Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A Startled Donkey

I feel like I should be making more of this blog, but sometimes I look at it and think 'Nah'. I mean, I spend my whole day writing anyway - why give it all away for free?

Anyway, my RSI has been playing up something rotten.

I've written a novel which I'm waiting to "hear back about". If it fails I shall reconsider my place in the world - I can't keep writing books that people never get to see. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

I've been thinking about this quote a lot recently.
Einstein should be listened to.

I also worry that this blog it is turning into a Hornby-esque world of lists. I'm really not like Nick Hornby. Honestly. If I worked in a second hand record shop I'd be nice to people, instead of a rude cunt like a lot of the people I'm currently selling hundreds of my crappy late 90s Britpop and awful early 90s metal CDs to for 20p a pop.

Needs must.

Also: I have no intention to sign up to Twitter. I feel like I share enough of my boring details as it is. If I do, please remind me of this moment. No one cares about what I had for lunch.

(It's usually a cheese sandwich).

I'm going for lots of runs around the park.
Listening to the birdsong.
Appreciating the free things in life.

OK, back to the business of the usual indulgent list-type stuff.

A forthcoming anthology that I have contributed a story too has a blog. The anthology is called Hyperkinetic: High Velocity Tales From The Inner City and will be published by Phoenix Publishing. The blog is here.

Free music that I have been sent is currently running at 88.4% shit. Boring indie. Boring rock. Bad pop. The usual must-try-harder mediocre desparados. However, I have been enjoying (perhaps predictably):

The Mars Volta - Octahedron
Enter Shikari - Common Dreads (I just wrote the official bio for this - good people)
Various - Mojo's Island Folk Compilation
British Sea Power - Man Of Aran
Burial - Untrue
Weird War - Weird War
Gallows - Grey Britain

Plus lots of the usual reggae and folk.

I've been doing some writing for Mojo, The Guardian, Shortlist, Bizarre, plus some other projects.

I've also been reading round the clock. Some books I have been reading, or am about to read, or have been sent include:

Junot Diaz - Drown
John Robb - The North Shall Rise Again
Paul Arden - Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite
Jon Hotten - Unlicensed (Random Notes From Boxing's Underbelly)
Will Hodgkinson - The Ballad Of Britain
Various - Punk Fiction: An Anthology Of Short Fiction Inspired By Punk
Paddy Monaghan - Street Fighting Man

Some other stuff.

I feel like I should say "something literary" at this point. Something that might suggest I'm something other than pop culture junkie, watermlon addict and part-time idiot.

No. I can't think of anything. OK, that'll do for now.

Here's a picture that I came up when I did a Google image search on the word 'picture'.
It appears to be of a startled donkey.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Off Beat / Brutalist Generation

Joseph Ridgwell has posted a montage film clip of last week's Recession Session gathering/reading piss-up in London, a summit of sorts featuring key members of The Offbeat Generation - Chris Killen, Lee Rourke, Melissan Mann, Paul Ewen, Darren Anderson, Christiana Spens, Melissa Mann, Will Ashon, Tom McCarthy, Daren King, Stewart Home, Tim Wells, Steve Finbow - plus many, many more DIY publisher types including Blackheath Books, Beat The Dust and Tangerine...all are great writers/outlets, worthy of anyone's patronage.

You can watch it here.

Meanwhile Off-Beat mainman Andrew Gallix has been interviewed by Heroin Love Songs about these latest literary shenanigans - you can read some info about it here, or read it in full here.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

An article on Touch & Go Records for The Guardian

Alternative rock may forever be associated with Nirvana and their early-90s grunge contemporaries, but for many the best music – the really good music – came years before the Seattle trio signed to a major label. And Kurt Cobain would be the first to acknowledge that Chicago's Touch and Go Records was key to this process. In fact, without the inspiration of label's artists, it's likely Nirvana would never have happened.

In the 30 years since its inauspicious beginnings as a hardcore-punk magazine – it officially became a label when Necros bassist Corey Rusk came on board in 1981 – Touch and Go's oeuvre has been largely concerned with all things abrasive, discordant, aggressive, awkward and confrontational. And in supporting such wilfully non-commercial music, they illuminated an array of brilliant bands that might not have enjoyed the success or acclaim of Nirvana, but shone just as brightly.

Read on....

Monday, 20 April 2009

JG Ballard Remembered

JG Ballard is sadly no longer with us.

To mark his passing I've written a
piece for The Guardian about his
influence upon music throughout
the years. You
can read it right here.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


I had a nice holiday
near the mountains
by the water
up the cliffs
on the grass
in the woods.

John Madera has interviewed me
about my Top 10 favourite novellas.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Please Note

I've stepped out
for some fresh air;
back next week.

"We want to mix politics and sex...and look brilliant on stage"

Manic Street Preachers are set to release a new album.

I loved the Manics unreservedly from 1990 to about 1996 and they are responsible for turning me onto to many a great writer - Miller, Mishima and the like. During that period they were, for me, that once in a generation band. My Beatles, my Clash, my Smiths. The band who inspired total devotion; the band who taught more than any A-levels ever could.

Lyrics for the new album were written by Richey Edwards (below), a man who I shall be writing more about over the coming months.

In the meantime if John Niven's official biog is anything to go by, it sounds like the (incoming cliche alert) return to form that we, the once pale-faced young waifs of the early 90s who have now grown into stout thirty-somethings, have been hoping for.

Here's a clip from round about the time I got into the Manics.

Monday, 6 April 2009

City Foxes Don't Give A Fuck

This fox slept on the table of my back garden all morning,
raising its head only to sneer at me with, at best, a look of
general disdain and, at worst, one of complete indifference.

Good Good Things: April 2009

Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas
And The Worm Forgives The Plough by John Stewart Collis
Beg, Steal Or Borrow by Spencer Honniball
The Witness by Juan Jos Saer

Man of Aran
by British Sea Power
Less Deep Inside Keeps by Soulside
Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld by The Orb
Black Market by Weather Report
Old Money by Omar Rodriguez Lopez

The return of watermelon season (and watermelon art - below).
The first fishing of the year / impending Easter road trip.
The King Blues new video.
Caught By The River at the Port Eliot festival.
The new free outdoor gymnasium and skatepark on Peckham Rye common.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A Lost 90s Classic

'(You're Not My) Babylon by These Animal Men, from 1994.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

"Life: It's A Slow Death, But I Like It"

As someone who sometimes gets asked to write an opinion about music - though I still don't know why - I currently get between 30 - 60 bands contacting me per week (and have done for a decade now. Christ, that's more than 15,000 bands....).

I can't lie: my own research indicates shows that 44% of them are average, 55% are shit and about 1% evoke excitement. Dead Kids are in that 1%. That's why I'm pleased they have a new single coming out. Here is some information about it, lifted straight from their official blurb.

Dead Kids'
new single ‘Snakes’ opens with
"Ah life, it’s a slow death but I like it" and encapsulates the spirit of a band that operates more like a terrorist organisation, spreading its joy and fear to the UK underground. This is the search for satisfaction, the battle of good vs evil within and the desire for the abatement of anxiety in times of loss and confusion. Every show is their party. A chaos of sweat and tears and big, big smiles. Blood on the dance floor.

Dead Kids are currently recording their debut LP, entitled 'The Lost Album’ scheduled for release in the autumn of 2009 on their own Sparrow’s Tear label.

Says singer Mike Title: "The children need saving. They need something to believe in. We run counter to the bland, the posturing and the lame. We are not on your posters, on your TV sets or in your mouthwash but we are here to be your Daddy and to make sure you have a nice little sleep. As the sun comes up you will be smiling again. You know where to find us."

And here's a quick interview with singer Mike Tit(le).
He speaks good French for a hooligan from Ilford.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


I think I might write a
book about Britain's greatest
living actor, Danny Dyer.