Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Change my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon

What better way to begin the regeneration of this blog then by using a quote from Doctor Who? The answer is there's no other way (to quote Blur).

I have basically decided that the way I have been blogging up to now is wrong. Not wrong, wrong. Just not my style. That is partly why I didn't blog for so long. What I have decided to do instead is change it.

There will still be the occasional book review. I enjoy reading too much not too. Although for book reviews, I can strongly reccomend Ben's blog, the link to which is somewhere on the right.

I have decided to blog more about two things that are as important to me. They are writing, so I will talk about current writing projects and posting the occasional short story. The other thing I will also be posting are the occasional rant.

Why a rant? well. I like to just go on and on about a particular topic. To be entirely honest, rants is not the right word. To be more accurate, I would say more highly opinionated and possibly humorous reviews. Not of books but of TV shows or films I have recently seen. Hell, I may do the occasional advert. Show those blinking Halifax ads what for.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Well, errr. Yeah....

Well, yes it's been a jolly long time since last I blogged. So long in fact that I have completely forgotten how to do so.

First things first. (obviously). What have I been up to since last I inflicted the ramblings upon the triple W? The answer is rather a lot. I have written and semi-edited a novel. I am still a good way to go on this. I shall of course share more on that when I post again. As it is a topic unto itself.

I have also decided to give art a go and bought some paints. Now the only painting I have done since pre-GCSE has been the occasional Airfix kit. So this is a big step.

In other news I am no further on any goals. Who knows I may be back later with a reinvented blog tone.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Marvel Zombies

By Robert Kirkman.

Whilst this isn't the only book I have read since I last did one of these book bloglets. It is the most recent one beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. K.

Now I quite enjoy superhero movies and games. I have even read a couple of graphic novels. This however I found to be utterly terrible. Truly just the worst kind of thing. Maybe it's because, Shaun of the Dead aside I find zombies rather tedious topics.

This was just overly violent, gore splattered and totally uninteresting. The characters feel rather flat and stereotypical, the whole thing just feels poor.

There we go. A negative review. Next time, hopefully more positive. Also it will be a non alphabook.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Blow Hard (it's a joke)

Ok, I have set myself the aim of mastering an instrument to some degree of competence over the course of the next decade. Previous readers may remember that I had chosen the guitar for this purpose. Now, I've learnt a few chords on the guitar but there is something not very me about it. So I shall put that to one side for the moment and choose something more "me".

I am awkward and not very guitary, so I chose the instrument that best suits that character. The clarinet. I enjoy jazz, especially that of Benny Goodman, for which I have to thank my grandad. Therefore the jazzy sound of the clarinet seemed ideal. I managed to pick an ok starter one for £30 on eBay. I can now play a few notes and what have you. I am aiming to be able to read notes easier and play some simple pieces by October.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sheer ineptness

Right, I have ignored this blog for an age.

This is due to a number of factors. First I am inept. This has been established elsewhere on this blog. Secondly, I have been busy at Edinburgh festival and working. These two take up time.

I shall keep this one simple. I have put the A-Z thing on hold. I got annoyed with Rudyard Kipling. This was enough to make me pause and read some stuff I wanted to. These include, the Great Gatsby, some more Conan Doyle (aided by the brilliant Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss series).

I am also learning the clarinet (this shall be a mid-week blog topic).

I submitted a story to the Oxfam story writing competition, not heard anything yet. Apparently a judge is on holiday.

Not sure what else to say. Like I said, inept.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Who Murdered Chaucer?

By Terry Jones (The Terry Jones)

Yes, it is a book by the Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. However, that doesn't mean that this is a book that is utterly irreverent, silly and outright nonsense. Oh, no, Mr Jones and his co-authors instead take this book down a very interesting route.

Geoff (as I will call him) did just disappear around the year 1400 with no real explanation of where he went, no funeral, no will etc. For a man of his fame at this time it is highly unusual. So, Mr Jones et all follow the theory that he could possibly have been murdered. Now, this book isn't a simple, examine the evidence of who had the motive, means etc. It instead takes in a much wider scope. Looking at the political situation of the time, the whole nine yards as it were. This makes for very interesting reading as it teaches me some aspects of medieval history that I was largely unaware of.

Once the whole scene is set, the authors then don't go onto the suspects but do look at reasons WHY Chaucer could have been viewed as dangerous by the newly established Henry 4. (It seems that the A-level text of the Canterbury Tales is an incredibly shocking, salacious piece of work for its time).

They also don't argue solely for the murder line and do look at some interesting evidence that Chaucer MAY have lived past the year 1400, and also that he could easily have just taken a tumble off a ladder whilst white-washing. (they don't specify the white-washing part, I added that).

Now, they do suggest a candidate at the end of it all. Thereby not cheating the reader of a solution to this potential crime. I would reveal who it was but then you wouldn't have to read the book.

Overall, reading a piece of non-fiction has made a rather nice change to the otherwise fiction heavy challenge thus far. I rather enjoyed this book, the writing style was rather light but informative and not too heavy and dry in comparison to some non-fiction writers.

In other news, I am moving on from the guitar to the clarinet. A different instrument I know. Will blog more on it later in the week.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Single Man

By Christopher Isherwood.

Now I know that you can see the words "Now A Major Motion Picture" atop the book in this photo. So you're probably thinking, oh he's seen the film and now wants to read the book. Well, I am afraid you are mistaken. Not seen the film, although after reading this book I am even more uncertain. I am of course curious to see if they have got the sheer emotion of it all transferred onto the screen. I sincerely hope that they do, because this book is quite simply wonderful.

Long time readers may remember me talking about my love for the likes of Bennett, Fitzgerald and Wodehouse and the sheer joy of their language and the characters they create. Well, Mr Isherwood can happily join their ranks. Some of the language he uses here is simply wonderful, utterly picturesque, maybe a little too so at times but the rest of it it is an utter joy to read.

Now I don't want to go giving the plot away, that's not my job, I am a not a blurb (as an edited line from the Prisoner goes). However sufficied to say it follows a lot of those universal themes that all good successful books do. When reading you really feel to connect with George despite the fact he is what a lot of us aren't. Unless, of course there are a number of you who are English professors living in 1960's America, who are gay, in their sixties and have recently lost a loved one. If you, hello and I hope you are well. Heck, that seems rude, so I hope those of you who don't fit into that very small category are also well.

The book itself clearly has some heavily autobiographical tones. That is very apparent to those who are aware of the basics of Isherwood and his life. However, you can feel really connected with the character. When George feels upset, you feel rather down yourself. The sense of isolation of being a single man who doesn't fit in with the world around him leaps out of the page and you find yourself feeling sorry for George. It also offers some interesting insight into one mans view of a world that was very different from the one I was born into.

As the book progresses and you get to know George more, you really do begin to like him more and more. Because it is all told from his perspective, a true first person, you get to see the world as he sees it. Feel the actions he feels.

The books is also about growing old, something that I really am yet to feel. The book really does take a very bleak approach on it all. An acceptance of death and a feeling that, rather than just a hey it happens. More a, it happens and it can be rather bally horrible. This makes you look at death and the whole aging process in a whole new light.

I'm not sure what else to say but read this and just revel in the sheer wonderfulness of how it is written.