Smells like teen spirit ?


I turned my back on religion a few years ago now. One thing however that I refuse to reject is cathedral music and buildings.

I studied music in York and one of the things I did was sing in York Minster a number of times in a choir. I adored it , not because of the religious aspect,  but because of the intense and almost other worldliness of the echoing sound.

The purity of the choir boys’ voices never fails to move me. They could be singing Smells like Teen Spirit for all I care.

One of our lecturers was an organist there and he would arrange for us to do and see things that no one else could, as a visitor to the minster. One time, as a mere 18 yr old, lacking in confidence student, after one of our tours, the cathedral official who was our guide, turned to me and said “You look like an angel !”

Well to that self conscious girl, unsure of herself and embarrassed to be singled out in front of a whole group of her peers, this was really strange. I assumed he was joking.  Now however, 36 years later, I look back and smile. Locked away with so many other things in the bank of memories from wonderful, wonderful York.




“Sometimes, all you had to do was exist in order to be someone’s saviour.”



She killed her abusive ex husband, and then the man next door, who possessed utter devotion to her, set about attempting to take the suspicion away from her.

He hadn’t, however, reckoned with the appearance of his old uni friend who thought he  knew how his  friend’s mind would work. He was determined to solve the crime before the detective did. However, as the book drew to an end  I wondered, was his devotion to her or to his craft?

Did he create a problem he hoped was unsolvable? As he asked his friend, who is the genius…the one who creates an unsolvable crime, or the one who solves it?

 The Guardian said:

In the final pages, twist follows twist, turning everything on its head. The finale is both chilling and moving, and confronts emotions that crime fiction rarely covers. You realise that The Devotion of Suspect X is not simply an extraordinary thriller but a love story. A strange one, it is true, but a love story nonetheless. It will linger long in the memory.

The path taken through this story was quite amazing.

Let the magic begin

They came into the room in ones and twos, finishing their conversations as they found where they had to be. As they settled, they looked around and eyes lingered on various things and looks of approval, confusion or downright disregard crossed their faces.

It was time. They knew the drill as it wasn’t the first time this had happened. Like it or not this place was to be their home for the next few days.

A hush cloaked the warm atmosphere as heads bent, work began and the sense of finality hung in the air. But gradually the mood relaxed as they started what they had been instructed to do. No two people had the same plan, but as things emerged similarities could be seen. Common threads that showed the inspiration source and common goal were woven across the silent space.

We watched in silence.

Magical, dancing figures emerged. Colourful bursts of imagination moved across the tables. Intricate lines threaded themselves in and out of each other. It was a privilege to see it happen in such closeness. I had never seen this  before but had heard from others just how wonderful it was if you were one of the “chosen”.

The hours flew as the magic mounted and forms took shape and colours brightened and images materialised until the time to leave arrived.

I watched everything sit in creative silence until the creators left, to resume the conversations they had been denied for so long.

I went home . . . thrilled to have witnessed it.

I told those close to me about it and they envied me.

I knew I would never forget it.

Who would know that invigilating an art exam could bring such joy