On the writing front, I managed to complete the first draft of the third novel in the Southsiders series. Better still, I got to sit and chat with Allan Guthrie about it and he's managed to give me ideas that completely improve the story. I realise how valuable it is to be able to talk through ideas and I'm amazed at the way Al can see the whole and the small pieces all at the same time in a way that means he can cut through the work and shine a light into the darkness. He has a real gift for that and it's one you can see in his work.
Last night, Dunbar's Film Society showed The Grand Budapest Hotel. I almost didn't go along as I'm not a big fan of Wes Anderson's work. I was, however, pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. There's lots of great comedy and the balance of substance and style is about right. I'd actually recommend a watch even if you're lukewarm about it just now. Pretty good.
Better than that, though, last night's BBC4 programme on Joy Division (the link will take you to the iPlayer). I only got back in time for the second half, but was taken back to places I'd forgotten and to music I've always loved. Joy Division played in the Preston Warehouse at a time when I'd not found my gigging legs. I was just a bit too young. I did get to see New Order at Blackpool on their first UK tour and that almost made up for it. If you're a music fan, check it out.
Reading has provided a number of treats.
Worm by Anthony Neil Smith is a classy crime novel set in American oilfields. It's hard and uncompromising, as well as gripping.
Berlin Burning is a fine novella by Damien Seaman set in Berlin in the early 1930s. It's a very good book that deserves attention. It is a police procedural in the sense that the protagonists are detectives, but it's also much more than that. Damien did a really good interview with me over at Sea Minor this week. He also has another couple of great posts that I'll put up later this week. One's a personal take on James Ellroy, the other about free speech.
Another amazing read is Uncle Dust, put out by the excellent All Due Respect. It's a tale of a small time bank robber who has troubles with his domestic life. It's highly recommended.
A short story for you, should you feel in the mood. Over at Shotgun Honey this week was a piece by Sharae Allen called Meeting. It's low key and has a kick - a good combination. It's also written by a special ed teacher from Brooklyn, so I feel some affinity there. If you write flash crime fiction, Shotgun Honey is a great site for an outlet. check them out.
A few music tracks to finish. Zefur Wolves are Welsh and make a great sound. I heard a track called No Borders by them and think it will be out soon. And a lovely piece by Melanie De Biasio called I Feel You will chill your day.