Saturday, 26 December 2009

Omens, omens everywhere

On Monday, we fly to Munich. We'll be there until the new year. By way of coincidence, the last time I was in Germany for new year's eve was 2004/5 when the England cricket team were, as they are now, in South Africa.

It seems like such a short time ago to me and yet a look at the team that played in the Boxing Day test in that series has only player in the current team. Four have retired from playing altogether, one of whom is a selector for the national side.

It's a reminder of how good that side was that they won the series and then went on to beat a strong Australian side. The current England team has just beaten a moderate Australian side. I hope that my visit to Germany will bring the best out of them.

Listening to the news on Radio 4 earlier today, I heard an item about the tsunami from that same Christmas. It says a lot for the way the (my) mind works. I remember standing at luggage claim at Berlin, Tegel checking the cricket score and finding out that Graham Thorpe has hit a hundred. I remember watching some news items in the hotel room on CNN about the Tsunami but not taking in the devastation.

I guess there are few people who, when not personally involved, would put memory of a disaster ahead of something pleasurable.

Missing in action

For the last two years I have had a wonderful time at Christmas with Diana's (large) extended family in New Mexico.

However, there's something magical about sitting on the sofa in your own home at 8:25 on Boxing Day morning, watching the first day's play between South Africa and England, knowing that later there's live football and the King George VI chase from Kempton Park as well.

Oh to be in England, now that Boxing Day is here...

Now that the day is done

Two observations.

1) Mugs seem to be the present of choice this year. I am guilty of giving mugs for Christmas. On the whole, I think that it is a good thing.

2) Facebook remains a short-cut. The world, his uncle and his uncle's uncle seem to be letting everybody they know, know that they wish them a merry Christmas and so on and so forth. I can't help but feel that there are other, better ways of doing it. It's unusual for some many Facebook statuses to be so similar. But then I guess that this is an unusual time of the year.

Friday, 25 December 2009

You just had to look the gift horse in the mouth

Christmas Day. One of the prime opportunities for those on the lower rungs of the broadcasting ladder to climb higher. Anyone with any power in the industry will be on holiday. Those with very little power will be having the day off too.

So, this morning, the stand-in for the stand-in sports news reader on Radio 5 Live chose to say that the racehourse, Kauto Star "will be hoping to win" the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

That is an amazing piece of breaking news from what must have been an exclusive interview with a horse. Straight from the horse's mouth perhaps?

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Prologue and fuge

Two films, both alike in dignity
In fair culture where they set their stage

Enough of that. Anyway, there are two films I've seen recently that both startlingly similar and yet I make no claim of stealing.

A couple of weeks ago, the wife and I went to see Me and Orson Welles and thoroughly enjoyed it. The film was funny without being obvious, intelligent without overreaching, well-acted without being showy. Technically proficient, you might say.

Last night we saw The Red Shoes at the BFI. It's a beautifully shot, witty, touching if slightly melodramatic in a 1940s way. Considering it was made in 1948, that is perfectly acceptable. And half way through I realised I was watching the same film over again. Only better, more carefully shot.

Perhaps the love triangle is of eternal interest, how someone can get in the way of love, or misunderstand passion for love. From a male perspective, you are obviously meant to associate with the spurned lover. Although the compose marries the ballerina in The Red Shoes, he is spurned because he cannot replace her love of dancing. And in Me and Orson Welles, it is Me who fails to understand that Sonja is not like anyone he's ever met. She is willing to sacrifice a little bit of herself in order to make something of herself. As, I guess, is Victoria Page.

These films don't offer consistent, eternal truths. On the other hand, they manage to avoid being male dick fantasies of the type found in Love Actually. Whilst it's a perfectly pleasant film with many humorous scenarios and performances, it is almost entirely about a world of male fantasy that just doesn't exist. And somehow it is regarded as a "chick flick" (appalling term, used under protest).

Funny then that a film like The Red Shoes which is from a magical realist perspective can have more to say about life and love than one that portrays several ordinary relationships.

A magic trick!

Surrey County Cricket Club has managed to turn three words into one.

The three words:

Rory Hamilton Brown

have become:


Mind you after last season, things could hardly get any worse.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Don't shoot the messenger

He's right. He's absolutely right. It's just not always right to say it.

Hugh Grant suggests that seeing a play is a hit and miss affair with the majority being, well a miss. Whilst it would be easy to carp and suggest he examines his own catalogue for the odd howler, it would miss the point. And the point is that he is correct.

There are three productions this year that spring to mind. Firstly, Three Days of Rain starring James McAvoy. After a perfectly decent first act, the whole plot quickly unravels once the rain starts and then only the most short-sighted person would miss each and every clue offered before the interval. Suddenly the play becomes a case of join the dots and the last 30 minutes are rendered meaningless because what looks like a taut script turns into plotting so obvious you've seen it in a dozen ITV sit-coms.

The second production is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Whilst it would be churlish to knock anything with James Earl Jones in, he did star in both Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof suffers from being lionised. And yet this production made it seem like a Carry On film with enough innuendo to lubricate everyone's throat. Everything about it carried the weight of people trying too hard to be clever, all too aware of the play's reputation as a classic and trying to justify it.

And finally, the abject Footsbarn Christmas Cracker at the Globe. It's only been on two days and I haven't found a review online yet. There are a variety of reasons for this. Goodwill towards the Globe. The brevity of the performance. The time of the year. The production is so short that calling it limp would not adequately do it justice. It is a miserable trawl through, well what? It was hardly all things to all Shakespeare lovers. It was a confusing, short mess with random tightrope walking thrown in to cover for costume changes.

Three productions with an element of pre-existing kudos. Three major disappointments. Ah, the joys of the theatre. I really want to see Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art. I will need to build up some courage beforehand. I want it to be good but I'm worried that because it has the pre-existing kudos, people are being kinder about it than they would for other art forms. The theatre is weighed down by historical and cultural baggage. Not enough people are prepared to state quite clearly that:

It's not as clever as it thinks it is, as often as it thinks it is.

So bravo Mr Grant. You may be knocked for saying it, not because of what you're saying but because of who you are. And that's a shame. Because you're correct.

When is reform not a reform?

Answer? When it's a "think tank" (pressure group) dedicated to self-promotion and endless public haranguing in order to suit it's own ideological ends.

Reform, the pressure group, claims to represent many shades of political thought and to have some base in market economics but it is thoroughly Victorian in its outlook.

Its basic rule of thumb seems to be, high end education for a few because that's how it stays a high end education. Education must be segmented so you and you can do A-levels and go to university but you, you and you should be doing something more appropriate and maybe one of you can go to an old style polytechnic.

And while we're at it, we're going to remind you, you and you that you are not as valued as you and you because you're not doing A-levels. In fact, if you do try to do A-levels, we're going to say that you, you and you are responsible for dumbing down education.

Reform does not represent reform. It represents regression. This was drummed home when one of it's number, a prospective Tory MP and nominally in charge of Reform's education research said that her view of education was based on the miserable time she had at school. "Quite a lot of my ideas came from what I experienced at my school."


No research needed there. Only blinkers.

It's good to know she's broad-minded and open to thinking about new ideas. Oh hang on a minute...

Think tank is one of the most abhorrently inaccurate terms ever used. In Reform's case it should be "grumbling bludgeoning".

Merry Christmas to those whose job it is to come up with ideas and yet manage to only moan and pick. They are responsible to reducing politics to a shouting match where doing is no longer important because saying is everything.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

I now pronounce you football club and manager

There's a plethora of crises in English football at the moment. Ignoring the premier league where the trend for managers allegedly headbutting players or insulting fans by picking a team that has no hope of winning just because his better players were feeling a bit tired, it's all fun and games in the Championship.

Whilst my own beloved Crystal Palace struggles with debts that totally outstrips its assets, Watford are in danger of entering administration and Cardiff City were a High Court appearance away from being wound up all together. What does this mean? Who cares? Well, a lot of people who really ought to know better by now. I think the BBC should bring back Why Don't You but aim it at football fans. But let's not get into the argument about whether a football club effectively represents or is linked to the community it is located in, or about why people get so attached to things which, ultimately, cannot return the attachment directly.

Instead, I'm getting confused about the language that is now used in this over-analysed world. No doubt lawyers galore pick over every contract and dictate the terms of every press release.

Perhaps this is why the term "mutual consent" is not so prevalent when it comes to what used to be known as "sacking" football managers.

What does mutual consent actually mean? Does it mean you're sacked, I resign , we agree to disagree or we can't stand the sight of each other?

When someone is accused of wrong doing, suspended, cleared and reinstated, is there any hope for anything other than a swift, departure by mutual consent announcement soon after as in the case of Martin Allen, manager of Cheltenham Town FC?

Jim Magilton of QPR didn't have the chance to be cleared. The mutual consent came in before that. And Brendan Rodgers of Reading didn't even have to be accused of misconduct for mutual consent to be the reason for his dismissal.

If only mutual consent was an option for divorce courts, relationships and friendships. "I can't come to the pub tonight as Bill and I are no longer friends by mutual consent." "Darling, I think our relationship may be but I need to know if that's just me or whether consent is mutual."

Players are never sold by mutual consent. My season ticket is not being renewed by this has nothing to do with mutual consent, after all the club phoned me up yesterday to try to change my mind. Bless them.

I'm not too upset for these people. Football, even at that level, does not suffer from poor pay. Although that may be changing. The amount of clubs that have unsustainable debts may cause more mutual consent that anyone ever thought possible.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Just chequeing

And now, the end is near, I will must write, the final cheque...

In eight years time, another word will become redundant. Another British spelling lost. We will no longer need to worry about tutting every time an American writes check when they should be writing cheque.

I remember writing my first cheque. I wrote a cheque to pay for a curry. I went to an Indian restaurant in glorious Thornton Heath with a friend and I felt so sophisticated as I pulled out my cheque book and scribbled on the paper, handing it over with my card.

There was fear too, fear that I would be seen as some sort of fraud. It was the first time I'd paid for anything without actually having laid down the cash. It didn't seem right somehow.

Ah for nostalgia for the simple things like the expression "it's not worth the paper it's written on". And now, I can pay by card at my newsagents. It still doesn't feel as though I'm spending money.

And I've managed to do most of my Christmas shopping without stepping foot in a shop. If I don't go to a shop, how can it be shopping?

Words are funny things really. They only have the meaning you give them just as a cheque only has the value you agree with the person you present it to.

'Cheque' will go once the physical product disappears but 'shop' remains even when it's virtual.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

It's just not cricket

A one-day game, over eight hundred runs in only one hundred overs, a tense, close finish.

It's just not cricket. It really isn't. Not as I know it. India beat Sri Lanka by three runs earlier today and I'm sure a nation went wild. I'm also fairly certain that many people in the cricket world were raising an eyebrow or two to a game that lacks subtlety and replaces it with might.

This match in 1981 took four days and had 787 runs. England beat Australia by 29 runs. It didn't go down to the last ball or even the last day but probably contained more twists and greater tension.

The test series between South Africa and England starts in the morning. Up to twenty days of cricket. Glorious.

I could make some point about how the preference for one-day cricket and now 20/20 (T20, Twenty20, Twenty twenty, whatever) is symptomatic of the modern trend towards a short-term, eat me now culture, how it's a metaphor for the shrill shouts of a Jeremy Kyle friendly culture that wants instant gratification or the right to moan if it's not forthcoming immediately.

But you know what? I can't be bothered. It'll take too much time.

Monday, 14 December 2009

If you stop to think about it, you'd never get anything done.

I had my head stuck in the STPCD (2009) today and it felt good. It's an odd thing to like.

For someone whose attention to detail is, shall we say, lacking, the enjoyment to be gained from writing about the pay and conditions of teachers is rather perverse. But I then I guess I have this overwhelming, and some might say rather unattractive, desire to be right.

It's the kind of attention to detail that used to be reserved for memorising lyrics or football scores or cricket statistics. The mind seems to be changing, no longer interested in clinching arguments, it now seeks to tell the shoulders to shrug and the mouth to say "I see where you're coming from".

Obviously it all depends on who you are and where you're coming from. If you're Paul Dacre then where you are coming from is so far removed from reality that it's impossible to see where you're coming from with the aid of the Hubble telescope. Ditto Michael Bay, for example.

There's no longer a desire to be right when it comes to what you might call the generalities of life. You know, politics, sport, music, film and so on. What it's been replaced with is the desire to be right about very specific, very minor specialities, the kind that would embarrass even the most geeky contestant on Mastermind.

For some reason, I don't see this as a bad thing.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Mr Head, meet Mr Sand

What happens on tour stays on tour. Innit, know what I mean. All for one and one for all, don't break with the team.

Get it? Right. Good, now keep your mouth shut for the good of everybody. Ok?

Or, as Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, puts it:

I have been a manager for 18 years and you have certain golden rules and one of the rules I stick to is that whatever happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.

Meaning what exactly? You don't tell if someone has a small penis or unsightly hairs where society dictates it is socially embarrassing? You don't let on if two people are unhappy with each other? You say nothing about the cliques that are in the team? You stop short of mentioning when everyone is getting along, or who is really drunk and peed in the shower onto an unsuspecting player?

Or you don't bother to mention whether or not an assault has taken place?

But it's ok because it took place in the dressing room. We can do anything in the dressing room. We are untouchable. If we tell them we lose our invincibility.

We can only assume that Mr Pulis will not be writing an autobiography. Or if he does, it will neglect to mention any changing room antics. And can he really stop former players discussing it?

And why would he want to? Can't we break down the barriers that still exist in football, barriers that still assert a male, a macho dominance.

In a week when one of the best coaches in English football, Hope Powell, doubted she would ever get the chance to manage a professional, men's team, it's sad to hear such stuff and nonsense come from with the dressing room of a professional, men's team.

If Tony did not headbutt a player he can say so. If he did, he should face the consequence. Saying that he will say nothing only perpetuates the pathetic, arrogant, macho myth of the sports team.

If he has to resort to this sort of thing, it's a shame that three national newspaper knew about it on the day it happened. That suggests that what happens in the dressing room is rather prone to leak out.

It also suggests that if you have to enforce unity with a blanket manifesto, then you're already too divided.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

I'm leaving soon to go to the Reading-Palace match.

I'm not looking forward to it. I can't really afford to go but it will be good to catch up with my Reading supporting friend, Mike. I'm not sure there's any other reason for me to go. I don't think we'll win. I'm not enjoying watching football and haven't for a couple of seasons. The football hasn't been great and the social side of it has become less and less enjoyable.

I've also found myself looking at the occasional internet forum. I haven't looked at one for ages but with Palace's financial crisis, I thought I'd try to judge the mood. I've come to the conclusion that those who frequent these internet forums are the dwindling band. The average attendance has been dropping for some time now and yet these people become more and more vociferous and assume that their opinion is more and more valid.

I know I've written about this before but I was reminded of the subject for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I wrote an article for When Saturday Comes about not wanting to renew my season ticket despite the crisis and wanted to have a look to see if there was a reaction. Well, I didn't look very deeply. I'm not completely immune to criticism.

However I did see someone state that he was falling out of love with the club and with the game. Whilst he didn't get abused, he view was dismissed out of hand. It was a "you don't count anymore" attitude that made me sad.

The second reason was something Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said when. One of his players, Bobby Zamora, has been getting criticism from fans on a Fulham website.

Zamora scored at the weekend and in his celebration, he let it be known that he did not appreciate all the negative comments. Hodgson, a man widely respected in the game for his achievements and his approach calmly told interviewers, "these people who write into the club's blogs, they're the real experts."

And he's right. They are the real experts in their own opinion. I'm not worried about what anyone says about mine because I thought about it for some weeks, wrote it up, rewrote it, forgot about it, re-rewrote and finally heavily edited it. It was then submitted for publication before receiving another edit by me and, presumably, the editorial team.

The forums are frighteningly immediate and do not reward moderate views. Like radio phone in shows, the ones who shout the loudest are the ones who get lauded.

It's a little bit like being at a football match.

And so the circle goes on.

I'll be sitting on my own at the game and I'll be quiet. Not because I never want to be heard but because when I am, I want it to be for something worth listening to.

A library by any other name would smell as sweet

Today I planned to write about how I was reliving those days between 1991 and 1994 when I used to camp in the Martial Rose Library of the then King Alfred's College in Winchester in order to write essay from scratch on the day they were due in.

Those were great days although in a slightly embarrassing way. I found it really hard to plan and prepare and submit essays before the deadline. So, like a fair number of other students, I used to spend entire days where I'd pull books from the shelves and plough through them and churn out worryingly poor essays.

Today, I planned to do something very similar. My latest Open University course has only two essay. To be honest, there's been a lot going on recently and I just haven't done the work. However, I set myself up today for a Martial Rose day. I knew that I'd be able to knock-off a fairly reasonable essay in eight or nine hours.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the essay was actually due in at noon today. Imagine my surprise when I found this out at 10am today having only put in about half an hours work. Imagine my greater surprise when I found that I managed to get the essay in by 11:47.

It wont be good. It can't be good. It better not be good or I'll probably do it all over again in January.

I would say that I've learned my lesson but the evidence suggests I've had 18 years to learn it. If I haven't by now, I probably never will.

Monday, 7 December 2009

I'm just covering myself here

Let it be known, I was wrong about something.

Shocking, huh?

Anyway, for many years I have harboured a grudge against anyone daring to carry an umbrella. Well, carrying it is fine. Using it is not.

This is really a height thing. Being two metres tall, that's 6' 7" in old money (or 6"7 in Spinal Tap measurements), I am at the optimum height for having my eyes scrapped by umbrellas. Especially golf umbrellas.

Golf umbrellas that are being used on the pavement rather than the golf course would make the list of the modern ten commandments:

Thou shalt not use a golf umbrella anywhere other than a golf course

Because it doesn't take much to work out that there's more room on a fairway than a pavement.

Other commandments would naturally read:

  • Thou shalt not wear combat trousers outside a war zone
  • Thou shalt not wear a comedy tie
  • Thou shalt not walk slowly
  • Thou wilt wear thy trousers so that no one can see your underpants
So congratulations to all those people who lift or tilt their umbrellas accordingly. Kudos, in fact.

Anyway, I have noticed that an umbrella has its uses. Interestingly, I have found that it stops me getting wet.

Who knew?

The downside is, being a special cheapskate at the moment (economic conditions, crappy job market, poor decision making, Christmas is coming and the goose isn't even tubby, let alone fat) I bought a £5 M&S umbrella. And it's pretty good. It's compact, it keeps most of the rain off, it folds up and so on.

However, because it cost £5, it has also started to fall apart. Well, you get what pay for. Or I got what I paid for. That by the way is as daft an expression as, "oh, it's cheap at half the price".

Well, I've taken my first step into the wider world of non-golfing umbrellas. I haven't played golf in two and half years. Consequently I haven't used a golfing umbrella in, well around two and a half years. I need to find a happy medium (another silly expression).

This, by the way, would be a good next step I think. I wouldn't want to go for something too expensive until I've confirmed that I'm not just flirting with them.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Something unusual may happen this week. I may actually make it to a football match.

I've had other things on, you see. Well, for the Watford game I got to the ground and little bit late. On the approach I heard two roars and two announcements. Palace scored twice. There seemed little point in carrying on. The pub beckoned!

Not that I wish to come across in an alpha male context. I had a pint of diet coke with a friend before catching a train up to town to meet the wife so a Thanksgiving celebration.

On Saturday we went to Reading to watch London Irish draw with Worcester in what must be one of the dullest games of rugby ever witnessed. It rained, a lot, the teams kicked, a lot, only Chris Latham was able to catch the ball or kick it with any accuracy.

There shouldn't be many draws in rugby, there normally aren't many draws in rugby. There seems to have been a lot this year. I think that says a lot about the season so far without me bothering to have to research it. Worcester has now had three drawn games in a row, scoring no more than 16 points in any of them.

Anyway, Palace are playing away to Reading on Tuesday night. I am planning on going. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's been a long time since I've been to an away game on my own. I'm getting a lift from a Reading fan I know so at least I'll have some motivation to get there. Of course, it might be more fun to go in with the home fans. It might be a useful way of making football a little bit more enjoyable for the moment.

Face it, I've been watching trash recently. Palace scored twenty-six goals at home last season. Thirteen came in just four games. This season we have scored eleven goals in ten. That includes 4-1 and 3-0 wins and four games in which Palace has not scored.

Sport is meant to be a lot more fun than this.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Time for revision

There are people who stick to a belief rigidly. It can be too unsettling to go back over what seems true to you and it's often easier to retain a notion, a like or dislike than spend the time rethinking things.

This is the case with Donnie Darko. An odd choice you might say. Why not religion? A political belief? A lifestyle choice?

Well, Donnie Darko will do for now. An it's timely as there is a slew of film reviews for director Richard Kelly's latest film, The Box, that refer to the promise of his directorial debut. Donnie Darko seems to have passed into myth.

I liked the film when I first saw it. I bought it based on word of mouth recommendations. It's that simple, a couple of people thought I'd like it, I watched it, I liked it. When teaching GCSE and A-level I used it as a resource. It baffled most students but that made me like it even more.

However, when Kelly's Southland Tales was laughed out of Cannes, I went back for another look.

I changed my mind.

It's a shambles of a film, a rambling, non-sensical mess that tries ever so hard to be difficult but merely ends up being inexplicable.

So, it's really disappointing to hear the film still be lauded as a work of excellence, as a demonstration of promise yet to be fulfilled. And even more of a shame to hear Mark Kermode peddling this untruth so firmly.

It really doesn't matter. It's not important in the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure why I mentioned it. Perhaps I didn't get enough sleep.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Praise so faint you can barely see it

Just a thought. Next Saturday we are going to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the West End starring Darth Vadar and Mrs Cosby.

I simplify for effect, of course.

On the train back from London this afternoon, I noticed an advert in the paper for the play. It had a picture of each of the four leads. Above each picture is a word relating their performances, culled from reviews. The words include 'superb' and 'stunning'.

Amongst such praise, the 'excellent' above Phylicia Rashad seems a little flat. I know excellent should be high praise, maybe it is a touch overused. Excellent is not, after all, stunning. It is merely excellent.

But then excellent should not be merely anything. Odd really.

As a footnote, I notice that Richard Blackwood appears in a small role. Remember him? It will be interesting to see if he is worth his place in the cast or if the producers had a very limited imagination when compiling a list of actors to appear in this 'all-black production' (Evening Standard).

Social climbing

It's quite a day.

I guess there are several big events, not least the assembly of the Christmas tree. I mean assembly, not in the sense of putting together all the ornaments for display but attaching the branches to trunk.

Yes, it's artificial, of course it is. However, it's been a long time since I've had any kind of Christmas tree (bah humbug, well not really). The last artificial tree I remember putting up or pulling down had branches that simply folded. Therefore I have no idea is this is the norm now. I didn't notice the dismantling being part of the sales pitch.

It's not a whinge, you understand, just an observation.

Which is kind of important because of what else happened today. I had a meeting with a small charity in London for whom I am doing some writing. The person leading the project was late. I was therefore left in a meeting with two cats marking their territory.

I felt thoroughly patronised. The level of condescension reached epic proportions every time I opened my mouth. Of course, because I do not work there, because I am merely an outsider, I do not understand the subtle nuances of the organisation., blah, blah, blah.

When the project leader (terrible expression) arrived, he proceeded to completely change the course of the meeting and we ended up a million miles away from where the cats wanted to be.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Make up your mind!

I think it's very easy to say what you don't want to do. It's easier to say what you don't like.

Even now I struggle to get out the words "I want to write for a living". It just seems a little, well awkward as parodied by Monty Python. Whenever I think that it's what I should be doing I hear the words:

What do you know about getting up at five o'clock in t'morning to fly to Paris... back at the Old Vic for drinks at twelve, sweating the day through press interviews, television interviews and getting back here at ten to wrestle with the problem of a homosexual nymphomaniac drug-addict involved in the ritual murder of a well known Scottish footballer· That's a full working day, lad, and don't you forget it!
So, for the second time, I've tried to go back to teaching as a means of solving a job crisis. And for the second time, it's gone wrong.

I have to remember this now. It's just not for me anymore. And I think the trouble was that it was lurking behind me during my last job search, don't worry, there's always teaching!

I'm not trying to denigrate the profession. I've got nothing against teachers, I married one. Mind you, I think that was part of the problem. We are both natural teachers, we both have a way in the classroom (she much, much, much more so than me). She, however, can do all the other crap too, the marking, planning, preparing, the dedicating sundry hours to the job to get things done.

So I have to make sure the career choices work this time.

Day one led to having an article accepted by a national magazine only for them to offer £75 for its publication. I assumed it was a negotiating position and asked for me prompting the magazine to threaten to withdraw its offer altogether.

It's a start. I have some ideas and I have a couple of regular sources of writing income. It's up to me to make sure that there are more sources. I need to do it properly this time. After all, there's no going back to school. Not anymore.