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

Friday, 28 December 2012

The Hobbit

A recent project of mine contains a heroic kinda guy from the past known only, so far, as the Dwarf Knight. I had this image, see, of a Dwarf in gladiatorial armour leading the front line into battle. I got this image when listening to a certain song, a helluva thumping stylish song I might add, and developed the imagery whenever I donned the headphones to listen again.

Perhaps you see stories to certain songs as well. My advice is to play your favourite songs sparingly, because you never know when you might need them. They have the power to access a special part of your brain. Depending upon your taste in music, of course…

At the time of writing I is not seen any of the previous movies related to The Hobbit. We all know what I’m talking about. The Geek of the Rings. The Lord of the Geeks. That famous trilogy. Beowulf was enuff for me. Beowulf reinforced mystical notions of castles and queens. Whatever good action sequences were in The Lord of the Rings, I always thought it was a bum deal having to spend three hours in an armchair to view them. A nine hour trilogy? No.

The same went for Beowulf, actually. I would never have gone near it but eventually watched it by accident. And similarly for The Hobbit—accident only. And it’s for certain now—accidents spring up the best surprises. When you’re bored by fancy dress silliness, and a class ending comes rocking in, then hands up, well done, respect. You realise, maybe, at a point, luckily, that emotionally, the material on the screen is primed personally for you. The material ties in with your writing, with the imaginary fantasies in your head. With your favourite music. With its own music. In slow-mo.

Nay spoilers here, but the word I’m looking for is RESONATION. It took its time, because after ninety minutes I was becoming almost deeply gutted for not watching Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher instead (is that the name of the movie, by the way, Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher? Judging by the weight of the font on the posters, it wouldn’t take a total buffoon to guess that it was). But then, when Andy Serkis came into it as that skinny cute ugly disturbing creature known as Gollum, things perked up a bit. By the finale, things had perked up a lot.

But let’s not discuss Andy Serkis or this’ll drag on and on and it’s getting late. We’ll skip over the lovable Martin Freeman from The Office, too. At one point I remembered oh yeah this movie is Peter Jackson’s doing and then, just moments later, he hit me with a signature shot I recognised from Braindead (1992) and King Kong (2005). Uncanny, I tell thee. Will try to describe Peter Jackson’s signature shot in another post sometime, maybe. Like I just got done impressing upon you, time’s a-tickin’.

Could go on forever here, but think it’s time to wrap up and catch Kermode’s opinion on the movie. The main thing I wanted to say is that I learned something important from The Hobbit, something I think I already knew but something it always helps to be reminded of. To sum it up would be this:


Too many folks get hung up about winning, losing, and drawing, when really, it’s not about that at all. Oh, you won again did you? One-nil? So bleedin’ what. THROWING YOURSELF IN THE MIX is about courage and honour and dignity, the sheer undeniable inspiration of combat and rivalry, not winning or losing or drawing.

I never got my Dwarf Knight from The Hobbit, although it will look like I did. I think the origin may be an old computer game called Ghosts n Goblins. Yup, that would make more sense.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sand In My Face - An Extract

I never had a face to pin my anger on. Just a barn door back and calves like upside down pyramids. The next day I bought myself some plastic weights and a bench from Argos. Then I bought a copy of The Beef magazine. At first, putting weight on and getting big seemed like an impossible dream, something only to be achieved with drugs, but one night I studied myself in the mirror after a workout and had a revelation. I was staring at my chest, my shoulders, and my biceps. I wondered to myself what could be so darn hard about increasing the size of these three muscle groups? There’s no exam to pass. There’s no secret or mystery. The evidence is in front of my eyes. I can see the tools I'll be working with. And suddenly it all seemed so simple.

from Schmoe 2

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Termite Stalagmite

Sick and tired of handling fairly big lumps of clay and trying to batter some shape into them so something small of more manageable size was attempted instead. It’s more interesting to make more fragile shapes, like a leaf for instance, but the risk increases and how do you transport it? With this one, the clay had begun to go off by the time windows were pressed in, so that means you have to grab it a little harder. Not very desirable when a fingersmith’s touch is the order of the day. Simply picking a piece of clay up from the table leaves an impression. That's why they say, “Clay has a memory.”

quite often things look a little wonky but if it comes to the push then a spot of blu-tack can level the base any time after final firing

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Best Verse Ever

There’s an exhibition of doors in Merseyside Museum. Basically a collection of real doors unhinged from their original frames, wherever they might have been, and erected together as a group after some serious artful intervention. They are painted and decorated and peppered with thoughtful jokes and poetry. One in particular has some of the best verse on it ever created by man. It is only four lines, which is not a lot when you think about how many words you could fit on a whole door if you tried, but sometimes less really is more, and especially in this case. Honestly, this post cannot speak highly enough of the text you are about to read. Unfortunately there is no name attached to the master wordsmith responsible, but wherever he or she is, here’s to them taking a well-deserved bow. Forget Shakespeare’s sonnets, or any other famous names you might associate with the craft of writing. This below is the real deal. No messing. No nonsense. Just straight-up layman literature, John Smith’s style. Here it goes:

Woke Up
Had Shave
Did Crossword
Had Another Shave

Friday, 7 December 2012

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Medusa Fight

Monday, 26 November 2012

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage came onto my radar on The Review Show, as did Tom Paulin and other critics. I picked his book up in the library one time and read an impressive abstract paragraph or so. Just a few lines, but they told me more than enough. I thought two things: who the hell is this guy and where the hell has he been, because so many poets are penning verse which for me takes itself too seriously, tries too hard to be clever clogs literature, and worst of all commits the cardinal sin of not even rhyming. I swear, poetry can be an excuse for just making mad bull crap up with zero regard for the rules we learned at school. Since then I’ve read one of his poetry books whole. One standout poem in particular, Horses, M62, about horses on the M62, was a fave.

When you hear someone speaking/reading, all keen and eager on the first or second row, you are usually distracted by their physical presence (not to mention surroundings). It can be like meeting a celebrity. You take in their posture, their clothing, their jewellery, everything down to their cotton socks. You don’t mean to, but it’s natural. You kind of focus on the lips especially, because they are always moving.

And in doing this, the message can be sidetracked by said distractions. There’s really no need for any of this with Simon. I recommend, if you get to hear him read, to close your eyes. You should close your eyes for him if you close your eyes for anyone. You want to clearly hear every word. Not just with your ears, but with your mind. Listening to Armitage recite with your eyes closed is like being in a very funny abstract movie. Honestly, it is. What a blessing there is a poet out there who can let the words do all the work for him. All the personal image and public persona thingy is a hindrance, to be frank. The words are all it is ever about and if they are magical and hysterical then the mouth behind their stylish cadence becomes almost irrelevant. The person is merely the vessel.

What a privilege to hear undiluted talent spill out from someone so effortlessly. As he said himself, it is all about exposure to people better than yourself so you can raise your own bar to or above their standards. Amen to that amigos.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ceramic Comeback

It’s been a long six months without making anything. The simple reason is that the idea of clay dust in the kitchen doesn’t exactly push my buttons (sometimes the thought of clay is like the thought of secondhand cigarette smoke*—don’t want to be anywhere near it). Not exactly got a studio in the basement with excellent ventilation either. There’s still half a bag of clay underneath the sink that has been there since the cows came home, untouched, but because it is well wrapped up, and sellotaped in places where the bag has torn, it’s surprisingly still soft and ready when I am.

Finally something was jammed together this week in a couple of hours. Don’t think anything more than three hours has ever been spent on the construction of one piece (painting can take longer). It was not going very well and that familiar urge to suddenly splat it on the floor and start again appeared, but then it found itself and became something just as suddenly. Part of the process is accidental, working with whatever grooves come to light while you are forging a general shape. One thing for sure is that these curvy groovy hand-builds really are unique, as attempts to recreate them exactly the same have failed miserably. A cast would be needed for that, and the idea of plaster anywhere about my person is even worse than clay, and almost as bad as cigarette smoke.

The designs continue to evolve naturally without ever having any real planning. Sculpture is about fingers and clay, not architectural drawings and steel frames. Alien objects by working class hands.

*no offense, smokers, been there.

As you can see in the 2nd picture down, forget fancy glazes...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hannibal The Cannibal in AA


Simon Bestwick

Simon Bestwick’s story Dermot features in a Black Static magazine from last year, #24. It concludes with an encounter in a police cell which for personal reasons struck a tender nerve. You think you have these fears, born and bred along with you, and then you hear another writer talk or you read another writer write, and they bump it all on up to higher levels of fret, certifying your concerns. You walk away thinking well thanks a lot for scaring the pants off me, how much do I owe you for the privilege? In the past it’s been said on here that horror is the mother genre because it can have everything, lightness shines brighter in the dark and all that sweet n sour stuff, but when the horror sticks to horror and that horror is a credible horror, only hinted at beyond local shadows instead of being thrust down your throat behind a cheap mask and fake blood (cue teenage screaming), then sometimes you question what the hell kind of a genre you have your face buried in. Perhaps the Holy Bible would be better—a form of prescription reading, for healing, perhaps. Any Jehovah's Witness pamphlets knocking about? A copy of The Watchtower? Anything?

Simon has interesting thoughts on what may lurk inside the woodshed, so to speak, although when it comes down to far-out beliefs, even he chuckles at the idea of certain individuals ‘morphing into velociraptors’. He has, aside from unsettling imaginings about the inner workings of fictional police stations, some keen related observations on conspiracy theories. He brought to light something along the lines of this: It is more debilitating for the human mind to see no pattern where there is one rather than create a pattern where there isn’t.

Horror IS NOT the best genre...didn't you know? 
CROSS-GENRE is the best genre.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ramsey Campbell - Coincidence

Ramsey 'The Master' Campbell's Recenty Used story is also in Black Static #24. In it his central character ambles along hazy hospital corridors containing fog. Ramsey is a keen advocator of coincidence, so he won’t bat an eyelid when he hears that this incurred a similarity regarding one of my own stories from 2006, Emergency Servery, in which a hospital corridor is also described as a kind of ghostly spectral pipeline between one world and another. No doubt it’s been done umpteen and a half times before. In fact, a number of years ago, he admits to having wrote the exact same story as someone else without ever being aware of it beforehand. My own teenage opus was about three people who wrote the exact same books. An almost identical chunk of my novel Slithering Lake from nearly ten years ago now ended up in a movie called Slither (would you stop banging on about it?). But where do plagiarism and coincidence divide?

Never underestimate the frequency of coincidences. Ramsey has brought to bear the sheer overpowering odds of the collective consciousness. We are all getting our ideas from the same places. We are all tapping into the same emotions. And there are so, so many of us. Connections are bound to appear abundantly. It’s all about levels of consciousness. Ramsey has been published since he was 16 and had a lifetime in books, so nobody should know much better about it than him. He sent his first book to a publisher when he was 11 or so, his only copy, written in crayon—and they sent it back, bless ‘em! In a portion of his latest work, which read like an episode of Big Brother gone absolutely barking mad, a car alarm goes off whenever a certain character gets an erection—is that genius or what? Don't you wish you'd thought of that? 

P.S Ramsey has never read a single line of Dan Brown’s books. Nor me.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Black Gloves...and Asylum

 Ever since reading City in Aspic by Conrad Williams in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 13, abandoned black gloves have been popping up all over the place, and now that you've read this, they more than likely will do for you too, if not already. Must be some kinda curse thing. Don't freak out about it, just make sure you take a snap of the more interesting ones. It is always wise to check if there is an actual hand inside, though. If there is, dial 999. If it moves, run.  
~ ~ ~
There's a movie called ASYLUM (1972) consisting of several shorts. The first one is called Frozen Fear and in it a man is confronted by what just may well be a severed hand wrapped in paper. The severed hand belonged to a dismembered body in his freezer; his wife, if remembered correctly. He killed her to be with his mistress. He is calming his nerves with a nice warm whiskey while waiting for his mistress to pick him up from the crime scene and depart for a better life, when all of a sudden this body part is there disturbing his peace, having rolled on up from the basement like something out of Evil Dead 2 (1987). What follows is quite possibly the best reaction to anything in any horror movie ever: He doesn't scream, he doesn't squeal, he doesn't scram. What he does is...well, skip the vid to 6 minutes and 30 seconds to find out. Check the eyebrow as well.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Priya Sharma / Stephen McGeagh

Priya Sharma’s Needlepoint is a monarchical fantasy in the very latest Interzone magazine #242. That’s a nerdy way of saying it has people like kings and queens in it. The magazine is worth buying for the cover art alone, but let’s not digress to the artist, Ben Baldwin. Rather, we’ll concentrate on one paragraph in particular from her story. Here it is:

Marry me. I’ll wait for your reply under the elm that you can see from the queen’s gallery. Flash a lamp three times if the answer’s yes. I’ll wait there until the second clock strike of the morning. If there’s no light, I’ll leave this place and never trouble you again.

Wouldn’t this make the perfect creative writing assignment, if one had to use it as a starting point and carry on with the tale to follow? It’s near the end, and that’s fitting, because the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. Not in her story, mind, but generally, in life. Our last breath in this life is our first breath in the next, a friend said recently. True, you think, or no?

It’s a purposeful mark of intent to designate italicised paragraphs near the ends of stories with condensed meaningfulness. Often, all the other couple of thousand words seem like padding in comparison. These are the working words. These are the meat. The final destination from the very first line. The logo of the story, in a sense. The badge of it. The burning emblem of identity. The glittery sticker. If you read something, then want to pick it up and run with it, then that says it all. That’s the recycling factor, right there. You’ve been inspired to share. The self-regenerating continuum of ideas is eternal.

Fantasy has the best potential for romance, some reckon, more than any other style, even more than romance itself. This does not go unnoticed on Priya Sharma. 

Stephen McGeagh has his first novel out from Salt Publishing. He admits the opening sequences of the book read like an episode of Shameless but promises it isn’t. Like any book worth its salt, where the reader starts out is not where the reader ends up. The urban realism is stark and fearlessly blunt. To get the show rolling, it don’t get any more downbeat than bus rides and dole offices. One of his character's opinions, on the matter of benefits, is: I want money for nothing, so just f**king give it to me. 

Stephen received the first copies of his debut novel on the same day he sat next to Ramsey ‘The Master’ Campbell on a Twisted Tales discussion panel. It must have been a great day for him. Talk about arriving within the writing world! Congratulations to Stephen.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tony Stark on Captain America

"Which of the men in this room is (a) wearing a spangly outfit and (b) of no use."

The Only Bond

nobody could raise an eyebrow like roger
king of the one-liners
never broke a sweat
big kicks - hard as nails


Be stronger than your past..

The future might still give you a chance.


Monday, 22 October 2012

March of the Zombies

It’s the year 2013 (almost), it’s FIFA 13, we have all this technology, and still the players look dead-eyed and hungover, to put it best. The blockiness is disappearing, but the cumbersome movement remains. Just give it up, fellas. You’re never gonna convince us. If they were holding severed arms or biting into chunks of raw flank then fine, but they’re not, they’re wearing soccer strips. Seriously, these guys wouldn’t look out of place in Silent Hill. Do you one day hope to convince us that we are playing a real game of football? We know it's on a computer, we're not that thick. We'd rather have a desert surface to play on, or a colosseum to play in. C'mon, skip these crud animated sequences altogether. Who watches them anyway, after the first couple of times, zombies? Zombies watching zombies? Concentrate on the playability of the game. 

Whatever happened to the fast and easy menus of yesteryear? START GAME, OPTION, CONTROLS, and that was your lot. You could get off to a flyer, immersed immediately in the heart of the action, especially shoot-em ups. Now it’s all 3D role-playing nonsense. Everything has a menu. Menus in menus. Whatever happened to all the 2D games? Whatever happened to the golden age?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Orbit

No doubt this took some stick, like a lot of new sculptures. The architects can’t please all of the people all of the time. You can imagine the dismay and abuse at what may well be mistaken for half an unfinished rollercoaster. What a crock, they’ll say. What a waste of money, they’ll say. What the ruddy hell is it supposed to be, they’ll say.

ATD applauds this. It’s most superb. One has to account for glimpsing this from the surrounding area ground level at teatime dusk when the thing is hulking out over the neighbourhood between rooftops. Ask yourself how many other sculptures can loom over you from the sky like a sprawling sea creature or something fresh from the War of the Worlds conceptual design portfolios.

Photos aren’t enough. Sometimes you have to stand and look upwards from close range. Almost anything is worth doing this to if you are in the correct ‘viewing’ frame of mind, including cooling towers, telescopes, and churches, but to see what looks like a fairground track ride moulded into steel origami would be a real treat.

Top Marks.   

115 metres high observational tower
UK's tallest sculpture

Monday, 15 October 2012

Chopper on the Mafia

“Who are they anyway? Bloody fruit shop owners. They should stick to selling their bloody fruit n vegetable and just f**king leave me alone.”

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Football Article

eg  Read here  eg


Vintage Soccer Boots 2012 Style

stitching, signed, mouldies, numbered
wore these for a Cheshire trial in high school    
After a decade and a half of hibernation I pulled them out for a couple of games (funny how all the trivial possessions somehow survive with you while all the important stuff gets lost along the way). Like all well worn footwear should, they literally fell apart on my feet. We’re talking bare toes popping out and soles flapping off. That’s what you call money’s worth. A lot of modern footwear starts to peel after a few months and looks ten years old before you’ve even started to break them in, so no complaints.

The problem now, with modern boots, is that they look ridiculous. They look like pop art. The sheen and the colours are truly atrocious. They only suit Jimmy Savile. I for one wouldn’t be seen dead in them. Since when was it acceptable to wear pink boots? Imagine the added pressure in a tense game whenever the ball came your way. I don’t get how players want to stand out visibly like that. It should be their skills standing out visibly.

The boots I bought back in school cost under 30 quid. The yellow stripe was outrageous enough. Don’t get me wrong, a little colour indicates flair and style. Emphasis on little. A hint. A splash. A stroke. But today’s designers have gone like totally overboard. Rather than dab the boots with paint, they DIP THE BOOTS IN PAINT.

Anyway the point of this is about getting ripped off for brands from back in the day, because now Diadora have returned to JD Sports and if by some chance I wanted to buy a pair of sensible boots with meaning, I could take myself back in time and buy almost the same pair I had in my childhood. How good would that be, if I still played for a team? You see the problem right there though don’t you? I don’t play for a team, so therefore don’t need the boots. And that is my world, folks...a place where even the good news is bad. 34 Skid Row, Endsville.

Oh (and here’s the kicker), did I mention it would cost me 100 pounds for the privilege? They look like a cheap boot, despite the back story. You're paying for the memories, people. They don’t even look as good as the originals, although this changes the more I look at them because they are growing on me with every passing second. Probably not made as well either, but then again maybe they are. But still, at least, if you’re prepared to fall for the overpriced vintage trap, there’s an option besides the majority of pukey luminosity monstrosities currently adorning the shelves. And if you have a passion for the beautiful game, and they last you as long as football boots can, then I suppose it’s worth it. In fact, I think it is. Peeling back the years is mastercard stuff.

£30 mid-nineties...£100 now

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Rewriting An Older Work

The next ebook to be released by Zombie Publications is another short collection of shorts originally written back in 2006. 10,000 words have been trimmed off the 36,000 to begin with. One of the reasons is to reduce ambiguity. Much of the flash was written on the spur of the moment, straight into the machine, for self-entertainment. Not for an agent, not for a friend or family member, not for an audience, but for moi. For the sake, or heck, or love of, writing. There are some stories you only tell yourself. These are the best kinds of stories.

But there’s a problem when you have characters telling each other private jokes only the author knows about! Your private jokes are funny too I’ll bet, but go repeating them to anybody and your inner personal humour will most probably fall on flat faces.

Certain bunches of stuff have to be cut when you’re dreaming of customers in Baton Rouge. I’ve identified vagueness as a problem. So too conflict. Vagueness and conflict. Less of and more of. It’s a thin line between truly great and shite, but being brave and facing facts is a winning track.

Because six years have passed it is nice to go back and get inside it again. Enough of proof reading with fingers spread over the CAPS LOCK, DELETE, BACKSPACE and SPACEBAR (sounds like a rap to me), right-tracking the flashing cursor along as I read. No. It’s best to read with your arms folded and enjoy rolling back the years. If you have to edit a technicality, lean forward and do it, but then sit back again, because be aware, if you rewrite as you reread then you will have to reread the rewrite.

If you rewrite as you reread then you will have to reread the rewrite.

Ever wonder where all those errors come from? They kinda creep out from the woodwork and evolve during your edit. That’s because they OCCUR during the edit! I believe in keeping things very closely to how they were. I take great pride in saying here’s something I wrote six years ago. If I totally revamp it beyond all recognition in 2012, can I still say that? Did I write it now, or then?

This is minority advice, but a rewrite for me should only take place when you lose the damn thing. Otherwise a brief technical read-over edit will suffice. Wanna shove a new sentence in? Hey, no problem with that. Go whole hog and bung a new paragraph in there. Hell, START AGAIN if the fever grips you. But here’s the thing: Most of the writing takes place in your head anyway.

And here’s another thing:

As 'artistes', we’re clinging to the past. Believe. We’re clinging by our little finger nails. Everyone is. Think about it. Diaries, photographs, home video. Memories are all we have, and vintage is best. Go and write a how-to manual for the development of free energy in Arabic, and it may well outsell all that ghost-written bollocks in the Xmas charts, but it will never be that ode to nostalgia from yesteryear.

Nothing will. Ever again. Not without hypnotic regression and automatic dictation. Now try on peacing out already. Or even better, try on peacing in with your friends or the wife.

ABOVE: Each book "has a colour", strange but true, and changing the page colour  appropriately genuinely got me into the mood for this latest "rewrite".

AND REMEMBER: If you reread as you rewrite you will then have to retweet the rehype.

Friday, 12 October 2012


"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." 
Alexander Pope

"Deja vu all over again..." 
Yogi Berra

Thursday, 11 October 2012


"If you know before you look, 
you cannot see for knowing." 
Sir Terry Frost

The better you measure the breeze, the better your arrow will make the  mark.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Story Visuals

Some visual aids to assist in the promotion/development of short stories. They can come in handy when stuck or bored and often give the writing process a real boost. The images define the themes and content you are engaged with and identify them more clearly in your head. What I disagree with is making endless covers for short stories and making out like you have written hundreds of novels!

Monday, 24 September 2012


Apologies for lack of activity lately. As Michael Douglas says in Falling Down (1993), "I'm on the other side of the moon now, past the point of no return." Or something like that. Blogging can become a chore and a distraction quite often unless it coincides with something practical like promoting someone or something or moaning or something. To everyone else, blog on! I recommend John Siddique, Joe Konrath, and Christopher Fowler.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Monday, 10 September 2012

Painting a Stealth

 Models can be bought and painted without the hassle of constructing something out of clay yourself. You would be surprised how much money, time and hassle this takes out of the equation. ATD got into pottery by painting cups and the idea of handling dusty wet clay was very unappealing for a long time. Painting has a relaxing effect. The decision was made to use several shades of dark on this neat little Stealth model, instead of black all over, with grey wheels.

Stealth Results

Most Beautiful Bird in the Sky

Pleased with the shiny finish on top of the model. It looks gold-ish from certain angles. There is also a slight hue of green that has come through, somehow. Bright yellow is standard for windows in a number of other sculptures, for that haunted lighthouse effect. This idea was actually inspired by some models I witnessed several years ago in The Koestler Trust's headquarters, based in Wormwood Scrubs. Koestler is an arts charity and their multiple storey base is filled from top to bottom with artworks of every kind, like a crowded museum. Their annual exhibition at the South Bank centre starts next week. Ever since then I decided to incorporate windows into my architectural pieces and paint those windows a spooky yellow. The paint is called Glo-Worm and unlike metallic lustres or gritty oxides, it has a consistent finish every time. There was a quote on Radio 4 just yesterday, regarding Anthony Gormley. Somebody said: "Copy anybody, but never yourself."

Thursday, 6 September 2012

On the Way

New posts coming shortly. Got pictures of sculptures to share and pictures of a model Stealth aircraft, plus some new collages with a 'British' theme which were completed for the Queen's Jubilee. Stay posted. The collages look pretty impressive and overall the results are rather pleasing. It was jolly to do something outside of the box for a change. Everybody should respect the monarch whether they are in favour or not. Maybe Britain's best-known poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who emphasises his 'Britishness' (and whose cousin died in police custody in 2003) recently said live on a Sunday morning TV program (The Big Questions) that England should 'do away' with the Queen. Oh, Benjamin, wrong choice of words lad! You shouldn't have said that fella! Perhaps understandably some of the audience jumped down his throat. He didn't take no sh*t though and came right back at 'em. Thought he was going to kick off at one point! Anyway, hokey doke then, back soon.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First Thought 2

until he lopped off everyone's head
 at the dinner table

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Blogs v Books

There comes a point when the blogger has to wake up and smell her blogs. Blogs are informal, chatty, personal, and confidential (in an open-ended kind of way), but the blogger’s books, I’m guessing, for the most part, aren’t. So there comes a surprise for “the reader”, when, after enjoying the nudge ‘n’ wink ambience of a writer’s blog, they take on one of the writer’s books, and let themselves in for a fake trip of pretentious dull fiction. Reading a novel after reading a blog can feel like watching Ewan McGregor (or any other actor) perform in a West End musical on a Monday morning after staying at his apartment all weekend on an intimate basis. There’s something distant and phoney about it. The writer is in third person mode, perhaps, and describing the weather or a location or a character’s state of mind or something else he or she simply made up. And you’re asking yourself, is this important? Is this worth the paper it’s written on? Is any story or book really important, in the grand scheme? Is it really? Blogs can be important. Letters can be important. Because they are not make-believe. They are direct first-person speeches unhindered by silly seven-point arc plots.

You would think a good blog equalled a good book and vice-versa, wouldn’t you, but who’s to know? Maybe the less known about a writer the better, so books are not judged before they are read. The only info need be known about a writer is his or her name...and maybe a middle initial, if you are lucky. Complete strangers are the best recipients.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

First Thought

but I'm going to anyway

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Together, Let's Ban Football

The Premier League will be boycotted this season. It’s too painful to watch. All those young men achieving more than their dreams could have ever beheld, blasting goals in before thousands of cheering fans on a sparkling and cool Saturday afternoon, the false idols of millions more. And what are we doing? Watching them on the sofa—providing we have Sky TV, who split the games over the whole weekend. Not so bad if you are in a pub, throwing pints at the screen with the rest of the mob when you get beat in the last minute.


No more Match of the Day. Not even early on a Sunday morning. No more listening to the pundits and managers and presenters talking the hind legs off a donkey all day and all night. They never stop babbling, as if football is a science. “We’re gunna try and win the game and that’s it,” they should say, because that’s all that NEEDS saying. But instead they show us endless replays and tactical discussions between ball bags sat on a couch. Do one, Football Focus! And the analysis...oh heavens above, the analysis. Just move on with the next programme. Commentators, hush the f**k down and let me make my own mind up instead of telling me what I just saw with my own eyes in your overexcited spunky-pants voice.

This is quite touchy because just like you most probably, football is a first love. You’re STRANGE if you don’t like football. We grew up playing it. It’s what kids do. The operative word being PLAYING. Not bloody watching it 24/7. A line must be drawn. No more WATCHING football. Time-wasting issues are bad enough as it is. That’s why Sky TV in the home would be a stab in the face against all things creative, personally, and most especially the pursuit of writing masterpieces. Too distracting.

There will be exceptions, of course. Big FA Cup games and Big Champions League games on normal telly (don't even mention England until Rio 2014). The odd one. And that is all. But that is nothing really, if you watch regular league clashes multiple times a week. These ninety minutes add up you know. They’ll tell you that EVERY game is a big crunch game, even though the season has barely started. Well guess what? They ain’t big games. The league is a long arse haul over months and months full of overpaid ball bags we don’t recognise any more. Not to mention the Spanish and Italian games on Sky Sports Anytime+2 in RealD 3D HD.  

If you go to the games, good for you. If you do the opposite of what is outlined here on a comfy armchair with a high-spec TV, then good for you again. It is thoroughly enjoyable, there’s no disputing that. It’s a religion in England, it most sincerely is. But that’s the point really. There’s only so much worship a man can allow himself...

Enjoy. ATD will be there occasionally, but only in the final rounds of the pivotal cup games. That’s the plan, anyway. Let you know how it goes.