Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Booker T and the MGs

It all started for me with that fabulous ‘Green Onions’, recorded in 1962.  An R&B classic.

It knocked me out when I heard it. They were a fabulously tight band and certainly made a statement back in the early sixties both as the Stax house band behind all those brilliant Soul acts and the fact that they were a multicultural band. I just loved Steve Cropper’s guitar sound.

When I was in Memphis I visited Stax Studios. Awesome.

Arriving in Manilla – the reception – Photos

I think they’d made a mistake. They had mistaken our little ship for one of those massive cruise liners. We slipped into the harbour with three fire tugs spurting water! There were stilt-walkers, musicians and dancers – all in elaborate costumes (some obviously bought from the local pound store). We’d never received such an elaborate welcome.

Looking back I suppose they were employed by the port to welcome a string of cruise ships. We just happened to arrive when no others were there and so received the full works.

It was fun and bemusing.

There were a number of musical instruments that I’d never even seen before. It was great to hear and see, even if it wasn’t exactly my thing.

God’s Bolt and Reawakening – the Character Helen Southcote.

The initial idea was to attempt to write a novel with just one character. The character, my heroine, was Helen Southcote.

I had to have a setting for her to be stranded on her own and so I chose the Space Station. This was the future and the world had been brought back from the brink of environmental disaster. The population had been reduced to four billion and nature, conserved in huge swathes of pristine habitat, now thrived.

Helen was raised in the countryside is what had been England. She ran wild with her two brothers and developed a love of nature. Her parents were extremely gifted. Her father being a biologist working for the food agency and her mother a biochemist who worked from her laboratory at home legally creating recreational drugs.

Helen was a vibrant, inquisitive girl. I based a lot of her early experiences on my own childhood. The caterpillars, snakes and wildlife were my experiences. The competition with her brothers and her dare-devil tree-climbing was my daughter.

I made her compassionate, highly intelligent, studious, a completer-finisher and problem-solver, but with a reckless, fun-loving nature. She was very able and obsessively hard-working but also knew how to party. She was sexually active (necessary as part of the plot) and indulged in the psychoactive drugs her mother produced (all safe and legal). Her personality was warm and extrovert. She fell in love easily and developed close relationships with all sexes and ages. She was very gregarious.

Helen was a communicator, exceedingly self-confident and charismatic, able to charm a large audience in a symposium or perform successfully within a small team.

Instead of becoming a biologist, as might have been predicted from her early life, she was turned on to Physics by one of those inspiring teachers that turn up to change the course of one’s life. She became interested in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Carl Sagan became her hero. It was through this that she entered into a career in SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. That is what had taken her to the Space Station.

At the time of the destruction of the Earth Helen was still a young girl. She found herself alone, the last surviving human being. I wanted to examine how such a terrible event and horrendous future, with its certainty of being completely alone, with no purpose in sight, might impact on the psychology of such a person.

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The Corona Diaries – Day 101

Well, today is the last day before everything opens – pubs, restaurants. hotels and hairdressers. Tomorrow it’s back to normal. The flights are back and the schools are opening. It’ll be like Coronaq never happened!

Or will it?

Well, we’ve seen in Texas, where the Trump minions are in denial and social distancing ios a commie plot – the virus is going through the roof. Even Trump is beginning to advocate facemasks. He’s so behind in the polls there is talk of him not standing. That would be interesting. It looks like Corona, and his own ineptitude has burst his bubble. They’ll take the Republicans down with him. What a shame about all those religious nutters.

Will we follow the same pattern once our own brand of loonies is out and about? I reckon so.

Johnson is taking a risk. I hope he’ll do the right thing and resign if it goes pear-shaped. But then he’s got Dominic Cummings as a role model. His father galivants off to Greece in defiance of the rules. But then we all know the rules are only intended for us peasants. That bunch of privileged wankers are exempt.

So I continue in isolation. Over a hundred days of solitude. Didn’t Gabriel García Márquez write about that? Oh no – it was a hundred years – let’s hope not!

Today I painted the front room and played Dead Kennedys. Then I walked my ten kilometres up my hill. I haven’t done much writing but the ideas are flowing. This solitude takes its toll on your disposition.

So stay safe! Don’t go to the pub – leave that to the loonies.

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – The Dead Kennedy’s

I think I need perking up with a bit of American Punk. I also need a bit of Jello Biafra’s hard-hitting poetry. This was a band with attitude. I like that!

So today I am decorating and playing it loud!!

I just love the piss-take of Thatcher and the US WAR Department:

 

Borneo – volcanoes and sunsets. Photos.

Sailing along the coast of Borneo in the evening as majestic volcanoes poke through the cloud layer. The sun slowly sets to bathe sea and land with orange, purple and yellow.

I stared at the landscape as we sailed by and imagined all the creatures living in those rainforests, creatures now under great threat. Within the beauty is a great sadness.

Green – A Sci-Fi novel – The character Elspin Murkedly.

Green – The character Elspin Murkedly.

This character was formed out of the central philosophical idea of the book. What is reality? I was obsessed with both reality and infinity. It led me to reading up a lot of psychology and astrophysics.

I wondered if the universe inside one’s head is infinite, as infinite as the world outside.

I wondered if that world of imagination was real.

I wondered what reality would be like if there was no connection to the outside reality.

I created Elspin Murkedly. I placed her in the future. She was conceived on a fabulous planet but a fault with the hyperdrive on the return journey created a major catastrophe in the developing embryo that would become Elspin. While her central nervous system developed her peripheral nervous failed. She was incredibly intelligent but that well-developed brain was not connected to any sensory apparatus. She had no knowledge of the outside world, what we call reality. Her reality was in her head.

Elspin was kept alive on a life support machine. To the outside world, she was lifeless but inside she had a vibrant life in a colourful internal universe. The trick was to make her a real person even though she could not interact with people or the world outside, she still had to have a personality. Elspin moved in a world of vibrant colours – and she was green.

I enjoyed writing about that world. I used a poetic style. I also enjoyed giving her a personality. Elspin is playful, inquisitive and contented. Elspin was the entire reason for this story. I built everything else around her. She came to life. One of the plots involved the care and love of her mother. Could she be contacted? What would happen?

Interestingly, the subplots also came to life. Outside, in reality, there was a world of strife and catastrophe.

Who would prevail?

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

In the UK:

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In India:

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In Canada:

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In Germany:

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In Australia

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Or from your local Amazon Store.