Thursday, 31 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
* My good lady Adelle won Poetry Book Of The Year 2009 in 3:AM Magazine. Congratulations to her and also to her (and also for one poetry book, mine too) publisher Blackheath Books for winning Publisher of The Year.
* The final edit of my novel Richard is done. More news on its publication to follow in 2010.
* So Rage Against The Machine went No. 1 in the UK (see below). How very odd. And funny. I first saw them play in 1993, met them in 2000 and have interviewed them at various times for various publications since.
* It's the winter equinox. Half way through the day I walked up a big hill in the snow. Walked for an hour until I was sweating and breathless and the light painted the sky salmon pink and the sky painted the snow right back and the sweat patches turned to sheets of salt on my back.
Friday, 18 December 2009
And the final word on the whole Rage Against The Machine
vs The X Factor battle for the Christmas #1 goes to...me.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
I've been engaged in discussions over the prospective cover for Richard. I've been canvasing opinions on the prospective cover for Richard. Feedback has been positive and constructive. I am sitting on the fence. The fence has the word INDECISION cruedly painted on it, and I am a cat.
On either side of the fence is a garden. One of the gardens is in bloom. It is beautiful. In the other garden long weeds are growing around a rusty washing machine. There's dog shit everywhere and there's a boy with no top on, scowling.
He's only about twelve but he's smoking a joint and throwing stones at me, on the fence. Now he has gone inside and come back outside into the garden with some sellotape, a lighter and a strange look in his eye, and I'm worried. But I just sit here on the fence anyway and wait to see what will happen.
The fence is a metaphor and it smells of creosote.
Fortunately I like the smell of creosote.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Intuitively reacting to the incoming cold, and possibly in an unconscious attempt to blend in with my current surroundings (buying chopped logs from woodsmen, cohabiting with a small dog, striding forth across the hills, taking sartorial cues from wood-cut drawings of hermits, 'etc'), I've not shaved for two months.
I'd say it was an immensely liberating experience had it not put about twenty years and 5lbs around the jaw-line on me.
Friday, 11 December 2009
I really enjoyed reading Luke Turner's interview for The Quietus with my new favourites Wild Beasts, in which bassist Tom Fleming discusses life in a northern town - specifically Kendal in Cumbria, a place I know reasonably well.
"I think there's a Yorkshire gothic and a Lancashire gothic and I think there's a Lake District gothic as well. It's the weather, the landscape, the buildings, the way people are, and the way the light comes in, and how people live their lives. I'm talking about Blake's satanic mills, but a different aspect, the huge hills encroaching on you, pale people with huge arms watching their sheep. It was there in the Lake District poets, and in the same way as stuff like Burial is south London gothic, you take from where you are. Wild Beasts are Lakeland gothic, sometimes."
(You can read the full piece here).
I found it particularly prescient as a number of points raised seems relevent to a literary project that I recently embarked upon. It's a massive undertaking (in my head at least) and I don't want to say too much about it in case it never comes to fruition or ends up languishing in obscurity like so many of my previous attempts.
However, I will say that in addition to editing Richard for publication (I'm now on the 4th edit...) I have been working on the new project every day for 5 months now and enthusiasm has yet to wane.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Shadows & Reflections - Ben Myers
365 days of rain and mud and fires and writing and walking and squinting at a horizon we’ve spent out whole lives pursuing. And finally we got there.
2009 was the year that I did all those things you talk about doing but don’t because you’re either too lazy or busy or broke or often just reluctant to embrace for fear of letting go of all that you know – or maybe just appearing too middle aged. Too uncool.
The dreams of the past few years were a sign: dreams of people-less places and shacks in the woods. Of bivouacs and foliage. Of undulating heaths and broad orange skies. The underlying message was implicit: you need to get away from the crowds. You need to stop looking over your shoulder. London is not the centre of the world.So we left the capital behind and moved to rural Yorkshire, into a house older than any in America...
Read the full article here.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
I've been doing a bit of writing stuff for NME. Interviewing some new bands for 2010. I've been interviewing porn stars for Bizarre magazine. I've been writing some advertising copy for the-huge-multinational-company-that-cannot-be-named (well it can, but I'm not going to). I've been listening to music by Frankie & The Heartstrings, Creature With The Atom Brain, Donovan and lots of old British hardcore. I went to see Gay For Johnny Depp play York Fibbers too.
I have been scavenging for dead wood to heat the house.
I just read that Pan MacMillan have signed Jeffrey Archer, which means we are now part of the same publishing stable.
And I've been hanging out with Cliff.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Two weeks ago I chopped the tip of one of my fingers off into a pan of vegetable soup that I was making. And left it in for added flavour.
Two days ago I stabbed myself in the hand with a knife, point first. I could see a bit of fat and muscle.
This morning I knocked over a cactus and got a hand full of spikes so small I can't even see them to pluck them out. Then ten minutes later I did it again.
I type this very delicately.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
The notebook is a simple school exercise book with a mustard yellow cover, blue lines and a pink margin, which I bought for 30p some time ago and have just found on a shelf buried beneath a pile of useless things I’ve acquired – headless dolls, stolen forks, cheap plastic trinkets, elastic band balls and so forth. The usual, useless ephemera of an existence.
In the notebook is a list of particularly memorably-named
I liked the sound of these places and felt they should be noted down in case I ever needed to tell someone about them, places with names that evoke an image or roll off the tongue or just sound plain funny. Some sound mysterious beyond belief, others so poetic Wordsworth himself incorporated them into his works like they were colourful living, breathing characters of his rural community which, in a way, they were.
And now seems the time to unveil the list as if it were marble monument carved sometime ago but that has lain under tarpaulin every since, just waiting for the right time to be presented to the public.
Are you ready? Here it is.
I now declare this list officially open:
The Great Tongue