Saturday 24 November 2012

Nothing to say

Now I understand where all the time went.
Today is the first day I have not been writing for over a month. I tell a lie, I didn’t write last Saturday either because I was at a book signing. Thank you to all you lovely people who bought books from me, I hope you all enjoy them. The day was such a success I have since had to refill my ink pen.
In fact, I tell another lie. I am writing today – this! I have no idea what it’s about, though. That’s the thing I suppose, that I feel I have to write something. Maybe it’s like a wish and the day you stop wishing for it, you stop believing it will ever happen.
But after 80,000 words in 24 days, I surely would have run out of things to say?
Yes, I suppose I have. But it’s always nice to say something, isn’t it? And the good thing about writing this is that I don’t have to think about it.
No plot. No story. Not even any jokes.
The one thing I do have though is music. New music - stuff I have downloaded but not had the chance to listen to, because I can’t listen music when I write. I know some writers can but to me music is art and art needs to be appreciated. On our wall we have a few pictures and they get looked at, studied even, every hour when I’m at work. Each time the eyes focus on something different in the picture which gives the words a break. Guess what? While I’m distracted, the next words get chance to organise themselves inside my head - all on their very own.
Music is the same. I can’t just hear it, I have to listen and that causes me a problem - because, unlike the pictures, lyrics stay and scratch their letters on my inner wall. And now we have a battle. Music verses the written word.
My written word.
I would so love those lyrics to inspire me rather than distract, but they can’t. Not even musical notes. Every one stays right in there, nudging its way to the fore of my here-and-now and dismissing my own creativity to the back benches.
Some statistics somewhere will show that singer-songwriters are failed poets. Likewise, poets, and possibly many writers, are failed musicians. Well, I’m saddened to announce: that’s me, in a sentence.
I would give my right testicle to be a musician. Both even.
To be able to put my slant on any song I have ever enjoyed, and sell it back to the world in my own name, would be the ultimate bliss. Furthermore, to write my own chords and words into something that flowed like droplets down a window pane - and then have the ability to play it on an instrument. Heaven wouldn’t even come close.
Yes, music is my first love, and always will be.
I’ve missed it over this last month. Welcome back.
In fact welcome, Christine Collister, I am really enjoying your new album and I have only just heard of you. And then you have another five albums for me to immerse myself in.
So much so, I’m going to be selfish and give it my full attention on my day off.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

They shoot horses, don't they?

         Little England? That’s what they have labelled the area where I chose to live. God help us if it is.

And what a load of fucking of morons we are?
No problem to us who live in or near the Dordogne, we realise that ITV’s now flagship programme is just a piss-take. Little England, in my view, is actually far funnier than Little Britain. So now we have a second series, great.
But somewhere along the line, this slice of utter nonsense is seen by people back in UK with even less intelligence that the ones it portrays on the programme, and, just like the tardy soaps they waste their miserable lives on, they believe it’s real. And then, next thing we know, even more lunatics are deciding that moving to a foreign country with which they have no affinity, zero understanding and not even the remotest grasp of the language.
But what will they do when they get here. Something rational perhaps?
A horse sanctuary? How sensible is that? Who the hell will fund looking after a dozen half-dead horses? The French wont, that’s for sure. A quote from Brian, its sponsor: ‘when you retire a horse, you don’t just stick in a field and forget about it.’
No Brian, you either put it down painlessly, or send it to a pair of prats like you who will spend your money feeding it, instead of ours. Until you run out.
Then we meet two more imbeciles, buying an even deader campsite with their retirement cheque, that’s been empty for 10 years. I wonder why? Yes, you can buy a Siberian mud hut for a fiver if you want. Nobody wants it, because it eats more money than a six foot horse.
When I was younger I set up a few businesses – and my first couple failed, miserably. The reason? It has a lot to do with lack of market-research.
That’s alone is what converts an idea into a business plan.
How arrogant that English people think they can just set up a business under the noses of the locals and make it successful when the locals can’t – just because they’re English?
It’s a good job the French are so busy laughing at the self-styled idiots to take offence by implementing a euthanasia policy for ex-pat's with a single figure IQ! .

Monday 5 November 2012

Trumpy the spider-frog

Despite those who consider that we spend our daily lives entirely in the sun, we do get quite a winter here in SW France. And it’s just arrived. Well sort of. I mean, it was, oh deary me, nearly down to ten degrees on the weekend! So the time has come to move everything indoors away from the potential frost and cold mornings, including the geraniums, lemon trees and the exterior kitchen.
It is also the time for creatures to come in too, of which I was reminded last night when a mouse spent the entire night rummaging around under the bed. After waking up screaming in fear of this mighty beast, Wendy decanted into another bedroom while I slept on. Scratch-scratch, rustle-rustle, it went, possibly having a picnic with some left over sweeties. Eventually I succumbed to checking under the bed only to find it was not a mouse at all, but none other than a moth, noisily flapping its wings in an attempt to shake off a spider’s web which it was wearing like a coat. Despite the urge to stamp on the thing out of spite after it disturbing my beauty sleep, my kind heart compelled me to expel it from the window instead. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken into account that it was unable to fly, due to its silk straight-jacket, as it plummeted helplessly to the bushes below to be gobbled up by lizards. C’est la vie. I did try.
Then this morning, with a mountain of writing to catch up with, I am at my desk at 6am when another beast catches the corner of my eye as it scuttles across the floor. Well, it doesn’t exactly scuttle, more sort of leaps. This time I see it clearly, a huge mass of grey hair that would befit the most toxicant of tropical arachnids. Even I felt the urge to raise my bare feet up onto the next rung. But spiders don’t jump do they? Any more than mice can fly? On closer inspection, this was actually a tiny frog who had amassed a ball of hair around it which had been shed to the floor by Louis the Pointless Pointer and stuck to its scaly skin until it looked like Donald Trump on a space-hopper! Now there’s an image you don’t consider every day? What that says about the state of our cleanliness, I am unsure!
This time of year also brings us into rugby season where grown men charge around in the rain knocking seven bells out of each other in the name of sport. Now it is common knowledge that the majority of these players are tree-trunks of men to the extent that some of their brains may even be subject to vertigo. So why does ESPN employ an elf to interview them? Yes, this tiny but perfectly formed little blonde Welsh girl, who would need a ladder to even sniff the jock-strap on some of these giants, gets to ask them personal questions, presumably through a loud-hailer like a celtic Stuart Little. Mind you she is married to Irish rugby lock Simon Easterby who is at least 100 feet taller than her and they just had a baby. Hollywood should use it as a script for a King-Kong sequel.
A few months ago I wrote of the absurdities of French rules, many of which had been brought in with little consideration for common sense. Well it appears that, somewhere in the bowels of Parisian government offices, someone has suddenly found some and decided to scrap the derisory ruling about having to carry breathalyser kits in cars. Yes, it was a stupid law, for a hundred reasons. But then we discover that the u-turn is not for reasons of intellectuality but for that of miscalculation, as they simply haven’t made enough kits to go round. This, for a country which has more bureaucrats than Jimmy Saville’s had ten year-old Cubans, seems a somewhat pathetic excuse. How difficult is it to count your own population, Monsieur ‘Ollande? Do you actually know your derriere from your elbau?
Then, as if the malady of incapability is catching, we hear that the British government have too done an about-turn, this time on the subject of pest control. Of course, I am referring to the badger cull, due to take place in the south Midlands of England, um, last month? After sending in an entire army of beardies to do the maths it appears that, although our aficionados can count beans, they are unable to count black and white nocturnal animals to within an accuracy of 50%. It would be laughable but for the outcome of this ludicrous oversight which will continue to threaten the beef and dairy industry of UK to near extinction.
Bringing me neatly on to a little announcement of my own. As many may know, for years I earned my living amongst the pedigree livestock industry and enjoyed every minute of it. So I feel that it is of some reward that I have now been drafted back into it in my career as a writer. Starting this week, I have a accepted a little project to author the History of Aberdeen Angus Cattle over the last half-century, a job which will keep me busy for some time. To compile this coffee-table styled doorstop of a volume will require extensive research and entail me travelling the land, interviewing many of the older generation who have been instrumental in the breed’s redevelopment. For those in the know, which I am sure Tony Neath will back me up, by the early sixties the Angus, along with the Hereford, was reduced to a size no taller than the afore mentioned Welsh bird, in-keeping with overseas demand from Argentina’s corned beef industry, but rendering it little use for much else. For the next 60 years some extremely clever men had to rebuild the genetics into the monster beast that is now the industry’s leading beef producer. Somewhere in the middle of that, a few ungainly long-legged animals resembling ‘black stick-insects’ were imported from Canada in the eighties and paraded, often by a younger me, to a throng of agricultural sneers. They say it’s great when a plan comes together, and I am looking forward to piecing this jigsaw into order and getting my teeth into the project, in more ways than one!
Meanwhile, in a moment of madness, I have volunteered for a couple of charity undertakings during the month of November both of which I am already beginning to regret. Firstly, I have teamed up with 300,000 other participants around the globe to endeavour to write a novel in 30 days for National Novel Writing Month. The rules are quite simple, it must be of at least 50,000 words long and possibly make sense. As I sit here, I am nearly half way through and struggling with the latter part of that requirement. The second, of equal irritation is that I have once again decided to join that band of merry men advocating awareness of men’s health issues and grow a moustache for Movember. Anyone who comes into contact with me in the next few week might find me rattling my begging bowl. You can run, but you can’t hide!