Manchester by the Sea


Having been unable to go to the cinema for a painfully long  time, a rare opportunity presented itself.

The title of the film does not suggest too much, but the story  that lies within is strong and powerful and very moving. The story hinges on the lead character Lee Chandler,  (delicately played by Casey Affleck) who seems to have the world on his shoulders.  From the start of the film we feel he is this smoldering character, externally calm and controlled,  but a mere touch and he explodes into an orgy of unprovoked violence, often while drinks in a nondescript bar.  It is only in a latter part of the film we discover why he is carrying so much pain.  A key moment in the film is when he receives a phone call. We later discover his brother has died from a rare heart disorder.   The subject of death, how people react to it,  the process of dealing with a death, starts to shape the story.

We then are introduced to his nephew, who seems to be taking his father’s death with an unnatural cool aloofness and seems intent of continuing his adolescent life, which involves bedding two young girls at the same time.  One thing that unnerves him is the fact that his father has to be kept in a freezer, as it is impossible to inter him in the frozen ground.  Sometimes there are tints of humour in this film, which is essentially defined by dark dramatic drama.  The complex nephew/uncle relationship seems a key element in the film.  Lee Chandler is the town’s pariah, despite this I am sure many a cinema goer would warm to his tragic circumstances.  It is also a film that might make some cinema goers redefine their relationships with their family.

Let’s be clear, we live in the horrible cruel unyielding world, full of tragedy,  and Manchester by Sea, is film that reinforces this point.

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A poem to close Halloween


The darkness surrounds you

Walking down and an endless corridor

Should you turn round

What will you see

A mind that cuts right through you

A hand that tickles you with claws

Like those of a rabid eagle

The air is intoxicating

The relentless rhythm of footsteps

Catching up with you

As your heart races

There’s no going back

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.



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Would you make a pact with the devil!

st-p   tartini2

One of my short stories in my book Flight of Destiny is called “The pact” it is about a desperate man, whose wife is dying, who is forced into making a pact with the devil.

History is littered with people who have taken this dramatic step.

There is even a Pope, namely Pope Sylvester II, who seemingly was way ahead of his time, and of high intellect. This French pope is credited with inventing the hydraulic organ, pendulum clock, and introducing Arabic numerals to Western Europe, on top of this he also wrote books on mathematics, natural science, music, theology and philosophy. Due to his incredible intelligence, highly tuned scientific mind,  and ingenuity  people suspected he had made a pact with the devil. He is not the only senior church figure to turn to the devil. Saint Theophilus the Penitent turned to the devil to make a deal, in order to gain a high ecclesiastical position. The contract signed in his own blood proved to be a heavy burden for Theophilus. German alchemist Faust also  is supposed to have made a pact with the devil, in order to pursue his “boundless desire for knowledge” for the next 24 years.

It seems a recurrent theme that if you are highly talented, it seems there is the possibility you have formed a pact with devil, this was the case of virtuoso violin musician Nicolo Paganini. His great virtuoso performances led people to believe he had formed a pact with the devil, and that it was the devil who was aiding him during the course of his performances. He was  refused the last rites,  and it took a while before he was finally laid to rest.  Paganini was not the only violinist to come under the microscope. It seems to be an Italian thing, Giuseppe Tartini, claimed that he dreamed that The Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant, not only this, the devil composed piece for him, which Tartini transcribed when he awoke.  The devil is also accredited for turning Robert Johnson  a noted American blues artist into a genius. Rather than quash rumors he encouraged them.  There are quite a lot of modern day musicans who it is claimed have a made a pact with the prince of darkness, Bob Dylan, Jay-Z? Led Zeppelin, to name but a few.

Below is an exert from Flight of Destiny as Jarret encounters a man who says he can save his sick wife and unborn baby and Jarret is forced into making a pact with the devil.


Suddenly, he became aware his was not alone. A well dressed

man with shiny patent leather shoes was walking purposefully

towards him, as if he had something important to say.

“Jarret Lamb?” the dapper man asked in a sweetly scintillating

voice, pausing before the distraught Jarret.

Jarret froze, astonishment momentarily replacing pain.

“I can see you’ve a lot on your mind just now,” the man said

calmly, examining Jarret minutely in profile.

Jarret eyed him suspiciously, not knowing what to say.

“It’s your wife and child, isn’t it? They’re in mortal danger,”

declared the man.

“And how could you possibly know that?” demanded Jarret,


“I just know,” the man replied matter-of-factly. “And, what’s

more, I can help.” The man’s eyes had a chillingly hypnotic draw, as

did the mesmeric tone of his voice. The man’s clothes, posture and

demeanor echoed confidence. He also emitted an enchanting aroma,

rather like an orchard of ripe fruit trees.

“How?” faltered Jarret.

“Your wife and child will survive,” avowed the man, resting a

hand gently on Jarret’s shoulder, like a father might when consoling a

son. Then his voice dropped and took on a more cautionary tone. “But

only if you do something for me in return.”

“And what exactly might that be?” asked Jarret confused, but

desperate for any shred of hope.

“You need only shake my hand, and everything will be righted. In

a few days you will receive a letter with instructions. In exchange for

your wife and child’s lives, you must carry out the instructions exactly

as written.” The man’s voice lowered to a rasping whisper. “You have

no alternative, really.”

“I see,” replied Jarret. Though trembling, his heart racing, he

couldn’t help but think, What do I have to lose? This man is probably

just a lunatic, but regardless, he’s seems more purposeful and sincere

than the doctors, who’ve thus far offered no concrete solutions or hope.

Crazy or not, he’s all I have at the moment. Jarret shrugged his

shoulders and slowly offered the man his hand. The man’s hand felt

strangely cool, and Jarret felt an icy-cold electric spark jump from the

man to him as they shook.

“There. Done and agreed,” said the man with a sense of agreeable

formality, like some of the businessmen Jarret dealt with at work.

“Now finish your walk, and return to your wife and child.”

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.



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ode to creepy clowns

creepy-clown-pic2  creepy-clowns-pic-5

Creepy clowns come out of the shadows,

Licking our faces with razor sharp tongues,

Hide all the children, get them out of the way,

The clowns are out to get them,

as night turns from day

Suck on your toxic liquorish

Chew at your marshmallow  brains

Yanking your hand to edge of the grave

As they kick you right into hell


Scaring you shitless,  with a cackle of laughter

A machete in one hand and  an axe in the other

With a shriek  and a glaring expression

They mock you  till you fall to the floor

Creepy clowns, I can’t stand them

These fuckers think their funny

Freaking you out is their only intention

They got weaned  on horror films

And a pathetic need to grab attention.

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.



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Creepy clowns, they are at it again!


They are at it again…nowhere is exempt, the most recent attack a formal dinner at the hallowed ground of Cambridge University,  a creepy clown equipped with a machete.  Maybe this can be put down to university high jinx…

However…there has been a recent spate of people in the UK,  dressing up as clowns, jumping out and trying freak people out.  It has been dubbed “the creepy clown craze”.  The craze is not only limited to the UK, needless to say creepy clowns have been terrorizing America, clowns in at least 10 different states being sighted, some yelling at people in cars on desolate country roads, and worse besides carrying machetes and knives. Even Stephen King has had to weigh in telling the  US to ‘cool the clown hysteria’ after wave of sightings

 Horror films, must take some responsibility for this phenomenon, as they  are littered with sinister clowns, Pennywise from It, Mr Jingles, Chucky, the killer clowns from outer space  to name but a few.

This increasingly prevalent phenomenon has been fueled significantly by a Facebook page which shares photos and videos of the scary sightings. There’s even a label we can use for fear of clowns “coulrophobia”

Of course the primary function of a clown is to make an audience laugh. If we go back to the Middle Ages we discover that of the clown didn’t serve this function, they would pay heavily, meaning they would find themselves mutilated, to make their own smiles permanent. Our normal perception of smiles is usually positive, but constant smiles are unnerving . Clowns date back long before the Middle Ages, according to Dr Richard Talbot “The first recorded description of a clown was of a pygmy-type figure in Ancient Egypt, around 2000 BC”. Historically Britain’s first modern clown was Joseph Grimaldi, who in his time had a massive following, and could be deemed a real star . In the early 1800s, he is accredited with inventing  the trademark clown painted white face and red smile. The external image he projected was very different to what was going on in his own head, as he said himself “I am GRIM ALL DAY, but I make you laugh at night.”

Why is it that clowns are so unnerving?  In the world we live in, the face is one of the first things we look at. We search constantly for clues, to help us have a sense of how the other person is feeling. With clowns, that’s impossible. As Doctor Talbot puts it “There’s a technical confusion. There’s a painted face which stays static but the facial muscles are still moving underneath, so our brains can’t quite make sense of it.”  His idea mirrors an idea Sigmund Freud – the founder of psychoanalysis – called the “uncanny”. It’s when you look at something that’s recognizable but not quite right. And it makes you feel weird.

Clowns primary audience are supposed to be children. Maybe not so much these days but parents used to consider clowns for their children’s birthday parties.  However do children like clowns a survey done in 2008, by University of Sheffield, England, discovered of 250 children interviewed between the ages of four and 16 found that most of the children disliked and even feared images of clowns. A  child psychologist made the point , “Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd.”

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.



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Clowns: Our Fascination and Our Fear


Clowns: Our Fascination and Our Fear

By Tiffany Apan

Throughout the ages, many creatures have served as a fascination for our imaginations while terrifying us in the process. Vampires, werewolves, black-eyed children…and clowns. Yes, that seemingly innocuous person making balloon sculptures at many a children’s party. They simultaneously bring joy and terror.

Clowns are a morbid curiosity. They also have a long history, dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They have long been associated with the term, “rustic fool” and the concept of a circus clown didn’t even arrive until the 19th century. Until then, a clown was typically a “fool” character in theatrical productions. He was often lower class, dressed in a tattered servant’s attire, and often the comedic relief in an otherwise serious plot of a play. But if clowns were meant to bring humor and joy, how did they come to have such a sinister reputation?

There are many different theories, and an article on suggest that perhaps this is partly due to that even as court jesters their comedy was often quite dark. There is also suggestion of long time association with being quite otherworldly. Some examples include how they seem to be able to cram themselves into a tiny car, twenty at a time before emerging seemingly unaffected by the cramped space. They perform acts of magic and are often unpredictable in their feats and actions. This can evoke strong emotions in different individuals, and sometimes, those emotions are negative ones. Perhaps it is these seemingly supernatural abilities and such unpredictability that gives reason for authors and filmmakers to feature the clown as a malevolent character, even a killer. Many individuals suffer from coulrophobia, or a clinically diagnosed fear of clowns. While this is not the average person, clowns tend to invoke feelings of disconcert among much of the population. Even Stephen King, author of the novel “IT” which features a demonic killer clown, is quoted as saying the clowns can be quite terrifying. According to the LiveScience article (along with a few interviews by King himself):

King admitted that seeing a clown outside of the character’s typical context, such as a circus or a birthday party, could be unnerving — yes, even for him.

“If I saw a clown lurking under a lonely bridge (or peering up at me from a sewer grate, with or without balloons), I’d be scared, too,” King said.

For me, clowns are mainly harmless. But I will also agree with King, in saying that if I saw some random clown standing somewhere in a field, under a bridge, or a street corner, I would be pretty unnerved myself.

For more of Tiffany’s work, check out her official website and blog:

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A poem for Halloween



You sent me a poisoned cake for my birthday

laced with shards of glass,

the colour of black bile

when I swallowed it whole

you laughed

and you laughed

and you laughed

You danced like a jittery shadow

Spinning a pernicious web,  you  confined me

With needles and pins you jabbed me

Till midnight came around

Then all fell silent

Part of a Halloween holiday  blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.



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