The return of monster of the week: Number 3

Posted On June 16, 2009

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Been a bit of a gap since the last monster of the week, maybe I should start calling it occasional monster every now and then instead. I’ll stick with monster of the week, as it is indeed monster of this week but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a monster of next week. Anyway…

This week I would like to talk about Ludo. I love Ludo. I loved him since the first time I saw him on Blue Peter (or Going Live, one of the two anyway) promoting the wonderful fantasy film Labyrinth. He towered over everyone else in the studio and had the biggest grin I’ve ever seen on an eight foot ginger beast. What a fantastic creation, one that I’m sure many people remember with great affection. Although, he doesn’t get talked about much does he. Hoggle? Certainly. Goblin King as portrayed by David Bowie? All the time. That little worm that said ‘Ello? Yes, probably him even more than Ludo.

I urge you all to re-visit Labyrinth and truly appreciate the joy that is Ludo. I wish he’d had his own spin-off adventures, I for one would love to know his origin. Did they ever make a Ludo cuddly toy? I’m not aware of it if they did. If anybody knows differently let me know as I would love to hunt one down. Not for me obviously, I’m a grown man.  It could make friends with the cuddly Sully. Not my cuddly Sully, I’m a grown man. Anyway, he’s a monster for another week.

For now I will leave you with a picture of Ludo. The greatest 80’s Fantasy Auburn Monster that could talk to rocks of them all.

Lovely Ludo

Lovely Ludo

Let us start again

Posted On June 9, 2009

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Well, for those of you who are reading you may well have noticed that I started off quite well and then didn’t post anything for ages. That will change now.

I am not going to try and post every day but I am going to keep updating as regularly as possible. Especially with the new circumstances.

I will soon be leaving my job at the British Antarctic Survey and moving house. With this I intend to spend the next few months concentrating on finishing my novel as well as gathering together all my short stories and poems that have been collecting metaphorical dust on my computer for years.

So, I will be using this blog to promote my writing by posting extracts of my work and generally commenting on stuff like I was before. I hope that you will all stick around and I’ll try to entertain as much as possible.

I will also try and work out how to link to my twitter feed so you can follow my ramblings there as well.

Nice to be back.

A Poem about a cold and the circus

Posted On February 24, 2009

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Unhappy circus act who can feel a cold coming

A cold that is not yet there

Can drive you to despair

At least when it finally arrives

You can stop juggling knives

But when once more

Your nose isn’t sore

It’s back to the job

You regret applying for

Oscars

Posted On February 23, 2009

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I have been suffering with a virus for nearly a week now, but I was determined to make my annual viewing of the Oscars. I don’t have Sky myself so my in-laws kindly tape it for me every year and I take the day off work on a Monday and watch it back, avoiding any news items on TV that morning. I overfed myself with popcorn and managed to get a few cans of my beloved Cherry 7-up to see me through the long ceremony.

My favourite Oscar win of the night was Danny Boyle for Best Director, what a nice man he is and a great director to boot. I haven’t yet seen Slumdog Millionaire, so I can’t comment on his work for that film, but he is a director I have admired throughout his career tremendously.

Well done Danny. Speach of the night as well.

Nothing much else to say about it all really. All the results were kind of predictable except for Sean Penn beating Mickey Rourke to best Actor. Again, I haven’t seen many of the films but I myself would have picked the wonderful actor Richard Jenkins for The Visitor over both of them, fine though they are undoubtedly are. I was also pleased to see that Woody Allen’s habit of picking actresses that go on to win an Oscar continues.

My overall highlight of the night was Steve Martin telling Tina Fey not to fall in love with him. Sounds strange out of context, but it was a wonderful moment.

I’m off now for yet more Lemsip. I’m full of the stuff.

Monster of the week: Number 2

Posted On February 20, 2009

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The wonderful BFG

The wonderful BFG

This weeks monster of the week is possibly the nicest monster in literary history. If you can call the BFG a monster of course, for he is simply a big friendly giant. He is not interested in eating ‘Human Beans’, much preferring to munch down on a ‘Snozzcumber’ instead.

I got this book for Christmas in 1984 and I fell in love instantly. I read it and read it over and over again, each time falling more and more in love with Roald Dahls fabulous creation, helped by the glorious drawings throughout by Quentin Blake. I remember that later that year I had to go into hospital for an operation, and at only six years old it was quite a scary experience. I took this book with me and it helped me through. The story of the BFG will always be there on my bookshelf, ready to comfort me whenever I need it.

If you haven’t read this book yet, stop reading this blog and go and buy a copy. Roald Dahl is my favourite children’s author of all time (as he is many to many of my generation) and this, I believe, is his finest hour.  I won’t tell any of the story here as I want anyone new to the book to pick it up and get carried along without knowing what is going to happen on the next page. When I got the book, all those years ago, I wasn’t aware of what it was about, and I feel too many reviews give away too much, so mine won’t.

Trust me, it’s a fantastic read, that’s all you need to know.

Fishing John

Posted On February 19, 2009

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Another brief one today as I’ve got some sort of throat infection and again my bed and sleep beckons.

I thought I’d introduce one of my books characters to you. Fishing John, full name John Hopper. Little is known about Fishing John, he lives in a shack on the beachfront of the village. He fishes all day every day, supplying the local shop with the freshest fish available. He doesn’t talk, he doesn’t attend village events, but he knows. He knows what is happening in the village. He saw the arrival of the dolphin creature, he saw a lot of events that happened that Christmas. And he will speak, he will let people know what he knows.

But for now, for now he just watches whilst fishing. Taking it all in and ready to act when he needs to. Nothing that happens in Tinkersham gets past Fishing John…..

Sweet delicious drink

Posted On February 18, 2009

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cherry7up1

 

I am at home today feeling full of cold so this is going to be a brief blog so I can then go back to bed and watch comfort DVDs like the film Big or the sitcom King of Queens.

Anyway, This is basically a review of what I believe is the greatest fizzy drink ever invented. Cherry 7-up. The problem is it’s so hard to find nowadays, I’ve got to know a few places where it’s available (such as randomly in my local chippy from time to time) I just don’t understand why it’s not for sale everywhere.

It’s a fantastic drink, just the right blend of cherry. Some cherryades can be quite powerful tasting, but Cherry 7-up is so smooth and with just the right amount of sweetness.

I really wish I had a can right now actually. I haven’t had one since Christmas, and I’m sad. So if anyone who reads this knows where they are readily available, let me know please. It tastes so good.

That’s it for today. Not much of a blog but I’m feeling rough and my bed beckons me as do my hungry cats. To sum up, go and buy a can of Cherry 7-up, drink it, and experience a taste sensation.

Compact Discs

Posted On February 17, 2009

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My head is full of cold today. Since Christmas I have had a nearly but not quite cold almost constantly. I want a regular cold. A runny nose and the like, anything but this perpetual headache hammering on my sinuses. Frustrating in the extreme I can tell you….anyway

I love the good old, what apparently is now old fashioned, compact discs. I still find the best way to buy my music is browsing in my local Fopp and seeing what hidden bargains they have, what new music I can discover for three of four quid. I still enjoy popping down on the first day of an exciting new albums release to snap it up (I’ve had cracked cases too many times through the heavy handedness of our postman to rely on the interweb delivery). Apparently I’m in the minority.

I keep reading articles declaring the death of the compact disc, no-one buys them anymore, it’s all about download, legal or otherwise. I’m not saying I don’t download music, because I do. I have also just discovered the joy of spotify. The sheer thrill of listening to obscure American 70’s rock on spotify is fast becoming one of my favourite pastimes. But I see it all leading me to finding a cheap CD of said obscure American 70’s rock band in Fopp and having it in my grasps forever.

I love CD booklets, especially if the lyrics are printed. There is nothing worse than a thick booklet containing nought but photos of the band. I love listening to CDs in the car, I love listening to them through my old reliable CD player (I say reliable, the speakers aren’t working anymore, but I still have my trusty huge headphones to get me by).

It’s not that I don’t have an ipod either, again because I do. It’s a fantastic marvellous thing, full of my favourite music and podcasts and podgrams and videos and photos. The thing is, I’m not going to stop buying CDs. Even if the shops don’t sell them anymore I will gladly become a CD collector, scouting round all the junk shops for obscure American 70’s Rock.

CD is my Vinyl, I grew up with CDs and I’m not intending to let them go.

Poetry

Posted On February 16, 2009

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I love writing poems. I write poems more than anything else probably. I write them whenever I have a break in the day, I write them when I can’t sleep at night, I even compose them in my head as I’m biking down the road.

If you are down and generally fed up there is nothing better than to express your feelings in a poem. I write poetry when I am angry with someone, I let it all out in a poem and then feel a whole lot better once I’m done. If I can’t stop thinking about something in my past that has been troubling me again I write it all down in a poem and the memory is then contained. I don’t have to think about it anymore.

I often write my poems in the form of a character. An alternate me who has not been lucky in love, who is looking for more of a place in the world than even I am. I write in all sorts of styles and for all sorts of people. That is, if I ever let people read them.

I have occasionally presented a few poems to my close family and I show even more of them to my wife. But not all, not by a long shot. Poetry is private and cathartic and can sometimes be very personal.

So, go out and write poems, write them all the time. That’s my advice anyway.

Monster of the week: Number 1

Posted On February 13, 2009

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rancor

Rancor

 

There are going to be many monsters appearing throughout my book series. Some of them nice, some of them nasty. Some of them familiar and some brand new.

I am going to present to you a monster of the week every Friday, monsters that I love from when I was growing up to more recent times. Movie monsters, Literary monsters and monsters from legend.

The first one up is probably one of the first movie monsters I came across. The Rancor from the film Return of the Jedi. I was five years old when I went to see this film at the cinema and it had me completely transfixed throughout. I have a drawing of mine from just after seeing the film, a drawing of Chewbacca, Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nubn ( I think that’s how you spell that last one anyway). They were the three characters I obviously liked best. I probably didn’t draw The Rancor as I didn’t know how to or I was too scared to put it down on paper. It was a fearsome and gigantic beast (on the big screen anyway). It made an early appearance in the film itself and didn’t last long (SPOILER: Luke kills it), but that monster stayed in my mind.

Now at the time I collected all the toys that went with the three Star Wars films. The only problem was that The Rancor toy was massive and therefore expensive. It also wasn’t available in the supermarket where I used to pick up my other figures. I had no chance of getting it.

Years later I found an old, slightly beaten, model in a collectors shop. At last I had my own Rancor. It now sits proudly on my shelf, snarling and growling at all my other toys cowering beneath its mighty form.

So there you have my very first Monster of the week. The almighty Rancor.

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