Monday, 20 September 2010

John Edward Hughes Copeland - Why I loved my Ted

I wouldn't normally do this. In fact I see it done from time to time on blogs and facebook and things and it seems so... I dunno... Crass. I mean I am crass myself in many ways but I'd always supposed that sometimes, somethings, are best left private.

But not this. I won't get a chance to say these things otherwise and so I need to say them here, where someone might read them and yes, probably think I'm a dick or after attention or just spreading the misery about but really, really I just want someone else to know. Not know about me, or how I feel but know about Ted. Because he was a miserable bastard. A wonderful bastard. And, probably, a bastard that you lot don't know.

I got home tonight, late to a pile of messages on the phone. All bad news.

My best friend Ted. Idiot that he is, hit by a motorbike in the early hours of today and... Well, not and. No more 'and'. Just. Finished. A Full Stop now.

I mean, a motorbike? In the early hours of a Sunday night Monday morning? And to be hit by one? I can't quite believe that. It doesn't seem plausible and if Ted were here I know exactly what he'd say, he'd say, "Well. He wouldn't have been expecting that."

But that's not Ted. Ted isn't the guy that managed to be hit by a bike at five in the morning on a Monday.

Ted was... Well... Mad. Wonderfully mad.

He took me to a strip club once, did my manloving friend Ted, at four in the morning - it was the only place still serving. And he was gone half an hour later, taxi into Newcastle and out on the pull. He felt bad afterward, seemed to think that it was his fault that I got punched by a bouncer. Seemed to think it was his fault that I still have the scar tissue floating in my eye.

And the first time he came round to my new house for dinner - I followed him about as he sloashed red wine across the carpet - me scrubbing the floor as he ambled between DVD stands. His eyebrow raised and a 'Really?' look across his face.

And he was there, always there.

I left my fiance a few years back and he was there. He put all his own stuff on hold and he was there, usually with a bottle of wine and sensible advice. And earlier, when my family was pulling itself apart he was there, and we were younger then so there was no wine but I stole spirits and he maintained enough sense to speak sensibly.

And, actually, I'm sort of pleased that this blog has tailed off and has a much smaller readership because I feel proud of my friend and I feel priviledged that he was my friend and that he did give up his time (and wine) for me and I love the fact that I did know him. That I was that lucky. That this, for almost all of you will be simply a sketch of a life that I got to share in.

I want you all to be jealous.

I want you all to wish you had had a friend like mine.

A friend that once had a 'pleasant time' with a Cambridge Don and as a result of which I still recieve SPAM email.

A friend who said the most genuis things about books and film and music and theatre and left my nodding and baffled and impressed but who never judged me for loving Sci-fi pulp novels or films about sexdolls.

But most of all I want you all to know that I miss my friend. And that I had potatoes in and had a vague idea of how to do dauphinoise potatoes and that I was expecting to be able to talk about the History Boys because I had finally gotten around to watching it.

I had a friend with whom I could talk about books and music, even if he did like Kate Bush, and Scandinavian Miniminalist film and Daphne Du Maurier and talk about nothing and about simple ambitions. Proper ambitions. Dreams that went beyond the horizon and that never left the back yard.

He deserved better.

Someone I listen to, someone I believe and trust, told me once that heaven is somewhere built upon every second of every dream and that for each happy moment a different heaven exists. I hope, I demand, that Ted has many heavens and I hope that somewhere, for a second or two in one of them, maybe in a pub in York or Cambridge, I get to buy him a pint.

I've opened the wine Ted, I poured you a glass.

Friday, 17 September 2010

EMTSS?...Ernest & Maud's Tantric Sex Sessions? No. Probably not... Even Monkeys Tango Some Sundays?

... No... Wait:
Even More Tonto Short Stories, that's what I meant.
And it's here.
Or it was.
I'd had it two minutes when my mam came round for tea and now she's gone and nicked it.
On the upside though I did manage to read the first couple of stories and they really were rather good, how.
A Shrinking, a Holding Back by Fiona Robyn is awesomely awkward and painful and just... so well ended it made jealously glands swell up something nasty.

Appendage by Peter Parrish is just craziness and comedy and based on such a good character that I read it then reread it and then copied down some of my favourite lines. Which was also bad for the glands.
But, my seething jealously aside, this is looking like being a pretty impressive anthology. It does have some big names in and Amazon seems to think that Matt Hilton has written the entire thing but it's also got some really exciting less knowns and unknowns. Like me.
I'm in it.
You didn't really think I'd be nice about stuff if I wasn't did you?
Anyways - I have to go and order a new copy. My mother is a thief.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Jazz, Nightmares and Reasons Why I'll Survive the Zombie Apocaplyse... Maybe

I don't really like Jazz.

I feel that I should like it, it's suitably odd and crazy and unexpected and that is usually what I like in music. And film. And books. And people. Not in cars so much and certainly not in builders, but anyway. I feel like I should like Jazz.

I listen to music when I write - all the time. Can't really manage it without music to be honest, which is why this jazz thing bugs me.

Weird, disjointed, crazy music is what I write to. Loads of Trip-hop and downtempo stuff. Plenty of acousticy things too (although I tend to save guitars for the pacier sections usually) so it's the oddness that usually works well for me. A mix of bands and sounds over a few hours is almost sort of medative I suppose, I can feel the beat as I write (tosser that I am) and I usually use Last cos I can be quite specific about what sort of stuff I hear (and it's free and I'm cheap).

Truth is, I'm probably listening to crap jazz, or the 'wrong' jazz. It's too quick. Too pacy sometimes and, I suppose, too crazy sometimes.

And that makes me nervous.

Jazz gives me nightmares.

Actual real nightmares - especially if it's on while I sleep, on the radio or as a soundtrack to a film I've passed out in front off.

I think it's the pace of it.

Quick things are scary things. And Jazz is quick. Sometimes.

Sort of like Zombies.

I'm not scared of the old Zombies. Cos they're slow and predictable and walk funny. Not like your Post-Danny-Boyle Zombies. I'm scared of them. They're properly mental and stuff them. And fast. And crazy and aggressive.

Sort of like Jazz.

A Bit.

Anyway, it was thinking about Jazz that got me thinking about Zombies which got me planning for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (I've finished the rewrite - this is the sort of 'work' I can do now that the writing is temporally over).

Reasons Why I'll Survive the Zombie Apocalypse:

#1 - I've got double glazing almost everywhere. Not great against the Jazzy Zombies (except that I probably wouldn't be able to hear them playing their trumpets and things) but I'm not planning for them. There is no point. They'd have me dead right quick.

#2 - My street is largely just a narrow path with a high stone wall at one end and so is easily barricadable. Double glazing might not even be necessary - I'm a terrace surrounded by high walls. A few half arsed building jobs should be enough to keep the Zombies well away from my place. My garden would be fine. And I've got a potato and three strawberries growing there so that's an added bonus.

#3 - There's only me here. I've not got any of the following compromising Zombie movie types that you need to watch out for. No scientists, no military/security personnel, no families with small children and pets who might wander off and leave the barricade open or eat my strawberries, no pregnant women who've already been bitten by a zombie and so are giving birth to Zombabies, no rich people who think they're special and, finally, no teenage couple liable to do something stupid whilst trying not to die a virgin. So no-one to mess it up. Although I do have a cat. Still. I think she can fend for herself.

#4 - I've got tins in. So I could not only survive the Zombie Apocalypse but also a Nuclear one, an environmental one, a biological one (thanks largely to my crap understanding of chemistry and building) or the end of the month when I've spent all my money. Which ever happens first.

Reasons Why I'll Only Maybe Survive the Zombie Apocalypse:

#1 - My double glazing is only almost everywhere. There's none in the kitchen, in fact the door and the window are a bit rotten. So they're looking a bit flimsy.

#2 - I can't build things. So barricades could be tricky.

#3 - I would still be here and I am fully capable of committing stupid acts myself.

#4 - I keep losing my tin opener.