Monthly Archives: August 2009

Well, now the real work begins.

So I’ve posted the archive of old fiction and the solitary blog post that was worth the effort of re-posting. All that remains for me to do now is start properly maintaining a presence here. I’ve got a bunch of reading over on Jake’s blog to catch up on, just as soon as I’m finished writing a horror story I’m working on. The story I’ve just mentioned to finish and post, plus to have a really good root around inside WordPress and see exactly what functionality is available to me. In the meantime, why don’t you all have a look at this, to distract you from the fact that I’ve only actually written one new post since the 26th of this month…

Archived fiction #5 In The Long Hot Summer

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In The Long Hot Summer by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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By Daniel Brown

Most people have a spooky story to tell, something that happened to them that they can’t quite explain. For the most part they are all much of a muchness, thinking about their great aunt Mabel who they haven’t seen in years an instant before the phone call informing them that she just died; smelling their fathers aftershave around the house two days after the funeral. All very normal and all very easily explained, coincidence or grief, sometimes just mistaking something perfectly normal and their own mind filling in the blanks to make it something weirder than it really was. None of this explains what happened to me back in nineteen ninety five, although I sometimes wish it did, maybe then I would be able sleep properly. I might even be able to enjoy summertime again, but perhaps that season has been permanently tainted in my memory. The only reason I haven’t spoken about this, or put it down on paper before is the certainty that no-one, not even my wife or closest family would believe what I’m about write. I only ask that if you see me in the street or get involved in correspondence with me please, don’t bring it up. I’m only telling once and what I tell you is exactly what happened.

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Archived story #4 The Pathologist

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The Pathologist by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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The Pathologist
By Daniel Brown

The pathologist looked at the corpse laid out on the table, neatly dissected with the internal organs properly positioned. He approved of the spotlessness of the lungs, the lack of inflammation or fatty tissue around the liver. It was obvious to his experienced eye that this young woman had enjoyed a clean, healthy existence. He had no doubt that stomach contents and toxicology would come back clear. He stripped off his apron, gloves and scrubs. His erection growing as he left his victims kitchen, he admired his work once more, certain the media were right to christen him the pathologist.


Archived fiction #3 Hanging Around

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Hanging Around by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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By Daniel Brown

Graham looked at the back of Becky’s neck and felt his breath catch. He felt like a bit of a weirdo for loving that particular area so much, but he just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was on his mind when he went to sleep, it was there behind his eyelids when he woke up and all day when he was working his mind would drift onto thoughts of her pale, clear skin. He constantly imagined himself kissing it, feeling the wisps of stray hair that were always escaping her pony-tail caressing his cheek, the soft clean smell of her, mingling with the fruit scented perfume she wore and the scent of her shampoo. Her neck consumed him.

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Archived fiction #2 Redcap

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Redcap by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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By Daniel Brown

Cold rain misted down over the barren Northumberland landscape, turning the country footpath Alun walked along into a treacherous quagmire which tried to wrong-foot him after every step. He glanced across the field he was cutting through, an unevenly furrowed marsh like expanse, dotted with the stubble of last season’s crop. Over in the distance, perhaps three fields away from where he walked he could see a solitary light shining in the window of a farmhouse, the only patch of brightness in the rapidly descending gloom of the late afternoon. He had no clue how far away the building was, the idea of measuring wide open spaces being as alien to him as he imagined writing HTML or coding a login page would be to a fifty-something farmer, all he knew was that the sign of human presence cheered him a little. He had wanted to be alone when he left the house but had never realised quite how isolating the edges of the moors could be.
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Archived fiction #1 Cabinet Pussy-cat

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Cabinet Pussy-cat by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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Administrative notes about the license my work is attributed under.

As you can see from clicking the license link which my stories are be accompanied by, I publish my writing under the most restrictive of CC licenses. Despite this, there is a circumstance under which I’m OK with people altering the work from it’s original form. This is the case of translation into languages other than English. In the unlikely event that someone finds something I write to be good enough to be worth translating into another language, I’m totally cool with that. Of course, the usual attribution rules apply, although I’m more than happy for the translator to add their own name to the by-line as “translated by”; naturally enough. Any further alterations will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis, if and when a permission is sought.

Archive article #1 Ten things I’ve learned from watching The Father Dowling Mysteries.

Originally posted December 2nd, 2008.

My wife Tracey has recently been watching the Alibi channel, number 132 on the Sky EPG, during the afternoon and I must admit to being more than a little bit baffled by Father Dowling and his permanent live-in nun, sister Stefanie. I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned about priesthood and nunhood (nunship?, nundom?) from the show.

1:- Priests come in pairs. One junior one, to do all of that boring mass and confession business and one senior one, who does God’s true work; catching the dozens of murderers within the parish.

2:- Priests are allowed to lie. Like an Enron tax return in fact. This is o.k. though, since it is done in the pursuit of that most holy duty, catching stereotyped Italian-American murderers.

3:- Nuns=Sexaay! Apparently giving up vanity does not extend as far as giving up $100 haircuts, make -up, the taking of a saint’s name or keeping dozens of revealing, pre-Holy orders outfits. The lying to people thing doesn’t seem to matter so much here either.

4:- The police are just the worst people imaginable for catching murderers. It would seem that most detectives are unable to find their own arse with both hands and a set of directions. This explains why rotund priests and septuagenarian ladies (Murder, She Wrote) are the best sleuths around.

5:- Murderers, as a group, are a lot less violent than you might think. When cornered by a jovial, portly man wearing a dog collar, they are far more likely to spend ten minutes discussing in intimate detail how the crime was committed rather than say… shooting the interfering old fart out of hand. They may act like they’re going to shoot him, but their hearts are never in it, which allows for…

6:- Despite their criminal inability to catch murders unaided, police officers have highly developed, almost super human hearing. This explains their ability to burst in at exactly the right moment to save Father Dowling, despite the fact that he never seems to wear a wire, confronts murderers in one of three different, yet highly constrained environments, none of which are conducive to eavesdropping; namely locked rooms, warehouses or large public places such as junkyards or train station depots.

7:- Not all Evil Twins have goatee beards, some wear pork pie hats or fedoras.

8:- Illegal back room poker games populated by Mafia crime lords, are surprisingly easy to gatecrash. The crime lords in question are remarkably rubbish at spotting an outsider, despite the portly newcomers total lack of poker expertise. Makes you wonder how they got be crime lords in the first place.

9:- Priestly attire is the equivalent of a magical robe of tell-me-everything-you-know. People are always forgetting to tell the police vital pieces of evidence. Thankfully, the rate of unsolved murders is kept to a minimum by fat men in robes encouraging people to remember previously unknown factoids and important conversations.

10:- The Police Department knows it’s faults and is remarkably sanguine about letting civilians put themselves in harms way. If not for this heroically civic minded attitude, Amreica’s towns and cities would be overrun with murdrers. Hurrah, for amateur sleuths!

Thank you for listening, next time I shall reveal how Jessica Fletcher is in fact a serial killer with mystical powers of hypnosis. How else can it be explained that everywhere she goes people are murdered and her friends are framed for it. By my reckoning, her body count numbers into the hundreds.

Why am I not surprised?

The news is currently filled with stories about Conservative M.E.P. Daniel Hannan and his praise of Enoch Powell. Why does this come as a shock to anyone? Surely nobody actually bought all that hogwash that was spouted about the Tories having changed their ways? A new caring and compassionate Conservative party that believes strongly in things like welfare, social care, the plight of the common man and so forth. All of that flannel with Cameron riding to parliament on a pushbike, getting a wind-powered generator fitted to his house, that cringingly chummy “Web Cam-eron” thing, was just that; flannel. They are still the party led by Eton educated, old boy network, old school Tories.

In 2007,  another candidate was forthright in his praise of Enoch Powell. David Cameron publicly criticised the person who made the remarks and he was left in a position where resignation was his only option. In 2009, with the party sporting a healthy lead in the polls, Mr Hannan has publicly declared the NHS “A 60 year joke” that he “wouldn’t wish on anyone”, followed by effusive praise of Enoch Powell, the man responsible for one of the most racially inflammatory speeches ever given by a member of a major party in the post-war era, in the space of just 10 days. What’s next on his agenda? Informing the world how he can’t wait to disband the pension and welfare systems, to get all of those scrounging codgers and cripples off the public teat?

His party have once again done the political equivalent of chuckling and saying “What a card, eh? Bless his cotton socks.” As the lead in the polls increases, the carefully constructed mask of “Caring Conservatives” slips a little further from the public face of the party, allowing the public more frequent glimpses of what lies beneath.

In the interests of fairness, I should point out that Mr Hannan stopped short of praising Mr Powell’s stance on immigration. His quote was that Enoch Powell  “understood why you need to live in an independent country and what that meant, as well as being a free marketeer and a small-government Conservative.” That may all seem innocuous enough, but look at the content of the quote. In essence, he praised Enoch Powell for his Euroskepticism, his belief in a free market economy (look how well that’s doing us so far) and the old Tory fascination for slashing public services. Since he admires those stances, he could just as easily picked Margaret Thatcher, Nigel Lawson, Michael Heseltine or indeed any old school Tory you or he might care to name…

He chose to name-check Enoch Powell, a man whose name is -rightly or wrongly- still synonymous with knee-jerk, reactionary grandstanding and the far right wing of British politics, wherein you can find such charming people as Robert Kilroy-Silk and Nick Griffin.

At best, it was the typical buffoonery you find whenever a Brit travels abroad and mistakenly believe that what happens abroad stays abroad (Mr Hannan was in the U.S. when he made the remarks), at worst it was a peek into the mind of a typical Tory backbencher, or M.E.P.. Whichever it was, the lack of disciplinary action from the Conservative whips shows just what the current Tory front bench think in secret, even if they aren’t willing to voice it publicly yet.

Greetings, fellow writerly types.

If you’re reading this, you no doubt fall into one of three categories.

A:- Someone who knows me personally and therefore wants to laugh at my second bloggy failure.

B:- Someone who’s interested in the process of writing, in which case i.) Hah! You’re unlikely to find anything useful here, and ii.) God help you help you, you poor deluded fool.

C:- You found this place randomly while looking for something else, in which case; please don’t go. It gets so lonely, shouting into the void. It would be nice to hear something besides the distant returning echoes of my own voice…

Whichever camp you fall into, welcome and enjoy my musings and waffle (in the absence of a proper English translation for “indulge in schadenfreude”) Just as soon as I get my sorry arse into gear, I’ll import some of the stuff from my old blog -including all six, count ’em, SIX of my excretions from my one new story a week debacle- and posting them here for posterity. More stories to follow in due course. In the meantime, go here and enjoy the work of someone far more productive than me.

P.S. I’ll no longer be restricting myself to posting only about the writing of fiction, since that’s a bit of a niche area and I bore easily. I’ll be venting about whatever happens to be on my mind at a given time as well. Lucky you, eh?