Tuesday, 27 March 2012

British Summertime Has Begun

In the summertime when the weather's high,
you can stretch right up and touch the sky,
when the weather's fine,
you got women, you got women on your mind.
  • Summertime, Mungo Jerry
I'm sure you remember, but we put the clocks back last week, and it was reasonably warm as well- just about shorts weather, which is pretty good for March in Northwest England.

This is a good enough reason for a round-up of recent events in my life. Hence:

I've grappled for the first time in about two years. Last week I did a submission wrestling class at MMA Studio  in Manchester. 

The club, formerly known as Manchester Ground'n'Pound, offers a range of martial arts classes throughout the week. I didn't do too badly and I'll probably be taking a membership out in the near future. I need to get back into regular martial arts and letting that strengthen my mentality and confidence.
Babestation babe Preeti Young retweeted my blog to 3000 followers. Her twin and co-presenter Priya retweeted me a few weeks back, as well. They are both STARS in my book.

I subsequently took advantage of an invitation from a porn star from London. The lovely Carmel Moore (3000 followers) tweeted an opportunity to “ask her anything”. I cut to the chase. “What's your favourite part of a monkey?” I inquired. “Paws,” she replied. “Good Choice!” said I. 

Well. Just remember where you heard this ground-breaking revelation first, people. Oh, and she also gave me a blog retweet. Respect.

I found my way into an online Manchester newsletter for the second time recently. Inside The M60 is a city-based news website.  The organisers compile a daily newsletter that they promote through their Twitter account. This post I wrote about the Literotica forums was chosen as a link. Thanks, Inside the M60! 

I'm going to Tenerife in May for a family holiday. I've not had a six-pack since I moved out in November 2010, despite smashing the gym pretty much daily since then. Can I get back to my pre-move-out physique in eight weeks? Let's find out...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Getting Published: Results

Pic courtesy JaciXIII, Flickr

Remember, a writer writes always.”
-Larry (Billy Crystal), Throw Momma From the Train

Well... It's deadline day. Self-imposed deadline day, that is. I wanted to spend a month trying to get as many pieces of writing published as I could. So that's what I did. I fired out 5 pieces 10 times each. I also noticed an extra opportunity and sent out a screenplay after this. So, that's...

6 separate items
51 submissions
11 rejections so far
5 acceptances!

Not a bad ratio, I reckon. Of course, as these were simultaneous submissions, I have had to turn down some offers of publication due to certain magazines' submission guidelines.

Some of these acceptances haven't been actually published yet, so I can't show you them all until they are, but...

Here's Heartshead Pike, a sessional Haiku piece in Indigo Rising magazine 

And here's The Mix (adult content) in Eskimo Pie magazine.

It was great getting these pieces out there as these are old projects that have been hanging over me for years, nagging me to write them. It was a good bit of profile-raising, and something I want to keep up from now on.

I was hoping to polish off a few other pieces, but I needed more feedback on them first. So I started to trawl the internet for writing feedback sites, another task I'd put off for a long time. Writing.com wasn't right for me and I'm currently struggling with the Literotica forums. Again, I'll keep tapping away at these sites until I find one that's right for me. Any recommendations?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Kro or Tesco?

The following is a paragraph from an abandoned blog post that I wrote over a year ago. I was keen on writing a “ten best” list post about the bars in Manchester city centre. It occurred to me halfway through writing this that I actually hadn't done much going out in Manchester for a few years, and that there were countless new and interesting places that had opened while I'd been moping around on Oldham's Yorkshire Street. Not only that, but other people had written the exact post I wanted to before me. So I dropped it. Here's a paragraph from the Word document:

The mostly unlikely place you'll get a “lock-in” is Kro bar, where glass and class are the order of the evening. The original Kro bar is way out of the centre near the Manchester University buildings on Oxford Road. I went in 2003- on a blind date, in fact- and had one of the best steaks I've eaten still to this day. Kro2 is situated further into the city, still on Oxford Road and next to the old BBC building. In the bar's garden, the heated patio shades above each bench shouldn't be missed- provided it's June. The one thing out of the control of bar architects is the weather. Kro3 is the most accessible in Piccadilly Gardens. All good starting places for a session.

Kro2 was a brilliant bar- a place I watched the construction of in 2002 when I lived over the road at the Manchester Student Village. Unfortunately, today the bar has closed. Rumour has it Tesco have purchased the building, resulting in a protest from a local activist group headed by Robert Taylor. Here's the MEN write-up: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1488791_police-arrest-six-anti-tesco-protesters-at-site-of-former-kro-2-bar-on-oxford-road---pictures-and-video

It's a real shame that Kro2 isn't open any more, but I can't help thinking that a supermarket is more of a boost to the economy than a bar (of which there are plenty throughout the city). After all, for local residents and students, where else is there to food shop? The Spar? Extortionate. Tesco Metro at Market St? It's a bit of a walk away. It's also quite far to walk to the bus stop- up to Piccadilly to get transport back down to Oxford Rd. ASDA Hulme? Perhaps, provided you know the local bus routes. And not the safest of places, especially when you're a student and a target for unscrupulous types. It wouldn't surprise me if these protesters end up doing their weekly shop in this new Tesco branch. They probably already have ClubCards themselves. What I'm essentially getting at is that there are far more important things to protest about in the city- Job cuts, tax rises, cuts to charities' training budgets, 12% of rape claims being written off by the police due to how much hassle it is to convict, (Telegraph)- in light of all of this, what is the problem with a new Tesco store opening? What possible harm is it doing?

What, would you prefer an ASDA to make it a little cheaper?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Have You Used The Literotica Forums?

Continuing my search for feedback on some adult lit I wrote, I've been advised to check out the forums on erotic literature website Literotica.

The primary site, Literotica, is first and foremost a place to find erotic fiction and poetry. It seeks submissions year-round.

I joined for the forums, which apparently can be a good method of getting criticism on your work. I had a quick browse around it a couple of weeks ago and have set up a profile. It isn't as simple as showing you a link that takes you to my page, seemingly, but if you search the site for “CageFighting”, you should be directed to my work. So feel free to have a look.

I'll give it a shot for a week. Can anyone comment on the usability of the site?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Speed Dating and Psychoanalysis

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. 
Proverbs 31:10,11 

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
Amos 3:3 

I am taking another huge image risk here. And not just by starting a blog with bible quotes. I'd like to tell you about a double-edged sword that I walk along every day. But before I do, I also want to tell you about a very strange Thursday night.

I was on Facebook last week. I saw Bar 38 update its status saying there was a speed dating event that night. I asked if it was free. Whoever was handling social media that day replied that it indeed was cost-free.

I made a split decision to get down there. I rolled in just on time- 7pm- and met the organisers, a group of mostly law students from one of the city's universities. One of the girls explained that the event was some kind of university project, raising money for Scopehttp://www.scope.org.uk, a disability charity. There was a £5 entry fee.

Discrepancy number 1.

That was no problem, of course, so I paid and waited. After all, most speed dating events cost about £15. I chatted to a few others taking part while latecomers travelled in. By 7:30pm, 5 participants had arrived. Out of an alleged 100 who had confirmed.

Discrepancy number 2.

Some more people strayed in to take part eventually, and others left after waiting longer than they wanted. I told the event organisers where I'd heard about the event. They told me they didn't know Bar 38 had a Facebook page, and weren't aware that the bar had mentioned it to anybody.

Discrepancy number 3.

Bar 38 is one of the most dynamically designed bars in Manchester. Take a look.

All of these are upstairs shots. Downstairs, there's another serving area and a dancefloor. In this space the organisers had set up two rows of chairs facing each other. The organisers managed to scrape together a few more men and women for the event. Unfortunately, this took so long that some of the people who arrived on time lost their patience and left.

Discrepancy number 4.

We took our seats- men on one side, women on the other. There were maybe fifteen of us in total.The organisers explained that we had five minutes to “date” each person. At the end of the five minutes a bell would sound and the women were to move to the next man. And so it began. There were a few fit women, but most of them had boyfriends and were only doing it for Scope.

Discrepancy number 5. Just rip my heart out in the name of charity why don't you?

The good news out of all of this is that the students managed to raise £130 for Scope.

After this, the organisers invited me to stay out for a few drinks, which was cool of them.

It was at this moment that things started going downhill. In walks Organiser Laura's Gay Best Friend, who immediately hits on me.

This is something that happens to me all the time. If I am within 2 metres of a camp gay man, he will try it on. Every time. Now, women love men with ridiculously inflated egos (despite what they tell you). So I put this theory forward to them. I got the typical “can you fit your head through the door” treatment for a few moments. (“If I angle it right, I can normally squeeze it through,” I replied.) Unfortunately for me, the gay theory is pretty solid. As I've got a lot of female friends, I do meet a lot of gays, and they do try it on. As a straight man, it's important to be somewhat cold and indifferent towards a gay admirer. If you're in the slightest bit nice to them, they try even harder. That can lead to suggestive comments and unwanted physical contact.

I explained this Laura and her friends. Her angle: as I was dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt, I'm obviously a straight man. So it's obviously just a joke, and he's not actually interested in me.

I disagreed, though, and told her that he wouldn't bother doing that if he wasn't interested. After all, would she “jokingly” come on to a guy- or even a girl- that she wasn't interested in? I also suggested Gay Best Friend should go on a night out in Oldham and try his “joke” on a few of the men there, and see how funny they found it- and what would be left of him in half an hour.

It didn't help that we'd got a minibus taxi as a group to the Gay Village on the other side of the city by this time and I was now surrounded by skinny men in tight t-shirts prancing around everywhere. Gay Best Friend was in his element. I was undoubtedly out of mine.

There was a divide growing, and growing fast. She just told me to “leave him alone”, as if I'D been giving HIM shit, and reminded me that he was her good friend. Apparently law students also double as amateur psychoanalysts, as they claimed I had some kind of insecurity. If I was insecure, I said, I wouldn't have come to the Village.

I dropped it and hoped that she- and Gay Best Friend- would too. This divide was turning into a canyon, so I edged the subject back to the event. Laura wanted to know why I'd resorted to speed dating. 
I mentioned that I'd tried speed dating before, ( see here and here) I explained that the majority of my male friends had settled down, and when they did go out they only went to Oldham. (By this time, Oldham is a post-apocalyptic hellhole in their minds.) So I was always looking for things to do to meet new people. This pushed psychoanalysis into overdrive, and I got told something I've heard a million times: going out with the intention of meeting people never works.

You should just meet people naturally,” she suggested.

She suggested meeting people in work (where everyone's taken). She asked if there was anything else I did where I could meet women. I said I do loads of gym classes, martial arts, I've done internet dating a few times and that taking up more hobbies would only stand to make me look more like a scatterbrain than I possibly already do. So basically, I was being told- in so many words- that I shouldn't have turned up to the underpublicised and underattended event that they had put on, and that I had paid to take part in.

And that brings us aptly to the “double-edged sword” I opened with. I get accused of two things all the time. One is trying too hard- being too eager to find a decent woman. The other is not trying hard enough- not stepping forward and asking for what I want when I see it. Being the black-and-white-minded person I am, I don't see how I can be guilty of both. And I regret the things I didn't do a lot more than the things I did.

I told them it had been a great night and I was going. I swapped numbers with Laura but left it there.

I'd like to throw this debate out to you. What counts as stepping forward, and what counts as trying too hard?

Oh, and while were at it, where is the line with gay people? How much “joking” should a straight man have to take from a gay man before having to be a twat with him to put him off?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Published: The Mix

I don't normally like rom-roms, so the chances of me writing one of my own was ridiculously slim. But sometimes, and idea comes in an unusual form. I came up with this short screenplay some time around 2001, but I didn't pull my thumb out and finish a draft until last year. It took me a while to convince myself I could write a believeable female character, and that I could take a funny idea and turn it into dialogue that would still make people laugh. But anyway- funny or not, it's complete, and it has found its way into Eskimo Pie magazine. Check it out.

Oh, by the way, if you like Sandra Bullock style rom coms, this is not for you. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but this is an ADULT story. Read on if you dare.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Boxing and Batman

Vicki Vale: A lot of people think you're as dangerous as the Joker.  
Batman: He's psychotic.  
Vicki Vale: Some people say the same thing about you.  
Batman: What people?  
Vicki Vale: Well, I mean, let's face it. You're not exactly normal, are you?  
Batman: It's not exactly a normal world, is it?

-Journalist Vicki (Kim Basinger) grills Batman (Michael Keaton) in Tim Burton's '89 classic superhero movie

On Monday 12th I sparred for the first time in about a year and a half. I got to a boxing class at Manchester Ground'N'Pound, a martial arts academy On Newton Street in the Northern Quarter. It's a session for everyone, regardless of size, experience or background. Good instruction and a good group of people.

I surprised myself with how much technique I'd remembered, although doing padwork with fingerless gloves is not recommended. I'll be back there trying a few different classes throught the next few weeks.

And after that... well, it was Monday, wasn't it? Flashback day! I hit the Odean for Tim Burton's Batman. I'd not seen this film for tiiiiiiiiiiime. It's a great interpretation of a classic gothic comic book tale. Again, I followed the film much better than I did the last time I saw it. This can only mean one thing- my memory is getting (marginally) better! Highlight: Jack Nicholson's Joker (“the world's first fully functioning homicidal artist”, as he calls himself). Hilarious. Still.

I'll be back at Ground'N'Pound for more martial arts over the next few weeks. I won't be back at the Odeon for Dirty Dancing on the 19th, being a self-respecting hetrosexual, but I will be back for Heat on the 26th and Sean of the Dead on the 2nd April.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Writing.com: LETDOWN

Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
-Franklin Jones, US journalist

Constructive criticism is about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the real critique of what really went on.
-Paula Abdul, Singer

Well, I used this writing review website, as planned here. I stuck it out for a week. I uploaded my work to writing.com, and dished out a load of reviews. The site let me down. It let me down badly.

Here's what I liked:

There is some good poetry being displayed. Some.

Here's what I didn't:

Inside the list of items to be reviewed, there are an awful lot of pieces labelled “Interactive Story”. I thought this would be a kind-of choose-your-own-adventure type affair, with the reader making decisions at the turn of every page. I was wrong. These items are actually unfinished stories that the original author is inviting you, another site user, to finish off. Now, I think this is an interesting idea- getting other contributors to provide your twists and turns would spur your creativity and force you to write something that you might not have thought you were capable of. The thing I don't like about this is that these projects are listed in the same area as the finished stories and poems that are waiting for actual reviews. People like me, who are specifically looking to give and receive feedback, have no way of filtering out the interactive content that doesn't help us. So looking for finished pieces to review becomes hard work. Oh, and the one interactive story I checked was crap.

The email system within your writing.com homepage inundates you with message after message featuring random tips on writing. This is all good advice, but this is mixed in with all of your reviews and feedback on reviews you've given. It makes it very hard to pick out the type of message you want to read. Surely each of these notifications should be found in their own section within the site, no?

There is a feedback page that allows you to see reviews written by other writers on other people's work. Some of these reviews are atually good quality, but here's the problem: the actual articles that the reviews relate to aren't listed there! So the reviews are totally out of context!

The search functions generally aren't brilliant. I searched the static items (standalone pieces like short stories or poems) for poetry in particular. This gave me a list of poems waiting to be reviewed. Rolling the mouse over each item reveals a little more information, including genre, item type (poetry obviously) and item size (bytes and approximate word count). I couldn't filter to get poetry of one genre, like erotica (the genre I'm working in, so it makes sense to review these).

Let's say you submit a review for a piece of writing. You then go back to the list of items to be reviewed. The piece you've just critiqued should ideally have disappeared from this screen to avoid confusion. But it doesn't. When you review a number of pieces, You're likely to forget the names of the poems or stories, and only remember the content. Writing.com makes things difficult by keeping these pieces on the review page, meaning you have to search out your next piece to review.

I reviewed a piece of Glee-based gay erotic fan fiction. The content knocked me slightly sick- partly because of the association with a dogshit TV show and partly due to the depictions of hardcore homosexual sex. Regardless of content, it was still terrible. I pointed out to the author that the Glee fanbase is probably a bit young to be reading graphic gay erotica. He agreed, but then admitted “I only really write things I post on here for the sake of writing them” and that he doesn't care if nobody reads it. It feels like there are a lot of writers on writing.com who are equally as “dedicated” as the Glee guy was.

I later reviewed a story about a vorophile being shrank and eaten by his wife. It was truly awful, although an interesting introduction to the fetish. I explained to the author what I liked, what I didn't and how good it could be with a few adjustments using the Compliment Sandwich technique.

He replied with “This was by far the most thoughtful and detailed review I've ever had.” Now, by telling you this my intention is not to brag. I'm still seeking feedback, and I'm not making a living of writing. So I can't be totally awesome. Not totally. I'm trying to point out that people are not giving constructive criticism to each other on writing.com. When you mention “criticism” to people on this site, as I did over their Facebook page, they hear it as a dirty word. They imagine it as a callous call-out against their work. My response: If it's not constructive, it's not real criticism. It certainly wouldn't relevant. The Glee guy seemed to be the only person on the site to understand that if you don't have any criticism at all toward your work, you will NEVER improve. Everyone else seemed completely na├»ve to this, and for that reason I'm not going back to writing.com.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Goats' Cheese is MINGING

Pic courtesy HatM, Flickr

I think people should be free to engage in any sexual practices they choose; they should draw the line at goats though.
-Elton John

Next up in Keda Black's book: Goats' Cheese & Pesto Toasts. I tried goats' cheese in Corsica on a family holiday. I ate- or tried to eat- a five-cheeses pizza, for a bit of holiday experimentation. After one mouthful I had to learn to recognise the goat segments of the pizza and eat around it. Vile.

So if you think I'm making this recipe, you can screw off. NEXT...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Wrestle with the Pestle

This week I made pesto from scratch, using a pestle and mortar.

Kind of a tough recipe. The quantities in the book are for 4-6 people. I was cooking just for myself, so attempted to divide all quantities by four, meaning I might be able to stretch two meals out of the finished amount.

I failed. I might have cut down on certain elements too much, or put too much of others in. I made it twice, and still didn't get the maths right. The first attempt tasted heavily of garlic. The second was so oily it came out looking like snot.

I suffered a few setbacks with this recipe: the instructions tell you to crush the pine nuts with the pestle and mortar, which I did. Now, when you're reading instructions, you don't read the whole recipe before you start cooking. Or at least I don't. There shouldn't be a need for that. So ideally, if you're writing a cookbook, you don't advise people to toast the pine nuts in the oven AFTER you've told them to crush the nuts with the pestle and mortar.

Also, crushing salad in a mortar doesn't break up the leaves so much as squash them down, meaning that the rocket comes out very stringy. Further problems: cutting the amounts down by four meant that I was using such small quantities that when I weighed them the needle was hardly moving on the scale. I was guessing, and guessing wrong.

It still tasted pretty good on toast, though.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Goodfellas at the Odeon

The Flashback season  continued Monday 6th with Martin Scorsese's 1990 Gangster classic.

Scorsese's roaming camera, sharp period design and bursts of manic violence looked good on the big screen- even with a few frames and sound missing from the vintage film reel.

I seemed to understand the plot better this time, despite having previously watched it on video about ten times. (But even I didn't leave the cinema before the credits even started rolling, like some mugs did. There's a chunk of text information at the end of the film, saying when the characters are due to be eligible for parole etc. It's important, damn it!)

There was just one thing that has never sat right with me every time I've watched Goodfellas. I nailed it with this viewing. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci) meet at the start of the film when they are teenagers. The film continues through to their adulthood and their life in the mafia, so by the time we see Liotta and Pesci on screen, Hill and DeVito have had a few years of working together. Not long after this, there's a very awkward but brilliant confontation in a bar- the “funny how” scene, as most people would know it, where the conversation gets VERY tense. To me this has always felt like Hill and DeVito don't really know each other- like they've just met. Surely if you'd known each other since teens, that “get the fuck outta here” line would have come much sooner, no? Still, great scene.

The film takes up 3 hours, but it flies by thanks to Scorsese's masterful visual storytelling. I have a copy of Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi- the book on which the film is based- at home waiting to be read. I might squeeze that in soon.

If you haven't already, see Goodfellas as soon as you can.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Published: Heartshead Pike

Pic courtesy Feggy Art, Flickr

Christ, I wrote this about three years ago. Time is running away. Well, eventually I got this piece of hyperlocal sessional haiku critiqued, polished and sent out. Thanks to Indigo Rising magazine, it has a home

Check the magazine out. There's some fine poetry on there by a range of writers.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Have You Used Writing.com?

I'm looking for a website that offers constructive feedback for creative writers. Since Urbis.com died over a year ago, my critiques have come only from Writers Connect, a group that meet fortnightly in the Manchester Arndale.

WC is a great group, but I have some writing that I wouldn't be comfortable reading out in public. So I'm giving Writing.com a shot for the next month. Come check me out at http://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/matthewtuckey . A warning: my work on here isn't for kids.

Have you used Writing.com? How have you found the reviews? Constructive or not so? How easy is the site to use?

Monday, 5 March 2012

Flashback Mondays at the Odeon

Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen!
-Hudson (Bill Paxton) Aliens

Monday nights at the Odeon Manchester is a film night with a difference. We're currently in the middle of a season of classic movies, being screened weekly in the Printworks.

On the 20th I saw Aliens on the big screen. James Cameron's 1986 SF action romp is one of the greatest movies of the eighties. I was four when it came out, so I never got to see it on the big screen the first time around. Thankfully Manchester Odeon recently gave me that opportunity with a vintage '86 35mm print of the film.

Even when you know every word (I was a SERIOUS movie geek in my late teens) it's still a pleasure to watch, more so in a format that it was always made for- the cinema screen. It was interesting to see which parts of the film first-timers found funny, and which lines got laughs (mostly Paxton's). It felt like an authentic, traditional filmgoer's experience- no digital effects, a few frames with dust on, a few frames missing completely, but a riveting story told spectacularly by Cameron. When the credits rolled, the audience clapped. It was like being back in time, and not least because the tickets are only £4. You can't complain.

Still to be shown: Goodfellas (tonight, tickets still available), Batman, Heat, Dirty Dancing, Shaun of the Dead.

I think there's a serious lucrative market for retro nights at cinemas. Seeing as there have been so few truly memorable films in recent years, cinemas would do well to offer fans the opportunity of seeing their favourite films on the big screen. How about a poll using social media asking fans what films they'd like to se brought back? Here are a few I'd love to see on the big screen:

2001: A Space Oddyssey
Star Wars Trilogy (Originals)
The Godfather
King Kong (Original)
Blade Runner: Director's Cut
The Jungle Book
Terminator 2: Judgement Day

What would you have in your flashback season?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Avici White Expands

Manchester club Avici White, at 111A Deansgate, has been a bastion of the city's house music scene for over a year. Recently the club's music styles have edged out of house and more towards mainstream, prompting somewhat of a repercussion from the club's regulars over Facebook. Was this the end of Avici White for house fans who, for the last year, have been enjoying acts like Joey Negro, Sandy Rivera, Stereo Sushi, ATFC and Jon Fitz?

I asked promoter Natalie Anna Etchells why the music- and the club- had seemed to turn a corner.

We are now buying another club in Manchester for house music,” said Natalie, “and needed a strong promotional brand to take over so we can put our efforts into the new venue. Plus Global Glamour (national club promotion agency) who now run our Friday and Saturdays pack it out every weekend without fail, so for business purposes it makes the most sense. I'm a house girl through and through and actually prefer the new nights due to crowd and atmosphere. You should come try it, you'd be pleasantly surprised.”

A quick Google search suggests we could have another scoop here, people...

I'm looking forward to the new venue- and quite tempted to drop in to Avici's primary venue again to sample the new atmos. House or not, it could be a good shout.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

I Dream of Cox

“Goddamn, you play a mean banjo!”
-Drew (Ronny Cox), Deliverance

Well, that is possibly the dodgiest blog post title I have ever conjured up.

Last night, I had a dream that I was back at uni (we're talking ten years here, worryingly enough) and that a seminar was being led by none other than Ronny Cox.

If he seems familiar, you might remember him playing the no.2 exec Dick Jones in Paul Verhoven's SF masterpiece, RoboCop.

He also played Mars administrator Vilos Cohaagen in Total Recall (again directed by Verhoven).

Older readers might also recall (pun intended) Cox as the law-abider and reluctant cohort Drew Ballinger in Deliverance.

In short, he's a bit of a ledge. Why I had a dream about him, I've no idea. But anyway- this dream, yeah? I went to this seminar, then I and a few other students managed to coerce him into coming to the pub with us. He was pleasant enough, smiling and generally answering our nerdy movie questions, and I was trying really hard to get my picture taken with him. I don't think I managed in the end.

Freudists- please help me decipher this dream. I may even attempt to contact Mr Cox himself to get his perspective.