Friday, 15 November 2013

Christmas Shopping Seems To Lack Its Usual Magic This Year

As I write this the Christmas Countdown clock stands at 39 days 12 hours 57 minutes 37 seconds 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29...........

What the hell am I going to give people for Christmas? The thought is just starting to cause havoc inside and a panic attack is not far away. I'm sure I am one of many. And it is illogical to worry about such silly things, particularly with all the atrocious events happening in other parts of the world such as the Philippines where peoples thoughts must be on just getting through the day, let alone thinking of Christmas in 39 days time.

It is an uncomfortable feeling, I find, when you watch the latest, most expensive, fantasy adverts on telly where everything is perfect and wonderful you will feel when you open your wallet and buy into this false world of comfort.

What a hypocrite I am. Sitting here comfortably watching peoples misery on the other side of the world. But I guess you can only do your bit. The British public have been as generous as ever, donating over £30 million. Life will go on. Christmas presents will be bought, opened and enjoyed. But I just wonder if maybe people will be more selective this year and not buy the multitude of junk which is available. Maybe the balance will be adjusted a little where us lucky ones who have so much will give yet more to others who have nothing.

Me? Well I won't be giving useless, self indulgent presents like the painted bus I gave to my godchildren one year It was a bit of fun at the time. I don't know what I will give this year, but I am sure it will be with a deeper thought.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Balzac On The Buses

A friend of mine, when sending good luck messages recently and also wondering whether it would be possible for her to download The Accidental Bus Driver onto her Kindle Paperwhite, wrote:

"If Balzac had driven a bus, he would have gotten in touch with that guy from Google'.

Honoure de Balzac, the great 19th century writer of La Comedie Humaine who wrote about life in France after Napoleon Bonaparte? Of course there's no comparison. Balzac and The Accidental Bus Driver. In today's terms, it's like placing the Booker Prize winner next to a Haynes Car Manual.

But is there really no common ground?

I beg to differ and think there is, however improbable. It comes in the form of Balzac's writing habits. He was supposed to have a light supper around 6pm, sleep until Midnight and then work for 15 hours or more at a stretch.

A bus/coach driver is similar, despite the 'light' aspect to supper as most drivers I know rarely eat light meals and that the hours vary, the stop-start-work-rest ratios of life are similar.

I used to sit at the steering wheel writing and making notes in my rest period. It was the only place on the bus where there was anything closely resembling a desk. But that was where it ended - the quality of the prose was undoubtedly un-Balzac-ian.

Monday, 11 November 2013

How Accidental Is Accidental? For Sometimes Accidental Does Not Seem As Genuinely Accidental As Accidental Should Be

Oh dear. I am beginning to get the jitters.

The thought is dawning on me that the 'Accidental' in The Accidental Bus Driver is not as clever or funny as I had originally thought it was. A search in google put paid to that. I had no idea how many people had jumped onto the Accidental bandwagon. Well I had possibly jumped onto their wagon, to be more accurate.

Everyone has heard of Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist or Iris Murdoch's An Accidental Man.  You may indeed have heard of The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich's book about the founding of Facebook which was adapted for the film The Social Network or the Twitter account called Accidental Partridge which lists Alan Partridge's best sayings. Or the songs, Accidental Racist by Brad Paisley Feat. LL Cool J and Accidental Babies by Damien Rice. Or the films, Accidental Hero with Dustin Hoffman and Geena Davis and The Accidental Husband with Colin Firth and Uma Thurman.

But that's just the beginning.

There's the Accidental Bully, Genius, Spy, Sailor, Taxonomist, Missionary, Prince, Couple, Pallbearer, Cowgirl, Apprentice, Demon Slayer, Assassin, Mother, Bride, Cheerleader, American, Pharisees, Vegetarian, Duchess, Mistress and Pornographer.

But even with so much competition I still feel my title, The Accidental Bus Driver is up there with the best. Well I would wouldn't I? The reason being, as someone kindly pointed out to me the other day, that I feel I am the only one who is physically correct. Oh sure I became a bus driver by accent as all the others above did in their respective fields ... but I bet they didn't reverse their bus into some garage doors ... three times.

(Look at for more snippets and events of the publication of the book in March 2014)