Monday, 25 August 2008

Fathers and Daughters

I have been left alone with my daughter (3.6666) and a billion instructions from my other half. Clean teeth, make sure she goes for a wee before bed, don't let axe wielding strangers in, no excursions to Everest without oxygen etc.

I'm sure mothers think that the father of their child is an irresponsible idiot and can't look after their child. Of course this is true since they would not have been attracted to such a boring old git in the first place. Which brings me back to daughters.

The best thing about having a daughter is the freedom you have after their mother has tried to change you. Every man has his inner child which, let's face it, isn't inner at all; thus faced with a daughter, and I imagine with a son, you can give this free reign and feel no restraint, as your daughter loves you and your behavior for that inner child.

I have to go now as I've just spotted a couple of Bengal tigers in the garden; me and Alice are off to go and pull thier tails to see if that's fun.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Iron Angel by Alan Campbell

I’ve never reviewed anything before and will try to do this without giving the story away.

The beginning of the novel was quite a surprise when the action starts off where Scar Night ends. I say surprise, as I think Scar Night could well have stood on it’s own as a novel. The apocalyptic ending had me thinking “Where is he going from here?”

Well you get a whole lot more in Iron Angel. The world introduced in Scar Night is expanded as Campbell populates the story with characters that need the space. The visions of Menoa’s hell remind me of Brian Lumley’s Wampyri in his Necroscope series; the shape-shifting horror, the helplessness of the victims and the downright superior nastiness of the villains. 

Things that were hinted at in Scar Night are brought to the fore in the opening section, but not too much so that you don’t spend the rest of the book anticipating some character dropping hints to help you build the picture.

There are new characters that suitably aren’t quite what they seem; I think my favourite was John Anchor, he reminded me of a child with a garden hose. And there are enough old characters to keep you feeling at home.

The story is a lot larger than in Scar Night; it’s as if having introduced us to the world Campbell can now start telling the story he had in mind. 

The body count is truly stupendous, in fact most of the characters, if not already dead, soon will be or were a little while ago.

The only bug bear I had in the whole thing is that it got too large; in that I mean I wanted to hear a bit more about the protagonists and a little less of the arc. Still, it’s only a minor gripe.

Towards the end of the book I was reminded of the themes that tend to run through Donaldson’s books regarding power/corruption/innocence.

It’s a different book to Scar Night but it moves the Codex along. You don’t get the same helping that you got first time round and Campbell expands on hooks hinted at in the first volume and introduces a depth of thought not previously present. I think you can say this is not ‘ye old middle book syndrome’

He also leaves you with enough to be guessing where he will take you in the third volume.

I for one will be buying it as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on it.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Dr Who

I've been a fan for as long as I can remember. Hiding behind the sofa, having to put up with Basil Brush and the Generation Game. UK residents of a certain age will know what I'm talking about.

I've just watched the end of the season and I'm very impressed. It had gripped me from the previous episode and I was thinking where are they going?

The storyline, with respect to the universe ending, seemed a bit, well crap, if you'll excuse the language.

On the other hand, interaction between characters was superb.

I think 'Hat's off' to Catherine Tate. She has had to put up with a load of crap for taking this role on and personally I think she's deserving of a lot of respect. She carried Turn Left on her own.

I've never expected Dr Who to be "High Brow" but I do expect it to make one think about the story. It's been doing this and entertaining me even more than when I was hiding behind the sofa.

Watch Dr Who it's great.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Officially fucked off

Monday evening.

I'm sitting down with my first beer after a good days work; I saw two jobs for quotes and finished a couple of ongoing and started three small ones.

The phone goes and one of my customers tells me the communal front door has been kicked in, again. Now, I've repaired this four times already. So I put my beer down, don't worry it was only a sip, and go and fix the lock. By doing this I miss putting my daughter to bed.

So, I'm thinking this is a good customer, go the extra mile, etc...


Same sort of day, jobbing around, getting stuff done. This time it's before I get home. I have to go back to the same place to repair the same lock because the same fucking wanker, who has keys, has kicked the door in again. So, about 3 hours later I get home. Again I miss putting my daughter to bed.

Now I have to get on with some quotes, invoices and general admin that I should have been doing whilst repairing the door. 


Lots of noise outside and a big bang. I get up from my computer desk to have a look out the window. My car is across the pavement and has knocked a gatepost over into a taxi parked.

My car is an old Golf, it's not worth stealing and its crap to drive but these fuckwits want it anyway.

I now have three police cars round the scene and spend the next hour sorting this out.

Now I am Officially Fucked Off.


The most I can say is I haven't had to deal with the actions of people who don't give a flying fuck about the cost of what they do.

Hopefully the rest of the week will be ok; we had such a great weekend with family and friends camping and it seems like such a long time ago.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The French, Americans and coming home

Recently I have been to Normandy for a family holiday.

The first thing I tend to notice when I get to France is how bloody big the place is; then how nice it is to drive on roads that are not populated by psychotic maniacs that just have to overtake you on a blind corner to get to the red light 200 meters ahead.

Then of course the people are a lot more friendly, you can't go to the baker without  a chorus of "Bonjour" from all you see.

The towns seem to have an inherent pride in themselves; they are clean and tidy, the flower beds are kept well and properties are generally in good repair.

The primary thing you notice is that the whole country is family orientated. By that I mean you can go pretty much anywhere you want with kids and not be either turfed out at 7pm or looked at like you have an extra head.

We visited a place called Dead Man's Corner; if you have watched Band of Brother's you may of heard of it.

It put faces to the names in that series; there was equipment, letters and memorabilia to see along with the personal stories.

After that we went to look at Ohmaha beach. I can not imagine how terrifying it would have been to land there.

However, what it really brings home to you is that no matter what we think of the administration in the USA we owe the average Joe of America a huge amount.

Now we've been in France for about a week and we still can't figure out that the restaurants will be closed in the afternoon and the shops aren't open all day.

Eating cheese and ham baguettes in supermarket car parks was our main form of eating out on this holiday.

So by now we are having the ' I'm looking forward to going home' thoughts. There is just something about going home that is as appealing as going on holiday.

The Englishman and his castle? I don't know.

Is it because when you are abroad everything seems to be done better?

I think it's just that smell of your own house when you get in, being able to walk around in the pitch dark without falling down the stairs, knowing where everything is, but best of all the look on your daughter's face when she can sleep in her own bed and not in that goddamn tent.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

15 nano seconds of fame

I had never read a blog before about a month ago and never dreamed I would ever write one. So, what changed?

First of all I sent a text message to a radio show. (6Music, George Lamb Show)
It was on impulse. I felt like I had just asked someone out. I was slightly embarrassed but at the same time excited. The next thing I know the text us read out on the radio. Now I have an insane grin on my face and am unfeasibly pleased with myself.
I'm working on my own in a kitchen and have my name read out on the radio, and I feel like the king of the world.

Next I recently finished a book called The Blade Itself; I decided to look up the author. I find out he has a blog. I don't really know what this is about so just read. Duly done, I e-mail him for some unknown reason. (I liked the book)

OK I was a bit pissed.

Anyway he e-mailed back.

This made me smile like a loon; in my inbox is an e-mail from Joe Abercrombie.

I'm now being accused of having imaginary friends by my other half, because I text and e-mail people whom I don't actually know.


A friend who went to see a play at the Hammersmith Apollo, I think it was called 'Contains Violence'. The play takes place in the building opposite the Apollo and you sit in your seats opposite with binoculars watching.

He said, "Fantastic premise but a bit lacking in plot." However, they were one of the last in to the theatre and who should walk in behind them? Sir Ian McKellan that's who! Now he is sitting next to a peer of the realm and a great actor. He doesn't really give a shit if the play is any good (which it wasn't, apparently) because Gandalf is sitting next to them.

People who are famous aren't any different to me but they just elicit a different reaction.

The whole idea that I can talk/communicate with someone who may be a best selling author or a dj and they reply, has shifted the boundaries. We shouldn't’t to abuse that boundary.

But at the same time I would like to be able to spout shite at my leisure.

Back to the original question what's changed?

Nothing in reality, I've just tilted my head sideways.

If one person reads this then that's my 15 nano-seconds of fame.