Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Black Lotus” – new original music

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to sit down and compose some original music for the first time in ten years (since scoring Don’t Look in the Attic). I tinkered away at this track most evenings, and it was difficult to get it to come together. Sometimes inspiration just hits you, and an entire song will flow from your fingers almost effortlessly. Other times (like this time) it’s a real struggle to construct interesting melodies. Despite putting in a lot of work on this, I couldn’t stretch it beyond about two minutes without feeling like I was padding it out, so I left it short. The end result sounds like the theme tune for an imaginary 1980s television series. If you like the style of music that John Carpenter writes for his own movies, then you might like my little effort. He’s a huge influence on me, along with Tangerine Dream, Depeche Mode, and Gary Numan.

Tagged , ,

Can you handle reality?

I came across a photograph of an emaciated, defenceless infant being cruelly stood upon by a man. One foot was planted on the child’s neck and the other on his pelvis. The boy appeared to be alive, judging by the expression of agony on his face. I don’t want to share the photo because I think some will find it unbearable. So I will settle for putting an image in your mind with words.

But I must ask myself (and so should you), what does this picture tell me about REALITY? It says that the world is a wild animal park, that there is no one “above” looking out for us, that a successful life involves some degree of pure luck, no matter how much effort we put into it.

I could tell myself that there’s a God who cares for me, but I know I’d be lying. If God values my life and happiness, why does he not value this child’s? I could tell myself that it’s not God’s fault; the evil was done by the man crushing the boy. But I’m deliberately forgetting that God is all-powerful, because I love him and want to let him off the hook. Who am I kidding?

The next time you thank God for his blessings upon you, spare a thought for this child, and askĀ  yourself why you don’t hate God. I don’t hate him, because I know he is an invention. I choose not to believe in a divine parent, because reality teaches his absense. This is only unclear if we bury our heads in the sand. I prefer a life without comforting illusions, because those illusions only work until they are tested by reality. Sometimes reality is comfortable and sometimes it is horrific. To believe that God orchestrates it all is to make God a monster.

No. The world is a wild animal park; it’s that simple. Any genuine and lasting spirituality must be grounded in reality, not in wishful thinking. Initially, it may feel like staring into an abyss, but if you look hard enough, you’ll eventually find treasure. I wish I could explain it all with a handy anecdote, but real spiritual insight is a lot harder than “Believe in me”. Reality invites you to gaze upon her without averting your eyes. That’s as good as starting point as any, but can you handle it?

Tagged , , ,

Another weird dream (and its analysis)

A supplemental to my previous video, about Carl Jung’s theories on dream interpretation from “Man and His Symbols.”

Tagged ,

Why you’ll never win a debate against religion

When a person has a rigid, unchangeable belief system, it is pointless to debate with him, because he will surely find a way to defend what he believes to his own satisfaction – by grabbing hold of the closest weak argument and not allowing himself to think too deeply …

To see this mindset in action across the broad spectrum of religion, I recommend checking out Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous. Watch it online via the link below.

[ Link ]

Reality Check now a FREE ebook

I’ve decided it’s time to release Reality Check as a freely downloadable ebook, alongside the paperback. This move didn’t hurt the sales of my novel Chion one bit, so I’m going to do the same again.

The timing is also due to some rather unfortunate recent accusations by sceptics on YouTube, who used the existence of my book to bolster their view that my telekinesis experiments are profit-making scams (real scientific of them). I discuss it all in the video below.

[ Download Ebook ]

Impressive card trick, blindfolded!

Time for a little fun. I learned this card trick from Derren Brown’s book Tricks of the Mind, which I recently reviewed. I’ve had a great deal of fun demonstrating this to countless people. I’ve even added my own little variation to Brown’s method, in that I do it blindfolded! See what you think …

Autographed books to aid Alzheimer’s Society

My book reviewing buddy Mick Halpin has accumulated quite a few autographed novels over the years, with an emphasis on Irish crime authors. He’s currently auctioning them on eBay and donating the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Society. Check it out …

[ Link ]

Welcome to the new blog

Well, I’ve decided to migrate my blog from Blogger to WordPress. Whether it now looks better or worse than the old blog, I’m not sure. One thing’s for sure, it’s more functional.

One of the most important things to me about blogging is receiving comments from readers. You’ll notice the new blog lists the last five comments down the right-hand side – a nice touch. Those of you who were in the habit of commenting regularly, please keep ’em coming. Obviously, you’ll no longer log in from your Blogger account (if you had one), but comments are open to everyone. Just state your name and post away.

You’ll notice there’s now a “Categories” section on the sidebar. This should give a bit more exposure to some important older posts, like my writing and filmmaking tips, that are currently floating way back in the mists of time.

I always hated the navigation (or lack thereof) on the Blogger template. Now, I’ve been able to move all the clutter that was on my sidebar into handy pages along the top.

Expect further changes and enhacements in the coming days.

Book swapping

Like most avid readers, I’ve got a collection of books in my house, many of which I’m unlikely to read twice. I’ve come across a neat way to trade those books for other volumes: Read It, Swap It. I discovered the site when I was vainly Googling my own name, to see if there were any new mentions of Chion out there on the far reaches of the worldwide web; I was delighted to come across a past pupil of the school (hello, Megsy) plugging my novels on the site’s forum.

On Read It, Swap It, you create a username for yourself, then put together a list of books you’re willing to exchange. Now you’re ready to browse the full library of books on offer by all users. When you spot something you want, you click to request it. The owner of that book then has opportunity to browse through your books. If he sees something he likes, a successful exchange takes place. What I find charming about this site is that it’s completely devoid of any monetary exchange; even kids can use it.

I’ve made several requests for books, but unfortunately the other user doesn’t always find anything of interest to him in my selection. It’s a pity, because I located a few books that I really wanted (in particular, the original novels behind the movies Battle Royale and Ring, translated from Japanese), but I couldn’t pique the owners’ curiosity. Likewise, I’ve received requests for some of my books, but I don’t always find the other user’s selection interesting. The system works on a simple book-for-book basis, so it’s possible you might end up swapping a perfect-condition 500-page first edition hardcover for a tatty old 150-page paperback. You can think of these as drawbacks, but I actually feel it adds a bit of excitement to the process.

One thing I’ve found interesting is that I’ve had requests for several small-press print-on-demand books by practically unknown authors. It’s probably too early to suggest that there’s any kind of trend to be witnessed here, but it’s possible that in this second-hand trading environment, people are more on the look-out for the unusual and unfamiliar. Thus far, I’ve traded two self-published books (by two authors who have now completely dropped off the radar) for Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Simon Clark’s Blood Crazy. (The plot of the latter got me excited: think 28 Days Later except it’s only the adults who go bananas; kids are left to fend for themselves in a world where every adult is out to slaughter them. What a great idea for an apocalypse!)

Read It, Swap It is a UK-only service. Here’s my book list, if anyone out there wants to trade books with me, whether inside or outside the system.

The Freedom Triangle

I have this little project I’ve been tinkering with on and off for the past seven months, called The Freedom Triangle. It’s a novella which takes place in the mythology of The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher. Although mine is an original story, it’s technically “fan fiction” or “derivative fiction,” and that turns it into a copyright nightmare. I was discussing this with my writer friend Will Hadcroft, himself a Tripods fan and someone who has met the author of the trilogy. A few days later, there’s a message in my inbox from a sender called Sam Youd. For those who don’t know, John Christopher is actually the pseudonym of a man called Samuel Youd. Here’s what he had to say:


Will has passed me your request/query re your novella, and I wish I could be more helpful. It’s not just Disney – I’m also contracted to Simon & Schuster who have kept the books in print for nearly forty years.

I’m not sure whether your book would be seen as a violation of copyright, not (thank God) being a movie/publishing lawyer; but I know their minds work in strange and often jealous ways. I don’t think they would take private circulation among friends seriously, but actual publication would be a different ballgame. So would publication on the Net: the question of copyright in that area is still to be worked out. What I’m afraid is indisputable is that I personally am in no position to offer a go-ahead or clearance – it’s not in my hands.

Sorry about that!

Best wishes

Sam Youd

I don’t want to sound like a starstruck teenager, but it was great to get an email from the man himself. Ain’t the internet a wonderful thing?