Kidnapped coffins, dark humour and city crime drama make Kevin Scott’s Dead Cat Bounce a winner

Dead Cat Bounce by Kevin Scott

What’s the story: 24 hours before the funeral of their little brother, Matt and Peter have to start to work together to pay a gangster £20,000 to have the body and coffin returned in time for the service – and without their hysterical mother finding out.

You’ll like it if you like: Orphans, Breaking Bad, The Shield, Matt Bendoris’ crime novels, Chris Brookmyre, 24 (the good seasons). Continue reading

Why the law will stop Apple 4K being as big a hit as Amazon and Google competition

(I’m not going to say too much about the Apple event – that’s Ewan Spence’s gig, but there are two things that stick out and are worth a quick comment…)

So the Apple 4K has been announced and Apple pulled off a nice unleaked surprise in that the company is offering 4k material for the price of the non-4K content. But it’s not going to be enough for the machine to take off like competing devices from the likes of Amazon and Google for two simple reasons – the main one is cost, but the second one is to do with the long arm of the law… Continue reading

Where are football’s cybersecurity casuals and hooligans?

Remember casuals and football hooligans? Or what about films like The Firm? Football casuals causing chaos to opposing fans (and others) for various reasons. I’m not saying it’s a problem that the game has eliminated, but where’s the 21st century cybersecurity equivalent?

Cybersecurity – not your usual kind of football hacker

Think about it, there’s tons of reasons for fans to want to hack into opposition clubs, including: Continue reading

Bad journalism didn’t kill newspapers – and it wasn’t the internet either…

Newspaper advertising revenue chart

Newspaper advertising revenue isn’t what it was – but who is to blame? Not journalism in my opinion


Even today, when we see tales of woe around traditional journalism, and in particular newspapers, you see the journalists being blamed for writing crap stories or not bringing in enough scoops or editors being too timid and to be honest, it’s gotten a little tedious.

You want to look to where newspapers started to die (not that many of them aren’t still profitable, just less profitable than before), go blame the advertising departments. Continue reading

Has SEO killed jury system as 95% search accused?

12 angry men pic

Seven years ago, I asked an anonymous online poll for those who had been jurors if they looked online at the people they were judging and the answer was, IIRC, about 65% said they did – even though they had been told not to (Ten years before that, the answer was 4%.) and that answer skewed heavily towards the under-40s and desktops.

Tried it again earlier this year and the answer was a little different: 95% look up the accused and it’s mostly on mobile phones. The outlying 5% was from the above 60s but it wasn’t that they couldn’t Google the accused – they didn’t want to, because you aren’t meant to do that sort of thing. So hey, yay law-abiding pensioners. Continue reading

Why I’m voting yes in the #indyref

There are a lot of eloquent posts from people about why they are voting Yes and No in the #indyref. This isn’t one of them. It’s a lot more rambling and shambolic.

I see a lot of reasons for voting Yes (though a part of me hopes for a draw). My main reason for voting Yes though is because Scotland and the UK aren’t the same thing and what works in Westminster doesn’t necessarily work in Wester Hailes. Continue reading

Six things that say Apple isn’t Apple any more…

Been playing with the new ios6 and it’s made me come to the conclusion that Apple most definitely isn’t the company that it once was – it certainly isn’t computing for the rest of us and what’s replaced it is, I don’t know. But here’s the sort of glitches I’m seeing that in days gone by you would never have expected from Apple in ios or OS X: Continue reading

Why the iPad could be a nightmare for writers

I’ve written a chunk elsewhere about the implications of the iPad, and while the iBook Store is going to be a large part of it, there’s a couple of questions that arise including how does an unpublished author or an author whose publishers has gone bust get his books online – who will decide what books go on and what doesn’t? Basically are you out of luck if you don’t sign with an Apple-approved publisher? Continue reading

Dear Bump 18/1/10: You have ears, so listen to your mum huh?

Dear Bump, there’s not a lot left to know about you. We know your sex and now, according to your mum, you have ears. To which, all I can say is: could you listen to your mum and stop knocking lumps out of her at all hours of the day. I’m starting to think you’ve got RockBand: The Uterus Version with the amount of thrashing about you’re doing in there. I mean play fair, your mum stopped using the home ultrasound kit listening to you after I pointed out that you were a baby and not an internal iPod (not that she had the headphones on a lot or anything) so return the kindness.

Having said that, I wonder if you’re doing morse code and asking your mum to change the channel on TV because – even though you’ve only existed for five or so months – you’re hearing all the same jokes from the constant reruns of Friends on E4 that your mum has on as background noise kinda constantly. (Not that the show is on much but the six characters are pretty much screenburnt into the TV now. Kinda strange watching Troy and wondering why the ghosts of Chandler and Joey are flanking Brad Pitt into battle.)

I swear if your first words are “he was on a break” there’s going to be issues…

Dear Daughter 18/1/10: Dad trumps Disney

Dear Daughter, you are a little sook but I love you dearly for it.

After writing about your love of your inflatable Disney High School Musical bed your mum and I were concerned about you sleeping in it every night – and you certainly didn’t like me reminding you that it was for travel or guests. But at bedtime you pulled out a classic line that guarantees you a trip to the bear-making shop soon (or perhaps even a trying to arrange at least one of the holidays you want this year*): “Can’t get cuddles off Dadda in Disney bed. Go into big bed to get cuddles from Dadda as Dadda cuddles best.”

You even managed to sound sincere.

Sleep tight.

* Madam’s 2010 holiday requests: Back to Florida to DisneyWorld and Universal (if I could squeeze in the last NASA Space Shuttle launch I wonder if this could count as educational?), Portaventura again too and weekends at Alton Towers and Blackpool. Not asking much…

Dear Daughter 14/1/10: If Disney made cardboard boxes you would say they were the best

Sometimes you really surprise me. There you are, with a ridiculous amount of toys from Xmas – there’s stuff you’re still opening (though I never thought Guess Who would have been an early favourite present) and what’s your current favourite? A High School Musical blow-up bed. A bed. You would think you slept on the floor every night or something.

Continue reading

Kids and the apocalypse: a cheerful post

It’s one of those things that I keep trying to put out of my head, but posts like this don’t help (for those too lazy to click: Dan worries about looking after his kids if civilisation broke down) and I must be more of a doom-and-gloomer than him because I worry about the next step: what happens if some bad stuff goes down and junior is left on her own?

Continue reading

Dear Daughter 16/12/09: In which Jesus is placed on the naughty cross

Religion’s giving you major issues (and that’s before you start asking your parents/grandparents about their different beliefs) and you had avoided the whole issue of Jesus until starting school, but now that you know about him, you’ve been a tad curiosity in how he can be born every year but is also dead.

Of course, being five, you are also totally obsessed with death (what is it with five year olds and death? Does the Scottish teaching curriculum have lessons on gothery or something?).

Anyway, there was some mirth the other day when you told me that you thought you had worked out what had happened to Jesus.

“Daaaaaad, you know you said that Jesus was killed on the cross because he annoyed some people? Was he put on the naughty cross? And they forgot to bring him down so he could say sorry so he dead?”*

(*if you aren’t a parent, you won’t get this. It’s a play on the naughty step concept devised by Supernanny)

And I tell you, if nothing else, it’s given me some thoughts for how to do a new take on a kid’s version of the bible…

Dear Daughter 15/12/09: in which you’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus

(Here’s where we lose the religious and decent of mind)

So, as I mention in the cult podcast (with a very liberal dash of swearing) that you recently had a school play for Christmas and you were a tad dejected about being a reindeer (Cupid) and not part of the nativity.

Until you pulled together the words to the popular tune of “I’d rather be a XXXX than a XXXX” except your version was “Oh, I’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus, Oh, I’d rather be a reindeer than a Jesus, yes I’d rather be a reindeer, rather be a reindeer, rather be a reindeer than a Jesus.” And then you went off into a second verse with different words but I couldn’t hear you as I was on the floor howling with laughter.

You’ll have all sorts of issues with religion as you grow up (the joys of living in the West Coast of Scotland) but if you keep your sense of humour about you, I think you might just do OK. Of course what you said the next day, was almost as blasphemous.

ps – sorry Jesus

3 reasons why being a dad hasn’t made me a better person

I’m riffing this off of Tara Cain’s blog post 3 reasons why being a mum hasn’t made me a better person as it struck a chord. As Tara says, there’s a lot of highlights to being a parent but there are downsides. And as this cold/cough won’t let me sleep, it seemed like a decent idea for a blog post…

Becoming More Emotional

Boy, no kidding on that one – and this totally took me by surprise. At first, for guys, when a baby comes along, it’s pretty much business as usual. There’s a wee person about the house that you have to get up at all hours to feed but that’s really it. They cry a lot when you pick them up and they are just… there. And you know you have to look after them.

But somewhere along the line some gene in you flips. Now for everyone it’s different but for me, anything that involves a father and daughter now cracks me up. This first became obvious after rewatching one of my favourite fun films Armageddon and as it approached the end, I was in a flood of tears, totally uncontrollable. Fricking Armageddon! Since then, I’ve noticed it in other things – The Time Traveller’s Wife for example. God knows what The Road will do to me…

I used to joke with Graham Lindsay at the Scottish Daily Mirror about this as he told me that parenthood made him unable to read tales about child cruelty. I thought he was talking bollocks until junior came along. I can still read those stories, but dear God they get my blood boiling more.

Much amusement for the wife and friends. Much embarassment for me.

Child(ren) Come First

This is a bit of a combo of Tara’s points 2 and 3. But yeah, I’ve seen every part of my life ‘suffer’/benefit from having a kid. I don’t go out as much as I used to and if I do, I go out after the little one has had her two bedtime stories and cuddle for falling asleep. I’ve seen me walk out the door at clocking off time (knowing I’ll have chunks to do in the early hours of the morning) so I can get home and play tig or princesses or something like monster hunting down the woods with my wee best pal. I’ve gone without things I’ve really wanted because I saw a nice top or toy for junior. I’ve taken her and her pals out when someone else was equally happy to do it.

It’s also probably made me more selfish because if I get the option of anything to do, playing with junior is the first call (though I am going off the swimming lessons at 8am on a Saturday morning after two years of taking her).

(three things that have surprised me though: how little sleep I actually need at times when dealing with the wee one – though I’m sure that’s taking its toll in its own way . Also, how much I always hear madam moving about or talking in her sleep, even if I have been sleeping (again, sure that’s talking a toll) and how well I operate with a hangover and children (though the way round that one hasn’t taken a toll – less drinking or nights out!)

Made Me More Intolerant

My personal politics used to be fairly left-leaning (that’s not a statement of political party alignment but my own personal politics) and I’d like to think they still are, but having a kid does make you less tolerant of other people’s foibles – especially if they are a parent – and it’s practically a full-time job to haud one’s wheesht as they would say in Scotland.

Things like the woman who let her children die in a dirty nappy? In the past I may have moaned about the system and so on. Now? I’d kill her and sack every social worker involved in that case, making sure the world knew why they were sacked. Come in home from work tired and don’t want to play with your child? Tough. You have a child, relax later (though why you wouldn’t find playing with your child fun and relaxing I don’t know). Want to watch a TV show/surf the web/do something solo while your child is awake and not doing anything else? Get to hell. That child’s a gift to you and never asked to be born to you, so you owe it your time while it’s awake. Farmville, Smallville and Coronation Street can all wait until your child/ren are in bed.

(See what I mean about intolerant?)

What about the other parents who read this? Has parenthood made any changes to you that surprised you?