Blogs

Writing in the Digital Age, Saltwater and My Baby Shot Me Down

I sat down to write a blog last week in Tunisia, under the creaking ceiling fan hung over my hotel’s solitary computer terminal (wifi has yet to take off in North Africa), and though I baffled my way through the Arabic keyboard the internet flickered off just as I hit post, a setback redoubled by the autonomous reboot of the system and a user-lockout, which left me sitting there scratching my head. And now that I’m back in the land of the...

Life's many leases

New things come like a changeling wind. You never quite know what they carry, they could bring in their wake a poisonus fume that will infect and kill everything or a sweet summer breeze that will remind you in a moment of complete clarity how blessed you are to still be breathing at all. My changeling wind found me in a place of transition. I had begun to move after many years of stagnaton. There was very little development, physically or...

My Baby Shot Me Down - An Anthology by Women Writers

Last week, Blinding Books (run by ABC's very own Richard Penny, aka Blighter's Rock ) published an anthology by ten excellent women writers, many of them from ABC, called My Baby Shot Me Down . It's quite easily the ABC publishing event of the year. No breakfast nook, den or garden is worth sitting in without a copy in your hands. You'll find a lot of familiar names inside - the book features Clarissa Angus, Katherine Black, Maggy van Eijk,...

Death of Frances Murdoch

Frances Murdoch died two days ago. You don’t know her. She wasn’t a celebrity, born in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression. She would have been too young to know anything about depression and she was always a cheery soul. She would become a teenager during the Second World War. Postwar-prosperity, full employment and the creation of the Welfare State would mark the beginnings of her working life. I don’t know what she worked as, or what...

Gil Scott Heron, B Movie

'What this country wants is nostalgia, they want to look back even if it's only as far as last week..looking to the closest thing we can find to John Wayne..show me a time when heroes weren't zeroes...selective amnesia. America, the Reagan era. Gil's smart words orchestrated to take the mood down lower jazz, his cool dude stage presence gets to the point. The point being the wholesale trickery of politicians, the way they pitch an image...

Elena Gorokhova (2010) A Mountain of Crumbs: a memoir, Growing Up Behind The Iron Curtain.

Here Elena describes her mother: ‘Born three years before Russia turned into the Soviet Union, my mother became the mirror image of my motherland: overbearing, protective, difficult to leave…A survivor of the famine, Stalin’s terror and the Great Patriotic War…’. Food features heavily in the account. They have a Dacha thirty miles from Leningrad. A property owner in a property-less state with no such thing as privacy. Her father had a chauffeur...

Excursiion Down Under- Part I

Excursion Down under April 2014 Wed. Mar. 26th, 2014- Bonita Springs, Florida We were up at 3:30 A.M to make final preparations for leaving. Our 4 A.M. taxi arrived promptly and we were off for the Southwest Florida International Airport. It was only 5 A.M. but there were already a goodly amount of people walking the airport concourses. We checked our bags into the U.S. Air counter and walked through the security gates without incident. A brief...

Nibfest, Tunisia, and Cork-Lined Rooms

For a moment there it looked like spring had sprung, but today the famed English weather has returned to London. Is it harder or easier to write when the sun is in? I am torn between the inspiration of the solitary, introverted winter's morning, seeing the cold dawn in with a steaming cup of coffee and my notebook before setting off for the office - and that totally different sort of pleasure when the mind is freed to dream up narratives while...

The First World War BBC 4, produced and directed by Corinna Stummer and based on Hew Strachan’s book.

I was a strange kid, there was nothing I liked more than The World at War . I even liked the music. There is no greater compliment than this ten-part series was just as good, if not better. Last night’s episode, ‘War Without End’ was another stonker. It started where it left off last time. Four-long years of war and no end in sight. The Germans had been on the offensive. They had broken the trench stalemate on the Western front and gained ground...

Britain’s Got Talent 2014

Over the years I have had to relinquish possession of the TV remote control more and more as my family have grown, particularly on a weekend and as a result I now have to largely forgo TV on a Saturday night. So I tend to be subjected to snippets of programs that under normal circumstances I would be blissfully ignorant of, admittedly I only see them when I happen to look up from the laptop. One of the programs I am unwillingly subjected to is...

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