Thoughts on My Birthday

ITEM: An email arrives from a publisher with the Subject line, “The truth behind the most infamous criminals in history”, and one of the books being touted just happens to be Parliament: A Biography.

From the mouths of babes and advertising copy writers…

ITEM: Recently I was travelling on a bus with The Actual Girlfriend, and we saw a road sign that read “Studs Removed”.

After dismissing various alternatives as to its meaning, I casually remarked that the bus would be stopped and they’d make me get off.

It was meant to be funny, but not that funny.

ITEM: While cruising YouTube I stumbled across this video of Cher performing If I Could Turn Back Time:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AldUzWWq8iQ

I can vaguely recall watching this on TV when it first came out, and being mightily taken with the lady’s appearance (euphemism).

Now, at age sixty one, she sort of reminds me of Alice Cooper, only with worse dress sense.

Oh, the perils and disenchantments of growing old.

ITEM: Little things that annoy a lot – the person in Poundland Dereham who comes along and turns all the DVDs so that they are facing front, when any idiot will tell you that from a consumer viewpoint being able to quickly run your eyes over the titles on the case spines is the desiderata.

Also annoying, and staying with the DVD theme, when shops place their money off stickers over a vital piece of information, such as running time or the names of cast and directors.

And the fact that the lawnmower, having dutifully performed to specification over the course of trimming four strips of lawn, then conks out when all I have left is one tiny rectangle of grass at the back of my bungalow.

Not as annoying though as when after I’ve spent twenty minutes trying to get the bloody thing to start, my brother-in-law comes over to help and it starts first time.

ITEM: I’m glad to learn that the World Fantasy Award statuette will no longer be modelled after the image of H. P. Lovecraft.

If the horror/fantasy genre wishes to be seen as inclusive and welcoming, as valuing diversity and differing points of view, then I’d suggest an award that could potentially alienate and insult more than half the world’s population is really not the way to go.

That seems like an obvious truth, and all those arguing against the World Fantasy committee’s decision, whether they are dismissing it with that old chestnut of “political correctness gone mad”, claiming that it disrespects tradition, or playing the fear of censorship card, are shouting into the wind.

Yes, Lovecraft was a great writer and somebody whose influence on genre fiction can’t be understated, both by virtue of his own work and the encouragement he gave to so many others.

And yet he was also undeniably a racist, and even by the standards of his time an extremist.

Nobody that I’ve seen, apart from a few scaremongers in the nay camp, is suggesting that HPL’s fiction will no longer be read or his name excised from the canon. Let’s celebrate Lovecraft and his work by all means, but not with eyes closed to his faults as a human being, or making excuses for them simply because we want our heroes to be untarnished.

ITEM: Today is my birthday. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but hopefully it will involve TAG and a hot tub.

I’m not that old.

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