Rainbows in Coventry

Coventry is an odd place to have ended up.  For a start, it’s the most inland city in England, quite a change from Brighton.  I came here for the work and a change of scene but find I actually like it.  There are a few good places to eat and, despite its
reputation as a Ghost Town, the city is beautiful in places.  It’s quiet too and I’m getting some  good work done.

Coventry is also distinguished as the birthplace of Clint Mansell and Philip Larkin, and was where some of The Italian Job‘s car chases were filmed.  And it has better rainbows than any other place I’ve been – the photograph below shows a double-bow photographed from my study window.


Brighton Grafitti

Some grafitti I saw on my last trip to Brighton:


I stayed in the old house near the level on Saturday night.  Some children (well, I assume it was children by the handwriting) had chalked messages and slogans on some of the houses.  Among them was a line from Red Dwarf.  I’ve no idea why they should quote that on a wall.


Some links

Pissing it down

I’m a little proud of myself tonight.  After my last session at BritMilFit I signed up for regular classes.  They told us after the session that we might ache for a day or two.  It took me three days to get back to normal.

Despite that I decided to try going twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When I arrived home tonight it started raining.  In the past I’ve not gone running on damp days but decided to go out anyway – if I only train on dry days it will take me longer to get fit.  I took my umbrella and set off for the park.

I didn’t mind training in the rain as much as I thought I would.  It was pissing it down and within minutes I was as wet as I could get.  And the rain cooled things down, which may well make it more pleasant than training in the height of summer. 

I avoided exercise for years and to find myself doing press-ups in the pouring rain is quite a change. 
The only drag was having to walk home afterwards, but at least I had my umbrella.  I came home, ate an apple in a hot shower, then cooked the green soup I prepared last night.  Right now, life feels pretty good.

Literary Adventures

One of the great things about creative writing is that it doesn’t cost very much.  Anyone can grab a pen and some paper and write a poem or story.  You can publish on a blog, print off some pieces at work, or read at an open mic night.

Or you can spend money on it.  Creative writing courses are springing up everywhere.  There are workshops in scenic locations where successful writers pass on their experience and techniques.  And now there are literary adventures – creative writing workshops in exotic locations.

Many writers make more money from providing
advice and services to aspiring writers than from their books: creative
writing is a pyramid scheme.  I find it troubling that publishing success is the implied or stated aim of many courses (for example, CCE’s Agents and Publishers Day) when it might be more useful to have modules on how to teach creative writing.

A weekend in Brighton

I’m having a fantastic weekend in Brighton so far. I arrived about 6 last night and dropped my stuff off before heading to dpash‘s party. I’d forgotten to post his card and allowed him to gain the impression I’d come to Brighton just to set that right.

After dropping off the card I headed to Brighton marina for a meal with an old friend. We only gossipped a little about the old days, concentrating instead on what we’re doing now, which is more interesting. The restaurant was good, if a little… over enthusiastic. The staff were grinning too much, a little too concerned how out meal was. When we arrived we were offered the choice of two tables – one in the main part of the room or a ‘quiet table’. I suggested the quiet table and then wondered if this was a euphemism. Was the quiet table meant for dates rather than old friends catching up?

Being away from Brighton had made me enjoy it more – bumping into friends on the street, apples from Taj, Cybercandy, Pen to Paper, and the wonderful fashions people wear. Last night I encountered the Critical Mass bike ride and, on the way to Hove, just before midnight, a passing cyclist asked if I knew flying fish don’t actually fly: they glide. My morning run along the promenade was fantastic, beautiful weather and much better scenery than Coventry.

I’m now taking a pause at Beanies before (eventually) heading to a fancy dress party in the house where I used to live. It’s good to be back in Brighton.

One-line autobiography

On the train back to Brighton and I’ve just received an email asking to publish my story riddled.  Which is lovely, apart from the request for a one-line bio.  It shouldn’t be a big deal.  Whenever writers give one line biographies they sound nonchalant and clever rather than something they’ve thought about (Neil Gaiman being the master of this).  The problem is it’s hard to sound that nonchalant and flip.  I’ve never provided a self-description I liked.

They used to tell me in CCE to think of my audience.  But I doubt anyone cares all that much about this, which actually makes it a little harder.

Thing is, I don’t really want to talk about myself.  I’d rather make up a story, otherwise I’d be writing autobiography instead of short stories.   Maybe I’ll steal another writer’s life and sum that up in a sentence.

A sad dream

Last night I dreamt I cooked a meal for my sister and Fraser Lewry, who I worked with many years back.  After pudding my cat, Sooty, entered the room.  I said hello and explained to him Fraser was the inventor of cats in sinks and kittenwars, with which I think he was suitably impressed.  Liz and I both noticed Sooty had grey hairs on his neck, probably a  sign of growing old.

Since selling the house my Mum and Dad have been living in a caravan on my sister’s in-law’s yard.  The house in Blackpool was sold a few months back.  As I woke up I panicked, wondering where they were keeping Sooty, since they didn’t have a house right now.  It took me a while to remember my cat died some years back.  It’s set me in a weird mood – how did something like that slip my mind while I was half awake?

We need a montage

Following a suggestion from Mr Spratt, I went to a BritMilFit class in Coventry tonight.  I didn’t have much idea what to expect, but I figured it had to be better than my time in the Cadet Corps.  These days I can do press-ups, run a little and, you know, I’m not Josie Grossie any more.

It was a very good evening – hard work, but a friendly atmosphere, and worked me a lot harder than the running.  I’ve decided to sign up and will be going back on Thursday.