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The swifts

Cold, grey and blustery.

Yesterday started fair, but the sea wrack moved in during the afternoon, with a cold breeze. BY 6pm, the wrack, thick as custard, down to the treetops across the valley, I saw the first of the swifts, skating and tossing around up there in the blustery grey. Three of them this morning. They're back, one more year.

Real Festival weather. Today, out to Queen's Road in the afternoon, to talk-up the newly discovered lost John Wyndham novel for the BBC. A treat for Wyndham completists, clearly foreshadowing his best books, it's good fun in its own right after the first few pages, which are marred by a dodgy US accent.

As is well known, Wyndham tried to dissociate himself from sf, fearing the ghetto effect. But how influential he has been, in the end: particularly on UK genre tv and movies. Apocalypse with ordinary characters, hoping they'll have somewhere to sleep and something to eat. Clueless blokey heroes (who are never revealed to be the secret child of the Evil Emperor's security chief)*; with kind, competent girlfriends. Nobody knows anything, and the deep need to squabble that possesses any group of people, in any fraught situation, proves the triumph of the human spirit. . . Shaun of the Dead is a Wyndham cosy catastrophe. I like 'em.

*I tell a lie. The ordinary bloke hero of "Plan For Chaos" does indeed prove to be a close connection of the World Domination evil genius. He doesn't exactly take this ball and run with it, however.

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