Boo Hoo!

It almost never happens, but a poem, of sorts, just arrived fully formed in my head.

It’s a true story. It happened in a bar in Prague almost thirty years ago.

Here it is:

A skinhead with a swastika tattoo
Apologized for his rude hippy friend
Complaining about foreigners coming
Into his country and taking the jobs
That nobody else wants to do – boo hoo!

Food Bank

All dressed up to be torn down!

This is the former community centre where I used to work. Apart from the food bank, which changed radically at the start of the pandemic, most of the activities had to stop.

We had to move out a few weeks ago. The new place is not half as good, but a few of the other things have started up again.

A New Painting

Bottle, Glass and Guitar

This is the first painting I’ve made in ages. It’s heavily endebted to Juan Gris. Working on it was interesting, many stops and starts. I discovered I agree with quote attributed to Braque, ‘I love the rule that corrects emotion.’ I’m happy with the results. There’s a better painting to be done, but not this week.

Genre Genie

I read a question on Twitter a few minutes ago: What genre do you write in? I have no idea what genre I write in. Broadly speaking I write thrillers, but answering that question made me wonder if that’s true.

Years ago I decided to make my fortune in the movies, so I wrote a screenplay that was a masterpiece of character and story. In a nutshell: a has-been movie star puts himself up as the prize in a competition to try and revive his career. High-jink ensue. The script was called The Big Time. I had access to an agent in LA, and sent off both the script and a prose version of the same story. A couple of weeks later I got a rejection email, which was actually full of useful advice, so, cool!

I applied the advice to the next script and sent that off. Word came back this was something that could be take to a studio. Brilliant! I had it made! Bruce Willis would star in the movie and I could retire to a tropical island and develop an interest in some obscure form of something obscure. Before that could happen, the agent fell out with the person who had put me in touch and my movie became something obscure.

A couple of years later Win a Date with Tad Hamilton came out, I nearly threw up. This does not necessarily mean my scrip was stolen. I got the idea from Tony Curtis, who had been a prize in a competition, and had to go and live with a family for, I think, two weeks.

To salvage something from the situation, I started to turn my action script into a novel. I would sell the movie rights, Bruce Willis would star, and I would retire to a tropical island…

I set to work, before I had finished the first draft I was bored. Rather than throw it out, I decided to play with the form and I ended up with something I liked. The book is The Company of Thieves, and aside from the main story, there’s a parallel story, and many asides exploring the history of minor characters because I wondered how they ended up where they are in the world of the book.

Before I decided to self-publish, I went the traditional route and collected my rejection slips.

In the five years or so since I did publish I’ve sold about ten copies. The strongest response I’ve had was second-hand. Someone started to read it and their initial reaction was, ‘What the fuck is this?’ They threw the book aside, but then couldn’t get it out of their head and had to give it another go; on the second reading they couldn’t put it down.

As I say, that news came to me through someone else.

I just wish they guy who read it had put that on Amazon.

If you would like your very own copy of that very story, you can get it here: paperback; ebook.

The Bridge

This bridge is in Boyle, Co. Roscommon. It crosses the river from what used to be the Royal Hotel carpark to the alley leading to Military Road, and King House, which was once an army barracks. When I was growing up here, the barracks was said to be haunted by a Green Lady, (why, oh why couldn’t she have been a Red Lady? Chris DeBurg, that’s why not!). I remember my father, who was in the army, telling me of all the times he walked through it at night looking for her, and not a ghost in sight.

I don’t know anything about the woman in the photo, perhaps one day, if enough people share this post, she’ll be famous and have her own range of toiletries.

Meanwhile, King House is now a tourist attraction and cultural centre.

You can find more information here.