Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Friday 31 December 2010

Here Goes The Year That Was, or something like that.

So, 2010 is about to slip away. The year I completed The Song Of The Sybil (but not the year of finding a publisher for it) and generally doing a lot of work that hasn't yet paid off. Also the year that Jilly's, aka Rockworld, my favourite club since I was teenager, closed down.

Worst of all, 2010 was the year of my grandmother dying, and the year I couldn't spend Christmas with my family because of the dreaded lurgey. My gran was one hell of a lady, and I will miss her profoundly. But she was a tough, determined woman, and she'd give me the flea of all fleas in the ear if I got mopey. So, may as well acknowledge that 2010 had a few things to recommend it. A few of them were:

The World Horror Con in Brighton, where I got to meet not a few writing heroes of my misspent yoof. In particular, I got to meet the lovely Roberta Lannes, who is now a good friend to boot.

Getting to finally meet the ever-reigning Cate (not to mention living to tell the tale after looking on such awesomeness) and getting to read her first story collection.

Other friends made this year include the writer and film-maker Anna Taborska and a tough, warm-hearted Sheffield lass by the name of Vicky Morris- a tiny dynamo of energy, creativity and good humour on a mission to get young folk writing. Thanks for kicking my arse, Vic.

Christ, I even had a date this year. Miracles happen.

Seriously, there's a point to all this. Goodbye to the loved ones who've gone away; you will be remembered. To the friends and family who made this year worthwhile: thank you.

Have a great New Year's Eve tonight, however you choose to celebrate it, and may 2011 be a happier and more joyful year for all of you- and us.

And so, to play us out... if you're from my generation, this choice will make sense. Air guitar optional.

Friday 24 December 2010

Bah humbug

No, seriously, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my blog-readers. Have a great one.

I've managed to catch the bloody flu, so it won't be much of a Christmas at this end. Still, I'll survive. But really, December 2010 has to count as one of the crappiest months I've had in a long time. Ah well.

Peace, love and all of that, peeps. Have a good one.

Thursday 16 December 2010

'Remember' by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

REMEMBER me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

-Thank you to my friend Roberta Lannes for sending me this poem.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Dorothy Ann Smith, 1915-2010

On Thursday night I got home from work. I work late, so it was after 9.00 pm. I had dinner, faffed around on the internet for a while, as you do. Remembered I owed my neighbour for the housework (I'm rubbish at it and never have time, so for £20 a fortnight she stops the place turning into a slum), so went to the bank, paid her, chatted for a while, went home. It's now 10.30 pm. and I remembered I hadn't checked the answering machine on my landline. There's a message from my Mum asking me to call. I did. I don't normally call my parents that late at night, but this time I did. Not sure why. Maybe it was because my Welsh grandmother had gone into hospital earlier in the week after a fall.

Anyway, I spoke to my Dad. "I've got some sad news, love," he said.

This is what I wrote on my Facebook profile later that night:

‘Simon Bestwick’s beloved grandmother, Dorothy Ann Smith, died peacefully in her sleep this afternoon. I have had to wait for a minute after typing that last sentence, because typing it is the most painful thing I’ve done in a very long time. She was a brave, funny, strong, determined and lovely woman who was widowed in the Second World War and then again a few years later, and who raised my father and his stepbrother on her own.

I loved her dearly, and am devastated to know she isn't there any more. She was 95 years old, and had had a good innings. But right now, that doesn't seem to help. Rest in peace, Nanw.'

(Nanw is Welsh for 'Mum', basically. We always called her that because that was what Dad called her.)

Why was I posting on Facebook? Part of this whole 'wear your heart on your sleeve, wash your laundry in public' culture that we've got nowadays? Hardly. Simple fact was, by the time I thought of actually speaking to anyone, it was half-eleven. My neighbour's lights were off, as were
those of another friend across the road (who would later tell me off for not getting him out of bed under the circumstances. ) I rang one of the few friends I know who'd be a) up at that hour and b) wouldn't consider it an imposition. Got his answerphone, left a message. I've got at least one other friend I'd consider calling at that time, but she's just had a baby...

So I was alone in the house, and basically climbing the walls between crying jags. And if you're tut-tutting because you don't think that's manly, or something, then fuck off.

But that's not what this is about.

This blog is about two things really. One, to thank the people who helped me get through that night and the days since. All the people who posted on Facebook or messaged me privately- thank you. A small kindness can mean a great deal at times like that. Thanks to Joel, who rang me at one in the morning, and to Vicky, who rang at two in the morning. Just- thanks, really.

And the other? Because she was my grandmother, and I loved her dearly. We were close, and she was a great lady. She had her faults, of course- in her later years she could be grumpy, and she was always stubborn as a mule. But she was funny, and kind, and full of good stories. And she deserves to be remembered. And because, as Harlan Ellison once put it, 'no-one should be sent down in the dark with too few words.'

Monday 6 December 2010


TV licence: a hundred and something quid a year.
TV: Easily obtainable from a charity shop.
Radio: Even easier and cheaper to obtain.
Hearing the Culture Secretary called 'Jeremy C*nt' on national radio to a breakfast audience of millions: Priceless.
There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's the BBC.