dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Sunday, 31 October 2010

3am by A.Michael


It’s Halloween, and The Horror Apprentice speaks: “True horror for me involves a surgeon of some description. Surgeons make cracking horror characters. A dentist would be pushing it, but you know what I mean. What else I find absolutely awful is the random man who comes into your house to kill you for no reason. Knife attacks are particularly grisly, compared to quick execution-style gunshots. The idea of knowing that you’re going to die, but now knowing why, must be bewilderingly frightful. The worst acts are senseless, and unexplainable, where the human body is treated like a piece of meat. Desecrated, like, you know.” A.M

Ever since Jamal had upped and ditched her for that scummy bimbo from accounts, Rhonda couldn’t get over how spacious the king size bed now seemed. He was shocking, ending their relationship with a text message, a true coward and a typical man, in her experience, but despite her sour grapes, and fuming sense of betrayal, she would sorely miss the warmth from his side of the mattress.

He never smelled too fragrant at the best of times, and he certainly never had a personal scent unique to him, as was common between lovers. His manners were nothing to write home about, and his domestic abilities were virtually nonexistent. He was good with his tongue, but that was about it. All in all, glad to be rid. Nothing would be missed.

Apart from his warmth. Apart from the solid life-affirming bulk of his presence. Anyone, she realised, was better than an empty half of the bed. Anyone to plug that narrow but creepy gap between bed and wall. Rhonda always, always, slept on the edge of the bed.
What was that noise? It sounded like the bedroom door creaking open. She lifted her head and eyed the clock. It was 2.57am. But how? She had come to bed long before 1am and not slept a wink. Or had she? She must have. It didn’t feel like it, though. It didn’t feel like it at all. Yet she must have drifted off....and now she was awake. Because something had woke her up.
A cat? Maybe a cat had crept in the patio and hid under the sofa when she was airing the living room earlier. Or perhaps she had left the bathroom window open and a draft had pressed the door open. It was only a light door. Hmm.

Whatever it was, it didn’t account for the fact that this was the third time in a week she had been disturbed from slumber at the same time of the morning, three bells after midnight. She remembered reading somewhere that 3am was a common time for people waking up in the middle of the night. It was an actual official spook time, for some legitimate reason she couldn’t think of.

The last two nights she had remained under the covers, but tonight she was getting up, even though she was more scared now than the other two times combined.

Why did the lamp have to be on the other side of the room? And where was that cheating slimeball Jamal when you needed him? Damn being alone!

She opened the curtains to let some light in but it didn’t help one jot. She flinched in the fluffy total darkness of her bedroom, as if something was going to touch her. She wondered where she would go if she felt something brush her skin, once she had screamed and panicked and ran from the flat. She wondered about ghosts and hauntings and exorcisms and all kinds of impossible things that seemed not only likely, during the long walk to the light switch, but imminent.
Why should she recall that chilling obscure fact about 3am now? Was it from a daft horror movie or something? She would have to stop watching them.

Finally she reached the lamp and flicked light into the room. No cat, no wind, but no relief. Not yet, and not ever. WHAT THE !!!

A cold shiver rippled her flesh from tip to toe. As she turned back round to the bed, her sudden fear was so intense that she lost control of her bowels. Bottled gas from dinner warmed the insides of her thighs in a prolonged, noisy outpour. Any other time she would have been embarrassed but her alarm at what greeted her from what she had believed to be the empty side of the bed was similar to knowing a bomb was about to go off.

She hadn’t been alone in bed. There had been something in the bed with her. It would have still been in the bed now, if it hadn’t rose to embrace her. It was bloody, and handless.

She didn’t scream. She didn’t have time. But the rest of her guts dropped, hot and brown, as her heart sank into the pit of her stomach. She gulped, and slid down the door to the floor.

Dying instantly from shock is not a myth. It can and did happen to Rhonda Elizabeth Blancher.
rest her soul
Moments later, her clock struck 3.
god rest her pretty soul
© A.Michael MMX
Zombie Publications

Reacher Man, from The Pumpkin Formula, by R.S Driscoll, 1888

Friday, 29 October 2010

Twisted Tales

above model/artist: Bitias
Thanks for visiting. Below are the links for 4 recent posts appropriate for the Halloween season. Hope you have enough time to view all four, and sincerely wish at least one of them will disturb you.
...for dark designs were entrenched within her...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

THE 7 FOOT GHOST by Ste Ghost

FLASH: Spook
I was just chatting to my good buddy on his nightshift when he started talking ghosts. To me, discussing ghosts makes them play on your mind, and he knew this fine well. He reckoned he could see a ghost on one of his CCTV cameras. His assistant backed his story up, saying it was a particularly tall figure of a pale white ghost. I’d been very sad that night so I didn’t care much however vehemently they protested but to prove him wrong I said I would go outside and show him there was no such thing as a ghost on a screen.
i repeat, no such thing
We kept our mobiles on an open line. Anyway, I got to where he reckoned the ghost was visible on one of his CCTV cameras and started to rip into him about how his bullshit blags couldn’t get through to the likes of me. Other people may fall for it a dime a dozen, but not yours truly.
never yours truly
Especially today. I’d slept in until gone three in the afternoon because of depression, and when you’re upset, and wallowing in self-pity, the last thing to trouble you is some make-believe ghoul ‘n’ spook story.

“Am I near it yet?” I asked playfully, strolling up against the high wall of the crematorium which lay opposite my good buddy’s place of work. It was 2am, cold, windy, and moonless.

I was not scared by graves. Maybe, on another night, when I hadn’t fell out with my aunty during a 30-second phonecall, I might have been slightly wary of them. But the whole thing: cemetery, grave stones, darkness, tall tales and all, seemed like nothing in comparison to my inner regret: I loved my aunty, and I hated lying in.

So, I’d gone to the exact spot he reckoned the ghost was visible from, directly under the broken lamppost. There wasn’t so much as a crisp packet blowing on the wind. It was all so still it might have been a summer’s afternoon. Laughing, I repeated, almost bashfully, “Am I near your ghost yet, mate? I’m right where you described, and I don’t see anything.”

His tone was what got to me, let me tell you. It was not what I saw, because I didn’t see a thing, and not even what he said. It was HOW he said it. For he was afraid, I swear to you. AFRAID. For me.

“Mate,” he said, “You’re stood in between its legs....”

Ste Ghost
© DNM Fiction

for interview with Ste, click below and scroll down. Ste's is the 6th one down.

Cups - results

Alien Daggers

Friday, 22 October 2010


There was a small literary and arts event with an audience of 60 or so. It was absolutely perfect setting for WOL and Piebald77 stuff. It was common knowledge from weeks ago that this relaxed intellectual evening would not only be enjoyable, but ideal grounds for self-promotion.
Over 10 hours were spent creating 75 flyers. They were still being finished while in transit down there. They were professional, labour-intensive flyers which became a pain-in-the-backside, towards the end.
Over 4 hours were spent on the train.
The idea was to man the entrance and hand them out to an extremely receptive queue. It's one thing handing out any old leaflet in the street, but it's another to give out something specialised, to a targeted group.
But, anyway, under order of the premises....

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Royal Festival Hall (advert)


Pictures of an early venture into small ornamental sculptures are posted regularly.

There is an art link to Redbubble.com further down the screen of the blog for collage work. Recent emphasis has been on the zany world of fitness with an emphasis on muscle.

There is also plenty of short bite-sized fiction. It is a challenge to source the wide-ranging material and the first goal was to keep this blog running for a year.

The idea was born after meeting Shaun Attwood at last year's Koestler exhibition and seeing the impact a blog can potentially have.

Click on a month on the right hand sidebar to view that entire month's content, then simply scroll down to see if anything catches your interest.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


FLASH: Soccer
My gripe with anonymity is this: If something is good, and out there, why not have your name on it? There may well be good reasons why you would not want your name on it, but why not make one up? Sometimes, name sheets get lost. Literary competitions and publishers lose whole plays and manuscripts all the time. Sad.

It was a five-a-side football tournament in the leafy suburbs of Aigburth. I never dared pronounce the name of the place, because everyone I knew pronounced it either egg-birth or egg-buff, which both seemed wrong to me. I thought it looked like auge-burf, first part as in as in the politician, William Hague, without the H.

Whatever, it was a jolly fine place. We were beside the river. Teams from youth clubs right across Merseyside. The organisers had loud speakers which boomed out the names of goal scorers and team news. Like usual, it didn’t matter who I played for, but our team seemed to have the worst kit. Yellow with green stripes. There was always one who felt it perfectly okay to wear his own shorts, too.

Our keeper had tight blue Wrangler jeans on and shoes. His jersey top, although correct, was so small on him that he was flashing his belly button. It was obvious just by looking at him that he had never played football in his life.

What everyone seemed to be distracted by however, even more than our designated net man, was the girls’ team. Yes, the tournament had a female outfit. Their kit was black with pink socks pulled up to their knees. They looked too pretty for hookers, but too devilish for regular girls. One of them had split her hair into ponytails and had bright red lips like a vampire. Another had her shorts hitched up her legs so high that they looked like a belt. Yet another was only 4 and a half feet tall if she was a day – never mind kicking the ball through your legs, she could run through your legs herself, and most likely ring the bell on her way through! (Forgive me, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the image of her ringing a bell as she run through someone’s legs. It was a Benny Hill moment.)

Most intriguing of all, however, once the first game kicked-off - us against the girls - was their sweeper. She was medium height and medium build, with strawberry blond hair tied back, minimum make-up, shirt tucked in. Compared to the others, she was decidedly average. But it was her who I couldn’t take my eyes off. I saw nothing else. Tunnel vision. Love vision. All the jokes and laughter which you can imagine came from such a situation fell upon deaf ears. I was absorbed, absorbed, absorbed I say....
When everyone around her took it as some kind of bizarre experiment, she tried her very hardest to win. She was the only one sweating, and her perspiration reflected in the sunlight, illuminating the honesty in her face. She panted hard, played in every position up and down the pitch, blocked stinging shot after stinging shot with her legs (I kept shouting at our lads to take it easy), and stuck herself in for 50/50 challenges time after time. When she got time on the ball, she displayed skill and finesse, with delicate passes to her mostly unresponsive teammates. With the last kick of the game, she hit the crossbar from her own half with a low curling drive from the outside of her left foot.

We won 9-0. I made it my duty to congratulate her effort after the final whistle. She was so modest it felt like she thought I was pulling her leg – sincere humbleness if ever I have met it.
Her friend told me she was the niece of Kelly Smith. I said I hoped to see them both next year and rejoined my team, who were still all messing about.
© Blob of Glob MMX
Slush Pile

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Cups in the Making

Going dotty.
Added brush strokes....not as accurate or precise as dots.
Paint has been allowed to run on the handle, albeit accidentically on this occasion!

Lettering is ingraved and then painted in.
Handles can be a strong feature. They are done last. Same goes for the rim.

SGRAFFITO TOOL, (above and below) without which this wouldn't be possible!

Pictures of cups in the design stage aren't usually posted because it may detract from the visual impact of the final result but they look so different once they are fired that it is interesting to see the before and after.

New Cup

<Creative Possibilities>

Red, white + orange = wol

other cups

Saturday, 16 October 2010


FLASH: Prison
Ed Drew has had his fair share of problems in life, apart from being incarcerated for a number of years. His sister committed suicide when he was young and his uncle is notorious in the criminal world. Nevertheless, you couldn’t meet a brighter, more cheerful spirit. His favourite pranks include shouting “Everybody down!” in a bank and generally making all kinds of high-pitched loud animal noises in quiet public places. Ed is passionate about his home town and especially rugby. “These rugby players are big and fit,” he says. “They would take the wind right out of you.”

Me and my pad mate Smiler were about to start blazing when all of a sudden young Kai from Brum opened the slat on our door. I nodded to let him know it was okay to duck his head in. He told us there was a pad search going down.

Holy Maloney, I thought. I’d been gagging for a spliff since last night’s parcel landed on our side of the wall. After keeping it hush-hush, I went the whole night just looking at it because none of us had a lighter. Now, all ready to go, we had another problem.

I had an ounce of cannabis (solid) in one hand, and a mobile phone in my other. I threw the weed at Smiler, who fumbled it like a goalkeeper with his gloves coated in butter. It bounced under the bottom bunk.

“Fetch it,” I said, “and plug it quick.”

He scrambled to ground and retrieved it but then gawped at me as if he didn’t understand the second part of what I’d told him. I took myself into a corner, whipped my kecks down, and squatted.

“What the frig are you doing, taking a dump?”

“Yeah, I’m taking a dump in our cell,” I replied sarcastically. “Isn’t that what everyone does when they know their pad’s gonna get turned over any minute?”

“No.” Smiler twitched nervously.

I cursed under my breath, wiggled about a bit, and stood. “Done. Are you gonna help me out here or what?”

A shouting screw from the landing made him flinch. They were several doors up and heading our way.

Smiler was in for chucking bricks at a plane during touchdown in John Lennon Airport because he believed Jedward were aboard. He was young, dumb, and a disgrace to Mum. “I can’t stick this up my bum,” he protested.

“Don’t be a puss. It’s only an ounce of resin. I know other YPs [young offenders] who can fling three Lion Bars up their chutes, one on top of the other. You just saw me throw a retro Nokia fly up without any problem in two seconds flat.”

“Yeah, but––”

“Yeah but no but what? You calling me a batty man? Did you see me smiling?”

“I’ve never put anything up there before.”

“Take ‘em down and squat. I’ll run you through it. Unless you wanna sketch out down The Block [solitary] and get some extra time on your sentence.”

“But it’s your drugs.”

“Which you were happily gonna smoke along with me. We still can, if you man-up.”

“I’ll get poo on it though.”

“Why will you? Have you not wiped since you last went?”

“Of course, but––”

“But but but.” I lay back on my bed all casual like. “Your life, homes.”

“Feckin’ Jesus!” He done as I said, wincing before the chunk of cannabis was within six inches of his butt, like it was a red-hot knife.

“Touch it against your bottom,” I said gently, like to a child. “Then, slowly, breathe out through your ring. As you breathe out, push it in softly. Push, push, push....and begin to breathe in. Once it’s halfway, pinch it and seal the deal.”

His face looked like he was getting tortured and the sounds from him were like Paul Burrel, the posh butler from I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, when he was arm-deep in a hole of creepy crawlies.

Smiler did it and stood up just as the screws flooded our pad, his face so red I thought he might pop a blood vessel.

“I think I reverse-swallowed it,” he told me later, still limping. “It went straight up into my stomach.”

“If you start seeing pink elephants, just ignore them.”

He wanted to puke it up for me by drinking salt water, but I ordered he drink some prune juice [laxative], and waited outside the bog during our first association period so we could finally get that smoke on. My phone was safely hidden away inside my guitar, after being tucked away in my crotch during the pad search. All I’d done is tuck it high up in the top of my thighs. What? You really thought I’d plugged it? Are you craaazy?

“If I see so much as one butt-flake on that weed,” I said to Smiler. “I’ll fill you in, Sonny Jim....”

You’ve got to have a laugh, haven’t ya?”

© Ed Drew MMX
Selected Stories

For an amusing interview with Ed click below and scroll down.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


FLASH: Prison

Introducing The Blue-Eyed Monster. Based on actual events. Dixie once argued with another prisoner who was seated by standing up, turning the other way, and opening his ass cheeks as he talked, like a tranquiloquist using his own rear as a puppet. Dixie also loved to make fun of the petty thieves who, in his own words, do the ‘cheese run in Kwik Save’ followed by the ‘bacon run in Asda’. “One pulled me up in the street one time and asked if I wanted to buy any chocolate,” he says. “Not an iPod, not a PS3 game, but chocolate.”

He shuffled into my cell like it was his and plonked himself down on my bed. He asked me for a sip of my brew.

Of all the many requests, can I have a sip of your brew was the hardest to cope with. The first time it happened, my face must have told its own story, until dreamily I passed him my tea and dreamily I received it back. In between this transaction, and also very dreamily, I watched him slurp from a plastic mug that up until that moment throughout my 2 moon sentence had seen no other lips touch it apart from my own. Not one slurp, not two slurps, but three slurps. Instead of simply tilting the cup back to take a drink like any normal person, he sucked the liquid up into his mouth, as if he had an invisible straw.

Next, he asked if I had any dimps. For those who may not know, dimps, or dockers, are leftover fag ends, or ciggy butts. I’d seen my fair share of tramps ‘ducking for dockers’ outside the local Bingo entrance or ‘stockpiling stumps’ in the bus depo, but to have a grown trash-ass wasteman in prison regularly invading my private space to clear out my ashtray was all new to me.

It was have you got this and give us that and can I have this and lend me that. On you, after you, twos on, saves....on anything that could be eaten, drank or smoked. Not to mention toiletries. I was beginning to feel like a walking dispenser. Snickers, milk, sugar....the lot

We called him The Blue-Eyed Monster, although never to his face, because apart from his big wet childish blue eyes, he looked like a cross between Uncle Fester from The Adams Family and Dr Frankenstein’s monster from Frankenstein. His eyes were actually like a puppy dog’s eyes and he had a cute, lovable grin. What worked against him was the creasy forehead high enough to strike matches on and a shaved head so close to the bone that it looked like a surgeon with a bloodlust had run riot all over it. I mean I had aclose buzz cut, but his was ridiculous.

He had one of those rumpled, rippled scalps that looked like his brain-sac was halfway done bustin' out through his skull, with enough neck and back hair to make even the most experienced barber wonder where to draw the line.

Unlike me, he was due out in a few weeks, after freeloading himself silly on my grub. His plan was to set up tent in the woods until a tugboat on the canal ‘became available for salvage’. He had circled the tent he wanted in the Argos catalogue with a red pen and run me through the whole plan of action last night when I’d been busy trying to watch Are You Fitter Than A Pensioner? Camp out, salvage a tugboat, and grow his own spuds in a vegetable patch. Easy as abc, except for the fact that he couldn’t grow a beard without assistance. Besides, one probe into them manky ears of his with a cotton bud would yield all the spuds he would likely ever need.

Despite hogging the end shower as if he’d fallen asleep in it, facing the wall with his XXL forehead pressed against the water release button, he never scrubbed them waxy lobes out. Thinking of it, he never even cleansed himself unless he’d bummed some shower gel from me. He just stood there rooted to the spot like a naughty kid ordered to stand under a water fountain. Nobody ever bullied him for hygiene because all he had to do was stumble in the wrong direction and someone would be getting squashed.

Watching him suddenly shift into motion for the dinner line was alarming, and the height of the mountain of croquette potatoes on his plate the other day was nothing short of daft. Other cons were pulling faces and calling him a horrible greedy guts with disdain usually reserved for molesters and rapists. I wished I had a camera. The size of it!

This has been me talking about The Blue-Eyed Monster, and he was the man who asked for a sip of my brew.

© Dixie MMX
Blob of Glob™

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

MY LITTLE MAN by Sharon Hood

Sharon Hood’s prose is usually adventurous and daring, but here she offers a mix of morality and philosophy in a kind of excerpt from a God’s guidebook about maternal instincts for future generations. “With designer babies around the corner,” she says from her 1st floor residence by the local primary school, “I wondered what the forms will look like when you are deciding what kind of baby you want. I’m almost certain they will be multiple choice with boxes to tick. This would be the addition at the end when it asks you for any more information that you think might be relevant.”
He shall be born. Whatever his condition, weight or size, he shall be adored, and receive plenty of attention. Smiling faces shall peer into his cot and stroller. He shall not cry and bawl more than is normal. As soon as he is upright, he shall be free to investigate and explore, leashed only for his own safety. Shopping aisles and parks shall be his second home. On the issue of schooling, he shall mix well with the other kids, but not too well in order to mislay his trust. It is not in his advantage for everyone to know his affairs, but a privilege for those who do.

He shall respect privacy, and restraint, but not to the point that renders him solemn, or sly. In his desired company, he shall be open and honest. Among undesirables, polite but wary. He shall neither slack in his studies or become so absorbed in them that he has hardly room for anything else; paying them the necessary attention to be an example to those below him but not to let the top of the class get out of sight.

He shall respect his elders, especially his teachers, and not be disruptive to the detriment of others. A mild wild streak shall flow through him, utilised only for flair, bravado, and humour; never unpredictable stupidity. He shall not be afraid to try new things, but never become dependent to the brink of addiction. If someone shows him favour, he shall repay them double-fold. If he shows someone favour, he shall expect nothing in return.

Primarily, he is kind and non-judgemental, but must be able to stand up for himself and others when the circumstances require. Violence shall not interest him, but blood shall not make him break out in fits of squeamishness. He shall be knowledgeable of the human body, and never test its limits; that is for other people to do. He shall enjoy, occasionally, being a spectator of the procession of life, but only to learn from it from the purpose of participation.

He shall be active, but always make time for relaxation. On the matter of women, and sex, he shall treat them like princesses, and reserve it solely for those who occupy a place in his heart. On religion, he shall have an open mind, but not so open that his brains fall out. He shall be interested in politics, if only for its entertainment value, and he shall listen to the radio more than he shall watch TV. Career, family, and success, is a given. But, most of all....

....he shall loveth me.

© Sharon Hood MMX
Blob of Glob

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Apprentice, Part 2

A Television Interception courtesy of TellTale Press®
Because of the shambolic 'sausage fest' during the first airing of the new series, kingpin of The Apprentice, Lord Sugar, swallowed his pride and called his arch nemesis Gordon Ramsey in a desperate bid for advice. They seem to be getting along now, after fierce rivalry in the popularity ratings. The following is the actual transcript from a recorded call.

LORD SUGAR: They got it cheap off the bone per kilo, minimum legal requirement meat percentage, and tried to tell me it was gourmet quality. It was the flavours I want you to give me advice on. They had beef and stout, pork and mustard, lamb and mint, pork and cider, and chilli chicken. Have you ever flogged chilli chicken sausages in your restaurant? Do customers seriously buy pork and cider sausages?

GORDON RAMSEY: Let me tell you something, Al. In all my years of owning restaurants, the only thing that matters is whether the food is seasoned or not. If it’s not seasoned, it’s f**kin’ dogshit.

LORD SUGAR: One of them didn’t know how to weigh all the gunk in the hopper, and another said he was too posh for mincing. They knew naff all about making sausages. I mean there’s bargain bangers, there’s budget bangers, and then there’s bulging bangers. It’s hardly an art form. There was more brains IN the bleedin’ sausages than there was between the bunch of bloody amateurs put together. Some of them even knocked door-to-door. With sausages!

GORDON RAMSEY: I saw the one called Stuart Baggs who said he was a brand unto himself. He’s a headache in a suit, that tosspot. You wanna feed him to the f**king pigs....that’ll increase the meat percentage.

LORD SUGAR: I know....brand of what, for crying out loud? Let me tell you, he’s a cocky sort of chap. He does nothing but faff about. He didn’t even say good evening Lord Sugar. He just said good evening. I dropped the Sir Alan so they could call me Lord Sugar because Sir Alan was becoming one word to them, like Siralan. Like Siralan was my Christian name.

GORDON RAMSEY: Brand of f**king donkeys, that’s what. Take my advice, yeah? Next time they are waiting to come into the boardroom, don’t have the secretary say Lord Sugar will see you now, or you can come into the boardroom now. Go out there yourself and say get in that f**king boardroom now, because one of you is getting f**ked! Then, after you’ve f**ked them, tell them to f**k off. Like this....You’re f**ked, now f**k off!

LORD SUGAR: Okay, Gordon. Thanks for your time.

Go on, get out !!!
©opyright Okus Pocus
In The Apprentice, Part 1, below, they argue and insult each other.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Shaun Attwood Interview

HARD TIME, by Shaun Attwood

Born in Widnes. Educated at Liverpool University. Stockbroker in the US. Rave organiser in the US. Sent to the toughest jail in the US....Arizona’s Maricopa Jail is run by the notorious Sherriff Joe Arpaio, who feeds his prisoners on 30 cents a day. He openly brags about feeding the dogs on 60 cents a day because the dogs “are working for a living and haven’t committed any crimes”. He makes the prisoners wear pink underwear and bee-stripe coveralls in chain gangs. Some of them live in tents. The illegal conditions include infested cells where the cockroaches crawl all over you in sweltering heat and a bloodlike carroty slop for dinner known as “red death” in which the origins of the meat content are questionable, to say the least.
It’s all about race and gangs. The Aryan Brotherhood, Blacks, Mexicans and alike will kill-on-sight (KOS) for an initiation tattoo and don’t expect the guards to rush to your rescue, because they are known for murdering inmates too. Shaun Attwood exposed the truth by smuggling out his diary extracts written with a golf pencil sharpened on the wall and having his family upload it to the web, creating jonsjailjournal.com to international acclaim. HARD TIME is his first book, and is now available on Amazon.
Question 1
I like your choice of understated sports cars such as the Toyota Supra and twin turbo Mazda RX7. What would your ideal vehicle be at the moment?
My ideal vehicle at the moment is my old Ford Fiesta, which gets me to the schools I do my talks to and back. Supposedly, Mazda is designing a new RX7 for 2011.
Question 2
Doing bulk deals of quality Ecstasy on foreign soil must have been exciting at the time. What you were doing is worlds apart, in my view, from the modern climate of nasty legal high shipments, or shady crack and smack transactions. If you were a judge, would you show sympathy to the raver?
If I were a judge in America I would not be able to show much sympathy due to the statutory sentencing framework. Historically, judges have been more lenient in the UK, but unfortunately we are adopting more US legal practices.
Question 3
Reading about how you were living on the odd Snickers made me crave Snickers. Do you still munch Snickers, are you totally revolted by Snickers, or can you take ‘em or leave ‘em?
As soon as I got out of prison, I stopped eating some of the items that had sustained me throughout my incarceration. Snickers, peanut butter, milk...
Question 4
Did the infamous Sherriff Joe Arpaio show his face much about the jail?
Not often. When he did, he was surrounded by his own personal "goon squad" - armed bodyguards in shankproof armour. The inmates would hurl abuse at him from their cells - something you never see on his carefully-staged jail documentaries.
Question 5
I can’t imagine your low points in Joe’s Hole when looking at the prospect of life imprisonment. I know you meditated in yoga positions by visualising triangles around your body and imagining your spine as a shaft of light (or something like that), but did you ever actually pray directly to God?
I regularly attended the church services, where we all prayed and sang together. The best services were hosted by Jumping Bill!
Question 6
Has surviving on rations of spoiled food increased your appetite for supermarket treats/fast food/takeaways, or has it instilled in you a discipline to be more rigorous with your diet now?
After the "red death" jail slop with occasional dead rats in it, I am still a yoga practicing vegetarian.
Question 7
Has been exposed to so much violence, like heads getting cracked like coconuts on the floor, for example, edged you towards a more pacifist standpoint?
Question 8
Who is the character in Hard Time you would least like to share a hotel room with, and why?
Someone like Bullet, a neo Nazi and a murderer, who wanted to kidnap his prosecutor, torture her with a blow torch, and murder her.
Question 9
What is the most unorthodox object, or largest quantity of contraband/merchandise, you were ever aware of someone unpacking from their ass (keystering)?
The mules prided themselves on how much they could "keyster" (pack in their behinds). Some of them bragged that they could store four "quarter roll" packages without them peeking out during the strip searches. A quarter roll refers to something the size of $10 worth of 25 cent coins placed one on top of the other.
Question 10
After you have completed the English Shaun trilogy with the upcoming prequel and sequel to Hard Time, do you see yourself staying in the writing business with any other works?
I'd like to write the individual stories of some of the prisoners featured at my blog like Wild Man, Two Tonys, T-Bone, Frankie...
Questions by Andrew Donegan, who read with Shaun at the Royal Festival Hall in London 2009.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

MIKELA by Jamelia K

“I’d love to go back to my school days and do it all over again,” says Jamelia K, “you know how it goes, knowing then what I know now...but the funny thing is, I reckon I’d go right along and make all the same mistakes, only I’d enjoy them more this time.” Jamelia K writes last thing at night, before bed. The drawing nights gets her mind in gear for plenty of gritty urban characters and themes. “Seasonal change has a physiological reaction in the body,” she adds.
One moment the dark street was dead with only light rain present but the next I counted 17 kids giving it toes from one end to the other. The first was a boy clutching his arm, telling anyone who would listen that he’d been hit with a crowbar. The last was Michaela, probably spelt Mikela, knowing kids these days. She was taller than the others and had probably caused whatever had happened to happen. She had troublemaker written all over her pretty face. They all passed me standing at my front gate drinking my steaming coffee without a second glance in my direction. I’d always looked old for my age and hitting my mid-twenties did me no favours. Being clean-shaven would help if I wanted to mooch with the pups on my estate, so I dashed in, attacked my face with the Wilkinson Sword, and got into my new white Converse kicks.

5 minutes later at the end of the street, 2 police cars had dispersed the gang. A couple of BMX bikers pulled wheelies up and down while 2 sisters in pyjamas sat on the kerb. Mikela, the tough girl, was chit-chatting with a bobby, displaying all the front of an untouchable mafia boss. I lingered and hovered until able to catch a quick word with her.

“Hey M, what happened, someone get a beating?”

She asked her friend who I was. I’d overheard her name but maybe I shouldn’t have used it if I didn’t want her to think I was a stalker. Next time she looked at me, I took a risk and flashed a bottle of vodka from my inside jacket pocket. I smiled a friendly smile, trying to look as un-stalker-like as I possibly could. I asked the bobby if it was illegal to smoke dope on the street, playing about with him, but it was when I mentioned cocaine that I had Mikela’s undivided attention.

Soon after, Mikela and I were bombing it around the block in my convertible. Her friend Rachael was in the back. I had to tell her BMX cronies to f**k off after they disrespected me with some foul insults, and half-expected to return home to find my windows bricked. I hand-brake skidded outside the offy to buy some Rizla and Pepsi. Mikela rolled a perfect cone while I refilled half-emptied cans of the pop with cool clear vodka. After a few rounds of cocaine sniffing off the tip of my house key I pressed the pedal to the metal again, our throats well and truly numbed with 50 Cent booming from my base box.

“You’re the dude at number 34 who always watches us in the park from your front gate,” Mikela said. I think the coke was making her horny because every time she addressed me, she called me dude, reached over and touched my leg. It was never my attention to get into her panties but I did start to get a tent in the crotch of my FatFace jeans. Despite this distraction, I told myself that my ‘no touching’ rule still applied. She wasn’t jail bait, but I still had seven years on her. I wasn’t out to ravage her on the 1st date: I wanted something that would last.

I was bored and lonely and seeing her dossing about the estate so often up to all kinds of foolishness took me back to when I was that age without a care in the world. I hated the fact that I was leaving those days behind for good and chilling with her stopped that from happening. She released natural endorphins and serotonin between my ears. She was suave and dapper and trendy and moody and naughty and lippy and sexy.
She had bags of bad bitch attitude, she called me dude, and she wore makeup like a woman twice her age. If I could pierce her rhino skin and get in with her on some kind of emotional level, she would start coming in mine and we could get to know each other. I’d be her boyfriend, if she wanted, no worries about that, I’d tap it till the morn’, but I’d also be her pal, big bro, and guardian to boot. You might think of it as drug-pushing, but in my eyes I am doing her a favour by saving her money.

I will always be the one who gave her her very 1st driving lesson on a farmer’s field while high. The only thing is, she ruined the occasion by becoming distracted by constant text alerts on her £15 phone. She demanded that I drop her off in the shadiest corner of the estate. The guy who dragged me out of my car and gave me three blows to the head with a crowbar may have been her ex or pimp or relation or who knows what, but after being left in a mess in the gutter and robbed for all I was worth, labelled a pervert and a sick kidnapper, Mikela either couldn’t hear me or couldn’t care less as I lay there broken, calling her name over and over, until she was just a distant shadow under a street light, and her laughter was just a sound effect of the wind.

DNM Fiction®
Another one from Jamelia?

Monday, 4 October 2010


Die Big

Big Chest hardly ever trains his chest, but when he does, he bombs it. It remains sensitive for days. His girlfriend always pokes him in it. He also massages the deep tissue in his armpit with a pin whilst training, and stretches constantly. If he had to choose two movements only for the rest of his life, he would choose flat dumbell flyes and seated machine press.
I’ve always wanted to own my own gym. I finally managed it in my mid-thirties. I didn’t want a typical name that included the words ‘fortress’ or ‘temple’, so after much deliberation I opted for Big Mac’s Gym. My nickname has always been Macca, and I’m big, and I think personal names suit some places.

First thing I did is install a Bose hi-fi system with speakers in the ceiling. There are LCD screens throughout, but they are usually on mute and for background visuals only. I usually run Mr and Ms Olympias, or training videos, one after the other on loop, for motivation.

I bought art, and plenty of, for the walls. And memorabilia as well. Flags, sculptures, trophies, framed magazines, rarities and oddities....the walls are littered with all kinds of stuff, including some signed trunks from Ronnie Coleman.

The equipment is a mix of old and new. I purposefully left the squat rack area looking rough and shabby, to give it a dungeon effect. The paint on the stairway entrance was painted to make it look like a dark, eerie cave.

We have our fair share of hard core women who train at Big Macs, which attracts more men. Business is good.

Personally, I train whenever the gym is quietest, because I like to blast Britney. For years I had to endure televisions or radio stations in other gyms, or dead silence. Now, I belt the tunes out for my customers, and belt them out loud. Trance, dance, metal, hard rap, you name it. Anything to get the blood flowing.

For me, it is Britney. Imagine suggesting they blast Britney Spear’s pop music from their speakers in any other gym? You would be ridiculed. I take sheer delight from doing just, in the afternoons. Currently, in this part of the world, the sun is low and bright. The floor space is flooded with autumn sunshine.

You’ll find me pinned beneath the bar to ‘Crazy’, ‘Oops I Did It Again’, and ‘Baby One More Time.’ People CANNOT BELIEVE I train to her. They come in and see a competitive hulk like me grimacing to that stuff and it trips them out. For me, the music is moving and emotional. I have a fine ear, and pick up on the evocative and melodic undertones which most people don’t associate with Britney.

If a certain sound of music puts me in an emotional state of mind for a bruising set, then I don’t care who it’s by, the oldest rock band going or the latest Pop Idol winner. The ear doesn’t lie, and if something subtle caresses it, you have to be honest and applaud whoever is responsible.

Pop and chart music is discriminated against, but many of the solo female artists are producing fine work, in my opinion. Like I touched upon, you need to know your ear. It can be very subtle.

Pop into my gym someday. I’m located on the edge of the river, underneath the bridge. You’ll find me pumping pecs, and blasting Britney.
© Big Chest MMX
Ya what, ha? Productions
Another story from Big Chest?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Smashed Sculptures

What's the fluffing point? You carefully craft something, taking time and effort, then it goes and blows up in the kiln. All that time agonising over glazes was unnecessary. The hours spent making them was a waste of time. And from now on, now that it's happened, the only thing you'll ever be able to think of whenever you're sculpting is....is this going to blow up as well? Is it worth ever spending more than an hour on anything ever again? Is it worth even making anything ever again?
Of course it is. But let's just say that after going back to the drawing board and constructing something even better than the first attempt, that blows up as well. At what point do you say forget this bullshit and stay as far away from the kiln as possible so you don't have the stuffing kicked out of you again? How does any other sane potter apply passion and patience into something that might go pop?

Above: Dropping something which has been painted is even worse.

Elephant Tree and Alien Dagger will never sit on display alongside other ornaments. They can be remade from photographs, sure, but they won't be the same. They might be better, yeah, but they also might be worse. They might turn out so different that they require different names.

This is only the second time this has happened. It puts one right off, truth be told. It was the last thing to be expected, a real and true sour rotten surprise. Once a form has come about and dried for a week in your kitchen, it's existence is not only born, but cherished and taken for granted. This has made the whole ceramic game look like a series of gambles from start to finish now.

a. During the remake, at least one knows what to do.
b. Always use the best clay possible: Your creations are worth it.
c. Think about slower drying procedures more.
d. Think about careful positioning in the kiln more.
e. Never put your heart and soul into anything so fragile that can shatter in an heartbeat (already knew that)
The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Gaga vs Cole vs Tatu

Wheel of Life DJ, DB Tinkerbell, who owns a musical keyboard, compares the stars. Stephen King, who writes his first drafts in silence these days and only cranks the music during the rewrite, says that music by pop stars with only one name are typically denied airplay in his house (sorry, Chico). Here, we don't care about that. Kesha, for example, and her song 'Take It Off', rocks! Pop is strong. The UK Top 40 can be a treasure chest of party beats. All pictures below are from the music videos Bad Romance (Lady Gaga), Parachute (Cheryl Cole), and Sparks (Tatu).

For a couple of shots in the middle of Bad Romance, the dancers are jerking like insects, like puppet zombies, their heads and limbs all moving in oppsite directions in a brief moment of disordered harmony. They are each doing their own thing but as a whole they all gel and look great with Gaga in the centre pulling a gritty expression. When she poses against a backdrop of flames, she uses her own extra backing vocals on the word 'revenge', while batting her eyelashes.

Parachute is more a more classy affair. Cole is garcefully passed around male Latin dancers. It's a poignant, peaceful, and provocative track, the complete opposite to Gaga's boot-stomper. Considering the stick this girl gets, it's a divine effort, and a valid transition from girl band nobody to solo somebody. The above pik wins The Blob's 'Best Shot' Award.

In their video Sparks, this young duo, and Russia's biggest musical export, become women. It's a stage shoot, with the girls doing very little movement to much great effect, enhanced by ace camera work. They have have found their groove and matured in tandem. They've been around for over 10 years and are still only 25. For me [Tinkerbell], these are the best, and not only for their greater number of nod-along songs. No other dance outfit has as many cool tracks as these. No one else sounds like them, either. Creamy female vocals in a foreign tongue (they sing in english too) layered over synths? Deal.