So what the hell have I been doing while I haven’t been blogging? Well I’ve been away from home with my work – travelling to Hamburg and Hovik (it’s near Oslo) for meetings, training, videos and stuff. I could elaborate but I promised myself this blog would never be about work, but I will tell you about one thing.
On several occasions I let slip that I wrote in my spare time, ‘not just my blog… books,’ I would say, there’s no harm in a bit of self-marketing is there, but then would come the inevitable question – ‘what kind of books?’
Why do I dread this question? It should be good that people ask rather than just shrugging and changing the subject (this has happened). I think the reason is that I feel a slight embarrassment and frustration when I say ‘mostly science fiction.’
I know that sci-fi isn’t everyone’s bag and that my answer will turn most people off and that’s a shame because there was a ‘mostly’ in there. I put it there on purpose. Problem is it’s hard to put ‘Broken’ and ‘Lucky’ into a genre pigeon-hole, and I don’t like saying that ‘The Magpie Diaries’ is vaguely autobiographical because then I’d be stretching (it is really is only about 20% autobiographical), and isn’t stopping time and talking to ghosts pretty sci-fi-ish anyway? And how do I explain that ‘Tales of the New Found Land’ is a fantasy book, but it is a sequel to ‘Muta’ which is sci-fi?
I guess what I should say is that I write the kind of books that I like to read and make some comparisons to other authors, but then it might sound like I think I can write like Stephen King, Iain Banks or PKD, which I know I can’t.
While I was away I read the Stephen King’s “Dr Sleep”, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss (a classic book explaining everything that is wrong with this post) and started “The Portrait of Dorian Grey” on my Kindle app (because I watched “Penny Dreadful” recently and couldn’t answer Siggy properly when she asked ‘so what’s his back story?’ – ‘something about a painting’’ I mumbled) and listened to “Queen: Live at the Rainbow” which I will be raving on about when I get to ‘Q’ in my A to Z CD Marathon, and Royal Blood’s debut album (like a mix between the White Stripes, the Black Keys and Band of Skulls).
At home I’ve been playing “Dishonored” ‘for free’ and “Thief” on the XBox and watching a shed load of Netflix stuff. For the bored here’s a quick rundown of my Netflix usage:
Safe – Jason Statham beats the crap out of some people in an ‘all his films are same’ film. So forgettable I can’t even remember if he’s an ex-cop or not.
Movie 43 – a well-intentioned but badly orchestrated sketch movie with a big cast and poor jokes. Fast Show the movie this is not.
Richard Herring: The Headmaster’s Son – a very amusing look at Herring’s formative years trying to blame it on his dad but ultimately failing with hilarious consequences.
The Other Guys – quite a funny cop buddy movie – formulaic but funny anyway. Mark Wahlberg is certainly a better comedy actor than he is a serious actor (“Shooter” being the exception that proves the rule).
Richard Herring: What Is Love Anyway? – I went to see this when he performed it at Loughborough Town Hall and so it wasn’t quite as amusing second time around. Slightly less well-formed than other sets, but still bloody funny.
30 Minutes or Less – pretty woeful film with a few minor laughs. Pizza boy is forced to rob a bank with straining to be hilarious results.
Filth – brilliant Irvine Welsh film adaptation; shame the tapeworm gets only a small mention. James Mcavoy is very good in this.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – not half as bad as the first Hobbit instalment, but still not as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films. Sometimes just seems to be a trailer for the final film.
Richard Herring: Christ on a Bike – hilarious swipe at religion and very well-rounded comedy set.
Knights of Sidonia – a ‘classic sci-fi’ anime based on the manga. I started watching it because of the Muse song which is totally unrelated. This show has its own wacky theme tune, a talking bear and lots of characters with the same big eyed featureless faces that can lead to confusion.
The Last Stand – a reasonably decent Arnie film which feels like a modern version of a classic cowboy town-under-siege film.
Doug Stanhope: Beer Hall Putsch – loved this chap on Frankie Boyle’s show or was it Charlie Brooker’s show? Anyhoo this is a stand-up show featuring a little of what was on the TV slots he did featuring some great thought-provoking monologues.
Mythbusters – I just filled in the gaps on what I hadn’t seen. Love this show. My favourite episode being the one in which they proved that elephants are scared of mice – honestly I shit you not.
Prozac Nation – read the book, couldn’t remember if I’d seen the film so I watched it again. I’m sure the book wasn’t a dark romcom, but the film kind of played out like that in places. Obviously given I have ‘previous’ with depression and being a moody bugger in general I felt for the character, but found the film rather frivolous.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation – saw this quite a while ago now and remember quite enjoying it for what it was – an unapologetic action film full of pretty cool special effects.
Super 8 – oh dear. I really expected better from this film. Seemed like a mash up of Speilberg’s previous films rather than something new and original.
American Horror Story: Season 1 – kind of liked it to begin with as it was very Stephen Kingy, but I felt it went off the rails a little by the end of the season. I have not started Season 2 yet as I feel there’s plenty of other things I could be watching.
Dear Mr. Watterson – interesting documentary about Siggy’s and my favourite cartoonist, responsible for Calvin and Hobbes. I recommend it, but don’t expect the man himself to appear.
Richard Herring: Hitler Moustache – having now seen his previous shows it is interesting to see how Herring has developed in terms of style and confidence. His stuff is still very personal but it is interesting to see how he takes the audience on an emotional and thought-provoking journey. Good stuff.
What I need to do is to stop watching so much telly and get on with some writing. perhaps I should write something I can explain to people when they ask that dreaded question.