haters gonna hate – even the shit i be proud of, yeah?


December 2012

kino – cabaret voltaire

Another bright, early start. Another dreich NOiR, drafted. And another one laid out in note form. It feels a little easier than yesterday. It was easier to get into that trance-like state where I’m merely transcribing the in-skull movie as it unfolds behind my eyes.

I’m still enjoying the experience of wrestling words into place, Of wrenching and squeezing these unruly ideas into sentences and paragraphs.

I watched a bunch of movies over the last couple of days. ‘A snake of June’ (for the umpteemth time!) ‘Notes on a scandal’. (First time.) I enjoyed the way the characterisation took so long to coalesce, being made to wonder who each part was for the first hour of the film.

‘Gozu’ was up next, Maybe ten years since I last saw it. And it’s still ‘From dusk to dawn’ meets ‘Eraserhead’, in my opinion. Finally, the night was topped off by ‘The godfather’. Must be a good twelve months since I last saw that.

Still trying to enjoy this?

Why not check out my novel, “1919 (inside)” available from smashwords?

Doing for christmastime what david cameron does for bare-knuckle boxing.


defecting grey – the pretty things

A decent night’s sleep, after a day spent slumped in front of sitcoms and old Tarrentino movies. Up around nine and I battered straight into dreich noir, which I’ve left untouched since november’s nano.

Because dreich noir started out as an exercise in writing a narrator as unlike me as possible, getting started can feel a lot like hard work. Slotting myself into the skull of someone with whom I have so little in common.

I’ve basically lain fallow this last month since I finished the first draft of the idiots’ graveyard. Relaxed. Caught some early nights and one or two long lies.

So, i’m feeling all new-year-ish. Like we’ve survived another one. Beaten off the mayans, fundamentalists of every stripe and their idiot wars on everything but themselves.

A year ago yesterday, I was the same age in days as my father was the day he died. A week ago yesterday was the date the mayans had circled in red on their calendar. It’s over six months since harold camping’s latest promise of milk ‘n’ honey for evermore.

Looks like we’re going to be stuck with each other for the forseeable future. Each staring back at the other with up to sixty cold dead eyes.




Enjoying this?

Why not check out my novel, 1919 (inside) available from smashwords?

Doing for interpersonal relationships what gary glitter does for creches.

My mind ain’t so open – magazine

After a while, all this r’n’r starts to get to me. I finished ‘the idiots graveyard’ almost a month ago and the time since has been swallowed up by getting bunnied, going on holiday and wondering what my next move was going to be.
I finished Holly Lisle’s ‘mugging the muse’ last night. Thoroughly inspiring – like that friend with the irritating voice who’s right more often than not.
So my mind’s started ticking alarmingly again. An idea I had, back in the late nineteen-nineties (Christ, how many novels have I started, only to run out of steam after most of a first draft, the pages suffocating through a lack of cohesion?)
I think I mentioned that I loved ‘the hunger games’. Since Ms Collins gazumped me with her time travel smart-arsery, I’ve sectioned off an area of my mind, which has been turning over the similarities and differences between her ‘hunger games’ and my own ‘light entertainment’.
When I started putting it together this morning, a couple of fragments of Tim Burton’s ‘mars attacks!’ got in there somehow, too.
So. Day one of the planning of whatever I end up hurling myself into for April’s NaNoCamp.

Finding my way – rush

As part of my 2013 project to master the art ‘n’ science of revision, I’m working my way through Holly Lisle’s ‘mugging the muse’.
It’s that rarest of things, the easy-to-absorb book that brings with it a full payload of information.
I’ve also finished Jo Nesbo’s ‘the snowman’ so far today.
The plan (for now) is to finish Ms Lisle’s work then take what I’ve learned and revise ‘1919 (outside)’ – and make a serious dent in that before the year’s end.
The last couple of years have proved I can wring out a first draft in thirty days, now it’s time to get my head round sculpting these basically okay first drafts into something I could beat a baby seal to death with.
2013 – the international year of the polished turd.

Holiday song – the pixies

Around two-and-a-half years back, I visited paris. Last week was the first time I’ve visited liverpool since I left there in 2009.
I imagined it’d be strange, staying at the home of someone who turned up in august’s ‘dystopian’ novel as an ill-tempered and racist scousewife (although only the ‘scouse’ bit has any real basis in reality!)
More pressingly, that’s me finished work now for a few days and, apart from the domicile-restructuring I have pencilled in for the next day or two, I plan on kicking back. Long lies, soaky baths, rnr.
It was national short story day today – I didny get a thing written but might well tomorrow.

It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) – REM

Liverpool. Last saturday. The swan. Ford street. A heavy metal boozer. Old-school metal at ministry-of-defence levels. AC/DC, motorhead, sabbath, newcastle brown.
When I lived here, no jaunt to the city centre was complete without a pint or two in here, so there’s no way I was visiting and missing out.
The rest of the city centre was a washout, however. Hmv? Gone (to liverpool one, for fuck’s sake!) Dr Herman’s? Gone without a trace. Probe records? Gone – nae cunt leaves til we find it, yeah?
Liverpool was traditionally one of the most musical cities in the uk. West side of the country, so a massive irish population; like glasgow, manchester, birmingham or bristol – how many bands that changed your life came out of these cities?
So for probe records to die, the way live venues have died, something totally rotten has taken over.
And now, it’s the end of days. I’m writing this in cowdenbeath. At work. Waiting for the hammer to fall. For the remaining shoe to drop.
Just supposing tomorrow is the end of all things. I’ve had a pretty good innings. I’ve made it past fifty. Experienced intimacy with well over one hundred and fifty people. Performed and recorded music – some of it good. Written half a dozen novels. Published one.
If I go out in the next twenty-four hours, I can at least, while the flesh rots from my bones and my eyes vapourise in my screaming skull, imagine that I at least had a fucking great time while I was alive.

something tells me something’s going to happen tonight – cilla black

On a bus from liverpool to preston. It’s been a strange and, in places, uncomfortable week back in my old stamping ground.
This is the bus I used to get to (and from) work. I’m listening to a John Foxx & Louis Gordon bootleg from 2003. It all feels hyper-poignant.
I’m considering the idea that maybe moving here in 2006 was, in fact, just another piece of my mid-life crisis. And those I met down here were just going through their own variation of the same.
A three-and-a-half year relationship, one that started out exciting, slowly turned turgid and finally ended painfully for all concerned. And all it boils down to in the end, is a couple of arseholes disappointed that they’re no longer nineteen.
I’ve stayed with a friend for the last week. She no longer listens to music – at all. Instead, she sucks up quiz shows and other gaily-coloured garbage. The rapport, based in music, books and movies has gone. Our thinking, once similar, has diverged. Maybe completely.
And considering that possibility, that maybe all we ever had in common was our mid-life crises, it’s time to nail the coffin lid down and let go of it all.
I wrote 1919 (all of it) down here. Some of it in the house I’ve been staying in since last week.
Since then, (2007-8) I’ve only written one more novel that dealt with a relationship as its primary facet. Another bite-sized chunk of human experience I seem to have outgrown and/or left behind.
On a more positive note, I’ve had a couple of experiences that’ll infect what I write in the next wee while. Bunnied with two friends I haven’t seen in three years. A night in a rugby club, listening to war stories. Watching the movie of ‘the hunger games’ and reading the second and third books in the trilogy. (And yeah, I’m still angry with Suzanne Collins for sneaking back in time and publishing her rip-off of my ‘light entertainment’ before I’d even thought of writing the bastard – bloody unprofessional, if you ask me!)
And yes, I blinked back a few tears at the end of ‘mockingjay’.

Re-ignition – Bad brains

Ideas are exploding out at me from the most unexpected corners. I’m already considering things I could use in April’s novel (the Mayan advent calendar permitting).
I’ve got the basic (structural) idea. The basic relation between the mmc and mfc. Now I just need to let it settle. Figure out a setting and a gradually stir in a wee spot of characterisation.
I finished PD James’ book on the history of the detective novel, which I’d recommend highly. Also Palahniuk’s ‘damned’. First thing I’ve read in a while that I’m actually jealous of.
That’s usually a positive with me. When i spot something brilliant that I didn’t write, I’ll turn it over and over in my skull until I arrive at my own brilliant idea.
I also read ‘he died with his eyes open’ by Derek Raymond, yesterday. I read something about his work last week (on twitter, I think) and dug out the above novel, the first of his ‘factory’ series.
While not as “fuck me” out loud as the Palahniuk, Raymond’s prose has something genuinely uncomfortable about it and the plotting is relentless. One of those novels (like many of Palahniuk’s, or Mieville’s, or Mellick’s) I could see myself re-reading at some point.

Isolation – therapy?

Writing in my journal this morning, I realised that I’ve been shutting myself away from my fellow man for a while now. The fact is, I hadn’t noticed until a day or two back.
I’m not noticing a lot of feelings of boredom – or isolation – I’m working (back in the people business), I now have number two son (the one covered from head to toe in shit) living with me and, for those stray fragments of loneliness on public transport, there’s always twitter.
So, it’s taken a wee while for me to spot that I’m actually spending every second I can, alone.
In the last month, I wrote what I think is a pretty good first draft. Even now, I’m collecting together the first grains of whatever I put together next. So far, it’s disparate, disconnected images; things that make me scratch my head and wonder…
But that’s a framework of sorts. The next idea I have will slot into what’s there already and from these tiny beginnings, great prurient and childish novels are born!

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