Looking for books…

It’s been five crazily difficult days and today my ambition to come bouncing back to my usual work fell a bit flat. I’m just knackered and want to do something that helps me relax. I might draw a cartoon.

I also want to find the next fiction I’ll read, preferably sci-fi. Last night, I finished ‘Ready Player One’ and came away grinning with pleasure. Sure, it was frothy and rather daft, but it had its heart in the right place and it really caught me at the time. What I usually find with sci-fi is that I often find myself wanting more of the same yet end up turning to somebody like Alastair Reynolds, a writer I’ve never been able to get into. Much as I love sci-fi, I find it hard when they’re about anything other than human-shaped figures in a human-shaped world. Novels about sentient blobs of earwax on the planter Fhfhggerifif never appeal to me.

After reading last night, I became distracted with my newly returned Surface, which I tried to use only to find the wifi dropping out every 30 seconds… Worried they’ve sent me another lemon, I tried to sleep but I was too much awake with thoughts of getting Trading Standards involved. I ended up watching Donald Trump’s townhall on ABC.

Sigh. What is the to say? Intelligent people probably knows he talks bollocks but, damn, he sure knows how to sell America to that portion of the population who are happy to believe in a fiction.

Perhaps Trump was the reason I woke up feeling oddly nervous about today. Or perhaps it was because, late last night, I’d been sent a screenshot of a new testing station that’s now just down the road in a local car park. Our town apparently is a “hot spot” with 34 cases in recent days. That doesn’t sound a lot, but the “town” is really two towns that have merged over the years. The other “town” also has 30+ cases meaning the actual “town” (as locals think of it) has had 70+ cases. St Helens (the larger area which includes other towns) is now 14th 10th in the national table which runs to cover 160 315 local authorities.

It’s easy to panic slightly over these numbers, so it’s always good to have people like Ed Conway whose Twitter account is a must follow. We’re nowhere near the place we were back in March and for that we have to be so grateful.

What puzzles me, however, is where this goes next. The local free newspaper has a website where the story is continually being reported. Every COVID-19 update has comments bemoaning the “globalist scam” and telling people that the virus “doesn’t exist”. It’s all pretty shameful and makes me wonder why comments are allowed.

But then, I’m finding the entire thing depressing. I had a delivery of groceries last night and the delivery guy wasn’t wearing a mask despite, he once told me, having a medical degree. Then I read about Noel Gallagher, supposedly the “bright” Oasis brother, bemoaning the requirement to wear a mask on trains. “There’s too many fucking liberties being taken away from us now … I choose not to wear one. If I get the virus it’s on me, it’s not on anyone else … it’s a piss-take. There’s no need for it … They’re pointless.”

To speak Noel’s language: there are too many libertarian cretins who don’t understand that one person’s freedom is the reason another person lies on a critical care ward with half a fucking metre of tubing down their throat.

Then my phone chirped with a random tweet alerting us all that Boris Johnson was about to call a national lockdown. I didn’t believe it, so I checked all the newspaper websites (nothing) and then went to Twitter. There, sure enough, were lots of the same tweet claiming that a lockdown was imminent. There was even a link… which took the worried reader to a picture of a guy with an enormous dick.


I don’t know. Perhaps it was hilarious. I’ve probably had a few too many stressful days to appreciate being rick rolled or whatever this would be called – “cock crocked” – but it sometimes feels like too few people are taking in seriously. Did I mention the local pub where the landlord can’t stop the guys from standing at the bar?

But then… there’s still Ed Conway, telling us that, for the moment, things are under control. I’m taking him on his word today. I’m going to draw and figure out if this tablet has to go back…

2 thoughts on “Looking for books…”

  1. Thanks for the Ed Conway tip. I’ll go follow him now. I agree that people aren’t taking it seriously anymore. Enormous penises aside I actually think another lockdown is likely but not for sometime. The only justification is if ICU beds start to fill rapidly. We’re still away from that.
    Not read Ready Player One but did the movie and loved it but then I’m a big Spielberg fan.

    1. Yes, I’m also a huge Spielberg fan but I’m never sure about those films of his where he gets a bit *too* nostalgic. Until I’d read it, I thought it would be more ‘Hook’ than, say, ‘Minority Report’. Now I’ve read it, I really want to see the movie.

      Yes, definitely not taking it too serious but I feel all manner of caution about not becoming one of those other people who become paranoid. That’s why the Conway stuff feels grounded in good data. My worry, though, is that losing control means it escalates quickly. Headline today about Manchester deaths being the ‘canary in the coalmine’. I know too many people who are back to their old habits, busy marrket on a Friday or pubs at the weekend. Given the COVID skeptics out there, I can’t see how we avoid a second lockdown. Even Johnson hinted towards it. He said it would be a disaster but didn’t rule it out.

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.