The Swipe Volume 1 Chapter 17

A week away has done wonders for the mental batteries. I feel calm, collected and focussed. Just as well, as there’s lots to do on both the writing front and in terms of this year’s garden project. I’ll bore you more on that in a couple of weeks. Still, at least it’s No-Mow May, so I don’t have that chore to worry about. Wildlife of All Hallows Road—you’re welcome.

Wherever you are, whenever you are, however you are, welcome to The Swipe.

Rob is reading…

Frankly, after a visit to Barter Books in Alnwick, I’m not sure where to start. Any suggestions?

Rob is watching…

Eurovision, obviously.

Rob is listening…

To Eurovision playlists, obviously.

Rob is eating…

Fish and chips from Lewis’ in Seahouses. Or the whole bream at The Fish Shack in Amble. Or the dressed crab from The Old Boathouse at the other end of the harbour. Or a prime example of steak and ale pie served up with a pint of Landlord at The Mason’s Arms in Warkworth. One thing about a trip to Northumburland—you do eat very well.

How is it that Charlie Brown always fools for Lucy’s promise not to yank the ball away from him at the last minute? Is it a metaphor for the failure of hope, or Shultlz’s nod to the trial of Sisyphus? I didn’t realise there is an end to the story—kind of.


This is a story about AI which nods to some SF tales I’ve read before, but with a much more inevitably tragic ending. Fiction has nothing on the cruelty of real life. You may feel some of the people involved are a bit pathetic. I’m concerned that if this is the only way they can find companionship, then something has gone very wrong.

The Big Turnoff

A comprehensive list of which whisky goes best with which fizzy soda. This may come in very handy once the warm weather finally arrives.

Whiskey Soda

This is a story which gives everything away in the headline and tells you nothing about the delights within. Epic trolling from Timothy Faust, and I guarantee you’ll have the tune in your head all day after this.

The Boys Are Back

I present this next bit in my capacity as the proud member of a union, and hope it helps you understand why worker’s collectives are more important now than ever. The job market is more fragile and rigged than ever. We need to stand together to make sure we get treated fairly.

You’re Taking Us With You

More from Everything Is Amazing. You really should subscribe to it. This post talks about a lot of the common touch points in this newsletter, particularly the value of curiosity. There’s always more to find out, and that’s the fun of it.

Keep It Curious, Simpleton.

Jacob Ready (yes, that is his name) is on a mission to visit every bookstore in New York. An admirable if increasingly tough mission, as it seems more of them are opening in the Five Boroughs than ever. Applause, though, and let’s offer up a prayer for his poor groaning bookshelves.

NYC Bookquest

Anne Kadet has a bit of context and chats to Jacob, who seems like a thoroughly lovely bloke. His reading tastes are pretty similar to mine.

Every Bookstore In NYC

The Frog Story is simple, yet contains multitudes. I still don’t know what to make of the mother.

The Frog Story

Finally, a story of triumph coming from the most unlikely of sources. It just goes to show, you have no idea who your fans are going to be when you release your art out into the wild. But you should always be gracefully grateful.

Thank you, Bigolas Dickolas.

Did I mention it’s Eurovision tonight? The greatest night of the year has come around at last. The lineup for 2023 is as diverse and surprising as ever, with semi-finalists who seemed like a solid lock not making it through the viewers vote, and songs I thought had no chance roaring into glory. It really is as much about the performance as the song now. Anyway, I’ll be hanging out on Twitter as usual (possibly for the last time with the way things are going) and offering my increasingly boozy and probably incorrect opinions and predictions.

Let’s close up with the song I want to win the contest. Best of British to Mae Muller, but it’s all about the Aussie prog-rockers for me. UNLEASH THE KEYTAR.

See you in seven, true believers.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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