Puritan Blues

Time is ticking away. It feels like I only got here a few minutes ago, and already I’m only a number of hours away from heading off to the Edinburgh Festival for almost two weeks. I’m halfway between looking forward to it and slightly nervous about it, as well as feeling like I’m not going to be able to make the most of it- there was a certain sense of being locked out of certain areas of the party last time, and it’s likely to be the same this time. Anyway, I have at least been invited to the Tartan Films party on the Wednesday- although I’ll be surprised if it’s quite as much glorious fun as the Guy X party last year. Still, I may yet get the chance to don my boogie shoes, and Edinburgh may also give me some more chances to do some work on the book.

Talking of which… I finally caught up with my friend Claire, and had the chance to talk about the book in serious depth. The end result is that I’ve got a much better idea of what I’m doing- and while there’s a long way to go, I’m actually feeling confidant that I might get there, and I might also end up with a really fun and engaging novel. My head is spinning, and there’s plenty to be done. While a lot of what she said was pointing out problems and mistakes- it was all massively helpful in clarifying what’s wrong with the story, and where I want it to go.

Saw a film called PURITAN today- a bit of a mess of a supernatural thriller, which suffered from the kind of moody lighting where it looks like nobody’s paid for their electricity (there was even a rich mansion that looked surprisingly dingy!). A great performance from an actress called Georgina Rylance, but much of it was rather vague, and I guessed the big twist halfway through (which is rare- I’m usually hopeless at spotting them). A couple of good moments, but it really didn’t work out in the end.

My website is close to being tidied up and sorted- it should be there by the weekend.

I’m also trying not to get too freaked by the fuss surrounding the latest ‘terrorist outrage’, and the fact that suddenly the whole aspect of not being allowed to take hand luggage (and things like books being forbidden) may become a permanent part of air travel. To be honest, having suffered a lengthy plane journey to America and back, the idea of being stranded alone with the in-flight entertainment and nothing else for hours on end is rather horrifying, and I’m certainly glad that I’m not likely to be doing it anytime soon. I think what worries me is that it’s yet another area where fear is taking over, and that it’s likely to stay that way. There’s a fantasic post by Charles Stross here that talks about this- and yes, it’s very easy to talk about this kind of thing when if I’d had any contact with terrorism or if I’d lost someone close as a result of terrorism I’d probably have a completely different viewpoint- but there is so much being done by the Government that’s playing on the politics of fear. The whole “War on Terrorism” always struck me as utterly ridiculous- when, exactly, are we going to win? When democracy rules across the Middle East? When Hell freezes over? And now, there’s an easy demonic force to be used to scare everybody into line. Do as we say, otherwise swarthy Islamic nutcases will come after you with their evil liquid explosives! (I can bet that liquid explosives is going to be the next ‘WMD’ in terms of media-happy catchphrases). Considering that the whole reason why the terrorists are doing this in the first place is to create a climate of fear and distrust, isn’t playing along with that fear and distrust basically giving them what they want? There has to be more positive ways of doing this, rather than just guarenteeing more misery for the 99.9% of Muslims who aren’t psychotic fundamentalists, and more general all-purpose paranoia for the rest of us. I wish the whole technological-accelerating Singularity would just hurry up and happen so that humanity can ascend to the next level, as I’m getting a bit fed up of the complete mess that our so-called “rulers” are making.

Gosh. After that unexpected burst of politics, I feel the need to lie down…

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