Monday, 4 February 2013

Idle-Speed Control or Idle Speed-Control?

(Written by Annie. Posted by Rob)

Izzie did not have much to report but she was pleased with herself for completing lots of blog entries. She has also entered the Writers’ and Artists’ Short Story Competition.
Linda is half-way through the re-write of her novel and had little to report apart from that.
Chris has been to Coventry to give a talk to 70 people. It had gone very well and he found them a very responsive group.  Congratulations to Chris who was wearing Tuesday socks on a Tuesday (Tony would be proud!).
I am continuing with my children’s book and am planning on entering the Malvern short story competition run by Malvern Theatre.
Tony announced that the Bridport prize was open for entries and that he had had an article published on resilience.
Tony read his piece called Idle Speed Control.
I thought that references to road rage had thrown the reader off the scent which then allowed the story to take an unexpected turn. I did want to know what the regular trip to Bristol was for. The description of the sea-gull as being off-white did cause me some confusion as I think that they are very white.
Chris went for the jugular and started with a moan about the title –no less – asking whether Idle Speed Control needed a hyphen. Chris did enjoy the Herbie references: CK55 TXP Goes Bananas and CK55 TXP Goes to Monte Carlo. He did think that the nature description was too much of a digression from the story. Then there was the use of the word then!
Linda said that the piece had an air of tragi-comedy. She loved the bit when Paul was pretending to be a Dutchman. She was confused by the black queen chess piece and its relevance to the story. Paul’s character was also a concern to her as he was willing to pocket £110 that was rightfully the money of a beggar woman who simply eeked out an existence.
Izzie was sceptical that Paul had not noticed the beggar woman until the windscreen had been washed. She also felt that an explanation was needed about who Julie was.
During Tony’s right to reply he explained that the story brief was to write about three objects: a black queen, a £10 note and a bunch of flowers. This explained why they were together in this story. The piece was well written and had some very amusing parts but did seem to raise too many questions to give a rounded ending. 
The group also talked about having a technology night where there would be time to discuss podcasts, twitter and blogging.
Next meeting: 12th February, Rob host, Rob to blog and Annie to read.


  1. "He [she] that condemns himself to compose on a stated day, will often bring to his [her] task an attention dissipated, a memory embarrassed, an imagination overwhelmed, a mind distracted with anxieties..." ...and so on (and on, and on). These words of Dr. Johnson came to my mind on reading your blog, Annie, which has the appearance of being a verbatim transcript of your contemporaneous notes. I picture you at your desk, one eye on your notes, one eye on the clock (clock-eyed?), left hand whisking a cake mix, right hand preparing a lesson, a pencil clenched in your teeth jabbing out the blog on a laptop keyboard. For shame! The public face of an authors' group demands the employment of impeccable English, free from "colloquial barbarisms, licentious idioms, and irregular combinations." Yes, it's that man again (his punctuation, Chris, not mine). Whilst confessing to enjoying SVA blogs, whatever the quality of the language, and wishing to encourage neither prolixity nor sequipedalianism, I urge you, to paraphrase Dr. J once more, to seek elegance of construction and harmony of cadence.
    Affectionate greetings

  2. Good to see you're still following the blog, Clive.