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I haven't written anything on here for a long time. Bear with me - I'm still thinking about it.
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Being a short and stocky man I have problems buying clothes off the peg. In the last 15 years most outlets have increased their sleeve lengths on the grounds that 'people have grown taller'. This is not true, pretty well every adult person I know is the same height they were the last time I saw them, and there must be a lot of other frustrated people like me running around who can no longer buy clothes to fit. The worst offender for over-long sleeves is Marks and Spencer, who clearly take their measurements from gorillas or some other creature that drags its knuckles on the ground.
This has forced me to only buy shirts and casual tops that have short sleeves, but since I've been doing this I've noticed that my forearms have become extra hairy . Thus it is that Marks and Spencer can cause hairy arms!

Current Mood: amused amused

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Yarrooo! Yippee! I have finished writing the first draft of my 92000 word crime novel, which has been taking up all of my time and energy lately. Just the small matter of editing/re-writing/honing,  and then writing a synopsis, before I can offer it to the world and start counting the rejection slips. I won't be posting it on LJ because that would make it used goods, but maybe now I'll have time to blog more, or even write a short story for Writers'  Guild on LJ. Watch this space.

Current Location: In my garrett
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Silence

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Sorry folks, but I've been negligent over posting anything to LJ for the past three weeks. I have actually been writing like mad because for some time I have been composing a 90000+ word whodunnit, with the ambition of breaking into the Crime writing market. Now the end is in sight I have been pouring my energies in that direction, and I cannot post it on LJ or it will become second-hand/already-published/ used-goods etc.
I have however found time to follow Kondooritar's journeying in Japan with interest - great photos!
I have also managed to learn my lines for my part in a previously-mentioned upcoming production of a well-known Scottish play. I may soon find something more to write about that.

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Current Location: at home
Current Mood: artistic
Current Music: words, words, words (Radio 4)

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I wrote this piece for the London Writers' Cafe September MeetUp. Now it has served its purpose I offer it here for all to read:


Stanley did not do well at school. Or perhaps it would be better to say the school did not do well for Stanley. In former times he would have escaped his disadvantaged docklands environment by passing a simple examination at eleven years old - simple, that is, for his active mind - and he could have placed his feet on the ladder of opportunity presented by the grammar school.

Unfortunately, by the time Stanley was eleven, with a labour Prime Minister in Downing Street, the ideology of old-style socialism had descended upon his town. There was no way his educational opportunities would survive, and he was duly packed off to a faceless giant comprehensive school in its blandly-designed and shoddily-executed modernist building that was supposed to contribute to the ‘white hot heat of technology.’

Given its catchment area the school rapidly became a ‘sink’ comprehensive, with a worse reputation than the secondary modern school it was supposed to replace. No one expected anything from its pupils, and only teachers who could not get better employment elsewhere sought placement there. None of the pupils were destined for educational achievement, so no academic syllabus was taught and nobody was even entered for the chance of examination success.

Stanley left school with no qualifications whatsoever, apart from a meaningless Certificate of Secondary Education, and at first he drifted. He could not work at the docks because a combination of economics, in the form of larger container ships unloading further down river, and trades union bloody-mindedness, in the form of repeated strikes, had ensured the closure of the town’s main source of employment.

But Stanley did not fail in life, and he is certainly not uneducated. Today he has a command of history to rival any academic historian. He understands the life and times of English kings, French aristocrats, Roman emperors, Russian landowners, Italian princes, Venetian merchants, and Scottish thanes.

His knowledge of literature compares with that of any man of letters. He knows the complete works of Shakespeare and all the novels of Jane Austen. He knows the plays of Christopher Marlowe as well as those of John Mortimer or Alan Ayckbourne. He knows the social satire of Anthony Trollope and the social concern of Charles Dickens. From abroad he has absorbed the writings of Moliere, Calderon, Chekhov and Ibsen. Moreover, he can discuss all these and more on equal terms with any university professor.

He speaks the English language to the highest standard, yet he can produce a variety of regional accents as required. He has a vocabulary far larger than most of his contemporaries, including the meanings of many archaic words.

His knowledge of geography is exceptional. He can name the nations of the world both ancient and modern, and now he can locate planets and stars, and grasp the workings of the universe.

His body too can match his brain. He can sing and he can dance. He keeps himself fit and his mind alert, so he can control his movement and posture precisely.

So how did he achieve all this? How did he gain such knowledge? How did he become an intellectual colossus? He did it because he became an actor.

Oh, and he also joined the actors’ union and became a socialist.

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For all those hordes who have been eagerly awaiting my tourist pictures of Helsinki, they are now posted in my scrapbook for all to see. This completes the album for Finland 2007. 

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Current Location: Home
Current Mood: artistic
Current Music: None

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Yesterday I was in Leigh-on-Sea attending the first rehearsal for a well known Scottish Play, where I am playing a bloody sergeant (or bleeding captain, depending upon which line of script you read) plus the Earl of Caithness. It went well - it's not often that a first rehearsal has anything going for it - but I'm not called again for a while so I'll shut up about theatre for now.
I'm still writing. Next week I'm going to the monthly meet up of The London Writers' Cafe, for which I have written a short essay about actors. Once I've given the piece its first reading I'll post it here (and on LJ Writers' Guild) for all to admire (or not!).

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Current Location: Billericay
Current Mood: satisfied satisfied
Current Music: None

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Another week and  just one kilogram lost - and it doesn't seem to be from the stomach!

Current Location: At lunch
Current Mood: frustrated frustrated
Current Music: Wagner

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 I seem to have neglected Live Journal recently. This is because, despite my earlier critical words about it, I have been active on Another Site (where the mice pace) instead. I have joined their Writers Workshop and it turns out to be quite good. It has the advantage over Live Journal that you can (mostly) see who the contributors are - no hiding behind strange names and contrived photos, and it's a good way to make friends. There are also  counters so you can see how many people are reading about you. It makes it worthwhile when you're assured there is an audience.

If you're reading this, congratulations Kondooritar on acquiring your great new camera. Will we be seeing some great new photographs soon?

I'm not a complete defector to Another Site. I've joined a similar writers' group on LJ and it appears to have a great number of members. However, my first note, in the form of a query, was thrown out by the moderators and I was referred to the FAQs instead, so until I write something new, you won't find me there. The group is called Writers' Guild.

A couple of times now I've picked up on the subject suggestions LJ supply on their home page under the heading Writers' Block. Wouldn't it be a good idea if LJ had a bit of software that trawled the journals for responses to each subject and then collected them onto one page, so they could be read together and compared. An anthology, in fact!

In the Autumn I'm rehearsing for and performing in a production of a well known Scottish play at the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. So apologies in advance when I start banging on about theatre instead of my present preoccupation with writing.

I'm still trying to use up the last few frames in my camera (I still use film) so I can get my pics of Helsinki developed. Then I'll be able to complete the Finland section in my Scrap Book. Watch this space.

That's all for now, more ramblings later, assuming anybody's reading.

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Current Location: Home, about to go to the pub.
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Radio Four

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If you could travel back in time to spend a day with someone, who would it be and why?

It would be a long summer day in the 1830s and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is about to set out to survey, by coach and on foot, yet another section of the countryside which he proposes to dig up in order to install the Great Western Railway between London and Bristol. Despite the hot weather he is wearing a fine gentleman's suit in heavy wool,  a cotton shirt,  a woollen waistcoat, and a top hat, and he is chain-smoking cigars. He is intrigued by this strangely dressed person who wants to join him, and feels that my mode of dress (or rather undress) may attract some attention. He is particularly intrigued that I have my name written all over me, and he also thinks it is a strange name. He doesn't know anyone else called Adidas.
He allocates me the job of carrying his sandwiches for the day, prepared for him by his long-suffering wife. Since he is a workaholic he proposes to set out at 5am, shortly after sunrise, and will arrive at his next hotel, near a village called Swindon, at ten o'clock in the evening, just before sunset. He is carrying a heavy watch and chain, but there is nevertheless some dispute over the time because the clocks in Swindon are reputed to be five minutes behind those at his starting point, and he doesn't know when to reset his watch. His friend Mr Gooch is adamant that Mr Brunel should not alter his watch at all, but work to London time. Mr Gooch also asks me to carry his sandwiches.
It rains and the whole party, which is now walking, having left the coach to follow us along the main turnpike, starts to slip and slither across the fields and through the mud. Mr Brunel notices that I change my name when it rains - I am now Peter Storm, which he finds more agreeably English-sounding. Mr Gooch thinks it would be a good name for a locomotive.
Despite the discomforts of the day I am rewarded by meeting Mr Brunel in person, seeing how he surveys the line of the railway and listening to him talk about it. In fact he doesn't stop talking about it. It is apparently going to be the world's most wonderful railway. We meet a scruffy man with a beard and wearing a pullover who says his name is Richard, and he is also enthusiastic about the project, but then he excuses himself and walks into the woods. Shortly afterwards I notice a red and white machine rise into the air from behind the trees and then fade away. Meanwhile I hope my own time machine has managed to make it along the turnpike to Swindon, so I can go home to bed.

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Current Mood: silly silly

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