This is piece I wrote just before my (ouch) 50th birthday. I just bumped into it again and thought it was worth a read.
‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child. But when I became a man, I put aside childish things,’ so wrote St Paul in an email to the Corinthians. In a little-known coda, he carried on: ‘and when I reached middle age, I said to myself, what the hell were you thinking? And that’s when I reformed The Apostles.’ Continue reading
There is a school of thought that suggests that, when in a crowd, we make better decisions than if we think as individuals. It’s an extension of Rousseau’s general will. It received its most recent iteration in 2004, with the publication of James Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, and is generally considered to derive from Galton’s observation that a crowd at a country fair guessed (on average) the weight of a bullock more accurately than most of the individual members. It’s an interesting concept, and naturally, it’s flawed. Its flaw is simple: no crowd ever makes a truly collective decision. Crowds are always susceptible to the loudest voice. And those with the loudest voices are often those with the least to say. Crowds simply want to be led. Continue reading
Killing Beauties is my latest piece of work and it’s going to be published by Unbound, the crowdfunding publisher … so why not go and have a look, make a pledge … it’s all good!
It’s set in the 1650s, and follows two (real-life) female spies as they work to help restore Charles II to the throne … Continue reading
I confess I hit play with no little trepidation, and a fair measure of base curiosity. After Irene Ketikidi’s debut Martial Arts and Magic Tricks, all fuss n bluster and in-your-faceness, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. A Sky For All wasn’t it. Continue reading
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
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