Monday, 4 September 2017

Number Three

While the Royal's are lauded and paid for
When they have an extra child
Life gets harder for the poor
While the Royal's are lauded and paid for
No benefits for a third child no more
Unless you can prove you were defiled
While the Royal's are lauded and paid for
When they have an extra child

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pressure; Pain

All the pressure
All the pain
I couldn't go
Through that again

All the waiting
The sense of unease
How did you do
In your GCSE's

The course of your life
Could change forever
How people perceive you
Thick or clever

And yet you've barely
Begun to mature
Of who we are
We can't be sure

Yet the stakes keep rising
Year upon year
Filling heads
With a choking fear

Pressure; Pain;
Waiting; Unease;
It's Judgement Day
For GCSE's

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Road Alone

A year ago we voted leave
But forty-eight percent still grieve
At the thought that we are cutting ties
Because of those remorseless lies

So is it true that half were duped
Believing money could be recouped
That there'd be no more immigration
Or bureaucratic leglislation

"Take back control, we'll be great again
Don't be silly, don't vote remain
£350 mill. for the NHS
Least that's what the side of this bus says

"Foreigners aims are to disjoint
While the country sits at breaking point
Trust us, we won't lie to you
It's not a glossy, rose-tinted view"

Or was it through desperate hope
For the poorest who can barely cope
That change, that any change, could be
The thing that makes their lives more free

But the choice is made, we've turned our backs
Saying goodbye, and making tracks
On the road alone, with far to go
To a destination we still don't know

If we've made a mistake then time will tell
We may discover that all is well
Another enlightenment may dawn
The flowering of a nation born
Or will it be like the Roman's leaving
A dark age land of self deceiving

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stones

Were the stones built up
By giants in memory
Of their own image
Forever standing to face
The summer dawn
And the dark winters night
Reminders of when Gods were Gods
And mankind was in awe
Of nature
Listening to its heartbeat
Sacrificing blood
For all our futures
Worshipping death and rebirth
The cycles of all our lives
Full circle

Monday, 19 June 2017

Genetics

Violence breeds violence,
In desires to pluck an eye for an eye.
Retribution sought for each attack.
With the aim of escalation.
And it will never stop,
While revenge thrives,
And shouts in the face of love,
While compassion remains a byword,
For cowardice and appeasement.
We must realise that we are all the same,
In both heart and desire,
That the genetics which makes us enemies,
Brings us together.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Birthday Girl

Every year I wonder at the speed at which another twelve months have passed.






















So, happy 4th birthday,
to the girl who sometimes makes me mad,
but who also makes me proud that I'm her dad!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Into the Woods

It's not often that you get the combination of a nice day and trains running at the weekend, so I took to advantage of taking my oldest daughter out to Abbey Woods.

We started out by looking around the ruins of Lesnes Abbey, and what would have been the monk's gardens:




Then we got into the woods, where we came across a dinosaur (in actual fact an extinct mammal called a Coryphodon):




There were also plenty of gorgeous bluebells around, and in one field was a carved tree:




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Masacre of Mankind

A book I have been waiting for all my life, and a book written with both love and imagination.






In a lot of ways, I have lived with the Martians for more than thirty years now. I can still remember sitting on an old sofa with a bowl of shreddies in my lap, and hearing the voice of Richard Burton for the first time tell of the coming of the Martians. By the time the first cylinder had opened on Horsell Common and the pulsating wet leather of it's contents disgorged, my breakfast was sitting soggily on the floor with my appetite vanished, with the speed of a man turned to flame by a Heat Ray.
I was terrified, and I was thrilled and I was in love with War of the Worlds (at least the musical version).
That was before I read the book, which I soon also fell in love with, although perhaps not the cover depicting the brain and tentacle combination of the Martians, which always had to go face down before I fell asleep; I would always hurry back from the darkness of the bathroom in the middle of the night lest a tentacle grab me!
And every year at midnight on the 12th August my eyes would turn skyward for a flash of green, a puff of smoke, but thankfully none came and the Earth remained un-invaded (from space at least).

And so onto the sequel, published 120 years after the original, and a book I began with both excitement and trepidation. Having known of the publication in advance, I had already read some of Stephen Baxter's books, and enjoyed them. And knowing him to be a good writer, my excitement was greater than my trepidation, and I was not disappointed.
The original story has been cleverly used and enhanced, and in a style that flows neatly from one to the other. Neat references have been made to the original book, but also to 'unofficial' sequels that came out at the time, to Orson Welles radio dramatisation and to Jeff Wayne's Musical version.
And it is also noticable how Baxter has obviously taken as much pleasure in destroying various worldwide major cities, as Wells did in destroying much of Woking.

So, are the Martian's stopped for a second time? And how, for they will surely not succumb in the same way as before? You will have to read it to find out. And was the book any good? Well, I have read War of the Worlds more times than I can remember, and I think that this book will end up being read almost as many times in the future, and I can think of no better way of saying that I loved it, than that.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Firing the Gun

So the gun has been loaded
And we're pulling the trigger
As the shooting begins
You can hear Nigel snigger

Were they lies that they told us
With Gove looking shifty
Exhorting us to war
Over Article 50

But maybe we can hope
For a new golden dawn
Long lasting summers
With cricket on the lawn

At least that's what they told us
The vote to end all votes
No more illegal immigration
Or refugee boats

So now comes the battle
Or renegotiation
The continent looming
Over our faded nation

It won't be a fair fight
Much like a stick to a tank
Or a would-be homeowner
Denied again by a bank

Will they cut our supply lines?
Besiege our wet isle?
Are we really significant
Or in Edwardian denial

We voted knowing nothing
And we know nothing still
Except there'll be losses to both sides
As economic graves fill

Friday, 24 March 2017

New Phone

It took a long time, but a little over two weeks ago I finally succumbed to getting a smartphone. Not that I was discontent with my ordinary phone, after all, it did what I needed; Sent texts, gave me the time, had an alarm, and allowed me to make and receive the odd phone call.

But it became increasingly obvious that the ability to see what the trains were doing (since information is scarce across the Southeastern network) and to see when buses would be coming along (to save a toddler getting too bored), was becoming necessary.

The upshot is all the other clever things of course, such as being able to see where and how far you've walked, to search for a book in the library using the barcode of a book found in a shop, and of course having a camera handy whenever you want it.

So, here's a (somewhat fiddled with) photo I took this morning of a tree at my home station.



Happy weekend!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Welcome to the Reboot

Any regular readers to this blog may notice both a change in title and a change in colour theme to this blog. Don't worry, you're not going mad.

I realised recently that I started this blog before my first daughter was born, and I had different intentions for it all the way back when. Now I find I rarely blog, and realised that it needed a refresh, and I needed a new way of looking at it - so here we are.

Since I don't get so much time for the creative writing, with these two scallywags now at home:




And since I primarily wanted this blog to be about writing, I have not really felt able to post much more general things (although I think I did more at first - hence the need for a change of perspective).

So, there will be poems, perhaps a story, but mostly it will be family things and thoughts on life and the world in general.

Welcome to the reboot!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It's twenty years to the day since Buffy first aired in the US, although it first aired in the UK on 31 December 1998; I didn't see it until the day after, however.
I still remember having seen trailer's in the weeks preceding and something resonated inside me. Knowing I would be at a party on new year's eve, I recorded Buffy (do you remember video recorder's?)
I sat down to watch it sometime after midday on New Year's Day, feeling slightly worse for wear, but was still rapt by the show. I fell in love with Buffy that day (the Slayer, and the programme) and it became the first show that I could not miss under any circumstances. I could never go out on days it was on, or at least I would rush home if I had been out.
This became much harder in season 7 here, when they aired three episodes a week, which perhaps explains why I have less affinity, and fewer memories, for that season.
Buffy has also been the last show that I could not miss under any circumstances. Partly this is due to the fact that shows are now available on catch-up, but it must also be because so other show has captured my imagination since - and for that reason I still miss Buffy now and again, in the same way as i miss certain summer's and certain people.
I have a lot of fond memories of particular episodes, which then feed back into memories of my late teens and early twenties, the university years, first jobs and moving to London - some good and some bad. But life was very livable while there was Buffy to look forward to the following week.
Sometimes it feels a bit tragic that you can watch a TV series on demand, where you see several episodes back to back and you've completed the season in a fortnight. There is something special in the slow burning, the unfolding, across a six month period; although you could recreate this today, you would have to have a very strong will.

As a fun exercise for myself, since I realised that the 20th anniversary was coming up, I decided to pick 20 episodes which have stuck in my mind for various reasons. 
On inspection, many of them are connected by a sense of changing the circumstances of characters to really develop them, and in clever ways, such as: "Once more with feeling", "Tabula Rasa", "Something Blue", "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland" amongst others.
Others are connected by coming up with original and brave storytelling, such as: "Hush", with little dialogue, "The Body", with little background music, "Restless", an anti-last episode of a season, and "Once more with feeling", a musical episode.
But, for me, they are all connected by being great episodes that I have enjoyed, and that have stayed with me over the years.
So here is the list of twenty, in order of season.

Nightmares, 1:10
School Hard, 2:3
Lie To Me, 2:7
Innocence, 2:14
Passion, 2:17
Band Candy, 3:6
The Wish, 3:9
The Zeppo, 3:13
Dopplegangland, 3:16
Earshot, 3:18
Graduation Day (part 2), 3:22
Beer Bad, 4:5
Something Blue, 4:9
Hush, 4:10
Restless, 4:22
The Body, 5:16
The Gift, 5:22
Once More With Feeling, 6:7
Tabula Rasa, 6:8
Chosen, 7:22