Wednesday, August 31, 2016


What’s your favourite film? If The Shawshank Redemption isn’t in your Top Ten, I can only suppose you haven’t seen it yet. If that’s the case, I suggest you proceed immediately to YouTube, Netflix or wherever so that you can see what you’ve been missing out on for the past twenty years or so.

OK, and what if I asked those of you who saw Shawshank to name your favourite scene? There are so many, it’s virtually impossible to choose just one, isn’t it? Most of you, however, will surely remember that prison rooftop scene, in which Andy risks his life by interrupting a conversation among the guards to offer his expert financial advice.

Fortunately for all concerned, our hero lives to fight another day, but the question remains, Why on earth did he do it? To get in with the guards? To impress his fellow inmates? The narrator thinks the reason is somewhat simpler: “I think he did it just to feel normal again; if only for a short while.”

And that’s why I still scribble one or two lines every month: to feel human for a few minutes. I find it very therapeutic. Whatever that means.

Enjoying a quiet pint in Shrewsbury with sister Sue and one of her Pokémon friends

Colin’s Condoms?’
‘Whatever.’ Colin’s caller went straight to the point …
‘How come it’s always the man’s fault?’
‘How do you mean?’ asked Colin, knowing exactly what he meant.
‘Everyone talks about “human error”, right? But you never hear anybody blame a mistake on “huwoman error”, do you?’
‘I think you’ll find “human” is an all-embracing term, encompassing both sexes,’ said Colin, surprising himself with his first intelligent observation of the day.

dayrealing, chapter 4, “Human”

As Colin saw it, some people are born competent, while others are born incompetent. Colin was in the second group. As if to prove his point, he’d sat down the other day to start drawing up a list of his Basic Incompetences. Colin loved his lists: there was something therapeutic about writing lists, even soul-destroying lists like this one.

dayrealing, chapter 5, “Heart Of Gold”

Despite its silly title, The Shawshank Redemption had always been Colin’s favourite film. Ever. He had long been a sucker for prison movies – Escape From Alcatraz, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Papillon, Porridge … – but The Shawshank Redemption would always hold the number one spot for Colin. Unless a better movie came out in the meantime, that is. Imprisoned unfairly, fighting against injustice, falling foul of a corrupt system, tormented by evil bosses … Colin was Andy Dufresne. Not literally, of course; the main differences being a) Andy was a very clever competent chap, b) Andy escaped and c) Colin was not Andy Dufresne. Obviously.

dayrealing, chapter 6, “Living For The Corporation”