Editor's blog

Novichock: the latest

The hardest thing in this world… is to live in it.

Friends often laugh at me for my Buffy The Vampire Slayer obsession, which started with my university dissertation on the portrayal of the black arts in the media. Yes, I was pretty weird from the start. But what was I seeing that my friends had missed?

First of all, from a dispassionate perspective, let’s analyse its effects beyond the usual shock/horror entertainment value of teen-based horror sitcoms. It’s most powerful weapon (pun intended) is it’s snappy, witty language. In short, creator Joss Wheadon is no less than a genius and a must-have dinner party guest. Joss, I’m making pork for my parents on Sunday if you are free.

He is fearless in his writing, and can balance emotive passages with comedy, albeit black (a newsroom favourite, as I found in my growing career). He can do one-liners AND extensive monologues. He can draw on personal experience to make the supernatural natural. Just watch The Body, where Buffy has to deal with the death of her mother. He fully admits he used experience of his own parents’ death to put reality into an episode that could have been all mushy. And it worked in a tear-jerking way. Not Titanic tears – real tears, real fears for anyone growing up with ailing parents.

Because I guess fear drives you. You can make it negative – “I have to go to work or I cant pay the mortgage” – or turn it on it’s head and say – “I’m up, I’m alive, I have a job”. And use the adrenalin to get you out of bed, into the shower and on dat train. You know, be normal.

I find myself watching Buffy when I’m a bit depleted in the old adrenalin – or have had too much, hence panic attack. Fight or flight? I’d rather fight. But not with police.

I guess I’ve been a bit ‘Buffy’ since the Novichock virus in Salisbury. It was literally like something out of science fiction. For four days, I was in bed thinking I was dying. There were weird puncture marks on my arm, I was found collapsed on a pavement after being mugged/or what? All I know was I was determined to find out what REALLY happened and my bedroom was ransacked by God-knows-who during the investigation. Laptop smashed. Underwear everywhere. It looked like an after party in the playboy mansion.

My parents came to see me, I barely remember it. I ran. I think I made it through three counties before I realised no one was chasing me.

I still struggle to communicate about that time, hence the writing. I’m always a lot better at putting words on paper than speaking.

So I know a lot of people blame the Russians for the Salisbury poisoning. I don’t. I love Mother Russia with it’s crazy cuisine and language you cant learn by breaking things down into Latin. Sorry if that sounds pretentious – I don’t even have keys on my keyboard for half of their language. Poor Putin has to fill in the gaps when I email him. JOKING or am I?

So now I’m putting these words, with Putin’s permission, about the truth. It’s going to be a page-turner.



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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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