cracking form. [after being sacked from his role in the Tory shadow cabinet]

My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.

I love tennis with a passion. I challenged Boris Becker to a match once and he said he was up for it but he never called back. I bet I could make him run around.

Boris Johnson

Here’s a random one – just because I like it and because I feel I need to put in more stupid Brits...

Because it was quite dark in that corner I was being pushed towards shaking hands with somebody just as a matter of courtesy and then it transpired it was President Mugabe.

Jack Straw (former Foreign Secretary) tries to explain away a huge political faux-pas.

Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our entire lives without going to war or sending our children to war.

Tony Blair quote

Now is not the time for sound-bites. I can feel the hand of history on my shoulder' - On the signing of the Good Friday Agreement

Tony Blair quote

Conflict is not inevitable, but disarmament is... everyone now accepts that if there is a default by Saddam the international community must act to enforce its will.

Tony Blair quote

Tony B is of course the former British Prime Minister. He started promisingly (who can forget the optimism of his theme tune “Things Can Only Get Better”?) but whose abiding legacy after his ten years of leadership was probably going to War in Iraq. The day he resigned as Prime Minister he also gave up being an MP (never having liked the House of Commons or Britain for that matter, hence spending most of his time as leader abroad or covering foreign matters) and was appointed, perhaps with a soupcon of irony, as a peace envoy.

And you can’t quote British politicians without name-checking the master of the barb...the man whose face is the measurement of every ugly baby born in the UK in the last century...I give you Winston Churchill.

"It is impossible to obtain a conviction for sodomy from an English jury. Half of them don't believe that it can physically be done, and the other half are doing it."

"In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times."

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
(And now you know what they really think about us.)

"He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. "

"It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right. "

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. "

"I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks."

Winston gets the last word too. Bear this thought in mind the next time you are considering just whose name to give that little tick to. Assuming of course you can be arsed.

“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.”

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Holidays 2010

It’s a religious holiday, but there’s very little religious-ing going on to be honest. There is however much chocolate munching in the May Contain Nuts household. The wee fella received a fair few chocolate eggs and feel it is my job, nay, my duty to teach him the joys of sharing.

What else has been going on?

The Queen of Chaos left a message on my mobile on Friday morning. Seems she had been trying to get me for, like, oh, five minutes. The message went like this...

...where are you, brother? You could be dead for all I know why don’t you ever answer your freakin’ phone why bother getting a mobile if its always switched off that’s why we get the things so we can stay in touch with people where the hell are you? Anyway – I hear her voice switch from crabby to smiley – just wondered seeing as it’s a holiday if you and the wee fella wanted to go for a coffee?

...I’m thinking, sure, 12 year olds LOVE to go for coffees.

Un/Fortunately, I didn’t pick up QC’s message until Friday evening because I took the wee man to Loudoun Castle. This is a theme park with rides n’ stuff that’s only about 20 minutes from my home. The first thing to note is that it’s not a cheap day out. The second thing to note is now that my boy is 12 I get to pay adult price for him. He was delighted.

...not only am I mature, dad (I made the mistake of telling him his reaction to something was very mature and I’ve heard NOTHING but since) I’m now an adult, says he.

...can you vote? I ask.

...would I want to?

...fair point, say I, but do you pay taxes?

...would I want to?

...ok, you’re an adult. Ish.

In the park the first attraction we come across is a group of stunt divers. Four guys are wearing wet-suits and diving from a slender ladder that stretches over 30 feet high, into a pool 9 feet wide and 9 feet deep. Ok, the numbers are approximations. So sue me, I wasn’t taking notes.

The first 10 minutes of their act was with the guys dressed like clowns over their wetsuits and the wee man lapped it up, going into a giggling fit. And then they got serious and performed a series of dives. And for the record, you wouldn’t get me up that ladder for all the chocolate in Thorntons.

Then in the park proper we went on the dodgems, a log flume and some other stuff. Being someone whose liver is more lily than leather I was keen to avoid the scarier rides. Fortunately, the wee man takes after his father and he had no intention of going anywhere near them.

In a moment of bravado, however he suggested we go on the – can’t remember the name – let’s call it the Black Pearl. Imagine a boat that moves in a circle upwards... as in up in the sky. Catching my drift here? So that for a time you are actually upside down.?

Whenever we had been watching this ride it had remained stationary. No one was on it. Which should have been the first warning sign. So we were curious as to what the thing actually did. The next warning sign is when you sit down you are pinned to your seat by a thick leather pad. You’ll remember when I said I was lily-livered?

...what’s this for, dad? keep you safe. Was that a quiver in my voice? this dangerous?

...nah. Nothing here is dangerous, I say for my benefit as much as his.

A few more people get on “the boat”. A young man wearing the park uniform locks the door and there’s no turning back.

It swings up....then back down...then back up...really hang upside down in the air...then it comes back down. Somebody squeals. It might even have been me.

...Daaaaad, are you sure we’re safe, asks the wee fella?

...yes, I say, again for my benefit as much as’re pinned to your seat and if that doesn’t work there are bars above your head which means you’ll stay inside the boat rather than plummeting to your death.

...thanks, DAAAAD,

The “boat” makes a full revolution and my stomach ends up in my throat. I squeal like a girl. The wee fella’s voice is high with panic and I’m wondering was it the word “plummeting” that caused him to panic or was it the word “death”?

The boat makes a couple more slow revolutions. Way to slow. The upside down moment is drawn out to cause the most panic. Oh wait. I’m actually beginning to enjoy this. Almost.

...keep your eyes closed if that makes you feel better, I say.

...but then I feel sick.

...don’t be sick, I warn, you might catch it on the way back down.

He giggles...yuk.

Thankfully, the boat slows and stops. We get off.

...that was NOT fun, dad. He eyes me with strong accusation. Like it was my fault.

...agreed. Shall we never do it again?


...want to go for a coffee?

....he looks around in a panic – you’re sister isn’t going to appear from behind a bush is she?

At this point the song that is playing over the park's sound system registers with us both and the wee man says what I'm thinking.

...Everybody Hurts. Did they have to play that song, Dad?

Sunday I go visiting.

....can I just sit in the car, Dad?

...that’s rude. No.


...there may well be chocolate eggs on offer, I say. Perhaps even cash.

....why didn’t you say so? He’s out of the car before I can pull on the hand-brake.

Monday we veg. We loaf. We loiter without any intent whatsoever. I offer to take him to go and see The Clash of the Titans. He’s not bothered. Makes a face.

...what do you want to do? I ask.

...don’t know but I’m bored.

...give me a suggestion then.

---don’t have any, but jeeez I’m bored.

....picking that up on my “boredom monitor”, say I. But until you give me a suggestion – I pick up my book , kick off my shoes and stretch along the sofa – we’ll stay right here.

...suits me fine, he shrugs. I’ll just play my Xbox.

This response from the wee man has played right in to my hands and I send a silent prayer to the patron saint of book addicts. (There isn’t one? Well, make one up dammit.) And a shame-faced look to the skies aimed at the patron saint of crap parenting. Well, this is a religious festival innit?

I bought the second Peter Brett novel on Sunday. It’s called Desert Spear. I’m half-way through and I NEED to finish it today.

If you like fantasy novels, you gotta check out Mr Brett. His books are as addictive as....well, that drug the British media are desperate to make illegal. I came across him on Patrick Rothfuss’ blog and if Paddy boy is recommending anyone that’s good enough for me. Peter V Brett (to give him his full moniker) sticks to all the conventions of the genre while going in a direction I’ve yet to come across. He has great characters, an unusual application of magic and creatures and boy, do you read it in a hurry. Oh, and did I say it was addictive?

Unfortunately, I am now faced with the curse of the greedy reader –having to wait another year for the next in the series.

Never mind...there’s bound to be something interesting in my To Be Read pile. How do non-readers cope without books? Oh right. That’s what celebrity TV was invented for.



Sunday, 4 April 2010

Forget the Ipad... could be forgiven if you thought the world had gone Apple imad (see what I did there?) with all this talk about the ipad. Every news bulletin, every newspaper, every blog is blethering on about it.

I so want one...don't need one...wouldn't use it properly...I have stuff that does separately what the ipad does...but still I WANT one...and there you have the igenius of the good folks at Apple.

In any case, people I have an alternative...

the ITIT.

How about Apple go for a breast implant that can store and play music?

The iTit could cost from $499 to $699, depending on cup and speaker size. Wiring could be worked in to the wearer's bra...there are wires there already right? Wi-fi connectivity and bish, bash, bosh you can download your favourite tracks.

This would be considered a major social breakthrough, because women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.