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One of the great things abut teaching English was that I got to read a lot of YA novels, books aimed at audiences aged anywhere from 11-18 years old. I was quite a fan of the Artemis Fowl series, about a junior criminal mastermind who has various run-ins with the Irish branch of the fairy police.

Yup, they’re that kind of story, but they’re really enjoyable.

So I thought I’d check out the Disney+ movie version that came out recently.

It was awful. I lasted 15 minutes but I could have happily bailed within the first 90 seconds. I’m rapidly running out of faith in subscription-channels like D+ and Netflix.


Tomorrow morning the sun rises earlier and sets later than any other day of the year. It’s after ten at night as I write this and it’s still daylight outside. It’ll be light again at half-three in the morning.

I love midsummer.

Almost as much as I love midwinter.

man of letters

I have appalling handwriting. Usually I can’t read what I’ve just written down, and for sure no-one else can. So as part-remedy, part-therapy, I practice writing the alphabet on sheets of A4. I use a fountain pen. I concentrate.

I write in clusters of 4 РABCD Рfor four lines, then move forward one letter РBCDE Рand so on until I get to the end of the alphabet, then I begin again. With practice the letters are legible. Still appalling, but legible.

After ten minutes my hand aches to the point I have to stop. Another thing is, as I sequence the letters, I sometimes get the sequence wrong, so if I’m writing VWXY repeatedly for four lines, I’ll mix them up and put VXYW or some such. I can’t help it. My brain jumps like the needle on a sticky record and the letters come out in the wrong order.

When I’m actually writing, not when I’m practicing, the letters reverse their order, or jump between lower and upper case without my consent.

It looks like tHis. Or htis.

I’m moving onto lower case as soon as I master capital letters.



Wrote a list of all the stories I’ve got on the go at the moment. I don’t mind having so many unfinished pieces, they will all get done in time. I do worry that I’ll get hit by a bus or fall off my bike or something before I complete them.

The story I’m currently working on is the second in the Jago trilogy. I’m up to 26k words. Some days I look at the page and I have nothing to write. So I write. And it emerges.

Haven’t quite decided on title yet.

With the enforced stay-at-homeness of the furlough I got round to watching almost the entire MCU movies, which was an exercise in diminishing returns and also begs the question of why is Natalie Portman so rubbish while Scarlett Johansson lights up the screen?

Anyhow, yesterday I turned back to Netflix and began watching the latest in the Jurassic Park series. It’s got dinosaurs, super-dinosaurs, velociraptors and an exploding volcano. It’s even got Chris Pratt.

And I couldn’t finish it*. It was like watching paint dry through a morphine fog. Fair enough, it wasn’t as bad as the more recent MCU movies (Captain Marvel – just¬†why?) but it was not exciting. There was no threat. No danger. No excitement. Zero engagement.

The CGI was good, in that I didn’t notice it, but I spent the last two weeks watching men fly in iron suits and a blonde fella chucking a massive hammer into space, so I’m easy pleased.

But, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom. I was so bored, I had to go back and check the title, cos I forgot it as I began to write this. Ditto Avengers Endgame. Between them they cost around $600 million to make.

JoJo Rabbit, one of the best films of this century, cost $15 million.


*I can’t even be bothered to think of a title for this post.




well, you know

However justified the cause, revolutions devour their children. The French began by decapitating statues, then they decapitated the king, then they decapitated each other. Then they elected an Emperor.

The Russians went through a similar process and they ended up with Stalin.

The Chinese got Mao and a 100 million dead.


Me, I’ll stick with the Magna Carta and everything it has brought in the last 900 years.




Re the current unrest.

I wrote this back in 2009:

is it safe?

I caught glimpse of the White Angel scene from Marathon Man, the Dustin Hoffman movie. Forgot just how tough that film was. Hoffman is in his pomp, but Laurence Olivier is a total monster, both as an actor and as the character, former nazi death-camp Doctor, Christian Szell.

It’s a brutal movie.

when it comes to perfection

I agree with Ruskin, there’s no need to polish the head of a pin. I can burnish at best. A mirror sheen is beyond me.


space mountain

While researching some music for my last post I came across this, which is very very good.