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Words … in some sort of order.

The Writer’s Block, like the butcher’s block, is where ideas come to be jointed, trimmed, rolled and prepared so they’re ready for the table. Occasionally, like the executioner’s block, it’s where the bad ones come to die.

Some of them will be about writing in general, but a lot will be about my latest book, Walking Wounded, the Life and Poetry of Vernon Scannell, and about the amazing man and spine-tingling poet who inspired it.

Either way, the words are not necessarily in exactly the right order, because The Writer’s Block is also like one of those block pads on which you scribble your ideas down as they come to you. That’s my excuse, anyway …

Your comments on the posts are very welcome, by the way – but they won’t appear at once, since I have to look at them first.

Latest Posts

  1. Can’t trust any of them ….

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    The election’s over, of course. It’s time to put political arguments behind us. Well, I don’t think it is – far from it – but that’s a discussion for another day. What I want to write about today is not about politicians or political arguments, but about us. About the electorate. Because the most worrying…

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  2. Je suis fondamentaliste

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    We don’t seem to be very popular these days, so I am going to make this confession using the formula popularised by Alcoholics Anonymous. My name is Andrew, and I am a Fundamentalist. Unlike most people, I really do believe in free speech. It’s been very touching to see the upswell of world opinion claiming…

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  3. A few thoughts about writers and the F-word …

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    No, no, not that one. ‘Fuck’ has always seemed to me a much maligned little word, with a seemingly magical power to shock, relieve feelings and, almost incidentally, describe an extremely pleasurable activity. Despite what the occasional Premiership footballer might say about scoring crucial goals in international matches, anyone who says that something is ‘better…

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  4. Wasting time on Twitter? Don’t you believe it …

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    People often ask me what I see in Twitter. It’s not a medium for grown-ups, they say; who wants to know if you’ve just had an egg for breakfast, or whether you’re watching the Test Match? And there’s a guilty, grumpy little bit of me that agrees with them. But I witter on pompously about…

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  5. A thought on poets, death, and Clive James. And heroism.

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    Whatever else we think of poets, we don’t tend to see them as heroes. There are exceptions, of course – Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon famously won the Military Cross, and some three hundred years earlier, Sir Philip Sidney was praised for his dash and gallantry at the Battle of Zutphen; then there’s Keith Douglas…

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  6. Sorcerers and Orange Peel, by Ian Mathie, Mosaique Press

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    I don’t believe in magic. It seems odd to have to say that, but it’s just that Ian Mathie, the author of Sorcerers and Orange Peel, seems to. The book’s one in a series of memoirs about his years as a water resources specialist in West Africa, and it tells of his dealings with witchcraft,…

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  7. Fifty Books That Changed the World

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    Lovers of books always used to like to see themselves, a bit like gardeners, as peaceable, unaggressive types. The nearest you expected to get to confrontation in a library as I was growing up was a gently raised eyebrow and a reproachful ‘Shh’. Certainly, you would never have expected an irreproachable activity like writing a…

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  8. A slightly more cheering take on World War I

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    I’m not a historian, not an expert on World War I, so maybe it’s just that I’ve overlooked it. But it seems to me that there was something missing from last night’s first episode of the BBC’s Great War extravaganza – something, in fact, that’s been missing from all the moving reportage of the horror,…

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  9. Free the Wall Street Journal One

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    Nothing to do with writing, nothing to do with Scannell … but sometimes we all need to let off steam. Why are the pinko-leftie bleeding heart liberal columnists so critical of Tom Perkins, the American billionaire venture capitalist whose letter to the Wall Street Journal so movingly compares the plight of the 1% richest US citizens,…

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  10. A sad, furtive figure in a raincoat …

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    So there he is – a sad, furtive figure in a raincoat, skulking in the bushes of some suburban garden and trying to get a peek through a chink in the curtains at people undressing for bed. Not exactly someone to admire, still less to emulate. And yet, figuratively speaking, that’s what I spent three…

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