Happy New Year and thank you all.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” – Shirley Temple

It must be Christmas because I’ve just spent half an hour trying to remove sellotape with forensic levels of care from the wrong part of the parcel I was wrapping without tearing the paper.

James Bond is on the TV and he’s already seduced a woman with nothing more than a one-liner and a ruffled hair do. I was caught up in the timelessness of it until I spotted one of Ken Livingstone’s hated bendy-buses crossing Westminster Bridge. The weather is mild and damp. The fridge is full of food that no one is allowed to touch, and the tree in the living room needs its own security force to keep inquisitive children away. It must be Christmas

I want to…

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The Absolutely Best Advice on the Internet is…

“Life advice is something people once went to pubs for, alongside flat beer and sticky carpet. Being regaled with ancient wisdom from bedraggled men escaping their wives at the bar was once a rite of passage for younger folk, who now deliberate whether to like pictures of restaurant food on social media with a thumbs up or an emoji instead…”

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Remember this, folks – I am a Hillbilly, and I don’t always bet the same way I talk. Good advice is one thing, but smart gambling is quite another. 

Hunter. S. Thompson

Perhaps it’s because everyone is an expert these days, but people have an opinion on everything. The most liberating thing to say is, ‘I can’t comment because I don’t fully understand it.’ I’ve been supporting a football team for 20 years and still don’t understand the point of substitutions in the 90th minute. To be honest I’m beginning to wonder what the point of football is full stop, but that’s another blog. Advice is much the same, dished out like Sunday newspaper supplements without much thought as to where it all ends up.

Live every day like it’s your last‘ is the sort of advice that flies about like a flu bug: impossible to pin down…

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Book Plug

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I’ve just finished reading Pantheon by Eric Syrdal (his blog can be found Here )

I don’t do book reviews for a good reason: I’m no good at writing them. So you’ll just have to trust me when I say Pantheon is an epic, unforgettable read: it’s a novel told in free verse poetry and I could not put it down. Granted, I was already an Eric fan before picking up his book because he’s a master word weaver…but this blew me away. If you’re looking for a new book recommendation, you could do much, much worse.

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How Writers Survive Bad Reviews.

“If there is one thing that writing teaches an author, other than how easily the semi-colon might be misused and how gleefully people love to point it out to you, it is to prevail. Writing gives purpose to an aimless day and teaches resilience….”

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Mark Twain.

There is so much focus upon writing, on the magic tips and tricks that at times the real skill is neglected. And that is the art of disallowing poor feedback or bad reviews from ruining your day, and your ENTIRE BLOODY LIFE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAS LED TO THIS DISASTROUS MOMENT, which is pretty much what neighbours heard when I read my first 2-star review of the Life Assistance Agency on Amazon. Ironically writers chase these reviews because it helps with algorithms and sales, although no one has yet provided a coherent answer as the relationship between the two without ending up sounding like a conspiracy theorist. And what reviews don’t help with is your mental stability. Or do they?

(Yet) another great thing…

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How to beat the Winter Blues..?

It’s never too early for advice on how to beat the winter blues, right? And it’s definitely always a treat to read & share a blog by one of my favourite people who also happens to be a writer I’m totally in awe of.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Yes, it’s How to Beat the Blues season again. And I don’t mean Manchester City, although they are probably the least of Crystal Palace’s worries. It’s the time of year when weekend newspapers pack away features on 10 best bikinis, Get Fit Without Lifting a Finger, Top Ten things to do in Ibiza (and two to avoid) and How To Get a Beach Body by the Time you reach it From Your Hotel, and turn instead to life beneath the heavy skies. Winter is coming.

So, in the magnanimous spirit with which Scott Wildblood set up his speculative Life Assistance Agency, whilst failing to look up assistance in the dictionary, we idly consider how we might combat those seasonal blues.

Don’t look at the internet. The first birthday greeting I got was from a German company offering me a £5 voucher after I bought a record stylus from them…

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How to Avoid the Perils of Modern Shopping…

If the intro immediately sends you to YouTube like it did me, make sure you come back to read the blog – always worth it.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

We’re S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G….we’re shopping. – Pet Shop Boys

Shopping used to be so easy. When I was a boy (oh, here we go Grandad), we went grocery shopping once a month and made it last 28 days. February was the only month in which we failed to run out of provisions. It was a day trip ending in playing with boxes on the lawn.  Anything lacking was grown on the allotment, which sadly didn’t grow chocolate biscuits, or Kellogg’s Frosties.  Shops were windows for pressing noses up against.

Despite this I thought I lived in the future, which is a strange prism through which to see the 1970s, but in light of my father’s wartime experiences it was Disneyland. But compared with today we lived in Eastern Europe, when towns would hang out bunting and hire a brass band to celebrate arrival of the first washing machine. Our local toy shop…

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Dark

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I have gone back to my roots, no more bottle blonde for me. Although the decision to go back to dark was kind of spontaneous, it had been at the back of my mind for a long time.

As the world turns away from reason in favour of emotion, the false prophets proliferate – it is more important than ever to be as authentic as one can possibly be. This blog that at one stage meant so much to me has taken a backseat, as some of you may have noticed.

People I thought I had an understanding with, people I interacted with on the basis we shared the same love for words, and literature, and art…those people who pride themselves on being tolerant have been anything but…and clearly unable to separate the ‘art’ from the ‘artist’ – an attitude that’s prevalent in today’s society.

I will never apologise for having an opinion, for the ability to criticise *everything*, for the fact my heart doesn’t rule over my brain. I do not believe it is a creative’s responsibility to pontificate and tell the masses what to think and what to like. I do not believe in demonising and ostracising based on political opinion alone. Unfortunately the majority of creatives feel differently. More’s the pity. But I won’t be bullied and I won’t be silenced. Without free speech, an individual  simply isn’t free. Deplatforming is an abomination, shutting down any kind of speech is abhorrent.

I can be dismissed and discarded by hundreds of people I have everything in common with – except for one seemingly crucial thing – and I still wouldn’t change the way I am and the way I speak.

If we share the same interests but you decide to pull the plug on our friendship because I don’t believe in open borders and uncontrolled immigration, because I believe ALL religions should be subjected to the same level of criticism, etc…then fair enough and so be it.  Your loss, your narrow-minded view of the world – contrary to what you preach. I won’t mourn you and I won’t miss you.

So I have been unfollowed on here by quite a few people, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to do as they please – what has massively pissed me off is that some of these people before unfollowing felt the need to tell me what a nasty human being I am. Obviously I’m going to object to that, especially when the stench of hypocrisy surrounds them. Nobody has the monopoly on kindness or pain – hence why identity politics is total bollocks and incredibly divisive. You can’t rewrite history and you shouldn’t want to. Virtue signalling is getting old, to be quite frank.

Progressives? Nah, regressive (s)

I’m a natural brunette and I’m back to dark. Some people will say it matches my soul – fuck them.

(The selfies… because I was in one of my exhibitionist moods – I could blame the new hair but…nah.)

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How important are Daily Rituals to Writers..?

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Dare to be complicated – be the child’s robot that sings sweet Child O’Mine. – from notes in my phone.

‘How d’you find time to write?’ has to be one of the most common responses to any writer announcing they are starting another novel, as though they’ve found some secret stash of time under the stairs in that strange old chest that glows after midnight. It’s not a football match, there’s always time, although you may not necessarily be around to see it. Life is simply how you choose to spend our time. Cooks like to literally chop stuff up while crime writers enjoy chopping stuff up literally. Besides, having time to write doesn’t automatically mean you’ll do any. In fact, give someone unlimited time and they’ll achieve nothing, beyond the ability to mumble mañana beneath their breath.  As we know, nothing fuels invention like necessity.

Writing is like grabbing…

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Is camping REALLY a good idea?

When writers go camping, they’ve got one advantage over other campers, they can write about it when they get home – which proves once again that writing is the best therapy. Please go like on Tom’s blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”

Jerome K. Jerome – Three men in a Boat.

I’ve been camping with two under 6-year old boys for a few days and I’m shattered, like I’ve been sleeping in the bass bin at a Leftfield gig. It’s a unique type of tiredness that suggests you missed an entire night’s sleep and have been covered in a layer of sweaty glue and smell of a bonfire.

Any self respecting idler should listen attentively for suggestions of camping, and be ready with excuses at the drop of a bent-tent-peg that’s impossible to hammer into even the softest ground yet remains in the equipment bag. Nothing has ever looked better…

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