Monday, November 15, 2010


For all those NaNoWriMo writers that find themselves a little bit behind the eight ball at the beginning of this week, I sympathise. I have a deadline - 23 November to be exact - and what I have to attempt to achieve between now and then looks like Lilian Parade used to look like every day after school back in the nineties - one bloody steep hill. Actually, it still is a bloody steep hill.

But it has to be done and it will be done. Having a short term deadline is quite liberating in a way, makes you focus on the task at hand. There's no room for - "I'll do it tomorrow." Nope. It has to be done today, has to be done tonight.

I won't be doing much else other than work and writing for the next week and a bit, all in an attempt to get something worth reading to my in-house editor.

Shame I'll miss all this lovely weather.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

my National Novel Writing Month

It's November (again?!) and that can only mean one thing - NaNoWriMo!!! Or for those not in the know - National Novel Writing Month. This is the month when everyone in the whole world sits down and tries to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel in one month. Well, everyone who wants to anyway.

I performed this mean task back in 2008 to much success and I thoroughly recommend it to any budding or established writer out there. It's fun too - in retrospect.

I don't know too many people doing it this year, but I do know that my friend Heidi is giving it a crack - so best of luck Heidi!!! And good luck to everyone else too!

As for me, despite the title of this post, no, I am not involved in NaNo this year. However, my November will be filled with writing and novels as well - just not on a national scale.

What's up then? Tell me more.

Well, this month, I will be working my guts out to complete a draft of my novel for my in-house editor by November 23. I have decided that she needs to read it, even if I am only 80-90% happy with it. It's about time someone other than me read this monstrosity!!! And a monster it is too. So fingers crossed on that one.

On non-related news, I still plan to add my Ibiza diaries to the webisphere - currently waiting on Day 6 - but it looks like they will form part of a whole new project that I will release shortly.

Can't keep up writing one blog? Why not try two?!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

EIVISSA - siesta break

I am taking a break from posting EIVISSA updates for at least this weekend.


Because I am heading back to that lovely Baleric Island for the Ibiza Closing Parties!!

So, when I eventually get up to date with this recount of our trip to EIVISSA back in May, I will tag on a few more days - EIVISSA in Sep/Oct!!

It's party time!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EIVISSA - talamanca, tapas, and tardy transport - day 5

Another beautiful morning, waking again to the sound of waves - will I ever get sick of this? I doubt it.

It's an earlier start then usual for no other reason except we all got to bed at a reasonable time last night. Kathy is running along the same route we took yesterday. I've already hung up my runners. Tam is swimming in the ocean, cutting the water like a dolphin or something. I can see her from the balcony - only if I squint and raise my hand. Need sunglasses quick smart.

I can feel my cold coming on a bit stronger now, a little sore throat, a few sniffles and a head full of muck. But I'll power on.

Plans are afoot to take to the cars today. After lunch, we are heading towards Ibiza town and the ferries, keen to catch one to the small island of Formentera. Supposed to be nice.

It's Tuesday today - surprised that I know this. Probably to do with the fact that our final member of the Ibiza Party Crew is arriving tonight from London, aboard the jewel of easyjet's extensive fleet. No doubt the flight will be late, but you never know.

Hard to get everyone organised when we are in such a relaxed mode, but we are finally on our way: a two car train winding along the roads of Ibiza's countryside, destination: Ibiza Town!

And we're late. Too late for the ferry to Formentera. Next one is around four and that won't work either. A shame, but we are in a relaxed mood, so we shrug it off and think of options. Map out, tourist books out, coming up with Plan B.

Talamanca: a small beach just around the corner from Ibiza Town. Close by and easy to get to - that'll do. And it's not too bad, if lacking a little bit of soul. The sands are nice, the water inviting and there's enough bare breasts and tight dick togs about to cater for everyone's tastes. We pull up a couple of umbrellas and lounge chairs, paying the roving money grabber for the privilege.

Harry and Christy are digging in the sand, making holes, making sand castles, using whatever they can get their hands on. Sounds like they are having a good time, despite lacking the required instruments for serious sand castling.

Three tanned, muscle bound, gay men in ball hugging speedos enter and exit the water, one at a time, Daniel Craig style. I wander in also, sans steroid pecs and super size tackle. Our resident married couple plus one wade into the water. The frisbee from the villa gets thrown around. The water's fr-fr-freezing. We return to the beach.

After a few hours, we decide it's time to go our separate ways. Tam, Christy, Paul and Harry will be returning back to San Vincente for dinner and wine at the villa. Kathy and I are heading into Ibiza Town to kill time before heading to the airport. We will also suss out the car park situation in the Town for a potential re-attempt at the ferries tomorrow - but to a different location this time.

Adios to one and all!

Ibiza Town is buzzing with cars, people and tourism. Driving through its one way streets and narrow alleyways is not fun at all. Actually, I'm not driving, Kathy is, but co-ordinating the search for a car park using a map from Lonely Planet is no easy gig either. We find one car park, a dusty old, disused block where a hundred cars have parked in no semblance of order. After some careful negotiation and foolhardy swearing, we decide to look elsewhere. We find a smaller car park which, by luck, has a spare spot.

It's close to six and Ibiza town is winding down. The streets aren't full, mainly due to the fact that we are one week away from busy season. The bus loads won't be arriving for another few days. It's a pleasant wander through the old Town. A bit of shopping is required first: shorts for me (I've been wearing jeans or bathers these past few days) and some sand digging tools for Harry (as requested by Paul and Christy). We are successful on both counts, including a rocking beach kit for Harry.

Text 1: Easyjet flight delayed by an hour.

More time to kill. But not to worry, there's plenty of stuff to discover. We pass disco themed shops for Space and DC10, wander through a shopping and entertainment district that can only be custom made for chavs, and take a stroll along the water line. Returning back a different way, we walk down a street that's filled with gay bars and cafes. See three bronzed gay guys at one of the outside tables - could be the blokes from Talamanca, but hard to recognise them with their packages safely tucked away.

A little bit early for dinner, so we head to the small port in Ibiza Town that services a few small ferry services and a number of private boats. Sitting on the bench near the water, we check out maps and ferry times to places such as Platja d'en Bossa. A few confirming calls to the gang back at San Vincente (who are having a merry old time on the red wine) and we decide the ferries can wait for another day. Instead, Kathy and I devise a smorgasbord of beaches for tomorrow which is met with approval by all.

Time for dinner: at the recommendation of our villa hosts (via their very informative welcome pack), we seek out La Bodega, a restaurant situated at one of the gates to the Dalt Villa. It's nice and warm out and the sun is on the cusp of bedding down for the night, so its perfect for a romantic meal. It takes some time to find the place but worth it in the end. We settle down to some beautiful tapas and lush sangria.

Text 2: Flight delayed again, another hour.

More beautiful tapas, more lush sangria. Around ten, we decide we can't hang around too much longer and we can't keep drinking sangria as Kathy has to drive. So its a bit more walking around Ibiza town, avoiding dark streets and dodgy characters, venturing into the brighter establishment of the Pacha store, and finally making our way back to the car park. Kathy is super tired and I'm listing a little too. It's close to eleven now.

We get lost in the streets of Ibiza town, my orientation and map reading skills reaching a new low when I take us down a one way three lane street, going the wrong way. Ibithans seem a patient bunch, not one horn blast. We get lost on the outskirts of Ibiza town; dead ends and wrong directions. Finally we find the main highway and head to the airport.

The plane is a little later than expected so Kathy pulls up a couch and power snoozes and I wander the airport corridors looking for nothing in particular. Thirty minutes later, the "Arrivals" screen blurs and I can just make out the word "Landed" in capital letters. I rouse Kathy from her slumber and we hover near the arrival doors, peering through the side windows to see if we can catch a glance. It's like waiting for family at Tullamarine or Heathrow.

The doors part. A figure walks through, tired and heavy shouldered, but smiling, smiling, smiling. The final member of our Ibiza crew has arrived.

It's Heidi!!!


go see three dee

Friday, August 06, 2010

richard price to pen new series with new name

Richard Price, author of Clockers and Lush Life, will be writing a new crime series under a new name - Jay Morris. Not entirely sure the reason for the name change, but if it means Mr Price will be producing more books, more regularly, I'm all for it.

The books will be pure crime as opposed to the "literary novels with a crime theme" that he has been writing thus far. I've only read Clockers and my opinion is that it is a pure crime novel, and a very good one at that, but I'm not interested in debating about that. What I am interested in is to see how the Jay Morris books turn out. Hopefully not too much of a departure from the Richard Price novels.

Richard Price became one of my favourite authors (see right) and I must admit, that was purely off the back of him working on The Wire. For an author to become one of my favourites, I need to be impressed by more than just one novel. In Richard Price's case, that rule went out the window. I dubbed him a favourite after reading not one novel or two, but none. Yes, he became a favourite before I read anything he had written. Stupid, yeah? But his work on The Wire and his association with George Pelecanos and David Simon pretty much sold me. Then I read Clockers and was proven right. By a long stretch. Richard Price is gold.

Read about the new pen name here - Google news.

Information obtained via Sarah Weinman.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

harrogate wrap up

Click the link to hear Mark Lawson report on this year's Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival from Harrogate.

I attended the festival again this year and had a great time. Once again, I'm encouraged to keep going with my novel and get it finished. Harrogate is great for that - inspiration for writing and for reading! And the socialising ain't half bad either!!

must see viewing

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

EIVISSA - food, glorious food - day 4

More often than not, talk turns to food. Conversations vary, situations differ, but ultimately, we all end up talking about food. And eating it.

Getting up in the morning is becoming less of a delayed task. It seems that the Es Paradis effects are starting to wear off, although I do have the beginnings of a cold, its manifestation easily tracked back to a night dancing in water followed by a mad sprint in the early morning freeze. Sitting on the sofa, looking out past the swimming pool to the ocean below, I sniff and feel a tickle at the back of my throat, a bad sign of things to come. Kathy is in the kitchen, firing up the state of the art, high definition oven. Minutes later she serves up smoked salmon on a bed of fluffy scrambled eggs. Hits the spot.

The sun shining outside and the overall good vibe encourages activity. Kathy and I put on our optimistically packed running shoes and gear and head out for a trot around St Vincente. It's late morning and the sun beats down on the tarmac, the heat bouncing back into our faces, as we run. It's a strenuous exercise session along winding roads and rising hills, avoiding cars and cyclists. It's all a bit much for me and I do a lot of walking, Kathy running back and forth around me with the ease and determination of a marathon runner. We take a side street up to a church on a nearby rise, pass through its car park and back down the hill again, peeking into a French style cafe on the way, ascertaining its adequacy for dinner. French food in Spain? Next.

I fall in a heap back at the villa, exhausted. Tam walks into the kitchen, towel draped around her, swimming gear on. She has just completed numerous laps of the shoreline and looks like she hasn't broken a sweat. The thought of swimming in the ocean makes me feel even more exhausted. Harry has had a nice sleep in and is now playing with toys, scampering around the floor, listening to songs and readings, working out how to operate the Sky box. His frenetic pace and thirst for activity exhausts me further. Paul and Christy announce a trip to the shops to stock up on food, Tam and Kathy agreeing to help out. I raise my hand in surrender and end up sleeping on the sofa. When they return, bearing fruits and every other type of food you can think of, as well as copious amounts of vino, Kathy heads into the kitchen again and invents a magical lunch - lettuce wraps with ham and cheese and veggies and dressing. We step out into the sunshine and relax on the chairs and sunbeds, soaking up the good times, eating the lush food.

It's about time we thought about what we are going to have for dinner. There are a few restaurants down on the beach but we did that last night. Tam spotted a pretty cool restaurant stroke bar at the far end of the beach - one of the many fine establishments recommended in our Villa Guide, graciously left by the owners. But the weather, the atmosphere and this rocking pad are all conducive to staying home and cooking up our own kick arse dinner. There's plenty of food in the fridge and pantry, so we are all set. It's barbeque time!! A few hours before sundown, Paul and I go to work on the barbeque (doing the man's job), cooking fish, an array of sausages (including some lush chorizo that literally sweat fatty goodness) and other traditional fare. The barbie works well and the ladies have created some amazing salads that go well with the cooked meats. Add to that homemade sangria and numerous bottles of wine and we are sorted.

The bellys are full and the sun has gone down. There is a cool breeze and the only sounds are those of the ocean. It is peaceful and lovely. Kath and I take a late night walk on St Vincente's beach, romantic under the star studded sky and the white moon. There is hardly anyone around, most of the tourists have yet to arrive. We are alone. We lay down next to each other on the beach and look around, to our left, to our right - the moment is perfect and we are in a daring mood. We know we shouldn't, but what the hell, you only live once. I whisper in Kathy's ear and we get down to it, wrapping our lips around a luscious serving of ice cream purchased from the late night shop. The ice cream hits the spot; the midnight weather perfect for it. We can't believe we have the energy but we go again, this time leaning towards the chocolate covered variety. After that, we decide it's time to return to the villa, so we take it slowly up the hill, stomachs full, satisfied smiles on our faces.

Upon returning to the villa, we find everyone else has retired to their quarters for sleep; it is close to one o'clock. But the night isn't over yet for us. The pièce de résistance: we take a seat on the upstairs terrace, sit back, look up at the clear night sky, listen to the sound of the waves, and sip on Baileys and ice. It goes to show, it's not always about the food.

Photo from tasting

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EIVISSA - the new arrivals - day 3

The sound of the waves pummelling the beach of Cala San Vincente beckon me slowly from sleep, drifting up out of comforting dreams. The steady rhythm of the waves is intoxicating, soothing, and gently guides me back to the land of slumber.

I sit up in bed with a start. The light peeking out from the edges of the bedroom curtains is bright. I fumble for my watch, blinking rapidly to clear my vision. My watch reads 10 a.m., but I remember it is still set on GMT, having forgotten to set it forward earlier in the year. So it's 11 a.m. No, it's not. We are in Ibiza, Spain - one hour time difference - which means: It's midday!

Christ, where were they?! Where were The New Arrivals?!!

No idea of their flight times, no idea. Kathy rolls over, still deep in sleep. The realisation dawns like the day did six hours ago: It's all up to me.

I stumble out of bed, make my way across the unfamiliar landscape, banging knee on this, shins on that. I spot the green light. Kathy's phone has no missed calls. Okay, okay, everything is fine, they haven't landed yet. There's plenty of time. Dropping back onto the bed, eyes heavy again, images from last night blurring at the beginnings of a dream, the sound of the waves crashing, crashing, crashing . . .

No! I have to stay awake. The New Arrivals will be landing at the airport soon - they might need my help. They might phone asking where the car rental desk is at the airport. They might phone about the best route across the island. They might call about finding their way to Cala San Vincente. They would definitely call about finding their way to Cala San Vincente. Those winding roads, the turn offs, the Nascar section. Christ, they might even be stuck with a manual car. They definitely would be stuck with a manual car. The One Finger Man was still out there, driving around the island, rocking his head back, laughing.

I get up quickly, grab Kathy's phone and head downstairs. I lay out the map of the island on the table, ready to guide them from the airport to the villa, shaking my head clear. When they call, lost somewhere on the island, needing a guiding hand to direct them to safety, I needed to be alert and on the ball.


Who was that?! It was coming from outside. Someone at the front gate? It couldn't be The New Arrivals, no way. They were on the hard shoulder of the C-731, realising they should be on the C-733, just about to call me to ask how to find their way across the intricate roadways of Ibiza. Calling me for my navigational expertise. No, the person at the front gate is an interloper.

Taking a deep breath, I venture out onto the patio, the sun a sharp glare, glinting off the pool. There is movement around the side of the villa; the sound of the front gate falling back into place. My heart is racing. My throat is parched. I need water. A brief flashback to last night makes me think again. I squint. I need my sunglasses. Another flashback. Damn.

"Is anyone there?" someone calls.

It's now or never! This interloper needs to be confronted with confidence. Maybe it is a drug crazed maniac. Maybe it is a serial killer. Maybe it's the black cat that we have been warned about.

"Hello? Is anyone home?"

No, probably not the cat.

I turn the front corner of the villa, body ready for battle, mind ready for anything. Paul and Christy are standing at the other end of the villa, peering through the laundry door. Their heads turn and they spot me. We're all smiles and laughter. Harry is in Christy's arms giggling and wriggling. Paul and Christy - The New Arrivals have made it! I'm too proud to boast about my contribution to that fact - without me, alert and on the ball, their holiday would've been ruined, wandering the villa grounds searching the front door that they would never find - they were looking through the laundry door for heaven's sake!! I'd saved their holiday. What a champ.

I clear my throat.

"Any problems getting here?"

"Not at all."

"Pretty tough place to find though, isn't it? You know with the winding roads, the turnoffs, the Nascar section."

"Not really. Straight forward actually."

"Yeah? Straight forward. Hmm. Driving an automatic I suppose?"

"No. A manual."

"Well, okay. Let me take you into the villa. Through the front door. It's around here."

Paul and Christy walk into the villa and are immediately blown away - the view, the interior, the sounds, the smells. They love it! Kathy and Tam emerge from their respective corners and we all bask in our greatness - smug and content in our holiday villa.

Paul and Christy haven't met Tam before, so introductions are made. No uncomfortable silences here. All good stuff. In fact, by the end of the night, all five of us would be enjoying each other's company over red wine and paella at a restaurant on the beach just down the road - toasting to a great summer holiday in Ibiza.

To kill the time before that, we sit back and relax - soaking up the glorious view, soothed by the sound of the ocean on sand, loving it sick, but this time, loving it sick times five.

Actually, make that six: Harry is loving it too, exploring every corner of his new pad, taking everything in. You could see in his eyes that he is cataloguing everything, clocking this, registering that - the white walls, the sliding doors, the three steps leading into the lounge room. Oh, those steps - plenty of good times ahead there I can tell you. Not only that, he has a new crew - Mum and Dad of course - blood. The tall git who keeps going on about maps and front doors. The two beautiful girls who absolutely adore him and melt like butter with just the slightest cheeky smile. Everything is perfect. The crew. The shiny pool. The deck chairs. The remote control for the television. His toys. Yeah, he thinks as he falls onto his bottom on the floor - I'm one cool eighteen month old!

He slaps his hands on his knees: Come on, Mum! Come on, Dad! Warm up your singing voices - it's party time! Ibiza style!

Monday, June 14, 2010

EIVISSA - agua, agua, everywhere - day 2

Wake up to the sound of crashing waves - wake up in heaven. Blinds drawn against the light in an effort to catch some sleep; blinds open up to a view that takes the breath away.

Cala San Vincente - our home for the next ten days. A small secluded beach, unrestricted panoramic views, a porn star villa.

We walk around the interior of the villa, eyes wide, smiles wide, shaking our heads in disbelief, all the while the sea and the sky in our peripheral, the sound of the waves in the background. Heaven in Spain. Villa is well equipped, well set out. Kath and I take the top floor bedroom with the communal terrace; downstairs double bedroom will go to Paul and Christy (and little Harry); outside apartment will go to Tam and Heidi. Room for a lot more if need be, with spare mattresses, sofas and floor area. Large kitchen with rock star cooker and oven, kick ass fridge and enough cutlery and plates and glasses to cater for thirty. Thumping sound system in front room, cute ass pool overlooking view, complimentary Cava and Rose in the fridge - sorted. Retirement pad will look something like this.

Spend a good thirty minutes lounging on the front patio, looking up at the cloudless sky, listening to the waves, saying nothing. But need to move, things to do.

Take deep breath and head down to the car. The manual. Kath settles in, I grab the map - work out our way to the airport. Trip goes pretty well until the airport - dispute over where to park car - still thinking we could do a swap for an auto. No chance though - the only auto in the fleet is out on the road already, some chap fat-arming it around the coast, driving the car with one finger on the wheel, loving himself. We curse the One Finger Man. We curse the Car Rental. We curse the Gear Stick. But then Tam walks out of Departures and we hug and smile and remember where we are: Eivissa - sun, sand, party.

Tam is a bit wrecked, not unlike ourselves. Her trip started at 3 a.m. in Les Masseries, France and involved trains, planes and automobiles in order to arrive on our island. Already calling it "our" island - already loving it sick. Return to the palace via missed turnoffs and windscreen wiper turns and an off piste supermarket man who stocks us up with wine, bourbon, Malibu, wine, baileys, wine and food. Bottled water also on the list - tap water in villa is not too shabby but leaves a bit of an unsettled feeling in the guts - advisory note: avoid.

Tam's jaw drops at the villa and the view; secures herself down in the apartment for a well earned kip. Not too long after, all of us reasonably well rested, preparations for tonight begin. Preparations involve drinking and dancing and getting suitably dressed. Suitably dressed involves wearing bathers and bikinis under our party gear and packing beach towels.

We're off to Es Paradis!!!

Kath sacrifices herself again and gets in behind the wheel. We're all looking cool as piss - I've got a black hat on and I'm wearing sunglasses - it's just gone midnight. Across the island we go - heading to San Antoni - home to the binge drinkers and ugg boot wearers of the world. Little traffic and some excellent driving and we arrive without incident. Park a little down the way in a vacant lot doubling as a car park. Psych ourselves up. Wet ourselves with excitement at the sight of the illuminated pyramid that is Es Paradis. It's time to party at the opening party of the infamous agua party. Agua, agua, everywhere - but not yet.

Es Paradis nightclub is pretty big - a couple of different levels, dance floors here and there, and in the middle, a Roman bath type scenario with pillars and steps and a small elevated stage where resident hot bod dancers writhe and wriggle to the House tunes. It's reasonably quiet at this stage of the night (morning?) but people are filing in. We head to the bar and spend 30 Euro on a bottle of wine - yeah, pretty pricey, but to be expected. We also get on the tap water to keep us hydrated - risking severe vomiting, but not paying for bottled water - priorities. We take up a possie on the top step of the Roman bath amongst big fluffy pillows and start to boogie.

Hours and hours of dancing fly by - we are loving ourselves - enjoying the music, marvelling at the dancers, blinking not once but twice at the price of a can of Red Bull. Kathy hands out Chuppa Chups like a clandestine dealer of the Next Big Thing and people's heads turn. The Chuppa Chups give us a kick of sugar; the one can of Red Bull shared amongst three does the same, but kicks the wallet too, leaving it screaming in pain (Oh, and for the record: nine euro).

Four fifteen a.m. - Es Paradis is rocking, the columns surrounding the centre of the Roman bath dance floor are shaking, the music is pounding, we three are listing, struggling, but still dancing. I enquire at the bar and am told that things kick off at 5. I groan. I tell the others. We groan. But we keep at it, as the air of anticipation in the crowd is tangible.

Five rocks on by - no movement from anyone except the revellers - bumping and grinding. We wonder when we should shed our party clothes; where we should put them, but we make no move just in case we miss something. The pillows have been removed from the steps in preparation. Anticipation builds. Five thirty - there's movement, the suspended stage retracts up into the ceiling, the hired dancers done for the night. The crowd starts to go wild. Kath, Tam and I take a couple of extra steps down, closer to the main dance floor. People are looking up at the heavens, waiting, dancing, waiting.

"I'm singing in the rain; just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again."

The crowd cheers. Gene Kelly keeps singing. People below us start to look down, not up. Water is filling the dance floor from hidden pipes. The party animals below us start splashing and laughing like children. Gene cranks it up. We teeter on the edge of the steps, wanting to get involved. Don't have to wait long - large, long loops of water spurt out from behind us, jets built into the steps, shooting out litres and litres of water. Gene Kelly gives way to deep bass. The dance floor fills up with more party animals and more water. One wrong step and you get a jet stream of water up your shirt or dress. Water sprays down from above. Everyone is getting drenched, including us. No time to change - clothes get completely wet, bathers and bikinis dry underneath.

Water keeps filling up for twenty minutes, up to people's waists. Bodies fly forward into the water; cheeky ones splash water back up at those on the steps. One body tips into Kath, I catch her and go down. Get slightly wet, but not too bad. We decide it's time to retreat a few steps. Tam avoids another falling body. Kath and I stand just outside the Roman bath area - start to shiver. Everyone not involved watch from the various raised floors and dance floors. A spectacle; an amazing spectacle.

We are starting to get cold now, half an hour since the taps were turned on. A decision is reached between the three of us: time to go. Six a.m. and we are wet and tired but thrilled and excited. But shivering. We leave for the cloakroom to pick up our bags - stupidly didn't leave a towel or a spare set of clothes in the bag. All of it is still in the parked car - about three hundred metres up the road - outside. It's cold in the foyer, near the cloakroom - outside, its 6 a.m. and sunrise - and freezing!!!

We make a dash for it, running down the footpath towards the car, water dripping from us, teeth chattering. The rising sun is still behind the hills and mountains but the sky looks lovely - blue and orange. I reach for my sunglasses - not there - lost down the bottom of Es Paradis in murky, dirty water - the first casualty of Eivissa.

The car sits amongst the early morning shadows, waiting for us with its warm interior. We dry ourselves off, some of us change in the carpark into dry clothes, some of us lay down towels on the seats, and we all jump in. Heater on full. Stick into gear. Dust billowing as Kath takes us out of the carpark and out of San Antoni. We wave goodbye to Es Paradis, teeth still chattering, and the light on the tip of the pyramid winks back.

The way back home is relatively quiet as we compose ourselves, the sunrise and early morning drive something to savour. The experience we've just had is too - the build up, the waiting, the expensive Red Bull - it was all worth it for that 30 minutes of pure excitement and wet jocks. It was a great night that gave way to a brilliant morning and finishes with a hot shower and a well earned sleep and dreams of Gene Kelly and floating sunglasses.

Check out photos of opening parties at

Sunday, June 06, 2010

powderfinger farewell

A quick flight from Ibiza to Brixton Academy: Friday night was Powderfinger's second last ever London gig, part of their farewell Sunsets tour. The best selling Aussie band called it quits after 20 years in the industry (and most of that at the top of the local charts); the Sunsets tour being one final treat for their fans.

It was a great night in a very hot and muggy Brixton Academy, but the fans didn't care - the place was packed and everyone knew the words, singing so loud that sometimes it was hard to hear Bernard Fanning's voice. All the hits were played, climaxing with "Passenger", "My Happiness" and "My Kinda Scene" in the final encore.

My memories of Powderfinger are many - from my first experience via a cover band in Melbourne (playing a version of "The Day You Come" that struggled to live up to the original), to driving out to South Yarra to get a copy of their first album, to playing "My Happiness" endlessly when I was pining to return to London in mid-2000, to a very special concert at Shepherd's Bush Empire with Kathy, to the numerous concerts that followed during my time in London, to last night, standing with Kathy, Cathy and Ben, shivers down the spine, as the boys said their final goodbyes.

Even my blog has been influenced by the band, named after one of their songs, "Up and Down and Back Again", except, this time, they won't be back again. So we'll just have to hang on to the memories and play their music loud on hot summer nights, while nursing a cold beer, chatting with mates, and waiting for the chops to cook on the barbie.

Powderfinger Rockin' Rocks!!

Friday, June 04, 2010

EIVISSA - a retrospective diary - day 1

Leaving work for a long holiday is always madness, but thankfully, this time round, it aint. Already packed last night - overpacked as usual - and seems like the to do list for work is under control - well, enough for me to make a hasty exit, waving goodbye to the poor folk still slaving away at their computers. Oh well, can't be helped - there's a party island waiting in southern Spain and someone has to do it!

Luton airport is a tit to get to, takes forever on the train, and then that little pissy bus from the station is so annoying - too excited for all this fluffing about. More fluffing about ensues though - after checking in, passport control, popcorn from Pret, the departures board tries to sneak past the fact that the flight is now delayed by 90 minutes. Ten thirty departure. I do the quick maths for our arrival in Ibiza and come up on the wrong side of midnight.

Flight is fine though, once we get on board, nothing too bumpy, but it's a long un - 2 1/2 hours. Kath got the exit seats using her Speedy Boarding privileges and I'm happy for that. Original plans of going out tonight in Eivissa Town have been scuppered, but not to worry - plenty of good times ahead.

Mona, the agent who looks after the villa we are staying at, is waiting for us at Ibiza airport to lead us to our abode. It's 1 am but she is still very cheerful. Car rental chick less so, obviously well past her siesta. We have our own issues though - prospect of driving on wrong side of the road in the middle of the night is a bit daunting, but I'm up for it - car's an automatic, ordered online, so no problems there.

Jump in the driver's seat of the hire car and wonder what the hell is that thing sticking out between the seats. Ah. It's the gear stick. Manual; not automatic. Great. Last time I drove a stick was in Scotland, 2004. Kath's last time was in Norway last NY, drove in snow and sleet and slippery roads. Kath - you're up.

We follow Mona and her husband along a speedy freeway that cuts through the lower part of the island, then onto smaller roads, then into the hills, weaving in and out of dense forest. Traffic is minimal which helps; driving on the right (wrong) side of the road in a manual doesn't. Kath does very well. I try and take note of the lefts and rights that we negotiate so I can navigate our way out tomorrow, but lose track when we hit the Nascar section of the island - chicanes, hard rights, easy lefts - and the thick darkness around us makes spotting landmarks for reference purposes impossible.

A rev up a steep incline disguising itself as a driveway and we arrive at the villa - a three bedroom house set into the side of a hill overlooking Cala San Vincente - a nice little beach with only a few high rise hotels to spoil the view. A map found in the hire car tells us we are at the furthest north east point of the island.

Mona shows us the ins and outs of our Spanish Palace; throws in a baguette, some ham and cheese for tomorrow's breakfast at the crescendo. We wave her goodbye, adios, and gracias and take stock. The place is empty at the moment, with the other inhabitants arriving over the next few days, so before bed, we enjoy the exclusivity of the pad, sitting in cane chairs on the outside terrace, sipping hot drinks and staring out into the star filled sky, thinking - we've finally made it!!!

Bed time: 3 am.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

update on the world of doing not much

I'm writing this update in between tasks at work, which is quite fitting given the last seven months of my life. In fact, if I write this blog entry at the same words-written-in-novel to hours-spent-on-day-job ratio, I should finish it in about three weeks time.

Yes, I've been busy at work and I've been neglecting the book. Work pays better, but sucks out both time and creative juices by the bucket load. The book gets a look in on very rare occasions, like a parent in an old folks home. As with the neglected parents, guilt builds up every moment I'm not attending to the book's needs and wants. But the job that pays my salary and allows me to enjoy cereal for dinner when I get home from work at ten at night has to take precedence. Here endeth the excuse.

"So does that mean the novel isn't finished yet?" I hear you ask in a frustrated tone and with a clenched fist. Well, yer, it ain't finished. Not far off, but still plenty to do. Currently working through the second draft which requires a full rewrite of the first 5 chapters - after that, things should move more quickly. My aim for publication by 2015 is still on track.

P.S. My parents are not in an old folks home; in fact, they are more likely to be in a campervan, travelling across the Aussie outback!

Monday, March 29, 2010

just finished reading . . .

This is the first Dan Fesperman novel I have read and the verdict is: I like his work! The Amateur Spy is a great read set predominantly in Jordan, not the safest place for an American ex-aid worker who has been blackmailed to dig around an old friend's fund raising business in search for possible terrorist connections.

Mr Fesperman weaves an intricate tale taking the reader to many interesting places including Ramadan in Jordan, violence in the Bekaa Valley, shady dealings in Jerusalem, and a politician's demise in Washington D.C.

I definitely enjoyed the read, but I also think Dan has better novels in him, which is an exciting prospect - and with novels such as The Prisoner of Guantánamo, The Warlord's Son and his new one, The Arms Maker of Berlin, I am looking forward to the prospect of sitting down to another Dan Fesperman modern thriller sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

three more to the pile

Courtesy of a Waterstones Gift Voucher and a handy bit of internet shopping, the following books landed at my front door last night:

The TBR pile is growing and growing - good for two years worth of reading now - at least!

Monday, March 22, 2010

game for Gaiman

I've been quite keen to experience anything - comics, books, movies - that has materialised out of the mind of Neil Gaiman. So far, I have only managed a ten minute short on Sky 1 about statues which he directed. I missed Coraline and haven't managed to delve into the back issues of Sandman. I was reading his blog for sometime but that also lasped. It looked like as long as I didn't make a concerted effort, the world of Neil Gaiman would forever elude me.

Then, this morning, a work colleague, keen to offload as many of his books as possible before moving his life from Edinburgh to London, gave me these three to read:

I am delighted and can not wait! Now, I just need to find a place for them in the pecking order of the other 40 books in my to be read pile. Not an easy task at all!

P.S. Yes, I'm avoiding the obvious topics of my writing and absence from this blog - let's just say they have both taken a back seat to less exciting but more profitable ventures (i.e. the day job).