Hullo my freaky darlings.

I was speaking to Natalia a week ago when I mentioned an idea I’d had to start a blog called The Shadow Over Exmouth. When she asked me why I hadn’t, my answer was so utterly feeble that I realised I ought at least to see if I could make it work. The results, dear reader, are here for all to see.

The company health insurance just reimbursed me for some dental work, so today I did what I always do when I’m remunerated: I wasted it on junk. I hopped into Sceadufell, ambled into Exeter with no roof and some violent rock, parked in the first place I saw and went looking for some cinematic goodness. The plan was simple: get hold of Apocalypse Now, This is Spinal Tap and perhaps a Creedence Clearwater CD, then head home and spend all day tomorrow watching the films to death, playing the CD and reading Myths and Legends of the Celts, which Natalia gave me when she visited. Once I got into the shop, however, the plan rapidly went west. I couldn’t find any of the films I wanted immediately, so I lost all patience, bought Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, series three of Futurama, a Rolling Stones album and a Billie Holliday compilation, then left to find another shop. There aren’t any. Well, there’s a branch of Zavvi, but that’s as much use as a chocolate teapot since the entire group went bust. Then I walked into Smith’s.

I didn’t find what I wanted there either, but near the door, where it had been cunningly placed to waft its siren song to my defenceless ears, was what I needed. I’d heard that Tolkien’s retelling of the story of Sigurð and Guðrún was due out, but I had no idea that it was already in the shops. The stand of copies came as something of a surprise. Immediately, all trace of rational consumerism was supplanted by naked acquisitive greed, and I bought a copy without reading the price. My M.A. is in this area and I read my Shippey, so I know that there are some serious cruces of scholarly debate in this story; and what Tolkien has to say about the discrepancies in the different versions is going to interest me a great deal. It wasn’t a scholar that pulled out his wallet for this one, though: it was the eight-year-old boy who spent Christmas 1984 deciphering Thror’s map, and has been hooked ever since. Sorry, Natalia: I promise that I’ll read MacKillop, but only after Tolkien has finished with me. I’m going to enjoy this immensely.

Long story short, I did find Apocalypse Now and – an added bonus – A Bridge Too Far, back where I’d started at HMV. I now have far more than a day’s worth of entertainment, no money, and sunburn from driving with the roof off. Again. All in all, it’s been a pretty good day.

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