Poop Poop

I caught the new stage musical by Julian Fellowes, Stiles and Drewe in October – the same creative team who crafted the stage version of Mary Poppins and the simply joyful Half A Sixpence – a new adaptation of The Wind In The Willows.

I’ve loved the stories and characters since my uncle first introduced them to me, and have enjoyed the various adaptations (I remain a champion of Terry Jones’ criminally underrated film version featuring most of the Pythons) over the years.

I’m glad to say new production is as charming and faithful as I’d hoped, featuring some lovely songs, fantastic production design and  great performances (Rufus Hound’s enthusiasm as Toad is infectious). The moment I returned home I had to pull out this version of the book so i could pour over the text and bask in the warmth of Inga Moore’s illustrations once more.

This edition was bought by my little sister as a Christmas present because she thought I’d love the artwork. She was absolutely right.


Banks On The Beach

The first day of a week off and it’s time to get back into reading The Player Of Games.

There’s been such a lot going on and so many things to deal with over the last month or so that it’s nice to actually zone out, listen to the waves and simply enjoy getting lost in a universe of prissy drones, surly lifeforms, spaceships with such names as  The Little Rascal and planets whose reigning emperor is chosen by winning a (ludicrously) difficult and epic game. It’s the kind of book I wish I could dream up and write but it’s just so vast and strange and wonderfully sexy that it could only have come from Iain M Banks.

I’m halfway through now and enjoying every page. I can’t understand why it took me so long to explore The Culture series, but I’m glad I’m doing it now.

Value For Money

First Published: 1990

Edition Published: 1990

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Notes: At 37.5 pence per minute you can hardly complain! It’s a heft book with the type of “typical” horror illustration I remember so vividly from childhood and which also provokes memories of Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, in particular the traumatising episode called The Solider and Death (I think). It scared me for days and led to my mother banning us from ever watching the program again…

I found this first edition in a charity shop  with the cheeky little demon poking out from beneath a pile of books.

It’s almost as if he was trying to tease me…


Since (finally) upgrading my PS4 subscription I also got myself into Destiny, a game I was hugely unsure about when playing the initial Beta, and was very skeptical about after my love of the original Halo trilogy, but have actually since grown to love. Bungie do such a great job of creating exciting, edge-of-your-seat and enjoyable action sequences that I’ve got quite swept away in it all and while playing it I felt my mind wander to Iain M Banks’ Culture series.

There’s nothing specific to link the two – the characters are vastly different and while the technology and portrayal of society occasionally brush shoulders they are not particularly close, yet there is something which makes me connect the two.

It might be The Traveller. At this point (I’m very early in the game) it seems such a strange, abstract idea that it could almost sit alongside some of the Culture’s own technology and history but I think ultimately it’s the sense of scale, a sense of something truly epic which resonates with my memory of Consider Phlebas and which pushes me on to reading deeper into the Culture.

Maybe I’m Doing It Wrong

A rough day which I barely made it through. In these moments I turn to certain things for comfort – a song, a game, a book. Charles Addams may seem a morbid choice yet his perspective on the world has always made me laugh which is perhaps why I turn to him in my darkest hours – because he can turn my feelings on their head.

This is one of (if not my ultimate) favourite panel of his. It reminds me of my own clumsiness and throws a much needed (if warped) light on a subject which threatens to get out of control.

Welcome Back

After a particularly awful night I’m taking it easy today and, as if by magic, this arrived to give me some comfort while battling my own set of Dementors.

The feelings it invokes are a curious mix of nostalgia and childlike excitement. I suppose being a big kid at heart means I’m always able to tap into the wonder I felt as a younger man while at the same time lamenting that those days have long since passed.

Either way, welcome back, old friend. It’s nice to see you again.