The sound from the live feed stunned the room into silence, reducing its temperature by a good three degrees. Dave Baker, operative third class, was overwhelmed by a visceral surge of impotence. Even his colleagues comprehended that what they had just witnessed was beyond special, beyond even unique; it was the future. And it didn’t seem to like them that much.
‘What the actual fuck?
The words dripped from Dave’s open mouth.
‘You have got to be kidding me.’ He sat heavily into his seat, utterly defeated. Continue reading →
‘Good morning, Sir, may I be of some assistance?’ The voice was clear, and yet weighty, as if it had been doing little else but accreting gravitas for decades. Hamish stood in the middle of the shop – at least, it appeared to be a shop, and he’d entered from the high street end of the shopping centre, so it really ought to be a shop – and looked at the man who addressed him with something akin to confusion. ‘May I be of some assistance, Sir?’ Continue reading →
The swimmer reaches the shore, drags herself from the water and collapses, exhausted onto the beach. A knot of holidaymakers gather round her and gawp at each other while the officious tell the rest to give her space, let her breath. A young girl asks her mother if she can use the first aid she learnt to get her badge at Brownies. Hermother shakes her head and pulls her precious daughter close, remembering the lilo incident and dying inside at what might have happened. She sees her daughter lying there, motionless. Not this woman, muscular and broad-shouldered, wearing an all-in-one, swimming hat and goggles. Continue reading →
This is not my work, it was sent to me by a friend and fellow parky. It resonates, however, because it has recently become clearer to me that we parkies all stand on the edge of darkness. We know what this darkness hides, but we point our torches behind us. We would do well to accept what is past, and prepare for what’s to come. Because come it will, and it takes no prisoners. Continue reading →
And the plot gathers pace. And as the pace gathers, so the complications begin. Making a list of people I’d like to have been able to duet with/battle with/trade solos with/thunder along to my tracks with is relatively easy, as, it appears, is persuading them to say yes. Persuasion is the wrong word, perhaps. I ask, they say yes, I’d love to. There’s already a roster of great players, known and unknown, who want to play with Pete1995. And that’s the wierd thing. They’ll be playing with the me of 23 years ago, but being ‘produced’ by the me of now. This is quite odd. Continue reading →
Several years ago, in what now appears a different age (geologically speaking, as I was underground most of the time), a student asked me one of those questions. You know, the ones where you say ‘sure,’ as they are leaving and then, as the door shuts, you look at yourself. Sternly. ‘You said what?’
You said yes. Continue reading →
If it takes a historian to bring an exciting but little-known character back to life, the historical novelist can imagine them a new one. But how does this work, and what are the pitfalls? Continue reading →
I recently finished a novel of the historical hue, called Killing Beauties. Set in 1655/6, slap bang in the middle of the interregnum, when Cromwell was Lord Protector of England (and brutaliser of Ireland, amongst other places) and Charles II was in exile, the book follows the adventures of two women, Susan Hyde and Diana Jennings, both of whom were she-intelligencers, or spies with broad portfolios. Continue reading →
There is no more eloquent testimony to the miracles of modern gerontology than the Rolling Stones being on tour. Well, some of them are – and the truth is that few but the cognoscenti would even notice if the 76-year old Charlie Watts (who once allegedly punched Mick Jagger for saying he was ‘only my drummer’) were to lay down his sticks. To most people, the Glimmer Twins are the band. Continue reading →