Little bits of everyday life

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– These days it’s dark when I wake up at 6:30, though the house is warm from the new Hive central heating controller which turns the boiler on automatically. It goes to 23 degrees Celsius, and if I wanted I could crank that up from my phone via the app connected to the wifi router. – I could turn the heat up in my house from anywhere in the world, as long as I had internet access. Think about that for a minute. – Actually I’ve unplugged it. Not much call for it, really. It seems neat, but the timer …

New Indie Writer’s Group?

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For ages now I’ve been mulling over the idea of setting up my own writer’s group in London for independent, self-published authors. I’ve been to a number of writing groups in London already, some for sitting together and writing, some the standard kind of critique group, but none offering the sort of thing I’m after. What I’ve found are, essentially: Few serious writers, by which I mean, folks who are consistently putting the product out there, and actually finding readers. Instead I’ve largely come across: Many writing hopefuls. They come to writing groups hoping some writerly magic will rub off …

Should church be so happy?

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So we went to church again today, to the matinee show at 10:45 that caters to families. It was totally different to the 9:00 morning service: The church was packed to the gills. There was even more repetition of songs saying ‘God is strong, he will protect me, I’m desperate for Jesus (they really sang that), I’m nothing without God, I love him so’, following along with a pop band. The charismatic tall Mark Strong-lookalike vicar was not there, instead we had the older lady who felt like your home tutor in primary school, reading through a lot of community …

5 things you may not know about MJG

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Five I lived in Japan for 11 years, during which time I built this website up to getting over a million hits a year. I specialized in stories and photographs of my adventures in the ruins of Japan, places like abandoned military bases, forgotten theme parks and ruined love hotels. I almost had a book deal twice for this content, but both times they fell through. I decided to publish my own in the end, available only as an ebook called ‘Into the Ruins’. In addition most of the explores and photos from that time are still on this site …

Movie option!!

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Today I signed a movie option for my zombie book The Last! It is not big money at this stage, but the potential is there. I’m excited. Its a contract we’ve been negotiating for a few months now. I’ve learned a thing or two about movie option contracts in the process. I had legal advice from the Society of Authors after becoming an associate member which was very enlightening. Now it is done, and The Last is in the producers’ hands. They say the vast majority of optioned novels/screenplays never make it to the screen. Fingers crossed The Last will …

Origami light

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Our house settling-in has reached a new and advanced phase. We are almost wholly out of the ‘first-fix’ stage, where we didn’t have a working shower, boiler timer, downstairs toilet, internet, phone, front lights, front door lock or side gate lock. The side-gate lock still needs to be replaced, and the internet is still spotty, but the rest are all in. We are over half of the way through the DIY stage, with dining room, living room, bedroom, kitchen and most of the kitchen floor stripped, sugar-soaped and painted. All that remains is the kitchen floor to be blue-d, the …

We went to church!

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Today we went to church. That is not an earth-shattering admission for most people to make, neither is it for me, though from my point of view it is a really foreign and alien-feeling thing to do. My Dad was a Church of England vicar when I was a kid, up until I was perhaps 8, so I’m thinking I must have gone to church a lot then. But around the time I was 8 he and my mom split up, at which point my Dad switched faiths to Wicca or witchcraft, became high priest of a coven, and I …

Was the UK always like this?

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I’ve been back in the UK a year now- my longest continuous period in the country of my birth since 2003 when I left for Japan- and many times up til now, with a double whammy today, I’ve been hit with the feeling that- ‘this is not the country I remember.’ Lots of things could potentially explain this. First I’ll explain what the double whammy was. We went to nearby Romford to go to the cinema, a little town on the edge of East London (If I say I live in London someone invariably says- “Mate, that is Essex, ha …

John Grist

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Since my Dad’s moved in with his mom (my grandmother) he’s been reorganizing her Kent farmhouse, which involved bringing a few older bits of art to the fore. Here is an image of one of my late Grandfather’s factories – a man after whom I appear to have been named (John Grist). I’m not entirely sure what it made. It does look impressive though. I’d like to see a photograph of the actual factory it represents, but perhaps they don’t exist anywhere. Dad? My grandfather was in industry (maybe oil?) and also worked on the bomb squad in World War …

Tokyo Year 1

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My first year in Tokyo was 12 years ago now. I was 23, I think, 6 months after finishing university. It was mad, heady, crazy days- a drunken extension of my Uni days but one where I had a job and a ready-made community of folks to hang with in my language school’s students. I mention this not for any special reason of nostalgia, though both SY and I these days sometimes think about how we miss the ‘simple life’ of our two-room apartment in our latter days in Tokyo, with walkable commutes and loads of great restaurants nearby. I …