Tag Archives: Box 010

Box 010: Number 7, Will Macmillan Jones

Hello Ladies, Gentlemen, those who aren’t quite sure and, of course K’Barthans. Welcome, once again, to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Will Macmillan Jones, writer of the acclaimed Banned Underground humorous fantasy series, fellow authorholic and petrol head. Will is also branching out into horror with his first book The Showing, out now and more promised. You can find his blog here .

Hello Will.

Mary, good afternoon.  Unless you are uploading this in the morning of course.

Come on! You know me, consistently late despite being still alive.

True, but then as the song says, ‘It’s five o’clock somewhere’*.  That’s a good maxim to live by, I always think.

Very true, so, can you tell us a little more about yourself?

Those who know me are aware that I write fantasy, and a little horror. I’ve got a little horror too, only she’s becoming quite grown up now and will be away to University next year: I might get some peace and quiet to write a bit more then.  Alternatively I might suddenly come across the TV remote whilst cleaning her bedroom, and get distracted, although (as you will see) that’s rather unlikely.

Hmm… TV and procrastination, the two great enemies of writers everywhere, OK then, I’m dying to know, what’s your first candidate to go into Box 010?

So, what would I consign to Room 010?  Jim favoured beaurocracy. I can’t agree with him there – it has been a wonderful source of inspiration to me.  I remember once reading a provision in one of the Finance Acts in the 1970s that was approximately fifty lines of closely printed type, entirely devoid of meaningful punctuation.  Photocopies were being passed around the Inland Revenue – where I worked at the time – and there were rumours of a prize for anyone who could correctly interpret the intended meaning. It was probably a promotion, such a competition being the only remaining route to professional advancement at the time.

Mwah ha ahhargh. I can believe it. But stick with the programme, Will. Focus. Your first item..?

Yes, sorry, I digress.  My first consignee would be anyone who records those dreadful noises I hear occasionally when retuning the radio.  I think it’s called ‘Drum N Bass’.

Drum N Bass Artists: Everyone involved in any way within the music industry has fixed ideas about the musical qualities of those who play those instruments.  No smoke without fire, say I.  I loathe the stuff.  I don’t mind the fact it’s repetitive, just that every single track I’ve ever heard appears to be completely interchangeable.  There’s clearly some clever bloke in a cellar somewhere who recorded the initial track, and now leases it out to all the others who are too lazy to learn to play something different.  I must be getting old, and hankering for a time when musicians could actually play their instruments, and sing without the need to have their voices electronically altered, or even mime.

I have to say, I am absolutely with you there Will. I am a curmudgeon, I know but even when I was a kid, and supposed to like it, I loathed that kind of thing.

My next target will be dear to your heart too, Mary.  There is a particular breed of driver who should be shot.  I can cope with the elderly drivers in their elderly Nissans who bumble around the country lanes at fifteen miles an hour.  You can identify them easily, and know what you are dealing with.  It’s the same with farmers in their preferred transport, middle aged Freelanders.  You know that they are likely to stop at any or every field gate, and that brake lights are an optional extra (which being farmers, they are on average too mean to buy).

Oooh easy tiger, I can think of several people who are going to have stern words with you over your comments about farmers. Sorry, do go on.

My ire is reserved for those who buy reasonably quick cars, and then take them out onto lovely curving roads for a spin, and still drive them at what seems like fifteen miles an hour.  Just last week I was out looking for a bit of legitimate and legal fun (trust me, whatever you were using, if you drove along this road at the legal speed limit you would very quickly have been taking flying lessons.  The first lesson being: cars have a very poor glide angle) on a Welsh road that rather resembles the beautiful road used in the James band film Goldfinger.  And who should I end up following?  Some muppet in a convertible going round corners as slowly as possible.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

Actually, I completely understand this one as well, I got stuck behind a couple of middle aged gimmers driving an Aston at about 20mph the other day and I have to say, it was peculiarly distressing. So, what’s the third thing you would like to see scrubbed with Vim from the face of time?

And now we come to lawyers.  I hate lawyers. Come the revolution, let’s put them all up against the wall and open fire.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the country would be a better place if everyone was given the right to shoot lawyers, on let’s say, one particular day of the year.  Maybe the summer solstice?  The druids would have a ready supply of sacrificial victims for their rites at Stonehenge.  Of course, this plan – clearly acceptable to all right thinking people – would have to be made into law, and that’s where the practical problem would arise.  The lawyers would have to be brought in to draft the law, and I’m sure they would make it as confusing as every other piece of legislation ever drafted by some lawyer with one eye on the enormous fees to be made from the subsequent need to work out just what the hell had been meant by the wording now enshrined in the ever growing laws that surround us.  Like everything else in our fair land, it started out with the very best of intentions with the Magna Charta (signed by King John), and has been going downhill for the last thousand years or so.

Mr McGuire hates lawyers, or perhaps I should rephrase that, he hates other lawyers. But then he works for inventors and scientists so they like plain speaking contracts that tell it like it is. What is your fourth item for Box 010?
Television:   Mostly, I cannot stand television. Endless soaps, stealing each others’ story lines and using interchangeable actors.  Endless episodes on how to improve your home/sell your home/buy another one.  They should be sponsored by estate agents.  Maybe they are.  When I’m writing, which I do rather a lot, I prefer to have some soothing music playing.  The sweet, pastoral idyll of ‘No Sleep ‘Till Hammersmith’* perchance.  Sadly my teenager commandeers the TV remote, and every evening I am subjected to the torture of endless repeats of American Dad and Family Guy.  I actually laughed at some of the jokes the first time I saw some of the episodes.  But not now.  When I was her age, I used to use some prog rock as a meditation device.  After all, if I dropped off to sleep for a few minutes and then woke up, I could be fairly sure I hadn’t missed much and would still be listening to the same track. Or at least something that sounded like the same track, even if it wasn’t.  Unless I dozed for too long of course, and the vinyl had ended.  Anyway, back to TV, which is spookily the same as prog rock these days.  Almost all the programmes are entirely awful, and quite often indistinguishable.  But then I suppose that there’s a danger that if the fools making most of these soaps and endless house improvement programmes were not allowed to do them anymore, they’d all go off and be lawyers instead and make the country even worse.  So maybe I’m wrong.

OK then Will, what is your fifth and final item?
Estate Agents:  Anyone who has ever bought or sold a house, or even rented one, will have come up against this pernicious breed. For one thing, they seem unable to fix a simple value to a house. When you are trying to sell, several slightly oily people will wander round your home with a critical eye, before pronouncing a number a wildly varying valuations, all based on their personal opinion of the property, or indeed of you yourself.  Mostly, they will all be trying to outdo each other to encourage you to sign up with them instead of their nearby competitor, of course. Then when a prospective buyer offers a substantially different and much lower sum for the house, they will all murmur:  ‘of course, the market is a little difficult at present’.  It’s always difficult, isn’t it?  And the descriptions they create of properties? I’m supposed to be a fantasy author, and I’m left gasping in awe.  Is there a training course they go on that helps them to invent these wonderful, mellifluous phrases and lie with less compunction than a lawyer?  ‘Splendid Outlook’ (a picturesque view of the local tip). ‘Unlikely to be overlooked’ (No one in their right mind would have built a house there in the first place, and even builders can learn from their mistakes). ‘Convenient for the amenities’ (there’s a car park for the local superstore and retail park on the other side of the road). ‘Excellent Access’ (If your lawyer remembers to wake up long enough to do the searches he will find that planning permission to demolish the house next door and replace it with a four lane super highway complete with roundabouts and flyovers was granted last week).  ‘Spacious Accommodation’ (The dwarfs I write about would consider it so, certainly.  The removal men tasked with teasing your expensive furniture up the narrow,steep and twisting stairs will have other views on the matter and will express them to you at length in return for tea).

So, there you have it.  My five suggestions for Room 010.

Marvellous, that’s grand! McOther will be casting his vote for this last one although, it’ll probably be from Box 010 by next week. So… Will Macmillan Jones, thank you very much for joining me.

Thank you, Mary, for the opportunity for a rare rant.

It was a pleasure.

Right, then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about Will Macmillan Jones and his books you can visit his blog here,  the Banned Underground website, here and his Amazon author page, here.

Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off Will Macmillan Jones when he puts his five most loathed items into Box 010.

Vote here….

*Motorhead’s live album.  Buy it.  Now.  See?  I even do footnotes in a guest blog.

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Box 010 Results: Number 6 Jaq D Hawkins

This week’s special guest has been Jaq D Hawkins, writer and film producer. You can find more about her books here and buy them, through her Amazon author page, here The website for her film work is here, and for general information about what she’s up to there’s always this site, here.

Blimey! There’s a lot going on there! Jaq, thanks for joining us and congratulations on your results. The voters have overwhelmingly endorsed three of your choices. These are:-

  1. Politicians.
    Excellent job, finally, someone gets the buggers in.
  2. Payment Protection Insurance.
    Here is goes.
  3. The Current 3d Film Fad.
    Special effects versus plot. Yes. Plot wins.

That’s pretty good going so thank you very much for taking part.

OK everyone, that’s it for now, please join me next week, when horror and humorous fantasy fiction author Will Macmillan Jones is going to try and persuade us to vote his most loathed items into oblivion.

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Box 010: Number 6, Jaq D Hawkins

Hello and welcome to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Jaq D Hawkins. She does… well… Lots of stuff so I’ll let her tell you about it, over to you Jaq.

Oh and, hello.

Hello.

A bit about me? Well, my most recent release is the final part of the Goblin Trilogy I’ve been working on which came out in May, but as well as Fantasy, I write Steampunk and non-fiction mind, body and spirit books and I also produce films.

Oh, so you’re not that busy then? Mwah ha ha hargh. Wow. So where do the lovely readers need to go to get information about all the things you get up to?

The best place for information about my books is my website, here and to buy them, my Amazon author page is here The website for my film is here, and for general information about what I’m up to, here.

Lorks well, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to join me here, today. So let’s start with your first item.

3D: Hollywood has gone 3D crazy, and as if that weren’t bad enough, they’re moving more and more towards 3D animation instead of live actors. Even The Hobbit was ruined by extensive sequences of animated actors that look like gaming platforms.

But my main gripe is 3D. Every major film has to be in 3D these days, which leads to the gratuitous something-flying-in-your-face shots that take you out of the story. A lot of people can’t see 3D properly and anyone who wears glasses has a fiddle with trying to put the 3D glasses over their normal glasses.

For my own part, I’m just very aware of the effect and to me it detracts from the story. Granted that seeing Captain Jack Sparrow in near hologram effect had a certain appeal, but I haven’t gone to the 3D version of a film since. I can get lost in a 2D film, but 3D is too closely related to extended cgi effects that detract rather than enhance a film. It failed years ago, for those of us old enough to remember the earlier 3D films in the 1980’s. Yes technology has moved on, but 3D still looks un-natural and I’ve refused to go to the cinema to see some films because I knew I would enjoy the 2D DVD more.

Ah I am so with you there. Third time round and still… a bit crap actually. When a film is vaunted for its fantastic special effects I wonder if it’s the critics’ way of telling us there’s eff all else to recommend it. Accordingly, I assume there will be no plot, 3D is just that same deal with a different gimmick. I absolutely get you. Come on readers, I know I’m supposed to be impartial but what the heck, please vote this one in. After which impassioned plea, what’s the next item you would like to see sink beneath the waves of chaos of Box 010, never to be seen again?

Mushrooms: Slimy fungus things that infiltrate pizza and other foods that would be perfectly good if they left that spongy texture out. Yeech!

I’m allergic to them and when I eat out, I find them in places they don’t belong, like fish pie. Controversial though, a lot of people love them. I like the ones I can eat, it’s just the ones that make me hurl I don’t- her hem. Sorry. Moving swiftly on, what’s your third item for Box 010?

Quorn: Following on from mushrooms, who decided that processed mushrooms would make a good meat substitute? If you want to be a vegetarian, be a real vegetarian. I found when I was feeding film crews that I could make some excellent vegetarian dishes by adapting recipes to use courgette instead of meat. My Courgette Bolognaise even satisfies the vegans. If you want to be health conscious, processed foods are your enemy.

Blimey, mushrooms AND Quorn? There are going to be some very nettled vegetarians out there Jaq. I see where you’re coming from. Although I think Quorn looks quite interesting, like proper raw yeast which has the weirdest most bizarre flavour.

Politicians: Well this one is a given isn’t it? Politicians are lying scum who live in ivory castles of their own imaginary worlds and insist that they could live on £53 a week if they had to. Show me. First cold you get that requires over the counter medicine blows your food budget. And luxuries like a new toothbrush become expenses you have to plan in advance to accommodate. Gods forbid the mop needs a new sponge head, that’s nearly a fiver right there.

Hmm, you are clearly a woman after my own heart. The third guest on Box 010 came within a snadge of getting them in… let’s see if you can succeed where he failed.

PPI – payment protection insurance: Back in the days when I had credit cards, I actually had to lie to salesmen on the phone to make them shut up about ppi. I worked for the county and could have up to 6 months off sick at full pay, that was my payment protection. I didn’t want their nasty insurance and I don’t like to lie. Now it’s all spam about collecting from mis-sold ppi because a lot of people weren’t smart enough to send them packing in the first place. Let’s just put insurance salesmen, lawyers and politicians in room 010 and leave it, shall we? We can feed them Quorn and make them watch movies in 3D until their brains can’t perceive real life anymore. No one will notice the difference.

Mmm, now there’s a mental image. Jaq D Hawkins, thank you so much for visiting us on Box 010 today.

Any time.

Right then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about Jaq D Hawkins here are those links again.  For information about her books, you should visit her website, here and you can find them all for sale on her Amazon author page here. To discover more about her film work go here, and for general information about what she’s up to, here.

Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off Will Macmillan Jones when he puts his five most loathed items into Box 010.

Vote here….

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Box 010 Results: Number 5, Jean Gill

This week’s special guest has been Jean Gill. She writes… well, pretty much anything but she has asked me to feature Someone to Look Up To’ a story about a Pyrenean mountain dog, in search of his perfect human.

You can find Jean’s Amazon author page here or you can visit her blog here. So now, without more ado, here are the results of the vote!

This week’s vote is now complete so, without more ado, here are the results. Jean, congratulations, the voters have overwhelmingly endorsed two of your choices. These are:-

  1. Dog owners with no control of their off lead dogs.
    Excellent choice, voters! Jean I’m as glad to see the back of that one as you are.
  2. Cold calls and spam.
    Yet another of my own personal preferences is expunged from existence. Yeh.

Jean, nice going and thank you very much for taking part.

OK everyone, that’s it for now, please join me next week, when speculative fiction author Jaq D Hawkins is going to try and persuade us to vote her most loathed items into oblivion.

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Box 010: Number 5, Jean Gill

Hello and welcome to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Jean Gill. She writes… well, pretty much anything but she has asked me to feature Someone to Look Up To’ a story about a Pyrenean mountain dog, in search of his perfect human.

You can find Jean’s Amazon author page here or you can visit her blog here.

Hello Jean.

Hello.

I’ve just been reading up on Someone To Look Up To and and it sounds great, I love the tagline, ‘one day his human will come’. There is more about the book at the bottom of the page but before that, Jean is going to try and persuade us to vote all of her pet hates into Box 010. So, off we go, first of all, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Yes, I can. I’m a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a big black dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, I taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. I am mother or stepmother to five children.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.

As someone with similarly multicultural origins it is nice, isn’t it, to be able to not care which of the teams you’re watching loses in the six nations. So, let’s discover what items you’d like to see thrown into the rubbish compactor of existence. What is the first item you’d like to put in to Box 010?

Individually wrapped teabags: I live in France and respect for tea here means that it’s very difficult to find teabags that are not individually packaged in small, decorated paper envelopes. Why?! Let’s not waste time recycling package material that didn’t need to be used in the first place!

I’m with you, good choice. I just loathe anything which is that hard to unwrap with my morning brain on. Please tell us what you’d like to hurl into Box 010 next.

Ticks: I’m all for diversity of species, and I understand the danger of the butterfly effect, but we manage without dinosaurs, don’t we? I’d happily eliminate this species. If you’re a ‘Twilight’ fan and not revolted by the mere words ‘blood-sucking parasites’, just look up Lyme Disease and piroplasmosis, two of the diseases that ticks carry.

Ugh, no… I agree, I see no biological function for ticks, other than to kill people, rather nastily. Onwards and upwards, what’s the third item you would like to lob into Box 010, never to be seen again.

Babies’ dummies (pacifiers). They are a filthy, artificial way of shutting up babies, who would otherwise quickly learn to use a thumb or their fingers as comfort-sucks. Dummies cause work for the parent (cleaning and fetching, like a well-trained dog) and take away the baby’s independence, often well into childhood.

Hmm interesting. I bet that one will ruffle a few feathers. Mwa ha ha ha hargh. Righty-o, let’s hear about your fourth item is.

Dog-owners with no control over their off-lead dogs: This means 99% of dog-owners whose dogs are off-lead and who don’t attach them when they see potential hazards, especially other dogs on-lead.  Can you imagine trying to care for a dog recovering from a double ligament operation and when you’re carefully walking him, someone else’s bouncy labrador  jumps all over him and damages the leg again?

The ‘Yellow Dog project’ http://theyellowdogproject.com is an international initiative to protect people and dogs from each other. If a dog is wearing yellow, it needs space, perhaps after injury or during re-education. There is no reason why dogs on leads should have to put up with other dogs’ or people’s bad behaviour.

Some food for thought there, the Yellow Dog Project is such a simple and sensible idea and well worth looking up. Very interesting. Wow, so what is number five on your list of pet hates?

Cold calls and spam: I don’t want to answer the phone to hear a stranger trying to sell me something. Cold callers have tried to sweet-talk me, bully me and have even made the big mistake of asking to speak to my husband ‘the decision-maker’. This is all made even more difficult for me because I live in France, and although my French is OK there is a 30 second delay in my brain before I realise that this person calling me by name is a cold caller. I feel my home has been invaded.

This is going in. If I have to rig the votes and force people at gunpoint to- OK, I won’t rig the votes, but I very much hope it’ll go in. Jean Gill, thank you so much for joining me for Box 010.

My pleasure.

Right then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about Jean’s books, click here for her LuLu shop front and, here for just about any format you like, from Smashwords. You can look at her photos as well, to find those click here. There’s also a bit more about Someone to Look Up To‘ below that.

Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off Jaq D Hawkins when she puts her five most loathed items into Box 010.

Someone to Look Up To
‘If you like dogs and good stories, this is a book for you.’ – Louise, goodreads review
It’s a dog’s life in the south of France. From puppyhood, Sirius the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been trying to understand his humans and train them with kindness…

How this led to divorce he has no idea. More misunderstandings take Sirius to Death Row in an animal shelter, as a so-called dangerous dog learning survival tricks from the other inmates. During the twilight barking, he is shocked to hear his brother’s voice but the bitter-sweet reunion is short-lived. Doggedly, Sirius keeps the faith.

One day, his human will come.

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Box 010 Results: Number 4, A.F.E. Smith

This week’s special guest was A.F.E. Smith, speculative fiction writer and the brain behind the fabulous Barren Island Books, which, obviously, I shamelessly copied when setting up this feature.

You can find AFE Smith’s work on her website and blog here and for an example of Barren Island Books, here…. yeh… still my one.

This week’s vote has been truly stupendous. For the first time ever we have a whopping FOUR items going into Box 010, to be annihilated, for ever, from the collective consciousness. So… without more ado, here are the results.

  1. Dog owners who don’t scoop their poop.
    Yay! They will be placed in a plastic bag and thrown into a tree by a public footpath.
  2. Meat eaters who get all precious about certain animals.
    Excellent! You eat meat, or you don’t. Although I confess, having seen what dogs and cats eat, I would probably demur from eating them.
  3. Badly programmed language aids.
    Take that, Microsoft, in your evil plan to force the whole world type in American, by making the simple process of changing the spelling dictionary to Real English that little bit more complicated than piloting the space shuttle.
  4. The phrase ‘calm down dear’.
    Contrary to popular belief, it seems that nobody likes a Winner.

Well, A.F.E. that is a pretty amazing tally so congratulations and thank you for joining us. Next week, author Jean Gill is hoping that you will help her vote some of her pet hates out of existence.

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Box 010: Number 4, A.F.E. Smith

Hello and welcome to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is A.F.E. Smith, speculative fiction writer and the brain behind the fabulous Barren Island Books, which, obviously, I shamelessly copied when setting up this feature.

You can find AFE Smith’s work on her website and blog here and for an example of Barren Island Books, here…. which is the one I did… not that I’m egocentric or anything.

Hello A. F. E. Smith, fellow lover of discreet initials, first of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Yes I can. I’m an academic editor by day and a speculative fiction reader by night – or at least, I was before became a parent and discovered that spare time is a lie – yes nothing prepares you for that bit does it? Quite, I am still waiting for an opportunity to save the world by being really good at maths, but in the meantime I write fantasy novels about people with more mundane skills (you know, like swordfighting and stuff). My blog, and information about my works in progress, can be found at the not-at-all-egotistically-named www.afesmith.com. Feel free to ask me anything, except what A.F.E. stands for.

OK, A.F.E. Smith, thank you so much for joining us to sling as many of your pet hates as possible into the oblivion that is, Box 010. What’s your first item?

Meat-eaters who get all precious about certain animals.

As in the woman who tucks gleefully into a steak whilst declaring she could never eat a rabbit because they’re ‘too cute’, or the meat-and-two-veg guy who freaks out at the idea of eating roadkill. Ethically speaking, if you’re willing to eat chicken then you should be willing to eat flattened squirrels and tiny ickle bunnies as well (or at least allow that other people might). Otherwise, your moral stance pretty much boils down to ‘meat is great, as long as it comes prepackaged in anodyne slabs’.

Good one. I can’t fault your logic, in fact, I have eaten roadkill and ickle bunnies… although I might be wary of any roadkill I hadn’t actually seen get killed, on the grounds that it could be dangerously old. You mean freshly run-down though, right?

Yes I do.

Oh good, thanks for clearing that up. Right then, on we go.

What is the second item you’d like to put into Box 010?

Badly programmed language aids.

I realise that spellcheckers, autocorrect and the like are only tools, and that we all ought to have the intelligence to know when to ignore them. But surely a misleading/over-simplistic/just plain wrong language aid is worse than nothing at all? Every time an iDevice erroneously corrects ‘its’ to ‘it’s’, I cringe inside – no wonder people misuse apostrophes if their beloved gadgets are teaching them that ‘its’ is never valid. And don’t get me started on that stupid green squiggle in Word.

Or the American ‘english’ setting that you can’t switch off. Gits. Sorry, your choices are ringing a chord with me…

OK, A F E Smith, what is the third item you would like to put into Box 010?

Dog owners who don’t scoop their poop.

Good choice, one of my own personal pet hates this one… sorry do go on.

I hardly think this one needs arguing, but just in case: you chose to have a dog. It’s your responsibility to clean up after it. Anything else is disgusting, dangerous and socially wrong. It’s the worst kind of littering, and if you do it you’re essentially saying that avoiding a minor inconvenience is worth more to you than protecting children from potentially serious diseases and preventing loads of people from having their day (and shoes) ruined. If you wouldn’t leave it on your garden path then you shouldn’t leave it in a public street. *rant over*

Brilliant, I can’t agree more. Please everyone vote this in.

Alright then, what is the fourth item you would like to wipe from existence and wring out into Box 010?

The phrase ‘Calm down, dear’.

Please, lovely population of the world, never use these three words in this order again. NEVER. They carry with them so much that’s worth despising. Basically, anyone who directs this phrase at you is implying that you’re a hysterical little woman (because, let’s face it, no-one ever says it to a man) and that your emotion, however justifiable, deserves nothing more than a patronising pat on the head. It’s a throwaway response that simultaneously devalues you as a person and closes down any possibility of meaningful debate. Michael Winner has a lot to answer for.

Finally, what is your fifth choice to go into Box 010?

Genre snobs.

Snobs of any kind are pretty irritating. But being a fantasy lover and all, I particularly dislike those who are snobbish about genre novels. What annoys me most about this kind of snob is their tendency to extrapolate from a single work (Conan the Barbarian, say) to an entire genre. Saying that all fantasy fiction is badly written and formulaic is like saying all cats are ginger: it’s a statement that could only be made by a person who’s encountered a very small subset of the population in question.

Another excellent choice which, as a far fetched fiction writer, I can thoroughly identify with. A.F.E. Smith, thank you for joining me today.

Thank you for inviting me.

Right then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about A.F.E.’s writing and/or read her blog, click here.

Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off Jean Gill when she puts her five most loathed items into Box 010.

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Results: Box 010 Number 3, Jim Webster.

This week’s special guest was Jim Webster. He has written three acclaimed fantasy books all based in the same world; ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’, ‘Dead Man Riding East’ and his latest book in the series ‘The Flames of the City’, was released this February.

You can find Jim’s Amazon author page here or you can visit his blog here.

Well everyone, the votes are finally in and I am I’m delighted to report that two of Jim’s choices have been successfully voted into Box 010. They are:

  1. Bureaucracy.
    What can I say? Ding dong! With a stonking 40% of the votes, bureaucracy goes in. Thank you, everyone for that one.
  2. Sparkly Vampires!
    Oh Jim! I can hardly contain my glee, yes, yes, YES. They are going in.

So, we’ve thrown the pair of them into Box 010 for ever!  Mwah ha ha hargh!

Thank you for joining us. Next week A.F.E. Smith will be trying to persuade us to put her pet hates into Box 010.

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Box 010: Number 3, Jim Webster

Hello and welcome to Box 010; a bit of light whimsy which is, in no way, inspired by the popular BBC programme Room 101. Here’s now it works. Every two weeks, my special guest will pop in and then present us with five things they would like to see consigned to the dustbin of existence. This week’s special guest is Jim Webster. He has written three acclaimed fantasy books all based in the same world; ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’, ‘Dead Man Riding East’ and his latest book in the series ‘The Flames of the City’, was released a few weeks ago, in February.

You can find Jim’s Amazon author page here or you can visit his blog here.

Hello Jim, first of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well I’m Jim Webster. I’m married and we have three daughters who’ve all sort of left home. I farm, write, and my hobbies include history, walking, cycling, wargaming and role-playing.

I confess to being someone for whom the whole ‘social media’ thing hasn’t really happened. My mobile tends to live switched off (because we don’t get a signal here) and I’ve got a face book page (apparently compulsory now if you want to be a writer) a twitter account I don’t look at every day, and a blog I really ought to write more often. But frankly I’d far rather meet people and sit down with a beer or a good coffee and talk.

I see… a man of many parts. And a coffee addict to boot. Nice one. Right then, let’s crack on and find out what items you’d like to see thrown into the rubbish compactor of existence. What is the first item you’d like to put in to Box 010?

Bureaucracy.

Yes! Go Jim.

I’m sorry, I have wasted too much of my life filling in forms whose sole purpose is to provide a well paid job for someone on far better money than me, or to let them cover their back if anything goes wrong. Every day which doesn’t fetch yet another form to be filled in; or yet another inspector from government or some Quango is a good day. And then there are those politically correct forms! I’m married, I have a wife. A bit back I was in hospital and I got a form which asked for ‘partner’s name.’ The lass at the desk looked a bit put out when I filled it in and pushed it back to her and she discovered I’d put down three names for my partners. As I explained to her, I was (at the time) in a legal business partnership with three other people. If she wanted to know who I was sleeping with, she should have asked.

Mmm hmm, I’d say  you’ve made your view clear there Jim, excellent. Please tell us what you’d like to hurl into Box 010 next.

Eggs.

Eggs? Are you sure about that? What with Michael and his onions… is this a writer thing, aversion to certain foods?

This isn’t their fault; I’d be just over a year old, my parents were taking me with them to spend a few days with a college friend of my mothers. Back then rationing had finished, but stuff was still in short supply, so when on the 10th October 1957 my parents went down from Barrow to Lytham-St Anne’s they took milk, eggs etc. They got there and were told by worried friends that there had been a fire in the core of unit 1 nuclear reactor at Windscale. All milk and suchlike had to be thrown away. So my parents had to dash out into Lytham and buy milk and eggs for me. Unfortunately the hens had been fed on fishmeal, and I apparently ate three spoonfuls and point blank refused to eat boiled eggs ever again. Even now, I cannot sit at the same table as someone eating a boiled egg. I can eat omelette, but if the egg has the audacity to look like an egg, my stomach heaves.

I have to confess to absolutely loving eggs Jim. I hope they don’t get voted in. OK, what’s the third item you’d like to put into Box 010?

Custard: This is another relic from my childhood that still haunts me. When I started school the dinners were made in some central kitchen and trucked in to be warmed and served. Prior to going to school I hadn’t been a fussy eater, but the custard they served there was just a step too far. It was normally cool and always had a thick leathery skin. Finally the crunch came when we were served ‘Manchester Tart’. This is pastry with a smear of jam and a layer of cold custard, served with a lump of cold custard on the side. I just refused point blank to eat it. I was perfectly happy to sit and stare at it all afternoon, and when I finally cracked and ate a mouthful I was promptly sick.  I’ve never eaten it since.

Yikes. I love custard. Hmm… so, item number four on your list of pet hates?

Vampires that sparkle.

Excellent choice! Jim, if you weren’t a married man I’d ask to have your babies. Er hem… Sorry, do go on.
I’m sorry, they’re just so wrong. I’ve let them stand for a whole set of things, like the ‘hero’ of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ who’s just an irritating brat who needed a swift kick on the seat of his pants before being told to grow up and get a life. I confess I am rather proud of being ejected from the room five minutes into the only ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ programme I ever saw, because I burst out laughing at the fight scenes. In a world with forty mil wooden baton rounds, Vampires are no longer a problem.

Nice. Jim, choice number five…?

Snow: Snow has its place. It looks great on Christmas cards; I can admire mountain views as much as the next man. I just object to it where I happen to live. I’m the one who’s got to shift it so we can get to the main road. I’m the one who has to carry water and feed to livestock, and frankly, I’ve come to the conclusion that water works best as a liquid.

Wow Jim, thank you for sharing those with us.

My pleasure.

Right then everyone, if you’d like to vote there’s link to the poll further down the page. To find more about Jim’s books, click here for Amazon, here for Apple readers, here for Kobo readers and if you’re in the good ol u s of a, here for Barnes & Noble. There’s also a bit more about his latest book, The Flames of the City‘ below that.

Join us next week for the results, and in two weeks’ time, when we will be finding out what really ticks off A.F.E. Smith when she puts her five most loathed items into Box 010.

The Flames of the City
‘The Flames of the City’ is the story of a desperate campaign to hold back the forces of barbarism. With marching armies, pitched battles, bitter fighting, the fall of cities and the defeat of gods. Involves full orchestration and a rather pretty girl, considered the finest hurdy-gurdy player of her generation.

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Results. Box 010: No 2, Simon Royle

This week’s special guest was Simon Royle author of ‘Tag’, ‘Bangkok Burn’ and the brand-new sequel to Bangkok Burn, just published in March 2013, ‘Bangkok Wet: 2 (Bangkok Series)’.

You can find his Amazon author page here or visit his website, which includes his blog and information about his books here. Simon also runs The Indieview, which deserves a mention, by itself, as an excellent resource for writers, readers and reviewers in independent publishing.

Well everyone, the votes are finally in and I am I’m afraid to say that only one of Simon’s choices has been successfully voted into Box 010. That is:

  1. A Mosquito buzzing around your ear as you head to the land of nod.

Now, normally, at this point, I would be able to use my vote to remove Simon’s choice if I saw fit. However, since two of his other choices; politicians – very topical choice this week that one – and economy air travel have just scraped under the 25% of the vote needed to go in, I’m going to add another which is on my own personal list of horror!

So Simon, your objects being thrown into Box 010 for ever are:

  1. A Mosquito buzzing around your ear as you head to the land of nod.
  2. Economy class air travel.

Thank you for joining us, we will put your choices into Box 010, with great glee, I might add, and seal the lid closed with an industrial sized nail gun, oh, and a lot of super glue.

Thank you for joining us. Next week Jim Webster will be trying to persuade us to put his pet hates into Box 010.

Note from Admin, 29.5.13: Apologies for retrospectively disabling comments on this post but it’s getting buckets of spam. I think it must be the word Bangkok.

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