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


short fiction

read it in books – echo and the bunnymen

wreckersHere’s my self-indulgent list of all the books I read last year. I’m not looking forward to this list falling into the hands of headcare professionals, I can tell you!

05 i 15 – the ghost – robert harris
09 i 15 – the secret history of rock – roni sarig
09 i 15 – like a corset undone – erotic steampunk anthology
16 i 15 – anger is an energy – john lydon
16 i 15 – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – jules verne
25 i 15 – the girl in the steel corset – kady cross
26 i 15 – person-hair (draft) – jess hopkins
29 i 15 – dead girl walking – Christopher Brookmyre
30 i 15 – tis – frank mccourt

05 ii 15 – assimilate – reed s Alexander
07 ii 15 – the corpse garden – colin wilson
15 ii 15 – the apocalypse codex – charles stross

04 iii 15 – the shipping news – e annie proulx
27 iii 15 – fool the world – josh frank & carlyn ganz

24 iv 15 – david copperfield – charles dickens
26 iv 15 – a decent ride – Irvine Welsh
28 iv 15 – blood on snow – jo nesbo

02 v 15 – clothes music boys – viv albertine
04 v 15 – thunderball – ian fleming
15 v 15 – the art of asking – amanda palmer
18 v 15 – person-hair (draft) – jess hopkins
26 v 15 – the establishment – owen jones
26 v 15 – psychopathic cultures and toxic empires – will black

02 vi 15 – searching for wanda – elise sutton
10 vi 15 – nick drake – patrick humphries
13 vi 15 – ham on rye – charles bukowski
13 vi 15 – Taken in the Dark of Night – daniel howard
23 vi 15 – unknown pleasures – peter hook
23 vi 15 – prague fatale – philip kerr
26 vi 15 – armadillo fists – carlton mellick lll

04 vii 15 – the hacienda – peter hook
25 vii 15 – shock doctrine – naomi klein

04 viii 15 – chavs – Owen Jones
17 viii 15 – post-capitalism – paul mason
21 viii 15 – the rhesus chart – Charles Stross
25 viii 15 – america’s favourite son – gg allin
31 viii 15 – apathy for the devil – nick kent

05 ix 15 – the man who led zeppelin – chris welch
08 ix 15 – clusterfuck – carlton mellick lll
12 ix 15 – London calling – ga ponsonby
15 ix 15 – fear and smear – pat anderson
17 ix 15 – the witch must burn – danielle paige
19 ix 15 – Taken in the Dark of Night – daniel howard

04 x 15 – last exit to Brooklyn – hubert selby
11 x 15 – trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
12 x 15 – killing charlie – wensley clarkson
19 x 15 – the acid house- Irvine Welsh

07 xi 15 – captivate – corrie garratt
18 xi 15 – journey to the centre of the cramps – dick porter
27 xi 15 – the hell of it all – charlie brooker

07 xii 15 – the girl in the spider’s web – David Lagercrantz
13 xii 15 – listen to this – victor svorinich
14 xii 15 – I was a murder junkie – evan cohen
22 xii 15 – future days – david stubbs

Fifty-four books in twelve months. I should really get out of the house a bit more, maybe join an evening class or something.


after the watershed – carter usm

I’ve just been told, with one week to go, that my slot has been moved back to 19:30 – 19:45.

I only agreed to do this show if I could go on after the watershed and, as usual, it’s the writers who have to sit at the back of the bus.

So again, I’m asking myself, why do I bother? Doing shows with bands means putting in just as much effort as they do, and always coming second to their egos.

So this gig next week (or a couple of nights ago, by the time you’re reading this) will be the last show I do for the foreseeable future.

Why should I interrupt my writing, waste time rehearsing and change my shift pattern (and other people’s) at work, when the end result is going on as people are arriving, performing my crap in front of the couple of bands at the bottom of the bill?

My time is too precious and I’ve been eating this particular shit sandwich for far too long now. It’s high time I started treating myself with the respect I accord other fuckers.

More people look things up on youtube than ever attend gigs. There’s no reason I can’t, when I have something to say, use that, from the discomfort of my own slum, instead of wasting my time, hoping that this time, things will magically be different.

cry – the birthday party

The other day, I finally found the piece I wanted to read at the full moon reunion gig last month.

I located the first draft, so I’m both rehearsing it and tidying it up.

On the downside, I can’t for the life of me remember the title!

I originally wrote it in February of 2001 in Sandie Craigie’s flat in Edinburgh’s Cowgate. We were travelling to Manchester the next morning to see Marilyn Manson. I remember having to stop about two thirds of the way through to blow my nose, I was crying so hard.

Picture me, scribbling furiously, tears running down my face, trying to breathe through a snot-filled head – and guess what, girls? He’s still single!

Even reading it to Sandie the next morning, it had the pair of us in floods of tears.

I really wanted to read this at the full moon reunion night, as it was one of the pieces from the early naughties that encapsulated all the rage and pain and despair of that period. Unfortunately, I could only find the first half of it. so I ended up updating and reading ‘another one bites the dust’ instead. which was written three years earlier, but has some of the same oomph.

one chord wonders – the adverts

The Edinburgh gig was last night. It’s far easier to be objective about the other acts I saw than it is to be about my own.

The evening was a ‘full moon reunion night’. Loads of us who’d performed at the full moon club back in the day and newer, younger acts who fitted in with the full moon ethos.

Highlights of the night, for me, were spy trips and the z-28s, but I didn’t see a single performer who horrified me – and with acts firing on, doing fifteen blistering minutes or so of whatever it is they do and off, that’s pretty good going.

The other focus of this weekend was rnr, getting a couple of days out from under the psyche of ‘dystopian’s mmc!

It’s felt pretty good, being me again for a couple of days, before I plough back into the sheer in-skull Victoriana of ‘dystopian’.

Since the gig was back-to-the-old-school, I was in my leather jacket, my ‘mummy says…’ t-shirt and I slipped an older piece (‘another one bites the dust’ from around 1997) into my modern-day set.

On stage, it certainly felt like I was partying like it was 1998.

a soldier’s things – tom waits

Of late, I’ve been looking through my old writing, some of it years old.

I got the idea after I wrote something earlier this year, based on a treatment I’d written in late 1987.

My life was pretty chaotic back-in-the-day, so it’s unsurprising these were never brought to term.

There’s short fiction that I always meant to go back and polish, outlines for novels I never found time to actually write; all the juvenalia of someone far more interested in pills, girls and spanking than the sort of discipline that has one sitting at a keyboard for hours each day!

With what I’ve learned in the last year or two, these wee gems are an absolute goldmine!

Reading Christopher Vogler’s book, ‘Mythic structure for writers’, I reckon the main reason these were never finished was that I hadn’t fully worked out the basic ideas and, although I was pregnant with the idea and fired up with enthusiasm, they simply collapsed each time under their own weight.

I’m glad now, at fifty, that I “hoarded” all this “crap” as I believe I have the bones of my next few projects here in the disorganised guddle of boxes, paper and dust.

There’s a surprising number of science fiction material here, from stray ideas I thought might come in handy to outlines or treatments of several novels.

so what – anti nowhere league

I have a performance lined up this coming Saturday and I’m trying to fit rehearsals into my already crowded schedule. What to do? What to do? I suppose common sense would dictate that I’m still at the trying-to-get-you-to-like-me stage in my career!

I’m also hampered somewhat by having the attention-span of a moth on crack, so I tend not to leave the same material in my set for any length of time. This helps with my overall boredom levels but probably doesn’t help engender familiarity in my audiences.

I recently uncovered some of my writing from the 1990s and I’m thinking of slipping in something from that era – just for old time’s sake.

The 1990s was a period of writing the way Vikings invaded villages and performing it around the UK and Europe, the way I had music in the previous decade. In other words, to very small audiences.

Plus, aw ae a sudden, it wis awright fur ivry cunt in aw yir writin ti say ‘canny’ an ‘dinny’ aw the time, ih? first time since about the time ae the thatcher election yi could say ‘cunt’ an aw.

The eighties – and political correctness – were finally dead and buried, thank fuck.

After yesterday’s relatively poor show, up today at 06:30 and by half-nine, I’m another three thousand words deeper into ‘dystopian’.

I’ve been looking forward to this sequence, I have to say. He’s arrived in a city I’ve based on Liverpool, where I used to live. So I get to mash up Maghull, Bootle, Kirkdale, Knotty Ash and the area around Moorfields station into a remix of the three-and-a-half years I spent there.

the bulls – marc almond

I’ve worked with adults with learning disabilities for around twenty years. I’m good at my job and, far more importantly, I enjoy it.

People have asked if I’ve ever used something of a service user in anything I’ve written – and the answer’s, perhaps surprisingly, yes.

A number of years ago, on the job, someone charged at me and I side-stepped easily, got him talking and de-escalated the situation as best I could.

I took the two or three seconds where I was being charged and turned that into a piece of fiction that managed to include gullibility, poverty and bullfights. that’s the only time I’ve done that.

Colleagues, on the other hand, are fair game. their eccentricities, behaviours and patterns of speech, I’ve had loads of mileage from!

A long lie until 07:30 and another two thousand words added to ‘dystopian’. I’m feeling pretty damn chuffed with myself at this – a plot knot that been hanging over the end of that scene resolved itself as I typed this morning.

I’d been worried about how someone and/or something would react to the situation I’d dreamed up, unsure whether my bullshit detector would go off like a car alarm.

I knew where the plot had to go next, but that transition lay in wait, brandishing a scimitar and daring me – in a comedy pirate voice – to fall back on cliché.

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