Thoughts for a Thursday Evening #4

ITEM: It’s been a crap week so far, for a whole variety of reasons, but mainly owing to an unlooked for and unwelcome development in the matter of Pete’s health. Last weekend I got bitten by an insect, or so I thought, and a rather nasty place developed low down on the left side of my back. On Tuesday I stopped being stoical and suffering in silence, and nipped down to the village surgery for the nurse to take a look at it, and she rubber stamped my sister’s diagnosis of an abscess. Hmph!

Cue a course of antibiotics and dressing over the ‘wound’, which so inconveniently happened to be just where the waistband of my trousers are, meaning it chafes every time I move and causes a stinging sensation, and there’s accompanying chills, headache etc. Hmph! again.

It’s not until late afternoon today that things have started to ease up, presumably due to the antibiotics kicking in. Hurrah!

You may feel sorry for me should you wish, but please remember that sympathy, like so many other things, is best expressed in chocolate.

ITEM: I have a curious predisposition to all things black, and yet today in QD I was surprised to discover a bundle of black face towels. It all seemed rather decadent. Positively Des Esseintes, one could even say.

ITEM: So, I pick up the phone and the man with the Indian accent is on the other end of the line and claiming to be ringing from Windows Service Department. He wants to know if I know that there are viruses on my computer. I told him that no, I didn’t know that, but I did know that some unscrupulous types were ringing up people and telling them this as a ploy to get their financial details.

‘Fuck off then,’ he said.


It’s payback for last week when I got shirty with the late night caller.

ITEM: And, staying with last week’s themes, I bumped into another celebrity double, a man who, apart from being slightly pudgy and having a wart on his nose, was the spitting image of the actor Derek De Lint.

This is relevant because I recently picked up a cheap box set of Poltergeist: The Legacy which I used to watch when it was shown in the early days of Channel 5 and recall enjoying somewhat, though sadly I’m not quite so taken with it now. Okay, the first episode where Rachel gives birth to a demon child that drags her round the room by the umbilical chord was fun, but after that the rest seems so anticlimactic.

ITEM: A handy hint to all writers wondering how to respond to a negative review – reviewers are nice people, and often suffer pangs of guilt when we diss your work. It’s something we feel obliged to do from a sense of duty rather than for pleasure. If you remain polite and thank us for taking an interest in your writing, then the chances are you’ll make us feel really, really bad.

Contrarily, if you have a strop and throw all your toys out of the pram, then at that point we cease to give a shit. We stop feeling guilty and instead feel justified. Retroactively, by your bad behaviour, you vindicate us.

ITEM: The history teacher once asked me ‘Tennant, how do you spell Catherine’, and I replied, ‘Correctly sir, how do you spell it?’ I then proceeded to spell it wrongly.

Being a smartarse is bad enough, but to fail at being a smartarse is truly tragic.

ITEM: Contrary to plan, I didn’t bother watching Titanic last weekend to mark the centenary of the ship’s sinking. All things considered, I decided that I really didn’t want to see Kate Winslett’s breasts that badly.

Tomorrow however, I shall almost certainly mark the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death by reading The Lair of the White Worm.

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12 Responses to Thoughts for a Thursday Evening #4

  1. Oh, I feel oddly more annoyed for you about that caller’s rudeness than the fact he was trying to rob you in the first place. My priorities must be out of whack!

  2. Get well soon, Pete.
    I agree with your bit about negative reviews. Good job that is not the way I ever act myself as a writer.

    • petertennant says:

      Cheers Des. The good news is, my abscess has burst and is now oozing foulness all over the joint, or it would be if it weren’t for the dressing.
      As a horror aficianado, it’s always slightly disappointing when something squamous and with teeth doesn’t pop out of your wounds 😉

      • I feel empathy as well as sympathy, as I’ve just been on two courses of antibiotics for a boil on the back or my neck (or an infected cyst, possibly yet to be investigated). Fortunately, the antibiotics seem to have killed the infection … for now.

  3. petertennant says:

    Mild synchronicity Des – I’ve had a cyst on the back of my neck for going on thirty years now, though it’s never acted up or caused any concern, other than the initial ‘what the hell, there’s a lump on the back of my neck’ frisson on discovery.
    Full recoveries to us both, say I.

  4. Ray Cluley says:

    Get well wishes to both of you, then.

    Great advice about the reviews – do you think the reverse is true? I tend to thank people for nice ones but I don’t want to seem like a suck-up brown-nosing creep.

    As for the smart-arse comment, a teacher friend of mine was corrected by a student in class. ‘Are you trying to be clever?’ the teacher said back, to which the student replied, ‘Well, yes.’ Classic.
    (PS. When I say corrected, I don’t mean it in a Grady from ‘The Shining’ sense.)

    • petertennant says:

      Hi Ray. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with politely thanking a reviewer, though going too far can undermine the point of the exercise. I’ve had writers acclaim my intelligence and insight, and smiled in gratification at that, and honestly I don’t doubt their sincerity when doing so, but at the same time I often feel acutely aware that this sort of recognition hinges on my having rubber stamped their genius. Cynical, moi?
      I think the important thing, for both writers and reviewers, is to remember that, though they may benefit from them, reviews are not written for the benefit of writers, but to help undecided readers determine if they want to sample a particular book/magazine etc. That’s the mission statement, and the main principle on which reviewers should base their work, not winning praise from writers or doing them a service. Our only obligation to writers is to be fair.

  5. categardner says:

    Ouch! Maybe if you covered it in melted chocolate it wouldn’t hurt so much.

    Oh, I love your answer to your teacher, but what I don’t love is that you didn’t know how to spell my name.

    • petertennant says:

      Nice idea with the melted chocolate Cate, but where chocolate is concerned sooner or later my primal instincts cut in, and I’d put my back out trying to lick a body part that isn’t within easy range of my mouth.

      I can spell your name Cate. It’s the Empress of Russia I had difficulty with.

  6. We watched quite a bit of Poltergeist: the Legacy too. Mainly because Channel 5 was one fifth of our total channels in those days… It was a nice novelty to have a genre programme on for two hours in prime time.

    • petertennant says:

      Yeah, there was definitely something to be said for a genre programme in a prime time slot, but with hindsight I wonder if the novelty of that caused us to value it more than we would otherwise. I’m enjoying the episodes as I revisit, but at the same time a lot of the blush has gone, with characters that now seem almost stereotyped and formulaic plots, narrative strands that seem to be forgotten or mislaid between episodes (I think something like three of the first eight episodes have ended with Philip leaving The Legacy, but he’s back next time around with no explanation).

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