Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, talking about some of the things that fascinate me. (Lottie — this is especially for “John”. I think he might find it interesting 😉 )
“The statements admitted to be false included:
- That Sir Salman was locked in a room by protection officers because of his objectionable attitude towards them.
- That protection officers who asked Sir Salman if they could buy alcohol from him were charged for the drinks.
- That Sir Salman sought to profit from the fatwa inviting Muslims to kill him for insulting the prophet Muhammad.
- That he sought and was advised by the Intelligence Services not to publish a book about his experiences.
- That safe houses were provided for Sir Salman at government expense, rather than having to provide them himself at great personal expense.
- That the relationship between Sir Salman and his protection teams was unprofessional, hostile and unfriendly.
- That Sir Salman was unhygienic and suicidal and was being supervised or examined by a police psychiatrist.
- That Elizabeth West became his girlfriend and then his wife because of Sir Salman’s wealth.”
So, basically, there probably isn’t all that much of the book left to buy. I certainly won’t be spending any money on it, that’s for sure.
This Tuesday morning finds me typically behind on emails, working on an outline for the new new novel, Through the Stormy Shades, which I now really want to write, and still rather surprised that people like those at The Pakistani Spectator and, now, Andrew at Small Business Tech want me to write articles for them.
It’s always nice when people enjoy what you do, but it’s especially nice when they like it so much that, as Andrew did recently, they invite you to produce articles for them. Granted, we all benefit from sharing our various abilities in this way, but I still consider it a huge compliment.
Take a look at Small Business Tech when you have a moment. My first article for them (admittedly a repost from this site) is now online.
I’ve also been trying to get a feel for Through the Stormy Shades. It’s set predominantly in the Freeman Hospital in 1981/1982 and yet again (even though I said I didn’t want to do this for a while) it’s semiautobiographical.
Whilst researching the other day I came across a photograph of the kind of bed I spent about nine weeks on whilst I was the Freeman Hospital the first time. I just thought I’d share it with you.
It was as comfortable as it looks!
It seems I am once again honoured with a blogging award — this time from the wonderful thebeadden! It’s always nice to have one’s efforts appreciated. Thank you!
Over the next few days I will be passing the award along to eight of my favourite blogs. So… now might be a good time to start sucking up 😉
Well, you just knew — didn’t you? — that Boris wouldn’t be able to keep quiet for long. No gaffes, but entertaining nonetheless.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Boris Johnson and his already quite famous “Ping-Pong’s Coming Home” speech.
This is, officially, my first London 2012 Olympics post! Just think, you’ve got four whole years of me vacillating between optimism and pessimism on the subject to look forward to! Doesn’t it make you glad you discovered Gary William Murning Online?
The handover has taken place. The Olympic flag was given to Boris, who waved it about a bit (they didn’t let him speak so we had, unfortunately, no references to the Opium Wars), Leona Lewis sprouted out of the top of a London bus and David Beckham kicked a football.
I just wish I could get excited.
Now, I have nothing against crossdressing. As far as self-expression goes, it’s as valid as anything else and whilst it doesn’t do it from me, I can fully appreciate how it might (and indeed does!) for others.
Grayson Perry, the 2003 Turner prize winner and fairly famous cross-dresser always perplexes me somewhat, though. I look at him and I think, “Jesus Christ, what is he wearing now?” — and it’s never because he’s wearing a frock. It’s because he’s got his face rouged like Una Stubbs as Aunt Sally in the old children’s TV series Worzel Gummidge or the frock he’s chosen to wear is simply ghastly! Crossdressing I can happily live with, but lousy taste depresses the hell out of me 😉
I have a love-hate relationship with the work of Paul Auster. Books like Oracle Night, The Book of Illusions and, most recently, The Brooklyn Follies — as patchy as they in places were — worked on a number of levels for me, pulling me into worlds that were at once crisply real and yet postmodern to the point of surrealism.
His most famous piece, however, The New York Trilogy, simply left me cold — as did In the Country of Last Things.
Reading this review in The Times Online website of his latest novel Man in the Dark, it struck me that this latest work might actually be worth taking a look at. Yes, he treads familiar ground — but that’s what Auster does. He is the master of metafiction and whilst I don’t in any way want to emulate that (been there, done it…), this review did help me see where I need to be going as a writer.
I want to play with form. I want to take the world as I know it — as I have known it — and reshape it, present it in a different light. I want to focus on the character driven, where my strength lies, but I want to skew the angles, present unusual juxtapositions in order to challenge preconceived notions.
In short, I probably want to do what Auster himself hasn’t really done in a long while. I want to tax myself. It isn’t enough to simply follow a familiar path. That was why the outline for We Are Watching/The Yesterday Tree didn’t work for me. I’d been there before, even though I didn’t realise it at the time. I need to write a novel that keeps me on my toes, something rooted in personal experience, like Children of the Resolution, but also something which presents it in a unique, previously unknown form.
Man in the Dark. If Auster hadn’t already used it, it might have been the perfect title for the novel I now have planned. For the time being, let’s simply call it…
It seems I’m pulling in quite a few new readers at the moment. My daily page hit count has been around 184 over the past week or so, jumping up to 233 on one occasion. Not exactly in the same league as some out there, but a definite improvement and rather gratifying nonetheless.
So, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping my blog to grow. Your comments are always welcome (in fact, if you’re a new reader, please feel free to treat this as an opportunity to say hello — pimp your own blog, even, if you wish!)
Because so many new people are dropping by I thought it might be fun to look back at some of my earlier articles. I’ve picked five of my personal favourites. If you’re a regular reader and there’s an older article of mine that you like which I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to shout up!
Five of the Best.
- Drawing the Line. February 25, 2008. I like this piece because it gives an insight into how I write and, in particular, how I wrote Children of the Resolution. It was good for me to read it again. Especially at this “between-projects” time.
- Disability in Fiction. February 16, 2008. Another writing-related piece concerning expectation in writing.
- The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. November 26, 2007. The Richard Feynman Horizon interview — with a short introduction by me.
- You Can’t Say That. June 23, 2008. A rant on our ridiculous fear of causing offence. In part a tribute to the late George Carlin.
- Elvis, Marty Lacker… and Me. August 3, 2008. This is one of my all-time favourites because it provided me, quite unexpectedly, with the opportunity to exchange emails with one of Elvis Presley’s closest friends, Memphis Mafia member Marty Lacker. I may have a further update on this story in the not too distant future.
Well, I think that’s all for now. Take a look when you have time and enjoy. These five post probably epitomise pretty well just what I am about — or what my blog is about, at least!
Never let it be said that Nobel prize-winning physicists haven’t got rhythm!
Richard Feynman. I’m a fan, as many of you will already know. He was an exceptionally talented man in so many respects.
This clip makes me want to have a go myself but, well… I’m not a physicist 😉
(I was going to post the orange juice clip, but I thought it might scare any young children who just happened to be passing through!)