Interpretation

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I’m back to work full time next week which is great (I think). Until recently I had a lot of time to kill where I was either:

A) Exhausted or
B) Busy trying to help my poor long suffering wife around the house (and probably getting in the way)

As a result of all this free time I’ve been listening to the radio a lot – including a great interview with Harry Potter author J.K Rowling on the BBC programme Desert Island Disks recorded in November 2000. If you’re a UK resident you can find it here : http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/dida/dida_20001105-1115a.mp3 (I’m guessing BBC license rules will stop the rest of the world but you can give it a try).

In this interview Rowling discusses the character of Rita Skeeter, who those of you who have worked your way through the Potter series will know, is a fairly vile journalist. Apparently Rita’s first planned appearance was in book one but by the time Rowling had reached the final draft she decided that the characters entrance was best saved for book 4 ‘The Goblet of Fire’ when the pressure of the fame would be most trying for Harry. Of course in the interim Potter became a phenomena and Rowling was being hounded by the press for the simple mistake of being a successful author (how very dare she). Now the character of Rita Skeeter is pretty vile, not as bad as some in the real media I’m sure, but a fairly nasty piece of work in anyone’s world (be it real or imagined) and now Rowling faced a quandary. If she wrote Rita as intended all those years ago would people, including the press, see this character as her response to the way the media had treated her?
In the end Rowling’s response was ‘just bung her in and enjoy it’ and then she ended up enjoying writing one of arguably the most memorable characters of the series.

Ok so what can we struggling mortal writers learn from Rowling’s decision? Well it’s simple – don’t worry about interpretation.

There’s an urban legend and I really hope there’s a grain of truth in it, about an author who visits a school to talk about their book which the students have all diligently studied, dissected and essayed. The author talks for a while about their work and then invites questions from the students. They of course have prepared their questions in advance under the guidance of their teacher and the teacher in turn will be teaching in line with the current curriculum supported by the available reference notes for the material. So when the students ask the author about the interpretation of the text they are somewhat surprised to find that the author didn’t intend any of it. The author was simply writing a story. Some of what the students have assumed or deducted might have found its way into the text subconsciously but the themes and meanings they have identified were never placed there directly.

Now let me prove a point. Let’s take that well know children’s classic ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea.’
Ok it’s a tale about a tiger who comes into a small girls house. The tiger sits down to tea with the child and her mother then proceeds to eat all the food, drink all the tea from the tea pot and drink all the water in the tap etc etc. At the end of the story when the tiger has departed and the father comes home there is nothing left in the house for dinner so they go out for a meal. Later they buy some special food in case the tiger ever visits again.

So as an adult (perhaps as a child) you kind of know its not a tiger it’s a cat. That’s the little joke we’re all in on as readers… But….

What if it’s not a cat. Maybe the child has mental trauma and is simply blocking out the reality with this story of a tiger. It could be a mob boss come to collect on daddy’s debts, a dodgy landlord after his rent “No rent? I’m shutting your water off”, or maybe it’s mummies lover who pops round when daddy is at work and calls the young girl “Tiger”?

That’s all nonsense of course I’m sure Judith Kerr didn’t mean any of that. BUT… Judith does have something in her past that might be leaking onto the page, consciously or not. She spent the first few years of her life in Berlin. Her father was allegedly on a Nazi death list because of his opposition to the party. Did they ever have an unwelcome visitor? All forced joviality masking an underlying threat? Fellow writer Michael Rosen has wondered as much:

“So I don’t know whether Judith did it consciously or not – I wouldn’t want to go there – but the point is he’s a jokey tiger, but he is a tiger.”

Or perhaps it could just be a story about a cat.

My point is that you can twist new meanings into everything. It’s doesn’t mean that those interpretations can’t teach us valuable lessons or shine a light on our subconscious. But as a writer why worry about it? Very few of us will ever reach the levels of fame that ends with academics and media critics scouring over our work. Concentrate on the story and the themes you want to explore. Let others read into it what they will.

You can read more about Judith Kerr’s fascinating story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25027090

Keep creating folks, remember it’s supposed to be fun ;-)

All Hallows Eve

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It’s Halloween so without further ado, here’s a short story I’m sharing with you…

The forked tongue flashed across thin lips catching the thin strand of saliva that had gathered there. “I’m hungry!” it protested.
“Have some more kitten,” said its companion pushing the chipped plate over the battered table. The first creature pushed the rags of fur and bone over the white and blue patterned porcelain then sniffed dismissively. “Why can’t we go hunting?” it whined.
“You know the rules. All Hallows is for the mortals.”
“The rules are stupid!”
The second beast, which was the elder of the two, gave him a humourless smile and lit a thin yellow hand-rolled cigarette. “That’s as maybe but we’re not breaking them.”
“Oh why not? What’s going to happen to us?”
“I don’t know.” It took a drag on the cigarette that was clasped tight between its clawed fingers. “If you want to hunt feel free. I’ll watch the results with interest.”

The younger creature sat down and sighed heavily. It plucked a scrap of kitten from the plate and pulled a few shreds of meat from the bones. “What I wouldn’t give for a bit of human baby.”
“We agreed this; no more babies.”
The younger grunted and picked its pointed teeth with its foul talons. “Hey do you remember that barbeque in Italy?”
“I’d hardly call Pompeii a barbeque.”
“Twelve days of feasting on the beach!”
“As I recall it you ate so much you were sick for five of them.”
“Ah!” The younger sighed joyfully. “Happy days.”
“They’ll come again.”
“When?” He snarled greedily.
“Soon enough.”
“Gah!” The younger spat dismissively as he sprang to his feet. “You always spout such tripe! We should be tearing this world apart! Feasting on the flesh of mortals, raping and revelling in our power! Not scraping scraps from scabby feral felines.” He paused to look out of the small wire framed window, its broken glass pane stained yellow with nicotine before catching sight of himself in the shattered remains of a mirror propped up in one gloomy corner. “Look at us,” he said sadly, “we’re pathetic.”
“Oh don’t be so melodramatic.”
“I can’t help it. I can almost taste them.” Its voice lowered. “Those fools with their stupid pumpkins and monster masks. Their squalling brats, bloated and sweetened with an excesses of sugar and oh!” He sighed lustfully, “as for the teens, ripe and juicy and oh so supple.” He was visibly salivating now. “Do you know how far you can bend their legs back before they rip from their sockets?”
“Of course I do. I was violating virgins before you’d tasted your first puppy!” The elder stood now and danced slowly across the room, hips swaying as smooth and sinuous as a snake. He started speaking softly but his voice trembled and rose with his excitement. “I was feared. Mothers hid their children when I approached. Young lovers took their lives when I came calling. Villages offered me their young, their pure, their finest as my playthings in the vainest hope I would let the rest of them be. I WAS A GOD!”

“And now you’re in a basement.”
The elder dusted his waistcoat down. “Well we all have to adjust to circumstances.” He walked slowly back to his chair. “Besides, if we stick to the rules we can survive long enough to see those days again.”
“Those days could be now! I’m tired of these feral strays and greasy pigeon meat. I want something that screams when it sees me.”
“You had those Jehovah’s Witnesses last year. Oh and that homeless guy in June.”
“He doesn’t count. He was almost dead when he got here.”
“Alright, but the Jehovah’s do. I kept mine alive for three days, He made this little gurgling noise whenever I…”
“Stop it! I don’t want to hear, it’s making me hungry.”
The elder shrugged. “Suit yourself”

The younger sighed loudly again and stared out of the broken glass. Then the bell rang above them. They froze. Neither quite believing what they were hearing. It rang again, echoing through abandoned rooms, reverberating past peeling paint, mouldy plaster and rotting wood. They could both picture it bouncing back and forth on its rusty spring, resurrected from its seemingly eternal rest by a hand on the chain. But who owned the hand?
The elder spoke first. “Do not make a sound,” he hissed between his pointed teeth. The younger started to nod then hesitated. “Coming!” he shouted suddenly and loudly.

“You bloody fool!” the elder snapped. “What are you doing?”
“I believe it’s called answering the door.”
“You’ll get us found! They’ll have police and dogs and…”
“And nothing we haven’t dealt with before.”
“Do you really want to be on the run again? Tonight of all nights?”
“Relax. Even if the police do suspect, they won’t be here in force until the morning.”
“But look at us! We can’t answer the door like this!”
“It’s Halloween, of course we can.”
The eldest grinned widely, refusal transforming into joyous acceptance, then they both bolted for the door laughing and snarling as they thundered up the rickety wooden stair and through the dusty silent kitchen. They stopped when they skidded side by side into the now silent entrance hall. Breathing heavily they moved slowly across the old chequer tiled floor, both of them fearing that their prey had fled. Then the bell rang again, the echoes bouncing back and forth across the wide space.
The eldest spoke in a hushed whisper. “If it’s more than three we let them go.”
“Four!” The younger hissed. “We can handle two each, even if we have to kill them quick.”
The elder nodded and they walked to the door. The younger placed his shaking claw on the handle. His head was spinning; he felt like a love struck teenager about to make the first move. He took a deep breath, the eldest watching him steadily waiting, poised and hungry. The door opened and they looked down.

“Trick or Treat! Hey cool costumes.”
She was hard to age: she could have been twenty, she could have been twelve. Not that it mattered, she was alone.
The elder recovered first, the younger just stood there sweating and swaying slightly. “Come in, come in! Welcome to our haunted house. We shall be your guides through the horrors that await,” the elder said jovially.
“Oh goody I do like haunted houses.”
“Are you alone child?” he asked.
She nodded then looked down at her feet. “I’ve just moved here you see, but I love Halloween so I snuck out to come trick or treating.” She held up her basket of candy as evidence of her misdemeanour.
“A fugitive eh? Well fear not. No one shall ever know you were here.”
“You won’t tell?”
“On my honour child. The last thing I will ever do is tell a single soul that you were her.”
“Enough of this!” squeaked the younger, “it’s time to play.”
“Indeed it is,” said the elder cheerfully whilst shooting him a warning glance. “Prey fetch a pot for the child to collect her trinkets in.”
The younger looked flummoxed by this request and gave the elder an appealing look.
“In the kitchen perhaps?” the elder said with a meaningful nod in that direction.
“Now my dear,” he added as his companion glided uncertainly away, “you can leave your basket of goodies here. I assure you they will be quite safe.” He gave her an appraising look as she set her basket down. “Little red riding hood I see. Does that make me grandma or the big bad wolf?”
“That’s up to you,” she replied sweetly.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the younger was somewhat distressed. This was not how it normally went! Open the door, get them in, and then start breaking them. That was the way it was always done! What kind of silly game was the elder playing at?

There was a crash from the kitchen and the child stared quizzically at the elder. “Excuse me,” he said somewhat distractedly, “I’ll just go and see what ails my compatriot.”
She watched him scuttle away then looked at her surroundings. It was a big old house but it appeared to be in a serious state of disrepair. Either the owners were very dedicated Halloween enthusiasts or very bad at DIY.

“What are you doing?” hissed the elder as he skidded into the kitchen with an uncharacteristic loss of grace.
“Me! What are you doing? We should be scragging the little flesh bag not playing stupid games!”
“Trust me! I know what I’m doing!”
“What? What are you doing? Because right now it looks like madness!”
“I need to check the book.”
“Why let’s just get her in the cellar and gag her!”
“Not yet. Distract her, play along and I’ll check the rules.”
“You’re insane, do you know that.”
“Perhaps,” replied the elder with a dry smile, “but humour me.”

The younger returned to the hall and presented the child with a container, of sorts.
“Is this a skull?” she said turning the cranium over in her hands
“Er yes,” he admitted thinking back to the day that the homeless soul had crawled into their lair seeking shelter from the freezing storm outside. He hoped she wouldn’t look too closely, there were little teeth marks here and there. Luckily she seemed unfazed.
“Cool.” She said, followed by, “So what’s this game then?”
“Oh it’s simple,” he replied casually having plotted this subterfuge in the kitchen with the elder. “You must search every room of the house for a piece of bone. Start at the second floor and then into the attic. Then come down here and the game ends in the basement.”
“Cool,” she said again quietly and started for the stairs.

Leaving her basket in the hallway and taking the proffered candle, she trod slowly and warily up the creaking wooden steps. Long ago these stairs had been covered with a lush red carpet, now all that was left was the stumpy remains of carpet runners, gleaming dully in the flickering light.

She reached the landing then the light vanished into the gloom. The youngest watched her go, drooling slightly, then hurried off in search of the elder.
“Well?” He snapped when he found him squinting at the ancient battered pages of the rule book, “did you find what you wanted.”
The elder raised a hand to silence him, his lips moving rapidly as he read in a low whisper.
“… lest the prey willingly enters or already abides within the lair of the beast…” he began to smile. “…known to keep victims alive for such sport on all hallows giving hope to…blah, blah, blah.” He slammed the book shut sending a cloud of dust floating into the damp air. “Lets play!”
The younger beamed as he danced his way back into the hall.

“My child?” the eldest sang into the darkness, “Wither have you gone?”
“I’m up here,” the voice floated down to them.
“Make haste child, there are many games to be played.”
There was a gasp from above them, followed by a short cry of dismay.
“What’s wrong child?”
“The candle,” she said tremulously. “It’s gone out.”
“Fear not!” cried the youngest, adding a “yet,” quietly so that only the eldest could hear.
“Yes, fear not!” the eldest repeated, “We shall hunt for you in the darkness.”
There was a brilliant flash and a rumble of thunder so loud that the walls shook. Then the rain began to fall.
The eldest felt rather proud of the dramatic timing, as if he’d had a hand in the weather himself. As they crept slowly up the stairs they giggled like naughty toddlers. Their footfalls and the creaking of the boards beneath their feet were masked by the sound of the water hammering into the roof, gurgling and dripping through broken drains and over weathered tiles. As they reached the top of the stairs the eldest called out again.
“Where are you?”
“I’m here,” came the soft reply.
He gestured to the youngest who nodded and vanished into another room. He would circle round and seize her from behind. That way it was easier to stifle the screams. The eldest licked his lips. ‘And what screams they shall be!’ he thought.
“I can’t see you child, call to me.”
“Over here,” the voice said clearly and he changed his course, his body tensing as he drew closer.
“I can’t hear you,” she said, “Where are you?”
The voice came from behind an old dresser, its stout build having survived the slow decay of time better than the sad remnants of its more elegant neighbours. “I’m here!” he hissed rounding the corner with his talons raised.
The child wasn’t there.
“Where?” she called; the voice was right in front of him, only slightly dulled by thin wood and mouldering plaster. She was on the other side of the wall. He hissed, it was a foolish mistake to have made.
“Don’t fear child. I am coming for you.”
“Please,” she whimpered. “I’m scared.”
The eldest grinned in the darkness and sniffed the air to revel in the faint whiff of fear.

He heard the floorboards creak as she moved in the neighbouring room and took great leaping strides back to the corridor, gracefully landing on tiptoes with each bound, the sound of his progress inaudible over the patter of the rain on the broken tiles above.
There was a splash from another room; she’d moved further than he thought. “Eeeew! There’s water everywhere!” A moments pause, then, “er guys, the roof is leaking!”
He tiptoed over the bowing timbers towards her voice. A movement to the left told him that the younger was still hunting, moving like lightening through the empty chambers.
“Walk towards me,” he called.
“Ok.”
“Can you see me?”
“I think so.”
He could see her. Standing by the banister, peering into the darkness of the hall below. The younger rose up in the doorway behind her and he felt a twinge of pride at the creatures’ stealth and speed. Then the younger leapt, a great arching pounce to seize their prey with pale choking fingers. The elder grinned as the younger reached her, his long limbs gracefully poised as he shot towards her like a deadly arrow in the night. Then he passed through her and fell screaming onto the hard floor below. The elder winced at the thud and sickening crack that cut the scream short. He could picture his friend’s body, broken and splayed, blood pooling on the chequer tiles below.
He felt a moments regret but this passed when he realised that at least he’d have something to eat tonight.

He reached the mouldering chair piled with mildew soaked blankets that he’d mistaken for the child. Why the younger couldn’t see the difference from here he’d never know.
“What was that noise?” the small frightened voice came from above him.
“Nothing child. Just my friend getting into the spirit of the day.”
She was in the attic. “Ghah!” he spat. He enjoyed the chase but this was getting silly. He moved quickly to scale the rickety steps to the very top of the house. Part of the roof was missing and as he rose like a demon from the stairwell, lightening bathed the room with a brilliant flash. The shimmering pools of water that lay beneath the void mirrored it, sending light dancing into the corners of the room.
It was empty.
He yelled. “Where are you child?”
“Down here!” She laughed and he thundered back down to the floor below.
“Where are you?” he growled, leaning over bannister, scanning the darkness below.
“I’m here.” The voice whispered in his ear, he span round ready to throttle her, but there was no one there. “Or maybe I’m here…” the voice called from downstairs.
Despite himself he was shaken and his composure was slipping, “You little bitch!” he screeched, then struggled to lower his tone. “Let us not play games now,” he said more calmly. “I have such a treat in store for you.”
“And I have a surprise for you…”
“Oh your presence is a gift enough,” he simpered slowly descending the stairs.
“I never said it was a gift,” she said as the noose dropped around his neck. She dropped lightly to the floor beside him, the other end of the rope grasped firmly in her hand. He rose struggling onto his tiptoes, hands clawing at his neck. “Just a surprise.” She finished tying the rope to the end of the banister before vanishing into the darkness.

She returned in a bubble of light from a glowing candle, the rule book now tucked under her arm. She regarded the elder for a moment who had reached the rope above his head and was trying to pull himself up it to slacken the grip around his throat, then sat primly on the shattered body of the younger and began to read.

“… lest the prey willingly enters or already abides within the lair of the beast. As consequence some have been known to keep victims alive for such sport on all hallows. Giving hope to such victims and striking fear into those who would harm them is the legend of the hunter, for she may only hunt on All Hallows. Although she prefers to catch those who break the rules she may hunt them in their lairs if she is invited in willingly.”

The eldest gasped and flailed at his neck again desperately trying to draw breath. She closed the book and untied the rope from the rail before yanking it firmly with one hand. Her catch jumped up into the air, pulled firmly on his line. There was a ‘snap’ and his body jerked and rocked limply as it pulled taut on the swinging cord. She let him fall and sighed. She would drag the corpses out into the rain and with luck they would have dissolved by morning. Not that it mattered; she would be long gone. Off to a new life, a new town, ready to hunt again. Not that these two had been much sport, she thought. They were half starved and in the first throws of madness. Stupid creatures, they made it far too easy.

She pulled the younger by his feet, out onto the packed earth of the weed choked yard. She brushed the sodden hair from her face and tossed the cheap red cloak onto his corpse which hissed with each blow from the raindrops. So the world was marginally safer, which was of course the point; but they made it so easy! Even after all this time they didn’t know the rules, relying instead on rumour and hearsay, even though every pack had a copy of the book with them. She sighed as she went back to collect the elder. On reflection she mused, she did wish they’d read more.

Pinterest

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Out of curiosity I joined Pinterest some time ago and discovered that it’s a great source of inspiration and a handy place to save all those interesting images you stumble across when you should be doing some actual writing…

Anyway I have a few boards set up now, some things that interest me, some that inspire or amuse me and a couple of project boards. One of these is called Dynasty and a cursory glance will prove that it’s nothing to do with an eighties TV show featuring Texan billionaires, massive shoulder pads and bad hair.

Dynasty is the working title for a trilogy of books I’m working on the first of was written and I thought (at the time) complete.

I was wrong.

Whilst floating high on morphine (hospital administered, I swear I don’t have a problem) a whole host of ideas flew into my head and now it’s getting another re-write. The first thing I did once I regained use of my faculties was scour Pinterest for images that I can refer back to when I’m refining my work. All of which is there for you to see here: http://www.pinterest.com/mattadey/dynasty/

It’s probably best not to think of it as a window into my mind, because that’s a really scary place and believe me when I say you wouldn’t like the view.

What do you do when life gets in the way of writing?

Medical EquipmentOk so this is my first blog post in a long long while, in fact I really left just as I was getting started. In fairness though I do have a pretty good excuse for slacking off having being diagnosed with cancer. Leukaemia it turns out, is not conducive to either blogging or to be frank reading or writing.

So have these been desert months?
Has all that time been lost to illness?
Well yes and then again…

I have had a lot of time to dwell on my own fate, a massive amount to be honest and to be frank I’m counting every moment that I still live, breath and think as a blessing. Don’t worry dear reader, my outlook is good and I can and see a better future ahead for both me and my family. I’m exhausted, even getting up and going for a shower knocks me out some days, but that will pass with time and it doesn’t stop my mind from being active. The storyteller within me is still waiting with the sparkling eyes of childhood and he is beginning to dance again, albeit with trembling feet. Given time he will find his strength and whilst he does I’ll read a little, write a little and listen to a lot of radio drama. Mentally I think radio has been my saviour, it is the bridge between page and screen, the place where imagination and realisation collide. It’s dawned on me that all writers should listen to the radio and not just to the spoken word. Radio is a gateway to new music, a place to keep up with current affairs and opposing world views and it can hold up a mirror to our own past; nothing brings back memories more than the music of our youth, but things can sound very different second time around!

During these months of reflection I’ve been reminded that music can be magical and would encourage you all to go back to old songs and really listen to the lyrics because they are the key to the writers soul. Remember that line in a song can be the spark that ignites a story, a joke in a sketch can can be the catalyst for a tale of darkness or maybe, just maybe you’ll find something in another writers tale that changes you in ways you’ll never expect.

Happy 2014 to you all!

Making the final leap!

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Well folks, I’ve done it.  I’ve taken the leap, dived right in at the deep end, set myself up for a fall or perhaps taken another step to achieving my dream?

I’ve submitted my work to agent.  Multiple agents in fact.

I’m not now going to sit here and type up a load of advice about ‘this is how you do a synopsis blah, blah, blah…’

The fact is I still don’t know how to write a synopsis, I suspect mine was a bit rubbish!  It was also the most painful thing I’ve ever written.  Originally I thought it would take me a couple of hours.

NO!

Ten hours would be a better estimate.

But I’ve done it, this might go nowhere but then again…

If I can do it then you certainly can.

If you’re anything like me, then there’s always that doubt in your head.   That little voice that tells you whatever you do is not good enough.

Well, whatever your field you always need to practice.  Everything can be improved, but before that your work needs to exist.

The great writers of our time all started out with a blank sheet of paper and the stories in their heads; but it takes time to find the words.

The finest sculptures were crafted by people driven by a desire to make something beautiful, they all had to start a chip at a time.

So here’s my call to you:

Go create.

Yes I mean you.

Go and do something amazing.

Iain Banks

Stone BayI was going to blog about my weekend.  I had a lovely time on the south coast with my in-laws and quiet walk down to the sea that sent my mind spiralling off in some new creative directions.

Then today I heard the sad news that Iain Banks has terminal cancer and does not expect to live for longer than a year.  Of course my heart goes out to him and his family, but it also aches for us the readers, the consumers of his art.  Those of you who know Iain’s work will appreciate what a loss this will be, although his books don’t consistently reach the heights of his début The Wasp Factory, his legacy includes some absolute gems.

Iain is the master of the opening paragraph, the most famous of which is probably from The Crow Road and begins with, “It all started the day my grandmother exploded.”  That’s not my favourite though, that honour belongs to Espedair Street; a dark, yet slightly comical, assessment of the life of an ageing rock star, a man who has it all and now can’t decide what to do with any of it.  I loved it, from the moment I read it, I ‘got’ this book in a way I could never describe.  Few books come close in my mind, only the collaborative efforts of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman on Good Omens pips it in my top five.  The opening paragraph sees our protagonist (Daniel Weir) discuss his intended exit from the world, “Two days ago I decided to kill myself…”  It then describes just how he intends to exit this mortal realm by diving into the cold waters off the west coast, before throwing you, the reader, a life ring “Last night I changed my mind and decided to stay alive.  Everything that follows is… Just to try and explain.”

What follows is a tale that makes me feel good every time I read it.  It’s not a light story by any standards, but it’s engrossing and believable and by the time Danny makes his fateful journey, you fully expect him to go through with his plan despite the opening assurances.  Then the ending comes and the grief pours out of him (and you) to be replaced with a strange feeling of acceptance, a realisation that happiness is found within, with those who love you and in the love you hold for others.  Few books will ever manage to pull of that trick so well.

So Iain Banks (with or without the M), for The Bridge, for Complicity, for The Crow Road, The Business and The Wasp Factory I salute you, because they are all great works, but for Espedair Street I will thank you, because it makes the world a better place to live in.

Daylight Savings Time

Digital Clock ImageFor those of us on Greenwich Mean Time this weekend sees the clocks roll forward by an hour, consequently that means that we all lose sixty minutes valuable sleep.
So the following day we will inevitably traipse around the house resetting wall clocks, thermostat timers, wrist watches and a myriad of other devices to the correct digits, only to change them all back again in a few months time (lets just give thanks that the video recorder’s now packed away at the back of a dusty cupboard).

Now the modern world has complicated things further by giving us devices which automatically adjust themselves, sometimes.

Not all of them do, which then leaves you with that moment of temporal uncertainty as you peer bleary eyed at your phone, watch or clock and wonder “Is it really 6:30? Or is it 7:30?” It’s a quandary that’s never really solved until you haul your weary carcass out of bed in search of any device that you are fairly sure isn’t equipped with any self adjusting mechanism. By this point you may as well give up, make some coffee and fight through the fatigue.

Don’t get me started on the perils of setting an alarm.

Now, despite my grumbles, I’m actually quite looking forward to the change, purely because my middle child takes the presence of a mere ball of fire in the sky as his cue to wake up, and when he’s awake it stands to reason that mummy and daddy should also be awake. So I’m praying that losing an hour on Saturday means that I’ll gain a few as the week rolls on. All this will change of course when (if) the British summer actually kicks in and he gets up at dawn again.

I could of course, simply go to bed earlier, but I’m naturally one of natures nocturnal creatures and I find my mind is most creative between the hours of nine in the evening and one in the morning. Sadly children tend to harbour the irrational belief that there is only one twelve o’clock in the day. So I’ll cross my fingers and promise to go to bed early this weekend so I don’t wake up as Captain Grumpy on Sunday; but sadly I think we all know how this story will end.

Oh and you forgot to change the clock in the car.