Archive for the Grave News Category

Pointing the way to a Happy New Year

Posted in Disasters, Grave News, New Stuff, Strange phenomena, Unwanted Comebacks on January 1, 2012 by Johnnie

Dearie me, it’s 2012.

The world is in the grip of death, famine, financial collapse, and, despite the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, there are still a significant number of lunatics running the global asylum.  The New Year arrives with violent storms battering the coasts of Britain and Ireland.  Even David Bowie is about to turn 65.  All we can really do is hope for the best.

This year, I’m hoping to continue where 1997 left off, creatively-speaking.  Let’s call it a ‘creative spring’.  I wrote an awful more in 2011 than I even managed in 1997 (when I took a – ahem – ‘career break’ to write a novel), so here’s to new horizons, finding silver linings in the blanket of dark clouds and, like the Wombles always said, making good use of the things I find.

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Normal service will be resumed. Maybe.

Posted in Grave News on July 10, 2011 by Johnnie

These are Grave times…

Posted in Grave News, Travel on October 29, 2010 by Johnnie

It is that time of year.  The air has turned chill and crisp, the leaves brown, orange and scarlet.  The time of overcoats, scarves, gloves and mystery, when I feel the overwhelming impulse to listen to the very bleakest Scott Walker and read ghost stories.  It’s also the time when I feel like spend chilly afternoons wandering around cemeteries.

As the title of this blog suggests, I love cemeteries, graves, tombs and all the paraphernalia of death.  Growing up reading Poe and MR James, it’s hardly surprising.  I’m drawn to all things Hammer and there’s little more enthralling than a graveyard scene in any novel, even those which don’t involve the supernatural; the opening of The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins being one of the finest examples.

Cemeteries are amongst the few places I can become properly lost in thought.  There is a peace and tranquility within their walls which is unlike any other, and one that encourages wandering rather than sitting in contemplation.  Continue reading

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Posted in Dearly Departed, Film, Grave News, TV on September 30, 2010 by Johnnie

Very sad to hear of the death of one of my childhood heroes, Tony Curtis, at the age of 85.

A handsome, rugged and stylish man, he was a surprisingly versatile actor in his younger days.  He received an Oscar nomination for his performance as John ‘Joker’ Jackson in 1959’s The Defiant Ones, starring alongside Sidney Poitier and Lon Chaney Jr, he played the slave Antoninus in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent Spartacus, and was the uncredited voice of Donald Baumgart in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, but he’s probably most famous for his role as Joe/’Josephine’ in Some Like It Hot, co-starring with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.  However, he came into my life when I was a youngster when he played New York rough diamond Danny Wilde in ITC’s wonderful TV series, The Persuaders. Continue reading

The first sign of madness

Posted in Advice, Film, Grave News, Words on August 12, 2010 by Johnnie

I talked to myself a lot as child.  I would act out TV dramas on my own, playing all the parts, goodies and baddies (but obviously romantic entanglements were out because I couldn’t play women, and there was no such thing as ‘gay’ when I was growing up), always timed to last as long as the real programmes themselves, including ad breaks (where I’d go to the toilet or have a snack).  I was frequently overheard, because your childhood bedroom is never the soundproofed, reality-protected haven you hope it is.  For these crimes, I was always described as a “Cadbury’s” (as in, Fruit and Nut) and threatened with the “wee green bus”, the one that comes to take you “away”.  The threat was never rescinded, as I recall.

I still do talk to myself.  Sadly, the threat of the straitjacket never stopped me.  Not only do I talk to myself, I answer too; the first and second signs, they always said.  I still catch myself mid-self-conversation, no matter where I am.  Usually it’s around the house but it can just as easily be when I’m walking a busy street, alongside traffic, where drivers, passengers and commuters can see me and judge what they see perfectly adequately.  I get mildly embarrassed at the time but it goes away.  The wee green bus to Bedlam hasn’t pulled up quite yet. Continue reading

Oui, je bored… think I’ll just commune with the dead

Posted in Dearly Departed, Grave News, Words on July 28, 2010 by Johnnie

Whenever my friend and I were bored during the long, winter nights of the early 1980s – when we were restless teenagers, fed up listening to Tears For Fears and there was only Bergerac on the telly – our thoughts inevitably turned to talking to dead people.  Out would come the little table, the Scrabble pieces would be arranged in an alphabetical circle, and we’d complete the set-up with a lop-turned glass and a torch, because candles were dangerous – unlike disturbing the spirits of the dead, obviously.  Then, we’d begin to terrify the living jobbies out of ourselves with our earnest enquiries of, “is there anyone there?”

I remember, quite vividly, the first time we tried it.  Another friend joined us for the occasion, a lad slightly younger than us, which would later get us into trouble from our parents – his nightmares that night were quite hideous, apparently.  Anyway; be it intervention from the other side or straightforward nervous pushing from us, our polite call to the ghostly land beyond was soon answered.  Continue reading

Of all the small things…

Posted in Disasters, Grave News, Music, New Stuff, Star "Style" on July 26, 2010 by Johnnie

Congratulations to Ireland’s musical pride and joy Jedward, who yesterday crashed into the UK Singles Chart at number 80 with their magnificent cover of Blink 182’s ‘All The Small Things’.   Continue reading