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Showing posts from May, 2008

What a Daft Cult

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'David Boreana-who?' In horror fiction, such as the myriad novels of the late Dennis Wheatley, there are cults galore. Cults that worship Satan are always popular - well, they are with Satan. Also there are cults that worship the Great Old Ones in HP Lovecraft's stories, and those of his many acolytes. It's all good murky fun, of course. If you're not having an orgy you're dressing up in nice robes and sacrificing somebody to something. In reality, though, cults are less fun. Apparently they break up families, brainwash people and are generally a bit nasty and exploitative. This is not surprising, really, as all irrational movements have to dominate vulnerable, unhappy people. They're not likely to get happy, sensible people on board with their nonsense, are they? Which brings me to Scientology. Apparently someone was recently cautioned by a copper in London for holding a placard that describes Scientology as a cult. This is now against the law. I know, i

The Pleasures of Reading

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Perhaps I ought to make clear for British readers (all three of them) that I mean reading books, and not Reading, the town in Berkshire. John Betjeman once mixed the two up when he attended a lecture by Lord David Cecil that bore the title of this very post. Fact. Allegedly. Anyway, I don't know if it's just me or if it's a general middle-aged thing, but I've found that reading brings me less pleasure than it used to. When I was a lad I used to devour a book a day. In the late Seventies a novel or collection of stories (a much rarer treat) cost as little as 35 pence (!). Blimey. I can hardly believe it myself, but it's true. Paperbacks crashed through the one pound barrier at around the time Thatcher came into office. (I can't as yet think of a way of actually blaming her for this, but I'm working on it. ) Any road up, I read voraciously. My favourite authors, during my teen years, were sf writers of the New Wave breed (Ballard, Aldiss, Priest, Holdstock),

A bit wobbly but basically okay

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ST13 is here. A friend who has a car kindly helped me collect it from the depot, where it had languished for a while due to delivery confusion. The magazine's arrival coincided with a minor mishap, whereby I pulled a hamstring, tendon or some other bit of my left calf muscle. I can only afford two calves, being but a humble yeoperson, so nearly losing one was a bit of a bind. Fortunately a weekend spent with my leg in a horizontal position, or very near, seems to have allowed nature's wondrous healing properties time to work. I can now walk about as normally as ever. Hmm. Anyway, I am now posting out copies of the magazine. It's not quite the perfect print job I'd hoped for, but seems eminently readable to me. I do hope everybody likes it.

You're a big parrot, but you're out of shape

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Been to see Treasure Island at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Apparently the show is about to transfer to the West End. It's well worth catching, as this is a very well-paced dramatisation of Stevenson's classic. And yes, it is a kids' book. And there were indeed many small persons for the 7 pm performance on Wednesday. Most of them girls, actually, which is ironic given that RLS described it as a book for boys. If you know your Treasure Island, you'll be aware that the part of Long John Silver was memorably played by Robert Newton, who did it with maximum 'Aharrr! Jim lad!' This could have put the mockers on the production, had not the thesp playing Silver decided to channel Michael Caine. Was this a tribute to Tyneside, and 'Get Carter'? Whatever the reason, it worked well. The cockney gangster Silver was suitably menacing, but didn't lack roguish charm. Interestingly, the play was very faithful to the book, right down to Jim Hawkins' killing