Notes from the peninsula

Away from the duties of the mainland, I wander the roads and paths that outline and cut through the peninsula. My thoughts flow differently here. You have to make friends with the elements, and ideas wash up like driftwood.

Writing jiggle 22 Jan 2023, 17:04

The photo above was taken this week in the bar at the City Screen cinema,...

Elisa Gabbert on why writers write 31 Dec 2022, 20:01

Twitter shines at surfacing what I need, when I need it, in this case

Bedrock 31 Dec 2022, 16:09

I write in my notebook every day. This is the bedrock of my writing practice....

Adieu, 2022 31 Dec 2022, 10:47

It’s been a year of three big creative adventures: getting a new job (first in...

Love and breakages 26 Dec 2022, 20:11

I’m excited about 2023. There’s a lot I want to do next year. (This is...

A dream with Bob Dylan 19 Dec 2022, 18:47

I don’t remember my dreams that often anymore, but when I’m particularly anxious, or there’s...

Chaotic reading 17 Dec 2022, 14:36

It’s a cold day, and this morning there was a thin crust of snow on...

Daily words 17 Dec 2022, 10:44

These daily words are a prayer of sorts to gods I cannot name.

Digest 15 Dec 2022, 13:25

Currently reading: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley. In my dreams I deny...

Website updates 14 Dec 2022, 22:05

I’ve made some tweaks to the styles and layout of this website. I’m thinking about...

The future of my online shizz 6 Nov 2022, 19:10

I don’t know what to do for the best with my social media. Twitter is...

Image of a wave 1 Nov 2022, 20:11

In my notebook this morning I was thinking about how tempting screens are. Just having...

The most important thing to do is 31 Oct 2022, 19:30

I went for a walk and the streets were quiet. It’s Halloween and dark outside,...

Microblogging 30 Oct 2022, 21:27

I tweet way too much. Longer form pieces go here or on Patreon. Recording...

Kardomah 23 Jul 2022, 07:00

When I visit my father, I always love to walk around Swansea and get an...

Trust your enthusiasms 17 Jun 2022, 07:56

It’s been a highly unusual period for me since pausing the podcast. After fourteen years...

ChillerCon UK 2022 12 Jun 2022, 16:14

ChillerCon UK 2022 emerged from the ashes of the Covid-struck StokerCon 2020, miraculously held...

Kindness in retrospect 3 Jun 2022, 16:45

I’ve always thought that living life well was more important than writing, and typing that...

An oblique strategy 15 Apr 2022, 17:28

I’m in Wales with my dad today, Good Friday, taking him for a Covid test...

Patreon: one month in 6 Mar 2022, 09:01

It’s been a month since I set up a Patreon creator account and started posting...

Writing short stories on Patreon 6 Feb 2022, 10:39

I’m thinking about what people might like to see in a writer’s Patreon, and what...

Films, dreams, fiction and writing 22 Jan 2022, 18:18

I’ve come to think that films are intrinsically linked to my writing practice, but I’m...

Farewell, 2021 30 Dec 2021, 21:15

As 2022 comes into view upriver, the final days of 2021 flow past, and I...

The great adjustment 5 Dec 2021, 13:52

Between January 2018 and December 2021, I watched 569 films. I know this because

Keeping the story alive 27 Nov 2021, 21:16

Feeling the pull of Christmas, and seeing 2022 on the horizon, I’m looking at my...

In the Earth (2021) 31 Oct 2021, 18:28

And so we arrive at the final film of my 2021 #31DaysofHorror, Ben Wheatley’s...

Ghostbusters II (1989) 30 Oct 2021, 20:47

To finish my parade of eighties sequels, I went with Ghostbusters II, which I...

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) 29 Oct 2021, 07:33

The #31DaysofHorror train keeps chugging along with my exhausted corpse tied to the front....

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) 28 Oct 2021, 09:16

I heard someone on a podcast say Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers...

Halloween II (1981) 27 Oct 2021, 07:13

The original plan was to watch Halloween Kills in the cinema, but the reviews...

Planet Terror (2007) 26 Oct 2021, 07:01

If Killer Klowns is lovingly sewn together by your coulrophilic neighbour (wait, no…), Planet...

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1987) 25 Oct 2021, 07:03

Clowns on screen have never frightened me, not even Pennywise, although on the page he...

Scream 4 (2011) 24 Oct 2021, 06:30

The original Scream changed the course of horror cinema, but I didn’t enjoy Scream 2...

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021) 23 Oct 2021, 07:20

I started this journey with an adapted video game, and nearing the end I find...

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) 22 Oct 2021, 06:30

I can’t decide if I’m enjoying these borderline gialli. Sergio Martino knows how to build...

Censor (2021) 21 Oct 2021, 06:58

Censor has been on my radar all year, since I heard about it, partly...

La Llorona (2019) 20 Oct 2021, 07:17

Some subjects are horrific enough without the added charge of being in a horror film,...

Dawn of the Dead (2004) 19 Oct 2021, 06:50

This time last year, I took a chance on George A. Romero’s Land of...

Night of the Demons (1988) 18 Oct 2021, 06:47

I might have been too harsh on Saw, but it can take it, and this...

Saw (2004) 17 Oct 2021, 07:50

I really, really didn’t enjoy Saw. Perhaps it’s because Triangle was so good, or...

Triangle (2009) 16 Oct 2021, 07:21

One of the reasons I do #31DaysofHorror is to catch up on my ever-growing...

The Crazies (1973) 15 Oct 2021, 07:04

It’s hard to know what to make of this period of George A. Romero’s career....

My Bloody Valentine (1981) 14 Oct 2021, 07:02

My Bloody Valentine is one of those films that is talked about with reverence...

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971) 13 Oct 2021, 06:57

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail involves Lisa Baumer, whose husband is killed in...

Nosferatu (1922) 12 Oct 2021, 07:09

I wanted to see the original Master, so I put on the oldest unseen film...

Salem’s Lot (1979) 11 Oct 2021, 06:30

Salem’s Lot has a special place in my heart. It was the first...

Nightmare Beach (1989) 10 Oct 2021, 07:39

It’s the late eighties, and it’s Spring break, somewhere near Miami, Florida. Thousands of young...

A Quiet Place (2018) 9 Oct 2021, 07:25

My brain combined The Thing and The War of the Worlds to suggest to me...

The War of the Worlds (1953) 8 Oct 2021, 06:52

I recently watched the Spielberg/Cruise War of the Worlds, which I found surprisingly bleak, so...

The Thing (1982) 7 Oct 2021, 06:49

I’m breaking one of my #31DaysofHorror rules with The Thing, because I saw...

The Thing From Another World (1951) 6 Oct 2021, 06:51

After Shadow in the Cloud, I wanted a calmer, less frenetic experience, but to also...

Shadow in the Cloud (2020) 5 Oct 2021, 06:50

Horror stretches across many genres, and you can’t always know in advance how horror-y a...

Lisa and the Devil (1973) 4 Oct 2021, 06:42

Lisa and the Devil lives in one of the lesser-known corners of the Mario...

The Addiction (1995) 3 Oct 2021, 07:28

After two quite light films, Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction is a hard turn downwards...

Jakob’s Wife (2021) 2 Oct 2021, 07:08

The irrepressible Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden star in this story of a woman’s mid-life...

Werewolves Within (2021) 1 Oct 2021, 07:01

To kick off this year’s #31DaysofHorror I chose Werewolves Within, a comedy-whodunnit-horror based...

Horror AND sex! 11 Sep 2021, 15:49

Here we go again, with my fourth #31DaysofHorror extravaganza/exhaustathon. This year I just want...

Intent 9 Sep 2021, 19:29

Time isn’t real. The future is an abstraction. So says Alan Watts. I do rush...

A seat in the sun 13 Aug 2021, 16:34

I’m sitting in the sun. August isn’t going to plan, but I’m doing the best...

Auguste 1 Aug 2021, 15:55

The Three Colours trilogy marked my move from July into August, and amusingly the fledgling...

Inland Empire (2007) 30 May 2021, 19:02

In Inland Empire, which is also a massive region of land with nebulous boundaries...

Mulholland Drive (2001) 29 May 2021, 12:41

The pattern David Lynch tends uses in his more archetypal work is again on display...

The Straight Story (1999) 27 May 2021, 20:46

If David Lynch were trying to somehow redress all the darkness of his earlier films...

Lost Highway (1997) 26 May 2021, 19:12

Lost Highway is a puzzle. It opens with a jealous husband who thinks his...

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) 24 May 2021, 13:59

A howl of pain from Laura Palmer, the murdered girl that opened the TV series,...

Wild at Heart (1990) 18 May 2021, 18:41

After Blue Velvet, Lynch made the first season of Twin Peaks, then pivoted into...

Blue Velvet (1986) 12 May 2021, 16:02

I was nervous going in to Blue Velvet, more so than any horror film....

Dune (1984) 9 May 2021, 21:10

I went into Dune thinking I would see something the critics were missing – I...

The Elephant Man (1980) 6 May 2021, 19:40

The Elephant Man is as traditional and straightforward as Eraserhead is surreal and...

Eraserhead (1977) 2 May 2021, 14:35

It’s surprisingly hard to see David Lynch’s Eraserhead in the UK, which means it...

Why read? 23 Apr 2021, 20:23

It’s been a tough year, and in the tumult of it, I stopped enjoying reading....

Swimming with David Lynch 23 Apr 2021, 13:46

Spring arriving has given me a creative kick. April has been pretty meta literature-wise. I’ve...

Something Wicked This Way Comes 1 Apr 2021, 14:10

I bought Something Wicked This Way Comes three years ago in a bookshop sale, in...

It’s Spring, and it feels like it 5 Mar 2021, 09:01

This time of year is always strange. There is a drumbeat of family birthdays, including...

A flotilla of metaphors 15 Feb 2021, 09:22

Lying in bed this morning, between the alarm going off and me pulling back the...

Giallo January 23 Jan 2021, 19:43

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is one of those books I...

Slippery surfaces 17 Jan 2021, 10:15

I started the week with Blade Runner 2049. I was frustrated with it in 2017,...

Autumn and The Long Goodbye 9 Jan 2021, 15:26

In Ali Smith’s Autumn (2016), when discussing a piece of art, Daniel Gluck asks the...

My 2020 in books 30 Dec 2020, 14:56

I’ve had a tough year reading books. I fell into the trap of seeing reading...

Language muscles 26 Dec 2020, 17:04

Having watched so many films this year, next year I want to get back to...

Why do I write here? 22 Dec 2020, 21:42

I’ve written more posts on my blog in 2020 than ever before. It was tricky...

London Gothic, Nicholas Royle 21 Dec 2020, 20:01

The protagonists of London Gothic are walkers, art lovers, film buffs and train nerds. They...

She Dies Tomorrow (2020) 15 Dec 2020, 20:55

This isn’t a horror film, though it is marketed as one. The camera is often...

To the Ends of the Earth (2019) 10 Dec 2020, 20:46

I couldn’t resist another film by my new favourite director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, care of my...

Exit Management, Naomi Booth 7 Dec 2020, 21:28

The term ‘exit management’ is one Lauren’s HR consultancy uses as a euphemism for helping...

A Short Film About Love (1988) 3 Dec 2020, 21:42

Tomek is nineteen, lonely and living with his possessive godmother in a Polish apartment block....

Creepy (2017) 27 Nov 2020, 13:50

The films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa were a revelation to me in October. I started with...

November culture 25 Nov 2020, 15:25

It’s good to play around with your projects and try new things. I still suffer...

Jigsaws 22 Nov 2020, 08:12

My mother loved to do jigsaws. She would stay up late, after every one else...

Creativity 2.0(.21) 14 Nov 2020, 12:46

I’m in a fallow period, pottering around, looking for the next thing. I started a...

Lockdown, Part 2 4 Nov 2020, 09:01

Halloween has been and gone, Bonfire Night is cancelled, and I’m writing a pep talk...

Doctor Sleep (2019) 31 Oct 2020, 08:00

Danny Torrance is an alcoholic, but finds a place of peace and sobriety in New...

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 30 Oct 2020, 08:00

The Bride of Frankenstein contains some of the most iconic images in cinema, but it...

The Exorcist (1973) 29 Oct 2020, 08:00

The Exorcist is a cultural behemoth. It’s my twenty-ninth film in this year’s #31DaysOfHorror, and...

Tenebre (1982) 28 Oct 2020, 08:00

Tenebre is set in Rome, but we could be anywhere, because the story stays in...

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 27 Oct 2020, 08:00

People in the background of shots look directly at the camera. Matthew’s windscreen is a...

Land of the Dead (2005) 26 Oct 2020, 08:00

I’d been so careful choosing films until last night, and I thought I’d take a...

Christine (1983) 25 Oct 2020, 08:00

Stephen King is brilliant at weaving vivid teenage experiences into his novels. Christine was one...

Prom Night (1980) 24 Oct 2020, 09:00

Like Scream’s Ghostface, the killer in Prom Night can be dodged and knocked over. This...

A Cure for Wellness (2017) 23 Oct 2020, 09:00

An ambitious young executive, Lockhart, is sent to a Swiss sanitorium to bring back his...

The Dead Center (2019) 22 Oct 2020, 09:00

In a Nashville morgue, an unnamed man comes back to life and escapes. Sheriff Edward...

It Follows (2015) 21 Oct 2020, 09:00

The film opens with a wide shot of a leafy suburban street, and we look...

The Beyond (1980) 20 Oct 2020, 09:00

Returning to Fulciland, The Beyond is more coherent than City of the Living Dead, but...

#Alive (2020) 19 Oct 2020, 09:00

After Fulci’s barely moving undead, the running zombies of #Alive are a bit of a...

The Mummy (1932) 18 Oct 2020, 09:00

The original Universal horror films are a bit of a blind spot for me. They...

City of the Living Dead (1980) 17 Oct 2020, 09:00

Zombies really bothered me as a kid. Seeing the insides of the human body spill...

Blade (1998) 16 Oct 2020, 09:00

The opening sequence is brilliant. A woman lures a man to a party in an...

Cure (1997) 15 Oct 2020, 09:00

How much control do we have over what we do? What do we ever choose...

Spring (2014) 14 Oct 2020, 09:00

If Guillermo del Toro shot a film scripted by David Cronenberg, based on a story...

Jacob’s Ladder (1991) 13 Oct 2020, 09:00

Jacob’s Ladder treats the subject of the Vietnam war with a little more respect than...

Noroi: The Curse (2005) 12 Oct 2020, 09:00

Kobayashi has such a soft face, and is kind, but he is also dogged and...

Berberian Sound Studio (2012) 11 Oct 2020, 09:00

Another horror film that divided people, and another edge to the horror film landscape. Renowned...

Piranha (1978) 10 Oct 2020, 09:00

Being nibbled to death by a swarm of piranha is a different agony, I imagine,...

Fascination (1979) 9 Oct 2020, 09:00

Fascination is set in France, 1905, and has a fairy tale vibe, with misty countryside,...

Vampyres (1974) 8 Oct 2020, 09:00

I chose Vampyres, the first of my #31DaysOfHorror choices this year that I would say...

Knife+Heart (2018) 7 Oct 2020, 09:00

Knife+Heart (Un couteau dans le cœur) is a modern giallo film that plays out in...

Death of a Vlogger (2020) 6 Oct 2020, 09:00

Today, cameras are our eyes in the world, and they are no guarantee of the...

Pulse (2001) 5 Oct 2020, 09:00

The Tokyo in Pulse is empty and eerie. People are lonely and disconnected from each...

The Crow (1994) 4 Oct 2020, 09:00

The montages, quick cuts and heavy metal of The Crow is a bit of a...

The Fog (1980) 3 Oct 2020, 09:00

I was always going to watch The Fog at some point in these #31DaysOfHorror, but...

Atlantics (2019) 2 Oct 2020, 09:00

For the second film in my #31DaysOfHorror I wanted something recent — from something old...

Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) 1 Oct 2020, 09:00

I wanted to start this year’s #31DaysOfHorror with a classic. I’m trying to watch...

October beckons 30 Sep 2020, 00:00

I love October. I love September too, but October is the favoured child. Since rediscovering...

In the foothills 20 Sep 2020, 00:00

Graham Swift once said, ‘All novelists must form personal pacts with the pace of...

31 Days of Horror, 2020 6 Sep 2020, 00:00

With 2020 being a demented shitshow, I did fleetingly wonder if I wanted to do...

Reality Bites 12 Jul 2020, 00:00

I first watched Reality Bites when it came out in...

Writers on lockdown 25 May 2020, 00:00

I was interviewed by author CR Dudley on the website of her independent press,...

Leaving Rebecca 18 May 2020, 00:00

It’s hard to pinpoint when I stopped reading Rebecca. I started it in the middle...

Website as digital garden 16 May 2020, 00:00

I’m doing okay in my little lockdown bubble. We live in a relatively rural spot,...

The inner Wonder Woman 21 Apr 2020, 00:00

Last night, I had a deep dream of stasis and being held. I seemed to...

My favourite five books of 2019 17 Apr 2020, 00:00

In 2019, on Goodreads, I set myself the challenge of reading 52 books. I succeeded...

A walk around my writer’s block 12 Apr 2020, 00:00

It took me thirty years to get from wanting to write a novel to finishing...

Escape room 31 Mar 2020, 00:00

I wrote a fun post about how I write and the room I write...

First post, best post 29 Jan 2020, 00:00

I find it liberating to write whatever is next in my thoughts. The train doesn’t...

Minimalism 23 Nov 2019, 00:00

My son and daughter are both YouTube watchers, but until this year I’d never felt...

Writing and reviewing 15 Nov 2019, 00:00

I’m sitting in my kitchen listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and I have some thoughts...

Blogging with Jekyll 14 Nov 2019, 00:00

I’ve updated this website, hopefully in ways that aren’t obvious to the reader, but that...

On writing ‘The Complex’ 12 Jul 2019, 00:00

The first shoots of the ideas that would combine to become The Complex appeared...

Anomalisa (2015) 3 Feb 2019, 18:12

Everyone looks the same to Michael Stone. He is in Cincinnati to give a talk...

Point Break 20 Aug 2018, 00:00

It’s tricky to find films that my fifteen-year-old son will want to watch with his...

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 19 Aug 2018, 11:15

Siblings Sally and Franklin come to a remote part of Texas to make sure their...

Exhibition (2013) 15 Aug 2018, 21:35

This one lingers still in my mind. The married couple, D (Viv Albertine) and H...

A Ghost Story (2017) 3 Aug 2018, 20:17

I thought the film would be mostly Rooney Mara moving slowly around her house with...

Still Night, Still Light (2016) 1 Aug 2018, 20:01

I signed up for Mubi to try and find a different approach to choosing what...

Jaws (1975) 31 Jul 2018, 20:23

Nostalgia. This film is forever linked to my childhood and watching it over and over...

Norse Mythology (2018), Neil Gaiman 10 Jun 2018, 21:51

I wrote a (very) long review of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of...

The Ghoul (2017) 9 Jun 2018, 21:56

Okay, this is a new thing for me. I’m going to write my thoughts as...

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 28 Apr 2018, 19:00

I was excited to see Avengers: Infinity War. Early online reviews seemed enthusiastic. The manager...

High Rise (book and film) 3 Mar 2018, 21:09

I read several Ballard books in the late nineties — my mid-twenties — starting with...

Sprouts 2 Jan 2018, 19:25

Tough day. Sometimes you have to accept things didn’t go as you wanted and let...

Swede 1 Jan 2018, 12:11

Woke up late. My son is in Sydney for three weeks and when I walk...

Red cabbage 31 Dec 2017, 16:25

After being away for a few days with my father, I came back to a...

1: Written on the Body/Let the Right One In 30 Dec 2017, 21:15

Week 1. I’m going to try to read a novel and watch a film each...

Habits 29 Dec 2017, 18:50

My mind is circling the same wishes for the New Year that it circles every...

Blogging v2018.0 28 Dec 2017, 21:45

I remember when blogging was something people did to express themselves without worrying too much...

It Follows (2014) 8 Dec 2017, 21:14

I avoided watching It Follows because the idea was so unsettling. Like most unpleasant things...

Winter 7 Dec 2017, 14:23

Winter is when I want to retreat to my burrow. The garden becomes inhospitable, but...

Mindfulness 7 Dec 2017, 14:01

Mindfulness is a way of exercising your ability to pay attention: when you can...

Cover of The Complex

The Complex

My debut novel, The Complex, available direct from Salt Publishing, from Amazon in the UK, and Book Depository worldwide, and in all good bookshops.