Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review of Claire North's Latest

The End of the DayThe End of the Day by Claire North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, first of all, I should note that I've loved Claire North ever since I read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August while sitting on a transatlantic aircraft and suffering a minor psychotic episode. So there. I'm biased in her favour to begin with and this book has done absolutely nothing to reduce that pro-North bias.

The basic premise is, Charlie, the central character is the Harbinger of Death. He applied for the job like any other when he came out of college and I have to say, despite the events of the novel, which I will not describe in order to reduce the chance of spoilers, I would LOVE that job.

Charlie is presented as a beautifully humane character who is always interested in living people. He is dignified in the face of adversity and probably the nicest man you'll ever meet.

In the beginning, I thought there was a clear lot through the book, but it's more a series of linked stories that follow one after the other not in the way it usually happens in novels but more in the way it happens in a life. Beautifully done.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Manifesto

Yes I'm a left wing liberal special snowflake
I've heard all your rants and that's all I wanna take
You talk about a tide of sub-humans swarming
Your borders but your minds are just not performing.
You claim to be taking back your sovereignty
Your mirrors show faces of mediocrity
This is my island just as much as it is yours
I roll the red carpet while you're locking the doors

Like you say YOU are I'm proud of this country.
So open for the poor, the tired and the hungry
I stand for compassion while you stand for the flag
Cause the hate that you preach makes it just a bloody rag

I'm proud of Thomas Payne and I'm proud of Ian Bone,
The Pistols and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
I'm proud of the Levellers and Ranters and Diggers,
Proud of Mary Woolstonecraft and Erskine Childers
Even Winston Churchill with our backs to the wall
Anybody ready kick our Masters in the balls
'Fuck off liar' to the Murdusconis of this world
Who write agendas that will demonise the poor

Like you say you are I'm damn proud of this country.
So open for the poor, the tired and the hungry
I stand for compassion while you stand for the flag
Cause the hate that you preach makes it just a bloody rag

I'm proud of M'Naghton and the Angry Brigade,
I'm proud of those who went to fight fascists in Spain
And those who chose to play football in the trenches.
The ones they transported or hanged unrepentant
When you come for the Gypsies and Muslims and Commies
I'm standing with your enemies, see the line? I'm on it!
I'm proud of the martyrs of Tolpuddle and Pentrich
Proud of the Sufragettes, the match girls and the Chartists

Like you say you are I'm damn proud of this country.
So open for the poor, the tired and the hungry
I stand for Solidarity you stand for the flag
Cause the hate that you preach makes it just a bloody rag

England is the home of Anarchism, it is our heritage.
Any attempt to regiment us is un-English
and the perpetrators should be deported
to the Palatinate where they belong.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

So That Didn't Last Long, Did It?

As I did the usual New Year revolution thing, I made a bunch of promises to myself.  One of those promises was that I would write on this blog at least once a week.  Well here it is, two weeks in more or less, and this is my first post of the new year.

It shouldn't be a problem.  Here I am with hypergraphism as a result of Geschwind Syndrome and yet, and yet.  One of the factors involved is a tendency to write excessively so it should be easy for me to write novels, trilogies or major blockbusting series.  Still, I'm not gonna beat myself up about it. I'm gonna forgive myself and let myself write.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bye bye 2016. Will 2017 be better

2016 was the year Nan Harris died and Charlie Jones committed suicide.  Oh no, wait, that was 1979.  2016 was the year David Bowie died and Leonard Cohen and Prince, and Vi Subversa.  It was the year Britain voted to leave the EU, America voted to leave the planet and David Cameron backed off from the mess he'd made saying "Someone else can deal with this shit".  I don't believe in no platform policies but I'd make an exception for David Cameron.

On the plus side it was the year Leicester City won the Premiership and Chicago Cubs won the World Series.  And the Giant Panda and the Humped Back Whale came off the endangered species list.  It was the year I was made redundant, sadly at a much lower level than the amount I was told I could have 13 years ago if only I could somehow contrive not to get a job when the Department of Health reorganised itself.

Let it be known, in the name of Quellchrist Falconer that I consider the change of policy that robbed me like that as a personal assault.  Still, I'm moving on.

2016 was also the year in which I failed to keep any of my New Year's resolutions but it was the year in which I played in my first, second and third festivals so it wasn't all bad.

For 2017 I have only three resolutions.
  1. write as much as possible and (once I leave work) that includes: spending the first 90 minutes of each the first 90 days from 1 February onward writing; complete the promised adaptation for screen of Diary of a Rock Star by Paul Chiles Bown; adapt my own novel Ghost Army for the screen; writing on this blog and it's sister blog at least once a week; carry out my final contributions of the book I'm writing with Kirstein and Craig; enter as many writing competitions as I can; and even write reviews regularly on Amazon or on trip advisor or wherever.
  2. Perform as well and as often as possible.  This includes performances with e-Cog Zero and Edelweiss Pirates UK as well as performing solo as Quinn Agathoni.  That also includes making sure my leaving do is awesome!
  3. Find somewhere awesome to live outside London.
I really regret the last of those but London is so expensive it has, or is in the process of, driven me out.  I love this city for its cosmopolitanism, for the diversity of its people and for the fact that I can find almost anything I need just by walking around.  The only place I can imagine living that's not London is New York City.  I am so tempted to move to New York Lincolnshire just for the address.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Message

So 2015
  • 2015 was the year I was officially told I don't have cancer anymore but they'll keep on checking every 6 months like forever, just in case.  That's good.
  • 2015 was the year my psychiatrist discharged me and said I'd survived half a century with schizophrenia and there was nothing he could do about that until the epilepsy had successfully been treated.  That is, in retrospect, not as bad as I thought.
  • 2015 was the year in which I self published "Ghost Army" (writing as Quinn Agathoni) albeit only on kindle. Several people have told me the book is 'haunting' so that is marvellous.
  • 2015 was the year I stood beside Father Thames and gathering energy from life and love, from concrete and liquid, from river to sea to river and sent Bastet to accompany Kashyapa on her journey to the Summerlands.  That was what it was.
  • 2015 was the year e-Cog Zero met Andy Cavendish at Power Lunches as well as WI and Silver Stags and Imaginary Dreamers.  We have had many reasons since to be grateful for that moment.
  • 2015 was the year I went to Jamaica.  That was good.
  • 2015 was the year I took my wife to Skegness to meet my mother. That was extremely bad, especially as that was the time when Ingrid Andrew died.
  • 2015 was the year I failed to find another job that will support me and my family. That was bad
  • 2015 was the year in which the General election gave a result I found impossible to understand.  That was the worst election result since 1983.
  • 2015 was the year I started working with Professor Kirstein Rummery on her policy paper on social policy and gender equality. That was wonderful.

And what of 2016?  What do I resolve?

As Quinn Agathoni, I will write as often as I can.  
  • I will finish Good People.
  • I will write Ghost Army as a screenplay and try to interest a filmmaker in it.
  • I will attempt to build a novel based on my poetry cycle 'Concerto for Mosquitos and Sunshine',
  • I will enter every writing competition I can.

e-Cog Zero will build up the momentum for a future
  • We will finish recording our album, "What We Wanted..."
  • We will work with Djamel and Kyle and Dafydd and the rest at T-Chances to help Andy Cavendish make it a name to conjure with.
  • We will develop a brilliant website
  • We will produce professional videos.
  • We will attract a following no matter what it takes.

I will do what I can to be happy.  I hope that means
  • Find a job where it's okay to be neurodivergent
  • Achieve something in work and get recognised for it
  • Get the Hell out of London
  • Earn enough money so I can buy novels and go to see bands
Okay, that's as many resolutions as last year, so I hope I can keep more than six in 2016. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

So how did I do.

This blog has now been going ten years with an audience in single figures.  I feel like the bloke with Aspergers who stands in the corner at parties because nobody wants to listen to him going on about his special subject while he finds it difficult to make smalltalk about the other subjects that seem to interest everyone else.  I'm a lot like that myself but apparently not on the autistic spectrum (I'm on the schizophrenia spectrum instead).  Nevertheless, nobody's reading.

Last year, I made twelve or possibly thirteen New Year's resolutions and I have the breathing space to look back.  Let's see how I did.

1) find a way to deal with this mind-sapping depression before it kills me. I'll give myself half a point for this.  It's become irrelevant as I am not depressed.  I am in fact schizophrenic

2) find some way if it is even humanly possible to get another job this year: one that pays double my current salary and doesn't make me wish I was dead. This is an abject failure, nul points! I still don't know how to game the system.  I still haven't reached the second rung of the corporate ladder in 27 years. I even failed to get on a programme that helps the failures like me.

3) Research the possibilities of doing a higher degree. A technical point here.  I've looked into it, even found possibilities.  One point.

4) Do whatever I can to help Nathalie Bennett become Prime Minister. Another technical point on the grounds that there was less I could do than I thought,  I honestly believed she could become PM, the green party didn't, the media didn't, nobody did but I did cause I'm schizophrenic. Despite the overwhelming disappointment, I'll give myself One point!

5) Finish Ghost Army, making it the best it can possibly be by March and find an agent and or a publisher before July. Okay, I slef-published in July.  I didn't find a publisher.  It IS good and people are haunted by it but I believe I could have made it better.  Half a point!

6) Write at least two more novels in 2015. Abject failure! Nul Points!

7) Produce more poetry and, in December, produce a major collection of at least 100 poems. I've written around sixty poems this year but I don't think I'll be publishing a major collection so only half a point.

8) Learn 'Lingua de Planeta'. Failed completely to even begin. Nul points! Caballero.

9) Perform with e-Cog Zero live at least ten times. Yep! Done this. ONE POINT my friends, one shiny solid, unadulterated, untechnical point!

10) Put together a New Year's Eve gig for 31 December 2015 where I will present, compere and perform. Half a point, for why, because there is a possibility of a New Year's Eve gig but Cam Ringel is doing the work not me.

11) Perform at least twelve times as poet/spoken word artist. Four, count 'em four performances Nul Points! Ladies and gentlemen, not good enough.

12) work toward putting together a show for the Edinburgh festival in 2016. Nul Points once again mes amis.!

13) That's twelve, averaging one a month. More would be greedy, but I have an overarching resolution for 2015 and that is this.LIVE! I'm still alive and from where I sit now, that's half a point, but from where I sat in January, it's ONE POINT my friends.  I've been to Jamaica.  I've worked with Kirstein and Katrina and Rhiannon and Joe London and Andy Cavendish.  The future is bright for e-Cog Zero.  I even changed medication from the suicide-inducing Kepra to the liver destroying Carbamazepine.

Add them all up and that comes to SIX out of Thirteen  which is better than I expected.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blistering

What is this blog for?  It was started around ten years ago to give me some way of ranting in public in the days when facebook had not been invented.  It became a way of sharing posts I was particularly proud of on the now defunct BBC websites.  Those were the days, my friends, and if I thought they'd never end I was deluded.

Another thing I've done on this blog is talk about my hopes and fears, my new years resolutions, the failures and successes.  I've used its sister blogs for music, for ideas about alternative history, as an attempt very publicly to speedwrite screenplays. The last a failure as so often in my life.

More successful was the account of my own radiation treatment. At least I kept it going as long as I was being chernobyled (that IS a word dammit, I just neologised it) to get rid of the cancer.  Then there was the time I had the idea I might stand as Mayor of London as an independent in 2016, that fell through when I got cancer, but to be honest, it should have fallen through when I realised I had no charisma.

So what is this blog for.  It's my attempt to voice my opinions, to be heard, but to do that I need an audience.  So does anybody know how I get one.  Is there anybody there? Is there anybody there?