Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RAVES!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 28/06/03

Mustn't Grumble...

I've been getting some complaints.

Yes, I have tried the ointment, but it won't work on this.

Those who have visited here have made such comments as, "Too many rants and not enough raves."

I suppose it's fair comment. I find it far easier to write a long, impassioned tirade against something deeply annoying or offensive (not that there'll be any shortage of those in the future, mind) than to start going on about things I like.

I've always been somewhat put off by other people's enthusiasms. This has accounted for why, amongst other things, I didn't get into the writings of Terry Pratchett (Whom Gods Preserve) until about 1992, after having to undergo three or four years of the sincere ravings of my old chum Alex about the Discworld™. For similar reasons, I was in my early thirties before I read a single word of Tolkein.

Besides which, if you start getting into what you like and why, it's all too easy to fall into one of two abysseseseses (I knew how to spell it, I just didn't know how to stop): the first is that you become at least as passionate about them as you do about your bêtes noirs. This tends to set people's teeth on edge (see above). The second danger is that you fall in to a style of writing which is either utterly opaque (it's far more difficult to explain why you like something) or so cloying and 'hello trees, hello sky' that you risk rotting the teeth you are trying hard not to set on edge.

Well, anyway, just to keep my regular customers satisfied, here are a few of my favourite things...

(Oh, bugger! Now I've got that song in my head. Quick! Where are my Hecate Enthroned CDs?)

OK. Some you might have guessed from the Links page. The works of Terry Pratchett, the finest writer of humour ever in the field of SF; the music of Kraftwerk and the songs of Half Man Half Biscuit and of Harry Chapin (the only man whose songs can regularly reduce me to tears).

But there are other things, too, things which are rather more intangible (or just plain weird). I was born and brought up in a house which had a fabulous view across the Cheshire Plain. Right through my childhood and teenage years (when the impressions we get of the world are the most influential and lasting), I would look out of my bedroom window day or night, summer or winter and just drink in that sight. Nearly twenty years ago, we had to move out to the house I live in now, about a hundred yards away. It's a nice place, but there's no view worth speaking of - just the backs and fronts of other people's houses. So I take whatever chance I get to walk to the end of our road, where that view may once again lie before me, and just revel in it; and be astonished at the thought that some people are daft enough to pay substantial sums of money they don't really have to spare to travel halfway around the world to see something that's nowhere near as good.

Right! What else? Well, this is just about my favourite time of year, because everything is green, the sort of green which is new and lively, and hasn't had the opportunity yet to become slightly dingy and grubby and worn as it always does to my eyes once July sets in. This is always thrown into sharp relief for me by the ruddy great big oak tree in my front garden. There it stands as I type this, in full leaf, tall and strong; a real reassurance that life and the world go on. Of course, it means that the garden has got be kept in order, the hedge cut, and my annual war with the bush-which-has-no-name-known-to-me-except-'Bastard-thing-won't-stop-growing!'. But it gets me out of the house at weekends.

I'll stop at this point, because there's a danger of my falling into the two pits I mentioned earlier. But I hope this little rave will redress the balance of the site's contents a bit. Don't worry, though - normal whinging will resume shortly!