Happy Christmas (War is Over)

I'm an aetheist and I'm getting fed up with theists (of whatever version) telling each other that there is a war on Christmas. There really isn't. If local councils are celebrating 'Winterval' or something similar, they aren't doing it to appease aetheists or humanists. I doubt very much that they're doing it because of pressure from non-christian groups either.

So, can we just clear this up please. There is no war on Christmas. Let's all be loving and giving and think of those less fortunate than ourselves while we do odd things with tinsel.


Finish Line (again)

And with a great flourish* I have finished my second novel. It's significantly better than the first one although that doesn't mean it has any literary merit whatsoever.

If it sounds like I'm being modest that's really not the case. I understood, week or so into this one, that what I was actually doing was limbering up for the first 'real' novel. If I can write a book in a month that isn't complete toss, twice (went my reckoning) then I can produce a full length work with a bit of merit. We'll see.

In the meantime I am now free to finish editing the Marcell/Cruttenden album (due for release before the end of the year if I hurry up) and to record some parts for an EP due out in the New Year. Then there's a new Spingere album (due March) and whole pile of books to read. Thanks you NaNoWriMo for getting me closer to one of my favourite goals - but it is good to have my life back.

*Not quite true - this one was finished with a cup of coffee and a coughing fit.



Just back from an excellent weekend with pals in Salisbury. My two friends, who I met at university, are now married with two children, making us a table of eight at the very nice Italian restaurant. La Strada.

Just after my risotto arrived with bacon and ham (not good for a vegetarian) and had to be returned, I offered to hold the baby. My wife passed him across the table for me to pick up. I got the baby but unfortunately knocked over a large glass of lemonade, which then poured down into my lap.

I took baby and myself to the toilet where I did my best to dry my trousers and pants, while he looked on smiling. Then, back to the table where a passing waitress pointed out “a little accident.” I told her I was aware of the lemonadification of my trousers but she pointed to my back, which was covered in the baby’s puke.

Eventually the correct risotto arrived and by the power of approximately 43 hand towels I was able to venture out onto the street again with my friends.

The lesson I have learned from this: if you’re a bit clumsy, only go to restaurants with electric hand driers. Or, don’t pass a baby over a cluttered table. Or, never leave home without a spare pair of trousers.



This November it's NaNoWriMo time again and I'm attempting to write a better novel than last year's. The ultimate goal is that, one day, I'll be able to write a proper novel which other people might enjoy.

I've always wanted to write a book and have certainly put in plenty of time and energy over the years. Too many false starts can damage your confidence and leave you believing that this is a goal that will never be reached though. It might never be reached, of course, but the point of NaNoWriMo is just to get those words down and leave the revisions until December. It is essentially an exercise gym for writers.

This year something odd is happening. The characters and plot are starting to seep into my dreams. This is probably happeneing because I'm writing up until the moment I go to sleep and the unconscious mind is leaving its door just enough ajar to let visitors in.

Today, the weather is quite extreme (for England) and doing its best to pursuade me that the real world is somewhere else. I'm starting to feel like a badly written character and might well spend a good part of the morning seeing surreal sights such as fleets of forklift trucks driving through the rain or people with large guns chatting about Christmas presents.

It's at times like this that I'm even more grateful to have a daughter who can cut through all the pretentious problems by telling me, as she did last night as I was about to put her into bed, "daddy, you're the rock I'm going to sleep on."


Quiet November

It's going to be a bit quiet this month as I'm writing a novel that has to be finished by the 30th. So far though I've been enjoying such traditional treats as Bonfire Night and the views afforded to someone living in the countryside, when the countryside is turning golden and red with an exquisite slowness. Lots to talk about, but I do have chapter to finish...