moments of happiness in a crazy world

It’s 5 weeks since I’ve last wrote, in that time I’ve been busy with the writing school and I also got caught up in a new job at a primary school where I’m learning lots of fun things such as writing my name in Egyptian symbols, and played some songs on the recorder. Life as a 7 year old is fun, but at 38 it can still be fun but things get a bit tougher.

I still admire Jeremy Corbyn enormously, but it’s easy to feel disillusioned by the Labour party, all the in-fighting and I’m feeling confused as to why JC surrounds himself by people who don’t seem to have a clue. I guess it’s all inexperience, but it’s a shame because every time I listen to Jeremy Corbyn or read one of his speeches I’m always feeling inspired and excited. Transferring that into the political bubble isn’t that easy though.

What happened in Paris is heart breaking, and there’s been enough media coverage there’s little else to add to it. Targeting a rock concert was particularly stupid of them, and killing random people including Muslims and children isn’t going to win them any new recruits. I don’t know what kind of idiot thought bringing such slaughter to Paris was going to help their cause, because there’s nothing noble about the barbaric slaughter of innocent people. If it means anything, I’m against military intervention right now. We need allies in the Middle East to help us to sort out this mess, doing it ourselves is just going to create more trouble in the long run. This isn’t Nazi Germany we’re dealing with, despite what IS claims, it’s not a country but a set of ideas. Our whole foreign policy needs a major re-think and a complete change in strategy.

I thought Benjamin Clementine has a great album, and I’m glad he won the Mercury Music Prize. He’s a young man with an old soul, and it was touching when he dedicated his award to the victims of Paris.


As original and fresh as Clementine is, my personal favourite of the nominations was Soak. Here’s one of her most atmospheric songs, with a ace video too.


I’m reading the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid books with my son. There’s a new out too that looks just as fun that he’s desperate to get for Christmas. If you’ve never read one, you should!  These books are brilliant, and it’s so nice to share them and laugh along with my little boy. Perfect for bedtime reading in a crazy world.


the secret world of books

peanutsRural England, where I live, is don’t get me wrong – very beautiful and tranquil.  You feel a strange connection with nature and the passing seasons, and I don’t want to live anywhere else right now. But I always love going to the city because there you can find treasure and life. No, I’m not talking about the cattle market at H+M, I’m talking about book shops.

The little town near us, just a 15 minute drive away, is where I spend a lot of my time.  At the moment I’m working at the school there, and it’s a busy little market town that has everything I pretty much need. Supermarket, bakery, town hall café, hair dresser, green grocer, travel agent, cinema, but the best of all is the library. It’s a small library, there’s probably only a few hundred books, but I always find something interesting (Last week I picked up two books one called “The Internet Delusion – how not to liberate the world”, and the new Goldsmith prize winning sensation Ali Smith novel “How to be both”. (I like to mix things up a little!) There’s also a really ace childrens section in the library and there’s nothing cooler than hanging out with my kids there on Saturday mornings while they’re checking out the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and I’m leisurely reading the Saturday Independent newspaper (I forgot the other cool thing about libraries is the free newspapers!)

But then if I really want to discover something magical, I need to go further afield. To a city either Brighton or Tunbrdige Wells and the Waterstones Book Shop.  It’s a beautiful old fashioned bookshop with lush wooden exterior. Every time I go in there I see pearls and rubys – last week if was a new biography of Stefan Zweig, and a book called “My Salinger Year” written by JD Salinger’s literary agent.  It’s where I first discovered Richard Yates, and it’s where I have just discovered my “New favourite writer” William Maxwell.

mwaxI never heard of this guy before, but I am totally blown away by his elegance and writing prose. You know sometimes you read a paragraph and it just knocks you down, you have to re-read it again and it fills you with a sense of joy and wonder?  Someone who seems to “get” human nature, and explores all the love and the heartbreak of life in a compelling and, most important, enjoyable way. I have no idea if his other books are any good, but the one I’m reading – “the folded leaf” is my book recommendation to you. I guess it was written around 1950, a golden time as far as I’m concerned in literature. life.

Ok got to go. I wish I could go and read Maxwell now, but Open Hands awaits….