Archive

Archive for April, 2010

Yolanda

Raul and Messi? Should I read anything into the order in which you place those? Great players each, whatever. I like your country so much, that my step-grand-daughter is about to be born there.

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Gillian Dickinson

April 30, 2010 2 comments

Sore point with me, that outfit. One of my characters . . . not me, you understand . . . got its name wrong a couple of years ago, and I’ve never heard the end of it. There are several other people in the editorial chain, but Horlickses always come back to the author, and quite rightly so. You call it ‘a force within a force’. You’d better not let a guy named Ted Crofton hear you.

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Ted Crofton

Thanks for being the **th eagle-eye to point that out, and congratulations on being the first who’s so far up himself that he takes it seriously. (You should ask Harry Redknapp what he thinks about that fine body of dawn raiders.) I was going to have the reference changed at the next reprint, but now I reckon I won’t bother. By the way, I didn’t utter the remark, Andy Martin did.

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George Smith

East Midlands? I’m impressed that you can still speak English. Two ‘V’s in ‘Crivvens’, by the way.

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George Smith

Really? That’s quite remarkable. Where have you been since then? It’s a phrase in common use in my parts of the world. Let me know next time I unearth a forgotten treasure.

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Penny Kraft

Thanks for that. It’s a privilege to be set alongside Mr Robinson. If I didn’t live where I do, I think I’d choose his home city, Toronto, as my base.

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Jean Douglas

The next Skinner’s written already, Wee Jean, and the one after that. Look for A Rush of Blood in June.

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Lisa Scott

April 25, 2010 3 comments

Rant away, Madam. I agree with most of what you say. But I can see why DC has focused on the cult of the personality. (As has Nick Griffin, only it’s spelt slightly differently in his case.) He has no choice. These TV debates are great entertainment for some, but they have the potential to inflict huge damage. My prophesy of a week ago is being fulfilled. Because of them we are now looking at Nick Clegg, who was a nonentity a month ago, as the man who will determine the nature of our next government, if he doesn’t actually form it, regardless of the fact that his party has a wish list rather than a joined-up, practical manifesto. Because of them we are now taking Vince Cable seriously and talking about him as our next Chancellor, a job for which he’s no more qualified than my granny, and she’s been dead for 42 years. I would like to think that this craze will work itself out, and that we will get back to sensible electioneering, but I think not, because it’s media driven, and because two of the three parties involved are enjoying it too much. It’s a sign of the desperation of Captain Barbossa that he agreed to the events something which he will be regretting in a couple of weeks as he drives to the Palace to hand in his resignation, and for the rest of his life.

Oh yes, Lisa, you ask where has George Osborne gone? He’s hiding behind Ken Clarke. Would you like me to place a bet now? Cameron will be the next PM, but Osborne will not be the next Chancellor.

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Roll on May 6?

April 19, 2010 Comments off

I can’t be the only man in Britain who wishes that all the election hoopla was over and we could get on with the serious issues that each of our party leaders (with the exception of the Greens) are avoiding like the plague. I can’t be the only man in Britain who’s decided not to watch the leaders debate, which can only favour the outsider, given the runners and riders in this particular race. I don’t believe that they are serving the public interest at all; indeed the exclusion of Alex Salmond, who would have run rings round the other three is, in my view a blow against democracy. Yes, these shows have become an automatic feature of US elections. However,  those are presidential, while ours are not. The only saving grace is that a week will elapse between the third of these shambles and polling day, allowing time for the clouds of vacuity to dissipate, and for the public to realise that the Lib Dems don’t have any more principles that the rest.

But will things be resolved on May 7? If only, but I don’t believe so. I fear that the whole thing is a disaster about to happen. There will be a hung parliament. Where we need clarity there will be obscurity. Where we need decisive leadership we will have fudge and compromise. We will stumble along for another year or so, and then we’ll be doing the whole thing again.

I can see one small ray of hope in the gloom. If the SNP wins sufficient support in Scotland to influence the next administration, then maybe it will secure a fully autonomous Scottish Government within a United Kingdom, and make me a happier man. But am I holding my breath? No.

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Christine Mensink

April 19, 2010 Comments off

Oz is no longer in the land of the fictionally alive, but he snuffed it off stage, somewhere between the publication of the prophetically titled For the Death of Me, and Inhuman Remains.

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Christine Sekinger

April 19, 2010 Comments off

It doesn’t take long to find my work in audio form. Most of them are available on audible.com or .co.uk.

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Grant Anderson

April 19, 2010 Comments off

Yes, Grant, L’Escala really is that nice. For self-catering accommodation, I can recommend Can Roura or Villas Coll in St Marti, or you could rent an apartment through Villa Service. If you’d prefer a hotel, the Nieves Mar is pretty good.

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Ann-Marie Vimpany

April 19, 2010 Comments off

A Rush Of Blood will be on audio as soon as Isis can get it out there, after printed publication. I suspect that Jim Bryce, man of many voices, will be hard at work very soon.

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NHS concerns

April 13, 2010 Comments off

What’s the big British election issue, so far? The economy, stupid, but should it be? The crisis goes beyond our shores and thus the long-term solution isn’t entirely in our government’s hands either, whoever’s in the hot seat. Sure, we must have surety and competence in its planning and management, but there are other aspects of the public administration that shouldn’t be overlooked. Nobody is going to die because they’re paying tax at 50p in the £ . . . but they might because of the attitudes and actions of some people in that bracket. Twice in the last month, I’ve heard stories of friends who were taken suddenly ans seriously ill. Each called their doctor for assistance. One was told he could be seen that evening, the other that a doctor would phone him back in an hour.

Each patient was forced to by-pass the GP level and go to hospital. The former was having a heart attack; the latter required major abdominal surgery. In spite of, rather than thanks to, the primary care service, both  people are now on the road to recovery, but how many others aren’t?

I’ll pause at this stage to emphasise that this isn’t a personal complaint. The rural medical practice that looks after me, and my family, could not be better. They are our friends, and they respond speedily to all the community’s needs. I wish the whole system was the same, but it can’t be. The pressures on large urban practices have to be greater. Nonetheless, they shouldn’t be killing people. What are you going to do about it, Gordon, Dave, Nick and Alex?

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Patrick Foster

April 13, 2010 Comments off

No, it’s not off limits at all. ‘Poor Oz’ is not how I, nor many other people, see him.  Over the years I let him evolve as a character, and in the process he did some things that weren’t really sustainable, morally. When I felt that I didn’t want to be around him any longer, I let him go, in a way that was meant to be permanent. Does that sound enigmatic to you? Good.

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Lorraine Corscadden

April 9, 2010 Comments off

Good to hear from you, Braveheart. I’m impressed by your old man’s powers of concentration.

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Billy f*cking Payne

April 9, 2010 Comments off

Tiger’s back. Now 149 other PGA Tour card-holders can breathe much more easily, with their cash-cow returned to the pasture. Hopefully he and Mrs Woods will come to private terms over a matter than was never public business in the first place, and we can all concentrate on him doing what he really does best.

Most hopefully of all, we will near no more of Mr Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, who so forgot himself in his opening remarks at this week’s Masters that he took it upon himself to  deliver a public lecture to one of his honoured guests and past champions, an outburst so presumptuous, out of place and offensive that even the establishment BBC’s commentary figures, who have good need to be nice to the Augusta Committee, were moved to comment on it.

Here’s how it is Billy. Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods and you’re just the chairman of a bunch of rich guys from Georgia whose ancestors managed to build their connections with another rich guy, Bobby Jones, into a modern major golf championship, even though it shouldn’t be since it’s an invitation event not open, with those entry passes in the hands of Billy and his ilk. You are of no real consequence, and neither are your views.

As I write, Tiger is four under after four holes of the second round. After such a tie away, he’ll struggle to win, but I hope he does, if only to see the look on Mr Payne’s face. Such are the arcane rules of the place that the ill-fitting, bad taste green blazer  that is the winner’s only trophy can’t be taken out of the club. (Here’s your prize buddy, but you can’t have it. Jack Nicklaus has six; I wonder if even one shows any sign of wear.) That’s a pity, because I’m pretty sure that if the Tiger could take one home, he’d use it to polish the Escalade . . . or maybe he’d give it to Stevie; that would really wind them up.

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Gillian Dickinson

April 4, 2010 Comments off

I’m coming to London, but only for a meeting. Be back again soon, though. By the way, you can be as extravagant as you like.

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Colonel Raymond A Kessler Jr.

Thank you, Colonel, and yes, we surely do. We Scots regard that as a form of punctuation, an alternative hyphen. Indeed I’ve known people who could slip two of them into a single word. I appreciate your suggestion, but I’m not about to accede, I’m afraid. I have to tell you that US police ranks are just as complex, probably more so since you have a much more complicated network of forces and agencies, but I can’t recall a single American colleague doing on his work what you suggest I do on mine. The lack of such a foreword has never impeded my enjoyment of anyone’s story-telling. Surely it’s how the characters inter-relate that matters most, not where they’re placed on the ladder?

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Joan and Donald

April 4, 2010 Comments off

Twin blasts from the past, half a century ago. Christ, we’re old. Of course I’m me. Who else would I be? I remember you well from those days, when the west of Scotland moved east for the month of July. Much of my childhood was spent huddled behind a windbreak on the Donkey Beach, which I can now see across the water, every time I walk my grand-dog. (If you want to meet him, look me up on Facebook.) I’ve lost touch with everyone from those days, the survivors, that is. Robin Austin died in a plane crash in 1968, and my friend Kenny Crawford, whom you might also remember, left us about fifteen years ago. I haven’t seen Charlie Shearer in that time either. What took you to Saint Lucia, Joan? A friend of mine is from that island.

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