Thursday 30 December 2010

A Conversation Overheard…

It’s that great device used in so much fiction, the overheard conversation. It usually takes place in a public place, often on a train, were one character listens in to the conversation of two others, this conversation gives away details or facts that set the plot in motion.

The other literary story is that a writer overhears a conversation, usually in a public place, and that sets their mind off on a tangent to create an idea for a piece of writing. In the Agatha Christie novel Third Girl, Mrs Ariadne Oliver (A crime writer, who many believe was based on Christie herself) tells a story of overhearing another woman on the bus. This sets her imagination off and she creates a whole character and plot around this woman.

Today, Martin and I went shopping in the West End of London. On the tube there and back, and as we wondered around the shops, I overheard many conversations but none of them had fascinating tips of information or set my mind off on any creative tangents. There were parents with their pretentious children, lost tourists, complaining shoppers, elderly women more interested in the company of their friends than anything else, teenage boys showing off to their mates like strutting peacocks and a young woman who could have moved to Greece if she didn’t have so much “stuff”.

Today was not one of those days when my imagination runs wild, not a typical day then, but I have enough writing ideas and projects on the go already so I am not too worried.


Friday 24 December 2010

Another Thought for Today

Today saw the first time a Pope gave a broadcast on BBC Radio. Pope Benedict's Christmas message for the UK was broadcast as the Thought For The Day on Radio 4's Today program, the God-slot on an otherwise very secular news and current affairs program.

After listening to his broadcast, all I can say was that it was very dull.

It was the kind of Christmas homily I heard as I child at church, over thirty years ago. It was dull, uninteresting and uninspiring. Rather than making me angry, as so many of his pronouncements before have done, it almost made me fall asleep, it was so flat and lifeless. There was no reference to the world today, the only modern reference was to his visit here in September, it was exactly like the Christmas addresses I heard thirty years ago.

I am now convinced that Pop Benedict is completely out of touch with the real world. If this is the best he can do, with such a prominent platform, then he’s of no relevance to us.

The most important question is why did the BBC give the Pope such an unopposed opportunity to preach at us (even if he failed at it)? Yet again, the BBC gives the Catholic Church biased coverage. There was no one on the Today program challenging the Pope’s right to be there.

The majority of the time the BBC covers Lesbian and Gay rights they seemed to find some awful religious bigot to pour out homophobia. Would the BBC ever let Peter Thatchell deliver a Thought For The Day?

Wednesday 22 December 2010

In The Bleak Mid-Winter...

Snow is here and the country is blanked in white cold. Being British, the country has almost ground to a halt, and parcels aren’t arriving anytime time too.

For me, though, the snow creates a whole different world. It muffles the general sounds of a city, blanketed in snow my home is made strangely quiet. Gone are the normal sounds of the city. It changed the quality of the light and darkness. During the day the sunlight was so much brighter, but it’s once the sun has set that the snow deeply changes the atmosphere.

At dusk the red sunlight is bounced off the snow creating a red/orange glow to everything, as if the whole area is bathed in failing red light, from a dying light source. At night, after the sun has rapidly set, the snow glows blue in the moonlight, giving the view a deeply strange and epithelial feel. At night, I look out at the views, from our house, and almost expect to witness some other-world creature. A hunched over, pale and thin daemon creature tip-toeing across the landscape or jumping from one blue/black shadow to another; or else a translucent ghost drifting across our blue light garden, leaving not a mark on the cold snow.

Yes, my mind is strange. Most people see snow and think, “What a lovely, Christmas Card landscape.” I see the snow, especially at night, and think “This has such a potential for a supernatural theme.”


P.S. The picture, at the top of this blog, is of our back garden at dusk, taken by my partner Martin. To see more of his pictures go to:

Sunday 19 December 2010

Merry Christmas

This is our own Christmas E Card. All the pictures in it were taken by Martin, mostly of our local area but with a few of the park by his office. Some were taken this weekend, of our garden in the snow, but the majority of them are from the snow fall in January.

The music accompanying it is Tori Amos' Snow Angel, another of her beautifully lyrical songs.

Turn your computer's sound on, take a minute to enjoy this animation and a Happy Christmas from Martin and I.