Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hawthorne&Child

Well I enjoyed reading this book immensely but I really haven’t got a clue what the hell it was about. It masquerades as a novel but basically it is a collection of short stories.  It starts off (and finishes) well, with Hawthorne and Child racing to a call-out, but the intervening chapters veer off in wildly different directions.  All the time you feel that the characters and stories are connected but you can’t really put your finger on what it is that links them.

The writing is both in-your-face and arrestingly beautiful at the same time.  The voices of some of the madder characters were truly haunting, and in places it moved me a lot. But when I finished, I felt like I’d woken up after some crazy drunken night out. One where you managed to make it safely home but you haven’t got the foggiest idea how.

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Posted: February 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Having just watched the last episode of The Killing last night I found this very interesting..

RENFREWMATIC

A couple of months ago, I was fortunate enough to have a very interesting conversation with Val McDermid about Sarah Lund and The Killing. I caught her before she gave a reading from her new book, Vanishing Point, at Bristol Central Library for a piece I was writing for Diva Magazine. Word count restrictions meant that, sadly, I was only able to use a few quotes from our conversation but I think what Val said was fascinating and it deserves reading in full. So here it is. The interview was conducted, of course, when we were innocents, long before we knew anything about what would happen to Lund in the third and final series.

You’re a well-known fan of The Killing – why do you love Lund?
I love her tenacity and her doggedness and her refusal to be palmed off, and her refusal to be seduced by…

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My dishwasher has started beeping recently. I don’t know how or why it’s got this habit but it is bloody annoying. It’s almost as if it’s saying:

‘Look at me, I’ve just done your washing up, aren’t I great!’

Well big deal! I don’t really care. I’ve had dishwashers before and that’s what you are supposed to do. The reason I got you is so that I can just shut your door and forget about the dirty dishes. What I don’t want is you pestering me half way through True Blood to tell me that you’ve finished cleaning them. OK?

I have a suspicion that the reason the dishwasher started doing this  is because it’s heard our new washing machine doing exactly the same thing. That new super-efficient shiny appliance announces the culmination of each and every wash cycle with a series of Teutonic beeps. It’s driving me bonkers. What is it with modern appliances?

Twenty years from now nobody will remember the iPhone. Take it from me I know.

So if you write them into your novel pretty soon it’s gonna sound dated.  No matter how good it is, there’ll be this tiny voice in your reader’s mind saying: ‘Isn’t that a bit naff?’ It’ll be a bit like watching one of those awful 80s movies. You know the ones. They go shopping and start doing a stupid dance routine while they try on embarrassing clothes.

If you are writing fiction set in the present day it’s hard not to have your peeps checking their text messages, looking up stuff on the web or playing angry birds; but do they have to do it with a Macbook Air?  What’s wrong with using a laptop?

Okay, I’m being a bit didactic. It’s not that simple is it? The way I see it some things are acceptable and some things aren’t. Brett Easton Ellis used Patrick’s obsession with label and brand as a theatrical device and it worked. It got on my nerves but it worked; and some technology brands have woven themselves so deftly into the fabric of our lives that they are indistinguishable from other nouns or verbs: hoover, tweet or google anyone? But iPhone 4? I don’t think so. What’s that going to sound like when Apple are bought out by some small start-up from San Salvador and are renamed Paw Paw?

Harry Potter was absolutely fine zooming around on his Nimbus 2000 cos no-one’s making them anyway so they can’t go obsolete but Lisbeth Salander’s iBook 600 with 420 megs of ram was dated before the book even came out. She might as well have been wearing shoulder pads underneath that perm. You see when a character does anything else, like wears a suit or walks into a bar it’s timeless. You can either update it in your mind’s eye or you can project it back to the time it was set. But old technology? In my book that’s a bit naff.

What do you think?