By Scott Bailey ⓒ 2017

I anticipate
The dissipation
Of the all
The scattering
Of goals
The rise of dreams
To ride
Upon the mists
To be blown
Upon the winds
To reside
In clouds
And hide
In trees
To sleep
In earth
Drink water
Sup sunlight
Weep rain
And sigh

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on


December 2015 saw the release of The Force Awakens and introduced the mainstream world to the word starkiller.

starkiller base

2016 seems to have taken the concept to heart.

Game of Thrones – the Payoff

Last season (Season 5), I was getting more and more worried about Game of Thrones. Sure I loved it kept me gripped and on the edge of my seat – wanting the next episode to come as quickly as possible.


But that in a way was my worry. Most of that tension came from the sudden twists in the plot, from the fact that no one was safe and you just could not predict what was going to happen next.

However – take that away – for example, watch it a second time when you know what is coming and what is left? A lot of sex and violence – and sexual violence.

What did that make it? Would it feel a very different and lessened show as the years passed and we got a different perspective on it?

Well, this season was the reason – this season was the payoff.


Well, we recently went to see the latest Star Wars film (The Force Awakens). It was entertaining enough – did a good job of what it is expected to do – it’s Star Wars, not Shakespeare.


But you don’t feel for the characters. OK you are tense when they are in danger but when the good guys beat the bad guys – as you know they will do – it doesn’t mean anything. They win because  they are the good guys – that’s all. In some respects, in a lot of modern films, the bad guys are often cooler!

This season’s Game of Thrones showed how to do it properly and gave meaning to all that violence. We have lived and suffered with the characters we love for a long time now. We have felt them suffer, we have felt their losses, we have shed tears over the many unjust deaths.

And we have learned to hate the perpetrators of evil – and this season without giving too much away has seen a few of the best get their comeuppance.  And we felt it! It mattered! We punched the air when they bit the dust and it mattered that the good guys won – it meant something.

The plot has played the long game properly! It has made the whole – so far – much more worthy in my opinion and one of the greats of the small screen.





Driving home from work tonight I ended up behind a Range Rover Evoque

This was my view.


All I could think was – it looks like a Stormtroopers arse.

Quickly followed by Oh God! I am turning into Jeremy Clarkson!


Audible Pleasure – Dune and Dune Messiah

As mentioned in my last post, I have just finished listening to the Audible version of Dune Messiah.

I was reluctant to try Audible – but overall I would say it’s been positive. The main advantage has been a gain in “reading” time. I have more and more trouble finding time to read these days – when I have some spare time I usually end up writing before I start reading.

Audible has helped bridge that gap. On work days, I have at least an hour and a half commute. As its driving, I can’t read but I can listen.

But there is a weird effect when listening. The reader has a great impact – in ways you might not expect. Obviously, a bad reader would spoil any book but it becomes more subtle than that.

I recently listened to Rendezvous With Rama (Arthur C Clarke). Now that story is not brilliant – not bad but not up there among my favourites. However, the reader (Toby Longworth) was excellent. He really brought the story to life – so I enjoyed the Audible version more than reading the book.

In comparison – I also started listening to The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell. That is a book I loved – one of my favourites! I found I couldn’t listen to this one. Something about the reader (Jonathon Keeble) just didn’t chime with me. It was not that he was bad. He has a good voice, reads well and has good contrast when changing characters. I can’t even put my finger on what it is that I didn’t like. Maybe it was that his tone or his way of interpreting the characters was different from what I had imagined in my head – though I can’t point a finger at any particular example of that.

Which brings me to the two Dune books.

Dune – read by Scott Brick – is in some way for me a conjoining of brilliance. Frank Herbert’s Dune is a strong contender for my favourite book of all time. It’s a masterpiece, it changed the way I think. I could go on – but I am not reviewing the book, just talking about the Audible effect.

So I was ecstatic that Scott Brick’s reading seemed to be the perfect fit. Again, I can’t really say why but he just fits. Maybe his tone and interpretation are on the same wavelength as me? Or maybe he pulls off something amazing and manages to breathe life and colour into the characters without impinging on my interpretation? Whatever the answer I would kill to have that skill.

So what about Dune Messiah?

Now while good, it’s a more difficult listen than Dune. Worth it but more difficult.

There are two reasons for this, the first is the reading. Scott Brick returns and is just as good. For some reason, this time, there are other readers interspersed. Some whole chapters are read by different people. Now while there is nothing wrong with them as readers – the switching grates, especially as one of them insists on pronouncing names and places completely differently than the rest.

The second reason is the book itself. Dune Messiah is in some way the weakest of the whole series. There’s a reason for that. It is a transitional book. It is tying up Dune and setting up the next book Children of Dune.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Dune Messiah was originally part of Dune and that the publishers made Herbert split it into two. I don’t know the reasons why but I can hazard two guesses. Firstly – it would have made Dune, already a long book even longer. Secondly, it would have given it a much more downbeat ending.

Cutting Dune Messiah off the end of Dune has had the effect though of many people missing the point of Dune.

It has been said that Star Wars was a rip-off of Dune. That they took the plot, dumbed it down for the masses and served up a blockbuster.

I don’t think that’s true. What I believe is that both Frank Herbert and George Lucas used the writings of Joseph Campbell about mythology. They both took his outline of a certain mythological common plot line and applied to their stories.

In George Lucas’s case, this was because he knew it would chime with people – it would echo stories they had heard all their lives. It would make his story familiar and comforting and it worked.

On reading Dune  – or watching the awful film adaptation – you might conclude the same about Frank Herbert. Dune Messiah though reveals the truth. Herbert is moving with much deeper motives. Dune Messiah shows how he was subverting that mythological story line. He was showing how easy it is to fall in love with a hero who follows the correct pattern.

Dune Messiah shows the consequences – the terrible dangers of hero-worship and the dark, dark places that it leads too.

Dune Messiah is a harder read, and harder listen but taken as a whole with Dune – worth it!

I haven’t listened to Children of Dune yet – but I have read it and I can only say that it adds more awesomeness to the series.

Father’s Day

Well after the spending yesterday stressed in shops and garages (and watching naked bike rides!) we were determined to have a more relaxed day today.

It started as I woke to find Alexander (who woke up hours before us) had collected all his soft toys and stacked them on me! He had also managed to sneak downstairs without us!

So we got up and popped over to My parents to drop of my dads card, Were supposed to pop in very quickly but ended up having Sunday lunch.

We then went to Herne Bay Football club where they were having a sci-fi event. It was great, lots of Daleks, Cybermen, Stormtroopers, Several Darth Vaders (including some in the live band) and a real Doctor Who, Colin Baker! What did Alexander run straight to. Bouncy Castles!


We then  headed over to Tankerton slopes where there was a fun fair and we met up with Rachel’s parents to drop off her dad’s card. Alexander went on more rides and … bouncy castles.

Well at least he should sleep well tonight.