Tuesday, August 6, 2019

What Kind of Fan?

No doubt there are degrees of fans.

I consider myself a pretty big Beatles fan. I collect Beatles stuff, and can instantly tell you the difference between different mixes of their music. I know how many takes of I Saw Her Standing There were recorded, which ones were complete and how the released version was constructed.

I also love Essendon, my football club. I watch almost every game live - even if it means getting up at 4.30 am. If they play on a Thursday or Friday evening, that's a touch more difficult as it's usually daytime here in the UK and I'm at work. I don't think my managers would be too please if I had the game running on my PC in the office. Those games, I catch up in the evening. And I'll stick by them through good and bad.

But recently, in several online forums and groups to which I belong, I've seen fans putting down others because they aren't as fanatical. They don't go to as many matches, they don't have as much vinyl, or they don't know the names of every song McCartney ever recorded.

Lincoln City Football Club, my local team, has recently risen from years in a slump. Some fans in one Facebook group seem to yearn for the days when attendance at games was a fraction of what it is now, and rather than celebrate regular victories, sell-out games and more people in town wearing Lincoln shirts, they disparage those who are new supporters as being "Plastic Fans".

And the snobbery.

One Bob Dylan forum to which I belong, recently had a post stating that "When I put a post on here I forget it will probably be read by non-musicians."

What?  You mean your posts are so incredibly meaningful that those who don't play an instrument will never understand them?

I also saw one proclaiming that we all agree Dylan is the greatest musician otherwise you we wouldn't be in this group.  Umm, I belong to several music groups, not just Dylan's.

Another post declared those who don't "get" Dylan are obviously less intelligent than those who do. No, it wasn't meant to be funny, it wasn't a troll. Possibly the funniest part of it was that it was misspelled.

Guess what? We're allowed to like different things to different degrees. We're also not allowed to like other things. And not everything speaks to everyone in the same way. 

I'm proud of my Beatles knowledge, but I'll happily discuss them with people who know far more than I do, and those who just like some of their songs.

And, for the record, not everything they recorded was a masterpiece. You have no idea how little I listen to What's The New Mary Jane?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Excuses, Excuses.

I had all good and honourable intentions of getting some writing over the summer. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, that has yet to occur.

I've been busy. Work and life got in the way. I'm going abroad on holidays soon. I must catch up on Battlestar Galactica (yeah, I'm more than a few years behind). I got distracted by Facebook/Wikipedia/reading articles.

I probably could have made some time if I wanted to.

I sometimes wonder whether I can be bothered writing again. Truth is I enjoy writing and being published but I'm never really sure who is reading my published work.

Someone obviously does. Publishers pay to print my words. I see reviews in Goodreads, Amazon and the occasional blog, but they almost seem removed, remote. There's little sense of immediate feedback.

It all comes down to priorities.

I have ideas still. I write them in my notebooks. And when I have the urge, I'm sure I'll start writing again.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dreadlines.

Douglas Adams said, "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." And from all accounts, he would know. Even a quick glance at any of his biographies will reveal exactly how difficult it was for anyone to get written words out of him - never mind on time. From memory, one publisher pretty much resorted to kidnapping and keeping him hostage until he finished his promised work.

I commenced this month with all good intentions of completing two short stories for deadlines this coming weekend. I'm sad to report I won't meet them.

These were open submissions for a couple of projects I would have loved to have been part of. Unfortunately life took a rather busy turn (in a couple of areas) and I simply haven't had the time to get behind the keyboard.

Lost opportunities? Perhaps. But there was no guarantee my stories would have been accepted, and there will be other opportunities.

Of course, yin and yang, swings and roundabouts, doors opening and other motivational chat.  Which is my way of saying that despite my being busy (or partly from it) I've had some great news too, and further opportunities have arisen and been met.

So once again I will share more when I can - although it won't be soon as these will play out in a much longer time frame.

From what I've seen, this weekend is going to be lovely and warm - 30c on Saturday. And that means I might be sitting in the backyard with a nice cold beer as that deadline whooshes past.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Walkabout in Derby.

I love going to conventions. I try to go to at least one a year. Since I moved to the UK, and can't get back for Continuum in Melbourne, I usually manage to get to Edge-Lit up in Derby. Last year I managed to also get to FantasyCon, which was a bonus. It's a bigger con, slightly larger than Continuum with some great writers and presenters attending.

I've booked this year's Edge-Lit, and I'm excited about catching up with some friends. Usually the crowd from Leicester are there, and I honestly enjoy their company - even if they do try to drag me into Walkabout every chance they get. I really don't see why visiting a chain "Australian" bar is either enticing or humourous. Especially when said chain isn't Australian, other than hanging flags out the front and selling Fosters. Sigh. Don't even get me started on the "Blokes"and "Sheilas" toilets.

I usually meet a few new people at these events too, and that's always a bonus. Socialising is a huge part of conventions, and as writing can be such a solitary activity, it's an important part. I've made good friends at cons, people who are important to me, people I regularly contact away from cons, people whose interests overlap my own.

I hope to see you in Derby next month. For those in Australia, I think Continuum is this weekend. If you're going, enjoy!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Twenty-Four Days And Counting.

It's about a month to my birthday.  I've been asked what I want, and I have a couple of ideas. Some Beatles, some Lennon, some Goodies, cake.

Cake is always good.

Going out for dinner is always an option - as is staying home and having something nice brought in. Might even get to spend some time with family.

I usually enjoy birthdays, but for some reason I'm really looking forward to this one. More than usual, anyway. I'm not sure why but I can't wait for it to arrive. I have to work that day, but that's not a big issue. I kind of like people in the office wishing me a happy birthday. And our office usually has cards and so on, and sometimes singing. Yeah, even that is good.

If you really want to send me a present I can make a few suggestions. I'm also open to surprises.

And if an editor wants to buy one of my stories to publish, that would be a great present too.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

More On The Way.

It was fabulous to receive a story acceptance overnight. It was even more fabulous than usual because the editor added, "This was a really good story, btw."

For a number of reasons I haven't written or submitted much for a while, so this was a nice surprise. I sent it out a few months ago, because I wanted to get something out, and this is a good story that deserves a home, and had just been kicked back from a major publisher with some good feedback.

I'll share more when I can. Watch this space.

I recently received other publishing news I don't think I'm allowed to share yet, exciting though it is. And this is good stuff. I'm looking forward to announcing this one.

On top of all this I had some other good news today, which won't mean anything to anyone else but is important to me. And then I bumped into a colleague I used to work with but haven't seen for a long time, and finally received email from a much respected and admired friend and mentor I haven't seen or heard from for even longer.

It's been a good time all round.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Farewell, Millie

In 2006 we went to the animal rescue centre to buy a dog. We came home with much more.

We walked out with a Jack Russell/Fox Terrier cross, who was tiny and nervous, but smart and loyal. She may have been small but she had a huge heart and despite her nerves, was courageous. I saw he go into battle against larger dogs who were threatening her sister, our other gentle dog.

When we moved to the UK, Millie came with us. I've been told that someone even asked my family why we had shipped her, as you can easily buy a new dog in  the UK.  I guess that person never had a dog,

I sometimes hesitate to use the word "owner". Sure, we could probably dig up a receipt, and the government probably has us listed as registered owners, but dogs, good dogs, have a way of getting into your heart and becoming more than a pet.  With her sister, she sat in the back seat as we drove through France, into Scotland, across the UK, and around parts of Australis. She made us laugh, cuddled us both, and made me feel good and wanted when I arrived home after a stressful day.

Millie died a few weeks ago, at the ripe old age of 17. We had to let her go, even though we didn't want to. That was a tough choice, but we did the right thing. Her vet here (as well as the one back in Australia) was fantastic, and we are greatful for the service they provided.

Goodbye Millie. Sleep well.