Friday, April 29, 2005

Snip snip

Just got back from the hospital. My consultant was thorough and efficient. Job done.

Bit sore in the mouth, both cheeks. Still, small price to pay for feeling better.

Not going to post anything else, I need to convalesce. Back after the Bank Holiday.

purplesimon out...

It took a while

It's not the best piece of writing I've done. I actually didn't really give much thought to the final outcome of the story, just wanted to try something out.

The idea was to take some unrelated people and try to bring them together in one story. This was the premise for the novel, Somewhere in the City, but it never came off. It's not easy.

Anyway, let me know what you think. Read, think, comment.

purplesimon out...

Something I dreamt up

Jonathan didn’t even bother looking as he crossed the busy road, lanes of cars screeching to a halt in an almost futile attempt to avoid crashing into this person, sending a body spiralling into the air to come down with a thump on the bonnet of the car following behind or with a sharp crack as bone met tarmac.

Several drivers whose cars had narrowly missed killing Jonathan had begun to lean through the side windows of their vehicles, shouting an impressive array of obscenities. Jonathan took no notice. He had his iPod turned up to the maximum permitted volume. He was thinking and he needed his own space to do it, away from the drone of traffic, the click of the secretary’s nails against the plastic of the keyboard.

He strode with purpose, through the double doors of the coffee shop and up to the counter. "Skinny cap with extra foam, no chocolate. Large. Hot. When you have a moment. Please." He was smiling. The sales assistant – the preferred title of the catering industry – looked back with a glum face.

"Of course, sir," she replied. She turned her back to make the coffee. Jonathan tapped a coin on the side of the counter. He was irritating the other customers. It wasn’t the coin that had caused the patrons to display a degree of annoyance; it was his shouting that had aroused a general feeling of animosity towards him. Jonathan wasn’t aware he hadn’t removed his earphones before ordering. He was tapping his coin and nodding his head to the beats; all that could be heard by anyone else was a hissing punctuated by a squeal whenever the guitarist had his solo moment of glory.

The song finished. Jonathan took one of the earphones out of his ears and replaced it with a finger, which he waggled in an attempt to clear some wax. The girl sat down a cup in front of him, asked for some money and held out her hand.

Jonathan spun round, waving his hand above his head as he announced: Pop it on my tab! In a flash he was gone, his departure marked only by further honking horns and the screech of rubber as he walked back into the office.

-*-


This fucking berk, what a tosser, simply walked out in front of us this morning, didn’t he. Twat. Tony told us to put our foot down and "teach the bastard a lesson he looks like he deserves" but I already had my foot on the brake, anticipating the change of lights up ahead. Idiot never even noticed. Barry, sat in the back, was panicking that someone was gonna come up and smash us in the arse-end, but the other cars swerved to avoid me. Barry was probably worried cos Tony had told him about the last bloke we had in the back, how he was killed by a piece of the kit smacking on the back of the head when I’d had to brake sharp before, cos I noticed a copper as I was thinking of running a red light. Just stopped I did. Poor nipper in the back weren’t so lucky. Nah. Trowels are sharper than you’d think. Well, Tony’s was.

We had to stop at Burger King so Barry could change his pants. He said it was a simple loo stop, but my nose told me different. He’ll be moaning about a sore arse later, once his jeans have got wet and rubbed against his bollocks. That’ll teach him. He won’t be back tomorrow. Guarantee it.

Anyway, good to see you Charlie. Best to the missus, won’t ya? C’mon Barry, we ain’t got all fucking day.

-*-


There we were, sitting in the burger bar place when we hear the screech of brakes. A lot of rubbernecking going on, that’s what the papers would call it. Anyways, some mates of Charlie’s come in; we listened to the story, some bloke off his head on music not looking where he was going or some such shite.

My own head was banging. The pills from the night before still playing havoc with my train of thought. I wanted to be home in bed, but I owed Charlie a favour and the cash would come in handy; as long as the dole office didn’t find out I’d be in the clear to get away this weekend and party in the countryside with me mates. Sorted.

Wasn’t long before we was up and out of the café, back in the cab of Charlie’s lorry and crawling through the morning rush hour traffic. I fell asleep for a while. When I woke, we’d only moved about a mile; it had taken an hour. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

Well, the job went well. All good. Got me stash of cash and we was heading back the same way we come in this morning. I got Charlie to drop me off at the burger bar again, but I walked down further to a coffee shop. I fancied some cake and a cappychino thing, I loved the way the froth gathered on me top lip, like a white moustache.

I got on me phone, called the lads and arranged to meet them in the usual place, just five minutes walk from where I sat. Sorted.

-*-


Later that day, Jonathan left the office for the final time. He was done. A wave of relief swept over him as he walked across the road. Taking more care this time, he stepped through the traffic, most of which was stationary in the Friday night logjam. Jonathan decided he needed a quick final coffee before heading home.

With a quick flurry of hand signals, he made his way across the road and through the doors of the coffee shop. As he entered, he caught his jacket on the chair of a young man, spilling his coffee.

Jonathan didn’t bother to turn and apologise, he was unaware of the upsetting of the coffee cup, his mind only interested in his usual latte. The young man didn’t appear to want to make a scene beyond a small amount of tutting. As Jonathan moved towards the counter, the young man got up, retrieved his mobile phone from his pocket and left the café.

Two minutes later and it was Jonathan’s turn to leave. As soon as he was through the doors, he was confronted with a group of youths. He didn’t recognise the young man he had bumped into only moments before.

"It’s about time you learned not to be so fucking rude." This would be the first sentence the police would write in Jonathan’s statement, once he had regained consciousness.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Recovering

The gig last night, which was Herman Düne (in case you haven't read the previous post) at the 100 Club in Soho, was pretty amazing.

I'll admit they are not mainstream music, but if you think country-tinged songs are, well, a little Garth Brooks, think again. This is more quirky with some exceedingly strange lyrics.

The night started with the visit to the hospital, only to find that the lumps in my mouth are not anything to be worried about. They are being taken off on Friday. Quick! That's private healthcare for you. If I'd waited for the NHS I could have been waiting up to seven months just to see the consultant.

Why? Mainly because the cause of these lumps is quite common and therefore lots of people must be suffering from them and only a maxillofacial surgeon can remove them. My surgeon is brilliant, just what you want from a doctor. The hospital even has a fresh coffee machine in reception for use while you're waiting for your slot! I want to keep going back just to drink the Brazilian espresso latte.

Moving swiftly along.

I took the tube to Soho, walked up Rupert Street, which is where all the strip clubs are (hey, it was on the way!), straight over Oxford Street and into Wells Street. Just up the road there is a pub called The Champion. They sell organic beer. Just perfect.

Got to the gig, saw a rubbish support band (I won't give out their name, I don't want reprisals), drank some generic beer from the bar and smoked a couple of spliffs with the group I was with. So, heady with beer and weed buzzes I swayed to Herman Düne and enjoyed the whole thing immensely.

It took about an hour to get home. Quick cup of tea, a smoke and a chat with the girlfriend. Then bed. Slight hangover this morning.

Feeling good now. The sun is shining, the weather is sweet. Oh, makes me want to move those dancing feet. Classic dub tune. You'll probably know the Finlay Quaye version. His was not the original. A good version all the same, though.

Also, buoyed by the news that a site I worked on has gone live. Again, this link will probably be out of date in a month or so, but for now you can see it at the Sony PSP website.

Not sure what the rest of the day is going to bring, so you might be surprised by a new story very soon.

purplesimon out...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

All done

Just got back.

Been a hectic few hours. First, dodging the rain, I took a bus to the station. Yeah, it's lazy when you think I live about 10 minutes walk away from the tube, but it was raining! Then, a leisurely tube journey to Baker Street tube so I could pick up my Herman Düne ticket. Walked into a pitch nightmare at the agency my friend works at, the same one I used to: jkd.

I wrote quite a bit of that website's content. I had my leaving party two weeks ago. It's here I have to note that the website will probably change at some point, so I have written most of the content as of today, Tuesday 26 April 2005.

Which leads me nicely onto the next part of my day. I jumped on the tube again, getting off at Putney Bridge. Now, I know this is not very nice and probably more information than you actually need, but I was busting for a piss.

Let me digress. Public toilets just don't exist in vast numbers anymore. What's it all about? I would hazard a guess that they are expensive to maintain, etc, but all it leads to is law-abiding people like me peeing wherever is convenient. Now that pubs and coffee shops don't let non-patrons use toilet facilities we have to use trees and bushes.

Having relieved myself against a wall (screened by some laurel bushes) I rushed back to the station and hopped on the 93 bus. I did this because it goes past the hospital I am visiting tonight for this consultation. Now I know where it is.

I alighted at Wimbledon so I could pop into Waterstones the Booksellers. You see, I was given £50 worth of book tokens as a thank you from jkd for all my hard work over the four-and-a-half years I was employed by the company. I spent most of it, leaving just a £5 voucher for another day.

Once I've read the books, I'll pop them on to my favourite reading list on this blog. I might even review them, you'll have to wait and see.

That's it for today. Check in for a Herman Düne review tomorrow.

purplesimon out...

Don't believe the weathermen

They all talk rubbish. The lot of them. Sunny today? No, rain. Again.

I was lucky that I got to the washing on time and it didn't get rained on, but it was only just. Seconds later and there would have been a downpour to rival Noah's flood and I would have been soaked to the skin as well as having the nightmare of washing that needed to be spun out in the machine again.

As it is, I don't know where the next load of washing is going to hang to dry, I've run out of room. My office/spare bedroom is now covered in washing. I'll turn the thermostat up, that'll sort it.

I hope that the climate change people can forgive me this once.

Anyway, on a brighter note, I discovered an old fave of a website this morning, one I haven't visited for a long time. Go along to OsymysO and check out the PatPeg.mp3 link, that'll whet your appetite. Well worth the visit.

Another of my favourite places is Go Home Productions which is a chap named Mark Vidler. He is a friend of this other chap, Alex Comyn, who works for an agency I have worked for (AI) and so the circle is complete. Mad how small this world really is.

My poor cat, Pollyanna, has been sick this morning, which is why I am so far behind schedule. I am off out now, so I'll report back later on.

More writing is coming - it takes time you know!

Perhaps if someone sent me a prompt I might get it done quicker? (That's a subtle hint.)

purplesimon out...

A busy day today

Today I have lots to get done and so far I have done little to try and achieve it! I am being lazy.

I have to see a consultant about the lumps in my mouth, just to see that they are not something sinister and to make an appointment to have them removed. Nice.

Also, I am off to see Herman Düne tonight, an alt-country singer songwriter. It's at the 100 club in Soho. Should be good and I'll report back tomorrow.

Washing to do, lots of it. Some is already out on the line, but it looks like rain, so that'll have to come in! More in the machine.

Lots to do, time to get out and rescue the washing before it pisses down with rain!

purplesimon out...

Monday, April 25, 2005

This just occurred to me

There is a General Election coming up. May 5th is the date in which those of us eligible to vote can express our opinion on our current Government. We can choose a new one or stay with the incumbent.

However, there are people out there in the UK who don't vote. This leads most political commentators to state that the New Labour Party will seize power for a record third term.

On a Saturday and Wednesday, there is a National Lottery draw in the UK. Players have a 14 million-to-one chance of winning the jackpot.

Still, people happily queue for hours just to put a cross in six boxes. Many of these same people can't be bothered to go out and put a cross in two boxes to vote, but they are content to throw away time and money on a cause that has its odds stacked against them.

Your vote does count, but only if you bother. The odds are in your favour if you really want to make a difference, locally, nationally and internationally.

I feel lucky enough to live in a country where I can vote.

And, I'm never one to miss an opportunity.

purplesimon out...

That was just for starters

A while back I wrote a novel called Somewhere in the City.

I think I've probably mentioned this before. You can't buy it and it'll never make any bestseller list. It's not great.

However, the original story idea was good and solid and generally the read was okay. It just needed some re-writing and so forth. Now I know I'm repeating myself, this has already been said.

Well, that's the first chapter. At least the third draft of it. It still might change; if you believe it should, let me know what you think doesn't work and it shall be done (as long as the suggestion isn't ridiculous).

The next "chapter" (and I use this word just to help you visualise how it might work) is underway and if I can get the chores done today I will try to get it finished. Don't panic, it will follow on.

The other thing you will need to know is this: once the novel is complete, instead of trying to get you to read it here, with my comments running through it, I will post it at a location on my personal Web page and pop a link on here.

So, read, think, comment. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

purplesimon out...

This seemed like a good place to stop

Wednesday 17th – Saturday 27th April 2002

The Students

I was there, I saw everything. I sat in my van, on this unusually sunny day. I watched as Sara and Jack sat in their lounge, the trees outside dancing in the slight springtime eddy. Jack had a guitar slung across his lap, idly strumming the same chord over and over again, like a zombie. Sara sat opposite, her slight frame leaning against the sofa, humming an improvised tune over the clang of each strum of the strings. It was Saturday, a day of rest. They were waiting for Jib – Sara’s brother visiting from Australia – to arrive back with armfuls of chocolate croissants. It was a particular favourite in the household, a weekend ritual. It was a two-minute trip to the supermarket, at the most.

The sudden sound of a wooden door splitting against its hinges broke the tranquillity. Jib was back, sans croissants. He did, however, have a slight bruising on his right cheek; it looked like a shadow passing over his face, refusing to move on. Standing in silence in the hall, it was the utterance ‘fuck’ from Sara that punched through. It was then that Jack noticed the blood.

Of course, at this point, I didn’t know their names; I simply noted two males and one female. Cowden Street, SW12.

From my vantage point I could see past the broken door. I watched as Jib limped over to the foot of the stairs and gave a quick overview of the events that had led to his breaking down the door, how he’d taken the shortcut across the common, as normal. The sky was clear, even though the weatherman had said rain was forecast. After all, spring equals rain in the UK. Jib was probably counting himself lucky. As a visitor from the southern hemisphere he’d no doubt been conned into believing that it always rained in England, yet there hadn’t been a drop for eight weeks now, none since the moment he’d stepped from the plane.

He may not have noticed anything out of the ordinary as he approached the shops, watching a dog running ahead chasing an unknown and unseen prey. There had been an old man sitting on the bench at the back of the chemist on Cowden Street, reading a newspaper; generally people were out and about, enjoying the sunshine. At the end of the row of local – and mostly boarded up shops – he’d seen my van, the same one that had been parked in the road for some time, but aside from looking as he crossed the road, nothing had struck him as “out of place”.

I pointed the hi-tech microphone in the direction of the house. I heard as Jib held his breath for a second, struggling to control the flow of words from his mouth. He told Sara and Jack how he had seen a crowd of people outside the supermarket, frozen like mannequins in a shop window. At this point he couldn’t see what it was they were all staring at. Then, as he rounded the side of the shop a sharp crack split the air and echoed around the adjacent car park. Both Jack and Sara sucked in their breath: it could only have been a gunshot. I’d climbed from the van at this point, running towards the shot.

Somehow, Jib had stayed calm, despite the circumstances and the other shoppers running away and diving for cover. A group of men with balaclavas pulled down low over their faces were struggling with a case. They all had weapons. The men were running, headlong towards Jib and he hadn’t had time to avoid the one carrying the case. Just as the man was about to crash straight into Jib, a further loud crack almost deafened me and I dived for cover.

Sara was looking straight at Jib, trying to see where he was hurt. Jib waved her away with his hand and carried on with the story.

“I felt this unbelievable pressure against my head, I was sure I’d been shot,” he told them. “I went down like the proverbial sack of shit, breaking the fall with my fat arse.” He laughed then. “Probably won’t be able to sit down when the bruise comes up.”

“C’mon, what happened next,” Sara interjected, wanting to hear what she would later refer to as “the juicy details”.

“Well,” Jib continued, “The world went dark for a second and as I came to I noticed a body next to me. One of the robbers had been shot – by whom I hadn’t a fucking clue! Anyways, I checked that I was in one piece. I think I was grazed by a bullet; that’s where the blood is coming from,” he said, pointing towards a cut under his left eye, the swelling already beginning to turn an array of purples and yellows, like a sunset reflected on his face.

“And?” This time is was Jack trying to hurry Jib along.

With a glint in his good eye, Jib smiled at his sister and her boyfriend. “Then, I saw my opportunity.”

In his hand, Jib was holding up a small suitcase. Sara and Jack stared at it, not sure of what it contained.

“Did you get the croissants?” she asked.

Jack was the first to start giggling – he couldn’t stop. There was Jib, covered in blood and grinning like a village idiot that’s just been kissed by the prettiest girl in school. Jack’s giggling subsided into a snort and then he went quiet.

“Damn, I knew I’d forgotten something,” he said by way of reply. The giggling immediately began again, this time in earnest.

I left it at that, I didn’t think they had anything to add and I needed to get back to my real quarry just a few doors down. I left the microphone recording the student babble in the background, finding it strangely calming. I caught snippets of what was said, but I wasn’t about to step off-case.

Suddenly, Jack was on his feet. “Let’s get this fucking door back on its hinges before someone notices,” he implored. In seconds they were all laughing again, dancing around in circles, jumping up and down. The door had to wait another five minutes before it was repaired.

I tried to concentrate on the job in hand. I made a note in my pad to check on the students over the coming days and left it at that.

Weekends are hard work

At least in my house they are. Phew, what a weekend.

The bedroom is now a completely different colour. Instead of Barbie pink it is now an off-white, putty style colour. Coupled with this is a colour called Smoked Trout from Farrow and Ball. This company makes the best paint in the world.

The other paint is made by Laura Ashley, which is the wall colour, plus we are going to add a splash of contrast by painting the door and wardrobe this colour: Lichen.

Should look fantastic when it's finally finished, with new flooring and so forth.

It did mean that I didn't manage to finish my writing, so the post is going to be late. I hope to get it done today, but I wrote more than intended, well, originally intended. I hope it's worth it.

Only you can tell.

Read, think, comment.

purplesimon out...

Friday, April 22, 2005

I know of at least one

I know, for a fact, that someone has come to view my blog.

They didn't leave any comments, but they did send me a link to a survey about blogging. This person, David Brake, is a student at the University of London and is, apparently, doing some research into blogs.

He found mine, sent me a link and I answered some questions.

I asked for a summary of his findings to be sent to me, so I might publish any significant mention of this blog.

And David, if you're reading this at any point in the future: please include my blog. Please!

I'd be heartbroken to lose my first (and probably my only) reader.

purplesimon out...

Ouch!

Simple. Hot food burns your mouth.

Let this be a lesson to you and a lesion to me.

Quiche, the weirdest spelling for a foodstuff, stays hot for quite a while after leaving the oven. Last weekend, I found this out. Ouch!

I now have a blister from Hell just above my front teeth that makes it difficult to eat, drink and be merry.

I also decided to try and quit smoking. So, a grumpy person can be found here.

So, to keep my mind off the ciggies, I am going to finally write something new today. Before I start I need to tell you what my morning has contained by way of things to take my mind off smoking.

I have taken some shelves down from the bedroom. Oh, let me explain something here. My bedroom is suffering from previous owner syndrome. It's cerise. The worst case of Barbie pink you can imagine. And it's everywhere, from the skirting boards to the coving, the walls and the window sill. It's sick.

Tomorrow it is changing colour and things are being moved about, such as bed, wardrobe, etc. I can't keep sleeping in this womb-like horror.

That's about the extent of the news. Now, I am going to pull my eyelashes out because I want a cigarette!

purplesimon out...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Something a bit silly

Okay. I'm not going to procrastinate.

Here's a new idea, made for the Unilever brand, Comfort.

It's a little silly, but also something to make you laugh. I hope.

See it here. This link has been removed by the blog administrator

purplesimon out...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Some real news!

Yes, something worth reading (and for me, writing about). I have begun the painstaking task of re-writing my novel, Somewhere in the City.

I wrote this back in 2003 and never did anything with it, except pass it to three friends, none of whom got around to reading it. Having re-read it myself I can see why. It's rubbish.

Okay, let me clarify that. It has a great story and some brilliantly conceived characters (even if I say so myself). The problem lies in some aspects of the storytelling (stilted) and the arrangement of the chapters. This is being resolved. I am being ruthless in my re-write. Yesterday I got the first 2000 words down. The original has almost 90,000 words, so it's a small drop in a large ocean. Perhaps those out there with more mathematical skill than me can let me know the percentage.

So, I guess your next question is: are you going to blog the novel?

You'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, there's a story posted below.

purplesimon out...

Not so super, man

I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but it was something familiar. Then it hit me. It was something I had forgotten to apply that morning:

Deodorant.

Shit. That was it, now I’d smell like the arse-end of a cow for the rest of the day. What could I do? As it turned out – very little. The train rolled into the station and I was fighting to get on before I could think about the nefarious state of my armpits. I only pitied the person that was so short that their face would be pressed into my stagnant, and frankly repellent, sweaty pits.

I clamped both arms to my sides, but even I could smell the staleness of my underarm area, the waft of day-old body odour. I was the B.O king, the one people would be staring at and whispering in conspiring tones while simultaneously shifting their eyes in my direction so as to let others know it was me that had the nuclear pits.

I wondered to myself it would have been better to wash this morning, too, but then I thought that this wasn’t really helping my mindset. I mean, I had wondered the same thing for the past two days but still I hadn’t managed to get into a bath or shower.

You see, that’s one of the problems with being a… hang on there, I have that familiar feeling in my groin: someone’s in trouble and they need my help. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention – I’m Superman.

Every time someone in the world needs my help, I get this tingling in my pants. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch and that’s why I wear my underpants over my trousers: stops the itch and lets me concentrate on the job in hand. This tingling in my groin came at a good time: I needed to drop the contents of my stomach into the old porcelain bowl, which means I can change at the same time.

There’s only one problem: I’m on the damn tube.

You wouldn’t believe how often this happens, how often I find myself somewhere that is not conducive to saving the world. I can be in the theatre, making love to the missus (she doesn’t know who I am, but she’s always satisfied; ha ha) or just simply enjoying a game of football on the telly with my mates.

The itching kept getting worse. It got to the point where I need to reach down and unleash the fingers to try and make the feeling go away. I scanned the carriage; noting that no one appeared to be looking at me, (aside from the sideways glances I get when the wind blew through and those around me – indeed, those in almost every carriage – could smell my pits) I popped my hand inside my trousers and got to work on relieving that itching. Oh, God, that felt so bloody great.

The train made its way into the next station and I retrieved my hand from my pants. A woman next to me tutted and I saw that several people had been watching me. I smiled, weakly, and made my way off the tube as quickly as I could. Bollocks to this superhero stuff, it can really make a man feel inferior in tube situations.

I flew up the escalator – well, not literally, I don’t want to draw attention to myself any more than I already have – and out into the street. I scanned the pavement to see if I could find a telephone box, but there was nothing in sight. I definitely needed a holiday.

I couldn’t think about all that now, I needed somewhere to change. Without thinking clearly, I headed towards a tower block that shrouded the local area in a squalid shadow, but in this situation, I have to think about the world and forget about my personal health and safety. I moved towards the block, crunching through used needles and condoms until I came to a stairwell.

Stepping over a prostitute and her quarry of crack, I quickly changed into my red and blue suit. I made a mental note to have the waist taken out some; I was getting a little too podgy for my own good. A voice made me turn around. It was the prostitute. She was saying something but I couldn’t quite make it out, so I had to lean in closer, trying not to breathe her halitosis as it was making me gag.

“Fancy a blowjob love?” she asked.

I stood there, rooted to the spot. What would you do in this circumstance?

Ten minutes and one orgasm later I was up in the air, on my way to save the world. I loved this part of being a superhero; it really made up for the crap side of it, the saving of lives, the endless propositions of marriage from ugly, fat and frankly repulsive women that always followed me about. Up in the air, only the birds shitting on me took the edge off the feeling. Pigeons were the worst – they just couldn’t control their bowels and it’s people like me that suffer more than you mortals in the street.

Within seconds, I had arrived at the scene in South America. There was a school bus, full of kids, and it had had an accident. The rear end of the bus was hanging over a ravine and with each gust of wind it looked as if it might just be enough to push it over the edge. Now, I don’t like kids, but even I couldn’t let them fall. I flew past, waving at the children. A few waved back, a couple gave me the finger (I’d let them drop almost to the bottom, a sort of accident, but then rescue them at the last minute before they splat against the rocks below). This wouldn’t be difficult. This would be a doddle. I took the time to do a couple of loop-the-loops, something to impress the growing crowd below, before I swooped in to push the bus back on the road, thus saving the day.

I didn’t wait for the applause, for the people to give me accolades. This was just a second job for me. It was the real world beckoning now. I found a phone box on the way back to the office, changed back into my civilian clothes and hurried to get to work.

I approached the building at full pelt, knocking people out of my way to get to the meeting with the company CEO. I was running late, but I had the perfect excuse. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use it – no one was supposed to know who I was. I careered up the stairs, not bothering to wait for the lift, and crashed into my office to grab the presentation. I had one minute left.

It was at this point I discovered I hadn’t quite completed the slide show I was about to present to the board. I was up shit creek without a paddle. Worse still, I needed to have that shower.

I sat at the computer and began typing at my super-speed. Within seconds I had it done and was making my way down the corridor to the boardroom. I took a couple of seconds out to shower in the gents and I was lucky enough to find a can of Lynx in someone else’s locker. Back out into the corridor, I stumbled on. Just as my watch signalled I had only milliseconds to spare, I opened the door and smiled at the many faces sat around the large oak table. I nodded to the CEO, who smiled back at me.

“Welcome Clark. Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce our very own superhero…”

Monday, April 18, 2005

A new week begins in earnest

It's been a hectic couple of days since my last post. They went a bit like this:

Friday night - leaving party for friends and colleagues at an agency I have been working at for the past three months or so. Left there at 8pm to grab some food. I then popped along to my own leaving party for an agency I left back in November 2004. Received some book tokens as a thank you for the four and a half years I was with them. As I love books and reading, this is perfect. I am spending them today and will report back on the books I have read. Currently reading the new Ian McEwan: Saturday. Impressed so far.

Saturday was spent choosing colours for our bedroom as it is very pink right now. We moved in to this house about a year ago and have only painted the downstairs rooms and had a new kitchen installed. Soon, it will have to be carried out upstairs, so choosing new colours was a job that required completing. That's now been done and we begin painting next week, with most of the preparation starting on Friday... It'll create a mess, but afterwards it will be worth it.

Sunday was spent doing little but painting matchpots of paint in the bedroom. Also spent time with my Mum before she went back into hospital for treatment of her disease, which is Severe Aplastic Anaemia. She starts the treatment today, once her chest x-rays and so forth are finished. I shall be visiting her later on today, so expect an update on things every so often.

Today has been spent chasing some work (which has proved fruitful and it looks like I might be off out of the house again this week and/or next). Again, I shall update as and when. Furthermore, I have been attempting to get my referral letter for a hospital visit I need to have as I have a lump in my mouth requiring removal. Not looking forward to that, but at least it's not malignant. At least, I don't think so at this moment in time. I do smoke, so it needs to be checked out by a professional. At least I can go private.

So, that's all the news from the world of purplesimon.

Read, think and comment. I promise some more new things will be posted soon. In fact, I am about to embark on a new rewrite of my novel. If it looks good I will be posting the chapters up here. Who knows where that might lead.

purplesimon out...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A regular surprise, don't you think?

Not bad, I mean, for ten minutes it does hold together.

In case you were wondering, I don't have any clue what it's about. I just wrote whatever came into my head.

I started it just as the news came on Xfm* which told me that it was approximately 11.00am, or 1100hrs if you prefer. So, that became the title of the story.

Also, I don't know what was going to happen to the character, I can't tell you if they are male or female, whether they live or die. It's literally a snapshot.

As per usual, read, think and comment.

purplesimon out...


*That's 104.9FM, xfm.co.uk, Sky Digital and all other cable companies in the UK and plays alternative music: right now Idlewild are playing, but it could be KLF or Doves, or anyone that might be called Indie, Punk, Rock or Alternative)

Ten minutes and this is all I managed!

11.00am
The news is on the radio, mostly bad stuff happening in other countries miles and miles away from where I currently find myself. I have only ten minutes left before the end.

The say that your life flashes before you at the point of dying, so why should it be that, when given ten whole minutes, I can’t seem to pull anything into my brain? Was my life worth nothing to me? Is that why I find myself in this position?

I mull over the questions, listen to the squawk of the seagulls as they circle the thermals high above my head. The wind is blustery today, lifting my shirt tails and rustling the leaves that have begun to bud on the trees. My watch says seven minutes. If I were having fun, it would surely be over. As the cliché goes.

11.04am
I espy a boat on the distant horizon; watch its slow progress across the edge of the world, my hands running through the long grass at my feet when I crouch down. I think I hear the plane approaching, a far-away buzz, a drone. A murmur.

A shadow moves over the cliff-edge, falling to the rumble of rocks and waves some hundred feet below where I now stand. A alarm beeps on my watch signifying that there are only two minutes left. The plane circles and moves back towards me. I lift my hand to my face to keep the sun from my eyes.

A figure leans from the passenger seat of the aircraft. I note it’s a small Cesna. I can see the number on its tail: 10-F55. I wonder if it’s a radio code. But, it’s too late to wonder.

There are only seconds left.

Setting myself a task

Today, just because I don't have any work to do, I have decided to set myself a writing task.

Usually, I would use a creative prompt to help me on my way; however, this time I don't have a prompt to hand. So, within the next ten minutes (as long as my Apple Mac doesn't crash) I am going to simply open my text program (which happens to be called SimpleText) and write.

I don't know what the subject will be, yet, and it could all go horribly wrong and you'll be staring at a blank page for ages until I come and write another post, but...

Let's just see, shall we?

purplesimon out...

Monday, April 11, 2005

What I've been doing these past two weeks

I have been rather busy these last couple of weeks.

Firstly, I have been working on a friend's website, which is adult toys! Erm, if you're under 18, I have to legally tell you not to visit this link. I know that you'll ignore me; so did I when I was your age, which is so long ago now it's being archived by the British Museum. For those of you wondering, that was 1990. Anyway, you can see my work here: nudge nudge.

Secondly, I have been busy working up some creative concept examples that I can send out to creative directors in the hope they will be impressed. You can let me know your opinion by viewing the PDF (4.8MB) here: Creative Portfolio. This link has been removed by the blog administrator.

As always, read, think, comment. You'll also need to add look to that list.

purplesimon out...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

...Crazy Anymore (reprise)

Back at the flat we pooled our loot on the coffee table and flicked on the telly to see whether we had made the local news. Sirens had rained down all day, but no one had come round to nick us. We would’ve fought the fucking scum fuzz any day of the fucking week. We were on top of the world like, an unstoppable force. A fucking crazy day it had been and it wasn’t over yet.

I tipped my can of beer into a glass cos I hated the taste of tin with my booze. I ripped open another wrap of coke and poured half of it into my drink and downed the concoction in one go. I grabbed a second can and repeated the sequence. Billy and Shauna just looked on in astonishment.

- Fucking greedy cunt! Billy said.

I stared at them, my eyes bugging out from my head and I grinned. I pulled another wrap from my pocket, like fucking Santa I was, and poured half into Shauna’s drink and the other half into Billy’s bottle of beer. They grinned back at me and necked the lot. Billy belched loudly and we all fell about laughing.

Colin came up from his downstairs flat. We thought it was to complain about the noise again, as he had done the night before. I was ready to placate him; well, I was ready to butt the fucker’s nose out of joint, but to my surprise he didn’t have the energy to argue anymore. He sat heavily on the sofa, the springs creaking as he adjusted his considerable weight. He pulled out a tin and some tatty rizlas and rolled a sizeable spliff. Once it was lit, he started talking and it was difficult to make him stop. Anyone would’ve thought it was him that had been sniffing Bolivian marching powder all day long, not us.

The hours ran past us, disappearing into night and back into day. The hours spent filled with the passing of spliffs and the snorting of various powders, until we had run out of drugs and were left only with the final remnants of alcohol in the bottom of cans and bottles. We poured each vestige into a glass, making a murky and sweet-smelling liquid drink that almost took your head off with each sip. Once this was finished we went out in search of more.

None of us liked walking, not even up the stairs to the flat; we would have preferred it had they installed one of those granny lifts, the ones that stupid old bint advertised during the commercial breaks for a telly show like Countdown. Anything that old rags might watch to while away their days, until death cast his shadow over them. To be honest, having seen the shows myself during the slow days that the dole provides, they were about as close to death as a person can get without actually snuffing it. It’s all bollocks, really. Complete and utter bollocks.

The car started on the first spark of the wires and we were on our way back into town, to steal more booze and catch up with any number of the town’s less salubrious inhabitants: the ones that sold powder and puff.

Shauna, who accompanied us on all our sprees even though she should really have been in school taking her exams, was sat in the front again, twiddling the knobs on the stereo. We never said nuffin’, but we all knew that she was more often than not twiddling Billy’s knob. I tried to scrape the image of her with a mouthful of cock off my mind – jealousy can be bad for driving, takes yer mind off the road. My time would come; she and Billy had not been sharing a room for some days and she had taken to crawlin’ into bed with me on more than one occasion, although I lay there stiffly, just in case Billy was waiting to pounce outside the door. I liked the feel of her breath on my neck as she slept, the feel of her skin against the hairs on my arms. Soon, I would enclose her in those arms and all would be happy.

Colin and Billy were in the back of the car. I’d never taken Colin on a spree, but he was nodding his head like a fucking jack-in-a-box when I asked him if he fancied coming with us to town. That’s the trouble with these dope smokers – they are so lazy-arsed that sometimes they nod their fucking heads to anything, including shite on the radio like Celine Dion. Sea lion Dion: that was what fucking Billy called her. He had names for loads of celebrities that made me laugh: Jan Dildo instead of Jill Dando, Scrawny Beaver instead of Sigourney Weaver. He just kept coming out with them, making me piss me pants. Almost, anyways.

A song came blasting out of the speakers in the car now Shauna had got the stereo finally working. I dunno the song though; it was some new-wave punk thing, all grinding guitars with a throaty singer shouting into the microphone. All I could make out was the words: I don’t wanna be crazy anymore. Fucking pussy, that singer. I liked being crazy. To prove it, I pushed down hard on the accelerator and felt the car move up to over 100 miles per hour. Fucking right this was the way to live.

The car seemed to leave the road for an instance as we came over the small rise and I laughed as we slammed back down to the road. It was a close shave, what with the cliff wall plummeting to the sea below being the alternative destination if I’d’ve got it all wrong. I watched as the sun glinted across the ocean beneath us, cascading across the wave as it ebbed and flowed.

- Fuck’s sake there.

That was Billy. He was pissed at me cos I’d made him spill his coke all over the floor. I watched him in the rear view, checking out how angry he was. He was black mood fucking mad, that’s what I saw. I reached into my inside pocket and withdrew a small wrap of paper.

- Here we go braw, get some of this up yer nostril and stop yer fucking evils.

He snatched at the wrap of cocaine and tipped the whole gram onto the mirror. I instantly dropped my speed to 80 mph. No need to spill my own drugs now, is there? Less than two minutes later and a fucking fat line was sitting on a mirror just under my nose, glistening like the waves had been earlier. Shauna grabbed the wheel for me, steering from the passenger seat as I turned around to take my snort. Fucking lark this, I was getting double the buzz what with the stolen car and the coupla pills I’d necked that morning to get over the hangover. The line was the icing on the cake.

As soon as I had sniffed hard along the line, I twisted back to face the road, just in time to see that Shauna was losing control the faster we had gone.

- Shit, we’re gonna fucking die

She said that out loud before collapsing into laughter. I pulled on the handbrake, pulling the wheel down with all the strength I had. The car spun around and I floored the accelerator. We went around again in the spin and then the car pulled into a straight line and we were off once more at a hideous speed.

- Bet fucking Clarkson couldn’t do that, the cocksucker.

I had to agree with Billy, I was a fucking good driver. Even if I hadn’t had a lesson in my life, not passed a fucking test or nuffin’, just common sense and a leaden right foot. We careered into town, narrowly missing some stupid old rags crossing outside the Co-Op. I clipped the metal post by the Town Hall that advertised the latest residents’ comments to the fucking council and came to a halt along the side of a gleaming 4x4. The two cars were a mess; we were out and running before the engine had stopped and anyone had noticed the accident.

How we fucking laughed when we got to the off licence, shoving cans of high-strength lager into our pockets and shooting evils at the store manager.

- What yer gonna fucking do?

That was Billy shouting, his teeth gnashing as the coke high peaked.

The Trial

Dear Mr Jenkins,
Thank you for your recent submission to Eagle Editors. I have read your manuscript and I am sorry to say that this is not the kind of subject matter that we normally publish and for this reason we will not be taking this further.

I wish you the best with your literary career in the future, and should you have any further work in the areas of crime fiction or historical insights we would be more than happy to look over these submissions.

Regards

Eileen Eagle (Ms)



Yeah, yeah, always the same these editors. Thank you for this, thank you for that, not quite what we're looking for at the moment. The same old usual bullshit that some work experience girl has diligently typed up. The company probably had a stock letter already held as a template on the office machine; only the names need to be changed. I expect that they send out hundreds of these per day. Bastards.

I took the large brown envelope that had my own address written upon it, in my own handwriting (they even get you to do most of the work for them; the next thing that will surely happen is that prospective authors like myself will need to include a refusal response with our submissions). The pages looked as pristine as they had when I had sent it out. Only the title page had been turned. I slowly removed the page and looked at the opening paragraph. Across the page, in large upper case letters scrawled in red ink, were the words: WHO THE FUCK STARTS A STORY WITH THE WORDS ‘ONCE UPON A TIME’?

I had failed at the first hurdle…

Miserably, it seemed.

Without thinking, I took the package in my hand and made my way out into the garden. To my left was an old barbecue, constructed from an oil drum I had found in a skip at the end of my road. Tossing in the manuscript and the envelope, I searched through my pockets for a box of matches or a lighter. Any self-respecting smoker – of which I was certainly one – would never allow themselves to be left high and dry without recourse to light a cigarette. I found a box of matches in my left pocket, removed them, struck one and let it drift down into the oil drum, igniting the paper that sat at the bottom in a big whoosh of flames and smoke. I watched it burn, the small pieces of paper still in flame caught by the soft wind that traversed the garden and carried away, looking like small fireflies as they dissipated in the early morning air.

Over a cup of steaming coffee, I resolved to sort out the problem of my manuscript not being up-to-scratch. I quickly realised that I did not have an original story and soon after it dawned on me: I would never come up with something that no one had ever written before. I knew what I had to do… I needed to live my novel, to experience it as I wrote. Without this, I would never get beyond the rejection letter. I resolved to do exactly that: live what I wrote, to be a novel myself. If I could experience the sensations that I was trying to describe, this would surely make a better work than the last one. Well, I hoped it would. If I’d had a wife, she would probably have nagged me by now that becoming a published author was likely to be the last thing that would ever happen to me, and if all the writers in the world suddenly died, I would still find myself unable to garner a publishing deal. Oh, along with the rejection letter there was a whole load of bills – electric, gas, and phone. They all come at once these bills, as if the postman has been hoarding them since the beginning of the year and has decided that now he feels like delivering them. It never rains, it only pours and I’m out there without a fucking umbrella, getting soaked to the skin.

I felt like writing all over each bill, the words (in upper case, red pen): WHO THE FUCK STARTS A FINAL DEMAND WITH THE WORDS ‘DEAR CUSTOMER’. I decided that they wouldn’t see the funny side. They had already gotten published, what more did they need to do?

However, my decision to ‘live’ my novel seemed, well it seemed like a novel idea, that’s what. Fucking ay, I was finally on to something. The only thing that I needed now was a plot. I ran upstairs, taking them two at a time – not a good thing for someone in my unfit condition. At the top of the stairs, I paused. My hands went to my knees and I dropped my head as far down as my spine would let me. Once the nausea had passed, I walked at a more sedate pace into the bedroom and began shuffling through drawers that had paper piled up so that it was overflowing. There was so much shit there I had scrawled the word “BOG” on the chest of drawers in one of my more melancholy moments. Now, this wasn’t so much a pile of shit anymore; it was now more like a seam of creativity I could mine for ideas to act out. Then, all I needed to do was write about my experience.

Three hours later, I soon realised that I would either have to be a murder victim or a killer. I had exhausted my supply of storylines and I didn’t have a single thread to follow, to act out in my own time. I did find a packet of cigarettes, which I began puffing my way through as I determined where I would go next in my search for a story to become a best-selling novel worldwide. I didn’t want to be one of those authors that only get used to stuff the shelves of airport shops and newsagents that haven’t seen a customer since rationing ended.

Okay, I’ll admit that either of those places would be a fine establishment to stock my book, if only someone would commission its publication once it was written. And, then it struck me. I would write about writing a novel and getting it published, but with a twist. I would just recount my life to date and soon I would be the name on everyone’s lips. I secretly hoped my knob would be on the lips of all the beautiful women, too, but I’ll save that story for the inevitable sequel.

I lit another cigarette, coughed for a second or twenty, and dug out the typewriter beneath the mound of paper.

What's this?

Two stories for you.

One of these was written some time back, for the creative writing group I belonged to. Can't remember what they all said as I had written four stories that month and we were only supposed to be concentrating on one.

If I remember correctly, we were on holiday in Cornwall.

Anyway, I digress. The first story is called The Trial and was conceived this morning; the second is another version of 'I Don't Want To Be Crazy Anymore'.

Read, think, comment.

purplesimon out...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Spring's sprung, so what's new?

Another week begins.

The Pope is dead, here beginneth the circus that surely follows as they debate who might be the next leader of the Roman Catholic faith.

On a more personal note, I am off for a series of tests on an ulcer that won't go and has got infected. It has caused a lump in my mouth and, as a smoker, it seems like a good idea to get some medically-trained people to give me their opinion on it. I'll report back once I have more information.

Secondly - on the personal front - my Mum is going back into hospital on Sunday 10 April for further treatment. She should be in for about 5 - 7 weeks, but we shall have to wait and see. I have no more information than that, unless of course you're looking for Severe Aplastic Anaemia information, in which case I know a fair bit about it now.

Consequently, with all this going on in my life I haven't even begun to write anything new, let alone look over previous material to keep the appetites of my readers sated. I promise, promise, promise that I will place up something new soon, even if it is a small haiku.

I have not written
for so long it is weighing
down each thought I have

So, satisfied for now? I hope so, that was harder than it might have seemed. Counting 5, 7, 5 is not my strongest point. Good job I never decided to become a mathematics teacher.

purplesimon out...