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Some recent film type thoughts

We watched Mary Poppins last night (of which more anon) so am feeling inspired to discuss some of the last few months cinematic offerings.

First Man: Interesting story, amazing in-rocket scenes. I know some folk found these loud and jerkily filmed but for me they effectively conveyed what it must be like ‘sitting in a tin can’.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Stunning. Rami Malek gives such an extraordinarily nuanced performance. Freddie Mercury could have ended up as a bit of a comic grotesque but he was in safe hands in this film.

Green Book: Once I got over the state Aragorn had got into, I found this an immensely satisfying film. Not the type I usually go for, but I had to see what had won the Oscar ahead of BoRap. I can see why this edged it.

Mary Poppins: such a lovely homage to both the original and the other Disney films of the 60s. Thank you, Lin Manuel Miranda for producing a half-way decent London accent. We still can’t forgive Hollywood for Dick Van Dyke’s Bert, but you’ve gone some way to redeeming the situation.

Chances to win books


Am at Annabelle Jacobs’ group today 1230 British summer time as part of her release day party and will have a book from my backlist (winner’s choice) for one lucky commenter. Will draw the winner Sunday.

Also I have the Autism Awareness blog hop competition running for a few more days. Comment at the original post (or anywhere else it gets reposted) to be in for a chance of winning a copy of Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code.

Have my slash glasses got too misty?

I’ve been reading The Murder of my Aunt by Richard Hull and enjoying it very much. However, the intro says it got a mention in the book Lost Gay Novels. Now, with the exception of one particular line (quoted below) and a main character who exhibits some features stereotypically gay (possession of a Pekinese dog, liking for bold colours and well matched clothes) this would never have struck me as a gay novel. Anyone else read it and am I missing something?

The line concerns soldiers, where Edward says he’s never met a really desirable one.

More thoughts on Father Mallory

For those of you who have missed this saga on Facebook, I was trying to find a song I’d not heard for 30 years and a dear pal found it for me.

As I’ve relistened to this (and it’s every bit as lovely as I remember it) I’ve realised how its worked in my subconscious and manifested itself in my writing. William Church in Wild Bells owes much of his knowingness (eg. of the effect he has on the females of the parish) to young Father Mallory, whose exhortation to the young girls that he’ll see them at confession clearly shows that he knows what they’ve been thinking.  I wonder if Mallory also shares other traits with William Church, ie a liking for his own sex which would make both of them oblivious to the charms of the young women who pine for them. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Autism awareness blog hop – the lingering effect of childhood toys

Autism fact: Autistic people do have imagination and creativity.
(Couldn’t agree more! Did you know that Alan Turing – who was probably on the spectrum – started to write a gay novel, ‘Pryce’s Buoy’?)

You can find all the other posts via the magical Master List

Am I alone in finding childhood memories, which must have been buried deep for too many years than I’m prepared to admit, get easily evoked by the simplest of things? Particularly things which are related to the senses? If I hear ‘Nutrocker’ I’m back riding the dodgems on holiday at Margate, whereas if it’s ‘House of the Rising Sun’ I’m in the same resort but on a walk with the family and all of us getting hopelessly lost. Other senses can produce the same, sharp and vivid memories, although not always as easy to pin down. I still can’t work out what it is in my childhood that gets nudged when I see a particular shade of metallic red.

One of my lingering recollections from childhood has never been buried and that’s a loathing of certain plastics, particularly the sort dolls (and other things such as cups that used to come in kiddies’ magic sets) used to be made from. I couldn’t bear to touch it; I still can’t. In fact, I’ve been known to get my family to handle things made from it because sometimes my stomach gets so turned I can’t bear being in contact with the stuff. This sometimes produces a murmur that “Mum’s being weird. Again.” although my middle daughter should sympathise as she hates the feel of velvet.
I’m not going to nominate a charity, instead I’m going to encourage people to contact their local school (special or mainstream, assuming it’s inclusive) and see how you can help them. Donate a book for the library? Buy a ticket for the PTA raffle? Or, best of all, volunteer to listen to children read, especially children with special needs. 
Several people who should know assure me that Orlando Coppersmith, my early 20th century amateur detective, is on the spectrum so it’s appropriate to link to his latest adventure, Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code. And, do you know what – I’ll give away a copy of it to one winner, drawn from all the comments at any of the places this post/link pops up!

St Bride’s College is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of reviving the traditional celebration of the saint’s day. When events get marred by murder it’s natural that Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith will get called in to help the police with their inside knowledge. But why has somebody been crawling about on the chapel roof and who’s obsessed with searching in the library out of hours?



The thrill never grows old – proofing an upcoming release

Am delighted to say that my next release from Williams and Whiting – An Act of Detection – is at the proofing stage. (Best of all it’s in paperback format which makes the job a pleasure rather than a chore.) The two stories – one reissued, one brand new – feature my two 1950s actor laddies who find that portraying Holmes and Watson on the silver screen is a damn sight easier than trying to play the roles in real life.