Six chapters into the second draft of my novel and I’m doubting my story’s setting so much that my writing has come to an abrupt halt. Not writer’s block exactly, just a mild panic as to my next move.
Do I continue with the current setting and edit everything at the end with a possible 90K+ words to fiddle with or stop and change it now before I go to far?
As I couldn’t decide what to do next I thought I’d go and clean my writing/retro games room instead. The missus has been nagging me to dust for ages as she cleaned the room last time (all the Dr Who stuff is hers) so, sadly, it was now my turn to do it. As the cliche goes, ‘there’s no time like the present’ so I attacked it head-on for over three hours today and boy did it need dusting!
This room has taken several years to complete and several more again to collect all the games, consoles and figurines that adorn the walls and cupboards. We’re still collecting but, as you can see, we’re drastically running out of space to display things properly without piling them on top of each other.
Sarah Andersen’s scribble explains perfectly how we both managed to accumulate such a lovely collection of Retro games:
So here’s a few pictures of our lovely, neat and tidy (and dust free) writing/games room:
The recent ‘shocking’ Toblerone re-sizing scandal (See the NY Times article here) has sparked outrage amongst chocolate fans and has undoubtedly encouraged those people whom constantly whinge at the shrinking size of Christmas chocolate tins to be outraged. When we were kids everything seemed massive and it is natural for things to look much smaller when you’re now at least four foot taller (and wider if you’ve been constantly bingeing on those chocolates) but you cannot ignore the evidence provided. Whether it’s the uncertainty that Brexit or a new US President brings to financial markets and businesses they cannot hide the fact that chocolate and sweets aren’t what they used to be “in the good old days.”
Incidents such as the Toblerone scandal make me look back at what kids from my era (70s to 80s) loved to eat and drink. Personally I was never a lover of sweets as I think my low-level OCD didn’t like the mess and stickiness, which resulted from stuffing your face with a ‘10p mix’ of sweets in a scrunched-up, grubby paper bag. There were never any napkins handed out or pocket-hankies in those days so sticky mouths and fingers were wiped on sleeves or cuffs already soiled with dirt and snots (often with that unmistakeable snail trail cascading upwards from your wrist gaining you a clip around the ear when your Dad saw it.) Sweets that weren’t too messy, such as Barratt’s Sherbet Fountain, were the ones that I tended to go for but even then I was still weird with them. I never liked the Liquorice stick so I’d dip it into the sherbet to help loosen it up and pour the sherbet into my gob until the sherbet was all gone. The Liquorice stick would either be offered to my brother or a friend (un-licked of course, I wasn’t that mean) or simply binned – something I hated doing as I was, and still am, against wasting food. Continue reading →
Just the other day, after a marathon seven hours listening to classic 70s and 80s Christmas songs as I wrapped up all my Christmas presents, I started to think of my Christmases as a child and the vast array of cool toys that were available in the shops. Although as a child from a not-so-well-off working class family I only dreamt of owning most of them.
Aside from writing stories and making stuff up, one of my favourite passions is collecting the retro games and toys that I, or my parents, could never afford during my childhood in the 70s and 80s, whether they be TV video game systems, games consoles, classic board games, wind-up or mechanical toys, electronic ‘vacuum fluorescent display’ (VFD) table-top and handheld games or awesome toys such as the British version of the American GI Joe action figure known as ‘Action Man’ – “now with gripping hands!”
The last day of school term before Christmas or summer break (or the last week if you were really lucky) meant being allowed to bring games into school to play. This allowed the wealthier kids to show off their vast array of electronic games from manufacturers like TOMY, Grandstand and CGL, to name but a few. As the majority of them were only single player games it was always just the popular kids or the bullies that were allowed to have a go, whilst the rest craned their necks to try and get a glimpse of the VFD action. Continue reading →