Bottoms Up for the Warrior God

Mars, curtesy of FlickrAnother month bites the dust. Once upon a time the calendar marked the beginning of the year in March. Well, at least the earliest Roman calendar did. Unsurprising for a people who believed Mars to be Romus and Remulus’ father. If that be the case, they didn’t disappoint their ancestor and god, having subdued a continent under its war-some standard.

We’ve had our fare share of war this spring. I have held back from writing about it. It is too close to home, too painful to render into words. One day perhaps I will, but not yet. For now I will take stock of my blogging portfolio for this month and drink a glass of wine to a god I hope might take more pains with his guardianship of agriculture in the future and leave strife well alone. Moving on.

The Batch Express

In shocking news, Benedict Cumberbatch takes the top three spots in “most viewed” posts this March. It would appear that try as I may, I can’t keep him out of the spotlight. Admittedly, I may have been doing the exact opposite but hey! I hear no complaints. On the other hand, I’m certain that I’ve read an article recently titled “Cumbebatch has to be stopped” yet judging by his current popularity, there is little chance of that. So here they are, the stories that took the Twittosphere and blogosphere by storm (apparently).

Benedict Cumberbatch having a drink at the Roundhouse in London

#1 Which pub does Benedict Cumberbatch drink in? Ah yes. Many a Batch fan has been leafing through my stories trying to figure out where they could “accidentally” bump into their favourite star. Get your belts secured and we’re off on a pub crawl. Now, who volunteered to be the designated driver? Anyone?


2nkul5d#2 Stalking #BenedictCumberbatch The following week, search terms took a sinister turn. If in reading my reply you conclude that I have been a little harsh, and if you would have approached the subject differently, please let me know.

A literary dissection. (Mental note: don’t annoy Vic)” commented Richard. I do love a surgical simile.



#3 Cumberbatch and I | Reconciling the Past was a welcome back gift from Kavalkade in the guise of a parody song. Hair band off and head at the ready to rock on with Seven Mary Three’s Cumbersome Cumberbatch.

“I have become Cumberbuns to this world
I have become Cumberbuns to this girl.”


Photographic Memory

For the next set I would like to thank all fellow blogger-photographers who inspired me to share my amateurish attempts and have been kind in both visits and praise. A big thank you to all who have been generous in reading the stories behind what the lens revealed. For a change, I will not add my own commentary and instead will include a select few comments from those you gifted me. Here are the top four as chosen by you:

Young Bolivian girl by Vic Briggs#4 Portrait of young girl: A beautiful post, incredibly poignant and uplifting. The photo is enchanting…I’m hoping that her broad but tentative smile portends a positive future for this little girl and her compatriots.Lee-Anne.

Beautiful and heartbreaking.sothislife.


Skydiving in Argentina#5 Be Afraid and Do It Anyway Your theory should be applied to travel and to life in general. During an interview I did a month ago I was asked, “What should everyone do at at least once?” I’ve been thinking about it a lot since and if I could answer all over again I’d say that we all need to do something we’re terrified of at least once.fancyfrivolous.


Geisha by Vic Briggs#6 Geiko 芸子 Geisha “I think this photo captures everything about “Geisha Girls”. An ancient culture in today’s world.PricelessJoy.

Very interesting information. I forwarded your post to a friend who will be travelling to Japan later this month.Carol Balawyder.


Full Moon by Vic Briggs#7 Inadequacy

I agree with what you’ve said here; it’s less scary being inadequate than it might be to be extraordinary.Martha Kennedy.


Poetic Denouement 

It is not often that poetry makes it into my top ten in great numbers. Usually it is one at most that will sneak through. I am grateful that so many of you have come along on this journey with me. In no other literary form am I able to pour as much of myself as I do in verse.

72471151d2f1a15a8850287ed0cb66ac#8 The sound of emptiness

There is a place where empty souls find rest

From the relentless dust of days that simmer black… 



girls-holding-hands#9 Of friendship and loss

Buried in the scent of another day past,

We stayed up late into the night…


Drought by Katie Tegtmeyer#10 A wordsmith’s drought

Coagulated rain

On barren skin,

Vindictive in its glare…


So there we are, at another months’ end. Bottoms up for the Warrior God, and while unsure as to the etymological origins of “April”, I am told that it was once the sacred month of Venus so I hope it will be a fruitful and loving one for you all.


January’s Jousters


This is the magic of the written word. A simile has the power to transform an otherwise pedestrian (?) post into a knight, and since we had quite a number of those tricksters this month, it’s a tournament to boot. Look at them take to the field, determined to unhorse each other with their blunted lances. Although I have it on good authority that one or two of them have managed to sneak through with rather sharp tips. Or was it tongues? I forget.

So, let’s get to it. Who made it to the top and whose helmet got the better of them this January? Here is our line-up complete with coats of arms.

2060-end-of-the-worldAt number ten enters Apocalypse. This tale is a sorrowful one, where foresight is both a gift and a curse. This is what fellow bard Chris Nelson had to say: “This is a powerful poem – almost a commentary on the agony of immortality. It’s scary enough how we become desensitised to tragedy by age without the prospect of seeing out millennia. If there were immortal beings looking down on us would they, after all this time, empathise with our plight?”

feministJust ahead in ninth place we have cheeky entry that offers the audience a the quickest way to find out the answer to the following question: Are you a Feminist? “Thanks for the gem!!! It has brought me and several others big smiles,” said cakeleevannila. Let’s hope it can do the same for you.

Sherlock-dressed-as-French-waiterThe eighth contender comes curtesy of the Let’s Talk Opinion series in conversation with thedailygrime and ventures into Arthur Connan Doyle territory: That’s Elementary, my dear Watson. No. Wait. It’s Sherlock!


“A great, great post for the super busy blogger. Thanks for sharing” says prolific writer and blogger Erik Lehman of our next January jouster Danger Blogging: a Let’s Talk Opinion post exploring the dangers bloggers expose themselves to on a daily basis. We have our knight for the seventh place


sherlock-series3-e_2779858bIn a surprising turn of events, we have a second Sherlock contender for the top ten jousters this month. A review of The Empty Hearse takes sixth place. I stand by it: “I blame the hype as well as the extended wait. Two years is a long time for a build up. Perhaps I expected too much and was bound to be  #Disappointed” 

THE WOLF OF WALL STREETNow for the top five! The Wolf of Wall Street comes fifth after a somewhat raunchy introduction on the BBC Breakfast show. Unexpected unmentionables at 9am will certainly make for a different kind of cereal and it also prompted some strong reactions both in favour and against.

protest-against-mumbai-gang-rapeAlthough Rape | A World Pandemic comes forth in terms of views this month, it takes first place for the discussion it engendered. Iceman named it A “Must Read” today. Another reader scottishmomus shared it and commented: “I have no words for what is here. Please read.”

benedict_cumberbatch_03Is it possible for a full month to pass without a certain Mr Cumberbatch making an appearance in yet another Vic Briggs dreamscape? Perhaps it is, but we’ll have to wait it out. For this January sees the alienesque knight and his steely steed return to your screens in The #BenedictCumberbatch | An Unexpected Meeting. He takes third place, and readers have already requested a sequel. Let’s hope he’ll oblige.


Man_Vs_Woman_by_joshnickersonThe runner-up this January, taking home the jousting silver, is a classic battle of the sexes. In Men vs Women | Crossing the Divide yours truly crosses the proverbial lance with none other than OM. Here is what Winifred M. Reilly had to say: “This post was just what I needed. Hilarious. I didn’t resonate much with OM’s complaints, tho amusing to hear him gripe. Your wit is priceless. Loved the weight lifting bit.”


Nadine DorriesAnd for the gold? We have been told repeatedly that the general public is apathetic when it comes to politics. That may be so, yet it would seem that we still want politicians to be held to account, especially when they are in charge of the country. Xenophobic Tory MP Nadine Dorries blames immigrants for recent UK floods is our jouster of the month.

This is all from the Top Ten Shards this January. If I got you in the mood for a little jousting, remember: you receive one point for breaking your lance on your opponent’s chest, two points for breaking it on their helmet, and three points for an unhorsing. Farewell!

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.

December’s Darlings

top-101It’s that time of the year again when we revisit old favourites. I am always curious to find out which topics appealed to you most.

This post comes a little late since making my way back from the New World to the Old rainy island has unfortunately prevented me from delivering the news on the last day of the month as intended.

First things first, it’s rather chilly in here. The fire may take a while to make up in the grate, so I’ll go and put the kettle on instead. Tea can always be relied on to warm the cockles of your heart. While I am no good at reading fortunes in the bottom of a cup, I’ve been experimenting with other means for reading your likes and dislikes. So…

Make yourself comfy and join me in reminiscing about the good old December days.

baby-on-board# 1 BABY ON BOARD | Discrimination This is the first of five Let’s Talk Opinion pieces to have made it onto December’s Top Ten list, so after a short travel-induced break the series will return to your screens this January. Be on the lookout, as you may very well find one of your posts included, in conversation with yours truly.


world-in-danger_Royalty Free#2 ‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted’ delves into the murky waters of relativity. There is no absolute truth, declares the author, and proceeds to explain why she claims this to be the case. “Thanks for one of the best posts I have read in a while.” says shoe1000 in reply to this post about the nature of truth.


Race_FINAL_shea_walsh_web#3 Shades of Grey is a Let’s Talk Opinion post in conversation with Nina Kaytel. Inspired by fiction, it is the reality how we view the concept of race that has prompted the discussion. Race is not something one is born with. It is something one learns.


beach-love-couple-silhouette1#4 Consent is Sexy “We’ve gotten the idea from movies and magazines that silence is sexy. Ultimate romance means fireworks and fairy dust sprinkling down from the heavens and instilling in us some magical intuition where both people suddenly just know what the other wants.” Ahem. The issue of tacit consent – it is difficult to disagree with Queer Guess Code on this and there comes the question: Are women given enough opportunities to say “yes”?


Jimmy Savile#5 Child Pornography. Disturbing Search Engine Terms  follows in the footsteps of November’s post on Child Pornography and The Sexualisation of Children in popular media, prompted by the appearance of some very disturbing search engine terms in this blogger’s stats page.


20131225-085559.jpg#6 Merry Cumberbatch To those of you who have been following shards-of-silence for a while, my soft spot for a certain Mr Benedict Cumberbatch will come as no surprise. I suppose it was only a matter of time before my patient other half got his own back. And what better time than Christmas 😉


It is never your fault#7 RAPE | Disturbing Search Engine Terms discusses the myths and facts about rape. “Strong, powerful, and IMPORTANT piece” says JMC813. Although it is a difficult topic, rape has become such a frighteningly common occurrence that it doesn’t do to ignore it. May need to add a dash of whisky to that cup of tea before reading on.


#8 Sherlock The Third It appears that it is impossibleBenedict-Cumberbatch-as-Sherlock-Holmes-and-Martin-Freeman-as-Dr-John-Watson-from-the-new-series-of-Sherlock to get through a month worth of Top Tens without including at least one post on Sherlock amongst their number. December is no different. Decrying the long wait to which the fans have been subjected, this post is delivered to you by the usual suspects: The Batch on Sunday team!


HISTORY-SIDEBAR#9 One wo/man can make a difference is yet another Let’s Talk Opinion post to make it to the top this December, this time it is in conversation with April on the topic of women’s rights. The post prompted an impassion discussion between opposed parties, and if you have not yet weighed in on the debate, you are very welcome to do so now.


TARDIS#10 A Master of Boredom For the majority of people on this planet, life is… well… rather dull, apparently. Boredom is a fact of life and you are either bored or lying. Can that be true? Will we let the cynics rule and stand aside to let them paint our world in shades of grey? Nope. Not this blogger.


I hope that you will enjoy what December’s Top Ten has to deliver despite its belated arrival to your screens. Meanwhile… I see you’ve already finished that first cup of tea already. I’d better go and make you another one. 😉

Top Ten Specials

Restaurant Car


What are the savvy WordPress bloggers getting their teeth into on shardsofsilence?

It is not always easy getting the ingredients just right. A little spice for the savoury lovers, and a little something more for those of you with a sweet tooth. Lunch with vicbriggs can on occasion turn to a silver service affair.

There may be no sign of a smartly uniformed steward at your elbow serving Arnold Bennett crepe and rhubarb pavlova while London scenery flashes past the window, but what shardsofsilence strives to offer instead is more than just your regular prosaic menu du jour. 

You need not fear a request to steel you intestines for Trollope’s railway sandwich: “that whited sepulchre, fair enough outside, but so meagre, poor and spiritless within.” She knows full well that if you’ve taken time out of the daily bustle to visit her blog you expect to be paid for your troubles. So what are the delights awaiting you aboard? 

Here are the specials!

1. I don’t fancy Benedict Cumberbatch. Daily Prompt: Pants on Fire

For the amuse-bouche. Confessions seem to be top of the list this season, especially when it comes to white lies. Freshly farmed on England’s famous greens, it made all diners stand to attention.

Special Two Month Anniversary Issue2. COMING SOON…

The savvy diner wants to keep abreast of developments, so breaking news will always make it to the top of the menu.


3. PROJECT R in session #10 Sreejit Poole

No luncheon can go well without a little conversation to help with digestion, and what better topic than a peppery dosage of relationship troubles. From the heart of India, this treasure of a meal will take you on a spiritual journey in more ways than one.

4. Breaking the silence on Depression

This special isn’t for the fainthearted. But give it a chance, and it may just be the perfect accompaniment to that glass of sherry the sommelier recommended as an aperitif.

enhanced-buzz-14855-1364912424-105. #BenedictCumberbatch goes Brokeback Sherlock

Local legend has it that the Brokeback Sherlock was created when the chef misunderstood The Batch’s instructions and layered the nose of the world’s most famous detective on a rainbow soufflé. Whatever the truth, the concoction has been popular since at least the late 19th century, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced his “consulting detective” to a certain Doctor Watson.

Manhunt Daily_You Have A Big Crush On Benedict Cumberbatch6. Sex with you-know-who

The chef’s answer to sex-on-the-beach, this cocktail is sure to delight you pallet and get you in the mood for a healthy main course.

7. When you complain or otherwise, go British: Lunchtime Tarom

And since we are on the topic of mains. Why not try to go for something a little different?  Tarom’s own sweet and sour chicken, complete with vegetable steamed rice.

8. Project O

Ever fancied a trip down to Platform 9 3/4 for the Hogwarts Express? This is your chance to sprinkle your day with a little magic. It’s not all smooth riding, but Mad-Eye Moody will ensure that you make it back safely: “Constant Vigilance!”

time-travel2-photo-courtesy-of-junussyndicate-on-deviantART9. Truth stranger than fiction… #BenedictCumberbatch

Time is of the essence when it comes to making a success of any dining experience. This may be the one all-British special that will linger on your pallet long after you’ve emptied your seat.

Jesus' Final Words10. God @TheTweetOfGod Sigh… maybe Nietzsche was right.

You’ve just had a leisurely four-hour dinner, and while the conversation and food have been fantastic, you find yourself terribly full. But you’ve had such a good time and don’t want to go home just yet. Cue the digestif.

And a little desert with your coffee, since it only missed out by the sprinkle of four views Project O – Harsh Reality EXCLUSIVE: Interview with vicbriggs and AOpinionatedMan


Why are these the ten top specials? Wouldn’t I like to know!

The only one who can tell me why those dishes have wetted your appetite is you.

Bon appétit and thank you for your custom. 🙂

* with a twist, as usual.