I wrote last week about the importance of being a role model and how there are always eyes on us.

And I took over a thousand words to get my point across.

Just throwing words at a problem doesn’t always mean it’s going to help get the point across.

Because sometimes, less is more.

So last week’s post could have looked like this.

‘You’re a role model, act like it and set a good example.’

Less is more.

That could work.



Another convention weekend draws to a close and all of us fans of the show Spartacus can look back on great times meeting the cast of the show but also getting the chance to meet up with friends from all over the planet.

Each and every one of us is filled with our own passions and having the opportunity to spend time with others with the same feelings is what we’re all searching for.

In a world where divisions are highlighted and the differences we may have are the only things anyone seems to care about, recognize that everything, everywhere is better when we all come together.

This weekend saw the expected fun and games of a convention but I think, although I’m not certain, I witnessed the early stages of a new spiritual movement. Proving that these events are so much more than just the chance to meet the actors, we saw one of our number elevated towards his true rock star status. His name was chanted by all and all the differences we may have had didn’t matter a jot.

I suspect I’ll be needing the help as I battle with an iffy internet signal.



What is art?

For many, art is sculpture and painting which lives in galleries and is to be marveled at in awed silence. For others, art is a more vibrant and modern affair, any and all things that the creator could get their hands on to get their point across.

For so many, the accuracy of sculpting and paintings of days gone by allowed us to admire the skill of the artist in their rendition of a facsimile of the model in whatever medium they so chose. We looked upon the deft brush strokes or the assured moulding and recognise the skill and talent that must have been at play to make the materials bend to their wishes.

In the land of ‘modern’ art, the rigid adherence to the ways of the old are pushed aside and experimentation and wider expression come to the fore. Rather than seeing the work as a direct rendition of the subject, the request is to now look through the physical to examine the true meaning behind the piece. What was it the artist was attempting to say? We look at Tracey Emin and her unmade bed as a great example of the meaning being beyond the bounds of the piece itself.

Now this can mean that there are more areas where there can be disagreement in terms of the value or skill on display.

I could look at a given piece of work and see something very different as the message compared to almost anyone else. Even knowing what the artist was trying to say may not remove the stumbling blocks.

So I ask again. What is art?

Art is an expression of a theme. An idea given form. It doesn’t matter what materiel that may be, paint, clay, light, ice, sound or all of the above and none, art is that most beautiful of things that allows the thoughts, feelings and experience of another to reach out and touch you. We can all glimpse inside the mind of another through the myriad portals that are offered for all to experience. Paintings and sculpture. Music and Film. Fireworks and architecture. And literature too.

My books do just that. They give the reader the chance to experience a tale where the characters go about their lives but it’s there to give everyone a snippet of me too. The pages hold a message that I want to convey which is beyond just the words. They hold my hopes and dreams for the narrative but years of hard work as well. Effort and desire coming together to create a whole that I wanted to share with the world.

There’s an artist in all of us and the ability to draw a convincing nose doesn’t always have to come into it.

It’s just trying to be heard.


For this post I only have a single point to make.

I feel that after the 2016 we’ve all witnessed, where division and anger seem to have exposed the gruesome heart of the human race to the light, I open my arms to everyone out there, regardless of all those defining characteristics we all cling so very tightly to, and which seem to be always pulling us apart, and say to each and every one of you,

“Let’s celebrate our humanity and do what we can to make the lives we touch every day a little bit better. Let’s make sure 2017 is the perfect antidote to what we’ll soon be leaving behind us.”

Have a good ‘un all.


The English language is a very peculiar thing.

Aside for the delightful thoughts concerning who was the genius who came up with the idea of making abbreviation such a long word?, and why is it dyslexia is such a difficult word to spell?, it occurred to me that in so many ways, the number of words needed has clearly outstripped the imagination of those making them up.

When I write anything, when we all do, there’s always the opportunity to stumble across words which sound the same but are spelled very differently. We always have to remain vigilant to the risk that the homophone represents.

The classic that pops up at the back end of the year is slay and sleigh. Two words which are so utterly apart from each others meanings yet happily become interchangeable when you just consider the sound. I would have loved to have been in the room when the decision was made that those two very different things should effectively be called the same thing.

Navel gazing is very different from naval gazing. Talking about the profit rather than the prophet of a religion changes the tone just a bit and a slow gin would be an exercise in frustration over the sloe gin.

But each and every language isn’t a closed system which remains the same regardless of any external contact. New words enter our vocabulary all of the time and have done so all the way through history in exactly the same way some of our words will have been picked up by others. It’s more than possible that a word for one thing comes from one language and the same word could mean something different in another. Put them together as we all melt together in the linguistic pot and you find yourself where we are now.

Words are a massive way that we as a species are able to communicate. Having the same words crop up in different languages just means that we all ultimately have a very similar way of creating sounds to get our point across. As societies continue to blend and mix it’s only likely that more and more words and phrases take up shared residence with different meanings.

It’s going to be interesting seeing things evolve.

‘Ewe reap watt ewe so.’

‘Eye knead ewe.’

‘Weigh two go.’

Should be fun!


We had a week away from the rat race last week and attended a convention in France and then had some time in Germany. A wonderful time was had and we saw some amazing sights with such global importance in Berlin, I can only urge everyone to take a trip there to witness them face to face. The worldwide effects which spread from Berlin are mighty but that’s not what I want to draw attention to in this post.

Today I want to look at the feeling of safety we derive from our own language.

My wife is better at languages than me. She was the one who got stuck in to the learning Italian when we went on holiday there. She studied German at A-level and has a pretty strong grasp of at least being able to work out the gist of what’s being said in French. I studied Spanish to GCSE level and I limped over the line. I enjoy the sound of other languages and they charge my mind to hear all of the many ways that humans communicate but being able to actually take in the details is something I find really tough.

When we were in Italy and France, it was remarkable though, just how much of the little odds and bods we all shared in our languages. That level of familiarity bred a comfort that helped bridge the gaps of being in a foreign land. There were more areas of familiarity in German but the addition of the occasional new letter suddenly made the ice I was stood on seem that much thinner. In Germany, I felt on very thin ice for so much of the time we were there.

We can take our language and the ability to communicate almost for granted. Every day we work, play and everything in between based around the powers of communication and that communication let’s us do almost anything. Can you imagine what any ‘normal’ day would become if you were unable to converse with anyone? Isolation can be a very dangerous place. If you were the only person who didn’t understand the language that was being used, you’d be stuck on the outside looking in but totally adrift in the sea of sounds that everyone else was using and doing their best to almost plead with you to understand. Frustration builds because you’re cut off.

The best you can hope for is hand signals and as much guess work as you can muster to try and get your point across while digging for the meanings to what others are saying.

Language is a thing that we all make use of. In all manner of ways we have our own set of terms that we can converse in with set groups. Special terms from work can sound like nonsense to family. Fandom terminology at work is the same. But remove understanding of a language and you lose so much more than just the ability to order a beer.