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—db

Art review: Jenny Hudson

In 2010 I attended an exhibition  at Blackburn College’s University Centre.  It was the graduation of the latest class of Fine Arts students and I was there to see some real art, something I didn’t often get the chance to do.

Unlike your average gallery, university showings are usually full of people who want to talk about what they’re looking at, rather than browsing with pious silence.  This is why I like them, and why I turned up off a train from Sheffield to invade the halls of this building and go from classroom to classroom, each of which had been turned into a mini studio.

I’ve been on a university art course, so I’ll be the first to say that such places produce a lot of crap.  My field was writing, and I know bad writing.  Many people will probably agree on what I would call bad art, and there was  a modest share on display at the Blackburn exhibit.  But I was glad to see a lot of experimental art, a rough and ready mix of funky stuff, a few pieces featuring Spider-Man which gave me geek-grins, and a number of portraits.

An artist who stood out was Jenny Hudsen née Sumner, who has recently uploaded her portfolio to Redbubble.  A portrait artist from Great Harwood near Blackburn, Jenny has a flair for capturing personality on canvas.

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I’m lucky enough to know Jenny and subjected her to a quick Q&A session this month.  For an artist she is surprisingly grounded and laconically describes herself as “Deadpan.  Realistic.  Recluse.”  Devoid of airs and graces, she recognises the difficulties of being in a creative field.

“[The difficulties are] the same as in any creative profession: lack of demand, lack of audience and huge competition.  There are millions of very talented artists in the world.  Unlike the music industry, for example, there aren’t many people who require or can afford art, and it seems out of reach.  The art world is also an intimidating place for most, and the stigma of pretentiousness that is attached to it doesn’t help.  I try to keep things simple and unpretentious.  Hopefully my work is more accessible than some other forms of contemporary art.”

To Jenny, art is a philosophy.  She is a fan of any medium, as long as it is emotive and touches a nerve.   She says that “[a]s long as people have opinions and questions, art will always be necessary.”

She isn’t afraid to rise to her own challenge either: her portraits burst with character and emotion.

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"Mum 4" - Jenny Hudson

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SAMSUNG

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SAMSUNG

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Jenny told me, “I like the challenge of a portrait.  If the structural drawing beneath the paint isn’t accurate, then the whole piece fails.  It’s personal satisfaction more than anything else, though it is also satisfying when a person recognises themselves or a loved one and remarks on the similarity.  I feel like I’ve done my job correctly.”

jenny2

Far be it for this reviewer to define an artist’s job.  This, surely, is subjective and personal.  Open to self-analysis, Jenny didn’t mind being probed about the modest hues in her portraits:

“I think the pale pallette was mostly down to a lack of confidence; as the years have progressed, so has the depth of colour.  These days I think I’ve “found” the style with which I’m most comfortable, and the pallette has become bolder with more contrast.  My most recent painting shows this clearly, when compared to past portraits.  However, I am very influenced by Euan Uglow, who often made his structural pencil marks visible beneath the paint.  I like how this “spells out” how a painting is constructed, and how this is immediately available to the audience.  I think it makes the whole thing less intimidating and more logical to the viewer.”

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DB:  If any artist in history offered to paint your portrait, who would you want it to be and why?

JH:  Euan Uglow.  He kept things simple and analytical, which is what I aim for.  His structural pencil marks were often visible through the paint, which made it easier for the viewer to “understand”.  Part of the the reason why I used to use very thin, pale paint was because of Uglow.  To me, it’s like a writer presenting their research as well as the finished novel, or mathematician showing their “workings” as well as the final solution.  I like people seeing how art is created.

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DB:  Last film you watched?  Last album you listened to? (if not most recent, then favourites)

JH:  I watch several films a day now that we have Netflix!  One of my favourites is still Adaptation [2002, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman].  I watched that again last week. It’s such an hilarious and clever representation of the creative process, and all the self-deprecation and doubt that accompanies it, as well as what can happen under pressure. My music interests change weekly, at the moment it seems to be 90s-00s hip hop!

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DB:  Who or what inspires you most, in life, not just in painting?

JH:  I’m sure this is most peoples’ stock answer, but my Mum. She’s the reason I’m still here.

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Jenny Hudson

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Jenny’s profile and gallery can be found on Rebubble here.

She is also currently taking queries and commissions via her e-mail address, renmus [at] hotmail.co.uk.

— db

Yesterday, 25th May, was International Towel Day.

I’ve been harping on about this on Facebook for a couple of weeks and I’m quite sure no-one knows what the hell is wrong with me anymore, but that’s because many of them have yet to have their minds and hearts delightfully corrupted by the wondrous “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series of books, by the late great Douglas Adams.

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7556-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-movie

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For other like-minded ladies and gentlemen, here is a profound explanation of the importance of towels, as found in Chapter 3 of Adams’ work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)”

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There are five books in Adam’s original Hitchhiker’s series, and a sixth novel written by Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer, which I haven’t read and probably never will.  No disrespect to Colfer, but I have such a close relationship with the original books that any semi-official additions seem distinctly sacriligious.

I’m not the only person who feels this way.  These short, humourous science-fiction novels have brought so much joy to readers that they hold them close to their hearts in the way that only a genuinely funny, insightful author could achieve.  The bittersweet tone of the last two books in particular establishes Adams as a writer with great heart.

So what the hell is this Towel Day all about?

It’s a simple commemoration of the author, who was not only a great writer, but a proponent of environmental protection, technological innovation, as well as a respectful (and erudite) atheist.  Adams died suddenly twelve years ago to widespread grief.   The simple towel, as described above, is as good a mascot as any for his commemoration – not to mention that Adams would no doubt love the silliness of knowing that thousands, maybe millions of people around the world are all walking around with towels…

The dedication is huge.  The official Facebook page has some great stories and photos of people across the globe who are celebrating Adam’s life and work in this uniquely peculiar way:

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chile

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scrabble

Thumbing for spacecraft (https://www.facebook.com/towelday)

 

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kurdistan iraq

Wearing your towel for protection against solar radiation, in Kurdistan, Iraq (https://www.facebook.com/towelday)

 

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texas 2

Texas – With these towels they do wed! (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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This hoopy frood from Texas already has a ride (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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israel

The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, from Israel (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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This couple has found the Answer (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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star wars

May 25th is also a Star Wars anniversary, so there are plenty of weird franchise-mixes going on … Stormtroopers celebrate (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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argentina

Group celebrations in Argentina (www.facebook.com/towelday)

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6WiQp6T

A towel as a cape in India (http://imgur.com/6WiQp6T)

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astronauts

Get this – astronauts on the International Space Station know where their towels are! (twitter.com/AstroSamantha)

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Most of these amazing photos are pilfered from the Facebook page, which I expect will keep running each year.  You can also read about the massive support worldwide at the official site.

There are also numerous shots of pets with their towels, so it’s great to see our quadrupedal planetary co-inhabitants joining in the fun (no dolphins yet though).

I also happened to come across this restaurant whilst taking a walk in Leeds yesterday, so I just had to take a photo:

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The 42 restaurant and bar in Leeds, England

A restaurant and bar, prominent at no.42 on a street in Leeds, England

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Why do I care about all this?

Not because I have an interest in towels, or even for the basic pleasures of supporting a much-admired writer and activist.

It’s partly because Adams suffered from crippling low confidence (not to mention writer’s block), as many of us do, but mainly because his books have always managed to make me laught out loud, even on my darkest days.

No other writer else has been able to do that before or since.

—db

So Facebook has its uses.  It comes to my attention that this week in the UK is “National Stationery Week”.

What does that mean?  Apparently it’s an effort to increase literacy in children and even get them hand-writing more letters.

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National Stationery Week

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Organiser Chris Leonard-Morgan says:

“Writing by hand is more important than ever in today’s digital age, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the National Literacy Trust which is the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK, and does amazing work in this area.”

(quote stolen from www.literacytrust.org.uk)

The official site here tells us that “technology has merely distracted us from the joy and importance of writing, it hasn’t replaced it. “

Too right.  I remember some great days when convenience didn’t stop me and a good friend writing long letters by hand during intolerable University terms breaks.  Envelopes decorated with poor doodles would fly back and forth via the stalwarts at Royal Mail (who also sponsor NSW).

Receiving a hand-written letter in the morning to read with a nice cup of Earl Grey made me feel like this:

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Snoopy Happy Dance

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– only surrounded by giant swirls of colour, stars and moonbeams.

Receiving an e-mail, however nice its contents, doesn’t really match that feeling.

In an effort to celebrate I’m going to reminisce about the contents of my old school pencil case.

A rectangular tin.  What was on it?  Silver on the inside, scuffed with streaks of graphite and a spot of ink.

Containing:

–  One HB pencil, stubby, with teeth marks.

– One HB pencil, brand new, ideally with a rubber on the end (not to be used until stubby is too short to sharpen)

– A small silver pencil sharpener

– A rhomboid rubber with two colours

– One each black and red Biro

– A “good pen” (not for lending)

– A translucent blue protractor, and likewise set-square and six inch ruler

– At one time or another, maybe a mouse-shaped Tip-Ex “pen” for all those botched maths answers.

This was circa 1997.  Those were the days.

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http://www.bagsoflove.co.uk/images/h-printed-pencil-case_l.jpg

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I’m all for getting people to hand write letters.  It’d be a fascinating experiment to see how people get by without predictive text and spellcheck.

And maybe it will get people being creative again.

Draw a little doodle.  Love your friends.  Send joy in an envelope to someone!

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http://theharperstudio.com/wp-content/themes/harperStudio/images/2009/08/send-a-letter.jpg

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— db

I’m sorry to say that I’ll be ditching Wattpad.  Why?

Because I want to be a writer, and that place isn’t helping.

For those of you who don’t know, Wattpad is a social networking site designed for writers to upload their stories, share them, and get other people’s feedback.  It’s kind of a living workshop, and there are also forums to chat about writing, books and other topics.

I suppose the problem with an “upload-it-yourself” site is that you get a lot of junk.  And Wattpad is FULL of junk.  How come everyone else isn’t sick of One Direction fanfics and terrible, unfinished teen romance novels?  Do the writers of this dross read each other’s dross, or does everyone think theirs is better than the last fifty people’s?

I suppose the natural response would be “Well, it sounds like YOU’RE guilty of thinking YOU’RE better.”  Honestly?  I’m not the best writer on Wattpad.  But I strive for originality and creativity, and there’s so little of those things on Wattpad.

I’ve found some genuine talent on there, and I’m confident that there’s a lot more out there I haven’t seen yet.  If you’re a member, take a look at my profile and the writers I’ve “followed” for some great work.  But unfortunately writers like those are few and far between.

Sadly for me, I’m not learning, and I’m not writing the kind of stuff that people on Wattpad seem to want to read.  If I fall in love with a boyband member and want to describe my first intimate experience with him, I’ll let them all know.

Until then I may transfer some of the free stories on there back to this blog and hope for the best.

Good luck to all the Wattpad writers out there hoping to be “discovered”.  Keep it different, keep it tight.

Love,

–db

I occasionally get the chance to review early copies of books and magazines, and usually jump at the chance.  This has backfired once or twice – one author sent me a 350-page pile of steaming dung that I gave up on, only to be stuck on his mailing list and receiving endless self promotion despite numerous entreaties and threats – but often I get a real treat.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Morpheus Tales‘ special Apocalypse issue.  There are a number of special issues floating around from this publisher but this one caught my eye, not least because my novel “Half Discovered Wings” was a good stab at my own brand of what I call “apocalypsia” fiction.  I was interested in seeing what other writers came up with.

 

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This fantastically pulpy cover houses 12 stories.  There’s probably a surfeit of material here as there are more than a few uninspiring duds.  Thankfully the rest of the magazine is made up of some crackers which, if they don’t get you thinking, will at the very least give you a good dose of end-of-the-world fun to perfectly suit a dreary March afternoon.

I’ll skip some of the less original flops but, with the good stuff in sight, will open with “Long Cold Night” by Richard Farren Barber.  Apocalypsia relies on a decent concept that will be the foundation of the story.  In Stephen King’s “The Stand”, we can believe that a killer virus wiped out a helluva lot of people.  That’s what viruses do.  In Barber’s story here, we’re led to believe that oil running out sooner than expected causes the end of civilization.  People are roaming the countryside for food.  I don’t quite buy how this is possible and despite some credible writing, the story fails before it really begins.  We’re told that green energies weren’t enough, but aren’t told why.  I’m pretty sure that the governments of the world can figure something out with solar panels and nuclear energy, which currently supplies something like 15% of the world’s electricity.  Are we forgetting that we got by for thousands of years before Edison pinged his first bulb…?

A sad failure, but hopefully one that makes a point.  I get tired of harping on about it, but originality should be the cornerstone of every single story you write.  “Long Cold Night” takes an idea that hasn’t really been closely examined (I seem to remember the inspid sci-fi family fungus that was Matt LeBlanc’s “Lost in Space” mentioning it, but little else since), which is commendable.  But it smacks of lack of research, and worse than this, fails even to take a poor concept and make it believable, if not plausible.

Just keeping things plausible doesn’t mean you’re automatically onto a winner though, nor is the other way around true.  A series of immense sinkholes follows the inexplicable draining of the oceans in the sweet little story “Songs of Goodbye” by Dev Jarrett.  Do I believe that 326 million trillion gallons of water (I’m trusting Google there) can just drain into the Earth’s crust?  Not really.  But did I care when I watched a father and daughter share a moment together?  Nope!  Dev exhibits fine prose and great descriptive talent.  The writer’s similies are flawless and keep the narrative jumping until the characters take over.  This is probably my pick of the stories.

A creepy little number called “Thunder Bay” is another highlight.  This brief tale by Robin Wyatt Dunn gives us a glimpse into the un-life of a cannibalistic reanimated corpse.  It’s like “Omega Man” got X-rated.  First person with snappy narrative, this is writing as opposed to just telling a story, and stands out a mile amidst the the rest of this month’s Morpheus Tales.

Whereas these two personal faves represent the magazine’s total stock of literary goodness, it’s probably fair to say that you don’t pick up an “Apocalypse Special” expecting talent worthy of critical acclaim.  Other writers have done it – I’m thinking “The Road” and “The Drowned World” here – but it’s also a genre for some good old fun…

“Generation Sorrow” by J. B. Ronan.  Either this story is tongue-in-cheek ironic or just plain silly (I prefer to think the former) but this story of porcine genetic modification gone wrong is an enjoyable read, suitably dark and vivid, and has an interesting premise for the decline of modern society.  The special gets another short jolt of dark humour with “My Pretty Pony” by Alan Loewen.  This amusing piece gives readers a little giggle and Hasbro a cause to sue.  A welcome tonic from the dreariness of the rest of the mag.

Even though Matt Brolly’s “Yellow” is yet another take on the “virus ends everything” trope, it still rings truer than many other stories of its type.  The special’s final story is a cracker (even if it does contain the dumb line “the suicides are too dangerous to live”) and is worth special attention with a cup of tea by the window with the wind blowing outside.  His prose isn’t up to J. G. Ballard’s standard but it hums along fine; it’s the moments of insights into his characters that keep this moving along, maybe remind us on the way of “The Happening” or the flashback scenes from “I Am Legend“.

Is the mag worth picking up?  At a temporary special price of £4, I’d say yes, especially as you can have it beamed straight to your smartphone or ebook.  Hunker down, ignore the clouds outside and let the world end.

—db

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The Morpheus Tales Apocalypse Special Issue is available from Lulu.com here.

You can Like the Facebook page here for news and updates.

Have anything to say?  Please leave a comment!

 

I imagine a canvas about A3 size, arranged landscape.

In the centre are three magnificent buildings: on the left is the pale marvel of Udaipur City Palace.  On the right is the golden fortress of Jaisalmer.  And in the centre, a gleaming pearl, is the Taj Mahal.  These are large and form the focal point of the painting.

To the left of these is Lisa’s face.  She is wearing brown sunglasses with large lenses, and she is smiling.  The brown lenses reflect the Taj Mahal and a flare of light.

Around her head, like petals on a flower, are several distinct items of clothing.  These will include but aren’t limited to: voluminous yellow trousers; a long purple top; a pink sari.  Woven around these items are splashes of liquid colour that run up and down the canvas.  The splashes have the vague suggestion of flowers or fireworks, which fills the top-left-hand corner of the canvas.

To the right of the three buildings is an auto-rickshaw with a green roof.  It could be leaping out of the page.  Its driver is a scrawny man of indeterminate age.  There may or may not be people in the passenger seats behind.  The vehicle bursts out of another splash of colour, this like an explosion of festival powder, which contains long streaks of Arabesque curls and stripes.  Beneath this are the words TUK TUK.

Above and to the right of the rickshaw, in the top-right corner, is a male Indian face looking outward.  He has a black sweep of hair, thick lips, wide eyes.  Shadows on his features make him appear menacing.  Above him is a street sign that reads: Tourist Information Centre.  These words appear to be enclosed in an elongated sun, but this is actually a speech bubble with twenty spikes, each denoting one of twenty voices.

In the centre of the canvas, at the bottom below the three buildings, is a cow.  She isn’t interested in looking at the viewer.  In her mouth is a bright gajra, the garland of marigolds that can be found in every shop and dwelling during festival time.  Flowers and petals are littered around her front hoofs.  The trail leads ahead, to the bottom-left corner of the canvas, by which point they have merged indistinctly with the currents of a long river: the mother Ganges.

Tiny floating candles glow amidst the currents.  Above the river float several tiny but distinct Hindu gods, in the Indian “miniature painting” style.  Amongst them are recognizably a praying Shiva, a seated Ganesh, Hanuman leaping with a mountain in one hand and his mace in the other, and the dancing Kali.

The cow is not alone.  Standing at her side, almost obscuring her, is a black water buffalo.  His head is picking up grass or garlands from the ground by his front right hoof, displaying his heavy horns.  His sharp hip bones protrude from his flanks.

Behind the cow and buffalo is a longer trail of flowers, which surround a circular fountain in the bottom-right corner of the canvas.  The base of the fountain is decorated with stone birds.  Water sprays upward, glistening.  It almost touches the front wheel of the auto-rickshaw above.

Rising from the flowers by the fountain is a green topiary elephant.  The leaves are painted in minute, exquisite detail.  It is rising up on its rear legs.  Behind this, almost like a shadow, is a realistic depiction of a real elephant.  We see the flaps of its ears; its domed head; the long curve of its trunk; and its tusks.  This is all.

Move across the canvas, past the cow and buffalo and the river, to the blank space that is to the left of Lisa’s face.  A woman is painted here in ochre hues.  She looks from under her orange hood to the left, away from the centrepiece.  Her bangled arm is stretched out; she is begging.  The woman is not too old or gaunt.  Beside her, clutching her skirts, is a young boy or girl.  The child is looking directly at the viewer.  Behind the child may be an emaciated street dog with patchy fur, at the very edge of the canvas.

The remaining blank space is above the centrepiece of forts.  Here in large letters of appropriate font and colour is the world INDIA.  Beneath this in small letters reads: a portrait.  More colour explodes from behind the words.  To the left of the giant “I” are the blue-green feathers of a peacock, the country’s national bird.  To the right of the giant “A” is a faithful reproduction of a kingfisher, exactly how it appears on the label of the eponymous beer.

Where there are small gaps between all these images, the space can be filled with chunky lettering saying one of three phrases: “Tuk-tuk?” – “Hello come inside” – “Namaste”.

—db

Thinkin’ Wild

About three years ago I suddenly found myself single and living alone, but for two cats.  It was a quiet, lonesome period, a new age, and I now had more time to kill than I knew what to do with.

Getting home after work was a short routine: feed the two felines, perform some basic chores, maybe read for an hour.  I’d spend the last hours of the evening with a simple meal and a whiskey digestif in front of a film.  All the films I never had the chance to watch with my girlfriend at the time.

These were the usual boys-only affairs.  Bond films.  Tense thrillers.  Science fiction.  Old classics.  Old classic science fiction.  And Westerns.

I spent more time with Clint Eastwood in those first few months than I did with anyone else I knew.  They’re perfect “alone” films, enhanced by awe-inspiring scenery, blue skies drowning the horizon, the lone gunslinger tiny against a backdrop of wind and whirling dust.  It takes a place like Monument Valley to make a man feel small, or isolated.  And they’re often films about a singular man surviving all odds.

I had the mad idea to write a Western one day.

Clint in "For a Few Dollars More"

Clint in “For a Few Dollars More”

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Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman in "Unforgiven"

Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman in “Unforgiven”

Early ideas were derivative spaghetti nonsense involving violent unjustified bloodletting.  Anyone can spin out a yarn of bounty hunters, a savage vengeance run, or the coming a shadowy stranger to free an ailing boom town from packs of outlaws.

I shelved the notion in favour of other projects.  And eventually I wasn’t alone anymore.

Still, the idea persisted.   Every piece of cookie-cutter High Noon trash gave me another idea that I tried to turn on its head and make original (people following my comments on Wattpad forums will know that originality is what I call the holy grail of writing).  I kept finding myself reading Robert E. Howard and wondering whether Zane Grey was really outdated.

There’ve been a few modern Westerns released in cinemas in the last few years.  I remember watching “Tombstone” on TV when I was in college.  And around that time, “Unforgiven” taught us that you didn’t need dull metal implements to scare someone stiff.  There was that cookie John Carpenter film.   Another by Tarantino that also ended up being something other than it started out, in ’96.  Personal favourites in recent years include “3:10 to Yuma”, “Seraphim Falls” and “True Grit” – all remakes of classics I never saw the first time around.

Tarantino hasn’t been able to stay away, actually.  “From Dusk Till Dawn” was a supernatural macguffin, and the director revisited his penchant for Sergio Leone-style Westerns in “Kill Bill”.  This year saw the controversial “Django Unchained” in cinemas to critical acclaim.

Christian Bale promises to have outlaw Russell Crowe aboard the "3:10 to Yuma"

Christian Bale promises to have outlaw Russell Crowe aboard the “3:10 to Yuma”

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White and black hats in a tale of vengeance: "Seraphim Falls" with Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson

White and black hats in a tale of vengeance: “Seraphim Falls” with Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson

It keeps the Wild West in one’s consciousness, even though many critics agree that there are no new stories to be told, and that these tales are outdated (despite timeless themes such as vengeance).

I suppose that now might be as good a time as any to brush off my muse’s old shooting irons and see if I can’t make a Stetson out of my thinking cap.  A certain publisher is looking for short, pulpy Western novels and I’m already putting my brand in the fire.

I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes, if it goes at all.

—db

Hello everyone.

If it seems like a long time, then obviously you haven’t been following the adventures of Lisa and I on our travel blog.  Head on over there now to catch up on our escapades through India and Asia.  Thanks to everyone who’s been making us smile by liking and commenting on our posts.

It’s time to wake up Spinning Lizard once again with some updates.

Firstly, that’s right – I’ve been seeing the world.  Expect a couple of travel-related posts including the odd photo gallery in the near future.

“What’s happening with your writing?” I hear you ask (or not).  The answer is, not much: I’ve spent a few spare minutes these last four months editing and reworking my novels and stories for publication.  Efforts to find and agent for “Faith in Chrome last year were fruitless, so I’m working on getting my other piece of speculation ready for putting out there.  You can read a little more about “SubStantial” here.

I’ll also be writing – get this – a Western very soon, along with an exciting piece of Young Adult fiction.  I expect to have plenty of time this current year to bang uot some first drafts.

Did you find the time to read any Journal RSR, the alternate-reality journal I kept over 2011-12?  If you missed it, you’ll find it starting afresh on the more appropriate Wattpad.   It’s now under the name Reks: A Journal and not only will it soon get up to speed with at least one update a week, it will also continue Reks’ journey through the mysterious brooding world of Treen from the point I left off.

In the meantime, if you’re coming over through Google or via Overunderpants, stay in touch via my Twitter or Facebook profiles.

Thanks for reading.

—db

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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