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  • "Now, the very air around me glitters with stories, stories like fireflies, stories like gold dust in a mountain stream, stories like shooting stars, stories like firecrackers. stories like voices in my head scrolling out opening lines like a news ticker full of the days events."
    Alex Noble

    Match this! is the challenge I throw at myself; produce a paragraph that can match the above in its clarity and poetry before you call yourself a writer. Of course one day I shall find myself "inadvertently" writing about fireflies and gold dust in a mountain stream.

    Like Alex, even if I live in an urban environment, I find stories buzzing around my inner ear whenever I go out, for a walk, or doing my rounds. This morning as I was walking to the farmers' market to buy my weekly ration of stewing buffalo (35% less cholesterol than beef), I was inevitably reminded of the film Ice Cold in Alex, and this started me on how films about the war have evolved, from All Quiet on the Western Front to the Finnish spoof film Iron Sky. There is at least one story there.

    The shops around Edinburgh were competing with each other to be the most patriotic in this Jubilee week. The elegies have been non-ending. The Archbishop of Canterbury has informed us that she has a "fantastic sense of humour". Former P.M. John Major assures us that she has an incredible grasp of ... no, not horse-racing, or corgis, or even gin, but of foreign affairs. Incredible is appropriate here. Sadly Republicanism is having a tough time these days, when few people dare voice a contrary opinion. Even the staunchest republicans who pour scorn on the monarchy will often qualify their remarks with: "But she herself has never put a foot wrong. Never? As an old colonial, I grew up waving the Union Jack and singing Rule Britannia, or God SHAVE the queen, but my view changed in the mid seventies, when this conversation took place (I may have changed the style but the substance is true)

    Queen: 'Ave you 'eard Phil? They want to stop putting me face on

    Duke: I s'pose you've told 'em to f... off

    Queen: Corse I 'ave. We’ve got so few prilijees left...

    Duke: (Laughs) You like having your head bashed a few million times every
    day, don't you, Lil?

    (Incidentally, the above surreptitiously turned into a 50 word story!)

    Before I got back home, a few more million fireflies hovered in the air, but I know where they live and can come back for them.

    (Pic: Sylvia Sims and John Mills in the film Ice Cold aka Tank Attack)
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