The best book ‘On Writing’ I have read

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Stephen King’s On Writing is a terrifically easy read, largely thanks to the interwoven autobiographical anecdotes. Witty, straightforward, and full of no-nonsense tips, the book debunks on the way many of the sillier elements of current perceived wisdom on creative writing.

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Sunshine over dust – a poetic challenge

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We were discussing a choice of mounts for a newly acquired painting the other day with our favourite framer (Rob Jones of Bond-a-Frame, Chichester – nice chap). As usual, he came up with a perfect colour combination. For this picture, he recommended ‘Sunshine’ over ‘Dust’. That got me thinking about how an odd selection of words in juxtaposition can be serendipitously enchanting – inspiring, even.

Inspiring? Well, unfortunately, the inspiration hasn’t worked for me yet. But surely there’s a poet or a painter out there somewhere who might run with it.

Of course, there’s always doggerel:-

      Sunshine over dust

      Toenails red as rust

      Filling me with lust –

      Oh, say it I must –

      For the girl with the ample bust

Lemmings vote to sharpen rocks at the bottom of the cliff

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In an extraordinary demonstration of self-sacrifice, some 35% of the British electorate decided yesterday to donate their votes to the 2% of the population burdened with the responsibility of having more than enough. Marketing consultants for the ‘Screw the Poor, Feed the Rich’ campaign, through the columns of the Daily Post and The Pun, have expressed their delight at the generosity displayed.

A Mr N Clegg of sister organisation ‘Power at All Costs’ said he was too busy just now, counting the cost. He had, however, been ‘happy to help’ in the build-up to the campaign.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for other leading groups had little to say. Mr E Miliband, formerly of ‘Adopt a Banker’ was now actively engaged in seeking a new executive director for the long-standing charity ‘Poverty of Ideas’. North of the border, we caught up with the senior partners in the successful advertising firm of Salmond & Sturgeon, just filling their boats in readiness for a long holiday, who contented themselves with a cryptic ‘Told you so’.

A Mr N Farage, leading light of the ‘Don’t Care in the Community’ movement, was thought to be crying into his beer.

Commenting on the outcome of the campaigns, our editor, reclusive author Brian Crooks, said: ‘Oh, dear. Oh, dear; oh, dear; oh, dear. Oh, shit’.

Puppy Love for Detectorists

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At last! For the first time this century, the BBC has produced two (count them: one, two) situation comedies which show originality, wit and genuine pathos. Congratulations to the makers of Detectorists and Puppy Love.

Labour must remember why it was created

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Labour came into being to be the party of and for the working class. Of course it is ludicrous to suggest that UKIP represents the interests of working people. We only need to look at where its leaders and its money come from. But UKIP can represent working class – and others’ – prejudices. We all suffer from prejudices but they are only likely to flourish in a vacuum. And Labour has allowed a massive vacuum to develop by its constant efforts to placate the press and the middle-classes and turn itself into another Tory Party. Labour will win nothing by sounding ‘tough’ on immigration or the EU. It cannot compete in that bullring. How does UKIP win support? By Farage etc. saying what they mean – even if it is meaningless. Labour must work to remember what it means (history provides plenty of guidance; or look up ‘socialism’ in a dictionary) and then start saying it again – loudly enough so that its old supporters can hear it over the whines of the Sun, the Daily Mail and so on. And it must do it before it is too late.

Well-packed Lunchbox

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The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra, 2013) is a wonderful little film: a romance which avoids sentimentality and with just the right amount of humour (bittersweet, of course). It is beautifully written and performed and displays subtlety of character and plot development of which Hollywood can only dream.

What do M&S and Labour have in common?

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1) Both deserted their loyal supporters years ago and now wonder why their loyal supporters are deserting them. 2) Too much packaging.

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