Allotment 2015

This is the first day this year we’ve ventured to the allotment. It’s always the worst day – it’s more about cleaning up from winter than gardening. But it was still satisfying. We managed to prune, compost, and put down plenty of woodchips for the path. That in itself made a huge psychological difference.

So nothing growing yet, but it’s ready to go. And I’d forgotten just how good and real the aches actually feel.


If I Die on Mars

This is a genuinely fascinating video from the Guardian. “Three volunteers are on the shortlist to be among four people on the Mars One programme, the first manned space flight to Mars – a one-way trip that’s effectively a suicide mission. A physics student in the UK, a young doctor from Mozambique and an Iraqi-American woman, all happy to sacrifice their futures for a place in history. Why do they want to leave Earth, and who are they leaving behind? As the list of potential Mars explorers is whittled down further on 16 February, meet those competing to be the first to land on the Red Planet.

As much as we’re making a mess of Earth, I do quite like it. So I doubt I could ever have the will to do this trip to Mars. But it’s a great video to see who might.


Adam Curtis on Last Year’s News

A brilliant look at the hidden narratives behind the chaos of last year’s news, which was part of Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe. I intended to post this earlier in the month, but I wasn’t sure how long it would be left up on YouTube. It’s still there. I really cannot wait to see Curtis’ new documentary series soon, which will be only available on iPlayer (giving him more creative freedom).


Game Soundtracks

Kotaku has a list of the best game soundtracks from last year. I think it’s always worth highlighting some of these, as they make for excellent writing music (especially the Destiny game, which they highlighted). I’ve written a couple of lists myself over the years, largely film-based, but I’ve recently been enjoying a mix of old and new computer game soundtracks.

The Elder Scrolls IV and V (Oblivion and Skyrim) are absolutely superb for writing fantasy fiction, as is the Dead Space franchise and Dragon Age. Assassins Creed knock out tons of soundtracks, but can feel a bit same-y after a while. Some of the old World of Warcraft soundtracks can be fun as well.

Anything good I’m missing out on?


“ Post-democracy refers to our neutron-bomb politics, in which the old structures, such as elections and parliaments, remain standing, but are uninhabited by political power. Power has shifted to other forums, unamenable to public challenge ”

- George Monbiot in the Guardian -

Latest Whisky Reviews

You know the score by now. One of the reasons I’m blogging less here is to build up my whisky site, which is going pretty well now. Well over 20,000 page views last month, so there’s plenty of interest. Plus I’m getting samples as well as invites to stuff. I’m also spending a lot of my Twitter time there too, which is a bit more liberating.

Anyway, some recent reviews.

Before Christmas I enjoyed a 43 Year Old whisky from Glenglassaugh. I didn’t enjoy a whisky that had been distilled behind the Iron Curtain. I did enjoy a very nice Bruichladdich, which is the whisky equivalent of a limited edition signed by the author. I enjoyed this single grain whisky from Japan, and reviewed three new Aultmore single malt whiskies (highly recommended). Bonus whisky book review.

For those of you concerned about my drinking habits, when I’m tasting a lot of the time I don’t actually ‘drink’ the whisky – just swirl it around the mouth and then use a spittoon as if sampling wines.