The first thing I saw were his big butcher’s arms: broad and sheened with sweat. Next I saw tattoos; a square jaw, thick with stubble, set in a sullen half-smile, half-sneer; and a six-pack of Schlitz, wedged between his thighs on the driver’s seat.
Schlitz – the beer that made Milwaukee famous. What made Milwaukee famous made a loser out of me.
Was it dangerous to enter the cab of the old Ford pick-up? Standing by the roadside outside Durango in the evening heat, I had the usual split second to decide. I sensed contradictory feelings: fear; an urge to keep moving; and thirst.
‘Where are you heading?’ I asked.
The next town.
‘OK.’ I got in. The cab smelled of camphor.
My 1979 diary and Rand McNally Interstate Road Atlas. The flag was originally stuck to my red rucksack as a hitch-hiking aid
It was July ’79. Jimmy Carter was President. Donald Trump was a 33-year-old real estate developer in (more…)
I am watching the sequel to a movie I adored three years ago. The sequel is so piss-poor that I feel violated and upset. How can a major studio spend squillions of dollars producing such trash?
Weeks later, it happens again. Another sequel, another cringe-making dose of drivel. Strangely, the two movies have much in common, including much of what makes them so unwatchable.
The movies are: Guardians of the Galaxy II (2017) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
Guardians of the Galaxy 2: decent trailer, execrable movie
The Lego Batman Movie: ditto
There is something weird about how films are rated. Is it a conspiracy? I’m beginning to wonder.
Readers of this blog will know that I decry conspiracy theories. But I recently saw two films (movies) I thought were dire and one I enjoyed. The first two were Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Rotten Tomatoes rating 82%, certified fresh) and The Lego Batman Movie (Rotten Tomatoes rating 91%, certified fresh). The one I enjoyed was The Circle (Rotten Tomatoes rating 17%, rotten).
In the likely event that you haven’t heard much about the movie, the plot revolves around likeable young ingenue Mae (Emily Watson) who joins “The Circle”, a fusion of Apple, Google and Facebook (more…)
More complex than Dan Brown. More thrilling than Le Carré. Closer to the truth than either.
Counter-terrorism expert Helen Gale has one job: to protect the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the US, Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany, Canada and Italy at the Children’s Summit in Berlin.
The Reichstag is the most fortified building on earth. Yet terrorists take world leaders, tycoons, one hundred innocent children and Helen’s husband captive. Then the executions start.
Helen is suspended from duty and sued for negligence. Yet she alone sees the mastermind behind the siege. As US special forces plan a deadly assault, Helen must enter the shattered hulk of the Reichstag to stop a bloodbath.
“The genuine article: clever and melancholy: a security-pass into a world-within-a-world” – Matthew Parris on Robert Pimm.
OK, everyone. Help me. Ahead of publication of my new novel, Blood Summit this autumn I am drafting the blurb for the back page. What do you think of the above? Would it make you want to read the book? Comments welcome: do use the comments box or send me an e-mail.
I’m crowdsourcing comments and you, faithful readers, are my crowd.
And thanks for all your comments on titles. Excellent comments from different people in different senses. For now, I’m going with Blood Summit.
P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – the “click here” blue button). You can check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.
I’ve added new reviews to my popular Vienna cafes: which are best? blog. The fifteen cafes reviewed are mostly in the town centre, but include several in the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 10th Districts. The latest additions are the little-known Cafe Morgenstern (charming and super grunge) and the popular Cafe Museum (much restored since the 1980s). Take a look.
If you have a favourite cafe you’d like me to review, let me know in the comments. I’m highly suggestible
The shabby but charming decor of the Cafe Morgenstern, complete with star – RP
P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button). Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.
P.P.S. see my piece When dinner becomes the last supper for a tongue-in-cheek guide to “why German waiters are the best”.
Here is a complete short story, set in the Moscow of 1993.
In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia experienced rapid, chaotic, change. For many Russians, the transition from communism to capitalism meant hardship, uncertainty and suffering. For a few, it brought untold riches.
Nearly everyone had to adapt to changed circumstances and work out new uses for old skills.
Like all my stories, The Second Phial is a work of fiction which springs entirely from my imagination
A doorway in Moscow. Photo: Robert Pimm
I wrote the story a few years ago and have decided to publish it now in search of feedback. If you like it, I have a few more like this. If you don’t like it, tell me also; I might take it down again.
Of course, I hope you enjoy it. But be honest in your feedback. If you want to be super-honest and are worried about hurting my feelings in public, send me an e-mail 😉
Moscow 1993: The Second Phial
Friday and Saturday nights she always went out, my beautiful Lyuba, trip-trapping down the evil-smelling stairs to the bright lights of Moscow City. Sometimes, in the heaving crush of the new hard-currency clubs, she fell in love with American or British boys. She never knew why it happened so fast.
Lyuba never knew either why I always stayed up until she came home. She never could know why I loved to sit, dressing gown clasped round my knobbly knees, to see her lips grow bright as she told me how she had fallen in love again.
What she did know was that, once she slept with them, they never came back. Sometimes this made Lyuba melancholy and she sat out in the yard, tears frosting her cheeks as she wept for her lost lovers. She never knew the difference between the first phial and the second.
But she kept right on falling in love, right up to the end. So did the boys.