Recently at Speakey Spokey in Brighton (a great night featuring readings from Colin Grant, Sea Sharp, Preti Taneja and music from Rachel Chinouriri) the audience were asked by poet Raymond Antrobus how many of them have more than one identity. No one raised their hands - apart from the people, mainly those on stage, who were... Continue Reading →
I have just finished my second book. A well sifted draft. Parts have been ditched, pinched, pulled, turned around, thrown about, discarded and re-written and I think I am happy with it. I am deciding what to do about it, where to try and find a publishing home, and I will take a little break... Continue Reading →
When I lived in Dunedin in the way-South of New Zealand, by a certain re-telling of the story, I could make the claim to have been a journalist. It’s definitely what Roi would have done in my position and as this post is about him, it’s what I am going to claim too. Just for... Continue Reading →
This is a piece I wrote when I was predominantly a visual artist, before I started writing for its own sake. I realised on re-reading it that as an artist, I was interested in the same, exactly the same things, as I am when writing. The book I am working on now is in part... Continue Reading →
The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers, published by Bluemoose Books. The Gallows Pole is rich, wet, dark, glittering. Words glimmer like the clippings of the coins, scattered in peat and moss, across a stony path. Like a bitter cross wind dragging leaves and hail, the land and the weather drive the story as much as... Continue Reading →
It’s my Dad’s birthday today, one year on, two days until the anniversary of his death. We will be drinking gin and tonics later. I love you Dad.
The heat keeps on, pressing my skin, the continuity is a reminder of where I was just a few days ago. Though time stretches strangely in strange times, makes it seem like I am remembering an epochal, ancient past or a current, fleeting dream.
I was revisiting a place I knew well, my childhood home was not three miles away. A landscape that I love: beech woods, fields and lanes, buildings of red brick and flint. Too many cars but enough space. I could walk once more in the woods, sheltering from the heat and collecting my thoughts. The woods have always been a place to think, to re-order myself. I get the same sense of grounded wonder in a cathedral, a similarly cool and elegantly spanned space. The beech woods and the cathedral create a modicum of awe that sets the tone, then leave us alone, content to let…
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The Kindle version of Twice the Speed of Dark is currently cheaper than anything in Pound World! And if there is an American equivalent called Dollar World, it's cheaper than anything there too! If you haven't already bought it, now is the time. I have some wonderful reviews and would love to add to them.... Continue Reading →
(from The Bennet College Reference Library of Electricity) LOOK AWAY NOW bibliophiles - I cut up books. It started with junk mail, when I began looking for hidden messages in unsolicited letters sent in the post. I liked the fact that they had signatures. If I changed the messages, they were still signed, sincerely, by... Continue Reading →
Here is a post about my vivid, handsome, irascible, Grandfather
My grandfather died of a broken heart six weeks after my grandmother. He had not expected to live without her, instead had meticulously planned for her comfort and security on what seemed to him to be the predictable certainty of his own death from a heart attack. But cancer doesn’t like predictions. Cancer, with its usual arrogant flare for such things, changed the story, rendered his meticulous, patriarchal, loving care unnecessary. A heart attack did kill him, but only after the death of my grandmother from bone cancer and the torture of six weeks of bereft and baffled mourning.
John Wood, we called him Grandjohn, was an imposing and impressive man. He came from a teetotal and dutifully obligated chapel background, as austere and spare as his name. He had no faith himself but was imbued with the characteristics of his family’s church, though he seemed to burst those narrow parameters…
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