November 2009


I got a poem accepted at Every Day Poets recently and it went live this morning. Here comes the link:

The Last Red Light in the Valley

You can vote and add comments if you so desire. Don’t expect ryhmes. Do expect little-known, highly restrictive form.

The December issue of Jersey Devil Press went live this morning and features a short story by little known Clackmannanshire author, me. It’s called The Boy Who Threw Rocks at Trains and you can read it by clicking that wee link doo-dah. I can say with some degree of certainty, that this will be the first and last issue of theirs to feature the words Larbert and Croy. Please take time to have a read of the whole issue. There’s some stonking stuff in there.

Warning — I’ll be along to bug you about poetry later in the week.

I didn’t like Twilight. Either the book or the movie. I found both terribly repetative and dull. So it was with some trepidation that I went along to see the second movie in the series, New Moon, tonight.

Putting my cards on the table straight away, I didn’t hate it and I don’t think it’s the worst movie ever made, which was a serious concern as the lights went down, but in the minutes since the movie finished, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like about it.

I didn’t mind Robert Pattinson. In fact, I thought he was pretty good. No surprise there, as he was also pretty good in the first movie. He does an excellent American accent and even manages to laugh and sigh convincingly. So even though he whispers a bit too much for my liking, he’s off the hook.

I didn’t mind Taylor Lautner and his ridiculously buff torso that dominated large sections of the movie. I fully expect him to win a WWE belt before he picks up an Oscar, but he was a more than decent support and that big, thick neck of his scored highly from a curiosity point of view. Even if none of this was the case, his character of Jacob is also more interesting than Edward so on that controversial note, he’s off the hook.

I didn’t mind how it was shot. The movie is lovely to look at and the drained palette that’s used in the Forks sections gives it a detached, disaffected, grungy feel which was an interest in itself and worked even more retrospectively when the contrast of a vibrant, primary-coloured Italy pops up towards the end. It’s like when the colour kicks in during Wizard of Oz. Cinematographer is off the hook.

And I didn’t even mind the terrible CGI wolves. Honestly, the first time one appears, I wasn’t sure if it was an alsation, Bungle Boggs from Rainbow or a beefed-up Ewok. They get better as the movie progresses so amnesty on the stupid Ewok things.

It’s her. It’s Kristen Stewart who plays Bella. She’s pretty enough without being distractingly so but she’s the problem and unfortunately she’s in pretty much every shot. I don’t think she’s a good actress. I didn’t find her engaging, sympathetic or believable and, if anything, I found her a bit of a relentless sour puss. I had the same problem with her in the first movie and, to some extent, her character in general in the book so some of this problem is shared with the source material, I’m sure, but apart from one excellent scene where a camera revolves round her as the months roll by, she just didn’t sell it to me and I’m starting to reach for adjectives like repetative and dull again. I mean, Alan Rickman has been miserable for most of his career, but he does it with a certain pinache.

And she sulks an awful lot. When she’s not sulking, she’s grumpy. And when it looks like she’s about to cheer up a bit — oops-a-daisy — she’s dumped again and it’s hello, Mrs Rainy Cloud. Credit where it’s due, though — she’s totally unflappable when people she’d previously assumed to be human turn out to be anything but. Vampires, check. Werewolves, no problem. In the eventual third movie, if she finds herself strangely drawn to the new guy at school who has inexplicably bandaged hands, I’m sure she’ll cope admirably when, at the dramatic end of the movie’s second act, he reveals himself to be a Mummy.

I fully appreciate I’m in a minority on this. The makers have thrown enough movie at the franchise that they must be happy with Ms Stewart in the role, the cinema was packed with people who were equally happy and the general consensus on the way out was that it was a favourable way to spend a couple of hours and they can’t wait to do it all again next year. I might just sulk in a corner and wait for the DVD.

I’m taking a well=earned break from Writers’ Group and playing Modern Warfare 2 to announce that the inaugural edition of Vanilla has been released with downloadable and hard copy content to follow. I’m not telling you this just to be nice to them (although they are lovely people) but, as you may recall, you’ll find my story — The Air Is Getting Thinner — betwixt its electronic pages.

Have a read of the fine work on offer and I hope you enjoy.

A quick update for those of you not amongst the 100s of people who end up here looking for the Zombieland poster.

  • Terry Rogers from Menda City Press — who I’ve always maintained is a lovely chap — has nominated The Spirit of Shackleton for inclusion in Dzanc Book’s Best of the Net 2010 anthology, which is nice.
  • Vanilla Press have taken The Air Is Getting Thinner for their inaugural edition, which is due to go live in the next few days and shall be re-announced separately with links and everything. This is also nice.
  • This year’s attempt at NaNoWriMo has stalled at a feeble one word. That word is Kebab. Kebabs are nice.

Now that’s out of the way, I’ll let you scroll down to that poster, shall I?