IMG_3206Very grateful for this comment today about my gestalt real-time reviewing…

“Yours is the best kind of pretentiousness, Des. You are a hero of mine. Your multivalent hyper-engagement with books and their strange, recalcitrant moments of quietude has furnished me with a triumphant programme for living. And hopefully dying. Later if possible.”


Terror Tales of Cornwall

IMG_3213Telos Publishing 2017

Edited by Paul Finch

Stories by Mark Morris, Ray Cluley, Reggie Oliver, John Whitborn, Paul Edwards, Jacqueline Simpson, Paul Finch, Mark Valentine, Kate Farrell, D.P. Watt, Stephen Jordan, Adrian Cole, Mark Samuels, Sarah Singleton, Ian Hunter, Thana Niveau.

When I review this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…


“I was only twenty-four, and when I think of myself as I was then, I realise how much of a stranger that younger man appears to me now. The memory of his hopes, his dreams, his view of life, all fill me with contempt. He would hate this future self, and regard me as a usurper.”

IMG_3201A new story by Mark Samuels, that had, right from the start, an aura – via the male narrator working in his relative youth at the Samuel French theatrical publishers – of Reggie Oliver, and at the end, I finally saw that the story is dedicated to Reggie.
A satire dealing with tradition versus experiment in the theatre, the time-bending journeys from London to Cornwall, a vaguely unrequited romance with a woman who gets her own negative requital at the end, the nice touch of a Powysian amphitheatre built into a Cornish cliff, and a reprise of Dr Prozess from another new story that I read recently.
I was rather taken with the Brechtian drama production that induced audience alienation. I wish I could have seen it.

This story was published in TERROR TALES OF CORNWALL (2017) Edited by PAUL FINCH

A Sea Symphony…

IMG_3211Yesterday, my wife and I were lucky enough to attend a performance of A SEA SYMPHONY by Vaughan Williams and Elgar’s ENIGMA VARIATIONS at Snape Maltings.
Performers: The University of Essex Choir, Essex Sinfonia, Alice Privett (Soprano), Edward Grint (Bass), Richard Cooke (Conductor).
We were MORE than just lucky. Sitting, I claim, in the concert hall’s best acoustically situated seats, for me, these performances picked out – meticulously as well as a wall of miraculous sound – an experience of both works that I had never before encountered. Yesterday, I heard them for the first time, even having listened to them countless times in the past.
Two pieces of English music, rousing one moment, subtle the next. English, but not insular or Brexited. They were universal and healing.
I am not a technical expert on music, but this was what I really felt.
And the music, held in the singing voices,  often seemed like symbolic white birds of peace. And the pages of a score somehow became a wonderful white gull over the sea, too.

My last snap at Snape, Oh Whistle and I Shall Come to You –