Books with covers that are stained, ripped, torn, broken and bent,
With pages inside bearing fading ink, finger prints and coffee stains
With scars of dog-eared reminders and pencilled notes
Are literal trademarks of a better read.
Favour the experienced traveller that’s been handed down,
Shared and loaned,
Stolen and bought,
Taken and traded,
Rather than the novice fresh print.
Who wrote it is important.
Who read it, equally so.

Saturated Colour

I’ve just finished The Doors of Perception + Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley. The book is incredibly detailed about what it means to really appreciate and understand something – anything- we come across. Huxley explored this after taking mescaline; the values and ideas presented were thought provoking and still are highly relevant, with or without being under the influence. I underlined and saved a lot of quotes from it – it’s very well written – and this one stood out the most. If you’ve thought of giving it a read, I’d recommend it. It’s heavy, it did require quite an awake and caffeinated mind to absorb but it’s short, inspiring and greatly illustrates what art does for us.

Familiarity breeds indifference. We have seen too much pure, bright colour at Woolworth’s to find it intrinsically transporting. And here we may note that, by its amazing capacity to give us too much of the best things, modern technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials. The illumination of a city, for example, was once a rare event, reserved for victories and national holidays, for the canonization of saints and the crowning of kings. Now it occurs nightly and celebrates the virtues of gin, cigarettes, and toothpaste.”

See the cat? See the cradle?


“When a [person] becomes a writer, I think [they] take on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.”

I’ve just finished Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and it was brilliant. The quote above really stuck with me and I think, while there is irony in the context of it being said, it encompassed what the writing profession was really about.

Extreme Makeover: Frankenstein’s Monster Edition

Somewhere along the way, Frankenstein’s monster has changed drastically. From the challenged, complex character Shelley presented, he’s become a dumb, slow icon of fear and monstrosity. He has become subject to vigorous transformations in a number of mediums. Since the original publication in 1818, there have been (at least) 24 direct adaptations. Films, television and plays have retold his story with new visions, new words and new worlds.

Some have got it right, some have got it wrong and some have included him in a time travelling adventure. What happened?


We’ll define the original characteristics first. In Shelley’s novel, the monster is nameless. Initially, upon his creation, he is like a baby: gentle, innocent and new to the world. Victor Frankenstein assembles the monster in a gruesome Ikea fashion of stitching body parts together from… other bodies. He’s eight feet tall, enormously strong and hideous, with yellow eyes and skin that barely conceal the muscle tissue and blood vessels beneath.

(I’d feature an image here but it’s perhaps not the most appetising thing to see!)

However, he’s abandoned by his disgusted creator and shunned by every person he comes across; he’s a feared, unknown entity, prompting strangers who cross his path to expel him. His self esteem – undoubtedly – is horrendously damaged, especially when he is called:

monster”, “creature”, “demon””, “fiend”, “wretch”, “vile insect”, “abhorred monster”, “wretched devil”

It’s important to note, as well, he’s not your typical grunting, slow moving ‘monster’. He’s a smart, thinking and articulate individual. He learns how to speak English and studies literature, in particular Milton’s Paradise Lost and, when confronting Victor, even quotes the book to converse his feelings:


Did I request thee,
Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
John Milton, Paradise Lost (X. 743–5)

He’s quite the complicated character but interesting and brilliantly sculpted nonetheless. Though he does seek (and triumph) in brutal revenge against his creator, it is because he is developed and made into a villain, he is not born one. Ultimately, it is a tragedy. The hate and expulsion from society and his father turn him into a killing machine.

So, how is Frankenstein portrayed by other artists? Let’s begin the makeover!

Frankenstein (1931) –  Boris Karloff’s depiction of the monster is perhaps the most iconic. The film spawned the image of the monster most of us know. Square, abnormally shaped head with a face riddled with scars and bolts garnishing his neck.


He’s slow to talk and initially is gentle and innocent; however, he never really adopts the vocabulary-filled persona we see in the novel. Only in the early hours of birth are there are some similarities and while it ranks as an iconic horror film, it’s not entirely translating the original character.

67867The story gets points for having the principles present in the film; the themes are explored and the values are challenged. But the groaning, grunting creature never grows into a complicated being. Transformation in progress.


Frankenstein Unbound (1990) -Based on Brian Aldiss’ novel, which is loosely similar to Shelley’s novel, is a time-travelling adventure. This does feature a monster and it is Frankenstein’s monster but the resemblance isn’t really there. He acts solely as an angry antagonist. I’m not sure why it had to use the same characters, an original piece would have sufficed.


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) –  As a film, it’s not bad. It does feature some great performances and it does touch on some of the themes in Shelley’s novel. The Creation, played by Robert De Niro, does start out on similar tracks. He’s somewhat smart, articulate and cunning.


However, the ‘villain’ in him is brought to the surface a lot faster, vowing revenge on his creator almost immediately after being shunned by the family he helped. His killing spree starts and the rest loosely follows the book. This is perhaps an example where you can’t make us completely understand and sympathise with the Monster in the average film length. De Niro does depict the being well but the story lacks the existing fire.

Van Helsing (2004) – Not an adaptation but the monster, now named Frankenstein, is part of the monster ensemble in the Hugh Jackman lead film. He’s more Karloff in appearance than Shelley in character: he’s a gentle but strong giant and that’s it. There isn’t really evidence of him being smart and we’re far from the original; he’s there because he is a familiar monster and provides a joke or two. Is there resemblance? Physically yes. In his character? Some, there’s some!


Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove (2005) – I can’t say I’ve seen this one so I’ll just leave a description of the film I found:

Frankenstein’s monster is resurrected to fight terrorists along with a half-fish, half-man creature. However, the plan soon goes awry.


…I’m… I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch this one. I think it’s safe to say the transformation has continued.

I, Frankenstein (2014) – The nod to the original novel is only in the introduction to the film and the character. It’s based on a graphic novel and it’s… interesting. Fun, action-based but like Frankenstein Unbound, I don’t think it needed to use the character Shelley created. An enjoyable story that could have been built on entirely different canvas. The monster and name were perhaps used just because it was something people would recognise. It does win a point for monster attractiveness level, however.


Frankenstein (play) 2011 – Now, this is adaptation done right. The National Theatre production, written by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, is perhaps the best adaptation to date.


It hit the nail right on the head with the themes Shelley original displayed. What it means to be human, how science can go too far, how to deal with the consequences. In the translation to the stage, the story remains intact and most importantly, we are given a raw depiction of Frankenstein’s monster in the truest of forms. It’s done so well and executed so precisely, it is worthy to wear the same title as Shelley’s piece. What this piece did better than any other is show that Victor Frankenstein is the monster – how it should be.


Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller both won Best Actors in the 2012 Olivier awards for their portrayals of Frankenstein and his monster (they played both the creator and the creation!). Viewing this piece again, in the future, is hopefully likely. It was filmed and showcased in cinemas as part of National Theatre live and if it returns, make sure to see it.

As a final note, somewhere on his journey, the monster is named Frankenstein. It’s not uncommon for people to believe this and it’s fair to. The posters weren’t always clear with it and soon it was adopted.


Is it wrong to name him? Absolutely! Although the monster does label himself after his father…

At length the thought of you crossed my mind. I learned from your papers that you were my father, my creator; and to whom could I apply with more fitness than to him who had given me life? (Chapter 16)

…it doesn’t exclude the fact that no one gives him a label. No one named him, no one claimed him. The essence of his struggle can’t be taken away!

This is only scratching the surface on the number of times the monster has been depicted. I’ll note, of course he’s not the only character to undergo a makeover. Dracula is another, so is Batman! Compare Adam Wests’ Batman to Christian Bale’s and it’s mad.


Nonetheless, it’s evident the monster has been transformed. There are some other pieces that are very close to the book. At times, we’ve seen resemblance and other times, we’ve been a million miles from it…

…and that’s okay, I think. As mentioned before, it seems odd to include the monster and other characters when the story trying to be told would do fine with an original setting and cast. But the legacy that Shelley ignited will forever be retold. We’re still left with the source, and that’s what’s important. As long as we have the original, which we always will, fans can go crazy with their ideas. I’m sure Shelley would have been honoured to see so many people interpret her story and her characters in so many different ways. It’s fascinating how far this character has been taken.

And besides, there’s quite a lot of appeal to seeing how far people will take it.

How about Me, Myself and Frankenstein…

…Or Frankenstein and Snakes on a Plane!….

Or Frankenstein in Space!




The Juggling Writer


I read somewhere a long time ago that writing was a lot like juggling. When a ball is thrown into the air, it’s an idea. That idea could be an introduction to a new character or a new plot line. It’s what we do when we write – we cast our ideas out which is vital for a narrative to drive. We introduce the brave but troubled protagonist or the bomb which will blow up the universe in 24 days.

However, it’s equally important for the ball to be caught. That idea cast into the air has to land back into the writer’s hands. If you catch that ball, it’s development done correctly, it’s that original idea following through to a conclusion. If that ball doesn’t get caught, it either stays in the air or it crashes. In other words, the idea never gets returned to or it fails, falls and smashes on the ground (presuming these aren’t bouncy balls.)

When you start writing, these balls thrown are usually one by one. However, the numbers of balls increases as the story goes on; ultimately, the balls have to keep being thrown and caught, the narrative has to go somewhere and as it progresses, you, as a writer, are juggling. Throwing and catching, throwing and catching.

In television, it’s easy to see where this works and where it doesn’t.
(I’m afraid I can’t find the original author of this analogy but it’s brilliant.)


Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013) was very well crafted. In juggling terms, it only had six or seven balls representing individual characters and several major plot lines but each ball was elegantly thrown and caught with perfection. When a ball was thrown, it was with huge interest and when it was caught, it inflicted colossal influence.

adf d

Game of Thrones (2011 – ) was, and still is, well crafted also. The GoT universe is much larger than that of Gilligan’s show (and most TV shows) and therefore a lot more balls are being thrown and a lot more are being caught. In addition, because the show has a huge universe, the time between the balls being thrown and caught can be much longer. The writers have done very well.

I understand fans will know some GoT balls weren’t caught. For example, Gendry, the Lord of Light, the Greyjoy’s and Brann & Co fizzled out.


Picture credit to Reddit user /u/BaronOlio.

But, remember, Game of Thrones will continue hopefully for another few books/seasons and we know, we’re sure to see more of them!


Lost (2004 – 2010) was a little bit different. The pilot episode was brilliant, absolutely amazing and in juggling terms, it was the writers throwing hundreds of balls into the air, hundreds of ideas and possibilities to be caught and continued, holding the audience hungry for more.

But it seems like after the balls were thrown, the jugglers just ran away. Nothing was really caught and while it was still fun in some respects to watch things nearly get finalised to a tidy package, it wasn’t juggling. It was throwing a ball to a batter who knocked it out of the park, never to be seen again.

It’s important for plot and characters to be developed. Change and progression are the nature of storytelling and it’s vital they’re executed routinely. Whether you’re juggling 5, 10 or 400 balls, the reader will always pick up on when things go missing, when characters vanish without explanation or why the bomb didn’t go off despite nobody defusing it.

The throwing and catching, as I’ve said before, has to happen. However, every writer will know it’s not always easy to throw a ball knowing it’ll be caught. But that’s okay. It’s important to remember that is you must throw the ball. A lot of writing is planning and structure and sticking to your notes and textbooks. In addition, a lot of writing in spontaneous. As you progress, in most cases it starts to become clear when and how the ball will be caught. Of course, this can only happen when an idea is cast into the air, outside the mind and onto paper or computer.

Don’t hold it in – it needs air, it needs to breathe and it needs perspective.

What Really Happened in The Tempest?


The final scene in Shakespeare’s final play is one of the most personal across his canon. Prospero’s epilogue is Shakespeare speaking to us through his protagonist. He thanks the audience and bids them farewell. It’s an incredible way to say goodbye, to sign off as one of the greatest playwrights to have lived.

However, for me, that final scene contains a small detail that’s budding with potential for a great story.

In Act V, Scene 1, the cast are gathered and are on levels of reconcilement. All is restored and all soon to be explained before the curtains fall. We’re gifted with a little surprise, too – the Master and the boatswain are alive and well! They survived the shipwreck! Gonzalo asks what happened to them. The boatswain replies:

If I did think, sir, I were well awake,
I’ld strive to tell you. We were dead of sleep,
And– how we know not — all clapp’d under hatches;
Where but even now with strange and several noises
Of roaring, shrieking, howling, jingling chains,
And more diversity of sounds, all horrible,
We were awaked; straightway, at liberty;
Where we, in all her trim, freshly beheld
Our royal, good and gallant ship, our master
Capering to eye her: on a trice, so please you,
Even in a dream, were we divided from them
And were brought moping hither.

And the scene continues, of course, now onto the important matters and with it, our attention focuses back to the main cast and the story continues.

I can’t help but think something seems fishy in the isle of The Tempest. No one really seems to react to this story. I understand, there’s nothing to react to. It’s pretty basic: they were asleep, they woke up, everything is okay, everything has been restored. Simple.


But that’s what’s odd. Their story – it’s too simple. It’s the equivalent of ‘I woke up and it was all a dream.’ Whilst the other members of the ship wandered the isle, fell in love, confessed their crimes, got hysterically drunk and had life changing, life altering experiences, they slept through it all?! 

What I find even more interesting is that the Master doesn’t speak. He’s nothing more than a silent participant. Now, he only has a total of 16 words in this piece, all which are said in the first 10 seconds of the play, so it’s not exactly out of place that he’s a quiet one.

What if – What if he doesn’t say anything because he can’t say anything?

What if there’s a whole other story we don’t know about? What if this whole time they were fighting to protect the rest of the ship, tackling hoards of ravenous cannibals that swarmed the beach they landed on with their blunt blades? And afterwards, they raided the mines with the natives to restore peace to the island once ruled by these rabid monsters? What if they got captured and the Master had his tongue removed? Or perhaps, he’s under a spell?

The play is packed with magic, fantasy, spells, illusions – would it be so hard to believe the Master is silenced? Spell locked? And why would the boatswain lie? What horrors did they see that they cannot bare to express to the group? There’s something there, there’s a story to be told.

Now, the Shakespeare ‘spin-off’ isn’t a new thing. Tom Stoppard did it brilliantly with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an existentialist insight of the two ‘friends’ of Hamlet.

Rosenkranz und Gueldenstern / Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead GB/ 1990 Regie: Tom Stoppard Darsteller: Tim Roth, Gary Oldman Rollen: Gueldenstern, Rosenkranz

Their fate was detailed in Hamlet only by the First Ambassador in a single line, which became the title of Stoppard’s masterpiece – perhaps he felt they deserved more of a voice. Nevertheless, he was inspired and told a story from a story.

To assume there’s an actual secret hidden in Shakespeare’s final scene that has yet to be discovered is highly unlikely. They’re widely researched, analysed and this idea that there’s something more to this silence is nothing more than an itch scratched to the core. But with enough thought, a ‘what if’ can breed a modern tale from a classic piece.

There’s always a story within a story. Par the copyright claim, writing produces more writing, writing that has won Nobel prizes in literature, writing that is studied at schools and Universities.

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre spawned Jean Rhys’ The Wide Sargasso Sea.
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe  led to J. M. Coetzee’s Foe.
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet provoked Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest could lead to…?

We’ll see. If a writer claims to be thirsty for ideas but has nothing to drink, shove a book in their face. There can be an original leaf on a tree already flourishing with life.

What really happened in The Tempest? It’s up to you.

#6 Man Versus Book

#6 Man Versus Book

/u/MagicofFriendship submitted the writing prompt:
Write a story about your greatest fear and how you eventually overcome it.

“How do we do it?”

“How do we do it? Honey, you don’t have to do anything.” She was ready. Slippers on, cup of tea brewing by her side and a smile I hadn’t seen in a longtime. My hands were shaking. She noticed and placed her hand on mine. “You’ve still got your shoes on! Take them off, you can’t do it properly if your shoes aren’t off.”

With my shoes off, nestled beside the arm chair I sat in, I felt like I couldn’t escape. It wasn’t when I got into my loungewear, it wasn’t when she told me I couldn’t have my phone, it was then – making a quick escape and running back to The Mill in my socks was impossible, because it was fucking freezing outside.

“What have you got?” I asked.

“I’m about half way through. Here.” She handed me the book. I heard my phone ringing on the kitchen counter next door. She could tell I wanted to answer it, perhaps my hands were shaking even more, perhaps I began to sweat or perhaps she knew it was Alfie asking where I was. She held my gaze with reassuring confidence. “Read the back.”

I remember struggling to read it. I don’t have a problem with reading or anything, I’m not stupid, but it definitely felt odd holding something in my hand I couldn’t drink. It was about an old man fishing in a big lake. It said something about wrestling with a fish, man versus nature, that’s all I remember. I handed it back to her.

“Is it good?”

“It’s great. Here’s yours. I spent a lot of time trying to pick one you’d like. You said you wanted something funny. It’s not too complicated either. Here you go.”

“How do you know I’ll like it?”

“I found a line you could read. It’ll make you laugh. Then you’ll know.”

I opened the book to the dog flapped page. There was a sticky yellow tab pointing to a highlighted line.

In the beginning the Universe was created.

I couldn’t believe it. I remember thinking – what the fuck is this? She had tricked me into it, into this night in. I wasn’t at the The Mill. I wasn’t with Alfie, Ron, Toby, Ben, I wasn’t on the fruity, I wasn’t watching the football, I wasn’t enjoying the finest bitters, I wasn’t sharing jokes with Shelley at the bar, I wasn’t chasing spots or stripes or the big 180, I wasn’t where I should be, where I wanted to be. I was at home, at fucking home on a Friday night, and I had a fucking book in my hand and it sounded like it was fucking religious or something. It was 8 o’ clock and I was getting converted by my wife and some Douggy Adams bloke.

I sighed. I went to hand it back to her – I couldn’t do it.

She still held her smile and she read me so well. “Read the rest of the line.”

This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

I’ll admit – that book gave me the biggest laughs and that girl of mine changed my life.

Taking Off My Boot

Joseph said he was going to give up the drinking with his boys. He said he’s giving up the drink. And you know it’s not for health reasons because the boy is fine.

Let me tell you something. Ever since our mate Gozzer got his new place, next door to the Two Pence pub that is, we’ve been coming to the pub every Saturday for 12 years. That’s 12 years of drinking, chatting, story sharing, banter, snooker, pub quizzes, darts and shots – and it’s always been the same crew: Gozzer, Bigsy, Paul, Joseph and myself. Not one of us has missed a night. Never. It’s what we do, it’s our tradition. There ain’t much else to do in this town of 200 people so we’re sure to be there every Saturday.

Joseph said he’s giving up drinking. Took some convincing but he still came out the week after. He drank less but he still came out.

Then, he says he wants to go to a different pub. Suggested the Horseman. Said it’s because he didn’t like the noise at the Two Pence. He says this after 12 years all of a sudden? And it’s because of the noise? As far as I know – and here’s a big, fancy word from me – but the words ‘pub’ and ‘noise’ are synonymous, no matter which pub you go to. We stayed at the Two Pence and went back the week after. Sure enough, Joseph still came out.

Then, he says this: “Why come out if I ain’t gonna sip the nectar, you know? It’s not fun being the sober one when everyone else is on merry lane.” That’s how he put it. ‘Sip the nectar’ and ‘merry lane.’ Funny boy, he comes out with some strange stuff.

None of that changed. We drank at the Two Pence, we all had beer and that’s how it was.

One Saturday, the 26th it was (I remember because Joseph is our sports man when it comes to the pub quiz questions), Joseph didn’t come out. Of course, we lost the quiz. Thought he might be ill or something so we let him off. Let him break the tradition because he was whingin’. Even Gozzer came out the morning after he had his operation those years ago and he had a pint.

But when he didn’t turn up for the second and third time, we thought there was something wrong. Couldn’t let him get away with not seeing his boys. Maybe he was ill and needed some comfort. So, we went to his house. All of us, including Paul’s girlfriend, Lara, who’s practically a conjoined twin to Paul considering how much time they spend together. We knock on his door, his wife answers. She’s lovely, she is. Lovely girl. She lets us in and says he’s in the living room.

And it’s right before we get to the room when I realise…

Shit. What if he IS ill? What if he’s got liver failure from drinking? What if he’s got leprosy or some shit? We can’t come storming in there expecting him to come out if his bloody leg’s falling off!

But it was too late. We were all walking to the living room and we couldn’t stop. Curiosity, probably.

We get in there and Joseph is sat in his dressing gown with a fucking book in his hand. I then think there’s still a chance he might be ill – you know, because he’s reading – but he’s got a whiskey tumbler on the little table next to him and he’s smoking a cigar! He was fucking living it up! We didn’t ask questions, shock got to us all. Gozzer was speechless, his big mouth hanging open. We poked a bit of fun at Joseph for his dressing gown because it was baby blue, as you do, and then we left.

Joseph came out with us the week after. He felt bad for not making the effort. Gave us a little apology. I bought him a beer from the far end of the bar – one of the expensive ones. Christ, even the handle for the tap was dusty when Frank poured it. Felt it needed to be done for our Joseph, you know. Give him something nice.

He thanked me for the drink and said he liked the taste, but he nursed that pint throughout the night. Bigsy had three and he’s a slow drinker. That showed something still wasn’t right.

What was odd about Joseph is that he showed no sign of, well, anything. Bigsy was talking again about the time he slept on that church roof after a drunken night out at the Foresters – wakes up with a pigeon on his head. We’re all cracking up. Nothing from Joseph.

Paul and Lara told us again about when Gozzer got in that fight with the barmaid’s husband. Funniest story there is. Nothing from Joseph.

Bigsy then told us again about how he chased that pig through the field – and then he got stuck with his pants down in the mud! Classic tale! But still, nothing from Joseph. I asked him what was wrong. He said, ‘I’ve heard it before.’

Now, I remember not long ago, him and I got in a little bit of a fight. No fists or anything, but a lot of insults, lots of nasty words and it ended with Joseph leaving the pub early, stumbling out the door whilst giving us the finger. I caught up to him outside, he was slumped over a fence throwing up. I tried to start with an apology, I hate fighting and we’re all mates. Sometimes the alcohol rings like a wrestling bell. Before I could say anything, he stopped me and said this:

“Habit is a great deadener.”

I didn’t know what it meant – especially with half a keg of beer in me. But I remembered what he said. Both of us went home, to sleep it off. In the morning, I searched what the phrase meant online. Came up with some play about two tramps or something. Waiting for something, can’t remember what it was called. But there was a little help box for phrases – you know, for kids, probably, or thicks like me. Clicked it and it said it means that if you do the same things, like, over and over, it kills it. It kills the enjoyment or fun.

God I felt shit when I realised.

Joseph had heard these stupid stories, from Gozzer, from Bigsy, from Paul, from me, a thousand times. He’s heard them every weekend every time we’ve been here. That’s all we talk about, that’s all we’ve ever talked about. Just reliving our old days every Saturday. We don’t talk about the present or the future. Maybe because we’re all scared of it. Couldn’t tell you where Paul works now, couldn’t tell you how old Bigsy’s kid is. I had no idea who Gozzer was married to now, if anyone. Joseph had put up with it this whole time and the excuses he made were just to get away from it all for a bit. He tried to not hurt our feelings, you know. Kind kid and we gave him stick for it. Felt awful for him, we fucked up really bad there, for the pressure and all.

All Joseph wanted was to see what was over the hill. He wasn’t wearing these blinkers like the rest of us were, who were happy and content with routine. He wanted something different, even if it was spending his one night off reading Moby Dick or Waiting for Whatever. I stuck up for him when he didn’t show up on Saturday. Bigsy and Paul both gave him banter in the texts they sent but I stuck up for him. I don’t think they’ll understand.

Good thing, though, was that Joseph was a lot happier after.

Saw him buying skimmed milk – of course only Joseph would buy skimmed milk – down in Mahed’s last weekend. He was really happy. Non-stop talking, you know. I was jealous, I gotta say. It’s like he’d had sex for the first time all over again, just from a bit of variation to his life, reading instead of drinking. He wasn’t smug about it neither – he even apologised, though it wasn’t necessary, for not being with us and for breaking the tradition. He said he would join us again soon.

Couldn’t get that image out of my head. His fat, podgy face buying milk, smiling and content.

There’s a coaster nailed to the ceiling at the Two Pence. On it, it says ‘Variety is the spice of life.’ Makes sense now. I was never smart in understanding what stuff like that means, but now I do. Just had to follow Joseph in his footsteps.

So, I started reading.