Monthly Archives: March 2011

Pick a winner from eBay

I’ve read that Marvel Entertainment sold the film rights to Spiderman for $225,000 and, looking at the box office figures, the film then went and made $114m in its opening weekend.

Now, Spiderman was well known and the following aren’t, but pick the right one and who knows, you might make a killing.

All these you can buy on ebay, personally I’m torn between Pez Outlaw and Looking for Rochester.

Silent Rebellion by Christopher Metzger

Film rights to novel for sale – $95,000

PLOT: On a gray, blustery March afternoon, eighteen-year-old Nathan Miller goes to the mailbox on his family’s Pennsylvania farm and finds an Army draft induction order. While the rest of the country has been using all of its resources to defeat the Axis powers during the Second World War, Nathan has been aimlessly squandering his days in juvenile mischief. Continue reading


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The old man had, I don’t know what else to call it, he had gravity. He had something that pulled people in to him, though fuck knows why. He was a lazy sonabitch. My ma, she loved him all his life and all hers too. I mean, all the time they were together he kept her close to him, wouldn’t let her leave his side. He was traditional I guess. Backwards maybe. But when he finally went and she was free, could do whatever she wanted, go wherever she wanted, I’m not sure she wanted anything but him.

So he worked in the garage he owned, in the space under the flat where we lived. Our building looked out on to a concrete square of open space and because he never had more than three or four cars on the go at any one time he used to park them next to the kiddie park, right in the centre of the square. There was always space. When it was nice out he’d work there instead of in the shop, only moving a car inside if he needed to work under it and had to use the pit.

Every morning my ma would ask him what he wanted for dinner that night. ‘Tares (TAHR-ees she’d shout) what you hungry for?’. Then she’d take her basket and spend the day finding the best of everything. Potatoes she’d get from the plastic buckets outside the corner shop, greens from the Qwik’n’Fresh, away the opposite side of the square. All round the square we had shops; a couple of general stores, a grocers, a newsagents. There was a hardware place when you could get anything from mouse traps to detergent.

Continue reading

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From Afrikaans to Zulu

Foyles announced the acquisition of foreign language publishers Grant & Cutler today. G&C publish books in at least 117 different languages, including the following, which I’ve never heard of: Kirghiz/Kyrgyz, Tagalog, Lingala, Shona and Blackfoot.

Press release sent to Foyles mailing list is below:

Foyles are extremely proud to have acquired the business of Grant & Cutler and welcome them to our Charing Cross Road flagship store. Established in 1936, Grant & Cutler are the UK’s largest foreign language bookseller. With their lease on Great Marlborough Street about to expire, we are very pleased to have been able to step in and provide a new home.

Together with our pre-existing and highly respected languages department, Grant & Cutler at Foyles will offer a true centre of excellence for languages within the UK, with over 25,000 titles and 150 languages available. The new department is located on the 1st floor. Click here to see a full map of Charing Cross Road.

We have a particular specialism in the major European languages and Arabic, but pride ourselves on covering all living languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu (as well as quite a few dead ones as well). We’ll also continue to offer the best range in the UK of EFL / English Language learning resources.

Until everything’s settled in properly you can continue to browse and buy Grant & Cutler’s stock from their website, but instore the departments will be fully amalgamated by Friday 25 March.

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Good fences

On the Eurostar back there was a girl in the seat next to me. She was about my age, perhaps a little older, pretty and dressed well. My seat was number 24, coach 16, a window seat, and she was already there, sitting in the partner seat, when I boarded.

‘I’m sorry, excuse me, I’m there’ I said, and pointed.

Her back was to the aisle slightly and her legs were crossed, already spread out proprietarily in the leg space of both seats, but she got up and let me in. She didn’t look at me, or speak, as she stood, and instead of sitting back down she moved to the pair of empty seats across the row and sat there. Possibly she was only looking for two seats to sleep on, it was 6.20 in the morning, but it felt unfriendly. Continue reading

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After posting the other week about the Sue Perkins fronted Culture Show on UK fiction, a second story emerged that would be remis not to mention.

Following the airing of the Culture Show SF author Stephen Hunt posted an angry retort after the programme failed to include any mention of science fiction, fantasy or horror (despite the fact that these genres account for around 20%/30% of the fiction market). The Guardian covers the incident here.

But coverage of science fiction isn’t completely moribund. The latest issue of film magazine Little White Lies details the current high ridding of British authored/directed science fiction in the cinema, and at the same time looks at John Windham, Nigel Kneale and Val Guest. If you like film, even slightly, then LWL is worth a subscription – it knocks Empire and Total Film in to a cocked hat.

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One curtain is drawn but the sun is shining through the other window, highlighting the end of the bed and drawing a rhombus of light on the wall. God it hurts my eyes. I cough and when I do it hurts as well. Ange left hours ago.

There’s water by the bed, the glass dusty and fingerprinted. I think about it for a long time, then reach and drink. It tastes as I thought it would, hard and metallic. I wish I had orange juice, or apple juice, straight from the fridge. I take another drink and can feel the water run down my throat and in to my stomach.

A few minutes later I feel sick and run to the toilet. Yellow strands of saliva and stomach acid cling to my lips and I spit in to the bowl. Wash my mouth with water. In the mirror over the sink my eyes are bloodshot and teary from retching.

I wake. The light has shifted in the room, the rhombus flatter and the angles sharper on the wall.

The glass is empty. As I fill it a voice says ‘Hi Sam.’

‘Mmm, hey.’ The bathroom is cold, all white tiles and porcelain.


‘Hey Cara.’

‘See you later Sam.’

‘Cara?’ I say to George, his face is down in the pillows, the duvet crumpled up around him.


‘It’s like three o’clock, what’s she still doing here?’

‘Wouldn’t leave.’ His voice is muffled.


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Already this blog seems to have strayed from the original purpose, improving my writing. So new plan, 500 words a day, either fiction or blog or both.

Blogging seems like such an easy way to get writing, but every time I begin to write a post about me, I get a feeling, right at the base of my skull, an itch, that  seems to say, ‘What one earth can be interesting about today? About me?’

So, do I pick one moment and write about that?

About how I noticed an old man on the tube the other day (Friday), an old man with a neatly trimmed goatee and heavily lined face who as he sat would twist and watch for empty seats and then with a smile and a wave of his hand usher people to the free seats? Interesting? Hmm.

Or the cyclist I saw (Sunday) by Regents Park. Fifty years old probably, Lycra cycle clothes and a dusky blue road bike. And clip in peddles. Definitely clip ins because just as he got to a t-junction, cycling up past the queued traffic, he drew level with a taxi, and the taxi door was flung open. He fell heavily on to his left side with a cry. A crowd gathered and the cyclist sat in the middle of them holding his left arm and glowering at the man who’d exited the taxi. The man’s eyes were wide and the little girl he was holding, hoisted up by his chest, was crying. He apologised and apologised and apologised. Hurt, anger, resentment. Drama.

Or do I talk about the grand arch of the day? The air this morning was cold, the afternoon warm, the evening cool. Coffee at my desk, meal deal at my desk, banana at my desk. At night I watch television and wait for 10.30 so that I can go to sleep and forget the day, seven hours of dreams.

I feel like Sisyphus.

Na, not really.

Kind of.

So, is this blog, or fiction, or both?

What else happened? Well, it’s not day’s end yet, maybe something is still to come. 354 words down, this is harder than I thought.

363. 364. 365. 366.

I’ll write the other 134 words later.

374. 375.

. . .

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