Comedy

Sturgeon v May – Who’s Sexier?

The Daily Mail has set social media buzzing today with a front page that compares the legs of the UK’s Prime Minister and Scotland’s First Minister. But there’s been less coverage of the superficial, transparently biased, and oddly sexualised article that accompanied the headline.

I decided to exclusively uncover an early draft of the article.

One was relaxed, every inch a stateswoman while her opposite number was tense and uncomfortable: we don’t know how headlines work

By Mrs Michael Gove

Legend – or rather Hollywood – has it that the Scottish knight William Wallace daubed himself head-to-toe in blue woad paint to defeat the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Centuries later, Nicola Sturgeon has gone one step further. Yes, further! Whereas Wallace took the time to paint his entire body, Sturgeon wore a blue dress, the silly mare.

While Sturgeon has worn a dress that is dark blue with white trim, May worse a blue jacket. The difference is obvious.

Intentional or otherwise, the First Minister’s nutty blue suit with white piping and matching light-coloured stilettos were unmistakably reminiscent of the Scottish flag, a subliminal if not entirely subtle indication of her feelings towards Westminster.

The Prime Minister’s gorgeous blue jacket was more reminiscent of the blue parts of the Union Jack. Her union-jacket, if you will.

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Film & Television Opinion, Opinion

Samuel L. Jackson and the Politics of Self-Representation

Recently Samuel L. Jackson made headlines by apparently arguing that black British actors shouldn’t take as many black American roles. This was inspired by Daniel Kaluuya being cast in the political horror-comedy Get Out, which premieres in the UK this week.

Speaking to the US radio station Hot 97, Jackson said that

“I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that in a way. Because Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years. Britain, there’s only about eight real white people left in Britain… So what would a brother from America made of that role?”

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Egotism, Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Keeping up Forward Momentum

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 2016

Being a perfectionist, ambitious, and having flickering self-confidence is not a great combination.
At times I feel that I’ve stumbled across a great idea, an idea for a novel or other form of fiction which no-one else is writing, and turning it into a major hit is just a matter of putting it down on paper. Unfortunately, turning a vague idea into a practical reality is a little trickier than that.

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Opinion

Why is There not More Football Fiction?

What are the best novels written about football? If you’ve got a contender in mind, odds are that it’s either a little-known book from a little-known author, a novel which doesn’t centre on football but only features it, or The Damned United.

Understandably a fair amount of what’s out there is football fiction books for boys – which makes sense given that it can be an all-consuming interest at that age. I read and enjoyed a few of Michael Hardcastle’s novels when I was growing up, lightweight novels centring around junior boys’ teams that I remember enjoying reading, but which left no lasting impact on me.
There also seems to be a market for football hooligan books, but realistically that’s centring around a subculture tangentially related to football rather than the game itself.

The football fiction that break into wider awareness tends to receive more ridicule than praise. For example the football manager Steve Bruce self-published a series of novel starring a football manager (Steve Barnes) who keeps getting dragged into murder investigations. The ridicule they’ve received is is a little unfair. Not because the books are good, which doesn’t seem to be the case, but because they seem to have been written for the fun of writing them, completing a trilogy during 1999.
Bruce isn’t alone as a footballer dipping his toe into the world of fiction. Theo Walcott, Jimmy Greaves and Terry Venables have also written novels about football – the latter being the fantastically titled They Used to Play on Grass.

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Egotism

Relaunching the Blog

I first began blogging back in November 2011, as a way of giving myself small, accomplishable writing tasks to keep myself focused and motivated. The aim was also that it would eventually be a useful tool for self-promotion – once I had something worth promoting.

My use of the blog has waxed and waned, definitely more of the latter in recent years. I’ve written just five posts in the last thirty-one months – it’s fair to say that I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit. But I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’m enthusiastic and confident about, and I’ve learned a little about social media promotion in the five and a quarter years since I started doing this, so it makes sense to get the blog up and going again.

SONY DSC
Artistic.

I was aware when I started that it made sense to have a ‘brand name’ that would be distinctive and therefore easy to find online, but I probably made a bad choice in settling for ‘noonebutabloghead’. This was based on a Samuel Johnson quote that I sort of like but disagree with, that “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money”. I added in a really bad pun (BLOGhead, get it?) and misremembered the quote as ‘noone’ rather than ‘no man’. Yes, when I started this I really was so amateurish that I didn’t check the quote my blog was named for.

I’ve found over time that the name ‘scififootball’ – a play on fantasy football, as well as being two major interests of mine – is surprisingly underclaimed across various social media platforms. So I’ve called dibs on the name on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram. Please follow me. Or don’t, it’s a free world.

I’ve chosen a new design for the blog, will be trying to post more regularly, hopefully sort out some consistent branding that hopefully will be better than my current home-made logo, and checking links in old posts still work and updating my menu bars. A lot of that feels quite boring, so I’ll end up doing it in stages rather than all at once.

And as I do that, I’ll try to form any ideas that pop into my head and that I think are interesting into new blog posts.
Storytelling Geekery

What’s In a Name?

Lately I’ve been putting a bit of thought into the role names serve in fiction, about how they give a first impression of a character, place or culture.

One of the Star Trek franchise’s major alien races are the Ferengi, who began as accidentally comical characters in The Next Generation, developing into overtly comic characters who played a major part in Deep Space Nine. I was surprised to encounter a variation of the word ‘feringhee’ several years after first hearing it in Star Trek, in George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman, set in 19th century India. The alien species’ name came from a derogatory word used by Indians for foreigners, apparently particularly directed at white foreigners.
Production staff on the show have confirmed that this was the genesis of the word, with producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe stating that “Ferengi is, after all, the Persian word for foreigner, particularly for European.”
It’s difficult to work out the reasoning behind making this choice (particularly as not many of the target audience, in 1980s America, probably would have been aware of the meaning of the word) but it was a conscious choice to reference this meaning.

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Politics

The Storytelling of Donald Trump

I’ve tried to keep this blog apolitical over the years I’ve been writing it, on and off. I think it can be obnoxious when writers and entertainers use their pulpit for a different purpose to what the reader wants, especially when those political arguments are not particularly unique, insightful or intelligent.

But the election of Donald Trump is an event which I feel should cause me to break that principle. Storytelling is important to politics, and Donald Trump won the election because he’s a better storyteller than Hillary Clinton. He has a stronger history of corruption than the Clintons, and his charity foundation is less transparent than theirs.

donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore_2011-02-10
No caption could make this funny.

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