Friday, 29 July 2011

Iron Maiden and Airbourne at Manchester MEN Arena 28/7/11

Went to see Iron Maiden and Airbourne at the MEN arena in Manchester yesterday. I have to say that both bands rock!

I was surprised at the reaction of the crowd to Airbourne, most starting acts I've seen have been welcomed with either boredom or contempt, but they managed to get the whole place rocking, and managed a few major cheers just for them (although bigging up the main act is always going to be a cheer-generator).

They played two of my favorites, Diamond in the Rough and No Way But The Hard Way,and were excellent, full of energy. See a couple of clips further down. I was having camera issues, so excuse the first set of images, they do get better!

See the setlist here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/airbourne/2011/manchester-evening-news-arena-manchester-england-3bd0a4bc.html

Iron Maiden were amazing. I don't actually know their material very well, so I only recognized a few like Coming Home, Dance of Death, Blood Brothers, but it has left me wanting to know it all better!

Bruce Dickinson was an amazing sight, so much energy, and his voice is just incredible.

Eddie made an appearance of course, in two guises, both of which are shown in the clips further down. I didn't get the first Eddie as an image, he was too quick! But the big Eddie was just fantastic. And I loved it when the devil made a big appearance. They were theatrical touches without ruining the performance.

Bruce also address the arena a lot, and talked to those up in the nose-bleed seats. At the end he also got some glasses and a hat from some of the audience and clowned around with them a little.

The set was amazing, a mix of Alien and The Thing, brilliant! You could certainly imagine they were on a distant planet terraforming.

The whole band appeared to be on top form, and made it a very entertaining evening. And despite the 'satanic' badge, like Judas Priest, there was no swearing, no 'off' gestures, and lots of kids in the audience. Go 'Maiden!

See the set list here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/iron-maiden/2011/manchester-evening-news-arena-manchester-england-33d0a4bd.html
Airbourne 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yjXeFsxD_Q



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF78Cgg1dpY



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIFirXESCpY










Iron Maiden (in no particular order, clips are near the bottom!)

















http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWISZKMxerE


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKQdmhrmUOc


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vl94qGLSm4



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9rhALTamDk


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8wiodQKJYE


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTDOUuicyB4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Aztuj8bWAE


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7xFGcLuhtw



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_W8xyV2zsY



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4oC05ge7MU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZC7GjRa79M




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUASA0tnb6I






Now available at Amazon:

*Hangman: An unflinching look at what happens when suicide invades people's lives, and the damage it does.
*Loser's Club: A novel about cats, murder, love and not love, envy, hate, and above all, losers.
*Tube Life: Join Angel as she tries to navigate life, love and the London Underground.
*Writer: Explore the dark recesses of a writer's mind, where horror is never far from reality.

GeorgeEBirch.com
dragoncity publishing

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Path to work

Career are funny things. I had no plan of what I wanted to do with my life, so I did an art degree. As this wasn't the most viable career path in the world, I came out and went on the dole.

But I hated that, so I ended up at B&Q working behind the till. I hated that too, and the job hated me, because after a year I was on a final warning. So I quit.

My dad suggested I work in the library. I hated the idea because I could see myself becoming a cliché, the spinster librarian living with her parents, fat (as I was fat then) and seriously unhappy. But I did it as I realised I couldn't stay on the dole. I ended up volunteering so I could train as a librarian, but I hated it, too much contact with the public by far!

I actually ended up getting a little job with a community database within the libraries that proved to be my inspiration. I had a boss who asked if I read 'Dilbert'. So I started to read it, just as I started to create documentation for the database.

Now I had never heard of a technical writer, had no idea writing documentation could be a real job, yet there was Tina the Tech Writer. As I enjoyed the documentation writing, I started to look into it. This was just at the start of the Internet becoming the tool it is today, so although there were job sites, it was nothing like today.

I still did my library MSc, and hated it. I scraped a pass, but went on to become a Technical Author, and all because of my boss at the time. But if I hadn't of tried the library job, I wouldn't have ever found a career. So the moral of this tale? Try stuff until you find something that fits. It can work!



Now available at Amazon:

*Hangman: An unflinching look at what happens when suicide invades people's lives, and the damage it does.
*Loser's Club: A novel about cats, murder, love and not love, envy, hate, and above all, losers.
*Tube Life: Join Angel as she tries to navigate life, love and the London Underground.
*Writer: Explore the dark recesses of a writer's mind, where horror is never far from reality.

GeorgeEBirch.com
dragoncity publishing

Monday, 25 July 2011

Princesses

Princess mentality is rife in our society these days.
You see them swanning around with an over sized bag slung over one arm, their posture and attitude telling the World they  are 'IT'. They know they will be big, whatever they do it will be magnificent, they will have  a rich, pampered life, and everyone will flock to them. A little older and they drive new mini-coopers, noses stuck in the air when my ancient Corsa chugs by. Well, I wish them luck.

I'm sure while mummy and daddy are paying they will have a great life, until reality hits, and they realise life does not get handed to you on a plate. I'm sure there are plenty that will fall on their feet, but many will struggle to cope with the realities of a poorly paid job with little status. But they'll still have their friends, who will be in a similar situation, and credit-cards to get the all important 'this seasons handbag'.

They won't think to work hard to improve their situation, why should they? I had a friend like this, always moaning about how terrible life was. Well my life had no prospects until I got off my backside and damn well worked for it. So I don't see why they shouldn't too.

We're ruining the next generation, and the worst thing is that they will probably be the ones paying for my pension. Sigh.


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friends

I recently invited two friends over for a 'girly' weekend when I lived on my own. It was a disaster, and really makes me wonder why I bother... to start with, one of my friends (Sue) invited another girl (Gemma) I had met briefly once, a while ago, and her dogs. I agreed for some insane reason, but I didn't want her there as I was hoping to spend time with my freinds so they could get to know me a little better, we never seem to get to talk about me, and I wanted advice on my tragic life.  They were an hour late, which I expected to be honest. They all piled in, I showed them around, with the house not at it's best due to all the changes I had to make to put up Sarah (friend 2) and Sue in my bedroom, and create a bed for me, with Gemma in the spare room as she had the dogs. They gave me a card, signed from all of them, to welcome me to my new home.

Ok...bitchy part. When I went to Sarah's Murder night, I took a bottle of champange, if I went for tea,  I bought a Waitrose cheesecake. I stayed over, I'd supply wine and flowers. Only flowers for one other time I stayed, but I was poor. Nothing from them. Three of them, I spent £30 on food to keep them happy, not a flower. Three of them, a quid each would have bought a few dasies. No wine from them either (although I don't drink, they do) as obviously they were just going to drink mine. Fine, I offered.

So we sat and talked. To start with Sue was already drunk, she and another friend had had 5 bottle of wine between them at lunch. Well, ok, whatever. I made tea for about 7:30,  then we played on the Wii. I'd asked Sarah to bring spare controllers, and she brought some Super Mario game. At first it was ok, then she insisted we play another, then another, finally at midnight I called a stop. At some point I went up to the study and started to find my contreceptive pills, I'd put all that stuff into a bag so I had access to it without going into my room. Sarah came in and I explained what I was doing. She said, 'Why are you doing that? Is it for period problems?' reminding me painfully that I wasn't in a relationship, I forgot that single women are pathetic loosers who can't have sex. Sue dropped pizza and tomarto ketchup on my cream carpet, and someone let the muddy dogs though again onto my carpet.

Then it gets strange. We started to talk again. By this time Sarah and Sue had drunk four of my bottles of wine. Sarah is once again whining about her wedding and the various family politics that really don't matter, who is wearing what and so on, that people are going to clash with the theme and so on. Both are very drunk, Gemma and I are just really sitting and listening.

By 2am Sue is telling me to go to bed, remember, this is my home!  I eventually told Sue that I couldn't go to bed as they were in my bedroom (the living room). She told me to go to my bed, and Sarah and her would crash down on the floor of my living room which has solid concrete floors. Gemma headed off to bed with the dogs around then, but I refused, because it was my house and I was unhappy with having my guests sleeping on the floor, but at 3am I finally gave in, grabbed my duvet, and went in the bath. I heard someone clattering around the kitchen obviously looking for something, so I went downstairs to try to find out what they were looking for. Sue was looking through all the cuboards, but wouldn't explain why. I still don't know what she was looking for, more wine? Then I went to bed. I couldn't sleep.

I'd been hushing them all night as I'm worried they were disturbing my neighbours, and at 4:30am I went back down and asked them to keep it down. Sarah instantly started to argue with me that this type of house would be well insulated etc...yeah, well I can hear you upstairs...  Sue had been looking at Sarah's back, and asked if she could look at mine. At 4:30 am? She asked why I couldn't sleep and I mentioned that I'd had insomnia for 4 years. he asked why, and I said, 'stuff'. I had hoped this weekend we could talk and I could tell them about my life up to now, get it out. But to tell them when they are pissed at 4:30 am? Hardly the right time. So I refused to say me. Sue also insulted my pink, fluffy dressing gown, which I actually only bought because it was cheap, I wasn't that wild aobut hte colour, but what did it matter? So I decided to stay up and try to keep the volume down.

Sue goes to the loo, and Sarah tells me that Sue had wanted to get her on her own so Sue could tell her things she wouldn't have told her if she wasn't so pissed, namely that Sue has been badly abused all her life. So Sarah told me that it was good that she was getting to know so much about Helen and what makes her tick.  I feel sorry for Sue, but coulnd't she have done this any other time? So I go to bed, chased out of my own living room.

I must have gone to sleep because the next thing I remember is Gemma getting up with the dogs, Sue and Sarah now asleep in my living room. I got up too, wishing these people would just leave, and Gemma and I took the dogs for a walk and chatted, mostly about dogs, a little about her school life and illness. When we came back we had a drink, then Sue got up. I asked her if she wanted a drink, something to eat, perhaps some of the nice bacon I had bought specially for breakfast? Nope, then Sarah got up. We sat and chatted, Sarah ate the leftover pizza and Sue and Gemma had toast. I couldn't eat. Sue said that she really liked my 'little' house, which I took offense at because I was still feeling sensitve aobut being thrown out of my own living room.

They went about 11:00, so no long morning. They thanked me, I waved them off, went for a newspaper, put Gemma's bedding on to wash. There was no need to wash the three sets of three towels I had put out for the ladies, as only Gemma used a hand towel.

So perhaps I'm making a fuss out of nothing, but it was my first attempt at hosting these ladies, and I would certainly never do it again. I felt they were disrespectful to me and my home. I did my best to make sure they had comfortable accomodation, nice food, and even something to drink, and ended up feeling as though I was walked all over. I didn't get the girly talk I wanted, and they just drank all the alcohol I had in the house without a thought. Sue's problems are no doubt bad, but she took over my evening without a single thought. So was I a bad hostess?



Now available at Amazon:

*Hangman: An unflinching look at what happens when suicide invades people's lives, and the damage it does.
*Loser's Club: A novel about cats, murder, love and not love, envy, hate, and above all, losers.
*Tube Life: Join Angel as she tries to navigate life, love and the London Underground.
*Writer: Explore the dark recesses of a writer's mind, where horror is never far from reality.

GeorgeEBirch.com
dragoncity publishing

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Advert!

We've added a new ad for Writer....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvjyG6ig7jk



Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Toronto, Canada

My recent trip to Toronto, Canada.

Monday we set off at 9:30, but we were still too late at the airport to get the seats we wanted.Oh well, we could at least sit together, but I ended up with this girl next to me who kept curling up on the seat without worrying that she was invading my personal space.

We arrived mid-afternoon, and after getting to the hotel, The Fairmont Royal York (www.fairmont.com/royalyork/), which is a local landmark, we found out later. It was an amazing lobby, but the room was a little tired, it had obviously been decorated in the 80's and was chintzed up! I think there were at least five floral patterns...the bathroom also needed updating. Apparently the queen always stays there when she goes.

After unpacking, we left the hotel and went in search of a Starbucks as we knew there were lots around. We walked for what felt like miles until we found one, they were difficult to spot as shop signs are very subtle in that part of town. We sat and ate tea, by this time it was 10pm UK time, then went for a wander. When we got fed up, we returned to the hotel and watched DVDs.

Tuesday we started out by going back to the Starbucks for breakfast.
We then went to the CN Tower, as we had heard it could get really busy. The guidebook we had said they opened at 10, but they were open and we could go up at 9:30. We had to pose for a photo, which we didn't buy, then it was to the elevators. It was a slightly misty day, but we still got good views and didn't have to fight to see things, which was good.



We walked on the glass floor. Now I had promised myself I'd walk on it a lot, but as I stood on it I could feel a fizzing pins-and-needles sensation of fear go up my legs from my feet, and realised there was no way I could stay on there for any amount of time! It was scary, I know the glass is thick, but it is a very long way up. Mark skittered over it, standing on it less time than me. As you didn't have to walk over it it wasn't too bad...


After that we went to the Rodger's Centre (it used to be called the Sky Dome), and had a tour. It was interesting, and the guide was slightly off his head and good fun!



Next was a trip to the harbour, and a lovely fish meal. I had fish and chips, I couldn't resist as it was halibut, and amazingly firm and tasty.

Then we went to book a boat trip we had pre-paid for. We had had no luck calling them, so decided to find the offices and book in person. We didn't have to bother, we could just go on it immediately, So we did, and had a lovely trip where we found out about our hotel.


Off the boat we wandered around a bit longer, then back to the hotel, and out later for a snack. Starbucks again, we hadn't found a local coffee shop yet except for Tim Horton's, which to both of us looked like a Mc Donalds, yuck! We tried some tea from Tim Horton's and 'Tim Bits' which turned out to be mini-donuts. They were both horrible, confirming our thoughts of the chain.


The next day we got up early, Starbucks for breakfast, as we hadn't found anywhere else. Back to the hotel to meet the Greyhounds coach for a two hour trip out to Niagara Falls.

Because we're cheap, we hadn't gone for the lunch option, so when we arrived, most of the group went to a buffet, and we walked to the falls. It's surprisingly tiny, although I guess some of that is distance, but I was expecting to be dominated by the size and noise, but it wasn't quite that dramatic. They were completely amazing though, and after a while of looking we went to lunch, you guessed it, Starbucks! We would have gone to Hard Rock Cafe, but Mark can't eat cheese, so Starbucks was safer, and we were planning a meal in the evening.



We met up with the group, and went on the Maid of the Mist. Or at least one of them as there are several. We were given lovely blue raincoats and had our photo taken with a random couple. No idea why, we told them we were a couple, and they gave us one ticket to share with the couple who declined it. We did too, we didn't really want a photo! We had to go below as the top was full, which was probably a blessing as we didn't get the full force of the water, although I got really wet, and so did my camera.




It was a wonderfully exhilarating experience, and my highlight of the trip. After that it was back to the town, which is tacky. Seriously, Las Vegas tacky. Horrible, and full of tat.

Then back on the coach for the non-exciting largest floral clock in the world, we had to wait for people to go on their $100 helicopter ride, and then to a winery where they make ice-wine. Ice-wine is a dessert wine that appearently is made from grapes frozen on the vine.

We didn't get back until nearly 8, so we went to...Starbucks! For a snack.


Katy Perry was singing that night, and I got a couple of photos of the stage before we were told we shouldn't take any!



We were trying to find a place for afternoon tea, and managed to locate this little cafe that did an Asian afternoon tea, The Red Tea Box. It was very charming (although we nearly died crossing the road, mental note, traffic is the wrong way around...), and we had beef wrapped in cabbage, a posh spring roll, mint and chocolate cake, and lemon cake with mint tea. Lovely, but we shared one as neither of us wanted to eat.



Then the long walk back. We tried to find a chocolate shop we had found on the net, but it was gone. We found another, and bought a couple of bits, which were very nice.

Eventually we got back to the hotel, very tired. The Indian restaurant we had wanted to go to dinner at the night before had vanished, but we ended up in a local chain called Second Cup (http://www.secondcup.com/), which does very nice stuff.

Friday was Canada day. We wanted to go to a posh place for breakfast, but found it was shut until 9 that day. I suggested a chain I had spotted that looked a bit fast-foodie, but was worth a try, either that or Starbucks...so we went in and had a look at the menu. It was a place called Tutti Frutti (http://www.tuttifruttidejeuners.com/en/home.aspx), and they had all kinds of food served with fruit. Mark had a human-sized omelet and fruit, I had ordered a waffle, expecting a generous portion. Well, a dinner-plate sized waffle turns up, covered in fruit. With lashings of maple syrup.



I managed to eat 3/4 of this monster, with Mark trying a bit, but that was it. Very filling, lovely! We would have gone back, but we had plans for the next day. We then tried a Inuit museum around the corner from our hotel, it was very charming, and free!

As it was Canada Day, the area we were in was very quiet, hardly anyone! We set off for the Necropolis, failing to notice that the map scale changed on that page. Well, we walked for ages. Despite having sensible trainers on, my feet started to ache. We went to the top part of the cemetery, which was very pleasant, and saw a chipmunk, then realised we couldn't walk down to the Necropolis, and had to double-back. Grrr.

We walked even further, and when we reached the Necropolis it was a disappointment, I expected tombs, but it was just a plain cemetery. So we went back, more walking, and in the heat of the day with 29 degrees of heat. We stopped at a Second Cup and had a piece of cake and a cold drink, then wandered around a bit more. I have to admit I wasn't in a good mood, I was very tired. For the evening meal we went out again to try to find somewhere to eat. Amazingly it was really difficult, especially as another choice of ours had gone (the book was 4 years old by now...). I spotted an Asian Fusion restaurant (Yulla)and insisted that we stopped. We did, and I had a lovely curry. They also had the most charming menus...


Saturday was our last day, so we had breakfast in the market again, I had pancakes (American style), which would have been nicer if they had been freshly made and not sat under a heat-lamp, but at least I got them!

We went to a brilliant Christmas shop where I bought tiger and moose Christmas decorations for the tree as they were so unusual.

Then we went to the parks on the harbour, for lunch at the nice fish restaurant again, to the Power Plant which is a modern art gallery. It was quite fun, although not sure I got some of the pieces.

Then we shopped, and wandered. We had to check out of the hotel at noon, so we had left our cases there. When we had had enough we collected them and sat in the foyer until it was time to go home.

Overall it was an amazing trip, and we both wish we could still be there!

Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Fiends

I recently invited two friends over for a 'girly' weekend when I lived on my own. It was a disaster, and really makes me wonder why I bother... to start with, one of my friends (Sue) invited another girl (Gemma) I had met briefly once, a while ago, and her dogs. I agreed for some insane reason, but I didn't want her there as I was hoping to spend time with my freinds so they could get to know me a little better, we never seem to get to talk about me, and I wanted advice on my tragic life.  They were an hour late, which I expected to be honest. They all piled in, I showed them around, with the house not at it's best due to all the changes I had to make to put up Sarah (friend 2) and Sue in my bedroom, and create a bed for me, with Gemma in the spare room as she had the dogs. They gave me a card, signed from all of them, to welcome me to my new home.

Ok...bitchy part. When I went to Sarah's Murder night, I took a bottle of champange, if I went for tea,  I bought a Waitrose cheesecake. I stayed over, I'd supply wine and flowers. Only flowers for one other time I stayed, but I was poor. Nothing from them. Three of them, I spent £30 on food to keep them happy, not a flower. Three of them, a quid each would have bought a few dasies. No wine from them either (although I don't drink, they do) as obviously they were just going to drink mine. Fine, I offered.

So we sat and talked. To start with Sue was already drunk, she and another friend had had 5 bottle of wine between them at lunch. Well, ok, whatever. I made tea for about 7:30,  then we played on the Wii. I'd asked Sarah to bring spare controllers, and she brought some Super Mario game. At first it was ok, then she insisted we play another, then another, finally at midnight I called a stop. At some point I went up to the study and started to find my contreceptive pills, I'd put all that stuff into a bag so I had access to it without going into my room. Sarah came in and I explained what I was doing. She said, 'Why are you doing that? Is it for period problems?' reminding me painfully that I wasn't in a relationship, I forgot that single women are pathetic loosers who can't have sex. Sue dropped pizza and tomarto ketchup on my cream carpet, and someone let the muddy dogs though again onto my carpet.

Then it gets strange. We started to talk again. By this time Sarah and Sue had drunk four of my bottles of wine. Sarah is once again whining about her wedding and the various family politics that really don't matter, who is wearing what and so on, that people are going to clash with the theme and so on. Both were very drunk, Gemma and I are just really sitting and listening.

By 2am Sue is telling me to go to bed, remember, this is my home!  I eventually told Sue that I couldn't go to bed as they were in my bedroom (the living room). She told me to go to my bed, and Sarah and her would crash down on the floor of my living room which has solid concrete floors. Gemma headed off to bed with the dogs around then, but I refused, because it was my house and I was unhappy with having my guests sleeping on the floor, but at 3am I finally gave in, grabbed my duvet, and went in the bath. I heard someone clattering around the kitchen obviously looking for something, so I went downstairs to try to find out what they were looking for. Sue was looking through all the cuboards, but wouldn't explain why. I still don't know what she was looking for, more wine? Then I went to bed. I couldn't sleep.

I'd been hushing them all night as I'm worried they were disturbing my neighbours, and at 4:30am I went back down and asked them to keep it down. Sarah instantly started to argue with me that this type of house would be well insulated etc...yeah, well I can hear you upstairs...  Sue had been looking at Sarah's back, and asked if she could look at mine. At 4:30 am? She asked why I couldn't sleep and I mentioned that I'd had insomnia for 4 years. he asked why, and I said, 'stuff'. I had hoped this weekend we could talk and I could tell them about my life up to now, get it out. But to tell them when they are pissed at 4:30 am? Hardly the right time. So I refused to say me. Sue also insulted my pink, fluffy dressing gown, which I actually only bought because it was cheap, I wasn't that wild aobut hte colour, but what did it matter? So I decided to stay up and try to keep the volume down.

Sue goes to the loo, and Sarah tells me that Sue had wanted to get her on her own so Sue could tell her things she wouldn't have told her if she wasn't so pissed, namely that Sue has been badly abused all her life. So Sarah told me that it was good that she was getting to know so much about Sue and what makes her tick.  I feel sorry for Sue, but coulnd't she have done this any other time? So I go to bed, chased out of my own living room.

I must have gone to sleep because the next thing I remember is Gemma getting up with the dogs, Sue and Sarah now asleep in my living room. I got up too, wishing these people would just leave, and Gemma and I took the dogs for a walk and chatted, mostly about dogs, a little about her school life and illness. When we came back we had a drink, then Sue got up. I asked her if she wanted a drink, something to eat, perhaps some of the nice bacon I had bought specially for breakfast? Nope, then Sarah got up. We sat and chatted, Sarah ate the leftover pizza and Sue and Gemma had toast. I couldn't eat. Sue said that she really liked my 'little' house, which I took offense at because I was still feeling sensitve aobut being thrown out of my own living room.

They went about 11:00, so no long morning. They thanked me, I waved them off, went for a newspaper, put Gemma's bedding on to wash. There was no need to wash the three sets of three towels I had put out for the ladies, as only Gemma used a hand towel.

So perhaps I'm making a fuss out of nothing, but it was my first attempt at hosting these ladies, and I would certainly never do it again. I felt they were disrespectful to me and my home. I did my best to make sure they had comfortable accomodation, nice food, and even something to drink, and ended up feeling as though I was walked all over. I didn't get the girly talk I wanted, and they just drank all the alcohol I had in the house without a thought. Sue's problems are no doubt bad, but she took over my evening without a single thought. So was I a bad hostess?


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Monday, 18 July 2011

Madame Whiplash

I'm fascinated with all these scam insurance claims going on for whiplash. Really, the 'compensation culture' is getting out of hand in this country, where people are trading a short-term gain for increased costs with insurance. And yet the insurance companies are partically to blame, as they are sending accident victim's details to these 'No Win No Fee' firms!

This happened to me recently, just before Christmas I got hit coming back from a gig. It wasn't too bad, the car was drivable, and the other couple were ok as I hadn't been going too fast, and as they were turning at the time, they weren't either. But I started to get these calls from these firms.

The first one I answered the questions patiently, and told them I didn't want to claim. Then I got another...and another. The last straw was when I told the guy that the accident was a slow one, no-one was hurt, and I wasn't interested in taking it further...and he informed me they wouldn't be taking it further because ti was a slow accident when no-one was hurt! Wasn't that my descision?

Make you wonder just how many people are sucked into claiming because it is easy money.

I remember being in a car accident when I was 15, and getting whiplash. I had no idea what it was, and I have been in a lot of pain ever since (although Wii boxing relieves it). But I didn't sure, nor had  an opportunity to. I just got on with it. I wonder if I would have sued if I had known more about it? Although, the driver was my brother, so perhaps not!



Now available at Amazon:

*Hangman: An unflinching look at what happens when suicide invades people's lives, and the damage it does.
*Loser's Club: A novel about cats, murder, love and not love, envy, hate, and above all, losers.
*Tube Life: Join Angel as she tries to navigate life, love and the London Underground.
*Writer: Explore the dark recesses of a writer's mind, where horror is never far from reality.

GeorgeEBirch.com
dragoncity publishing

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Judas Priest Manchester Apollo 16/7/11

Last night we went to see Judas Priest  at the Manchester Apollo.

We also went to see Queensryche, and there was supposed to be a third band on the bill, Rival Sons, who we weren't bothered about.

So we got there for 7:50 (doors opened at 7) expecting to be seeing a set-up, but Queensryche were on! We missed half their set, which was a real disappointment to us.

Still, I got a couple of photos and video... and they were very good, although I don't know their stuff very well, the boyfriend is the big fan.



Then there was the usual wait. we were sitting on the top level, so at least we didn't have to stand!


There was a backdrop that covered the stage, with the name of the tour on it. We could hear a lot of building noises coming from behind it. When the gig was about to start they lit it up from behind, very effective.

Rob Halford came on stage wearing, what else, but the entire production of steel from Sheffield for the last 20 years, more studs than a male brothel! There were actually more changes than a Lady Gaga set, each just as brilliant as the last. There was also a lot of inappropriately tight leather trousers, but that's forgiveable because they are in a band...and nothing could outshine Rob!

The biggest disappointment for me was not getting to hear Rob sing Breaking the Law. I kept waiting for him to chip in, but he let the crowd sing it all. As this is the 'farewell' tour (until they need more cash!), I may not get the chance again. This is the only song of theirs I know well, so for me a big sadness. Ah well. I don't mind bands letting people sing parts, but the whole song was too much. Especially as he has an amazing voice (not captured in the clips, perhaps best to watch those without sound), he can really reach those high notes!





I loved this very sparkly outfit for a song from Nostradamus, Prophecy.


The bike arrived on stage near the end! (See the video later)








Drum-tastic!












The bike arrives on stage (with too much smoke!)




Overall an amazing gig with lots of showmanship, lasers, costumes, motorbikes, and above all, no swearing, lewd remarks etc, just good, clean, family fun with leather, studs, tight-trouser, whips chains...and metal rock and roll. And high notes that made us all wince. Classic, amazing stuff.

You can view the setlist at the excellent site: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/judas-priest/2011/o2-apollo-manchester-manchester-england-3d341d7.html

Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Friday, 15 July 2011

Advert!

Dragoncity Publishing have created an ad for Hangman!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQz6DFxpen0
I really like it, and the voice singing? That's me to blame. Big budget here folks!

Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Fatist

Forget about classes, the real war now is against the super-attractive and the normal. There is nothing in-between, although a new sub-class has emerged, the grotesque. The poor souls who are so fat they no longer resemble anything human, and they've lost all hope of ever becoming a part of society again.

But even with them, a new confidence has arrived. As a backlash to the super-skinny, we now have 'big is beautiful'. So all these larger ladies (sorry girls, but men have never cared), now start to wear whatever they like, including extremely tight, skimpy clothing. So we're exposed to generous amounts of flesh...although I can't agree with the generously-proportioned wearing burka-like swathes of clothing, this is much worse. Somehow we are supposed to admire thighs like cottage cheese, wobbly bits that aren't supposed to wobble. Sorry, but fat isn't beautiful, it's ugly. Cover up, please, and chose dignity!

There must be some way we can admire beauty in women without the extremes. Without them having to be paper-thin, and without the air-brushing that blights our magazines.

And the answer comes from us. Dump the gossip mags, ladies, dump the shallow crap that revels when some z-list celeb does something stupid, or they discover 'cellulite' on the legs of some goddess. Envy the gorgeous, but treat them like the humans they are, and deserve to be treated like.

And before anyone flames me, I used to be over 20 stone, and at 5' 9"", I was big. I'm now a comfortable size 14, but I still cover up the wobbly bits.



Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

(f)Art degree

I did an art degree rather than an actual proper degree, but only because I had no idea what I wanted to do.

 I'm sure plenty of people will now be arguing that an art degree is a 'real' degree, but after having done one, I disagree.

 I think what really gets me about the degree was the lack of depth.

Forget training in tools and materials, which I didn't get, I'm talking about real-life skills.

I think most artists should be hold how to run a business, pricing, getting loans, pitching for commissions, taxes, how to take a burger order...ha, ha.

But we were taught nothing, just given materials and told to get on with it. I would create pieces that no-one would comment on or see, basically if I had done nothing for three years (like some of my fellow students)

 I could have got the same marks. Basically an art degree is a doss, but why anyone would do one in this day and age of massive fees I don't know. If you are thinking of an art degree, then think of the money...


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Monday, 11 July 2011

DeadGirl

DeadGirl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadgirl_(2008_film))  is an horrific horror movie, that perhaps is trashy in premise, but asks a serious question.

What are people capable of if there are no consequences to their actions?

Basically two young men find a girl tied down to a bed in an abandoned mental hospital. By accident they find out that she can't die, and that she has been forgotten about. So here they have someone who can't defend themselves, is abandoned, but also can be harmed, but not killed. So they use her, and I mean that in every way.

But you have to ask, what would you do in similar circumstances, if there was no consequences? Would you help them? Time and time again we're shown in war, or where people feel as though they are totally in control, that we revert back to animals.

Cruelty can be learnt, and it seems that once we have it, we forget about seeing the people we are hurting as people. Some of this is shown in my novel, Hangman.
But I guess there are also subtleties to this too, when we hurt those we love just because they have done something to upset us, when we hurt ourselves because we no longer have respect for our own being.

DeadGirl is a horror, and it's pretty unflinching, but then again I wouldn't expect it to shy away, not given the subject matter.


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Friday, 8 July 2011

Advert!

Dragoncity Publishing have just released an advert for Writer.

I'm really pleased with it, it certainly captures the sense of menace in the book.

The sound effects are a little hilarious though!




You can also view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGNSUKA6nGw


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Kindle Surprise

I love the Kindle. I hate the formatting of a surprising amount of the books.

*WARNING GEEKY TECHNICAL PART*. 

Ok, folks, here's the deal. Use the <br> tag for the next sentence. The <p> tag is for a new paragraph, and adds an extra line in-between each line. Clear?

And please, for the love of books, buy a Kindle and read the book in it. You should be able to compile the book without DRM, and add it to the Kindle using a USB cable. The go through it, and note down every formatting mistake.

Please.

Then correct the mistakes, rinse and repeat.

Please.

Perhaps then I won't have to read a book that is all in italics, or think your book is twice as long because every other sentence is a blank line, or, and a classic mistake, have a sentence break mid-way through a sentence because someone added a tag in the wrong place.

And for the love of literature, if you have graphics, or tables, or long URLs, MAKE SURE THEY FIT! And if they don't, or look like crap, then please, please think of a different way of doing it.

The worst part of this is that I have books in my possession that are by major publishers, and the formatting is just terrible. But the good thing?

You can go back and re-publish a book without impacting sales. And you won't piss off a lot of people. Like me.


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Game Virgin

I'm new to gaming, and I only have my boyfriend to blame. He's a big gamer, he has a lot of consoles, some heading back to the 80's, and for a recent birthday I added to his collection!

I recently completed Overlord, which I thought was a great game. I'm not so hot with an X-Box 360 controller, you see, by the time I've managed to stop looking at the floor I've usually been eaten, but I enjoyed the puzzles and minions. The power! Bwhahaha!!!

*Cough*

I haven't completed a game since Discworld 1 and 2. Loooong time ago. But I have to admit I did look at cheat sites when I got stuck. Is that really cheating? I'm not sure, because without them I would have given up. Oh well, I guess in the end it's the taking part... and I can feel a hundred-million gamers cringe...

But I don't think I'll be heading out to World of Warcraft any time soon. I like to be able to put the game down, I can imagine that WoW would be difficult to leave. I'd also last about three seconds...

I also couldn’t play the vintage games my boyfriend enjoys on his C64. They remind me of why I never got into computers, the irritating music, no ability to save, but I can’t criticise the graphics as some of them are really very sophisticated. Although the Colecovision driving game was hilarious, it wasn’t that different from games today. And I guess that in reality the games have become more sophisticated in plot and graphics, but in reality the basic game play is still there, shoot-em ups still have a mission, puzzle games are still as frustrating… Just goes to show that nothing really advances, it just gets a prettier coat…


Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Grades of loser

As I wrote Loser's Club (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Losers-Club-ebook/dp/B0055EKY34), it occurred to me that there are now grades of loser.

We have the traditional loser profile, spotty, greasy hair, unattractive, geeky, which has been turned on it's head, as most of these people are now successful (especially in computing). So now we have to redefine losers, perhaps as people who are pushing the boundaries of normal behaviour. I guess for me, losers are now people who literally live for themselves, not caring about others.

For example, people who are tanorexics, and spend literally thousands of pounds of making themselves look...well, orange. I guess they fit into the 'it's all about me' losers category as well, the high-maintenance women who spend their lives trying to be some celebrity or other. Women who want to be Jordan, or Posh, without realising that becoming a copy is surely hiding serious psychological issues. I mean, why be Doreen from Rotherham if you can be Jordan? These people fascinate me as often they are not the weight of Jordan (and nothing something I would recommend, the woman has all her weight upfront), they are a little, well, fat. Yet they spend all that money getting the nose, the hair...instead of perhaps working on their self-esteem a little. But it's not just restricted to looks, losers can be car freaks who think just because their car can go fast, they are good drivers. They swank around, impatient if you go slow, and are just general idiots. So I think we need to redefine the loser, suggestions?



Now available at Amazon:
*Loser's Club
*Hangman
*Writer

dragoncity publishing