Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Whose agenda is served?

Last Saturday the lead item on BBC News all day was the one about a BA air hostess suing her employer because as a 'devout Christian' she couldn't wear a cross openly at work.

There was so much newsworthy material around all day, including major riots in Chile that didn't even make the bottom rung of the news. How was it decided this should have top billing? Why? Who sets the agenda? We should be very worried.

People who are so monomaniacal about what they wear (like the teacher/hijab wearer the previous day, whom someone sensibly suggested should be fired) would be advised to have cognitive therapy to 'cure' them were they not claiming to be a member of a major religion.

As it is these attention-seekers are given the attention they crave, which only serves to inflame the siituation further, causing more with their type of mental disorder to come forward.

Politicians are required to 'declare their [commercial] interests' and disqualified if conflicts of interest arise. Any employee who is evangelical or fundementalist has a similar conflict of interest and should similarly be disqualified. There's no such thing as a 'higher calling' - it's actually a form of hallucination.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Praise for Orhan Pamuk

It is entirely appropriate that Orhan Pamuk has been awarded the 2006 Nobel prize for Literature.

I don't believe critics who say his comments on the Armenian genocide have been influential in his winning this prize.

I predicted a year ago he would one day get it. His work simply deserves it.

My Name is Red and Snow are among the best books I've ever read, and the former rivals novels like 100 Years of Solitude in its poetry, scope, multi-levelled effectiveness and ambition. Not to mention its enjoyablity.

He straddles the difficult terrain between east and west, Islam and Europe with imagination, courage and dignity.

I've seen him speak and exchanged a few words at the Hay Festival. A modest man with a thorough and complete approach to his work, who believes in truth and the power of literature to enlighten and have a positive influence. An example to all writers.

In literary and academic circles the announcement that he's become the first Turkish person ever to win a Nobel prize has been justifiably greeted with joy. "He is a representative of modern Turkey," said Cengiz Aktar, an academic in Istanbul. "He will probably now become the conscience of modern Turkey." Let's hope so.

Naturally he has his critics. Especially in a corrupt government that wants to have it both ways - to be 'European' and to abuse the powerless. More power to Orhan Pamuk.

Sad news, Terry jones is ill, gig is off

from Terry's agent:

"Bad news, I'm afraid. Terry has had to go into hospital for emergency surgery (actually it's next Friday) but post op will need other treatment. His consultant is saying it's best for him to cancel things for the next six months. I'm awfully sorry but I'm sure you understand. Keep my email and maybe sometime in the future....."

I've sent our best wishes to him. Thanks everyone. Sadly the gig is postponed indefinitely.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Monty Python Brian's Second Coming!

We've confirmed Sunday 7 January 2007 for monty Python's Terry Jones and Sue Jones-Davies, stars of 'Life of Brian', to be at the Machynlleth Tabernacl and discuss the film and see a screening to raise money for Fadeco. A big thank you to both of them. I don't think they've ever met since making the film, though Sue's made a few more films and is now ... my yoga teacher!

This is the biggest fundraising event Friends of Fadeco has attempted and a big opportunity to raise our profile. [If you're not a member please join by going to that web page and downloading the form!]

It might be nice to have a get-together afterwards at someone's house in Mach as well, to which we could invite Terry and Sue, to chat more informally, with a small buffet. I wonder if anyone wants to volunteer their house and we could all chip in with the buffet?

Could we have a get-together to plan the event, and who wants to do what? I'd like to start on publicity now, to maximise turnout and awareness. Could we meet on Monday 16th in the White Lion at 7.30? Is there anyone else as well - other FoFs - eg in Taliesin - that you could tell about this please? Feel free to pass this on.

With Pete Telfer [of documentary production company the Pixel Foundry] we are hoping to film the event and cooking up an idea for a documentary programme where we might fly Terry and Sue out to Tanzania to see what's really going on there. We're working on the idea 'The Second Coming of Brian'. What would Brian think if he came back 2000 years later and saw the mess people had made of His legacy?

We've suggested the idea to Terry's agent and I'm waiting to hear back.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hybrids proof copies mailed out

Hundreds of uncorrected proof copies of Hybrids have just been mailed out.

Cover blurb

Are you...

  • A slave to your computer?

  • Welded to your mobile phone?

  • Joined at the hip to your iPod?

Maybe, one day, you will be...

Johnny and Kestrella are hybrids, victims of 'Creep', a virus whiuch cauases sufferers to merge with frequently-used items of technology.

As hysteria grips the nation, they live in fear of being rounded up and sent to the mysterious Centre for Genetic Rehabilitation, never to be seen again...

Compelling, contemporary and though-provoking, David Thorpe's sci-fi thriller is esssential reading for the cyberspace generation.

  • Winner of the nationwide HarperCollins/SAGA Magazine competition which attracted nearly 900 entries.

  • The panel of judges included Ornage prize-winning author Helen Dunmore, who says: "The writing is sharp, the dalogue good, and the action pacey and page-turning. But there's real depth to this story too. like all good fiction it makes the reader see the world in a different light, like HG Wells and J ohn Wyndham."

  • Also from the judges: "wonderfully original...totally fresh and exciting...vivid and unputdownable."

Publication: 8 May 2007

  • Proof mailing to all key influencers including UK buyers, journalists, teachers and librarians

  • Blanket review coverage and features in national, local and trade press, magazines and online

  • Major feature in Saga magazine, as well as reviews and author interviews in teen press and national and regional newspapers

  • Radio interviews.

For more information contact:

ISBN 0 00 724784 4 | £5.99

Friday, October 06, 2006


Word is my friend
I shall not want.
I make him lie down on white
And he leads me to the waters of comfort.
He mines my soul
And directs me towards the light, for his and my sakes.
Even if I am lost in the field of confusion
I will not be afraid.
For he is with me;
His grace and his logic.

You provide me with riches beyond count
And unite peoples.
You have swept a wind of clarity through my mind
And my well of inspiration will never run dry.
But your loyalty and warmth
Will bring me calm all my life
And I will live in the House of Word
For ever.

[from a radio play, The School Play, I'm writing now]

I'm on Wikipaedia. How weird is that?

My younger son came in yesterday and said "You're on Wikipaedia". We looked. And I was.

It was almost as weird as the day nine months ago when I found a book I did a long time ago, Doc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect, was for sale on Amazon, when the publishers melted away 15 years back.

[I've since taken over the stock and ordering of it. So if you want to buy it direct from me, please email me, then I get the whole cover price instead of just 40%.]

Who does this kind of thing? Methinks the latter was a comic shop in the US called Mile High, and I don't know which lovely person did the Wikipaedia entry.

Anyway, being a stickler for truth and accuracy, I have updated it. So you can go and see it - and even change it - if you really like.

Maybe anyone, however obscure, can be on Wikipaedia, for doing hardly anything: "Jack O'Donnell [fictitious name] in 1989 wrote ascreenplay 'The Other Side of My Foot', which was never made." I wonder how at Wikipaedia they decide how trivial something has to be before it goes in?