Friday, 29 May 2009

'Caught By The River - A Collection of Words on Water'

I've mentioned this collection before - and now it is out to buy....

(Taken from

Caught By The River - A Collection of Words on Water

Compiled and Edited by Jeff Barrett, Robin Turner and Andrew Walsh

From the Thames to the Telford, the Wear to the Wellsbourne; from canoe adventures to iceskating, from angling to day-dreaming, Caught by the River is an exceptional new take on nature writing. Here, the writers take you on a journey down some of our most famous waterways and some of its best kept secrets. Funny, surprising, delightful and poignant, they all share one thing – a passion for the rivers of Britain and Ireland.

The result is a uniquely modern take on an age old writing tradition – a rock ‘n’ rock nature book even. The authors, many acclaimed and the rest soon to be, each contribute to a collection of writing as varied and unexpected as the rivers themselves. This evocative anthology of the best new nature writing is presented in a collection of essays on some of our favourite rivers, covering the entire length of the country. A diverse collection of authors share their thoughts, experiences and reminiscences on the river that means the most to them.

Contributors include Gavin Pretor-Pinney who retraces a canoe trip his grandfather made 60 years ago, Roger Deakin writes about the history of ice skating in the fens, Jon Savage describes a trip down the Thames with Derek Jarman, Irvine Welsh recounts the courtship rituals witnessed by the River Forth, plus there are many more contributors including Bill Drummond, Edywn Collins, John Niven, Jarvis Cocker, and Chris Yates to name a few.

Born out of the eponymous angling and culture website Caught by the River (run by the book’s editors Jeff Barrett, Robin Turner & Andrew Walsh, each of whom works at Heavenly Recordings), this book explores many of the nation’s favourite waterways - alongside some of its unspoilt gems - our fascination with the countryside and our national identities and what it means to be truly ‘caught by the river’.

Publication date: 16th June 2009
Price: £17.99
Format: Hardback.
Published by Cassell Illustrated, part of the Octopus Group.


Sue Clifford and Angela King are co-founders of Common Ground, a charity distinguished by the linking of nature with culture and authors of ‘England in Particular’ and ‘The Apple Scource Book’

Jon Berry is the author of the critically-acclaimed A Can of Worms, his second book, A Train to Catch, will be published in 2009.

Frank Cottrell Boyce is a British screenwriter, novelist and actor. His work includes the screenplays for ‘Welcome to Sarajevo’ and ‘Twenty Four Hour Party People’ and the books ‘Framed’ and ‘Cosmic’.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney is the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society and author of the bestselling Cloudspotter’s Guide. He is a co-founder of The Idler.

Chris Watson is the UK’s leading wildlife and nature sound recordist. He was a founder member of Cabaret Voltaire.

Kevin Pearce is the editor of Your Heart Out online fanzine and the author of Something Beginning with O, published by Heavenly.

Laura Barton writes for The Guardian. Her first novel is due to be published in 2010.

Roger Deakin is the author of Waterlog, Wildwood and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. He is sadly no longer with us but remains an inspiration.

Irvine Welsh is the author of Trainspotting, Marabou Stork Nightmares, Filth and Crime.

Peter Kirby is a writer and artist.

Edwyn Collins is a songwriter and musician and former singer of Orange Juice, Grace Maxwell is his wife and manager. Grace’s book about life after Edwyn’s stroke is published by Ebury this Summer.

John Niven is the author of Kill Your Friends and The Amateurs.

John Moore was a member of the Jesus and Mary Chain, and now a member of Black Box Recorder.

John Andrews (of Arcadia) is a regular contributor to Caught by the River. His work can also be read in the magazine Waterlog.

Bob Stanley is a music writer and founder member of pop group Saint Etienne.

Jude Rogers is a writer for The Guardian and co-founder of the magazine Smoke: A London Peculiar.

Matthew De Abaitua is the author of The Red Men, nominated for the 2008 Arthur C Clarke Award.

Jemma Kennedy is the author of the novel Skywalking and co-founder of ‘Kitchen Sink Dramas’.

Hannah Hamilton is a writer. She runs the Inchbeg Fly Fishing School.

Kathryn Williams is a singer-songwriter. Her second album earned her a Mercury Prize nomination. Her new one should too.

Bill Drummond was one half of the pop group KLF and famously burnt a million pounds. He is the author of 45 and 17.

Jarvis Cocker is a former member of Pulp. He is now a successful solo artist with a new album out this Spring.

Dexter Petley is a regular contributor to Caught by the River and the author of four novels.

Karl Hyde is one half of Underworld, a writer and a creative partner in Tomato.

Chris Yates is the UK’s foremost angling writer and a patron saint of Caught by the River.

Jon Savage is the author of Teenage and the definitive history of punk England’s Dreaming.

Paul Kingsnorth is a journalist and environmental campaigner. He is the author of Real England.

Peregrine Eliot, 10th Earl of St Germans, is co-founder of the Port Eliot Literary Festival.

J. W. Martin (Trent Otter) is one of angling literature’s best-loved writers. His book ‘My Fishing Days and Ways’- first published in 1905 and still in print - is a genuine classic of the genre.

Roy Wilkinson is UK Official Archivist for the rock group British Sea Power.

Ben Myers is a poet and novelist.

Mathew Clayton has worked in book publishing, and grew up just outside Brighton.

Kurt Jackson has a distinguished career spanning almost thirty years as an artist and environmentalist.

Alice Oswald was named as one of the Poetry Book Society’s ‘Next Generation’ poets. Her poem Dart – from which we run an extract – is a big favourite of Caught by the River.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Long Distance Lemon

As mentioned I'm moving to the countryside next week - a few people have asked why I am leaving London. Having given it some thought I think the main reason for leaving my home city for the past twelve years is because this is the view from what will be my office.

"My living in Yorkshire was so far out of the way, that it was eleven miles away from a lemon" - Sydney Smith (clergyman, essayist, wit)

Friday, 22 May 2009

"I like it."

My friend Mike, a semi-regular face on this blog,
just made the world's cheapest music video.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Moving to the country...

...gonna eat a lot of peaches.

After twelve years living in London
my tenure in the city draws to a close. A greener, more rural - and hopefully cheaper - existence beckons in Yorkshire.

I'm going back to the north
from whence I came. I'm relocating in the middle of June, I think.

If you know me personally, or I am on your
mailing lists, by all means get in touch and I can provide new contact details. You are, of course, welcome to pop in for a cup of tea.

(PS - Here is
a piece I have just written for The Guardian)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Dwang: Issue #1 - out now

Dwang is an excellent new lavishly produced fiction/poetry anthology in book form. It is edited/produced by South London dude Michael Curran, proprietor of Tangerine Press. I have a poem in it. Here are some details, reprinted from their website.

(I've taken the liberty of highlighting some of my own particular favourite contributors...)

Dwang: issue one -- out now!

Previously unpublished poetry, prose, graphics. Published May 2009. Features new writing and graphics from up to fifty contributors: Dan Fante, Douglas Blazek, Billy Childish, Edward Lucie-Smith, John Hartley Williams, Charles Plymell, Salena Godden, Wes Magee, David Barker, Hugh Fox, Alan Dent, Ian Seed, Steve Richmond, Gerald Locklin, Jim Burns, Idris Caffrey, Peter Finch, Geoff Hattersley, Fred Voss, Tim Wells, Laurel Ann Bogen, K.M. Dersley, Mike Daily, Adrian Manning, Rob Plath, K.V. Skene, Christopher Twigg, Barry Southam, Lindsay Smith, Kirsty Irving, Dileep Bagnall, A.D. Winans, Tony O'Neill, Trevor Reeves, Ben Myers, Adelle Stripe, Simon Kovesi, Whitney Woolf, Stuart Crutchfield, Richard Lopez, Jonathan Hayes. Graphics from Yasmin Ramli, Phil Corbett and Hannah Battershell. Photography by Jonny Illingworth. Includes a never before published William Wantling poem.

ISBN: 978-0-9553402-3-9

This issue is dedicated to the memory of William Wantling.

View photos here.

Numbered/Lettered copies: 106 pages.

The technical stuff: Large format, approx. 7"/175mm wide x 250mm/10" tall. Handbound in boards at the Tangerine Press workshop, using acid-free papers and boards, conservation glue, hemp cord; Colorado Plate Mid Grey cloth; distinctive Tangerine logo stamped onto the front cover in black ink; 3-page 'stepped' 160gsm Canson Mi-Tientes front endpapers--the page colours being Rust, Poppy Red and Royal Blue; 160gsm Canson Mi-Tientes Rust back endpapers; 85gsm Off-White Fabriano Bio Prima archival quality acid-free text paper. Two full colour images are printed on 118gsm White Mohawk Superfine paper. Published in an edition of 100 numbered copies and 26 lettered copies. Body text set in Baskerville Old Face--three other classic fonts are used throughout the journal. Lettered copies have been signed by Douglas Blazek.

This first issue of Dwang, dedicated as it is to Wantling, is particularly special as it contains new work from Douglas Blazek and Steve Richmond, both important figures in the US small press who had regular contact with Wantling during the 1960s.

The following are exclusive to Dwang:

Full colour reproduction of an image by Bristol-based artist and animator Yasmin Ramli on 118gsm White Mohawk Superfine paper. Yasmin's most recent project was an animated sequence for the BBC. Find out more at

Full colour reproduction of a photograph by Jonny Illingworth on 118gsm White Mohawk Superfine paper. Jonny has a joint exhibition coming up this June at the Viewfinder Gallery, Greenwich. S.E. London.

Phil Corbett's Hex Directory b&w comic strip, complete with prequel. Phil's most recent exhibition was Erotic Terrors of the Deep: Paintings and Prints from the Brain of Phil Corbett at the Bodhi Gallery in London's Brick Lane. Think cute, funny, dark, disturbing... Take a look at

Unique 'Dwang readers' created by Hannah Battershell. Hannah is a self-taught artist who's distinctive images have most recently.

Available to buy from:
Or from Amazon.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Man Of Aran and more

It's no great secret that I'm a big fan of British Sea Power. In fact they are possibly the only current band operating within the boundaries of what can loosely be termed - jings - 'indie rock' who I actually never tire of.

Nor is it any great secret that I like fishing, the British countryside, fake tweed and the more remote corners of the British isles. Handily for me, all these passions are combined in Man Of Aran (pictured below) British Sea Power's new/alternative soundtrack to the 1934 film of the same name. It was a record that could have almost been made for the geek in me. Naturally I had to review it. So I did. For The Quietus. You can read it here.

I've also been thinking about the most prolific artists in music. Who are they? Miles Davis? Mark E. Smith? Bo Diddley? Billy Childish? You can find out by going to my Guardian blog on such matters. It's here.

I also just interviewed the best punk band on the planet right now. That would be Gallows, but you can't click a link to read it. You have to go buy it.

And finally, my other favourite current band The King Blues have done this great clip for the BBC's poetry season. Click here to see frontman Itch reading some Byron.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Waiting for the great British Gypsy novel

As spring eases into summer one can't help but think about what lies beyond one's immediate surroundings. With the sun comes the urge to travel. In late May last year I was high up in the Yorkshire Dales watching small convoys of travelling families as they slowly made their way across the moors into Cumbria to converge on the town of Appleby for the annual horse fair – and the start of the roaming season for Gypsies.

To my city-tired eyes it was reassuring to watch a 400-year-old ritual still being adhered too. Seeing the ornate Gypsy vardos parked at the roadside while their owners watered and fed their horses, still days away from the horse fair, certainly appealed to the romantic in me – and the literature lover too.

Read on...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

I'm quite tired of modernity.

Friday, 8 May 2009

My Stupid Face

The editors of the forthcoming anthology Hyperkinetic - High Velocity Tales From The Inner City have done an interview with me on their new blog.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Please Note: "Ben Myers Has Sold Out"

Sam Jordison has written a great account of the aforementioned Recession Session reading / piss-up / gathering of the literary underworld. You can read it here.

I've been observing the recession with interest. I've been enjoying a holiday from worrying about money, not because I suddenly have any but because it seems the rest of the society is being dragged down my level. For ten years now I have never known how I am going to survive from week to week, yet somehow I get by. I sell things. I hustle work. I'm lucky.

And I've been writing. Check out this months' Bizarre magazine for an interview on body modification performer group Psycho Cyborgs.

I've also written the official biographies for the new Enter Shikari, Gallows and Marmaduke Duke albums - all out this month. That they happen to be three of the best rock albums of 2009 is what they call the cherry on the cake. The word cake.

(And, yes, I know I have the musical tastes of a fifteen year old).

I've also been writing for a very successful sportswear company. I shall write about how I have sold out in more detail at a later date.

I wrote 'Ben Myers has sold out' into Google image search and this is what came up.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Poem For The Bank Holiday Weekend


Shit -

Keith died.


just heard.


did that happen?

I know:

liver failure.


Christ man.

He was only 37 -

if that.


too young.

People always seem

to die in January,

(people always seem

to die.)

What do I remember?

A rehearsal room

A studio,

a stage. A smile.

A sex shop

in Soho.

A dressing room

at Glastonbury.

A look of bemusement

in Wolverhampton.

I remember Camden Town,

the 1990s.