Watching News of the World on Netflix last night, I spotted (in a film with an interesting conceit), one of the great cowboy cliches. When you're being pursued across a featureless landscape, you always manage to reach a rocky outcrop before the baddies catch up. Leave your horses somewhere and take cover behind a boulder. If you're any good as a goody, you should be able to pick off your pursuers one by one, even if they taunt you with the hopelessness of your position. Of course this made me concerned for Shanahan, Shorty Andrews and Slug Willard, the fearless cowpokes of the Circle N as recorded in Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds. Are there enough hills that meet the requirements within the county of Dublin? Would Howth Head suffice? They should be prepared. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had to resort to a rocky hideout.
Sunday 4 April 2021
I've been submitting sections from my next novel as short stories to competitions. Managed to get to the short list of the Wordsmith's competition but no further. Curses. Fortunately they were generous with feedback and I've incorporated their ideas to, hopefully, make a better short story. By abstracting sections like this, it does make me focus on the writing even more than I did before. So it could be that an enforced delay (how could the publishing world be so short sighted?) is a benefit - and I don't just mean sparing the discerning reading public - I've suffered for my art now it's their turn.
In my own reading, I took a brief diversion for Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One, a brilliant title and a great plot. A love story given the Waugh treatment. It does make modern writers seem earnest and po-faced.
Tuesday 2 June 2020
Leave it to Psmith is a new one for me - I'm usually a Jeeves and Wooster fan but there was a need for some novelty. I was reviewing a couple of titles from lockdown reading and got a bit grumpy with a couple of titles - who do I think I am!
Also the Structo blog published an interview about Little Flowers
Wednesday 27 November 2019
"Convinced his life has been blighted by his neighbour’s building works, Guy Brown makes a complaint to the local authority. However, when his case is taken up by fanatical town planner Maclean, life changes completely, and not at ﬁrst for the better. On a quest to uncover a mythical Master Plan that will stop all new developments in the borough, Maclean weaves his inﬂuence around the whole community where he is opposed by corrupt councillors, vigilantes searching for a dog killer and his own incompetence. While Maclean drags Guy into his intrigues Guy stumbles upon a book that claims to record Saint Francis of Assisi’s battles against the Holy Inquisition, and a werewolf. Even there he ﬁnds disturbing parallels."
Saturday 13 July 2019
My story 'The Man in the Wilderness' was read as part of Radio Four's Opening Lines series in 2006.
Clive Swift's voice was perfect - my story is (probably) a bit too sentimental but without that I guess it wouldn't have been picked up. I like the bit where the narrator is fixated by his neighbour sunbathing.