Latest News, Short Fiction, Writing

Week 313 – Speed, Alex O’Hara Was A Knob-End And Trust Me, ‘Old Shep’ Is Worse!

I don’t know why I was wondering how many words a minute I could type. I decided to test myself. I can do around three hundred which I’m led to believe is quite impressive. I was so proud until I found out they all couldn’t be the same word without any spaces. No one appreciates my three hundred ‘a’s.

I’m not the greatest of typists but I get by. I have to stare at the key board but I normally can tell before I look up when I’ve made a mistake. What I can say is that I now type a lot quicker than I can write. That took a while and was frustrating but now, I’d rather type.

I don’t like doing notes etc on the computer screen, if I was working on something longer than a short where I needed a lot of continuity consideration, I would print off what I had and then use a pencil and post-its to mark down what I needed. I think you remember more when you write it than when you type it.

I find this pastime is one that few folks expect of you. Unless you tell them of course, but I tend not to unless someone specifically asks about hobbies.

I’ve only just noticed this lately, not many people know much about who they come into contact with. (I hope I’m not talking about family and friends – But let’s be honest, some of them don’t give a fuck!) You hear people talking and the conversation is normally instigated by one person and there is no back and forth like their used to be. When you spoke to someone at work / training / pub etc it used to be you would ask something, the person you spoke to would answer and then ask you something similar and normally a subsequent question. This would go back and forth until you knew a bit about them, their family, the school they went to, their pastimes and a few likes and dislikes. But I don’t think that happens so much. I can’t tell you how cold it makes me when I hear two folks say that they will ‘friend request’ each-other. Why?? Why not put the effort into the initial conversation?

There is an off-shoot to that which is sad in it’s own way due to how funny it can be and that is the pre-conceptions people had / have about you even in those first few times that you’d spoken. It may be an age thing but cooking is a good example. When I go back to my teenage years, most people were surprised when I said I enjoyed cooking, reading and playing golf. I never understood that.

But I had weirder thoughts on me from others. One of my gaffers at my first job asked me what school I went to, they laughed and said that there was no point in asking if I had got any qualifications. I took that as a slight on my school and thought that was a bit sad. I told him I had. He looked surprised. He then said, ‘You don’t look like you could pass an exam.’

I took that as no slight on me and thought he was a bit of a prick.

The second idea that someone had of me was an absolute belter. I was working with some psychology student who was on a placement and I really don’t think she got my dark humour. We had worked a few shifts together and she asked me if I was married. I said I was and she stated without flinching or any show of embarrassment…

‘I didn’t think you would be married.’

I laughed and said that I knew that I was no oil painting but surely I wasn’t a mutant.

Her answer did take me aback, she said,

‘It’s not that, I just didn’t think you were human enough for anyone to put up with you.’

I actually buckled. I think that was the first time I judged a person, but I stayed married to her anyway!

She saw what she did, she perceived me to be a certain way and she didn’t consider anything else. I wonder how she did with her studies and more worryingly, how she got on with her career.

Psychology students, why do so many end up working with computers?

There can be surprised looks and it is then that you realise that people do have pre-conceptions of you. Many are wrong and some are correct.

I’ve prated on to finally get to a point and that is on what you write. Just because you write whatever the subject matter, that doesn’t mean anything – It only means that was what you are writing. Never be frightened to touch on something that those who know you wouldn’t consider it being ‘you’. Write what you want, explore what you want and leave all the analysis for those psychology students who end up working with fucking computers.

Okay onto this weeks stories.

We had two new writers and three old friends.

We extend the usual welcome to our two newsters, we hope that they have fun on the site and we really do want to see more of their work.

Our topics this week include; friendship, delegating, art, friendship again and noise.

As always our initial comments follow.

First up was Yash Seyedbagheri, over the past few weeks he has become a feature of the site and he will do for a few weeks more.

Friends Request‘ got us up and running.

‘There is a feeling in this that’s hard to pinpoint.’

‘It shows how horrible it can be if you don’t fit in.’

‘Blaming others can put you off a person.’

On Tuesday we had Tim Frank. He is developing quite a body of very interesting work.

‘The Last Cigarette‘ was his next story for us.

‘It was hard to feel any sympathy for him – Tim put this across well.’

‘Blaming others is a very human trait.’

‘It’s always good when a writer can make you have a reaction towards a character no matter what.’

The legend that is Tom Sheehan broke the back of the week.

‘Silent Retrieval‘ was published on Wednesday.

‘I love the stories of Tom’s where you need to concentrate.’

‘This made me look up the artist.’

‘The togetherness was brilliantly done.’

Our two new writers followed each other. First on Thursday was Townsend Walker’s ‘Betty And My Sneakers’.

‘This was quite deep.’

‘Excellent delivery.’

‘Really good style and tone.’

And we finished off with Craig Dobson and his story, ‘The Plea’.

‘His desperation came across well.’

‘Good solid writing.’

‘Very descriptive.’

That’s us for another week folks, just the usual ‘Scripture Union’ reminder.

Comments – Good!

No comments – Sad!

Sunday Re-Run – Leila lonely!! (See last weeks posting if you want to know – I’ve pratted on long enough!)

Just to finish, we lost an Ayr Legend this week.

Now I really don’t want to be nasty so I will choose my words carefully. (Who am I to slag off anyone who made a career out of something that they loved)

For a start, legend is personal to those who believe that a certain person is a legend.

Others think otherwise.

Sydney Devine was an entertainer.

Being entertained is personal to those who either enjoy or don’t enjoy a certain type of, for example, let’s say singing. Please see the next three links and make up your own mind. For our American readers who have been subjected to some excellent Country and Western music, I’d love to hear your views!

There is a campaign for a statue to be erected of Mr Devine.

That’s up to the majority – Not that there will be a vote on it. (I don’t vote no matter what! Well maybe if it was to put the royals to work in the real world – Something like a thirteen hour shift in a Care Home for a fixed term of forever – Possibly. But they would be shite and would you want your granny to be looked after by the *auld duke or your grandpa by eddie?)

But my mind works in weird ways. I just think of Sydney having his erection beside Concrete Rabbie in Burns Statue Square in Ayr.

I think there is something very poetic about a lyrical genius being beside what some would say the vocally challenged.


*At time of writing this, it was still alive.

Image – I think that’s Hugh doing his practice. Look at the blur of those arms!

I am often disappointed that people judge me to be so very different from the way that I am – for example people think I’m five feet and two inches and a bit dumpy where actually I am almost six foot, slender and elegant. When I received my first royalties for a published novel I kept a promise to myself and went to buy a really nice fountain pen. I was so excited that I told the assistant in the shop what was going on. ‘My first royalties for a published novel’ I said all smiley and thrilled. “Oh,” said she, ‘Romance” I know I shouldn’t have been bothered but it really upset me to think that I looked like a romance writer. Sorry to all the wonderful romance writers who do a superb job but I wanted to look a bit like a female Ian Fleming or even McBain or okay at least Patterson. Sigh.

Anyway that picture is the New York Times newsroom – Image by janeb13 from Pixabay 

13 thoughts on “Week 313 – Speed, Alex O’Hara Was A Knob-End And Trust Me, ‘Old Shep’ Is Worse!”

  1. I know many brilliant text thumb typists, but hardly any of those guys can keyboard worth a damn. I took a year of keyboarding and what some call “nine touch” in school. I’m actually pretty good at it as long as I sit up straight and pay attention to what I am doing.

    I believe that a good way to get a feel for someone’s personality is to have a look at the first ten songs on their play list. Here’s one of mine from Amazon music. And, yes, it’s for real:
    1) They Don’t Know–Tracey Ullman
    2) Johnny Hit and Run Paulene–X
    3) Viva Las Vegas–Dead Kennedys
    4) Help–Beatles
    5) Two Ton Tessie–Tessie O’Shea
    6) Cowboy Song–Thin Lizzy
    7) Mama Tried (live version)–Merle Haggard
    8) Rock Bottom–UFO
    9) Du Hast–Rammstein
    10)Sunday Girl–Blondie

    Nothin on this list is under ten years old. Most much older. That should tell you more about the state of current music than it does me.

    Great post as always.


    1. How strange, I am answering this whilst Blondie is playing from my playlist. Not ‘Sunday Girl’ though, which is brilliant but ‘One Way Or Another’.
      A very interesting list which is no less than I’d expect of you Leila!!!
      You made me look at my own list and the first songs that I put on it. I know ‘The Clown Song’ by DJ Rankin would have been there but I will not pay for music that isn’t a CD on principle!
      Any song that has balloons being stuck up someones ass always needs a mention!
      Oh and now we have another that wasn’t there in that first ten but could have been. (This could take a while, as I’ve told you before, I normally work on the site whilst listening to music!) We are now onto ‘Parisienne Walkways’ by Gary Moore and Phil Lynott.
      …Now ‘Run With The Wolf’ – Rainbow.
      (I was making a coffee and drinking some red whilst I waited on the kettle boiling.)
      I think I listed around 150 straight off the bat and I am now at around 300 but you made me interested in the first ten so here they are:
      1. Tin Soldiers – Stiff Little Fingers
      2. Green Fields Of France – The High Kings
      3. Misty Blue – Dorothy Moore
      4. Imagine – John Lennon
      5. Beautiful Freak – The Eels (‘The Eels’, The Adventurers and ‘The Icicle Works’ are three very underrated groups)
      6. Fire – Jimmy Hendrix (I’m surprised ‘Fire’ by Springsteen wasn’t first – Oh and not to confused with his ‘I’m on Fire’ which was excellent but not as excellent as ‘Fire.’)
      7. Tainted Love – Soft Cell (I also have the Marilyn Manson and the Gloria Jones versions. They are all brilliant and I think that shows a good song, anyone can sing it. Well maybe not Mr Martin’s ‘Little Old Wine Drinker Me’ or Sammy Davis Jnr’s ‘Mr Bojangles – They should be left to the genius that is those two gentlemen. Yep, They are also on my list.)
      …Oh more Rainbow is playing – I forget to switch on the shuffle. So I now have ‘Starstruck’.
      8. You Think You’re A Man – Divine
      9. Whisky In The Jar – Thin Lizzy
      10. Woman – The Anti-Nowhere League

      Oh I’ve just seen the next two!
      ‘See You Later Alligator’ is a terrible song but not in the hands of Dr Feelgood.
      And the best Tina Turner Song isn’t ‘Proud Mary’ (Which I don’t have) it’s ‘A Fool In Love’!
      To finish off I am now hearing the brilliant Echo And The Bunnymen with ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses.’
      I am an absolute music bore and have a very mixed taste up until around 1986. There was then more shite than good.
      I think you have stumbled on something Leila. And I am just wondering what I would think of someone who has BeeeeBaaa or Pishplay as their first two!!
      That’s me had a read through and we have ‘Watching The Wheels Go Round’ by Mr Lennon. That is a cracking song to finish on.
      Thanks for that Leila. That was very self-indulgent of me – But I really am a music bore and don’t get the chance to have these types of conversations since the pubs are shut.
      I won a tenner once off a guy who argued that the ‘If You Can’t Stand The Heat’ album didn’t have an electric cooker ring on it. It did. The barman and two other patrons confirmed this for the stupid dick. I mean, the clue was in the title!
      I went on a bit there – So last one, I promise.
      What a belter – ‘I’m Your Man’ – Leonard Cohen!!!


      1. I approve of your list and even more of your obvious love for music. I am very big on Thin Lizzy (sadly American radio only plays Jailbreak and The Boys are Back) and Blondie and I like Cohen. Currently listening to “Kill the Poor” by D.K.
        “Efficiency and pro-gress ar ours once-a-more
        Now that we got the neutron bomb…”
        “Number Nine Dream” by Lennon is next. Anyway…I grew up thinking “Proud Mary” was a Tina Turner song. And even though I’ve been told otherwise (no disrespect to CCR), it’s still hers (forget Ike; I’m sure Tina would like to).


  2. I think typing 300 A’s in a minute is quite an accomplishment whether “they” allow it or not. I’m not familiar with Sidney Devine, but his Tiny Bubbles is good enough to make Don Ho smile.


    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks as always.
      Now the smile, would that be in a good way, a smile of derision or maybe some form of irony??
      You are a star for always being here my friend!!!!


  3. Hi Diane,
    I would never have you down as frumpy. (Is that a Scottishism?? It’s a cracking word though!)
    More like a wise gazelle!!
    The one I like about myself is when folks think that my sarcasm is funny and affectionate.
    It isn’t. It’s not sarcasm, it’s the truth. It’s not funny, it’s the truth. And it’s not affectionate as I probably hate them.
    But what the hell, it saves me getting a punch in the face!!!


  4. Leila,
    If you are reading this.
    …I haven’t listened to much Dead Kennedys but I do have a Punk compilation album with ‘Holiday In Cambodia’ on it – That’s a good song.
    Number-nine Dream is excellent but I like most of Lennon’s.
    And I’m still on my playlist – ‘The Patriot Game’ by ‘The Dubliners’ has just finished – Here in Scotland if you say you like that song, fuckwits think you have an affiliation with the IRA.
    Oh and I need to drink some whisky as ‘Liars Bar’ by ‘The Beautiful South’ has just started! (Any excuse) It’s the only song I know of with the use of that wonderful word – Pish!!
    Oh, I meant to mention, I didn’t know that the Dead Kennedys had done a version of ‘Viva Last Vegas’, I had a listen and that is a bit of fun. I do like the ZZ Top version though.
    …And now I’m listening to ‘Baba O’Riley’ by The Who – That is a cracking name for a cat.
    Actually either – Baba O’Reily in its full form or ‘The Who’!!!


    1. I tend to think that I don’t have a ‘playlist’ I used to when I was younger of course but now I just tend to listen to what Ian has downloaded. It’s his thing and he does some clever editing and something called ‘normalising’ he’s built our sound system and I think we are on about our sixth set of speakers because he is always striving for something better. But, then I realised that I do have tracks that – everytime they come on in random I say ‘OhI like that’. I love sixties stuff – it was my time! but then I like so much else. My ten tops I reckon would be

      ‘Dance me to the end of love’ by Cohen
      This boy by the Beatles
      Willie McBride by Davey Arthur and the Furies – even though it always makes me bawl
      Motherland – Natalie Merchant
      Norweigan Wood by the Beatles
      Waves by Sam Baker
      Hallelujah by most people but favourite by Jeff Buckley
      Me and Bobby Mc Gee by Kris Kristofferson
      Blue eyes crying in the rain by Willie Nelson
      Rings of Grass by Dr Hook – though in fairness there are so many of theirs that I really really like it’d be a never ending list though I never did quite get on with When you’re in love with a beautiful woman.

      But once you start you realise that there are so many and you could go on and on. One that reduces me to a blob is The Old Man by Davy Arthur that my brother picked for dad’s funeral. Geeze can you imagine – talk about not a dry eye in the house. Oh yes and Bridge over troubled water by Disturbed – that’s brilliant even though he does do one word wrong but I won’t say what it is because that’s not nice.

      Hmm lots and lots when I think about it. Don’t play music when I’m writing though it gets in the way.


      1. Hi Diane,
        That’s a rather good list.
        I must admit, I didn’t know ‘This Boy’.
        I will throw a ‘Sexy Eyes’ in with ‘When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman’!!
        Your Cohen’s choice is brilliant as is his version of Hallelujah. But I suppose the guy that wrote it would sing it the way it should be sung. I did like Buckley’s version even though I’m not that keen on a male falsetto (Is that right??) singing voice. I hate to say it but Alexandra Burke probably did the most perfect version, but I am a sucker for auld Leonard!!
        I must admit, I did think you may have had ‘The Green Fields Of France’ in there somewhere no matter by who.
        But you are right, the more you think, the more that pops up.


  5. When I was a mere child first listening to FM radio, there was a DJ from somewhere in Europe who pronounced Baba “Barbra O’ Really.” Until I bought the record and learned the truth, my friends had been under the impression that I was being annoyingly cute when the song came on the radio.
    Anyway, lots of ZZ Top is in my various playlists as are things like “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” and “I Kill Children” by D.K. I have issues with a world that doesn’t see the irony in things anymore.And I’d hate to live on a planet in which punkers need to gentle their lyrics. It’s even more embarrassing than calling Baba O’Reily Barbra O’ Really from age 12 to 15.


  6. So much great music being quoted this week! Hugh – I remember when we first became friends it might have been the fact that we were the two people on the planet who’d bought Sea of Love by The Adventures that sealed the deal 🙂 I’ve definitely got a lot of music rooted in the past but I try very hard to keep listening to new and interesting things. I follow a website called AnyDecentMusic which collates reviews of albums from a host of publications and I like the fact that it isn’t tied solely to popular artists and/or specific genres. Being able to stream music opens up such a world for exploring – even though I can completely see the downside of it in terms of artists being shafted.

    A recent (longer) list I put together on Spotify had these as the first 10:

    1. City of Fallen Angels – British Lion
    2. Dylan Thomas – Better Oblivion Community Center
    3. Playwright – Trevor Powers
    4. Smell The Roses – Roger Waters
    5. Pretty Pimpin – Kurt Vile
    6. Way Down Hadestown – Anais Mitchell
    7. Mr Blue Sky – ELO
    8. Rocking All Over The World – Status Quo
    9. Cloudy Bay to Malibu – Nik Kershaw
    10. Death With Dignity – Sufjan Stevens

    Oh and an honourable mention to the Treorchy Male Voice Choir whose versions of Calon Lan and Cwm Rhondda added to the pre-game rugby atmosphere at home yesterday!

    Not sure what it says about it me but it might explain my lack of genre specific writing haha!!


  7. Hi Nik,
    I’ve got to be honest, there are not many there that I know.
    Obviously I am familiar with Roger Waters and Mr Lynne. I love ELO but thought the first ‘Travelling Wilburys’ album was immense. One of the most touching things I have ever seen was after Roy Orboson died, they had the rocking chair that he sat in, in their previous video, which he was in, rocking.
    I am delighted that you have a ‘Status Quo’ song in there. I adore ‘Long Legged Linda’ and ‘Stones In My Head’ but I think ‘Dirty Water’ has to be my favourite. If you ever want to win a bet and have a song of theirs that no-one will realise it’s them, play ‘Everything’!
    I will take your list and have a listen when I get a bit of time. But I’ve been on six nights out of eight so I see I have around fifty stories waiting for me. Hopefully I’ll get through them over the next couple of days.
    I don’t know the Nik Kershaw one, although I do prefer ‘Wouldn’t It Be Good’ to ‘The Riddle.’ The 80’s did throw out some excellent one hit wonders – ‘Strawberry Switchblade’, ‘Voice Of The Beehive’, ‘Scarlet Fantastic’, ‘Belouie Some’ to name but a few. (Let’s try and forget that awfully big marine ‘Camouflage’ by Stan Ridgeway!!)
    I do like when some bands come back. I think that it was around 1996 when Spandau Ballet had in my opinion, their best song – ‘Once More.’
    I am a bit of a year snob – I look down my nose on most music after 1986. I don’t seek out the new, I do try and find some of the old that I haven’t heard. I think my most recent purchase of a new oldie was five CDs of Taj Mahal. Now that I think on it, I do want to get some ‘Royal Blood’ They remind me of ‘The White Stripes’
    And yep, we’ve spoke about ‘The Adventurers’ before. I do believe that along with ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ it is one of the most perfect albums. Any of the songs on these albums are not what you would consider a filler.
    Man – I need to stop. I could write about this for hours and bore people endless!!
    It’s been a helluva lot of fun reading the lists and there is some really good music in there. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t like music, alcohol, dogs or be in awe of cats!
    All the very best my friend!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.