Saturday, 28 August 2010


Today I'm getting my fiction on again.

“This morning I’d like to talk about the afterlife.” Mr Charles picked up his cup of tea and took a sip. Although his callused hands and greying temples betrayed his middle age, he’d only been teaching for about six months. In a previous life he’d been a godless investment banker working in The City, but personal tragedy, the Recession and divine inspiration had simultaneously struck, so, now he was a born again Christian and a Religious Studies teacher in a small school in Wiltshire.

“How many of you believe in the afterlife?” around two thirds of the twenty-odd teenagers lazily raised their hand. Andrew Charles gave a wry smile. “Good, we have some area of disagreement, so I’d like to open the lesson up for a discussion about The Hereafter before we get on with some real work. Would anyone like to start us off with an explanation of why they do or don’t believe in life after death?”

James, a small, sandy haired boy who always looked scruffy, no matter what he was doing raised his hand immediately. He had not done so before. “James?”

“Do you believe in the afterlife, sir?” His voice was more confident that his diminutive stature implied. Its high pitch pierced the air challengingly.

“I do.” Mr Charles paused. “I used not to, but it does rather come with the whole package of being a Christian.” James smiled patronisingly. “The very concept that lies at the heart of Christianity is that Jesus was sent down from heaven to redeem us, so that when we die we will be judged fairly by God on the Day of Judgment. Obviously for there to be such Judgment there has to be some form of existence that transcends mortality.” Mr Charles paused a looked for a moment at the vacant stares that met his words. “In other words, an afterlife.”

I assume you don’t share the same view, James?”

There was a pause. “No sir, I don’t.” the boy admitted boldly. “It just seems like a way of telling yourself that someone who’s dead isn’t really dead.”

Mr Charles frowned for a moment. The class murmured, some objecting, others agreeing with James. “Would anyone like to respond to James’ point?”

Tanya did not bother putting her hand up, she simply called from towards the back of the classroom. “Just because it’s a comfort, doesn’t make it wrong.” Tanya had been one of those who confessed to believe in the afterlife at the start of the lesson.

James turned around to face his peer. “It doesn’t make it right either. There’s no evidence for the afterlife.”

“What about ghosts?” someone shouted out.

“Remember,” Mr Charles interrupted. “If you want to say something, put your hands up. I don’t think that ghost stories are exactly good evidence for believing in the afterlife. They are all very subjective and tend to be far too vague to really be of any empirical use. Most its just people letting their imaginations get away with them.”

“So what evidence is there?” another voice called out.

“Hands, please.” Mr Charles took another sip of tea and looked pensively into the half empty mug. “There’s lots of evidence for the afterlife, most of which is linked with conventional religious belief. Take myself for example. I believe I was visited in a vision by God, who told me of his love for me and of how he was there for me, even though I was going through some pretty tough personal things at the time. That’s why I am a Christian and subsequently why I believe in life after death.” Mr Charles looked up from his cup of tea to see James’ hand up. “Yes James?”

“Isn’t that just the same as a ghost story, sir?”

Andrew Charles paused. Silence reverberated around the small classroom.

“Well I think that’s enough discussion for today, we need to start doing some proper work now. If you’d like to get your homework out please…”


After the lesson ended Andrew Charles retreated to his small office with his now empty cup of tea. He set it down on his desk along with his marking and picked up a photo frame that sat next to his computer. He traced his fingers over the image of the beautiful woman who had been his wife until the accident little under a year ago. The young boy’s words rang in his ears.

“Isn’t that just the same as a ghost story?”

The glass shattered as the photo frame crashed to the ground.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Expendables

Public opinion on films could roughly be divided into two groups. One which thinks a film written and directed by Sylvester Stallone, featuring the latter, Jet Lee, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and Stone Cold Steve Austin, with cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger would genuinely be the best film ever made in the history of cinema, and one which would only go to see The Expendables in order to laugh at how completely absurd and ridiculous it is, and then maybe write a self-important, pretentious review, with an element of self-reference, explaining what was so rubbish about it.

The Expendables is about a group of mercenaries (called the Expendables) who are sent into a small central-American island to assassinate its dictator and the renegade CIA for whom the former is really just a puppet, and everyone else on the island for good measure. There’s also a love-interest sub-plot which is essentially the same as every film of this type – guy (Stallone in this case) meets girl as part of operation, falls in love with her, she doesn’t love him back, but after heroic exploits to save her she eventually realises her love for him as well. Statham also has some kind of love story, but that mostly involves beating the hell out of more people, so it’s not worth talking about.

So as a story, The Expendables is pretty weak, but let’s face it, the film was not created to have a gripping story with compelling characters, it was created because things getting blown up sells to the brainless meatbags who fall into the first category mentioned at the start of this review. As an unsophisticated action movie created for the lowest common denominator, The Expendables is pretty much as good as it gets; a stellar cast of high profile hard men, something thinly resembling a plot, which is easy to understand doesn’t take long to establish, easily identifiable villains with obvious and uncomplicated motives and plenty of big explosions. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really care about a film being well written, or well acted, or well filmed, if you couldn’t care less about plots and characters, then you are this film’s target audience. Well done for bringing the collective intelligence of the human race down by about 20 IQ points, you moron. Thank you for creating an audience for this kind of drivel. And congratulations for wasting everyone’s oxygen.

I think I need to make one thing clear before we go on. I don’t have a problem with films containing lots of high octane fight scenes, explosions, and ridiculous stunts. They certainly have their place and can make for genuinely exciting and enjoyable cinema. But they should not be the Film’s main selling point. They are decoration, icing and embellishment; they are not the whole cake. A film should be sold on a strong story with interesting characters. Explosions are an enticing and exciting extra, but they are not the core of what really makes a film. A good example of this is Inception. There are chase scenes, gun fights, hand to hand fights around rooms in which the gravity is constantly shifting and a fair few explosions. These things are all really we executed, they are not what makes the film so good – the plot and the characters in that plot are what makes Inception a great movie.

The thing is that the Expendables could have been a much better film that it actually was. The main problem was that Stallone is a terrible writer, director and actor. The script was pretty damn awful, with no suspense, using every cliché and trope available to the genre and so covered in cheese that it would be lethal to a lactose intolerant viewer. Every single close-up was so tight to the actor’s face that you barely even saw the lips moving half of the time; this left almost no room for actual acting and meant that most of the emotion that was desperately trying to fight its way through the tangled and poorly written script failed to make it through to the screen. The basic story is not necessarily a recipe for a terrible, shallow film – it had an element of complexity with the multiplicity of villains with conflicting interests, which was essentially written out of the film early on. It contained a mysterious group of mercenaries who were clearly all battle hardened veterans, whose characters were not explored at all. I want to know how The Expendables started, who they all are and why they’re doing what they’re doing. There’s opportunity for real depth an interest that was squandered in favour of simplicity because the plot and the characters were not as important as blowing stuff up to the mastermind behind the film.

You might be wondering exactly why plot and character are so important to a film and why a film can’t be held up solely on the basis of action sequences. The reason is simple and it’s the same reason why, throughout the climax of The Expendables I couldn’t help feeling that I really did not care what happened to the protagonists. If the entire lot had died painful at the hands of Central American soldiers and Stone Cold Steve Austin, I don’t think I would have cared. I had absolutely no emotional attachment to the characters and, as such, no reason to want them to succeed. Contrast my apathy with the collective groan of anguish that emanated around the cinema at the end of Inception. In the latter everyone wanted Cobb to be able to life happily ever after, in the former I don’t think anyone cared. The reason for this contrast is that the audience was able to form an emotional connection with Cobb and the rest of the characters. We understood why they felt and acted as they did and we felt sympathy for them. We saw the virtue in their characters, despite their flaws and so the plot moved us to care about what happened to them. In The Expendables, no emotional connection with the characters was established because we were never told anything about them. At no point did we know who they were or why they were doing what they were doing. We didn’t sympathise with them because we had nothing with which to sympathise. The film contained no emotion and so there was no emotional connection. At no point did we develop an interest in the plot and so it failed completely to move us. For the audience there was nothing resting on the outcome of the climax, and so there was no tension. The explosions and gunfire were rendered hollow because there was no reason for caring where the bullets went or who got blown up.

The Expendables is a bad film. There is no doubt about that. However it is one of those bad films that you still enjoy watching because it’s just so absurd. If you feel like a few hours of meaningless entertainment then it’s better than most action films, but it will hardly grip you and drag you through an exciting and emotionally exhausting ordeal like a genuinely good film would. If you have plenty of time and money, then go and see it, if not then I suggest you prioritise seeing Scott Pilgrim (which might just be the next review) or Inception again because it actually gets better second time round, whereas I imagine The Expendables would get much worse.

Saturday, 14 August 2010


So I wrote another short story just like the others.

Loveless: Create a character around this sentence: Nobody has ever loved me as much I have loved them. Do not use this sentence in the fragment of fiction you write. Resist the temptation this exercise offers for a completely self-indulgent character. Of course, some self-indulgence will be fun with this character. But don’t write from inside your own wounded sense of the world. 500 words.

“…Then there was Emma. We actually dated for a while, well about a week. We broke up; well she broke up with me. Apparently she wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment with someone.” He stared wistfully into the middle distance, lost in memories.

Sarah simply sat in silence, watching him, trying to think of a way to segway away from ex-girlfriends and former crushes. She smiled and opened her mouth, on the cusp of speaking–

“Actually there’s a girl at Uni who I really like.” His face was intent and excited. Suddenly his features dropped and his smile evaporated. “She started seeing someone else though.” Disappointment painted his face. Sarah wanted to say something, wanted to reach over and touch him on the shoulder, selflessly telling him something cliché like she was sure there was someone out there for him, but his phone rang.

Awkwardly he squeezed it out of his far-too-tight jeans and looked at the display. “Sorry I need to take this; it’s my brother”

“Hi Dave!” he called jovially down his phone. “No, I’m just out with some friends”

Sarah watched him talking quickly, leaning forward, perched on the edge of his seat. It was just the two of them, sitting in the mostly empty pub. She didn’t bother to listen to the conversation; she just watched his cute face contort in speech and consideration. It was alive with expression. His scruffy brown hair jumped around as he spoke, slapping his forehead and brushing his ears.

She’d known Matt since they were both crawling on hands and knees. They’d grown up together. This was the first time she’d seen him in almost ten years – her parents had moved away just before she started secondary school.

The phone call ended. She looked at him quizzically.

“That was my brother. He wants me to go and fix his laptop – it’s got another virus.”

“Do you need to go?” she reached for her handbag, holding her breath.

“No, I’m gonna go round tomorrow.”

“Is he paying you for helping him out?” She smiled and let out her breath in relief.

Matt shook his head. “He’s family; I couldn’t take money off him. It won’t take long anyway.”

“You said ‘another virus’, does this happen often?”

He paused, eyebrows furrowed. “Once every couple of months.”

“And he always gets you to fix it for him? Does he every do anything for you in return?”

“I don’t mind doing him a favour every now and again, what’s family for, eh?” he smiled an innocent, adorable smile and took another sip of his drink.

“Anyway, I’d better go.” He stood, finishing his drink. “It was lovely to see you again Sarah.”

She stood too; her smile did not touch her eyes. “We should do this again sometime.”

He grunted a grunt that could have meant anything and turned to leave.

Sarah watched him walk out and cursed herself. She really should have hugged him at least. She wondered if anyone would ever love her like she loved them.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My Top Ten... Songs

A few weeks ago now I listed my top ten favourite bands, having listed my top ten favourite albums before that. I thought it was time to take this particular string of top tens to it’s logical conclusion, so I present to you… my top ten favourite songs, again in no real order

Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Wish you were Here, Pink Floyd – If this were in any particular order this would probably still be number one. This song is an absolute masterpiece, 26 minutes and 13 seconds worth of pure brilliance. From the very first note it is mournful and inspiring at the same time. If any rock song deserves to be called a work of art, this is it.

Time – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd – Pink Floyd are the only band to get two songs on this list, because they are geniuses who, at the height of their powers, wrote undeniably beautiful and brilliant pieces of music. Time may not have the marathon-like length of Shine On, but nevertheless it is every bit as powerful. Waters has an ability to condense even the most profound sentiments about relentless onrushing of time into a relatively short, punchy song, which is addictively easy to listen to and yet at the same time incredibly powerful and intense.

Here I dreamt I was an Architect – Castaways and Cutouts, The Decemberists – The Decemberists have written some magnificent lyrics in their time, but this wonderful story about a relationship, told through three disconnected dreams in which the narrator is, in order, a Soldier in Auschwitz, an Architect and a womanizer from Spain. This song has some of the most brilliant and delicate lines I’ve ever heard. The music is nothing in Pink Floyd, but the lyrics are something to be admired with awe-struck wonder.

Savages – Songs for Swinging Lovers, The Indelicates – Speaking of brilliant lyrics, here’s a song by a band that I’ve not mentioned before, but only because I only discovered them a month or so ago. Since then I’ve listened to little but Songs for Swinging Lovers. I said in my review of Someone Here is Missing that it would take something special to beat that brilliant Porcupine Tree album to the best record of 2010 and it seems I was tempting fate, because sure enough, this little gem appears. And do you know the best thing about it? You can download it for absolutely nothing right here. From this album I could have picked any number of songs because they are all absolutely brilliant, but I’ve chosen Savages because it is an absolutely stunning song, questioning the artists’ own value in the society. It is subtle, tragic and beautifully written. The music is pretty damn brilliant too.

3rd Planet – The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse – I think I’ve said before that Modest Mouse albums tend to have a couple of fantastic songs, a good collection of good ones and the odd shocker. Well 3rd Planet is one such fantastic song. What makes most of these songs stand out (with the exception of Shine on) are the lyrics and 3rd Planet is no exception. The thing about this song, the thing that makes it so good, is that everyone you ask will tell you that it’s about a different thing. To me it is about a man suffering existential grief and loss of faith at the death of his child, but I have also seen it explained in terms of the story of the Garden of Eden and the coming of Christ. This ambiguity is what makes the song so interesting and enduring – keep listening to it to try to figure out what the hell it’s all about. To continue the theme of music being an afterthought, the riff is superb as well.

Chrome Plated Suicide – Telepathic Surgery, The Flaming Lips – As a rule Flaming Lips music from after 1999 is better than from before. There are only 2 exceptions to this; the album At War with Mystics and the song Chrome Plated Suicide. The former being a slightly sub par album released in 2006 and the latter being an absolutely amazing song from 1989. The highlights of this song are the chorus, which is catchy as hell! And the music, which is probably the best example of the fuzzy, distorted style that makes The Flaming Lips so unique.

Dead Flag Blues – F#A#∞, Godspeed You! Black Emperor – This is another song that breaks the mould of having amazing lyrics, because it doesn’t have any lyrics. It is also 16 minutes long. What it does have a pitch black voice over at the start, which is dark foreboding and wonderfully written. It really sets the tone for an eerily dark and depressing song. From the violin that comes in half way through the opening monologue the music is truly wonderful. You will finish the song depressed, but you will not regret it.

Last Train Home – Start Something, Lostprophets – Finally, a song some of you might know! Easily the most mainstream of the modern music on this list, this is probably one of the first songs I heard by Lostprophets and it made me fall instantly in love with them. It’s not as profound or as interesting as the others on this list, but its presence proves that there is room for catchy, powerful rock and roll in the music world. As you might expect, this is an absolutely awesome live track from a band that really need to be seen live to truly appreciate.

Shot Down – Everything Is, Nine Black Alps – Again, this is the song that got me into Nine Black Alps. Another really powerful rock song that I imagine would be absolutely awesome live (I need to catch NBA live some time). This song has all of the signature anger that defines Nine Black Alps and this album in particular, along with some really clever lyrics and an absolutely fantastic solo, the only problem with both the solo and the song in general is that it’s too damn short!

Lazarus – Deadwig, Porcupine Tree – As my regular readers will well know, I am a massive fan of Porcupine Tree, so this list would not be complete without at least one song from them. While I love the heavy stuff that they do, I still think Porcupine Tree are at their best when they slow it down and write a beautiful, quiet little song like Lazarus. It’s just as powerful, but in a completely different way, which is what makes songs like Lazarus, Collapse the Light into Earth and Stop Swimming stand out in some of my favourite albums.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Inception (spoilers immanent)

Do you remember that sometime last year I said I’d being doing more movie reviews in the next year? Hasn’t really happened has it? Well now it just might. I certainly have a plan to see The Expendables when it comes out and reviewing it – probably in order to rip it to pieces, because it looks pretty damn awful. Anyway this week is a far better film (even though I haven’t even seen The Expendables yet I can say this for sure). Christopher Nolan has a habit of making truly brilliant films – The Prestige, Memento (apparently; I’ve not seen it), Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, so I was looking forward to seeing Inception. I was not disappointed at all. Because the film only came out last week I will keep spoilers out of the first half of this review, then put a nice big spoiler tag when the spoilers arrive so that the slow ones can go off and see the film without knowing what’s going to happen.

Anyway Inception is, in short, about going into people’s dreams. Actually it’s about a guy trying to reconcile his guilt. Actually it’s about films and film making. Actually it’s about all three and some others. Whatever it’s about, the delivery is perfect; the setting is wonderfully thought out, yet it doesn’t dominate the film – it’s simply there, so the viewer finds out about it very organically. The plot is really exciting, very clever and wonderfully paced – largely due to the masterful writing. Again the plot doesn’t really dominate the film, it simply acts as it should; as a vehicle for the rest of the story. That is to say it acts as a vehicle though which the characters can develop, chiefly among them, the protagonist. Cobb (his name) is a truly wonderful character and the film takes a lot of time to characterise him appropriately. Indeed Cobb and his internal conflict is the main focus of the film. As all main characters should, Cobb develops throughout the film, demonstrably changing as a result of the events of the plot. The film is as much about him as it is about the story, which is exactly how it should be. The supporting characters perhaps suffer from not being characterised in anywhere near as much detail; nevertheless they’re very interesting characters who serve as an appropriate foil for Cobb, particularly the lead female – Ariadne, who is incredibly strong, but in a very subtle and intelligent way. On top of all these layers is a deep and subtly allegory for the very process of film making and how it is, in many ways, recreating a dream.

As you can probably tell, I really like this film, however it is not perfect. It may seem like I’m trying to have my cake and eat it (what with my obsession with characters as the epicentre of any good story), but I think in many ways Inception focuses too much on the characters at the expense of a really interesting angle which is barely explored – the moral questions over what Cobb and co are doing. Going into people’s dreams has obvious ethical ramifications (especially given what they do there), as do the reasons for them doing it. However these are all but ignored in Inception, which is a bit of a shame because it could have made an already superb film even better. Likewise the supporting characters are somewhat neglected in favour of Cobb. It would have been nice to understand their history and motivations, rather than having to assume that they have their reasons without knowing what they are.

Having though long and hard over this film, this is pretty much the only things I can think of which could have made it better. It’s fantastically acted, superbly written, beautifully filmed, amazingly clever, uniquely original and all round genius. It will blow your mind. The fact that there was a collective groan of anguish as the film finished (those who have seen it will know why) just shows that this film does it’s job perfectly; it draws the audience in and makes us desperately want to know what happens and want there to be a ‘happily ever after’ ending. If you’ve not already seen it go and do so, for the rest of this blog contains many spoilers as I delve a little deeper into the film.


Firstly the ethical issue which is underdeveloped during the film. Cobb and co are breaking into Fisher’s mind and inserting an idea deep into his subconscious. Not only are they planning on lying to him, but they are planning on lying to his subconscious, thus making it seem that the idea has come from himself. This is the most ultimate form of deception and is dishonest in the extreme. The ethical implications of forcible changing someone’s entire personality without them even being aware of it are huge, yet they remain largely elephant in the room for the duration. It is mentioned in the film that Inception is unethical, but this is never really explored. Cobb and the team never question whether or not what they’re doing is the right thing. Perhaps one of the weaknesses of Inception is that there is no real conflict within the team. Despite a number of edgy, interesting personalities with conflicting motives, there is very little animosity between them. Sure there was a mutual dislike between Arthur and Eames, but this only really involved a few clever jibes, and comic moments, rather than any real drama.

Indeed this ethical issue is compounded when you ask why they’re performing the Inception. At the start of the film it seems that Saito is hiring them to do his dirty work in bringing down Fisher’s faceless multinational company so that his faceless multinational company can to what faceless multinational companies do best in Hollywood – subjugate the masses. Clearly this is immoral; performing an immoral Inception on someone in the name strengthening one’s business and destroying someone else’s, probably destroying people’s livelihood in the process, is not an ethical reason to do something, even in the cut and thrust of the free market. Later on this concern was discounted by Saito says something about Fisher’s company being powerful enough to take over the energy industry completely, causing a world wide monopoly that must be stopped, but this was not really developed or mentioned ever again. I think that the film could again be improved by Cobb and co doubting whether their mission was really all that ethical.

This would have raised another interesting issue from Cobb’s point of view. He is clearly only doing this because he wants to get back home to see his kids. Wouldn’t there be doubt over doing something so clearly immoral in order to fulfil his own personal desires? And would this not be a really interesting internal conflict for Cobb to deal with? Indeed much of the character work done on Cobb is completely disconnected with the plot and is to do with him resolving actions which occurred previous to the event of the film. There is nothing wrong with this, but it would have been nice to see the plot integrated into the characterisation a little more, making the plot seem more integral to the film, rather than simply a vehicle for character exploration. Furthermore this raises the issue of motivation for the rest of the team – something which is not really explored anyway. We can see that Ariadne is doing what she’s doing partly out of a slightly nerdy curiosity with Architecture within dreams and partly out of a very human concern for Cobb’s physiological wellbeing. However as someone who is so clearly intelligent and caring I would expect her to bring up the ethical issues, yet she seems to accept Cobb’s mission without question. Obviously Saito would have no qualms and Arthur has been working with Cobb for a while, so he’s probably dull to the ethical issues. As long time professionals working with entering people’s dreams, the rest of the team may have been immune to conscious too, but I’m not sure this is entirely watertight – Inception is something new to them all and the purpose of their mission is not exactly ethical either, so it seems logical that one of them would have mentioned it.

The ending of the film has raised many questions over whether the entire film was actually all a dream created to perform Inception upon Cobb in order to remove the guilt he feels over the death (or similar) or Mel (or something like that anyway). I disagree with these theories. I believe that the end of the film is intentionally ambiguous – the dreamy way in which it is filmed, the fact that the children are wearing the same clothes as other times in the film, the fact that the top doesn’t stop spinning – but there is no reason to extrapolate this to other parts of the film. One scene people point to is when Cobb is being chased through the streets of a city in some poor country somewhere (I forget where), squeezes through a gap in two building and is conveniently picked up by the Saido.. This appears to be rather dream-like; you know how convenient things happen in dreams? And squeezing between two walls as they get closer to one another is common of anxiety dreams. People have linked this in with the concept of the film being an allegory for the filmmaking process – the film is a dream in the same was as making a film is something of a process of the imagination.

I disagree with this theory – Cobb squeezing in between two building is simply adding drama and tension to the chase scene, the arrival of the Japanese guy is one of the few examples of poor writing in the film; it does however serve to characterise the Japanese guy quite well, and gives him a reason to actually be there and be part of the inception, so we’ll forgive the film this. Just because the film is a really clever allegory doesn’t mean it’s not ‘real’. The concepts can still be transmitted even though the events are within the film’s reality. This is the beauty of storytelling – you can create your own reality and make it say what you want it to say. You can create an allegory for whatever you will out of your own imagination and as far as the story is concerned, the message is real. The very purpose of fiction is to create a world in which whatever the writer wants to happen can happen. In many ways fiction is simply giving an expression to our dreams and our imagination. Inception is no more a dream than any other story.

I think the reason why many think Inception is actually a dream created to perform Inception on Cobb is that the film focuses so much on his character. In many ways the Inception of Fisher is simply a vehicle to explore Cobb psyche and to resolve the guilt he feels over Mel’s death. From a storytelling perspective this is the case; the character development of Cobb supersedes the plot, but this does not mean that the whole thing is an elaborate deception. Cobb’s development as a character is the focal point of the film because Nolan realises that Character is more important than Plot. The only Inception that is going on is on a completely Meta level – in many ways Cobb is being Incepted, but that is because the plot of the film is constructed so that his character can be explored and eventually the major conflict in his personality can be resolved – the Inception is not happening within the film, but without. It’s something that should happen in every story. It doesn’t, but then that’s what makes Inception such a good film.

Anyway, I think that’s a suitably bizarre and bewilderingly pretentious note to end on. I will probably see the film again some time, so some more things may occur to me, probably not enough to dedicate another entry to do, but I may post a comment below elucidating my further thoughts. I’d love to hear yours as well so feel free to comment (who am I kidding, no-one comments on my blog).