Thursday, 13 July 2017

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sometimes I despair of our society - well I say sometimes, but actually it's quite often.

For a very long time, it has seemed to me and to many others, that the more we have, the more we crave, and that in some inverse need/want scenario, the less we actually enjoy those things which are the objects of our desires.

This is apparent everywhere in our consumer culture, from the frenzied rush to purchase the latest iPhone, which, regardless of cost in proportion to income, will be discarded as soon as an even better/bigger/smaller/louder/blingier version hits the shelves, to the fact that whilst cookery shows abound on TV and millions settle down to watch who will be heralded best baker or pastry chef, our high streets are filled with fast food outlets, our streets strewn with the discarded wrappers from the same outlets, and individual, non-chain shops are dying faster than the dodo.

And the answer to it all? Well according to some it's deconstruction - niche shops selling only specific items or catering for only a section of the population. A prime example of this, is those usually vibrantly displayed tobacco alternatives which have popped up everywhere, pumping their nefarious fumes out into the ozone...

But the latest trend that's got my goat, is not of the inhaling kind at all. It's of the imbibing kind.

Think of a cocktail. Its pastel or bold colours, its blend of flavours. It's pretty exotic right? Pretty awesome in fact.

Well apparently it's no longer exotic enough for our increasingly jaded tastes.

So now someone has come up with the idea of serving them in broken glasses. Deliberately designed and manufactured broken, to a precision that must make real artisan glass-blowers weep into their hands at the near profanity of the act, the glass is then filled with its intoxicating brew and served with what are apparently edible 'shards of  glass' protruding from it's center. Forgive me if I pass.

How is this high living? Maybe I'm old fashioned - hell maybe I'm just old. But I was taught to serve drinks in pristine, unchipped glass.

Have we come that far in our gluttonous lives, where every want must be immediately satiated for our juvenile sensitivities, that we can't even appreciate the most simple and unassuming things? I fear so.

And what's next? Will we be eating deconstructed shepherd's pie from stainless steel dog bowls, rendered-asunder fish pie from goldfish bowls? I hope not...but in truth I think it's only a matter of time.

So move over Fido... now where did I put that wire scourer?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Silver linings and all that...

I'm so sorry - you're all going to hate me for this, but I'm loving the fact that it's raining.

The ground was so hard - the grass beginning to dry and shrivel up - and I knew exactly how it felt.

A short, sharp burst of heavy rain is exactly what we need right now.

So come on, dust off those wellies and umbrellas and dance in the rain. It will be hot and sunny again tomorrow and everything will grow and bloom just because of the little wet interlude we've had.

Remember - every silver lining starts with a cloud. 

Happy reading!

Which author[s] am I like?

I took a little bit of The Owners Volume I : Alone and input it into this analysing tool and according to this I write like H.P. Lovecraft.

This was the section I used :

The harsh sunlight, which pierced the window in its strong and direct glare, was now mellowed and softened in the burnished reflections of the polished wooden walls. The knots and imperfections of the wood resembling tiny worlds of intricacies, too complex to be fully understood.

In passing, he glanced through the window to find the view as breathtakingly beautiful as ever. An amazing variety of trees stood like proud sentinels around a spectacular natural lake. Trees stretched on into infinity in every direction – luscious light-green foliage appearing to vie with emerald and jade for the eye’s attention. Yet the trees also seemed to be collaborating with one another, joining forces in an attempt to outdo the drama of the brilliant blue sky reflected in the shimmering perfection of the silvery lake.

This scene, with its myriad colours and composition was so intense and so contrastingly stunning, it almost made San’s eyes hurt. Each tree was unique, either in size or shape or shade to its neighbour, just as the houses lodged within the heart of the tree, sitting snug amongst its highest branches were different. There were large tree houses and small ones, round ones and rectangular ones and even some which didn’t fit any one particular shape but instead were a weird blend of curves and angles.

Similarly the colours of the houses were all different. No, actually he thought, that’s not true. The colour was all the same – green – it was the sheer variety of shades of green which made them seem so dramatically different. Yet what struck San at that precise moment, was how each tree house conformed to and in fact complimented, the size and shape of the tree it was lodged in. It was almost as if each house had merged and blended with the branches to become a living part of its tree.  

Here it is

Then I took this except from The Owners Volume III : Dark Side of The Sun and performed the same analysis :

Jack stepped into the darkness. Even in the seconds that his eyes took to adjust to the lack of light, he was aware that he stood next to Seth once more. There was a musty smell in the room. Dank and with the sharp acrid stench of urine, it was all he could do not to heave. Whoever was in the building had clearly given up all pretence of civilisation.

And they were aware of his and Seth’s presence. There was a vague sound of susurration, as if the person was making soft whisperings to themselves or another but it was too indistinct for him to make out its source or what was said.

“Step back slowly. Do not turn around,” Seth told him without moving.

“Why?” He knew he should probably just do as Seth suggested but having come this far, he wanted to know what they had found.

The susurration seemed to increase in response to his words, as if the person or persons were becoming agitated at the thought of them leaving. “This is why,” Seth slowly pulled a torch from his pocket and flicking it on, levelled it at the darkest corner of the room.

Hair tangled and knotted, what was left of the scalp hung down in front of the skeleton’s face. Whilst not strictly a skeleton, it was how Jack had to think of the body which was even now being hungrily devoured by the biggest pack of coyotes Jack had ever seen.  Bigger than the average dog, their normally lean bodies seemed fuller and longer than normal.

And this was the analysis

So far, so consistent. Now the biggie. What happened when I put in a section from Split Decision?

Here is the excerpt I used :

The atmosphere in the car was suddenly thick with sexual tension. I could feel all of them straining to hear my answer, listening with their groins rather than their brains.

A primitive fear coursed through me riding a tidal wave of doom. There was no right answer here, only a series of wrong answers. My heart pounded at the steel cage it was entrapped within, banged itself into the padded walls around it and no-one heard it scream. No-one but me. Whatever I answered, I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t! It was a circular route to Hell.

And the result? This time I wrote like James Joyce apparently!

Then this excerpt from my current work in progress, The Plan :

Suzie regarded her companion with wide eyes. None of her friends spoke like this, it was not the type of conversation she was used to having but she liked the honesty of it, the cut and dried truthfulness.

And you will never guess who came out this time! Leo Tolstoy!

And the proof is here
Does that mean I am split personality???

[I wonder what would have happened if I had cut and pasted all the different excerpts into one analysis...perhaps I would have blown the software to smithereens!]

I gave up running the analysis on the other books I have written. They are all diverse - just like me.

So who do I write like? Well I write like me, of course!

Happy Reading.