Children, Tim. It’s a home for children.

(contains some spoilers. soz dudes)

Last night I went to the cinema and I watched a film with my face and my brain. And also my ears, I suppose, because I heard it too. Are ears part of the face? Anyway, I saw a film.

The film I saw was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is massively problematic.

It has all the Tim Burton traits you would expect: it looks nice, some things happen that don’t really need to and some characters are mostly superfluous but it’s ok because it’s all Tim Burton quirky and weird, it has a few really good performances (Eva Green in particular, is superb), the costumes are very good, the art department have worked their socks off, there are so many plot holes you start to feel gassy but it does have a lovely bit of stop motion animation…


What is going on with the main love story? Why is it so creepy?

The actors that play Jacob and Emma were, if my maths is correct, eighteen and nineteen when Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was filmed but they are playing children. Jacob is sixteen. Emma’s age is unspecified but she appears to be younger than Olive, so I guess she is supposed to be roughly the same age as Jacob.

She is also, having lived in a time loop of a single day since 1943, in her late eighties. If she leaves the loop for too long she will age rapidly, so maybe she isn’t sixteen at all. Maybe it isn’t a bit off for her to float above Jacob in a skirt that is clearly demonstrated to be at the mercy of a breeze, undress in front of him or have clothes that cling significantly closer to her body than his despite retaining exactly the same amount of liquid. Maybe it’s cool. Maybe I’m reading things into the film that aren’t there. But she does look like a child. And the title of the film kind of implies…

And then there is that ending.

Jacob and Emma are separated after defeating the bad guys. (yeah, they defeat the bad guys, spoiler, yeah, I know, there’s a warning at the start, yeah, sorry if I ruined your film) Jacob returns to 2016 and Emma to 1943 but, happy ending, Jacob finds her again. It takes him a while of course. Time travel can be tricky. Finally though, he returns to her at the same time that he left. Emma is still sixteen. He is now significantly older than her. They kiss. The credits roll. I do a bit of sick in my mouth at the thought of it all.


Sorry, England, I just can’t look at you right now…

newsWell, that went swimmingly didn’t it?

I’m going to try and keep the swears to a minimum but Jesus fucking Christ what the fuck were people thinking? Jesus fucking fucking Christ you fuckers. Jesus fucking Christ.

And if I see another, “I voted Leave but I regret it now. We didn’t have all the facts.” I will puke. I know there were a lot of lies floating around, but if you didn’t have the facts it was because you didn’t want them. Look harder or don’t vote. Voting isn’t just a right, it is a responsibility and a duty. When you vote you have the fate of the country in your hands. That’s how democracy works. You are expected to make an informed decision. That’s your job. That’s why you have to be eighteen to vote. Because  you are expected to take it seriously.

And yes, sorry Leavers, you are all racist. Racism isn’t just when you call somebody a bad name. Racism is also when you destabilise a country’s economy because you think people born in one place should have access to things before people born in another place. That is the very definition of racism – to define an ‘other’ and think you should be put before them. That’s racism. There you go. You know now. Try harder next time.

If you see overcrowded schools and hospitals and your solution isn’t ‘more schools and hospitals’ but ‘less people’ you are a racist. Go you! Now is your moment. Shine on, little hate unicorn. Shine on.

This is Britain. Tolerant Britain. Tolerant Britain that voted against allowing 3000 Syrian children to enter Britain two months ago but somehow, as a nation, manages to find the resources to feed and shelter 8.5 million dogs. What message does that give the world, do you think? What message did the Leave vote give? That we are tolerant? I think we need to put any pretence of tolerance to bed now.

It’s mostly England and Wales, isn’t it? Not Britain. And while Boris Johnson wrote in his column for The Telegraph this morning that “We had one Scotland referendum in 2014, and I do not detect any real appetite to have another one soon” I’m not as sure as he is about that. That guy just loves the whole presenting-an-opinion-as-fact thing, doesn’t he? If I had a pound for every time he told the British public he ‘believed’ something that turned out to be a crock of shit, well, I’d be in Malta this morning buying European passports for my friends and family, instead of sat at a computer filled with impotent rage.

And it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets slightly worse. However many times we are told that renegotiating our position in Europe is an opportunity, it won’t disguise that this is an opportunity for the EU too. Why on earth would they have a negotiating stance that provided anything but the very best deal they can get? They don’t owe us a thing. They are completely within their rights to strip our economy bare.

And who will our politicians and newspapers blame when that happens? Sure as shit not the Leave voters whose fault it actually is. We are North Korea now. We will blame everyone but ourselves.



This Week I Watched: Independence Day: Resurgence, Elvis & Nixon, The Meddler

Hello. I got one of those Odeon Unlimited things so I can watch as many films as I like. That’s nice, isn’t it? Anyway, I thought I would do a weekly round-up of films I have seen. So…

Independence Day: Resurgence

I didn’t really go into this one with high expectations. I went into this one thinking, “How often do you get the chance to see Jeff Goldblum in IMAX?” I should do two reviews, a Jeff Rating and a Film Rating, but as all Jeff Ratings are 10/10 there isn’t any real point in doing that. The question isn’t, “Was Jeff good?” the question is, “How much did the rest of the film hold Jeff back?” The answer is, “Quite a bit.”

Independence Day, while not as unpleasant as the tawdry version just foisted upon the UK by Nigel Farage, is pretty bad. It takes an hour to get any sort of momentum and then hangs around for half-an-hour too long once it has. It is badly written. It has plot holes so gigantic they become part of the entertainment.


My favourite bit of the film was incredible. After flying into the centre of a three-thousand-mile-wide spaceship (which didn’t seem that big when you see it in this scene, but, you know, maybe they are flying at several times the speed of sound or something) our heroes find themselves stranded in a swamp forest (the spaceship has an ecosystem. And yes, I know swamp is a rather hipster choice of ecosystem for a space ship, but bear with me, this gets better). Trapped, hunted, and without a ship, they can only watch as the ceiling of the several-miles-wide room they are in reveals itself to be another spaceship and flies away. So… they bravely steal four alien ships and escape. Not through the massive hole in the ceiling, no, through a slowly closing doorway. There is even a bit, just as their four ships reach the door, that one of them screams, “I’M NOT LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND! NO ON ELSE DIES TODAY!” and does a loop of the room killing a few more aliens (presumably not looking up and noticing the big hole in the ceiling while he was doing it) before returning to the door. Of those four ships, I can only tell you what happened to two of them. It’s that sort of film.

But, you know, the Jeff Goldblum bits are great.

Elvis & Nixon 

This was more like it. A fictionalised version of the meeting of, well, Elvis and Nixon, obviously. Great performances from Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey, a sharp script and a wonderful soundtrack. This could have been a slight film, a joke stretched to an hour and a half, but it isn’t that at all. It is light-hearted a lot of the time, but it has these wonderful pockets of darkness and of sadness. It touches on gender and race in really subtle ways – a wordless scene with a janitor being a great example – giving the film a heft way beyond what it might have had. More than anything though, it is a whole bag of joy. You should go and watch it.

The Meddler

When I got a card giving me access to as many films as I wanted for a monthly fee, I made a promise to myself I would see every film directed by a woman the cinema showed (unless it was a scary horror film, because I have a low threshold for that sort of thing). The film industry is a business and like all businesses its plans are based on possible financial gains. In a nutshell, if you want more films directed by women, you have to see all the ones that already exist – you have to prove the model is viable. This is pathetic, I know. People are dumb, I know.

I also know I’m not making any grand or profound gesture by doing this. All I’m doing is watching films. This is literally the least I can do. But I’m doing it, so here we are.

It is highly unlikely that Susan Sarandon will be nominated for an Oscar for her performance The Meddler (because awards tend to go for big performances or incredible transformations) but she is just brilliant as a woman held back by grief, getting involved in other people’s lives because she doesn’t know what to do with her own.

It is her performance, combined with some really crisp direction and editing, that raises the film to something special. Without the control, without subtlety, her character would be a caricature, a butt of jokes, a villain, but Sarandon makes her human, real.

Sometimes you can forget that the big screen isn’t just for big spectacle. From the opening shot of The Meddler (Sarandon’s face, two pillows, a duvet) you are reminded there is also a joy in small things made large shot well. I wouldn’t have seen this film if I wasn’t on the world’s lamest crusade for equality in film making. I’m very glad I did. My life is better even if nobody else’s is. Yet. Until they watch The Meddler. Watch the Meddler.

If you see one film this week, see: The Meddler



Errrrrrrrrrrrrrr, sorry…

I think I might owe you an apology. It’s my fault that everyone is sorry, and for that I’m sorry. I want to apologise.

Also, Brexit might be my fault… I’m sorry about that too…

Let me explain…

You see, it all started in 2010. Gordon Brown was in Rochdale and he met a woman called Gillian Duffy. Gillian asked him, “Where are all these Eastern Europeans coming from?” and instead of saying, “Eastern Europe,” he gave her a politiciany sort of answer and then later, in private, called her a bigoted woman. Unfortunately for Gordon, this comment was picked up by a microphone. Later that day, a journalist asked him why he called Gillian Duffy a bigoted woman and instead of saying, “because she was a bigoted woman,” he gave them a politiciany sort of answer.

This was day one of a new dawn for this country. Since then we have had Emily Thornberry resigning because she implied a house covered in St George’s flags might tell you something about the owner, Jeremy Corbyn promising to sing the national anthem, and Pat Glass apologising for saying someone she had spoken to that day was a ‘horrible racist’. Can you spot the link? Yes, it’s people apologising for potentially upsetting people who, to be blunt, need upsetting.

And it might be my fault.

Because, you see, back in 2010 I was working for William Hill, in Rochdale, and one of my regulars was (you’ve guessed it) Gillian Duffy. Because I was professional, and Gillian Duffy was a customer, I did not tell the world what I thought about Gillian Duffy but (and again, you’re ahead of me here) she was given to making broad, some might say bigoted, statements based largely on anecdotal evidence and not backed up by facts or what might be defined as ‘christian’ understanding. Is she a bigot? I couldn’t possibly say. I don’t know her nearly well enough to comment. Does she regularly say bigoted things? Yes. Yes she does, but she isn’t alone in that. Those of us who have listened to our grandparents talk politics without occasionally wincing at something they’ve said are lucky and few. Attitudes change with time but people don’t always change with them. Civilisation progresses quicker than the individuals within it. This is fine. This is ok. This is normal. We still need to challenge those prejudices though, don’t we?

The problem with Western civilisation, in a nutshell, is this: the inability to grasp the difference between everyone being entitled to their opinion and all opinions being equally valid. A does not equal B. Sorry.

We do get this, sometimes. We recognise that the opinion ‘two plus two equals four’ is more valid than the opinion ‘two plus two equals door’. In fact, we can usually make the distinction right up until the point where we hold one of two differing opinions. Then, our opinion is as valid as the next person’s. Even if that next person is demonstrably correct and we are demonstrably wrong.

Last month, Andrew Castle, mid twitter argument, asked, “When can a personal opinion be wrong?” Well Andrew, it can be wrong when it is wrong. I’m sorry to pick on Andrew Castle, but this is why we are facing a possible exit from the EU next week. Because we have elevated gut feelings to the level of indisputable facts in our political discourse. Who needs to know facts when you can reckon opinions? It’s all equally valid, isn’t it?

And so, instead of having a grown up discussion about whether asking God to scatter the enemies of the Queen is an appropriate way to celebrate our nation and it’s place in the world, Jeremy Corbyn just promises to sing it next time. Even Prince Charles has described the second verse of the national anthem as being politically incorrect. We could have a think about it, no? No, no we couldn’t. People have opinions. Don’t rock the boat.

Over the last few months, both sides, Leave and Remain, have dealt mostly with feelings and opinions, truthiness and prejudice and fear. Whatever the result of the referendum, most of us who vote will have no more idea of what the EU is, or how it works, than we did six months ago. This is a massive failure on everyone’s part. We are making the most important decision of our lives based on a hunch.

How did we get here? Well it all started with Gordon Brown meeting Gillian Duffy, and for my part in the twenty-four-carat shower of shit that has enveloped us since then, I would like to apologise.


The past is a foreign country. It’s time to close the borders.

I think I’m ready for that talk about immigration.

Yesterday, David Cameron said it would be decades before Turkey would join the EU. Michael Gove said this wasn’t true because he had a leaked memo proving the UK was “actively working” toward EU membership for Turkey. So, apparently, working on something implies imminence. This is great news for the NASA mars mission, and the cure for cancer, and nuclear fusion power stations, all of which have people “actively working” on them.

Turkey though. Imagine all those people free to move around Europe with their…

Wait. Why is Turkey scary again? I forget. I know it’s something vague. Something… Don’t tell me. Is it moving house? We don’t like people moving house do we? We’re scared of people moving house. We give it a special name. We call it immigration. People lived there and now they live here. Woooooooaaooo! Moooooving hoouuusse!

Turkey isn’t scary but there is a foreign country that is: the past.

The idiot who wandered into Pulse nightclub with a gun, Isis, the NRA, Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins, The Sun, The Express, The Mail, Brock Turner and the people who defend him and thousands like him, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and the rest of the Brexit camp, climate change deniers, the gobshites who fill up newspaper comments sections with ignorance and intolerance, all have two things in common. One, they agree with each other on far more than they disagree. Two, they are all stuck in the past.

Sometimes it feels like they are winning (look at Trump go!) but they aren’t, not really. Yes, you can look at the rise of Trump and shake your head at America, but please bear in mind that their president is, and has been for eight years, Barack Obama. If Trump loses (and he is doing a good job of alienating all the people he needs to win, so, you know) the Republican party will finally have to acknowledge the stubborn sulking-and-shouting of the Tea Party is not a long term strategy. In Britain, Brexit is reliant on a generation of Daily Mail readers being more scared of a photofit one-size-scares-all version of people born in a different country than a total economic meltdown. This is Brexit’s last chance. The millions of pensioners they have been terrifying for years is getting older, the millions of school children growing up don’t share those fears.

The past is angry, and boy it can shout really loud, but it isn’t winning. We do need to close the borders to it though, because those bastards are going to kick and scream until they realise it’s over and they are a nuisance and a distraction. The past is the past. We need to fix the environment. We need to tackle AIDS and malaria. We need to find political and economic systems that work for everyone. There are children all over the world still pointlessly dying of curable diseases. We really, really, haven’t got time for morons panicking about who uses which bathroom.

Vote Remain, vote Clinton, talk to people and tell them why, choose hope over fear, the future over the past, move forwards, love each other, live, breathe, forgive, remember.



7th June, 2016

Hello you…

I put up some curtains yesterday, and the interesting thing about that, the really interesting thing, the thing that will make you wow your socks off is… is…

I did a load of washing too. That was exciting. The loading and unloading the washing machine. The pegging on the line…

I cooked lentils for tea…

OK. So yesterday was a bit of a slow day. We gave Orphan Black a go in the evening but I just couldn’t make myself like it. It was a bit too problem-problem!-PROBLEM!!-PROBLEM!!!!!! for my taste, with too many scenes being dedicated to the possibility of her secret being found out and too few concentrating on character development or story. It’s no The Good Wife, that’s all I’m saying.

I’ll endeavour to be more exciting in future. Maybe I could find a clone of myself and then do something exciting like on Orphan Black. I could do exciting chasing and being shot at and pretending to be German and running out of legitimate haircuts or something. I’ll have a think about it. Get back to you, yeah?

Recommend of the Day…

My review of the splendid Hangin’ Tough by Rebecca Wallwork is up on Bookmunch.

Racing Selections…

I nearly suggested a 25/1 shot yesterday, but I didn’t, and then it won, and I don’t care if you don’t believe me. Anyway…

  • 1.50, Gatley – I’m Between Llamas
  • 5.30, Fontwell – The Lampo Genie
  • 6.10, Longsight – Very Sausagey
  • 8.50, Lingfield – Pearly Prince

6th June, 2016

Hello you…

There are only two weeks to go until First Draft. This month’s theme is Spice Up Your Life. Yes, that’s correct, they let me pick the theme for the next First Draft and I picked The Spice Girls because I am massively massively cool. It is going to be so awesome. So very very awesome.

I believe there will also be football that night but as the country I was born in and live in, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, doesn’t play international football, I won’t miss much will I? {yeah, I said it, ‘want your country back?’ don’t tell me, tell FIFA, you racist bellends}

Sorry, got distracted there. June 20th! First Draft! Spice Up Your Life! Think about it guys. Think about it. THAT’S AN EVENING OF WRITING, MUSIC, PERFORMANCE, AND OTHER STUFF INSPIRED BY THE SPICE GIRLS!!! Of course I’ll see you there. Unless… wait… are you square? No? Well I’ll see you there then.

Recommend of the Day…

If you live anywhere an IMAX cinema, look out for the documentary A Beautiful Planet. Mostly shot on or from the International Space Station, it is a fascinating, and surprisingly moving view of the earth. I don’t want to bang on about Brexit too much on this blog {because, a) you know, boring, and, b) Gove and Johnson will be building camps soon and I’m hoping to avoid them for a few years, if at all possible} but my main thought while watching the film was that if we do survive as a species for another five hundred years {which let’s be honest, isn’t that likely, but if we do} then our ancestors will look back on countries in the same way we look back on huge sprawling empires; as unhelpful, silly, and fundamentally phallic constructions that create more problems than they solve.

Racing Selections…

We are so bankrupt right now…

  • 1.50, Cannock – Smile Like A Tree
  • 3.10, Whitby – I Can’t Eat That
  • 5.15, Brighton – Wild Flower
  • 7.45, Pontefract – He’s A Dreamer

2nd June, 2016

Hello you…

Fancy reading another one of my rants? Of course you do. Off you go then, it’s at Bookmunch.

Recommend of the Day…

We’ve all heard the new The Avalanches song? Yes?

Racing Selections…

No. No. No they didn’t win yesterday. No. I know. Yes. No. No. No.

  • 2.30, Hamilton – See Vermont
  • 2.55, Penrith – My Dogs
  • 3.50, Ripon – Wilde Inspiration
  • 4.15, Caldmore – Touch Me, Mr Simon

1st June, 2016

“So, there’s this magic line, right, and it goes round Britain (lovely Britain) and it is important because it is how we tell who is good and who is bad. Without that magic line, how could we tell if a drowning child needs rescuing or not? I mean, it’s not like all humans are the same is it? Imagine that! Nonsense! But the EU want to get rid of our magic line and make Britain (lovely Britain, proud Britain) an undemocratic hell hole. They want to get rid of our democratic Queen (lovely Queen, lovely proud British Queen) and replace her with a president or something like that and we’d have to vote for them every year or three years or every three weeks, like wheely bins, and don’t get me started on the EU and wheely bins! It used to be, we could just put all our rubbish in one bin and someone would take it away and nobody asked us to think about the untold damage to the environment we were doing. Not anymore! Now we are told that parks and beaches should be fit for humans to be in. It’s political correctness gone mental! I want to go to Marks and Spencers and buy a refrigerated sandwich and then go to the toilet and do a shit and then go to the beach and swim in that shit because I’m British (lovely proud British) and that is what we do. That is what we are. We are proud lovely morons who would rather swim in our own shit than accept that people on the other side of the magic line are any way like us…”

Hello you…

I’m so tired of this referendum. So tired of every argument being about how the outcome might effect us individually instead of looking to the future and the possibilities of human cooperation and shared civilisation. I miss hope. I miss kindness. I want my dreams of a European superstate back. I really do.

Recommend of the Day…

I saw the new Thomas the Tank Engine film yesterday and, though it was no The Big Lebowski, it was better than X-Men: Apocalypse and it was better than Love and Friendship. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away (because, you know, spoilers) but it is mostly about trains learning important life lessons more normally experienced by humans. The new train, Ashima, was my favourite train in the film.

Racing Selections…

Re-mortgage your house and give these a go, yeah?

  • 2.00, Nottingham – Broadhaven Honey
  • 3.20, Cartmel – Formidable Opponent
  • 3.25, Plymouth – Too Few Gnus
  • 3.55, Castleton – Just Punch My Bear


19th May, 2016

Hello you…

I keep missing deadlines for writing competitions; wasting opportunities, saving money. I don’t mind because I’m not sure how I feel about the whole enterprise anyway. We all do the prize-divided-by-entry maths when we see a competition advertised and very few measure up. There are far too many ‘£3 entry, £50 prize’ bastards out there, and not enough time to destroy them.

We have twelve days until the Bridport deadline. Twelve days. 250 words. 21 words a day. Easy.

Not a chance.

Recommend of the Day…

We’re all listening to the The end of all things podcast, aren’t we? Good good. Carry on.

Racing Selections…

Don’t look! Don’t look! I’ll bankrupt you…

  • 2.05, Hull – Cupping the Moob
  • 4.35, Goodwood – Lady Emma
  • 5.55, Worcester – Young Lou
  • 7.10, Peckham – So Sad For Boris

18th May, 2016

Hello you…

There’s no getting around the new Stone Roses song being bobbins. It’s not as bad as The Foz, obviously, but it’s not exactly Fools Gold either. But it was never going to be was it? We age and we change. The Ian Brown that sang, terribly but wonderfully, “In the misery dictionary, page after paage after paaaaage,” no longer exists. He became the Ian Brown who wrote and droned his way through the fucking awful cod mysticism of F.E.A.R. a long time ago. Now he is the Ian Brown that sings about being a wall. I guess there is a place for him too, somewhere. Maybe local radio.

Let’s not get upset. Let’s remember the good times…

Recommend of the Day…

If you live in or near Manchester, and have a soul, you might be interested to know that The Big Lebowski is on at the Printworks Odeon next Monday (23rd).

Racing Selections…

If I told you we were £12.50 down, would you laugh or cry? Horses eh? Horses.

  • 1.40, Hay – No Squids, Thanks
  • 4.20, Ayr – Chain of Daisies
  • 5.00, Bury – Surprisingly Itchy
  • 5.50, Bath – Caitie

16th May, 2016

Hello you…

Is anyone else a tad bored with the EU referendum? It’s gone on a bit hasn’t it? You have to wonder how we’ve managed to drag this argument out for so long. Look at the Brexit side. Look at it. It’s shite, isn’t it? Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith, Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Ian Botham, David Icke, Kelvin MacKenzie, The BNP…

There are, of course, some legitimate arguments for leaving the EU, but come on, guys, Ian Botham? You have to draw a line somewhere.

Recommend of the Day…

I saw Captain America: Civil War for the third time on Friday, and I have to admit that the third viewing is, well, you know, JUST AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME OMG AWESOOOME!!! If you like fun, and having fun, you really should go and see it.

Racing Selections…

We reached an important landmark last week – £10.50 down – we are into double figures of debt. I feel I should remind you at this point that gambling is not approved or endorsed in any way by this blog.

  • 3.15, Brighton – Jaywalker
  • 4.00, Gornal – I Saw A Face
  • 6.10, Leicester – Alwalaa
  • 6.15, Timperley – Slightly Llama

12th May, 2016

Hello you…

I will be reading a new story tonight, at Voices of the City at the Manchester Jewish Museum. So will Rodge Glass, Marli Roode, Abi Hynes, Polly Checkland Harding and David Hartley. It’s a Bad Language night, so you know it will be a good one. See you there.

Recommend of the Day…

I have to say, the new Manic Street Preachers song written to cheer on Wales in the Euros is a marvel…

Racing Selections…

We turned a corner, then we turned it back again. We are £8.50 down. Or we would be. If we were betting with actual pounds.

  • Salisbury, 2.25 – Purple Magic
  • Sandwell, 3.05 – Blue Balloon
  • Castlefield, 3.10 – Maroon Balloon
  • Newmarket, 8.25 – Philadelphia


10th May, 2016

Hello you…

Warm, isn’t it? I am not a fan. I didn’t like it when Inner Circle made me sweat til I couldn’t sweat no more in 1992, and I don’t like the sun doing it now. Knob off, sun.

Incidentally, do you know how many albums Inner Circle have released? Forty five. Makes you think, doesn’t it.

Recommend of the Day…

Why not check out my interview with Aliya Whiteley? It’s over on Bookmunch.

Racing Selections…

Remember last week, when we were £8 down? Well now we are £6.50 down. That’s right, we have officially turned a corner. We are going to be so rich, what with all the money and everything.

  • Wincanton, 2.40 – Westend Prince
  • Exmouth, 2.55 – What Are Smells
  • Beverley, 5.00 – Miss Marina Bay
  • Truro, 5.05 – Brian Eno’s Hat

5th May, 2016

Dear you…

Have you voted yet? Good pencils this year. Nice and chunky.

I took Emily to the polling station and tried to explain to her why we vote. She’s only three, so she didn’t quite grasp the concept of dividing states into administrative boroughs, but she liked the bit about going to the shops afterwards and maybe buying a Frozen lollipop.

Recommend of the Day…

If you get a chance, you really should try to see Johnny Guitar on it’s re-release. For most of us that means this Sunday as it is a very limited run – details here. For those of you who don’t know, Johnny Guitar is a Nicholas Ray directed western with two female leads (who just happen to be Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge). One of those films that everyone trashed when it came out but then realised was a classic, it’s all sorts of wonderful and definitely in my top ten films ever in the world ever.

Martin Scorsese likes it too.

Racing Selections…

We are £8 down now. Maybe we’ll never get a winner. Who cares eh?

  • Chester 2.40 – Cannock Chase
  • Whitby 3.05 – That Wasn’t A Shoe
  • Clonmel 5.30 – Bonfire Bank
  • Deal 8.50 – Funky Cameron

4th May, 2016

Dear you…

So… Cruz has gone, which is nice.

I know, I know, Trump is a bit manic pixie dream racist, but you don’t get the impression he will nuke as many things as Cruz would have if he was left in a room with a row of shiny buttons and God’s will.

Trump is a dealer, not a nuker. (Unless we say something about his hands. Which we won’t. Because they are normal-sized. Slightly smaller than large-sized if anything. Good hands. Safe hands. Well not safe hands. But way above average in size. Big, big hands. He probably has to get rings specially made for his massive massive hands. And you know when he says hands he means penis, right? And you know the Republican Party are going to concentrate all their efforts and resources on a man who is going to spend at least half of that time and money on reassuring or convincing or attempting to convince the great American public, and the world at large, that his penis is ok? And it is comforting, isn’t it? That we have nothing to worry about on that score. Trump will ‘Make America Great Again’ and do it with deals and a perfectly adequate, nay at least average-sized, penis.

Clinton vs Trump is going to get real ugly, real quick. It would be nice if the election could be about economics or equality or opportunity or hope but it is going to be about penises. He’s got one, she hasn’t. Pick a side. Choose a team.

Within a fortnight of Sanders dropping out of the race, Trump will start answering all questions with, “You know the last scene of Boogie Nights? That.” How will you tackle unemployment? “You know the last scene of Boogie Nights? That.” Do you think that Iran- “Let me interrupt you there, last scene of Boogie Nights. Me. Boom. BIG FUCKING WALL MOTHER FUCKERS!” But the polls suggest- “Try building a wall round my hands. YOU CAN’T!” Mr Tr- “Wooooo!” And then he will just wap it out, Mark Wahlberg’s thirteen inch prosthetic, and we will all choose to believe it is real, and America Will Be Great Again. And hands. And hands. And hands.

Recommend of the Day…

Let’s go with Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken, for no other reason that they played it on the radio yesterday and it has been stuck in my head since. The song is better than the video, but hear you are…

Racing Selections…

Let’s plow on eh? Let’s not think of the past. Let’s ignore that we would be £6 down now, if we were betting with real money, which we aren’t. Are we?

  • Leamington Spa 1.50 Too Fond Of Trees
  • Kelso 3.25 Kk Lexion
  • Tramore 5.00 Bella’s Rock
  • Worthing 5.05 Magnifying Ass

3rd May, 2016

Dear you…

OK, so I have seen Captain America twice already, because I am that cool, but I can’t and won’t say anything about it because, you know, spoiling it for other people.

I bought some tiddlywinks for 99p on Saturday but they don’t work, so I can’t talk about that either.

Recommend of the Day…

I finally caught up with Goosebumps over the weekend. It was just as much fun as I hoped it would be. Jack Black did an accent that I didn’t really see the point of, but the film was stolen by Ryan Lee anyway, so who cares?

Racing Selections…

Roger Black is rightly recognised as one of Britain’s finest ever 400m runners. The only thing that stopped him getting gold at Atlanta was Michael Johnson, one of the greatest athletes of all time, in any sport, ever. What I’m saying is, there is no shame in coming second. Unfortunately, there is no profit either, so, for a £1 stake, we are currently £4 down. Sorry and that.

  • Brighton 2.20 Assassinate
  • Fakenham 3.30 Finish the Story
  • Southampton 4.00 I’m Eating Gravel
  • Fleetwood 5.30 Stop Being My Dog

29th April, 2016

Dear you…


Recommend of the Day…

Overexcited about the new Captain America film, I have been topping up my Avengers habit with volume 1 of Marvel’s Omnibus edition of Kurt Busiek’s run on the Avengers. Fun is a massively underrated quality in comics now that they are all grown-up and adult and sweary and oh-look-Batman-just-humourlessly-stabbed-somebody-in-the-face-and-The-Joker-killed-a-bus-full-of-strippers-then-ran-the-bus-over-a-child-and-a-puppy-and-hope-and-the-concept-of-love but I like fun, and this book is full of fun.

Racing Selections…

We didn’t get off to a flying start did we? A pound on each of yesterday’s tips would have returned a £2 loss. It’s a mugs game, innit?

  • Chepstow 2.15 – Miss Ranger
  • Stafford 2.20 – Croak My Frog
  • Musselburgh 3.05 – Silver Duke
  • Rhyl 4.25 – Simply Potatoes

28th April, 2016

Dear you…

The plan is to do these posts a bit earlier in the morning. Sevenish? Something like that? Does that sound good?

The plan is to talk rubbish about me, or literature (ie me), or politics (and how it affects me), or what have you (me) for a couple of hundred words, then do a ‘Recommend of the Day’ and then do the racing tips. It’s going to be just like The Today Programme, but without the shouting, without the Humphries.

Blogging is dead, obviously. It’s all podcasts now. I’m old school though, and I’m going to kick it old school. I never did this for you anyway, not really. Somewhere along the line I forgot that blogging was a way for me to get into the habit of writing. I lost that habit. It’s time to get it back.

Recommend of the Day…

There are a lot of Prince albums, and a lot of us listening to them at the moment. The one that I’ve had on repeat the last couple of days is Diamonds and Pearls. It fits my Prince needs perfectly at the moment – lots of silly (Daddy Pop, Cream, the fantastic Jughead) with occasional moments of beauty (most notably, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night).

I was slow to Prince. My music taste in the 80s went Madonna > Madonna > Madonna > Pet Shop Boys > The Fall. The first Prince album that caught my attention was the Love Symbol Album, specifically the video for My Name is Prince, with the hat with the chains on the front, and the funkiness. Oh god, the funkiness. I have caught up somewhat. Seventeen albums at the last count. I even bought the Mail on Sunday so I could get the free copy of Planet Earth. It was worth it, and I left the paper in the newsagents, but I still carry the scars of giving that rag my money. It’s the only time Prince ever made me feel dirty.

Racing Selections…

  • Redcar 2.05 – To Have a Dream
  • Gloucester 2.25 – Imaginary Squirrels
  • Lingfield 3.20 – Chicago School
  • Weymouth 4.00 Why Do We Float?