A life in 50 words


Fifteen years of fear and regret exited his life in the belly of a suitcase. She wouldn’t forgive him. Yet… the betrayal felt like that of a stranger. The child belonged to another: the youth who died at the bottom of a bottle when his lover disappeared without a trace.


The Daily Post, Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty

You say “Style” and I think…



A time when the parties were bigger,

Shows broader and buildings were higher;

The morals were looser, the pace so much faster

And liquor a damn lot much cheaper.

Joie de vivre turned into an art, 

Roaring age of smart motorcars;

Bathing parties and gossip, thrilling hunts, headline stunts

And a devil-may-care avant-garde.

A time of the decadent young,

Jazz, cocktails, nightclubs and flappers;

Shorter hair and skirts, debutantes, fancy dress, 

Charleston shakes till the fat lady sung.

The Observer

iphone pictures 2067

When and where do you do your best thinking?

Spend five minutes thinking about nothing at all. Empty your mind of all thought. Do not think. Feel. Let the breeze caress your cheek. Allow your fingers to discover new textures. Inhale the scent of the morning and let it graze your nostrils unrestrained. Bite into an apple and listen to its juices sizzle under your tongue.

Let go. Don’t be afraid. When the moment is over, the words will come back to you with renewed vigour. Alive. Too often we forget to allow our senses to take hold and speak in a language other than the one we are accustomed to. This is the place. Now is the time. Feel, and your best thinking will follow.

About this image: My senses amplified tenfold, I searched for something that would capture the moment and remind me of it in the years to come. An unlikely flower to attract a passers-by attention on a hot autumnal afternoon, yet to me it seemed a most beautiful and fragile offering.

Skinny Dipping

iphone pictures 2018

It was the decision of a moment. I did not stop to think of it, to question whether it was sensible. Buttons undone. Ready to jump in. Within seconds my body was clothed by the warmth of the sea alone. Childlike in my freedom. Regaling in the naughtiness of it all: midday, beyond the pale. A first.

To be repeated. That was the promise that I made myself that day.

Carpe Diem | Best of 2014 ???


When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?

It was a stifling summer’s day… or perhaps it was spring. It little matters. I was spending the day with a new friend. It is always an adventure, getting to know someone. There was something unusual about him, although I couldn’t say what exactly… only that he was elsewhere somehow.

Where did he go in those moments when he was there with me and yet not there? It took me only a few minutes longer to discover. 

“One day… some ten years later perhaps,” he said all of a sudden, interrupting my chatter mid-flow, “I will be looking back at this day and thinking about all of this. The walk. The cobbled street. The heat of the day. Meeting you.”

Those may have not been his words exactly, but they are what I remember of them. It was then that I realised what had intrigued me about this man. He was forever escaping into an imaginary future, ageing the present – imprisoning it in the past through an invented “hindsight”.

Unlike my friend, I prefer to stay in the moment.

I care little for how I may look back at it in a day, or a month, or a year and I am even less concerned with how I may remember it in a decade or two. I’d much rather be in the present than solidify it into memory-matter before it had the chance to be lived – sweat and all. Carpe Diem!

This is why I’ve had such difficulty in writing a reply to your question. I can rewind, certainly… but fast forward?

Perhaps I can do both and guess what the top ten for 2014 might be and whether it would look any different from 2013s list.

Will that little white lie: “I don’t fancy Benedict Cumberbatch.” continue to top the charts?

There is another post that is already biting at its heels and looks very likely to overtake it in the coming months: Drunk Sex / RAPED. I have mixed feelings about this one. Every time I sea the search engine term appear in my stats it makes me shiver. Can’t help but wonder.  

COMING SOON… to a VicBriggs blog-screen near you! It was such a blast to write, I may just do it again. Although I am yet to get around to delivering on that promise of Fun with automobiles! Showroom Extravaganza. Well… I parked up the idea for a sunnier day. You understand, I’m sure. 

Then there was PROJECT R in session #10 Sreejit Poole… “Let us all walk the world knowing that “we are love”. Sreejit’s message is so powerful in its simplicity that I would be surprised if it does not continue to pull at heartstrings in the coming year. 

Love, of course, comes in various guises, whether we feel it or are it. When I wrote #BenedictCumberbatch goes Brokeback Sherlock I had no idea that it would soon overtake all other “Benedicted” posts bar one. I did get a complaint or two from female fans who would much rather see the delectable Cumberbatch bat for our side rather than the other, but hey! surely a boy can dream too.

Breaking the silence on Depression was by far the most difficult post I’ve written this past year, and I do hope I won’t be matching it with another in the next. There are no guarantees that time alone will keep the black dogs at bay, but… there is always hope. And if hope is not enough, then humour might save me after all. That, or sex with the aforementioned 😉

Perhaps 2014 will add some interviews to ShardsOfSilence, in line with that Harsh Reality EXCLUSIVE and featuring more opinionated men and women. Curiosity is the one thing that survives year in, year out. I want to know what makes you tick and I will find it out (if you let me, that is 😀 ) 

Here is something that I will do my best to avoid this year: negativity. However… if I am to indulge every now and then, I will at least try to do it with a smile on my face, stiff upper lip or not. You know what they say, when you complain or otherwise, go British

I suppose the answer was staring me in the face all this time and it simply took me a while to get to it.

It is the 2nd of January 2015. I am scrolling through my bog in search for… more opinion of course, and a little more humour wouldn’t go amiss either.

Now. Back to reality. It appears that the muse has abandoned me. Such a lush. I’ll have to get him off the juice and soon if I’m to write any poems this year. Cheerio.




To learn. To hold. All knowledge hidden, old and new.

‘Tis like the sparkle of a star sewn to the canvas of a sky. Appears

Already dying when its light comes into view…

It journeyed onwards, conquered space and time for many thousand years.




Inside the Actor’s Studio

JLM as Bertie GrayI was a little apprehensive about interviewing Bertie Gray. He has a reputation for going “off the record” more often than not, as a colleague forewarned in her recent piece: Let me get into your head! Pretty please?

On a first meeting, the Harrovian does not disappoint. He has beautiful old school manners. “Ohh, crumpets?” he says. “How delightful! I’m going to have one right now.”

It’s a dreary winter morning in New York, and Gray is holed up in a five star hotel room with an array of American delights on offer, but I decided to sweeten the deal by bringing along a few of his favourite British treats.


We spent the first part of the interview discussing his appearance on James Lipton’s interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio and going over the answers he gave to those legendary ten questions.

1. What is your favourite word?

Isotope. I like what it alludes to. To me it is a world of possibilities. The chance to redraft the past.

2. What is your least favorite word?

Stilted. I had a bad review after my first ever appearance on stage that used the word and haven’t been able to stomach it since.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Honesty. Whether it is about stepping into a character’s shoes, or in relationships with others, honesty is key. I struggle to relate to those who are not open about what they feel or think, or those who are dishonest in their actions. Acting wise, to be dishonest is akin to professional death.

4. What turns you off?

I suppose my answer to the previous question covered most of it. I never do things by halves either personally or professionally and have to admit that having high expectations of myself has led to requiring the same of others. This hasn’t always served me well, but I can’t change the way I feel about it.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

Ha! I use the F word more than I ought, but I can’t say that it’s a favourite. When I was at RADA we went through a phase of collecting Shakespearian curses. My gems of choice were “Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.” from Cymbeline and Henry IVs “Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!”

6. What sound or noise do you love?

I can’t tell you that. Sorry. Not for under eighteens I’m afraid. I will give you my second favourite: the sound of rain on the rooftops on a dour London day. Makes me giddy, although I don’t quite know why.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

The absence of noise. Terrifying.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

My parents are both actors. Can’t remember a time in my life when I wanted to do anything other than act, although I am told that as a toddler I was rather keen on becoming a locomotive.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

A priest or a politician. I’d be useless at both. It requires inflexibility of a kind that I don’t possess.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“There’s an eternity supply of Macallan’s best single malt waiting for you, matey. Take the first left and Peter’ll take it from there.” I do love a good measure of Speyside whiskey on a long winter night. I assume that heaven might be on the chilly side, since hell has hegemony over fire. It would be good to have something to keep me warm up there.

Bertie Gray may have once been best known as the youngest actor in West End history to be cast as Prospero. Since his Thespian debut, this prolific actor added many an accolade to his name, amongst which his exquisite Darcy in the latest Universal adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that sent hearts aflutter the world over.

He is now decidedly America’s darling, the hottest Brit in Hollywood and the one heartthrob with the power to make both period  and modern attire sizzle on and off screen. I’d say that what I would like for God to tell me at the Pearly Gates is that Gray’s waiting on the other side. At this rate, he’s bound to make angels of half the world’s population and a jealous mess of the other.

As for the rest of the interview? He inspected my list of questions and politely declined to answer unless I agreed to keep it “off the record”. His reputation for keeping his private life under wraps is well founded it would seem. So all I have been able to uncover will have to stay… well “off the record” at least until FINDING JANE is published.


‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted’

world-in-danger_Royalty Free

“Truth”? Who has forced this word on me? But I repudiate it; but I disdain this proud word; no, we do not need even this: we shall conquer and come to power even without truth. (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power)

Lying on his deathbed, Hassan i Sabbah — the Old Man of the Mountainfounder and ruler of the Hashishim, otherwise known as the Order of the Assassinsleft his followers with this anarchic declaration: ‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted’

Both the terms hashish and assassin are claimed to have derived from the Hashishim Order, that simply signifies the followers of Hassan. The etymological richness of the order’s name exemplifies how meaning changes over time, accruing new values.

Philosophy is generally associated with the search for knowledge of the self and of the world, yet the search for ultimate meaning can be life-denying and therefore cripple human fulfilment.

There is no absolute truth.

Truth has been constructed by men through a historic process, and even our own understanding of who and what we are is the result of a lengthy process of training and cultivation through the evolution of morality and centuries of social development.

Meaning or truth is historical and flexible, rather than a-temporal and absolute.

Even conscience and free will are not natural givens, but the outcome of historical and psychological evolution of humanity. The existence of both is essential for society as much as it is for Moral philosophy, as it can attribute guilt and responsibility.

The creation of free will and a moral perspective demarcates the birth of the ‘absolute’ truth and consequently the unceasing seeking of ultimate knowledge and truth.

Man’s conscience, his sense of responsibility, is instilled by means of punishment, in a relationship similar to that between creditor and debtor.

‘How do you give a memory to the animal, man? …’ ‘A thing must be burnt in so that it stays in the memory…’ (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morality)

Science and philosophy are by no means an advance away from the will to truth, rather sophisticated versions of the same doctrine: a denial of sensual, present life in exchange for a pursuit of a believed, pre-determined truth — a truth that has been constructed through historical and psychological development, which differ for various civilisations, being simultaneously valid and null.

‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted.’ This is a fundamental affirmation of unrestricted creative freedom: an apocalyptic avowal that goes beyond the call to destructive, unrestrained behaviour:

“Everything is permitted because nothing is true. It is all make-believe . . . illusion . . . dream . . . art. When art leaves the frame and the written word leaves the page, not merely the physical frame and page, but the frames and pages that assign the categories.” (William S. Burroughs)

Only when we acknowledge the absence of eternal or pre-existing truth, can we be free from the burden of guilt.

Only then can we become our own master, legislator, executive and judge in the pursuit of a fulfilling sensual and creative life.

Only then will we stop blaming the elusive other for our actions and assume responsibility for everything we do in drawing our own horizons of truth.






I spied you standing in the wings

With your hand on the lever,

Hair thick with dust clumps and splinters.

They thought you one of their own,

But I knew different.


In the night I could hear

That inner asylum of shrieks and contortions —

Your world in renovation only half complete.

Wild eyes and bared teeth,

Ready to pounce at any moment.


Strapped into the harness of insanity.

Not yours. Borrowed.

Stuck, like a test pilot in a flight gone wrong.

The single rotating axle of an intemperate smile

Drenched in fear.



The Burden of Truth

The boy who never grew up. The girl who never could.

“On June 26 1932 Alice opened the Lewis Carroll exhibition at Bampus, the London bookshop. Beside her was Peter Davies, the original Peter Pan.” Anne Clark


I am Alice. Trapped within the pages of a book perfumed with memories of childhood. No one wants to hear my story. They have inscribed the pages with their own. Nostalgia for days long past.

I grew up. I grew old. I lost a son in the war. Who wants to hear a story that debunks assumptions they hold so dear?

There is only one Alice and that Alice is me, but while I wither and die, that girl in a blue dress will be as alive to others as I was to Mr Dodgson when he first gifted me the manuscript.

Let it be a comfort to you that Alice should be forever sauntering around Wonderland, having tea with the White Rabbit, exchanging witty remarks with the Cheshire Cat and questing with the Mad Hatter. Your Alice.

peter-panI am Peter. Not Peter Pan. He belonged to another, to a man who imprisoned us in a world of his own imagining. Love can be a punitive thing.

I was not his favourite, and yet he chose my name, and with one word suspended my life into that of a boy who was never to grow up.

I did grow up. I joined the army, married, opened a publishing firm. That name, that boy, followed me around like a shadow. How I wanted to forget him!

People don’t like meeting me. To see Peter — the man — reminds them what growing up really means.

They remember the pain of discovery. Neverland is a lie. Boys cannot fly. There are no Tinkerbells and the only place you will find a Captain Hook is amongst the dusty pages of a book about  five boys trapped in a world of James Barrie’s making.


alice-and-peterTwo years after meeting the original Peter Pan, on the 16th of November 1934, Alice Liddell Hargreaves died peacefully in her sleep, aged 82.

On the 5th of April 1960, Peter Llewelyn Davies, then 63, walked to Sloan Square tube station  and threw himself under a train.