Who occupies the Porcelain Throne?

Tyrion Bercow has stated he will not let Boss Johnson prorogue (ie shut down) Parliament, thereby forcing a no-deal Brexit on Halloween.

Does he have that authority? I’ve no idea. I thought the Squeaker’s job was as a sort of referee in the House of Conmen to ensure the unruly rabble stick roughly to the rules.

As for Bozza, does he have the power to close Parliament? I don’t think so. I think he has to ask Mrs. Queen to do it. And I suspect he might have to put it to a vote before he can ask Mrs. Queen. Even if he does, she might, quite reasonably, just respond with ‘ This entire charade has royally fucked one off and got right on one’s tits. Get back to work you chubby lickspittle. And buy a bloody comb’.

I’d love to see that on the BBC 🙂

I don’t think Bozza wants a no-deal Brexit. He’d much rather have a trade deal in place. Unfortunately, the likes of Guy Thermostat and Tusky Don want to make the UK suffer for having the temerity to leave their new empire. So they won’t negotiate. It’s the Tessie Maybe crap ‘deal’ or no deal at all. In which case, no deal is the only sensible option.

Food will not stop arriving. I live on a farm of which the UK has many. We currently export food. If they don’t want it, we’ll eat it instead of importing theirs. Oh and when UK lamb isn’t available, our biggest supplier is New Zealand. Who are not under the control of the deranged dictators of the EU. So that won’t change. Neither will most of the imported vegetables which come from non-EU countries anyway because Europe has the same seasons we have.

Donnie Trumpton is not going to take control of the NHS. Our own government can’t control the swollen management structure and ridiculous spending of that insane organisation. Why would any other government even want it? It has more bean counters than actually useful medical staff already.

We are not going to be forced to eat chlorinated chicken. We have plenty of perfectly good British chicken. We will, of course, be forced to continue drinking chlorinated water (well, not here, we have UV-treated and double filtered well water, but you lot have to drink it).

In the midst of all this, Cersei Lucas has schemes of her own. She plans a National Unity Government because she claims Bozza is ‘unelected’ and also racist and mysogynist. Therefore she wants to replace the entire government with herself and a cabinet of unelected white women. They will take charge.

She is the only green MP and she wants to take control of government. Personally I wouldn’t trust her in control of a strimmer.

We have our very own Game of Thrones in the UK now. I’m just waiting for Al the Oily Fish to resurface and proclaim himself ‘King in the North’. I hope there are White Walkers. I already have blue eyes.

It’s chaos. You might as well shut down Parliament because none of the buggers have a clue what they are doing. They’re just making it up as they go. Priti Patel has spoken of bringing back the death penalty and there is talk of only allowing immigrants to come here if they make over £30,000 a year. Most people in this country don’t make that much. Heck, I don’t even get close these days, although I used to just make that much after decades of working as a research scientist, consultant and lecturer. It’s hardly the common wage. So if that comes in, do I (born here) no longer qualify to live here? It’s a complete shambles.

The main issue is a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU and since the EU will not negotiate, well, I’m glad I have a Japanese car and not a German one. The Japanese will still sell us parts for my car. All you Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen etc drivers… well, don’t break anything. No matter how keen the German car companies are to sell you their cars, the EU isn’t going to let them.

We’ll be eating British bacon instead of Danish or Dutch. British made blue cheese instead of French. Pasta made from non-EU wheat. There’s plenty of non-EU wheat. The rest of the world grows it too, as do we.

Avocado doesn’t come from the EU so the soy latte hipsters don’t need to cry into their straggly beards or use undue exercise to lift their pencil-thin biceps to wipe tears off their glasses. Not even the male ones.

If the EU refuse to negotiate then ‘no deal’ is the only option left. There is no other way unless Round Boris gives in. If he does, the Tories are a spent force. Their supporters fell away in droves while Tessie piddled away three years to get the most ridiculous surrender deal forced into existence with threats, then couldn’t get anyone to accept it. They have been drifting back since Boris took over, they have moved from voting Brexit party back to Tory.

But… if Boris screws this up, it’s all over for the Tories.

So who will end up sitting on the Porcelain Throne?

As they say in Wales and probably much of the UK… it’s shit or bust time. You either do what you have to do or you face the consequences.

——————–

Things have been chaotic here for weeks. I am behind with two books and it’s nearly time to start the Halloween anthology. There is one more week of the chaos and then in September we are closed to visitors for the entire month.

It’ll be get back to work time.

Plausibility

This post is about writing. Not about Leg Iron Books, but about the act of writing. About where I get ideas and how I try to make the utterly bizarre appear plausible. It has been said that fiction has to make sense, a constraint that does not apply to reality. It’s true. Unless you are going to invoke actual magic, you need a plausible reason for things to happen in a story.

Note that while it has to be believable, it does not have to be true. Don’t take anything here as if I have personally applied scientific rigour in a long and detailed research project, I only need plausibility for stories. I don’t necessarily need facts. Although, if you can look up details and find them, that does add weight to the possibility that my scary ideas might actually be real. That’s kind of the point of writing a scary story. To scare the bejesus out of you and to set you up so that if you decide to check it out, it gets even scarier.

Ideas come from anywhere. I had the idea for a story called ‘The Hand that Feeds’ from listening to the groaning of a dishwasher. ‘Telephone Pest’ came from all those marketing calls that use autodial and if you’re late picking up, you just get silence. An awful lot of them come from dreams, especially the dreams I used to get when I was drinking really hard. ‘One Stop after Marchway’ was a very toned down version of one of those dreams.

I have now discovered the deeper recesses of YouTube, which I access through Google Chrome because there is a YouTube adblocker for that browser, and the conspiracy/alternate history videos tend to be riddled with ads.

In there are all the stories of an ancient Utopia, long forgotten by modern man, with technologies we can’t even begin to figure out now. Is any of it true? Doesn’t matter for story purposes, it only matters that it can be made plausible. Some of it would be nice if it was true, some of it leads to Hellish bouts of imagination of what could happen if it was true. Those are the ones I’m looking for.

‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’, in Underdog Anthology 8 (Transgenre Dreams) came from one of those YouTube sessions. The story is fiction of course, but if you look up the basic, tangible facts, they are all there. I think there’s enough to put that little seed of doubt into most minds… is it fiction? That’s all I need.

Tonight I have found a real gem. There are loads of ‘stargates are real’ videos, I suspect they appeared after the SF film of that name and no, nobody has found a big ring that turns into what looks like a vertical swimming pool so you can walk through to other planets.

Incidentally, it’s all a bit old-school Star Trek, isn’t it? Every planet they visit has breathable air and the right temperature and gravity for humans to act normally. They never visit a planet with double gravity that makes even walking feel as though you’re carrying a clone of yourself on your back. Someone should write that. Maybe I will – I have done one or two SF-style stories in the past.

Back to tonight’s find. One of the big issues with all this ancient technology is… what powered it? There has never been a find of a ruined power station, certainly not bird-chopping windmills or silly solar panels. Sure, we find walls made of huge stones put together so you can’t slip a sheet of paper between them and we wonder how they a) cut them so close and b) lifted them into place. Nobody has found any ancient cranes or any kind of machinery or tools that could do it, so how was it done? Aliens? Why would aliens come all this way, build a few walls and then just bugger off? It makes no sense.

Another ‘incidentally’… I did once come across a video that suggested the ancients had a recipe for a kind of cement that, when dried, looks exactly like rock. That theory suggested the stones weren’t cut at all, they were biodegradable bags filled with the cement, stacked up and left to harden. The bags rot away, the resulting blocks fit together perfectly.

Is it true? I have no idea and there’s no evidence but then if it is true, there wouldn’t be. All they’d need are shovels to fill the bags and they could place the bags and fill them in situ. No lifting equipment beyond buckets of cement, shovels and a chain gang to pass the buckets up. Whether it’s true or not, it’s plausible. All it’s missing is the recipe for the cement.

This latest one is another ‘stargate’ one and most of it is bollocks, as usual. However, I did lift one useful bit of plausibility out of it.

The idea that these ‘stargates’ are powered by piezoelectricity. They are, indeed, all situated on areas containing a lot of quartz (incidentally number three – so am I!) and their idea is that pressure on that quartz through tectonic plate movement or gravitational interactions with other planets and more pressure idea things… could cause the quartz to generate a local electric field.

Okay. I can work with that. They have the watches the wrong way round though, quartz doesn’t power the watch or we wouldn’t need to change the batteries. The quartz is what keeps time.

But… ever used a piezo-electric lighter? The spark is generated using peizoelectricity – when you press, you compress a quartz crystal that then produces enough electricity to make a spark to light the gas. No batteries, the power is indeed coming from the quartz.

You can get a spark from a tiny quartz crystal. Imagine compressing a hundred tons of it.

If rock pressure, gravity, whatever, were to compress and relax and compress and so on… a huge quartz deposit, would that produce a detectable or maybe even substantial electric field? Well, yes, most likely, but that is not the real question.

The real question is – did ancient humans know how to make use of it? Could they harness it and direct it? Will we ever know whether they did and if they did, will we ever work out how? We can’t do it but then we can’t even build a pyramid, so who knows?

See, if that really works and can be harnessed, it’s free electricity and the ultimate in renewable energy. You don’t even have to mine it out, just stick two wires in the ground.

I’m drifting away from fiction into a wild theory of greenness. Back to the point.

In ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’ there was a vibration device, not revealed in the story, that had been operating with no apparent power source for thousands of years. Was the power coming from a quartz deposit?

This links to the ‘ghost’ story that isn’t a ghost. The repeat, recording-type manifestation that does not interact with the observer at all, it’s like watching a short film replay over and over. Exactly the same every time. Could that be a recording made on a quartz deposit, where the action seen took place during a time when the quartz was being pressured and open to taking a recording? When similar pressures are reapplied, maybe that’s when the recording plays back.

Yet another digression there, but the idea links to so many other ideas… and I still have the old Romulus Crowe thoughts that if you can work out how to make those recording phenomena to order you’d soon be very rich indeed.

I have added piezoelectricity to my lexicon of plausibility for the bizarre. I do not care whether the stargates are real, the idea that the ancients could harness the electric fields of quartz deposits is a plausible one whether it’s true or not.

Since I live on a fairly chunky quartz deposit and have a holy well as my water source (Thanks are due to Dr. Dan for pointing that out) I now have the bones of the next Halloween anthology story which, like last year and the year before, will be based on the weirdness of the house I live in. I love this place, but I doubt I could ever afford to buy it. Renting will have to do.

Ideas in writing come from putting together the apparently unconnected in ways that are fiction but which could be true. It does not matter whether they are true, it only matters that they will be believed.

It’s something the modern Puritans understand all too well, unfortunately.

To finish, how about we open that Pandora box?

It’s just entertainment, nothing to fear here. It’s all just fiction.

Probably.

Reliance

I know, it sounds like the next Mark Ellott novel, following ‘Ransom’, ‘Rebellion’ and the almost-ready ‘Resolution’ and who knows? Maybe it will be.

Well, the replacement router arrived today and it’s much improved over the one I had before. Four years of technology can do that, I suppose. It linked much more easily to the wifi booster and it has a stronger wifi signal than the old one. So four days without internet was worth it.

Just in time – I had almost used up my data allowance on the mobile by using it as a mobile hotspot. I have been considering reducing the data package since I normally rarely use it, but I think I’ll leave it there. It was very handy in this emergency!

It’s amazing how much you can get done when your internet access is severely restricted. I have both Mark Ellott’s and Marsha Webb’s novels formatted and returned to the authors for last checks and I have a short story collection from another author that I can now start sorting out. I’m really going to have to limit my forays into the mad world of the internet in future.

These days in the Internet wilderness also showed me just how reliant I am on it now. Oh I remember when the only phone available was the phone box at the end of the street. I remember when I bought a mobile phone for the first time – I was in my early thirties and scoffed at them until a pheasant flew into my windscreen on a country road and shattered it. Suddenly they seemed like a potentially useful thing to have.

I was, of course, travelling at a perfectly sensible and sedate pace along that dead straight and empty road. It was entirely the pheasant’s fault.

I remember when it became law to fit front seat belts to cars so my father did. It was not yet legally required to use them, so he didn’t. I remember when I was sent, with my younger brother, to the corner shop to by my father’s cigarettes. I remember very well the day they couldn’t sell them to us any more. He wasn’t happy.

We used to buy things with money. Now we just wave a plastic card at a machine and soon we’ll have the card chips in our hands.

Now, of course, the Phone is God. You can use it to pay for things, watch films, browse the internet and if you can figure out how, you can even still make phone calls with it. That feature, once the only reason for a phone’s existence, is now buried in the mass of icons on the screen and in the 48 gigabytes of memory it contains. Ah, I recall fitting a 16 kilobyte memory pack to a ZX-81 and thinking it was amazing.

So many of us are absolutely reliant on the internet. Leg Iron Books could not function without it – the days of high street printers are pretty much gone and the thought of having to cut and paste with real scissors and paste is horrifying. And yet that’s how I wrote my PhD thesis. My mother typed it, on an actual typewriter, I cut and pasted pages together for the retype.

Money, as pretty much everyone knows, no longer exists. Well, you can still (so far) get cash but most of the money circulating in the world is just numbers on a screen with no physical reality at all. If everyone decides to withdraw their money form a bank they will soon find the bank doesn’t really have all that much actual cash. It’s mostly just binary digits.

And to think, these same banks poo-pooh the likes of Bitcoin. Their methods have been the same for years!

On it trundles, the world based on unreality, and it works, sort of. At least for now.

All it will take though is one solar flare, one coronal mass ejection, and it’s all gone. Wiped. Cleaner than a Hillary Clinton email inbox. All evaporated like the dew on a summer morning.

Heck, I was put on restricted access this week by a lightning bolt. To be fair, it was four hours of lightning bolts and a pretty intense blast at the end. It was enough to fry a router and a landline phone. I couldn’t do too much through the mobile phone. I could check and send emails but sending/receiving large documents or image files was a ‘no’.

If that had hit the bank computers I could have been wiped out along with a lot of other people. How could I prove how much money was in those accounts? It didn’t really exist in the first place!

I have been paying a lot of attention to the sun recently. It has three cycles that go from high activity to low and it is now entering what is called a ‘grand solar minimum’ where all three cycles go low at the same time. It’s nothing to get all worried about, it’s happened before. Humanity survived.

It does mean it’s going to get colder. That’s why the Climatologists have rolled out the Unassailable Weapon in the shape of a highly suggestible autistic child. Argue with what she’s been told to tell you and you are attacking an autistic child. I feel sorry for her. Autism does not equal stupid. One day she will realise how she was used and she is going to go through hell. You think the Church of Climatology cares? Once they are done with her they will discard her with not a single look back.

But yeah, it’s getting colder and it will get worse. So the push is on to get as much funding as possible for the pretend science of man made global warming before the lie becomes obvious. Millions will die but hey, the Climatologists will make a load of money so that’s okay with them. It also helps their depopulation agenda which naturally does not include them.

I, and many others, have tried to tell the Church of Climatology what’s really coming but that just makes me a ‘Climate Denier’ which is their new word for ‘Heretic’. I stopped bothering, let the buggers freeze. Anyway it’s too late now, it’s already started and there is not a damn thing humanity can do about it. Light up the fireplace, get the popcorn and watch them shiver while they complain about the heat.

There’s always a silver lining. Low sun activity means a much reduced chance of a solar flare or coronal mass ejection coming our way. It’s never zero, of course, but the odds are in our favour as long as we can keep ice off the wires.

A mass ejection or flare would have to be pointed right at us to have an effect. Well, actually pointed a little bit ahead of us since we’re a moving target. A flare on the opposite side of the sun won’t bother us at all. This means the chance of being hit by one are always reasonably low anyway.

The chance is never zero. Never. Probabilities go up and down but they never hit zero. One day it could happen – in fact it’s safe to say that one day it has to happen. When? Tomorrow? Next month? A decade from now? A century?

There is no way to know. And there isn’t likely to be much, if any, warning. Go to bed rich, wake up a caveman. Go to bed connected to the world, wake up alone and isolated.

As people rely more and more on online comunication, the latter is going to be the hardest to bear, I think.

We really should have a backup plan in case of such an event.

But nobody has.

Plastic

It’s still quiet here. I have one novel nearly edited (a different one), the one I was doing before has been back to the author and is now back with revisions, there’s a short story book by another author and there’s the podcast ad.

If there is one failing in me, it’s that it never occurs to me to ask for help. It’s not ‘male pride’ or stubbornness (well maybe a little bit of stubbornness) it simply does not occur to me to ask. I’m going to have to give in soon though. I’ll have to get some freelance editors and cover artists involved at the rate the work is piling up.

I gave in on the podcast ad. Dr. Evil offered to do it for me if I provided the text. He has a well practiced and clear speaking voice and better sound equipment. My next investment has to be a half decent microphone! Mine mostly came from a pound shop… It’s now done and will be on the podcast next Monday. So it won’t be me speaking this one but I’ll have to get a few ready to go in case of another spontaneous chance at an advert. I also need good sound recording for story readings.

Anyway, that gets the digression out of the way early on. Now about those plastics…

I have always been a big believer in recycling. I suppose it stems from my childhood when we could take a bag of glass bottles back to the shop, get a few pennies per bottle and have a sweet binge on the proceeds. Back then, most sweets either came in a paper bag (measured out from a jar) or were individually wrapped in waxed paper. All of which would rot away harmlessly.

Oh I know, they weren’t ‘free sweets’ because the deposit was paid by whoever bought the bottle – but that was never us. Parents were happy to hand us the bottles and we found quite a few on Saturday and Sunday mornings after the older kids had a woodland beer binge. There were other sources too.

Then came the day when ‘No deposit – no return’ was moulded into the sides of the bottles. Disaster! No more free sweets!

And of course, all those woodland beer bottles and under-hedge drunken discards just stayed where they were because no kids were picking them up next morning. Bins started to fill with perfectly good bottles that could have been re-used and broken ones that could have been melted down and made into other things.

Worse, the reuseable milk bottles were replaced by card and plastic containers, then glass bottles were replaced with plastic ones, all of it non-returnable.

Fast forward a decade or so and you have the Greens shrieking at us for throwing away loads of plastic. Well, the milk comes in plastic bottles, as do most drinks now, so what are we to do? Cup our hands and carry it home that way?

I do not throw waste plastic into the sea, the river, of anywhere in the environment. I, like everyone else, have a special bin called ‘recycling’ that takes plastic, card and cans. This one does not take glass. That goes to a big bin near Local Shop once I accumulate enough to make it worth the diversion.

So what happens? Are those bin collecting trucks just magic portals that send all that recycling straight to the Pacific?

No. What happens is that the council sells the recycling (that they charge you to collect) to a recycling company who then ship it to China or Africa where they sort out what can be used and dump anything they don’t want into the rivers.

Sure, I’ve seen the argument that most of the crap in the sea comes from six rivers, but that’s because we send it there.

I have a friend who does not put cans in recycling. He crushes them and puts them in bins of his own, separating aluminium from steel, then takes them to the scrapyard and gets a few quid for them. That’s proper ground level recycling.

I have in the past attempted to make plastic bricks by hanging a frame on my chimenea and melting waste plastic in it. Not a great success that time. I’d like to try reviving that idea though.

You couldn’t build a house with them but a low garden wall, faced with cement and topped with flat stones? That could work to where nobody could tell the difference. However, real bricks are cheap so it wouldn’t be a great business option.

Unless you sell it as ‘green’ and you can do it on a scale where your plastic bricks cost no more than real ones, ideally less. As I said, bricks are cheap, but you need a lot for a wall so even a penny per brick saving could soon add up. Plus you have the virtue signalling and to many people these days, that’s a big selling point. There is also the point that filling the back of your car with plastic bricks would be far less damaging to your suspension than doing it with real ones.

Making one at a time on a chimenea isn’t really viable. You need a big melting pot and a whole raft of moulds to make loads at once. But I think it could work. If you’re talking about a low wall, ten bricks high, a few flawed ones won’t matter. And you could cut half-bricks with a saw or a hot wire.

That’s just bricks. You could make planks sized to order. Even mould-in fake grain. I’ve seen park benches made of recycled plastic. It can be done. You can already get garden furniture in a kit of moulded plastic parts – imagine the virtue signalling opportunites if it was clearly made out of recycled bottles!

Virtue signalling is a big thing with the smug and self-righteous now. Why not cash in on that?

I might have dreamed this or it might be real – was there ever a ‘stained glass’ type window made of glass bottles that were laid out and then melted so they all flattened and fused together? Whether it’s real or not, you could use the same idea to make a plastic greenhouse with clear plastic bottles. The plants inside don’t care about the aesthetics.

I don’t hear anything like this from those protesting plastics though. All I hear is shouting about how it’s all the supermarkets’ fault for packaging things in plastic.

Newsflash – they don’t. Their suppliers do.

What is the supermarket’s fault is the death of local small suppliers. I recall going to the local butcher and getting meat wrapped in paper that my grandmother carried home in her own shopping bag. Same at the greengrocer or the fishmonger. All those are now conglomerated into the supermarkets and the small ones are mostly gone. There are still some but they are rare and becoming more rare.

There used to be a good little lighting shop in a town I lived in. The nearby Tesco filled an aisle with lightbulbs of every type at lower prices. The lighting shop died. Tesco’s lighting section dropped to only the most common types. I can’t help feeling it was just pure malice. They killed the bookshop too and tried to kill the sporting goods shop – but since Tesco won’t sell shotguns or airguns or bows, they failed on that one. Tesco had a range of horse tack for a while but none of those horsey types are going for a Tesco Value hard hat or harness. The sporting goods shop is still there. So don’t imagine for a moment that I am on the side of the supermarkets. They are run by malicious bastards.

Even so, the latest idiotic protest involves plastic-feedback, espoused on the BBC by Huge Farty-Shittingstall. Unwrap the stuff you voluntarily bought, stuff all the plastic wrapping into a bag and take it back to the supermarket you willingly bought it from and then virtue signal that you are an EcoWarrior of the Ultimate Stupid Arseness. Or you could just not buy stuff wrapped in plastic… is that too hard a concept?

If you don’t put it in the bin, the supermarket will put it in the bin. Then it goes to exactly the same place as if you had put it in the bin yourself. It’s an exercise in utterly pointless dickery that makes a bunch of smug wankers feel really good about achieving nothing at all. Other than to make the lives of a few minimum wage workers that bit more miserable because it’s not the boss of the supermarket who has to clean up your silly protest. It’s the bottom tier staff who have no say at all in how any product is packaged.

Huge Farty-Shittingstall lauds Sainsbury’s for selling stuff that’s not in plastic packaging. They sell you cups to dispense things into from special dispensers so you aren’t taking home all that packaging. The dispensers, and the cup, are made of… plastic. Nice one Sainsbury. You caught the suckers fair and square there.

Look. Plastic can be melted down and made into other things. So can glass and so can metal. Don’t shriek about the amount of plastic being thrown away, ask why it’s not being recycled. And maybe come up with a few ideas about how it can be. Maybe even try them yourself.

But just getting someone else to put it in the bin for you? How does that help?

I hope the supermarkets ban every dickhead that does this.

Ah, the chaos, the glorious chaos

I have considered looking in on the Tory leadership race but meh, I’m not a member so I can’t vote anyway. If they vote in a Remainer who tries to keep Tessie’s surrender document, there won’t even be a Tory party by Christmas. If they vote in a Brexiter who will keep ‘no deal’ as an option (saying you aren’t going to walk away under any circumstances is the most ridiculous approach to a negotiation imaginable) they might keep their MPs in double figures.

I’ve been busy with my own chaos. Rain has stopped me keeping the grass in check and parts of the garden are now only accessible by scythe. Well that’s okay because I have one. The garden is old enough to remember when that was the only option available. I wonder if it sighs in fond remembrance whenever I bring out the long razor blade on a stick?

I have also been editing Marsha Webb’s book, now done and sent back to the author for checking, and I have another Mark Ellott tale to look over, then I’m going to need to make cover images. There is a possibility (in negotiation) of a short story collection of dark tales by a new author and I have the opportunity to place an ad for Leg Iron Books in a podcast.

I had never before listened to a podcast. I had no idea what it was. It’s like a sort of radio show you download and listen to. Anyway, the League of Villains puts one out each Monday and I didn’t have time to get it ready by this Monday. I have to write it and then record myself speaking it. It should be around 30 seconds or so and it’s amazing how long that is when you have to say something.

What should be in it? I have narrowed it down to ‘for writers and readers’. ‘short stories and novels’. ‘three anthologies a year’ but it has to flow and it has to make sense and it has to be engaging all at once. Okay, I was a lecturer for 13 years but then I had an hour, sometimes two, to make my case. I now have to get it all into about 30 seconds – and I can’t even remember the last time I recorded my own voice. I just hope I don’t turn out to sound like Joe Pasquale or Peter Lorre…

Well I have a week, I’l try out a few samples and get something ready for next Monday.

The whole podcast idea is interesting though. It can be video or just audio. Longrider has suggested book readings on YouTube but the podcast idea means I can stay in control, without worrying about one of YouTube’s perpetually-offended making a complaint and taking down the whole channel. That might not even be neccessary. YouTube added an algorithm to combat ‘hate speech’ and took down a few thousand channels overnight. Most of them had nothing to do with any kind of hate speech.

So if I could load podcasts onto a separate site where they won’t be spontaneously wiped out by an overzealous algorithm, it would feel more secure. I know, YouTube has ‘monetization’ where you can get paid if your audience is big enough but the recent purge has demonstrated that that is far from a reliable income. It can stop in an instant for any reason YouTube care to apply, so it’s actually as bad as a zero hours contract.

Maybe I could put them on YouTube as well but I need a secure backup for them all. YouTube could shut down the lot on a whim.

Short stories are likely to be the best option. I will of course need the authors’ permission to use theirs in this way but I have plenty of my own to get started with – and Mark Ellott has said he’s happy for me to record spoken versions of his short stories. It would be better if the authors recorded their stories in their own voices though. As Martyn K. Jones did with his story from ‘Christmas Lights… and Darks‘. Then if we can put them all in one place, that would be ideal. It could even develop into audiobooks. You never know.

So it’s time to get out the recording gear and see what I can come up with. I’ll most likely go for audio-only at first, since I have a face made for radio, The transition to video might come later.

Meanwhile… back to work.

Car crash politics

Well, royalties are done and will be sent out shortly. I’ve decided to put future competitions on the Leg Iron Books site and link to them when they’re ready because advertising and shit…

So, this week Donnie Trumpton is visiting the UK and the Very British Whining is at full volume. No matter what you think of the huge orange arse, he is the duly elected President of the United States of America and we have a lot of trade going on there. They also, let’s be honest, saved our arses in WWII. They didn’t do it for free, it cost us a lot, but we don’t speak German. Well. I don’t. Nicht sprechen Germanian ici. Or words to that effect.

Which is why Trump is here. He is not here as a golf course owner or hotel magnate, he is here as President of the USA to commemorate the D-day landings in which thousands of British and American and other troops died so that the perpetually offended could complain at length about nothing that matters at all. Oh, and coincidentally, I’ve just built a British Airborne version of the Willys jeep in what could well be my last ever foray into 1/72 scale. It’s getting hard to see that stuff now.

I live fairly close (I have lived closer) to a place called Balmedie where Trump built a golf course, many years ago. He royally pissed off most of the local residents with his fences and bully-boy tactics, but since most of the residents there are Audi-driving dicks it was hard to decide which side to take. Then he fell out with his big pal of the time, Al the Oily Fish, when Al built a load of windmills in the sea and ruined the view from the golf course. Again, which side do you take? I wanted them all to lose.

I don’t play golf. It is a silly game.

Anyway. The duly elected Boss of America is in the UK, having a quiet sherry with Mrs. Queen, probably followed a whisky drinking and non-PC utterance contest with Phil the Greek, and several allegedly sensible politicians are all bent out of shape about it.

Does anyone care? Apparently a lot of people do. Some dick mowed a dick into a field in protest. Lots of people are out with placards and slogans to, as usual, protest about something no sensible person gives a toss about. Nobody minded when genuine dictators visited but an elected orange blimp-lookalike visits and everyone loses their minds.

There has been much talk of how Trump upset the diminutive Gimli Khan, without mentioning that Gimli used the standard Leftie playbook. Keep needling and needling until you get a response, then play victim. I’m amazed they still think that works but then we are talking about people who struggle to spell IQ.

We have a man-shaped hairy thing called Jerry Cordite who thinks he is Prime Monster material but who refuses to even look at the UK’s biggest ally and trading partner. Instead he is going on a protest march at which he will get all shouty and be listened to by people incapable of thinking. If he becomes Prime Monster, Brexit will be irrelevant. We’re going into bankruptcy when the Orange Sanctions and Tarrifs hit.

And of course, Tyrion Bercow is in the mix. He will not let Trump anywhere near Parliament because well, he doesn’t like him. He was happy enough with all those real dictators but they weren’t orange and didn’t have a blimp made of them.

It’s all very silly and childish, isn’t it? ‘He called me names and I called him names and now we’re going to have a fight in the playground’. Come on. Can’t we have a grown up leader like Russia has?

I think political battles like this should be settled in a Rollerball tournament. If you haven’t seen Rollerball, with James Caan, you should. I’ve seen it so many times I just fast forward to the games now. You want to shout insults? Get in the ring. Let’s see who comes out.

Rollerball is the ideal way to decide the current Tory leadership contest to decide who is Captain of the Oblivion Ship. There is only one way out of their death spiral and they won’t take it. The entire political class is in denial. In nearly 60 years I have never seen anything like it.

Almost all that is left of the Tory party want to be leader. Of what? Weren’t you lot paying attention at the EU elections we shouldn’t have had? The Tory party is over. Time to get your hat and coat, call a cab and go home.

There is to be a by-election in Peterborough this week because the incumbent MP, Fiona Ohwhatshername is a convicted criminal yet was allowed to vote in Parliament while wearing a curfew tag. It’s a safe Labour seat – or it was, when Labour was actually about working class people. Now it’s a straight fight between Brexit party and Lib Dems. The Tories are campaigning there of course but nobody is listening. I doubt anyone will ever listen to the Tories again.

Tessie is still Prime Monster for now. Most of the Tory Party are fighting to replace her as the leader of nothing. Oh, they’ll be Prime Monster until the next election and then there’ll be none of them left at all.

Out there, in space, is the asteroid that could destroy the planet.

I bet it’s thinking ‘Why bother?’

Book stuff

A quick book-related interlude.

It’s author payment time, and while payments are (as usual) small, nobody has a zero. The marketing learning curve is a steep one, but I’m getting there.

I’ll put up the Freddo competition in June with a copy of Lee Bidgood’s ‘You’ll be Fine’ as the prize, with something extra as a surprise prize. I won’t say what it is but it’s not whisky. I’m not giving that away 😉

I have looked into local book fairs. There is an Aberdeen books fairs page on Farcebok but they don’t seem to have posted since 2015. I was hoping for something reasonably local but I might have to go farther afield. The downside of living miles from anywhere, I suppose… still, CStM and I could do with a few days away somewhere.

I’m also going to need reviews of books, they don’t have to be on Amazon, they can be on your own blog as long as I can link to it from the author page on Leg Iron Books and all I’m offering is a free print copy of the book. I still have an aversion to paying for reviews, especially if the reviewer makes a living at it. Seems to me that if your income depends on people paying for reviews, then you’re going to pretty much always write positive ones – or people will stop sending you books to review. And, I suspect, most people reading the reviews think this too.

I don’t think there’s anything in the catalogue that would get a bad review – unless I were to send a book to someone who just doesn’t like that type of book. So sending ‘Samuel’s Girl’ to a deeply religious reviewer would be a bad idea. They really aren’t likely to enjoy it.

I’m only talking about single author books here. Not the anthologies – the sales of those trickle along and might eventually reach break-even but I won’t be putting those out for review yet. I need to push the single-author books.

Feel like having a bit of a summer read, and writing a review? Doesn’t matter where you put it as long as I can link to it. There are no restrictions, no bribes, no pushing you into anything. You get a book, read it, and then write what you honestly thought about it.

If you absolutely hate it, say so – but then I won’t link to your review 😉 That does not mean you have to send the book back or do anything else at all. If you review ‘Jessica’s Trap’ and you think it’s only good for propping up a wonky table, say so. Naturally I’m only going to link to reviews that will help sell the books but I will not take any action on bad reviews. Sometimes, that just happens and you have to get used to it.

Getting reviews on the Dutch and French books could be challenging, I don’t know how many Dutch and French speakers read this blog but if you’re one, you are first in line for those books.

If you feel like getting a free book, take a look at the options under ‘Books’ at Leg Iron Books. All you have to do in return is write a review somewhere I can link to – and, of course, send me the link. A long review, a short review, whatever you like. For this round, please ignore ‘Underdog Anthologies’ and ‘Nonfiction’ and just go with ‘Novels’ or ‘Short story collections’.

So that I don’t end up sending out a hundred copies of one book, this first round is limited to two of each book. The first two to request a book get it, and then it’s off the options list. If you read it, don’t like it and don’t want to post a bad review, just let me know. It’s no problem, I appreciate you at least looking at it.

If you’re outside the UK I’d prefer to send you the money by PayPal so you can order it from Amazon locally – it could end up saving me a fortune in postage!

Yeah, this is going to cost me but one thing I have found on this steep marketing learning curve is – bugger all happens for free. Investment is essential but it is, at least, tax-deductible.

Meanwhile I have to convert all those sales in euros, dollars etc into proper money and get it sent out to authors. Also I have a backlog of things to send to people. This is going to be a busy weekend but it’s raining so there’s no gardening going on anyway.