Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Some films I have seen lately

Good, yeah, but not the masterpiece they make it out to be. Amazing visually and mood-wise. Lead actor Konstantin Khabensky could easily pass for a young Johnny Cash.

Good, yeah, but not the final episode I had hoped for. A bit too feelgood. Not enough conflict. See the universally reviled ROCKY IV for a masterclass in conflict (not subtle, no, but who ever said these films were meant to be subtle?). Also, I was frankly a bit put out that I didn't get an invite to the premier. No one has done more than me to bring the Rocky films back into the public consciousness (via EVERY ONE of my novels), and I just feel that a little acknowledgement is due. I'm waiting, Mr Stallone.

Not the lost classic of the zombie genre I had been hoping for. And not good either. But fun in parts. Perhaps. Actually I think I nodded off. You know what this film needed? A really good disembowelment scene. In 1941, that really would have stirred them up.

This is an old film that me and my brother used to be obsessed with, as kids. There's a scene where this German "soldier boy" says to some normal kids: "Vot are you doing?" And the little girl says: "Playing a game." Is that a great exchange or what? For some reason we thought it was. The greatest exchange in film history! Seeing it again now, I'm more certain of it than ever. There's also a memorable scene where Michael Caine kills Brian Blessed with one of those pointy German helmets.

Superb, and without doubt the genre masterpiece I had always thought it was (seeing it last about 20 years ago). Herzog and Kinski - you just cannot beat those guys. I was convinced that Kinski was going to be in THE LAST VALLEY, but it was Michael Caine instead. The old memory playing up there, but at least I remembered "Vot are you doing?"/"Playing a game".

Wow. Does Shane Meadows know what, or what? He has an incredible talent for building slow and gentle, in a very comedic way, and then letting it all explode at the end in a very uncomfortable way. The only thing missing from this neglected masterpiece is a "Vot are you doing?"/"Playing a game" exchange.

Vot can I say? Peerless. Let down initially by the fat and gormless couple behind me who let their kids run riot through the whole film. "Vot are you doing?" I said to the little girl as she repeatedly punched the back of my chair. "Playing a game," she replied. From then on, the movie transcended it's popcorn origins and wafted into the pantheons of motion picture greatness.

Monday, January 29, 2007


A duck in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania has given birth to a giant robot. The robot immediately fled the scene and is unavailable for comment. The duck was later shot by a hunter and thrown into his refrigerator, presumed dead. Two days later the killer's wife inadvertently let the duck go, whereupon it fled the premises and flagged down a passing truck, despite the hunter chasing after it with a chainsaw. Unfortunately the duck later passed away on the operating table, during surgery to mend broken wings, legs and beak. But the duck then came back to life and started meowing like a cat. The duck now resides in a mental institution, and is being examined by psychologists. 'We don't believe it is a duck,' said Dr Portland. 'We're not sure what it is.'

Friday, January 26, 2007

Charlie says fuck off

"Felix says keep hunting". That's how the slogan went, on the stickers that someone had slapped on the 30mph sign as you enter my village. Also on the stickers was a cartoon image of an upright fox with a big bushy tail, sticking two fingers up.

So Felix the fox wants to keep hunting, does he? Felix likes being chased all over the countryside by a bunch of inbred dogs and a bunch of even more inbred rich people? Felix likes having the limbs ripped off his body, and his blood daubed across the rosy cheeks of the braying sons and daughters of the ruling class while they talk of providing a "service" to farmers?

Yeah, OK. I'll accept that your theory that Felix is a suicidal masochist and jolly about it. I'll let you keep that theory, becuse it's yours and you hold it so dear. But what I won't let you do is plaster it all over my fucking neighbourhood, in the arrogant and unquestioning believe that the weight of public opinion is on your side. You know what? I wouldn't even care if public opinion were on your side. I'd still rip down your stickers, like I did just now. And if you put them up again, I'll rip them down again.

And if by chance we should meet, while you're putting up or I'm ripping down, we'll have a chat about it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Stuff for getting the leaves off Steve Strange's face

I got some "face scrub" for Christmas (from someone who obviously doesn't know much about me), and I had a go with it this morning. What is the point of this stuff? It's soap with hard bits in, right? Why not just use wire wool instead? Or a mixture of sand and mayonnaise? The tube also has it in French, which gives us a clue to the true nature of this phenomenon: exfoliant visage. Foliage is leaves, right? So this stuff is for getting the leaves off your face? Then there's visage, which was an early 80s new romantic band. Really, this is just me trying to justify a quirky and eye-catching title for this post. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What I am up to - work-wise...

...and when I say "work", I mean writing. You don't want to know about that other stuff.

I am writing a novel, getting towards the end of the first draft. This is as per the usual annual pattern, and I should have it nailed by March or so. My first drafts are usually pretty good in that I always know that everything is in place and I rarely do major re-writes after that (saying that, I do all my re-writing - or "surgery" - during the first draft).

After that, I fancy a crack at something different. Probably a couple of shorts first to keep my hand in, then either a screenplay, a TV idea, or some sort of prose thing but for a different kind of market. I had my first crack at scripting last year and really liked the form (a short film should be ensuing this year some time), so I want to see if there's anything else where that came from.

Oh, and yeah - I'll put up another short story here some time soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I got a banjo for my birthday... some Johnny Walker and DVDs. The banjo is a truly amazing instrument! I've wanted one for years but kept putting it off. And now it's here! So now I've got a banjo, mandolin, two accoustic guitars and a Les Paul. Here's a pic of me with the banjo:


Friday, January 12, 2007


I've always had time for David Beckham. Not Beckham the media tart, just plain old David Beckham, footballer. I've never called him the best player in the world but he's one of the greatest wingers I've seen, no problem. Midfielder and captain? No - he's a winger with flair and grit, and that should be enough. A certain goal from the halfway line at Southampton stands out, but other than that it's probably the way he came back from the post-WC1998 universal slagging that impressed me most. And now, at the age of 31, out of favour with the national team and having failed in his stint with Real, he had a chance to show some of that stuff again. Prove the fuckers wrong. Talk with your feet and show you've still got it. Show some humility and strive for excellence with a proper team, not a collection of pampered show ponies. One last hurrah?

No. He's gone to LA Fucking Galaxy.

No disrespect to any yanks reading this, but your "soccer" league is shit compared to almost every league in Europe, leaving aside Andorra and Lichtenstein (possibly). In doing this, and pocketing £128,000,000 over five years, Beckham has driven a stake through the heart of any respect that might have lingered around him in these preening, make-up wearing end-times.

So go on - fuck off to California!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

No Dream and Rodney Bewes

No dreams last night. But that's interesting in itself (to me at least). Did I not dream because my day was weird and eventful enough? Believe me, you wouldn't know it. I love dreams... even bad ones. But what are they? I sometimes wonder if they're the real stuff, and every day you go under into the true dream world, which is what we usually take for reality. So when you go into your non-dream (which has hitherto been considered a dream. Confused?) you'll say something like:

"Uh, I had a really bad dream last day."

"What happened, dear?"

"Well, I dreamed that I had an oppressive nine-to-five job, and I was trying to write novels in my spare time."

"Oh, that sound's terrible, dear."

"Yeah. It was."

"Mind you, the job can't have been that oppressive if you were able to post on myspace during it. Now shut up and eat your breakfast."

"I can't seem to. Every time I reach for the cereal bowl, it just gets further and further away..."

The earliest memory I have is of a dream. I was about three at the time, according to my mum, and it's a very vivid memory involving a witch, a wheelchair, and a drain. I can still see the witch's face. She looked like Rodney Bewes' wife in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Olympic Dream

I was at the Olympics last night. I won a gold for some sort of skating event, and a bronze in the 400m sprint (running). The skating I recalled nothing about and it was a big surprise to me, but I knew about the 400m. I was a rank outsider and took it easy from the gun, while everyone else piled ahead and ran out of puff on the home straight, while I cruised past for a medal. It only occurs to me now that one of these is winter and the other is summer Olympics. I don't think this particular double has been achieved so far. Can you imagine Michael Johnson* doubling up with Jane Torville?

Anyway, the drama came when I lost the gold. The bronze was really the big one for me (I tried at 400m when I was younger), but I needed that gold because... well, it's a gold. All I remembered was that the last time I saw it was when I put it down right after Prince Charles gave it to me. And it wasn't a medal - it was a sort of trophy, like an Oscar. Except it was made of soft lead, and you could manipulate it into other shapes. I told a reporter about it and there was a big media fuss "WILLIAMS LOSES GOLD", but finally I found it on a shelf in a shed somewhere.

This was a pretty good dream.

* Americans - Michael Johnson is one of the best athletes in history... and he's one of yours.

Friday, January 05, 2007

East Texas

I dreamed last night that I had moved to East Texas. Bear in mind that I've never even been to America, let alone any part of Texas. So why did my subcobscious choose East Texas? I know it was specifically that because I had various conversations in the dream, telling people where I was. Anyway, it was quite nice living in East Texas. The climate was good and I had a great house, whch was sort of like Larry David's in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but surrounded by tropical flora. Waking life seems dull by comparison. In the dream I actually looked on a map and worked out that I was quite near Nacogdoches, which is where Joe R Lansdale lives, and I was going to go over and say hi. I even thought about joining his martial arts group. Thinking about it, maybe this is why I was in East Texas at all. Before bed I looked on my bookshelves and chose a new one (Newton Thornburg's Cutter And Bone), and might have glimpsed the Lansdales.

That is all I have to say. Maybe I'll just blog about my dreams from now on.