Monthly Archives: March 2017

Some Notes On Reading

Ian McGuire -The North Water

I stumbled across the Amazon bestsellers list last week and checked out the most popular subjects in the Amazon table; rebel girls, dieting, Mother’s Day, Fearne Cotton, big knickers, more mums. We all need to relax, so I’m not criticising the reading quality (although it does set a pretty low bar), but what struck me […]

Brass Monkeys VI: Last Days

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I’m a convert. Having always loved jungles and deserts, I’m not prepared to admit another alternative; the arctic snowscape gives you a blank white canvas on which to write your dreams. This is a wilderness that needs to be captured by artists and on film before it goes. The recent shocking rise in Arctic temperatures […]

Brass Monkeys V: Pyramiden

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A few more shots of the strange, abandoned and occasional polar bear home that is Pyramiden. First, some of the film rolls no-one has checked out in the abandoned cinema… The sub-zero basketball court, left like everything else, as if the town simply vanished overnight… And the hallway, leading to communal areas where walls are […]

Brass Monkeys IV: Inside The Dream Land

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Some years ago writer Nicholas Royle edited a collection of writers’ dreams – ‘The Tiger Garden’ , and I wrote about my recurring dream, in which I enter a baroque cinema and sit down in the auditorium, but never get to see the film being played. At the abandoned mining town of Pyramiden, we reach […]

Brass Monkeys III

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The on-board instructions at the bottom of the safety pamphlet should have been a clue about what we were getting ourselves in for. I couldn’t see how merely keeping my hopes up were going to work out in water filled with ice floes. The ship was taking us north-east to the abandoned Russian mining town […]

Celebrating 20 E-Books: ‘Spanky’

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So there I am, standing in the shop window of a bookshop in Bluewater shopping mall of all places, next to a gigantic man dressed in leather stockings, a thong, wings and size 11 court shoes. It was my own fault. I had wanted to write a novel that updated the Faust legend. I thought; […]

Brass Monkeys II

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We arrived in Oslo in heavy fur coats, only to find it warmer than London. This is where we remember that the UK is further north than anyone realises or is prepared to acknowledge. We are by nature more Viking, German and Scandinavian that anything else. Oslo was full of hipsters in shorts and girls […]

I’m Moving To A Five-Post Week

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Thanks to those who offered me advice about social media, and the time it eats up in my job. I think the best way to deal with this is by making a small change. Due to Brexit and rising prices, I shall be switching to a five-post working week online. (Well, that’s what everybody else […]

Brass Monkeys

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The boiler broke down last weekend, and I remained wrapped in layers to type. I detest the damp and cold – not ideal for someone born in the Northern hemisphere. So for my trip tomorrow I think I must have gone mad. How did I ever get talked into this? My ideal holiday is a […]

London Endures

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The London Mayor Sadiq Khan is right; terror attacks are part and parcel of living in a big city and you have to be vigilant to combat the dangers. Donald Trump Jr  just launched an attack of his own on Kahn (on Twitter, this presidency’s preferred mode of communication for the conducting of ill-informed dialogue). Kahn […]