Monday, August 28, 2006


UK website Eternal Night have been very kind to me over the years and have supported almost everything I've come up with. They've been kind enough to set me up with a Personal Career Page which lists all my books up until the latest Chimericana Books release, spanning a writing career of nearly twenty years.

Kudos aplenty, Steve and Lesley Mazey.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Whatever happened to THE PERCH?

It's a lovely 18th century pub, just north of Oxford, by the River Thames. When I first came to Oxford five or more years ago, this pub was alright. They had a bar (that wasn't the best organised in the world). They served food (that wasn't too bad). They had a beer garden (which had a plastic chess set) and a large childrens' play area. Yeah, it was a little tacky but it was alright.

Couple years ago, new management fucked the place up good, food and service went down the toilet, place was basically allowed to get run down.

Now, some new French bloke has taken it on. I sense that his idea is to bring a little of the French culture back to the grand old English pub. So, they pipe, "Je ne regrette rien." and other warbling French dames through the tannoy. They allow the chimney by the bar to get totally blocked causing a carbon monoxide health hazard. They cleared out the bad bar area completely, giving them a more unified space to run a restaurant.

But where did they put the bar?

They squished in into the corner there by the poisonous open fire. You have to QUEUE in a single line for drinks. It didin't work, and it wasn't even that busy. Add to the fact that the bar staff can't work the till properly or deliver the correct order. One bloke was loudly venting his fury to the owner while we all stood there wondering what had gone so wrong.

And where are the French waitresses scampering around in cocktail dresses and pinafores? I mean if you're gonna bring a little French café culture to Oxford, why not go the whole hog. There was one dour student clearing tables and not engaging the customers at all.

In summary, I realise that the current arrangement is just to get customers at least back in and drinking but I.M.H.O. they should have waited until their plan was fullyl realised before allowing the patrons to bad mouth the place to their friends and neighbours. Basically they have an uphill climb ahead of them now which (judging by the price of their snacks) they sorely don't need.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW, A Scanner Darkly:'s odd, I'll give it that. And I'd forgotten about the wonderfully convoluted PKD-patented wrap-around ending. That was a nice surprise well rounded off in Hollywood stylee. But Linklater can't direct. Or rather... he allowed the one-trick-pony of a visual effect try to do too much for him. There were no emotions in the piece, only overdramatised lampoonery to the very ordinary happenings all round. Erm, no, Linklater can't direct. Sorry.

After doing this movie review, I'm gonna wander back and take a look at my SF-zone book review of Scanner Darkly and see if I still agree with anything I said in that.

But for now, let's concentrate on the product. No, not the movie, which was utterly flat and turgid. The great PKD book adaptation experience. I think it might be THE BEST PKD ADAPTATION to date. Sure, Blade Runner was a decent (excellent) film but it was hardly the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep it could have been. I think the major problem with Scanner is it comes at the zenith of this master's creative drug-spree of a writer life. He can do no better than some of the crackin' one-liners in the book, such that the film itself lifted a whole slice out of the middle of the book disembodied-narrator style - the goof-balled suicide with the million eyeballs, the same lame way Cronenberg lifted the strangled-by-his-own-dangle-berries skit out of Naked Lunch.

I don't think the Scanner Darkly product lends itself to film adaptation, film is a very different beast. Scanner would make a great stage play where talking heads arent' that much of a chore. But film has to move, either from left to right, with cuts, with tracking shots, or move via character development and turnarounds. Scanner has that (in a PKD-alien proto-form) but the movie format doesn't know what to do with it. We just get these cardboard characters whacking off these banal lines for nearly two hours.

But what a nice Scramble Suit, bravo.

ALTAVISTA_BABELFISH_ME, if you truly give a shit:

Aujourd'hui, j'ai rentré de la France et c'est assez difficile de ne plus penser en français*. J'ai passé une très bonne semaine avec ma famille français dans la region de Rodez dans le sud de la France. Il faissait beau le pluspart de la semaine, mais Jeudi soir il faissait des grands claques de tonneur et des brillant coups de foudre. On a marché beaucoup (a peu près de quinze ou vingt kilometres par jour) et on mongeais et bouvais, mangeais et bouvais toute la semaine. A table, une amie de la famille ma dit que j'avais de bon français - bien sûr que non dit-je, "Je connais que quatre mots de français." a devenu mon 'catch phrase'.

Mardi, j'ai tenu dans ma main le vrai 'tête de mort' Papillon de Nuit (l'un de La Silence des Agneaux). C'etait un très bien experience. Comme l'énorme chrysallide, le papillon de nuit remplit toute la main ouverte, ces ailles pas encore gonflé de sang, ces pieds chouchottes le peau, sa voix terrifiante.

Alors, hier soir j'ai pris le train de nuit de Rodez à Paris. Dans ma chambre de deuxieme classe, cinq enfants criants d'un equipe de trente ou plus jeune voyageurs (merci a eux qu'apres minuit ils etaient assez silent et j'ai passé une bonne nuit de dormir). J'avais peur que je ne dormirai aucun.

Pendant les dernier plusiers jours, j'ai lu le nouvel roman de Haruki Murakami (Kafka Sur Le Rivage) - vraiment, c'est le premier roman français que j'ai decidé de finir.

Tiens, c'est tout - maintenant j'y vais regarder A SCANNER DARKLY au Cinema Phoenix ici à Oxford.

* s'il vous plait, excuse ma grammaire et mon orthographe.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tate Gallery, Meredith Frampton, 1894 - 1984

Today, I visited the cultural sites of old London town - ended up at the Tate Gallery on the banks of the Thames and wandered around the Surreal section. The most impressive brace of images by far were by modern artist Meredith Frampton. Here's one to whet your app'

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mike Philbin - two new 5,000 word stories:

Finally got back into it (could this have something to do with the temporary batchelorism of having a wife on a course in Spain and a daughter at her grandparents in France?). Wrote two 5,000 word stories and sent them off to decent venues. The first one "Taking Care Of Momma" is about the sexlife of ants and An Old Woman Who Lives In A Shoe. The second one "The Man Who Flirted With Mother Nature" is about Gaia and the wicked trick she pulls on the inhabitants of Oxford, one bright sunny afternoon. They say, "Write what you know."

Wish me luck, fuckers.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

new book review - novella 5

I received a great review for "novella 5" from Pat Esposito (Horror World) but since then, I've withdrawn those five novellas in preparation for the resurrection of Hertzan Chimera. Sorry to those who were looking for them but get ready for the nastiest couple of novels you'll ever read.