Thursday, 31 March 2011

Smoke and Short Stories

Recently I have been reading a number of short stories. Among these were Russian nineteenth and early twentieth century authors like Gogol, Tolstoy, Gorky and Kuprin. These were like being in the pub on an exhilarating Friday night full of joyous, and sometimes mischievous, celebration. The beer flowing freely and wild cheers of excitement among well loved friends. Lots of laughing, a little dancing, as well as a few tears, mostly at onlookers expense. All made for a memorable evening and lasted until a tired and bleary sunrise.

I also read many nineteenth and early twentieth century American authors. Authors like Poe, Twain, Chester, Lampton and Hastings. These were like a lazy Sunday afternoon lounging in the pub with well loved family and friends. Very pleasant if a bit subdued; lets not be too raucous so as not to offend aunt Molly. At times it could be a little dull; forgiveable as there was work to be done the following day.

Then I read the flash fiction in the SmokeLong Internet magazine. This was like being in the pub's bogs pissing on the floating fag ends. The noxious liquid overflowing and spilling onto your boots and the nauseating stench filling your nostrils. A real difficulty was negotiating the putrid pools on the floor; the fresh material was hard to locate or wade through. Somehow it was not in the same league; never was and never could be; it was just a utilitarian function rather then any real pleasure. Still when an authors bladders full the excess piss has got to escape somewhere; that appears to justify SmokeLongs entire existence. But the reader is best advised not to follow on in afterwards; not unless they want to get there feet soaked and reek for days. If you really must take a leek: try the back of the car park.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Midsomer Murders: The Unbelievable Evidence

Midsomer Murders is one of those programs you either love or love to hate. It full of that quaint, old fashioned, never was, Englishness some dream of returning to. This is somewhat ironical given the programs celebration of murder, family feuds, and the inbred upper class; among many other less desirable qualities. Still the programs always finishes with conflates resolved; hence the less discerning viewer can comfort themselves that all was just a minor blot on the English character.

The program excludes a lot and has particularly coveted controversy after a recent interview in the Radio Time where the programs long time produce Brian True-May boasted of his whites only policy regarding character and casting. This lead to True-May being suspended by All3Media.

True-May suspension was quite justified in my opinion. But surely some in the British independent television industry must have known of True-May opinions long before and despicably done nothing. Just like with John Galliano rant and subsequent sacking, Dior would have known all along of Galliano offensiveness. These management types feel it's better not to rock the boat and keep the cash flowing than do the right thing. Until it all becomes public that is; then we have the obviously insincere shock and horror.

In the past I have only watched Midsomer Murders when other family members have inflicted it upon me; when there's been no escape. Following this controversy I decided to break with tradition and watch a few episodes willingly. It did not reveal much that was surprising, new or, indeed, appealing, so I will forgo the boredom of a review. Some parts of were tolerable and long stretches proved agonising; enough said.

True-May, however, utterly failed in one respect. And in the (admittedly not very good) image above we reveal the 'unwelcome' truth: minorities do indeed exist in Midsomer. The following shot is from Midsomer Murders Days of Misrule (Christmas Special – 2008). There he is approximately 1 hour 9 mins in.

Of course the token minority did not get a speaking part or have any kind of personality; that would be too much to expect. He was forced to stand in the background and look obsequious while the great and the good paraded before him. Even so, this evidence does prove minorities exist, even in Misomer.

Saturday, 19 March 2011


I can see her in a few years time: fat, tubbed up, a brace of squawking sprogs milling around her feet. Existing in some dismal council flat with damp creeping up the walls, boiling in summer, freezing in winter, the electric fire extortionate to use. Always waiting for the next benefits instalment. What else can she do with all those kids? No one else dare look after them, certainly not her drunk of a mother. And certainly not any of their absentee fathers.

There she's standing, fag in mouth, ironing board out, washing piled in the sink, getting fatter, the tight ill fitting threadbare dress several sizes on the small side, boys no longer desiring to slip a hand down her knickers. She'd still let them if they only would. It's only after the child benefit is paid she can afford to get pissed down the local. Then, if she's lucky, one of the drunks might feel her up. Not so long before she would never have countenanced those wrinklies.

Friday, 18 March 2011

12 Little Words

I have been rather negligent with this blog for the last couple of months. With the best intentions of mice and those other things I hope to rectify this omission soon and have a few things planned.

In the meantime a couple of very, very short, even minuscule stories.


Wouldn't it be heavenly? White, blonde, vibrant black. The night? A day?



The smile. An effervescent kiss. What dreams... Suddenly gone... Waiting, still waiting.