Saturday, January 17, 2009


I suffered a minor spell of ill-health recently. While lying around, being tended by my coterie of glamorous literary secretaries, it struck me that I hadn't been very productive recently. I should be writing more. I also noticed how far behind I was with my email, and thought I should do something about that too. Then it struck me that I'd never played Tetris, which seemed strange, as it was one of the most popular video games ever. So there was only one thing to do. Find an online version and play relentlessly. Immediately become hopelessly addicted and give up all other pursuits. Decide never to do anything again except play Tetris. Hmm. This may go on for some time.

* Some time later *

Still struggling with Tetris addiction. Fingers now sore from continual aggressive keyboard action. Help arrives in the form of a new Buffy comic, which does give me a break. The story is a flashback to Buffy's days at school, when Giles was still the school librarian, and I like that. Perhaps Buffy can help to break the Tetris addiction.

Books I wish had survived from the ancient world - Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder) wrote an instruction manual on how to throw a javelin from horseback. He had first-hand experience of this, from various Roman wars in Germany. Sadly, the book no longer survives. But think how interesting it would be. Who can really talk authoritively about throwing a javelin from horseback these days? Probably no one.


  1. Argh. You are contagious.

  2. Martin,

    Good morning. I just finished reading Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me, and just wanted to say thanks. It was a fun airplane/train read during my travels this week, and also brought back some of my own first love girl/band memories. I was a pop kid in suburban NY, then I, like you, heard the Sex Pistols, then Elvis and The Clash and it was all over for me. Girls? Too many to swat the teenage memories away at this point in my life.

    Great book, great historical snapshot of Glascow 1972, and the uniqueness of that Glascow set. Have a great day. TD

  3. Anonymous4:02 pm

    From Tetris to Pliny the Elder. I'm impressed. And you made me snort twice. You are quite the Renaissance man.

  4. I like the free Tetris game but I have never recovered from losing the Tetris game I had as a kid, which came on a floppy disk. It was much better because when you got really good at it, you could start with lines of blocks already in place, which made it harder and therefore better.

  5. Lauren McPhee9:55 pm

    Don't you know facebook has Tetris?! And not just one game of Tetris, all different kinds of games...two minute games, or twenty minute games, or timed games or score games!

    You should add the facebook me, give in to the addiction just once. You can quit later. least that's what all the smokers tell me.

    Also, what no. Buffy comic did you get? cos I think I'm WAY behind...sad day.

    Anyway. Tetris! I challenge you.

  6. Anonymous2:41 pm

    I can't throw a javelin accurately from a horse but I can drive quite close to one of those machines that let you out of a parking lot when you put your ticket in the slot, I don't usually have to walk.

  7. I have two useless pieces of information, gained by Googling javelin and horseback:

    1. Michael Landon, one of the stars in Bonanza, was a javelin champion before becoming a cowboy actor. He could no doubt have written a book on the subject, but dies in 1991.

    2. There is a Turkish sport called Cirit, which involves horesmen throwing (blunted) javelins at each other. It's no doubt a survivor from the classical period, and probably still based on Pliny's expertise. I haven't found an instruction manual, but there's a history of the game

  8. Anita1:24 am

    I can ride a horse and throw a javelin, thanks to - 1. growing up in the country and 2. PE class torture. Can't do either all that well, I recall sending a PE teacher scuttling for cover at one point, let alone at the same time. But I like the idea of sweeping across a plain like Boadica on horseback flinging a javelin with deadly accuracy.

  9. Hi Tom, I'm glad you liked Suzy, Led Zeppelin and Me. It was such a great gig, in Glasgow.

    Jenny, you could move with the times, and get a new Tetris game... although... Lauren, I must avoid facebook Tetris. Disaster would follow if I got involved. I'd never get anything done.

    I'm up to issue 20 now, in Buffy series 8.

  10. So, some unexpected javelin throwing from horseback in the modern world. Anita, I'm amazed that you can actually do this. It's very impressive.

    Thanks for the Cirit link, Peter, that was interesting. It does sound like it's following an ancient tradition. Pliny would fit right in.

  11. j ferrari6:40 pm

    So very excited to hear the new of a new werewolf book. Love your work, and can't get enough of it. Although incredibly difficult to locate in America. I lived in London in the mid 80's, it was an exciting time in my life. I read "Suzie, Led Zeppelin & Me" first. I was a huge fan back in the day, and saw them in late 70's in Arizona. Pretty sure it was the same tour your book references. Robert Plant lost his son that year, so, they cancelled their original concert date. We were horrified and I remember crying the day we heard the news. Led Zeppelin was the center of our universe. They rescheduled the concert, and holding on to that ticket for six months was like guarding the Crown Jewels. I hid the ticket carefully in my room, and feared burglary, fire, and acts of God. I remember checking it many times each and everyday. It became an obsession. The concert was amazing and it was, as I felt at the time, life changing. I was in "love" with Robert Plant, I was 14 old. Thanks for helping me relive a magical time. I have read several of your books since, and always feel young, alive, optimistic and amused, as I had before becoming older and jaded. So, thank you. I have finally located the first two "Thraxas" books. I am thrilled to have them, as it was quite a feat for me to obtain them.