Author Archives: beautifulorange

About beautifulorange

“You have to be brave to take out that white sheet of paper and put on it words that could be evidence of your stupidity.” - Sol Saks

Mole’s Dream (Part 1)

“I have a dream,” said Mole.

“A dream?” said Dove, “I love dreaming.
Did you dream you were a super hero,
Saving people’s lives?
Were you a king in a castle,
On a throne,
With six wives?”

“It’s not that sort of dream,” said Mole.
“This is about something I need to do.
Instead of burying myself in dark, damp holes,
I want to live up high in a nest like you.”

Dove was confused.
Why did his friend want to be different?
And when word got out about Mole’s dream,
Well, you’ve never witnessed such a scene.
All of Mole Town threw their hands in the air,
As if they’d never felt such despair.

“We’re moles,
We dig,
That’s what we do.
Our holes,
Are big,
With room for two.”

“But,” said Mole,
“I want to build towards the sky,
I want to enjoy the view,
Touch the clouds,
Live up high.”

And so Mole followed his nose and his heart,
But when it came to looking up,
He didn’t know where to start.


THE LIST: Every film I watched in 2013 rated


Here it is. The list that no one’s been waiting for. In my geekiness, I rated every film I watched this year out of 10 immediately after I watched them. And here they are along with my favs of the year.

1 The Conversation 8
2 Young Adult 6
3 Moon 9
4 The Perks of Being a Wallflower 6
5 Avengers Assemble 8
6 This Must Be The Place 8
7 Over The Edge 7
8 Looper 3
9 Tiny Furniture 3
10 Silver Linings Playbook 6
11 Drive 7
12 No 8
13 Cafe du Flores 5
14 Ruby Sparks 5
15 Django Unchained 8
16 Stoker 6
17 Indie Games: The Movie 9
18 Bully 7
19 Man on Wire 8
20 Take This Waltz 8
21 The invisible war 7
22 Compliance 7
23 Persona 5
24 Attack the Block 4
25 Bernie 7
26 Martha Marcy May Marlene 8
27 Cyrus 7
28 All The Presidents Men 8
29 Undefeated 8
30 Woody Allen: A Documentary 7
31 Chronicle 7
32 Dazed and Confused 7
33 Sleep Furiously 7
34 Rust and Bone 6
35 Samsara 7
36 Man of Steel 4
37 Before Sunrise 7
38 Before Sunset 8
39 Before Midnight 8.5
40 The Hunt 9
41 Suspension of Disbelief 5
42 In The Loop 8
43 Tony Takitani 2
44 The Interruptors 8
45 Pay it Forward 4
46 Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close 7
47 Galaxy Quest 6
48 Seven Psychopaths 7
49 The Amazing Spider-Man 4
50 Flight 5
51 I Wish 7
52 Liberal Arts – DNF
53 Ironman 3 7
54 Marley 7
55 Lantana 5
56 Cloud Atlas 6
57 Wreck it Ralf 6
58 Life and Times of Harvey Milk 7
59 The Place Beyond the Pines 8
60 Beware of Mr Baker 8
61 Stories We Tell 8
62 The Hidden Face 2
63 Frances Ha 8
64 God Grew Tired Of Us 8
65 You’ve Been Trumped 6
66 Upstream Color 7
67 In the House 6
68 Olympus Has Fallen 6
69 This is 40 7
70 John Dies at the End 7
71 World War Z 4
72 What Maisie Knew 8
73 Gravity 7
74 Star Trek: In to Darkness 1
75 The Way, Way Back 4
76 The Great Hip Hop hoax 8
77 Kick Ass 2 3
78 Nostalgia For The Light 7
79 Stone Roses: Made of Stone 8
80 Argo 7
81 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ??
81 Blue is the Warmest Colour 9
82 Computer Chess 3
83 Now You See It 4
84 The Act of Killing 9
85 Pacific Rim 6
86 Spring Breakers 7
87 Gremlins 2 7
88 The Great Gatsby DNF
89 The Big Wedding 1
90 The World’s End 6
91 Star Wars Ep.3 Revenge of the Sith 5
92 The Matrix 8
93 Star Wars Ep.4 A New Hope 8
94 Side Effects 7
95 Sky High 6
96 Star Wars Ep.6 Return of the Jedi 7
97 Blackfish 8

The best of the year (In no particular order. And yes, I know that these aren’t the ones that necessarily scored the highest marks – but they’re the ones that have stuck with me):
Before Midnight (the final half an hour is probably my favourite 30 mins of cinema this year)
The Act of Killing
Indie Games: The Movie
Blue is the Warmest Colour
Stories We Tell
Beware of Mr Baker
The Hunt

The two that I couldn’t even get through
Liberal Arts
(this was heavily recommended but I’ve rarely seen such a pretentious, self indulgent waste of my time – I lasted 40 mins before I quit)

The Great Gatsby
(Tobey Maguire’s awful voiceover/Tobey Maguire’s face/it was like watching a 3D film without the 3D glasses – I gave this one less than 20 mins before I had to switch off)

The un-rateable
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

(Have any of you seen this? It won the Cannes Palm D’Or. It’s surreal and beautiful and confusing. I still have no idea whether I love it or not)

The inevitably bad
Star Trek: Into Darkness

(Just in case anyone had a final sliver of hope that the new Star Wars films will be any good, JJ Abrams puts a nail firmly in that coffin)

Support a new documentary about an untold story of the Syrian refugee crisis


My friend (and experienced journalist) Richard Nield is in the process of making a documentary about the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan. It’s a story that might not seem relevant in the West but is critical for the region – and it remains untold. This doc has over 50 backers already but needs more help to get completed – please take a look and support it and/or spread the word…


Little Pig’s Book of Why

This is a kind of companion piece to Responsibility that a I wrote a few months ago. It’s still a work-in-progress but I thought I’d share.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why the sun makes us hot,
And the cold makes it snow.

Little Pig,
Wanted to know,
Why we start off small,
But then grow.

Little Pig,
Was full of questions,
About the world around her.

Little Pig,
Staring in to space,
And that’s how her brother found her.

“Little Pig,”
He oinked at her,
“Why do you spend so much time alone.”

Little Pig,
Barely noticed,
She was wondering why they called this place home.

Her brother,
Was infuriated,
To him it was clear to see,

That things,
Were just the way they were,
And that’s how they’re meant to be.

Her brother,
Knew that the snow came,
When the pig angel blew his nose.

Her brother,
Knew that piglet babies were found,
In knapsacks brought by the crows.

Little Pig,
Couldn’t take any more,
There had to be a way out.

Little Pig,
Wanted to roar,
Instead of squealing from her snout.

Little Pig,
Watched the angry farmer,
And his sweet and cuddly wife.

Little Pig,
Began to question,
How this could help to improve her life.

The more,
She nuzzled up to the wife,
The more she was stroked and held.

The more,
Her brother rolled around in the mud,
The more the wife was repelled.

One day,
A truck came to the farm,
To take the piggies away.

But the farmer’s wife,
Was having none of that,
She wanted Little Pig to stay.

One day,
Is all it takes,
To find your new beginning,

To be as happy,
As a pig in shit,
Or served with apple sauce and all the trimmings.

Advice on writing a 2nd draft?

In about a week’s time, I will print out the full first draft of my novel. My red pen will at the ready.

But then what?

Having not seen the first half of the novel for months, I’d like to read the entire thing straight through (as a reader would do) to get a feel for the full flow and rhythm of the story. But I’m also going to want to note down any clear changes that are required as I go along.

Maybe I can just underline or asterisk every amend that I spot – and then come back to make detailed notes later.

Or perhaps I should make proper notes as I go along as it’s important to capture my thoughts immediately. After all, I’m never going to be able to replicate that first read through.

So, my fellow writers… aspiring or pubished… I’ll take any advice you’ve got to chuck at me. Bring it on…

Mission: First Draft. Complete.


“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

Nicholas Sparks

Joy, relief, apprehension, excitement, yadda yadda yadda.

It may have taken a little longer than anticipated but Draft One is complete. You can’t see me but I’m lying on my sofa having just done a little celebratory dance (picture this: flailing arms, lanky legs pumping, shoulders jiggling. I always stay classy).

Written by hand, in pen, on paper – and transferred to my computer every 30 or 40 pages. Written in a form of free verse that I believe in 100% but still doubt my ability to pull off. But most importantly, written.

I once wrote a post in which my main words of wisdom were: ‘If you want to be a writer then write.’ That’s advice worth following – but recently I’ve struggled. As I got close to the end of my first draft, I started looking for a new job, then I got a job, and it’s a busy job, and my focus shifted, and I wanted to write but I didn’t write, and I didn’t blog, and then I said to myself ‘If I want to be a writer then I need to write’, so I wrote, and now I’ve finished my first draft, and it feels good.

But there are no laurels to rest on. I’m already looking forward to the second draft – to the re-writing. And trust me, it’s going to need some serious re-writing!

For now I’ve put the manuscript away. It’ll stay locked up for 3 or 4 weeks…. ready to be looked at with fresh eyes. I can’t even remember the last time I saw the first page so at the moment I’m mostly just hoping it isn’t completely shit.

And in the meantime I have two other projects that I want to devote some time to – so they’ll be getting some love and attention.

Just time to reminisce with a pointer back to my first ever blog post, which was an early excerpt from the novel.

Now, for one more arm flailing dance…

Stuff that inspires me: # 5 Gil Scott-Heron

The revolution will be no re-run brothers,
The revolution will be live.”

Words, heart, politics, anger, clarity. Teacher. Leader of a revolution. And most importantly, soul.

He began as a poet. Then he put beats to his beats.

He sung about things that mattered… politics, race, addiction, war… but he spoke to inspire not to incite hatred. He often spoke with sadness, but also with optimism. He inspired a generation, or two, and he also inspired me.

With a voice so rich and smooth, so wise and full of wit, I’ve always found it easy to be in awe of Gil Scott-Heron. And his final note was a perfect one. ‘I’m New Here’ (2010) was recorded just a year before his death. It floats and it rolls, it looks back and draws strength from hardship, and is as relevant and beautiful as ever. At only 28 minutes, it doesn’t need to be a minute longer.

“Home is where I live / inside my white powder dreams,
Home was once an empty vacuum / that’s filled now with my silent screams,
Home is where the needle marks / try to heal my broken heart,
And it might not be such a bad idea if I never / if I never went home again.”

– From ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’, Gil Scott-Heron

Relationship Forecast

This poem is going to seem very strange to those of you who aren’t familiar with the legendary BBC Shipping Forecast. So I’d recommend having a listen to some of the above recording as a starting point. The rest of us can just listen to it for the warm, cosy, night-time memories. Either way, it’ll help explain my inspiration…

First date; nervous; glasses of red wine; four or five; trying to impress; fair, occasionally poor.
Dates two to 10; exciting; sex good; occasionally moderate; weeks 4 to 5; veering northerly.
Argument; rough or very rough; rain at times; turning to drizzle; gusts three or four; fair.
Holiday; costa del good to excellent; worries; none.
Anniversary; comfortable; outlook warm; parents 4; hopeful.
Year two to three; fog patches developing; girl at work; busty; 21.
Separation; veering southerly; often poor; becoming repentant; moving on; 29 to 30.

Book review: The Looking Glass Club by Gruff Davies


And so I find myself reviewing another book as soon as I’ve finished it – seems like a good thing to do: turn the final page and give an instant reaction. Here we go again. This time it’s a mind-bending trip…

The year is 2010 and Zeke is a brilliant physics student at a top London university. He’s fallen in with a group who are taking a drug that seems to allow them to experience shared hallucinations. Well, they’re shared hallucinations or a door on to a parallel universe. Probably.

The year is 2035 and Steel is living with his talking dog in a high security New York apartment. He’s opened his door to a pregnant girl with no memory, who carries a note that takes him back to the darkest of dark times. From that moment he’s on the run; his life at risk.

But Zeke and Steel are the same person and, in this story, the boundaries between reality and illusion are sometimes impossible to distinguish.

The Looking Glass Club is an excellent novel. It’s fast-paced, gripping and it paints the most amazing pictures: at times it’s like being on a drug fuelled trip of your own. Both modern day London and a New York of the future are believable and brilliantly crafted worlds. It’s also a smart book – in truth, there are a couple of times when it’s a little too clever – but the story is completely unique, expertly told and, despite the technology and the pace of the narrative, it works because at its heart it’s an absorbing tale about friendship and trust.

This is a self-published book that asks you to make no compromise beyond the challenge of an enjoyably complex plot. It deserves a place amongst the best science fiction.

UK Amazon

US Amazon