30 07 2007

There has, I regret to report, not been any stories of an amusing variety despite a promising start to a recent luncheon with my sister, S, where I managed to get lost in Cardiff even though I spent a large amount of my late teens driving round the city.

If you feel hard done by in respect of funnies you can read all about what happens when you put Neil G on stage with Jonathan R late at night here. Of course that only really works if you know who they both are but since I do and it’s my blog…well you get the idea.

Alternatively if that don’t do it for you then go play on http://misterpeace.wordpress.com/. If that don’t work may I recommend you get your funny bone checked.

Got your fix? Good, let’s move on.

So here’s how I’ve been spending my time:

– driving up and down the M4 like a Yo Yo
– reading Turn of the screw, Danse Macabre, The Monsters and The Critics, Harry Potter and Madame Bovary (not at the same time obviously)
– eating with S in Cardiff Bay
– sleeping on the folks’ sofa
– working far too much
– writing two short stories (in addition to the flights of fancy you can read on this blog)
– drinking too much at work parties and being generally bemused at the behaviour on display
– drinking too much coffee and shaking in meetings
– failing to get my hair cut (I bent down to tie my shoe laces and someone threw change at me)

This week I will be meeting up with a very old friend (in the sense we have been friends for a long time and not that he is an old fart) which should be fun.

I am also planning a trip to Hong Kong in November. That’s right, they’re actually letting me out of the country again so rest assured there will be plenty of hilarious hijinks to come. If you don’t know what I mean – remember Paris.

Oh and for some reason, I suspect Abbi, I keep singing Spider Pig.


28 07 2007

My blog has decided to act up. So to anyone I’ve linked to recently who’ve recieved multiple pings – apologies:

‘Twas not me but the gremlin…

Friday Flash Fiction

27 07 2007

This story has moved. You can read it here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/the-ghost-in-the-glass/

Well it’s that time of the week again.

Martin Mcgrath has “27 ways to avoid work”, Paul Raven has “AWOL” and we’re joined by Gareth D. Jones with “The Gondolier”.

Meanwhile Gareth L Powell who started it all has the rather wonderful “Stranded in time”.

I’m conscious the length of my entries are getting a little long, I debated whether or not this should even go up but I’ve been a little bit dry this week.

So here goes:

The Ghost in the Glass
By Neil Beynon

The queue meanders round the waiting room, sepia tones of sunlight breaking through the dusty windows, the air fetid and dank with sweat. Joe stands waiting, time stretching on – like the queue – into the distance punctuated only by periodic coughing.

This story has moved. You can read it here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/the-ghost-in-the-glass/

Things not to do:

23 07 2007

1. Feed me copious amounts of E numbers – it’s not pretty and it’s not clever
2. Challenge me to read all 7 of a certain series of books in one weekend – I will do it and then on finishing will be completely unitelligible for the next 36 hours
3. Ignore my words – I say what I mean but what many hear is not always what I say
4. Give me access to large amounts of coffee – see point 1
5. Put any of the following on the stereo whilst I’m driving: Enter Sandman (Metallica), Eye of the Tiger (Survivor), Paranoid (Black Sabbath), Layla (Cream) – Unless of course you like high-speed crashes

Friday Flash Fiction

20 07 2007

This post has moved. You can read it here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/miasma/

By Neil Beynon

The wind slips icy tendrils over my bare back as I come over the ridge and look down at the valley below. I’ve taken my time coming back, there are men abroad with horses three times as high as me and sharp, ugly swords that glint in the autumn sun.

The ridge is exposed; I long to be down from here but instead I pause. The air has changed, the ice on my back has moved from my back to my stomach where it takes root; a ball of bile and frost. There was rainfall not a few hours ago, wet grass has perfumed my journey for the last few leagues. Not so now.

This post has moved. You can read it here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/miasma/

Full of sausage

16 07 2007

For some reason best known only to my stomach I decided that despite it being July what I really, really, wanted this evening was bangers and mash.

As I lie prostrate on the sofa trying to divert enough blood from my belly to write I am forced to reconsider whether this was a wise move. My stomach is purring, literally, however as I’m not a cat it cannot easily be said to be a good thing…

…So, I haven’t been up to much interesting which is more than I can say for erstwhile fop Boris Johnson who has – lord help us – thrown his cycling helmet into the race for the London Mayorship. The silly season, it seems, is now in full swing.


Seriously, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. On a personal level I find Boris Johnson to be hilariously funny in his self-appointed “Tim nice but dim” media personality. However the idea that because he gracefully allows himself to look like a tool in front of the world on a regular basis will compel me to vote for him is bordering on the offensive.

If I want to see that every day all I need do is look in the mirror.

Then there is London. I may have a love hate relationship with the big smoke but I do live here and I do not think a floppy haired blonde who has given birth to such legends as:

– Yes, cannabis is dangerous, but no more than other perfectly legal drugs. It’s time for a rethink, and the Tory party – the funkiest, most jiving party on Earth – is where it’s happening.

– No one obeys the speed limit except a motorised rickshaw

– I don’t see why people are so snooty about Channel 5. It has some respectable documentaries about the Second World War. It also devotes considerable airtime to investigations into lap dancing, and other related and vital subjects.

– What has the BBC come to? Toilets, that’s what

– We are confident in our story and will be fighting this all the way. I am very sorry that Alastair Campbell has taken this decision but I can see that he got his tits in the wringer.

And who, dear friends, could forget:

– I have not had an affair with Petronella. It is complete balderdash. It is an inverted pyramid of piffle. It is all completely untrue and ludicrous conjecture. I am amazed people can write this drivel.

I don’t know what’s more shocking – that Boris managed to convince more than one woman to have sex with him or that he thinks he has a serious chance of getting elected or that someone actually named their child Petronella.

I’m tempted to vote for him just to see what the hell he’ll do if he gets in, which in a sense is what this is all about, as I suspect many feel this way if the rapid rise of the Facebook group “BORIS FOR LONDON MAYOR” is anything to go by.


Don’t even entertain it even though the alternative is the socialist equivalent of Boycie (the dodgy salesman from Only Fools and Horses). My reason is simple. Like other people’s children the fun of Boris is that after you’re done laughing up your sleeve with incredulity you can hand him back, metaphorically speaking. No Harm Done.

The same cannot be said of the Mayor who you only get to elect every four years and who can, if the incumbant wishes, do a great deal of harm whether it is in the deprived East of London or the affluent West. If you don’t believe me ask any of the people in Woolwich hanging on for the arrival of crossrail on which Boris failed to vote.

Besides if he becomes mayor who will taste all the wine on Saturday Kitchen:

Olly Smith - Boris look alike


13 07 2007

This post has moved. You can read the full thing here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/shadow/

Gareth L. Powell, a science fiction writer and fellow blogger, has started a trend. Every Friday he posts one of his Flash Fiction stories on his site, for free.

It’s only the second week and he’s already been joined by fellow writers/bloggers Paul Raven, who has story called ‘Downtime’ on his blog Velcro City, and Martin McGrath, with ‘For Aleppa’ on his blog.

And yes me (go easy – it’s my first time):

By Neil Beynon

Transmission Starts – Recording From Crewman Doyle’s BioRecorder

I’m not sure if this thing is on but I can’t afford to check anymore than I can take the time to understand why the others are still asleep when I’m awake.

The room is dark save for the low, cool glow of the Cryo-chamber. I can see Riley’s face from here, her aquiline resting faces and her smooth, soft curves. For a moment I’m tempted, she’d never know, but then I’ve heard stories… I push the thought from my mind.

This post has moved. You can read the full thing here: http://www.neilbeynon.com/fiction/shadow/


Lesson Learned

9 07 2007

It is wise, I have learned, not to seek advice unless you are prepared to listen to the answer.

In Stephen King’s excellent biog/writer’s manual “On Writing” he advocates the writing of first drafts with the door closed. In essence at this stage you are, as the writer, telling yourself the story. Next you slap the manuscript in a draw for a short while, enough time to gaze on it with fresh eyes, and then you go back to fix all your clangers. Finally you show it to your test reader.

I have, until today, followed this method religiously and as a result have received the “Wow” reaction (a reaction so cool it should come with its own dry ice machine) on exactly three occasions. Admittedly from three different people for three different pieces.

In the spirit of trying new things and having tried to bring the text a little more to life I allowed/demanded G read a first draft. It was a short story called “Wide Open Space”.

She did not say Wow.

That is not to say it was not useful, it was. I got some great feedback and I’m going to try to fix some of those clangers in a few days when I’ve rested the story a bit.

But ultimately, and particularly with a short story, you can only have someone read it for the first time once. You have exactly one shot per story per reader to get the moment of glory.

So don’t ignore the advice of wise men, especially bestselling ones, they didn’t get that way by accident. They grafted, they learnt and in some special cases they’re willing to pass on what they learned.

If you’ll listen.

I’m off to work on “The Last Plank” now. The door will be closed until I’ve got that baby planed down smooth. Ta Ta for now.

It was all over in less than a minute…

8 07 2007

Well today was Tour De France Day, I clawed my way out of bed after last night’s excitement with a thumping headache.


It was (and is) a glorious day in Abbey Wood, there was a great atmosphere as I sloped up the road to get my place. Abbey Wood, whilst rough around the edges, has a good community and we were all out in force to get our photos, to say “We were there”.

The French have an interesting way of working the crowd up that involves driving at speed in strangely attired cars whilst yelling “Woo!” in a heavy French accent – kind of like a continental Ric Flair promo.

This was followed by a carnival of vehicular marketing during which all manner of free stuff was thrown to the assorted crowd. I got sweets. It was great. I’m a cheap date.

At 11am the peloton left Greenwich. At 11.05 they shot past us on the hill, even that early in the stage they were really booking, and at 11.06 they were gone.

In the thrall

Now to provide some context. Bostall Hill is a long, steep winding climb up to Bostall Heath and Erith. It is a casual cyclist’s nightmare.

So what did I do? Well the road was closed, there were no cars, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

I got my trusty trek 100 road bike out and tried to get up the hill. I started the hill at 11.45 and got to the top at 12. Sigh. I’m really out of shape.

Still the sight of a fat welshman trying to cycle up the hill seemed to amuse the Police who had to remain watching the route even though the race had moved on.

Of course they seemed less amused when a ballistic fat welshman came back down the hill at speed but, as we all know, that’s the only reason for cycling up a hill in the first place.

Be careful what you wish for…

8 07 2007

It seems that my earlier post on the lack of excitement in Abbey Wood was somewhat inaccurate.

1st Picture of crash

Around half an hour ago a car, travelling at speed, wiped out turning into the corner of my street taking out four cars one of which is now residing in one of my poor neighbours back garden.

2nd picture of crash

I was in bed at the time and in the resulting confusion inadvertently flashed the street from the bedroom window. I was first on the scene expecting bodies – G was convinced a motorcyclist was involved, thankfully this wasn’t the case.

Having established that no one was actually hurt and that the two lads running up the hill were in fact the occupants I became accutely aware that I was wearing only a pair of jeans. And I mean ONLY a pair of jeans.

Well that was exciting…OH MY GOD…my neighbours have seen me naked.

Clearly I shall have to move.