I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of anyone sharing random memes because they’re often thrust online with little thought as to why they want to share that message, other than jumping on a social media junkie trend train to show how clued up/smart/linked in/connected/down with the shizzle they are. Choo fucking choo.
Today I’m not one of those vacuous zombies.
I’m going to share something personal with you, dear blog reader. Yeah, like I’ve never done that before!
This is somewhat different because it relates directly to a big (perhaps the main) reason why I love to write.
Yesterday was Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday. I missed it. Soz. Hey, I don’t keep records of dead writers in my diary for the chance I might spot a milestone like the big one oh oh and throw out some insincere messages like other sheeple.
Besides, the guy’s dead.
Alive, his stories very much are.
The Giant Peach
I won’t bore you with a gigantic post today.
I was tempted to keep this short and sweet. But no. I’ve got my happy on today so ner ner na ner ner.
Just read it and be all warm and fuzzy and inspired and shit.
When I was about 7 or 8 I read Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. I read a load more after that too, but it was that first book that grabbed my attention. Big time.
This was back in the olden days before movies and cover redesigns were en vogue to capture the attention of children who’ve just seen the movie and now want to relive the story, albeit without the 3D visuals, rumbling surround sound, or their giggling mates. And minus munching popcorn in the dark or sucking sugary death from a novelty themed toy Coca Cola cup.
I guess you could curl up all quiet and comfy in bed with the book version, night-light, a bag of Butterkist and your cinema trophy filled with Robinsons.
Not quite the same, is it?
THAT’S WAY BETTER!!
Movies are cool and have their place, but I
like love books!
I read the adventures of James and his pals when I was very young. Everything about it screamed at me in a way I’d not experienced before, and if I’m honest not since either.
It was like that scene in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy opens the door onto a world drenched in colour.
Either she’d never seen colour before, or the director wanted the audience to be wowed by the transition.Doesn’t matter which. We share Dorothy’s sense of seeing the world the right way or like lifting a dark and grubby veil so she could stare in wonder at how much colour and magic the world has in it.
Doesn’t matter which. We share Dorothy’s sense of seeing the world the right way or like lifting a dark and grubby veil to take in the magic and wonder of a colour soaked world.
James and the Giant Peach had that effect on me.
I lived inside that book.
I was there right next to James at every twist, every turn, every shocking revelation.
It was as if that book had been written to slot perfectly into my personality and how I saw the world. I got the humour, the quirky characters, the sudden changes in life that without warning can knock you off one path and onto another.
Roald Dahl had slipped into a hidden layer behind my life to direct it for a moment to give me a Dorothy/Oz moment when I opened that book.
I didn’t only see words on the pages. My imagination lifted them into the world and like Dorothy’s door, the pages of that book spewed out characters, scenes, emotional highs and lows.
Quick side-note on the above picture. Fabulous isn’t it? It’s by an artist Kelly Cambell Berry. Find her on Etsy.
A lot of my primary school friends (even some in high school and beyond) declared they never read books. I found that strange like there was something wrong with them. I didn’t understand how anyone could not read a book. To some degree, I still don’t.
If not for that one moment…
I believe if that book and I hadn’t come together at the right time, the right place, the right mood, setting and so on, then I would have spent a life reaching for an itch I couldn’t scratch. Maybe I would have written a little, but somehow I suspect without the same level of passion.
On the other hand, if you believe in fate you could argue I would still have written and enjoyed doing so because it’s in my heart.
That is, if you believe in fate.
Which I don’t.
But still, that book had a lot to do with my one true passion:
Dog Water Skiing Photography!
I found this photo months ago and have been dying to use it. How cool is that dog!
Dave, the Dreamers of Dreams? Blog title?
Ah yes. Facebook told me yesterday that Roald Dahl would have been 100 years ancient. I checked out some quirky quotes and memes and junk. And I found one quote snagged on a memory strand.
That one stood out and it took a while to figure out where I’d heard it before.
Gene. You will always be the best Willy Wonka.
When I Googled the quote I was surprised to learn it wasn’t a Willy Wonka/Roald Dahl line but from Arthur O’Shaughnessy, a British poet who in 1874 wrote a poem called Ode, made famous by its first line: “We are the music makers.”
I’d never read the poem before and found it quite beautiful.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
shall go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.
– Ode, Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Last night a read and reread it. I don’t understand much about poetry other than a fleeting appreciation of how words can have an interesting impact on my senses and mood. I was then surprised to learn that despite my inability to be any kind of poem aficionado I did indeed have a favourites list.
A top 3 actually, so not much of a list.
Well it’s a start.
Compared to my previous damning post about having too much choice, I’d say this has been an inspired, positive (mildy hypocritical) and uplifting experience. A short stroll through a suburb of Memory City and then a hop over to the outskirts to enjoy the sights along the lush meandering riverbanks of discovery and learning.
If you happen to be artistic and the voices of inspiration whisper to you, or perhaps you are artistically challenged and hear nothing but silence or the rushing of wind passing between your ears, then take note of the meme below.
If you’re weird – congratulations. Be bold. Seek and share your magic.
If you’re unweird – I’d like to empathise with you, sincerely, but my imagination doesn’t enjoy not being able to imagine a life where I can’t imagine.
Just remember, without those “weird people” the world would be considerably less magical.
If you’re not in the mood to read a seriously pissed off rant, dear blog reader, and are looking to read something sedate and pedestrian, then you’re shit out of luck because I’m here to rant about how we are given way too much choice in life.
Today I’ll be pitching the polite humble Brit overboard and adopting a brash tell-it-like-it-is, don’t get in my fucking way Yankie approach. Just for shits and gigs.
There’s no preamble here. We’re skipping the starter and going straight for the meat and potatoes.
That being said, read and enjoy or get the fuck off my blog.
See that picture up there?
All those little vaguely white squares? Except none of them are proper white. They’re all kinda white, but not quite white, but want to be white, but also want to be “different” in their approach to what they think white means to them.
During the creation of Paint Company Ltd’s new Colours 2016 Collection, a journo from a posh interior design magazine asked an insanely clever, artistic and not overpaid in the slightest Colour Imagineer a simple question:
“Please share with the ordinary and very naive consumer how you interpret the word ‘white’ and how you’re so adept at dreaming up such new and amazing twists on what is essentially the absence of colour. Not dissimilar to black in that respect. Be as creative as you like so no one will understand.”
Those squares, and more importantly the brilliant creative minds at Dulux, are an interpretation of white and how they might appeal to like-minded people looking for something “different” to give their home a “different” look.
And when I say different I mean the same as everyone else’s home because white is fucking white!
When viewed in context with furniture, wall & floor coverings and so on any normal person will take 0.5 seconds to refer to their mental model of the world, what colour the white on the walls closely matches, and then slot that colour in a single box: white.
Yep. The colour that took you hours/days/weeks/months (Jesus, I hope that’s not the case with anyone) to narrow down and select as “the” colour to represent who you are, what your room means to you, how it represents your life’s hopes/aspirations/history/mood, how it reflects your unique and interesting personality, and just as equally what you hope it means to guests and how it will surely enrich their lives because you’ve chosen it so well.
It’s just white, Dave, calm down.
That’s not the point. Here are some more vaguely white, but somewhat creamy colours.
Okay, there’s some variation here, but still, that’s just too much choice!
If I asked you to choose one for say, I don’t know, your living room, how long would it take you to narrow that lot down to 1? If it’s less than an hour I’d be impressed.
If you’re one of those people who agonizes over which particular shade of white is the correct one for any given room or wall then you have my heartfelt and sincerest pity.
There are vast ranges of paint. Take a look at some whites I found on the line. It’s mind-blowing.
There are Autumn Whites, Summer Whites, Winter Whites, Winter Cream White, Spring Whites, Violet Whites, Ocean White, Pastel White, Warm Whites, Cool Whites, Natural Whites, Hint of Whites, Crisp Whites, Muted Whites, Cloud White, All Wight (snigger), Mmillennium Falcon White, Stormtrooper White, Wedding Dress White, Angel White, Exotic White (seriously, WTF is that?) White With A Hint Of White Whites, Dusky Whites, Shades of White, Neutral White, Dazzling White, Urban White, Pure White, Pure Brilliant White, Shimmering White, Whiter Than White, Moody White, Serene White, Country White, Cotton White, Crushed Cotton White (yeah, cos that’s sooo different) White Mist, Vintage White (which in my book means stained old yellow kinda manky lookin) Chalky White, Chiffon White, Steel White, Jasmine White, Peal White, Dentist Bright White, Barry White.
That last one is okay.
Too. Much. Choice.
You think I’m exaggerating?
That little lot are what Dulux call Soft Warm Neutrals.
An entirely different set of colours than the previous set of Creams.
They’re all different colours!
Holy fucking shit! This is proof enough that the human race has got its priorities all fucked up and back to front.
Let me paint a picture for you.
The other day I happen to listen in on a conversation between two people in a DIY shop as they discuss which paint to use in their living room. This is the general gist of how it went down.
Man: We should go for bold colours. Make a statement. Go for the wow factor. Like a big blue.
Woman: [Giving the man a withering glance] Blue is cold.
Man: [Pointing to the paint chart] No it’s not. This one says Summer Medley 6. Summer isn’t cold.
Woman: We’re getting a warm colour. Something light and warm and inviting.
Man: Beige then.
Woman: Beige is so 1990’s. What do you think about Vintage Chandelier?
Man: Kinda white isn’t it?
Woman: Not pacifically white. More creamy.
Man: It’s in the white section.
Woman: It’s not supposed to be white white. Just more than white.
Man: More than white? What’s that supposed to mean?
Woman: [Sighs] How about White Mist? That would go in the hall.
Man: [Hands on hips] We’re painting the hall now?
Woman: You could if I went with White Mist. [She points to another white] And maybe Moon Shimmer on the back wall, to emphasise the big mirror your gran gave you.
Man: [Scratching his head] Moon Shimmer?
Woman: Or maybe Frosted Dawn.
Man: Both white. We should just get the one with Brilliant White on it.
Woman: Don’t be thick. We spent ages waiting for the work to get done and we’re not just slapping white everywhere.
Man: We’re not?
Woman: No. That room needs character. We got to choose something that really reflects the mood we’re creating. Colours are important. You didn’t do art at school. I did. I remember everything Mr Penner teached us. We got to create a ambience.
Man: [Losing interest. Tone of voice now flat] We do? Fine.
Women: Maybe if we took some tester pots. Moon Shimmer. Frosted Dawn. Mineral Haze. White Cotton and that Boutique Cream would go good in the downstairs loo.
Man: I did the loo a few months back.
Woman: Don’t you want our home to look proper nice?
Man: Yes but-
Woman: Then we got to do this right. People are going to see it. I’m not having them talking about us. We can’t just chuck any old colour on the walls.
Man: White isn’t a colour.
Woman: [Staring hard at him] What did I say about my teacher?
Man: [Huge sigh] I’m going to look at the drills.
I don’t recall the exact name she used for her teacher, but it stuck in my mind that she said “teached” and “pacifically” which tells you a lot about how she fits in with the world.
The point is that they, like all of us, have too much choice in life.
And we don’t need it.
Paint is just an easy example.
The reason for the mind-boggling number of paint choices isn’t because Dulux, Crown or Valspar want to enrich our lives. Ha. They don’t care about your life and whether your feature wall colour makes you happy.
They create these colours to make money.
Nothing wrong with that.
Take Heinz Baked Beans
For years there was one type. Beans. Nice. Tasty. Classic.
If I wanted a twist I’d drop some grated cheese on, or a splash of Worcestershire Sauce.
In recent times there has been an explosion in different types of beans.
Now we have this collection:
Did anyone ask for them?
Because it seems the public were desperate for 10 different types of baked bean.
And that’s not getting into the beans with sausages/meatballs/piri piri/Mexican/big breakfast combinations.
50% Less Sugar Beans I do approve of. Anything to stave off the diabetes plague a little longer gets a tick in my book.
Why We Don’t Need Choice.
If the human race spent less time dreaming up ways to screw each other out of a few extra pennies by giving us an ever-expanding horizon of shit we didn’t ask for, want or need, then maybe, just maybe we’d make progress in solving some of the bigger issues facing our planet.
Imagine a world where the creative energies currently spent naming and producing a million variations of white were aimed at the really big problems.
Sure, there’s freedom of choice to create choices for others, but as a race can’t we harness that energy for something better?
What concerns me is a possible future where mankind has been so consumed by profit that we’ve squandered the opportunity to achieve so much more. All that brain power could be used to cure for all manner of biological problems, or tackle food/water/energy shortages, or bring an end to poverty.
It sickens me to hear anyone argue over what type of white to use on their walls when people on the same planet are dying through lack of basic necessities like food and clean water.
I’m angered at the thought of how much natural resources are consumed by Heinz (as an example) to bring a new product to the market, but people are dying because they don’t have clean water. How can we as a race ever hope to have a healthy future where we live in balance with our planet when we’re obsessed with pathetic trivialities like Chiffon White versus Cotton White?
I’m amazed we’ve got this far at all.
The amount of waste we produce as a species is simply staggering. Have you ever stopped to question where your food really comes from? Where the packaging comes from? It hurts my head to calculate the sheer effort that goes into harvesting raw materials, packaging, transport, oil, water and so on, all so we can have a snack.
I was in a KFC a week ago. Had a tasty chicken Rio burger, fries & drink. Midway through my meal I paused to wonder how many chickens are slaughtered daily, even hourly, just to support the sales in that one KFC outlet. How much oil and chemicals are used to produce the feed rammed down the gullets of the chickens, or even used to produce potatoes for the fries?
200 chickens per day for that one outlet? 500?
A quick internet search suggests around 1 billion chickens are killed every year for KFC.
And think of how many trees are chopped for the paper to make burger wrappers. It doesn’t all come from recycling. Most packaging will have something on it like “Made From 42% Recycled Materials”.
And then think about where the waste goes after. Recycling isn’t a solution, not even for the minute amount of garbage we genuinely do reuse. It takes energy to recycle. It’s a stop-gap measure at best.
I’m a hypocrit, just so you know. Right now I’m tucking into a bag of Cheese & Onion crisps. Can’t recycle that packaging.
Fuck the human race. I’m disgusted to be a part of it.
We don’t deserve this planet.
Isn’t summer fun!!
Blue skies adorned by carefree cotton candy clouds that drift across a golden hot sun who beams his humid smile across the land.
The breeze, though warm, is gentle and lush, carrying with it all the glorious summer scents – wild flowers, freshly cut grass, sweet lemonade, ice cubes and Pimms.
And let’s not forget the mouth-watering aroma of meat sizzling on a barbeque.
Often the smell is better than the taste, but holy roasted Jesus I do love a juicy burger straight from the coals, topped with crispy halloumi and a splodge of ketchup.
(…kinda hungry now…)
This summer has been so…so…Englishy – beaches packed sardine tin style with fleshy bods everywhere, those annoying chairs only a handful of people know how to work, ice cream vans being ransacked by all manner of creatures, and people flocking to green areas to catch a burst of lunch break sun/skin cancer.
We can’t ignore the scent of water in our lovely hot, humid, aromatic summer. An English summer afternoon is always blessed by the petrichor ushered in on a lonesome breeze where it lingers for the briefest of moments before Mister Sunshine bakes the ground once more.
Even the sunflowers are lovin a good splash of water.
Our lush and wonderful lands have been blessed with scorching heat, stinky odours everywhere you look, and the wild and often elusive Pokémon.
I enslaved me a Pikachu.
However, whilst all the fun was happening I was busy watching my fingers turn against me in quite the vilest and most grotesque display of zombism I’ve seen for a long time.
Check this out.
Oh, by the way, this isn’t exactly nice.
Only keep going if you’re not eating.
And you like gross shit.
You have been warned.
Stop scrolling if you don’t to see some nasty shizzle.
Doesn’t that make you feel like ripping all that flaky shit right off those fingers?
Makes me want to puke.
It starts off innocently enough. Little itch here and there, no big deal, I’ve been there before. Then the bubbles appear. And more. Then bubbles under bubbles.
And then they pop and split.
Stuff oozes out.
Some ooze is clear. Other ooze is yellow.
I know, gross right?
Then it goes dry and flaky. And bits crack.
It’s kinda sore. Well, somewhat sore. Actually, it’s fucking painful as hell.
If you don’t believe me, try replicating it for yourself:
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS!
- Give your fingers a really good going over with a cheese grater until the skin is cut, open, shredded and possibly bloody.
- Ask a friend to pour vinegar over your hands.
- Rub it into all the cracks and oozing bits.
- You can cry a bit now.
- Then dry them off with a hair dryer, max setting so all the flaky bits go hard and brittle and the cracks around the joints are agonising when you flex your fingers.
- Now do some chores – pick up a pencil, write a list. Drink from a glass. Fold clothes. Fold a sheet of paper. Go to the toilet and wash your hands, that’s a good one. Be inventive. Have fun with that for a bit.
- Repeat steps 2 to 6 every few hours until you find it hard to concentrate on anything else other than the burning hatred radiating from your fingers.
- Let me know in the comments below how much fun you had.
It has driven me insane.
I’m generally quite a happy guy, but this shit has given me a horrible case of the frownies over the last couple of weeks.
I had more photos but they were blurry.
Previous explosions have been limited to my index fingers. This year it spread to all fingers and thumbs and has started creping up the backs of my hands.
Since my post Help! I’ve Got Zombie Fingers! 4 years ago, a lot of people have left comments and suggestions on how to ease this disgusting condition. I have barely had much of an issue since then, until a few weeks ago when the weather went very humid and hot.
I have tried all sorts of remedies, though nothing really works the way I hoped. And prescription cream from the doc doesn’t help. Sure it makes the burning go away for a while, we’re talking minutes here, but it doesn’t stop it.
And it’s not just the burning, itching, want-to-rip-off-my-skin-and-rinse-my-skeletal-fingers-in-ice-water kind of pain that gets me down. It’s the utter embarrassment of people staring or trying to sneak a peek at Mr Zombie Fingers. I’ve tried to keep my hands hidden as much as possible but it’s not as easy as you think.
But still, compared to the crazy shit going on the world my fingers being a bit “hurty” is pretty insignificant when placed next to the suffering of other living things, human or animal.
However, I think there may be a decent solution at last.
If you’re a sufferer of this filthy shit pile of skin lurgy, then get over to Lush and search for Dream Cream.
No bullshit, this stuff is so good. It soothed my fingers, gave them much-needed moisture and eased the pain. Sure they still hurt a bit when I make a fist because the skin is cracked around the joints, but the flaming, burning issue has improved so much.
This is what the product blurb says:
I’ve been sticking this cream on my hands for a couple of days and they feel way better. I admit the temperature is cooler now the humidity has subsided, but in the past it has taken upwards of a couple of weeks for my hands to start healing up.
Here’s a couple of photo’s taken a few minutes ago:
And just so you know, I took the photos in the same place each time, same light conditions, though I think one above I used a flash, but still you can see they’re better.
Lush aren’t paying me by the way!
It’s like having my skin kissed better by angels.
So, to finish this sandwich post with a decent slice of light-hearted flavour bread, here’s a picture of me as a dog.
And here’s a picture of a Stormtrooper bobble head in my car.
One last thing…
All sales from my novel, The Range, are going to the ZSEA – Zoological Society of East Anglia, to help with conservation projects in Africa.
Spread the word – buy The Range, enjoy a good story and help prevent Rhinos from bleeding to death after having their tusks ripped out of their skulls. That shit has got to stop.
Or buy a copy as a nice gift, or pop it in your local library, leave on a bus/cafe/park bench for other horror fans to enjoy.
How about this for a weird and slightly dumb mini story…
I was thumbing through my own copy the other day whilst sat on the arm of the sofa. After a minute I slipped over the edge and slouched back to get comfy. I finished the chapter then had to stop myself reading further because it’s my book and I should know what’s coming!
Just like that, I was fully engrossed in one page.
I admit I felt a tad silly.
Anyway – The Range – buy, read enjoy, save an animal or two.
I suck at sales and marketing.
Writing I can do.
That other stuff…I…oh man….
[shuffles off mumbling and shaking head]