Welcome - The International Writers Magazine
- Editorial 2011
Welcome to the August edition of Hackwriters.
If you have found us. Welcome. If you are returning - welcome back.
Hackwriters exists for emerging writers, regular commentators and we specialise in Travel Writing, Fiction, Reviews, Lifestyles and Comment. Explore. We've been here for twelve years now so there's quite an archive.
Unexpectedly back from France. In attendance at a sick parent and house sale collapsed.
Four actual days in Biarritz with great hospitality from Lionel and Catherine and wind, hail, rain... where did summer go? Biarritz buzzing nevertheless...what recession?
Now frantically home putting house in order to put it back on the market. Only cash buyers need apply. Nine wasted months. Lesson learned is never be nice or generous it doesn't seem to pay anymore. Ah well. Best get down to reading September submissions.
Summer escape at last. Eurostar to Paris then TGV to Biarritz. See you on the beach. Sure I could go by Ryan Air but why would anyone want to? Train allows contemplation - reading time. No hostile Ryan Air staff...
The stock market is crashing, the world has definitely gone to hell in a hand-basket but how much you'd regret it all if you didn't actually take a summer break before the apocalpyse. That's the way I see it anyway. Good friends, some decent wine and food and putting the world to rights over a glass of brandy. Was it ever thus. See you in September when there will no doubt be a horrid reality moment ...
Survived a teaching weekend at West Dean College (The Edward James Foundation). Class consisted of a bright 16 year old to a confident 70 year old with three Phds in between and lots of teachers including a deputy head. Kind of nightmare scenario for a teacher but class was fun the quality of the output was great and showed great promised for all involved.
August 10th: What can one say about the riots, looting and theft going on across England? What can one say about the thousands of feral kids going out to have fun stealing and burning? They have no fear of the police or consequences and even if caught will wear their arrest like a badge of honour. (They wont think about the jobs they'll never get now, or loans or mortgages and how it will ruin their lives forever). Check out the games they play on playstations etc. Most involve burning, shooting, stealing, killing, raping.... this is just a real-life real-time extension right? We live in a dystopian society where our leaders are proven to be morally bankrupt and media complicit in that process. If you are a teen and more importantly a semi-literate teen you can't see a future and yes they should have paid attention at school but didn't and there are millions like them coming out of a pretty useless school system where everyone is praised and there is no competition. We reap what we sow.
Can it be fixed? Yes. Can we afford it? We have to. Perhaps we could build less nuclear submarines and reallocate that money to recruiting teachers with powers to discipline and lock up parents who don't give a shit and there's millions of those too.
There are also thousands of bright, hard working teens who will succeed - who aren't out there looting. But they will have to show more leadership in schools now - perhaps get involved in failing schools and societies themselves. We have a whole section of society who believe they are entitled to everything without having to strive for it. That's the culture we have to break and the toughest nut to crack. What we have now is the end result of years of socialism. Entitlement without responsibility will always lead to this.
Editorial 5th August: Sure there's a meltdown going on but then again it's August! If you had money you'd wade in and make a fortune - right? But what to buy? Easier to go on vacation and forget about it. It'll all be right by September - won't it?
James Campion, our regular US Correspondent has done it again. At the beginning of July he predicted with confidence that the US Debt would get through the crisis and be increased and here he is again showing us how the whole thing was stage-managed. The stock markets told the real story, they didn't panic and that should have told the media something. Nevertheless, right now banks in China, Brazil and elsewhere are wondering what to do with their billions of dollars, the world's reserve currency. Keep or sell and if you sell what do you buy? Gold? Billionaire Soros says gold, so does Max Keiser. But what do we do? The slubs who have no money and just debts? Run for the hills? Pray our politicians have some common sense? Best pray hard I guess. Elsewhere in this issue Mike Levy argues that gold is overvalued see Gold Bug but I think Mike might be selling you short if you read his advice. Gold is heading ever upwards. In the UK people are buying property to let, as they get no interest from the banks, and that might look attractive now, but letting is fraught with problems - people who don't pay, voids, getting your home back and having to completely redecorate. Gold doesn't provide an income to be sure - but at the moment you can make a ten percent return in a year. If you, like me have no money at all, I recommend a good Shiraz. To drink of course. To hell with laying it down.
Traditionally here in the West this is the month we bask in hot sun, earn some rest from our labours and reflect on what has gone before and what is to come. Or drink yourself silly and disgrace yourself in some far off place where no one knows you.
Take your choice.
Here at Hackwriters office we are:
a: still looking for a house to move to (getting desperate now)
b: teaching a course on dystopian teen fiction (Coming up in one week at West Dean and some places still available)
c: catching a train to Biarritz to do some decorating for a pal immediately after
The Or in our lives here are causing not a few ulcers.
Editor – Hackwriters.com
Let me acquaint you with the misery of selling a house in the UK.
My house had an offer on it in January. It is now August. I am still here.
I recently engaged a Chartered Surveyor to check out a house in Lincolnshire. The survey was devastating. Of course anyone attempting to buy a house built in 1840 is asking for trouble, but this apparently requires replacing all the sash windows, re-supporting the sagging roof, removing asbestos, fixing rising damp and well yours truly ain’t got the cash to throw away like that. In the last eight months I have uselessly spent close to two grand on surveys and each time been unable to buy as the chain collapsed below me, or the survey was too negative to go forward. (House buying is all about chains and surveys). In Scotland you want to buy a house and agree to it, it happens. In England nothing happens. No wonder the DIY chains are all going under.
For me this has been a year when I have also become disillusioned with the professional classes. We have already had a year when bankers were disgraced. Our politicians were revealed as venal, feckless charlatans in thrall to the devil incarnate Rupert Murdoch. If you have ever seen a doctor recently and enjoyed the allotted three – point five minutes of ‘face’ time, you will know just how ‘professional’ they are for their £130,000 a year. My own doctor wouldn’t even look at my elderly mother’s legs, which are now risking gangrene, all because they couldn’t be bothered to wait for the bandages to be unwrapped. How’s that for care? She’s getting good care now from conscientious nurses in London. But how common is this professional indifference in medical care here. Anecdotally pretty common I think.
In pretty much all areas of life we are in the hands of ‘professionals’, but their manifest indifference to your needs is universal. Hence kick-backs for the Met from News International seems to be the norm.
Respect for ‘professions’ must be at an all time low I should think.
Not all this can be blamed on Rupert Murdoch, but a great deal can. His Fox News gave us the poison that is Glen Beck. His News of the World and The Sun in the UK insidiously created racial and social divisions and intolerance for ‘foreigners’ and anyone of any other sexual persuasion. Sure they expose the left for their obsessions for political correctness and health and safety fanaticism, but they also shatter trust in almost everything and that is what we are left with. A society where trust is breaking down – all to sell his newspapers.
The rise of the Tea Party in America leads right to Murdoch’s door. Intolerance, Mad Max economics, gun entitlement, it is creating a society where the weak and vulnerable are left to fend for themselves. A country where those without jobs are demonised and democratic values are mocked. Any kind of ‘help’ is socialism. No it isn’t, Sarah Palin, Glen Beck or Michelle Bachmann, it’s called civilisation. If you want the tyranny of vigilantism in every state, that’s what you will get. The rise of dystopian literature is exactly because we can see what kind of world Murdoch has been fashioning. It’s a harsh, cruel, heartless one, where only the individual counts and his or her needs above all others. It’s one where Governors in Texas and elsewhere gain popularity in Murdoch press for the number of people they execute. There’s no rehabilitation for prisoners in a Tea Party world. Murdoch values are sometimes identical to the Taliban and women’s rights would be the first to disappear in a Tea Party dominated White House. A balanced budget? It likely means no welfare, no health care. They are probably against railroads, investment in infrastructure and the future. The Amish are a likely role model I think.
In the UK we struggle in a weak economy, supposedly restructuring our economy away from service jobs to manufacturing. It’s a case of closing stable doors after the horse has long gone. We are just lucky we aren’t in the Euro so we can endlessly devalue ourselves into poverty and then the Chinese will come here to make things because it is cheaper than Shanghai. Won’t that day be wonderful.
So is there anyone we can respect at all? Oddly enough there is – us. The ordinary folk still go to work on time and care about what they do at work. Without you doing your bit, whether for the salary or just because you care, everything would crumble. Everyday, people who aren’t ‘professionals’, who aren’t being paid hundreds of thousands a year, go to work and just do their job – well. The PA’s who make professionals look good; the receptionists who make sure messages get read and acted upon. The guy who cleans the drains, the people who sit there in our un-air-conditioned post-offices and smile at each an every customer. The baristas who make my coffee at Café Nero who don’t complain when customers are awkward. The guys who serviced my car at short notice and didn’t rip me off.
It amazes me that ordinary folk get on with it and we know that the ‘professionals’ they support are not carrying their weight, are getting away with murder and are all way too overpaid. (And I haven’t even gotten around to University lecturers who think a whole ten hours teaching a week is too much work).
So as I sit in Nero and write this in August, I am minded to think that the unexpected happens in summer. We already had the terrible massacre in Norway. Who knows if the dollar will meltdown (although I doubt it). Be prepared for something else. If you are going on vacation do all you can to enjoy it. If you are going by Ryanair – sorry, but it is entirely your own fault if you arrive feeling ripped off. Go by train, I know I am.
Will things get better?
Does a bear read an iPad in the woods?
Open the wine, find a place in the sun and pray for a better world.
Sam North August 2011
**Hackwriters exists to give a platform for emerging writers and a forum for our regulars. If you find something you like let the writer know and spread the word.
© Sam North August 1st 2011
Author of 'Diamonds - The Rush of '72'
The Fantastic True story of the 1872 Diamond Rush in the USA
Now if I could get Mean Tide or Diamonds to sell as well, I'd be really happy you can now download them as e-book on iTunes or Lulu. It really does help keep Hackswriters going. Take care out there. Get writing.
The good news is my Sherlock Holmes novel The Curse of the Nibelung is now available as an e-book on itunes. Download here or Here
**Also available as an e-book Diamonds - The Rush of '72 be the first to download
Mean Tide by Sam North *Buy now and get 25% off
(Now a Young Adult Mystery e-book)
Mean Tide - a tale of spiritualism and a young boy's fascination with a murdered man. Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and
completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'
His father has disappeared, his mother is sick. Oliver, recovering from chemo, is sent
to live with his psychic Grandma by the river in Greenwich. Oliver quickly
discovers he is living with a world of strange people. When he finds a dog with
its throat cut on the riverside, everything changes. Oliver wants to find the people who did this terrible thing and discovers the terrible truth about himself.
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