bookmark_borderI was in London

And there I met some people I know, and some I don’t know, and hobnobbed with celebrities (not really), and ate and drank and walked about a lot and even went and stood in a big black box that was very very dark indeed.

The main reason I was in London was to attend a book launch, at the Groucho club. You know, the ones celebrities (and as it turns out, non-celebrities) fall out of a lot. The book in question was Girl with a One Track Mind Exposed which is a most excellent, moving and filthy read. It also marks the second time I’ve been mentioned in a book (in the Acknowledgements no less!) which was something I only found out on Monday night at the launch itself and which I’ll happily confessed I’m hugely touched and honoured by.

The party was fun and after arriving a little later than others (and spoiling their moment) much free drink and merriment was had. Obligatory name dropping follows. I didn’t talk to either Ben Miller (of Armstrong & Miller), David Mitchell (of Mitchell & Webb), Jay Rayner (of Claire Rayner’s womb), or Heather Brooke (of that whole MP expense scandal (as in she worked on it, not was involved in it) at least I think it was her).

There may have been other celebrities/people who have been on TV there but I’m terrible with names. I’m pretty bad at keeping up with people at the best of times, this is something made a lot hard when said people are bloggers, so I hope my surprise at hearing that two bloggers whom I’ve read for many years are, completely unbeknownst to me, happily married was taken as exactly that. I really wasn’t kidding, I didn’t have a clue.

There is a tale involving David Mitchell but I’ll let the perpetrator tell it. I did feel a bit sorry for the parties involved, a bit. And as usual it was good to put names to faces, although I do now wish I’d been wearing a cravat

Tuesday and I spent the day wandering random parts of London, stopping off for a quick perusal of a large steel box in the Tate Modern. I’m still very much in the learning phase of ‘art’ and perhaps I should’ve taken mike up on his offer of spending sometime wandering the Gorky exhibition. It was via Twitter that he realised we were both there at the same time, but I didn’t want to intrude on his day too much and I was also quite enjoying wandering about on my own .. another time though, I do badly need educated on that whole ‘art’ thing (hmmm, perhaps I should stop ‘quoting’ it like that for starters).

And then to the National Film Theatre bar where I spent a quite hour nursing sore feet and a large gin and tonic, and waited for a very random group of wonderful and most excellent people who I’m still amazed can be arsed to trawl to a somewhat hard to find bar just because I’ve said I’m there. It still baffles me somewhat and I console myself be remembering that they are all there to see everyone, and that I’m more than happy to be the catalyst for such an event, rather than the main attraction (god forbid!).

All in all a good couple of days in London, which was all down to the company I kept. You guys are fantastic.

bookmark_borderBlack Swan Green

Black Swan Green

Another holiday book, by a favourite author, and it’s as every bit as good as his previous novels, whilst remaining (like the others) completely different to anything he’s written before.

In the book, you spend just over a year with a 13 year old boy called Jason as he plots his way through the various minefields he encounters. Set in the early 1980s, pop culture references litter the novel and, as an 80s kid, whisked me back to that time of in my life. Jason is a kid who not only struggles to fit in, being smarter than average and he enjoys writing poetry whilst knowing that it’s a bit “gay” and could get him beaten up, but who also struggles with a stutter.

Jason narrates the story and it’s a credit to David Mitchell that you empathise so strongly with his lead character that you begin to sense how he is feeling before it is fully articulated. Admittedly it may be because I see some of myself in Jason, but that doesn’t detract from, as usual, the wonderfully engaging style that Mitchell brings to all his novels.

Dealing with various life changing events, including the impact of the Falklands War on a small rural community in England, I was so caught up with the book that I almost felt cheated when it was over.

If you haven’t read any of David Mitchell’s books before then this may be a good place to start as it’s, probably, the most accessible. However, they all share a similar trait in his wonderful depictions and vivid wordplay that brings his stories to life, dancing from the page.

Highly recommended.

bookmark_borderCloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The third of David Mitchell’s books that I’ve read and again it’s different from the last one. The book is split across several different interlinking stories, cleverly worked together to ensure that, whether you are reading a story within a story, reading a myth recanted, or reading the mis-adventures of some of the characters you are always engrossed. And that to me is the key to Mitchell’s writing.

From the opening stanza to the final page you are pulled into the worlds he creates effortlessly, and you soon forget the previous part of the story as you are pulled rapidly into the new one. This is not to say that the book feels like it’s made of parts, or in anyway spoils the flow of the novel (aside from the unsettling mid-sentence ending of the first section), but once you settle into the style it enhances it and as you progress it makes continually more sense.

The easiest way to describe this book, rather than cover each story within, is to imagine a set of novels split in two. The opening section and final section are comprised of the diary of an American lawyer in the Pacific, the next and penultimate sections deal with a rogue genius composer… and so on, with each story being opened and closed and “book ending” the novel. Clever and well worked, which is just as well as occasionally it does feel like it’s a tad too concocted to make the pieces fit.

It’s a fairly unique piece of work, if you enjoyed his novel Ghostwritten you’ll enjoy this, but if you’ve never read any of his work then give it a bash.


Ghostwritten by David Mitchell.

A quick search confirms some basic facts about this book, including the oft repeated fact that it is an astonishing debut. Written in the style of a series of short stories that share a common thread the writing style never seems forced and flows from tense set pieces to languid descriptive prose without missing a beat, and somehow manages to keep both the stories and the reader involved.

Continue reading “GhostWritten”

bookmark_borderThis Site

1. OK OK OK !!! I won’t redesign. I’ll content myself with restyling instead. Difference? Re-design includes re-architecturing the layout and underlying HTML code. Re-styling only applies to the elements controlled by CSS which may include changing the position of things but is less invasive.

2. The Site Feed was broken. It was St. Patrick’s Days fault. More accurately it was the fault of “Lá Fhéile Pádraig” which is a known bug.

3. Thanks to everyone who commented on the Introspection post, a lot of great suggestions. Still not sure how I’m going to tackle the Asides but will probably head down the category route. And for those who aren’t the slightest bit interested in this kind of thing, scroll down to the next post (should’ve said that first though, shouldn’t I!).


Forget all those thanks. You lot are useless. Where were you when I needed you? Eh? EH!!!! Nowhere to be found. Abandoned I was, left to the mercies of my materialistic self. No-one shouted “STOP!” or “Remember what you said!”, no-one tried gentle persuasion, nor did they try to physically restraint me. Where were YOU?

I had no-one to try and divert my mind as it wandered easily from:

“Ohh look, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, I like his stuff, number9dream was good, and I’m reading GhostWritten at the moment, I’ll just nip in and see what it’s about…”


“Ohhh 3 for 2! Excellent, I wonder if there is anything else worthwhile…”

which easily lead into:

“Look, The Complete Prose by Woody Allen, that should be good!”

and left only a small leap to get to:

“Well I’ve got two so any other one is free.. ohh A Million Little Pieces has a pretty cover, that’ll do!”

Next thing I know, my card is swiped, my account is £20-odd lighter and I have three more books to add to my list.

And where, pray tell, where YOU ohh helpful reader?!!!!


Updated my Amazon wishlist to REMOVE two books. I’m marking this auspicious occasion with a post as I normally just add things to it.

So if you have recently bought either of the following for me, sorry but you’ll have to take it back: Oxygen by Andrew Miller and Number9dream by David Mitchell.

They get added to the pile of 22 books I’ve still to read…