Thought for the night.

Rain sounds cold and wintery on my window, reminding me that’s it’s December. Time for winter reading. What’s on your seasonal reading list?

Votes for All: Ensuring the ‘right to vote’ for disabled citizens


Thought you’d like to see something I’ve done at another site.

Originally posted on WebRoots Democracy:

By Victoria Richards.

A polling station for the police and crime commissioner election in Bethersden, KentThere is a belief, at least in democratic societies, that every individual has a right, and the responsibility, to vote and participate within the civic/political arena.  We base our political assumption on the idea that everyone has the right to have their voice heard and that everybody has something to contribute to society.  Implicit within this is the assumption that everyone has a unique perspective to offer.

Many generations of Brits have fought to open up the political arena to an ever growing group of individuals. From the Chartists to the Suffragists, many groups have fought for the right to vote and have their voices heard. But, does everyone have equal access to the voting process?  I am going to argue that the voting process is inaccessible to many individuals with disabilities. I am then going to argue that web voting could be one of the tools…

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Sourdough By Angela Slatter (spoilers)

Tartarus Press

Sourdough By Angela Slatter,


The stories of Sourdough are set against a rural setting that will be familiar to readers of the Classics.  There is: the town square with a cathedral; a market place, with all the usual shops; taverns and inns. It is inhabited by;  butchers, bakers, seamstresses, prostitutes, bishops,  doll makers, and  a local witch.  This town is surrounded by poor suburbs.  Which, are in turn , surrounded by deep forest, inhabited by; isolated settlements,  excitement and deep rooted fears.  And, beneath the sheen of normality of these human sized dwellings, there is a current of the weird.  Like the fairy tales which are a clear influence to these stories, these mundane situations are subverted by fantastical elements;  Maps that enable you to reach the world of the dead, dolls which have human souls embedded with them., children who return from the dead, fairies who impersonate human children, towers and castles that disappear and reappear at will. This short story/ mosaic novel is a story of a mundane place that treats fantastic events as mundane everyday occurrences.  It plays with form and ideas.   It is another exciting work from pen of Dr.  Angela Slatter.



oulipost 8

I know I’ve missed a few days, but my internet server has been down.  So, here we are on day eight with the following assignment



Select a name from one of your newspaper articles, famous or
not. Compose a poem using only words that can be made from
the letters in that person’s name. For example, if you selected
“John Travolta,” you may only use words that can be made from
the letters A, J, H, L, N, O, R, T and V.

The use of web-based tools is highly encouraged to help uncover
different words that can be made from your letters of choice.
One tool you might consider is the Scrabble Word Finder


My word Was Jon Griffin


And this is what I came up with;


The tested Day taken

The sad week

The Dusty decade


Jon griffin April 3rd Absurd decision is just not cricket for Saturday fans

Birmingham post 8 April New picture: £600 million New Street Station as seen from top of the Rotunda


Oulipost 1

Well today is the first day of my journey.   Todays challenge is:




When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems
(traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to
form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes
referenced in newspaper articles.

For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a
tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a
tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While
you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may
choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote
as needed.


• Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only
complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your

• Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use
only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper
page or single newspaper section.  (Oulipost playbook)

I decided that I would choose  the first story on the web page.  I found, however, that this was too corporate; and, so, I decided to break it up with a more political post.  I am lucky that I found this one, bemoaning the plight of gps in the region.  They seem to work well together.  The  topic, worldview and language are poles apart.  They also paint a very different picture of my home city.  But,  certain concepts and phrases (highlighted) seem to both mirror and contradict each other.

1st April Direct marketing firm Inspired Thinking Group taken over in £28m deal Birmingham post

March 25th 2014 Birmingham GP claims low morale forcing doctors to quit Birmingham post

 Below the line


 “below the line”


“Budget pressures and the growing complexity of multi-channel marketing are forcing businesses to streamline operations and improve campaign management, often with the support of technology”


“below the line”


“I have witnessed cases where the increasing pressure, workload and demand on general practice have left GPs suffering with both physical and mental health issues”

“below the line”

“The success of ? to date has been driven by its ability to challenge traditional ways of working and in doing so deliver results for our customers in an increasingly complex and competitive market”

“below the line”


“In Birmingham, it is particularly worrying that the number of GP partners in their fifties, either seeking early retirement or reducing their working hours, has increased significantly”


below the line”


“We have an experienced and ambitious management team and we look forward to working with BDC to delivery our plans for further growth, both within the UK where we will continue to develop our range of marketing services and expertise, as well as internationally where we have recently had new business success”.


below the line”

“Now both younger and older doctors are looking to get out, with many doctors in their thirties and forties choosing to work abroad


below the line”


offers a compelling customer proposition and has demonstrated an ability to win and retain customers in a large, growing market”


“below the line”


“I am helping more GPs than ever before with stress-related issues


“below the line”


. We believe that the ITG team is capable of doubling the size of this business in the next five years.”


Ouliposting April

I thought that I’d take on a challenge in April.  Then I found, through the modpo group group on Facebook,  the oulipost challenge.  This will involve the creation of a poem a day throughout April, utilising a prompt given to me by utilising the rules of the Oulipo group. Wikipedia describes this group in the following manner;

Oulipo (French pronunciation: ​[ulipo], short for FrenchOuvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated: “workshop of potential literature”) is a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers and mathematicians which seeks to create works usingconstrained writing techniques. It was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais. Other notable members have included novelistsGeorges Perec and Italo Calvino, poets Oskar PastiorJean Lescure and poet/mathematician Jacques Roubaud.

The group defines the term littérature potentielle as (rough translation): “the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy.”

Constraints are used as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration, most notably Perec’s “story-making machine”, which he used in the construction of Life A User’s Manual. As well as established techniques, such as lipograms (Perec’s novel A Void) andpalindromes, the group devises new techniques, often based on mathematical problems, such as the knight’s tour of the chess-board and permutations.

Here’s my first assignment, explaining why I am doing this.

Why I am doing this and what excites me about it?

I always loved poetry.  As a teenager, I read and wrote a lot of it.  Then college came, I found other things to do and I stopped.  Them I left college and found myself at a lose end.  To keep my brain working I started a few Coursera courses.  I found Modpo and rediscovered my love of poetry.  I became interested in experimental, reused, contextual poetry.  I discovered poets who worked within constraints, such  s only using  the letter E in their poems, and playing with the words of others to form poetry.  The idea fascinated me.  So, when this challenge came along , I couldn’t resist.  I hope it will get me writing again.

What scares you?

The concept of writing and producing work every day.  The concept of trying something new in public. The concept of creating and not reviewing.  I can’t hide behind a book now,  This has to be me on display.  Thats  scary.  But that’s what my favourite authors do every day,  So, here I go.

How much experience have you had?

Of traditional poetry, I would say that I am about average.  Of this type of poetry, I am a novice.  So, stay with me. We may be in for a bumpy ride. But, it should be fun.

Shadowplay by Laura Lam; contain shadowy spoilers

Shadowplay by Laura Lam UK Print Date: 4th January 2014 ISBN: 9781908844392 Format: Medium Paperback R.R.P.: £7.99


Shadowplay was published by, the YA imprint of ‘Angry Robots Books’,Strange Chemistry’, who have kindly given me the Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. It is the second book in a series; the sequel to her earlier work Pantomime.  This book continues the adventures of Micah, as she continues her attempts to; find a place in the world, and accept/understand her identity.  The story begins where the first book left off. The two main characters are suffering the consequences of the explosive events of the previous work. They find themselves seeking shelter from an old friend, a mysterious illusionist with secrets of his own, who once performed an  act that seemed to consist of a series of tableau played out with very advanced automatons.  They find that he owns a theatre. However, due to a pact with a former colleague, punishment for real or imaginary sins,  the building has remained silent and lifeless.  Needing work,  they ask him to teach them his skills. They plan to get his old theatre working again.  They plan to make money through new shows. However,  The re-emergence of  old secrets and old rivals put their plans in jeopardy. An old rival challenges Jonah, and his new company, to a duel.  They must compete with his rivals new company to create the best show.  As they prepare,  and Micha comes to terms with her ambiguous identity, she discovers that there is more to that identity than she first thought.  She must fight historical foes, in order to save; herself and the world.


When I ordered this book from Netgalley,  I had forgotten that this book was part of a series. Being a completest, I had to track down a copy of the first book. But, to my disappointment, I wasn’t really excited by the first book Pantomime.  It was an interesting book, but it didn’t really speak to me. It seemed to echo other works of this type. Therefore, I was not excited by the prospect of reading Shadowlands.  But, as soon as I started to read, this book really grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. This book gives us a greater exploration into both; the world in which the book is set and the identity of its main characters.  It explores sexual identity and what happens when individuals can’t, or won’t, fit into existing sexual categories. Therefore,  It is an interesting work and I am interested to see where this author goes next.


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