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“The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little.” — Mark Twain
Back To The Future day. Marty McFly leaves Oct 26th 1985 to arrive in Oct 21st 2015. If you are worried there are no flying cars or hoverboards, at least the world is still full of terrorists, although I have yet to run my car on old bananas... Hard to be believe it is 30 years ago today!
Bombs go off in Turkey, a hundred Kurds die, another hundred are maimed - suspicions fly in all directions - but in particular against the Government, who in turn blame IS. Homeland has started again with a script written by Edward Snowden it seems. Real life is outdoing fiction with vivid bloodletting and still the migrants flood into Europe. The more things change, the more things stay the same, as the French would say.
Could you write something optimistic for once? Kit asked me. I’ll have a go, I said and opened a bottle of William Hardy’s Shiraz to help. (But it might be a two-bottle problem).
At least it got me thinking. All those migrants landing on Europe’s shores (8000 a day) are all optimists. They want a new life, free homes, free schools, free money and a life without bombs falling on their heads and who can blame them? For some reason they haven’t read the news that VW and Audi won’t be hiring anyone soon, never mind Seat in Spain, or Skoda in wherever and Scania in Sweden. They also want to learn German, the hardest language in the world, aside from all the other European languages. Ask anyone (a Turk perhaps) who ever tried to get a job in Germany about how well they integrate. I am not sure some of these optimists thought it through.
Meanwhile we have Catalonia voting to divorce the rest of Spain and Europe and walk away from their financial obligations. The suckers fall for nationalism everytime, despite the financial unrealities of independence. The only winners are the politicians who prosper with their fingers deep in the till as the people who voted for them are crushed. Why does no one ever learn from history? Nationalism is a virus, a poison, like a pretty lethal orchid.
Now China is playing the optimism card. Expanding their army, navy, and airforce, building islands in other peoples sea zones and claiming this is ‘peaceful’ expansion. If you were living in Japan (who has made it legal to fight internationally again) or in Taiwan or South Korea or Vietnam you would be the optimist who thinks this won’t end in war. Here’s a little prayer that the US won’t get dragged into it – although that is hoping too much. Bets on this happening in the next five years are already down. As I write this shiny bright optimistic arms dealers are on flights to Taipei or Tokyo. After all the most optimistic guy in the room is always the grim reaper, right?
Right now I’m getting all excited I’ll be able to pick up a 2016 VW for half-price some time soon. But with a number of cities banning diesel engines all over the UK and soon in Europe, there’s going to be hundreds of thousands VW and Audi drivers stranded on our highways bunking up at motorway cafes because they can’t go home again. That’s a special kind of hell.
I guess we were all optimistic when the Saudi's killed the oil price that things would get cheaper. Well you reap what you sow. First the fracking industry collapsed in the USA, their original target, now engineering has collapsed, steel, pretty much all minerals and we are heading for a monumental world wide recession that China will not be pulling us out of, nor will they be able to reduce interest rates as before to cure the 'problem'. I am trying to sell my house - see below, but for all those happy to pay £750,000 for a one bedrom flat in London right now - your really don't think that your flat will follow commodity prices down the toilet? What an optimist you are. Never mind the housing shortage, there is a reality shortage and it is going to be a very painful wake up call soon.
I was optimistic I was going to speak at my old school soon. Sadly they read my novel Repercussions of Tomas D, which rewrites the outcome of WW2. Apparently speculating on just how close we were to capitulation in 1941 during the Blitz is beyond the pale and might corrupt young minds. I was merely trying to point out that history turns on a pinhead and could so easily had gone the other way in different circumstances. Not easy being a writer. The kids will have to do without this oldboy wandering in.
On Houses and Apples
It’s been a great year for apples. Best in twenty years they say and my apple tree is laden. I am already sick of apple compote. Boring insects have ruined at least half, but there’s still hundreds left, a bit too high for me to pick and I’m banned from using ladders since I fell off one last year (and possibly triggered the darn heart episode.)
I have been desperately trying to sell my three bed house. The only one in the country that stubbornly won’t sell, despite twice reducing the price. They come and see all the apples and say ‘It’s a lot of work.’
They are disappointed there is no lawn, since it is down to paving with trouble free plant borders and wild roses. If there was a lawn they’d no doubt say ‘It’s a lot of work.’
It’s apparently a consensus of the few that have trooped through my 30’s semi that:
The kitchen is so 2000. (It's 2004 although all the appliances are 2014)
There’s only one power shower in the bathroom
The wet room is in the wrong place
The drive is not wide enough and only parking for two cars
The ONLY positive remark has been for the plate rack.
So there you go. I have a brilliant plate rack. It’s a move in ready plate rack.
I blame Sara Beeny and Phil Spencer. Everyone wants a designer home for a knock down price and can’t be bothered to do it themselves. I could spend £50,000 on putting in a new kitchen, knocking down walls, and yet I wouldn’t be able to put that on top of the price. It’s so easy to overegg a pudding and heaven help me if I get the wrong colour. Of course, the fact they are building cramped townhouses behind me on a former car park with a sea view, my sea view actually, has put people off buying mine. But hey, if you want a great view of the public toilets and the busy roundabout, knock yourself out. From November I’ll lose the view, but also the chill North Sea wind and the sound of traffic, not to mention the noisy retro 60’s rock from the café in summer.
See, you can find some optimism if you look hard enough.
So now I am thinking of my upcoming birthday. I made a pledge last year after unexpectantly surviving my heart attack to make sure I celebrated every birthday as a victory. I was thinking Barcelona, but with nationalism raging there, I’m thinking I want to be warm and go somewhere I’ve never been. The ferry from Nice to Sardinia for example. Around October 24th. Want to come? Pay your own way. Let me know. Easyjet flies to Nice as I recall.
If you find an article on hacks you like this month- share it. Explore our 16 years of archives too. Have a great month.
© Sam Hawksmoor October 2015 - Joint Editor
*As ever Hackwriters is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle we aren't picky.
**And thanks for those who do. The Heaviness, Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles are recommended. Buy the spy/romance Repercussions of Tomas D set in the Blitz first. You know you want to. Check out the new book Marikka published by Hammer & Tong
||MARIKKA- exclusively on Amazon Print and kindle 2015
Based on a tragic real life event, Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Starfish boy – a runaway working for Jackson, a scarred man hiding a sinister secret from the world. Meanwhile her real father searches for her with the aide of Anya, ‘the girl who can read objects’. More about the writing of this book
‘Long after my tears dried, my heart stayed with Marikka, Starfish Boy and the strange girl who reads objects.’ CT
You will smile, you will gasp with shock, and you will struggle to read the words through your tears. Gemma Williams - Amazon.co.uk 2015
The all new 2nd Edition of 'ANOTHER PLACE TO DIE: ENDTIME CHRONICLES
By Sam Hawksmoor and Sam North
Could you live in a world where antibiotics no longer work?
Print & Kindle
Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear as a lethal virus approaches from the East. No one knows how many are dying. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Do you stay and hide, or do you flee?
Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...' Roxy Williams - Amazon.co.uk
|Spy/Romance thriller set during the Blitz in WW2 - Kindle download
All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here
'Disturbing and very poignant YA love story that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
'A brilliant imagining of living in the Blitz, well researched.' Amazon UK
*download the Kindle version or buy the paperback from Hammer & Tong
||'The Heaviness' suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity.
An original Genie Magee story
The Heaviness published by Hammer and Tong
Genie & Renée have just 36 hours to save Rian or he dies
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Kindle & print
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