Archive

Author Archive

No!

August 17, 2017 2 comments

I’ve just finished the best new read I’ve had this year, ‘Fatal Sunset’, the sixth in a brilliant series of crime novels featuring anarchist Valencia detective, Chief Inspector Max Cámara, the creation of my friend Jason Webster.

I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Jason a few years ago, at Bloody Scotland. We’ve kept in touch and since then I’ve been following his career and that of Max, with great interest. There are three essential elements in crime fiction, location, characterisation and plotting, and Jason scores top marks in all three.

Each of the Cámara novels is a work of art, and there is very little that’s predictable in any of them, but the ending of ‘Fatal Sunset’ took even me by surprise.

Will there be another? Only Jason knows that, but hopefully his ever growing army of fans, will persuade him, and his fortunate publishers, that there must.

Categories: General

There’s not a team like the Progres Niederkorn . . .

I had no idea that Luxembourg football had advanced so far.

Categories: Sport

Tasteless

July 5, 2017 1 comment

BBC Breakfast this morning made a child survivor of Grenfell Tower cry on camera then broadcast it, with the participation and apparent approval of her father.

The point being?

Categories: General

Trump lawyer targets poor for donations to fight Obamacare via charity that pays his family millions

June 28, 2017 1 comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Going to need more of these post-Brexit.

Categories: Uncategorized

Jeremy Corbyn calls for unity in Glastonbury speech

June 24, 2017 1 comment

How many more times? He lost. He f*cking lost.

Categories: Politics

Erin Hills | eddiepepperell

June 21, 2017 1 comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Empathy

Portugal forest fires: Three days of mourning for 62 victims

Categories: General

The Queen’s (hidden) Message

June 17, 2017 5 comments

HM got it right again. There is a sombre national mood, after the Westminster Bridge attack,  Manchester, London Bridge, and now the Grenfell Tower fire. Tragedies, all of them, occurring against the background of the most divisive und ultimately pointless General Election campaign in living memory.

At a time when we should be drawing together as a nation, we are being driven apart by the continuing political shambles and the petty point scoring that goes with it. That’s why this morning I find myself contemplating the unthinkable.

Nobody wants another election right now. Very few really want to see the Conservative Party doing a cheap deal with the fundamentalist wing of Northern Irish politics to retain a Commons majority. Therefore, given everything that has gone on recently and given what is to come in the near future, I wonder if the time has come to seek stability through a government of national unity, with the Tories and Labour declaring a truce and burying their differences for the period of a five year parliament, tackling the Brexit negotiations as a nation rather than a faction, and pursuing an agenda for all the people not simply for those on whatever side of the political divide comes out on top.

I don’t imagine that Mrs May would head such a government. She’s a busted flush. Neither could Jeremy Corbyn because he didn’t win the seats. But I could see him as deputy Prime Minister, behind a sensible, strong and acceptable Tory leader, for example, Michael Fallon. McDonnell as Chancellor, no. Vince Cable? Maybe. Home Secretary? Boris? Why not?

In five years normal hostilities would resume, but one would hope with the various parties showing more respect for each other than we have seen in the last two months.

Off the wall thinking, I know, but has its time come?

Categories: General, Politics

Initiative

Categories: Uncategorized

Update

June 12, 2017 2 comments

IMG_0142

This needs updating; delete ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’, insert ‘Tory’ and ‘Labour’. This year the principle should be the  same.

Categories: General, Pics, Politics

Bye

June 11, 2017 3 comments

I’ve just deleted Facebook from my phone. The thing has become toxic. When you waken up on a Sunday and find a bloke who took the Daily Express shilling for years banging on about pro-Corbyn polls, it’s time to go.

Categories: General, Politics

Update

News for Bob’s followers: Skinner 28, officially titled ‘State Secrets’, with thanks to Marion Donaldson, my brilliant editor, is scheduled for publication on October 19. Meanwhile the paperback edition of Game Over is due in bookshops on September 7.
 
For those who can’t wait and like ebooks, there’s also the reincarnation of Oz Blackstone, in two short stories on Amazon, Born to be Wild, and The Last Chickenpig, to be followed next Thursday, by a third, The Quasimodo Trunk.
Categories: General

From the jaws . . .

It’s pretty obvious to those who did not know that neither David Cameron nor Theresa May were lawyers. Had they been, they would have been aware of the first law of cross-examination: Never ask a question unless you know the answer.

First Dave with his EU Referendum, which he thought he’d win handily. Now Theresa with the snap election that all the polls told her she would walk. The lesson? Unless you have it written in blood, take noting for granted.

It’s okay for Dave; he ran away from the mess he’d made, to trouser ridiculous sums of money on the high-level speaking circuit. Not so easy for Theresa; while she didn’t win the election she didn’t exactly lose it either. The Conservatives lost their absolute majority, nevertheless they won almost sixty seats more than the second largest party, and with the support of the DUP in Northern Ireland, and the continuing abstention of the Sinn Fein members, they seem virtually certain to form the next Government. Theresa could nail it down by sticking Vince Cable into the Treasury, a job he’d take for sure, as the LibDems have always been for sale to the highest bidder.

There were supposedly clever people on telly this morning, supposed experts, who declared that we have returned to the two-party state. They are idiots, because when no party can command a majority without the support or acquiescence of others, then manifestly that cannot be the case.

No question, Jeremy Corbyn fronted an excellent campaign . . . okay, he was helped by the political vacuum that the Tories presented . . . and he thumbed his nose at most of the tabloid media, but he didn’t win. There are people today who are trumpeting the result as the biggest upset since Clay beat Liston, but it isn’t because he came nowhere near to walking away with the title. This morning I heard the staff at Labour HQ singing ‘One Jeremy Corbyn, there’s only one Jeremy Corbyn’, but the majority of us are still thinking ‘Thank Christ for that!’ As for that smug smile that he’s been wearing for the last forty-eight hours or so, I prefer the sour-faced bastard that he really is.

When Labour come face to face with reality they will realise, that even though they captured and mobilised the youth vote, and rode on the crest of a wave, they are a stonking sixty-five seats short of an absolute Commons majority, and won one hundred and fifty seven seats fewer than did Labour under Tony Blair in 1997.

FACT: Labour under Corbyn is still not electable, not by a long way.

Yesterday, I said to a friend who is an elder statesman of the Labour movement, and who campaigned hard in what he always knew would be a losing cause, that I hoped to see his party rediscovering itself in the wake of this defeat. I still do, but I could say the same to my Tory and SNP friends. (I don’t have any Lib Dem friends.)

Theresa’s going to see the Queen in two hours. I’d love to be a fly on that wall.

 

Categories: Politics

Oz and son, on the trail

The promise will be kept: the third Oz Blackstone short, The Quasimodo Trunk, will be published on Amazon in ebook format next Thursday, June 15, and will be available for pre-order worldwide very soon. If you need to catch up, its predecessors, Born to be Wild, and The Last Chickenpig, are live and available in the same place.

Categories: General

Stifling a yawn, . . . 

Since the programme for Bloody Scotland was published a few days ago, I’ve been asked by a few people why I won’t be there.

The short answer is, I don’t really know. I was available, as I have been for every year of Bloody Scotland’s blessed existence save one when my wife was recuperating from illness, but the feedback one of my supporters was given by the Director, my good friend Big Bob, was that this year the committee had decided to ‘rest me’.

Well this is how it plays. I’ve been active, and moderately successful, in Scottish crime fiction since some of the emerging talent, for whom, make no mistake, I have great admiration and respect, were in primary school, or maybe even being toilet trained. Given that, maybe ‘the committee’ can be forgiven for believing that I’m tired! For the record, I’m not. I was out tonight and bumped into a Welsh mate of mine. He and I are kindred spirits of the same age and temperament, and he was there with his two year-old.

For the last two years I’ve been working my nuts off adding four more Skinner books to the Scottish crime catalogue, which, I believe, promotes us all. Between those I’m presently working on a short story that I’m loving and which I hope will nudge the envelope still further. Maybe I will tire soon, but at my age all you can do is keep going until you hit the buffers, like Thomas the Tank Engine in my grandson’s favourite story book.

Is QJ annoyed by missing Bloody Scotland this year? He’s so fucking annoyed that he’s starting to refer to himself in the Third person, and trust me, that’s always a bad sign. (Doesn’t prevent him from wishing everyone involved success and a weekend of packed events, though.)

Got to go now. It’s a holiday where I am and I’m off out clubbing.

Categories: General

Teatime

Categories: Uncategorized

Alves: Barca still in my blood

Read this and share, please. Inspirational.

http://www.skysports.com/share/10900477

Categories: Sport

A living legend

My dear wife is from England. We were discussing telly and stuff tonight when I mentioned a name unfamiliar to her. Any Scot of a certain age will remember her, though, the lady who blazed the trail for Jackie Bird, Hazel Irvine and many others. I had the joy of meeting her once: she was as regal and downright nice off screen as on. I offer you the legend,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Marquis

Categories: General

Shock tactics

If I was Lynton Crosby, or whoever is pouring honey into Theresa May’s ear, around three hours ago, I’d have said to her, ‘Okay this is what you do. You change into a severe dark trouser suit and fuck me shoes, you get your ass up to Cambridge as quietly as is possible, and at the very last minute you walk on stage, look Corbyn in the eye, say “Be careful what you wish for,” then do to him what you do every week in the Commons.

‘Then when he accuses you of being the Lady who’s for Turning, you smile and say, “No, Jeremy, I’m your flexible friend.” That will be enough; you can leave the debate to the rest of them .’

But it ain’t going to happen,

Categories: Politics