Monday, 26 April 2010

Dam Building

Last week I finished writing the 2nd draft of a new novel. It felt mildly satisfying so I cut loose at the weekend by busting out the ginger ale and going on some long walks with Adelle and our friend Cherry, though I suspect it needs a lot more work on it yet.

I've notched up 103,000 words on it since I left London in July 2009. It's time for a break from it.

I've been reading All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman, which was "tender", and I've also started reading Melville's Moby Dick - though, for the sake of authenticity, only in the bath. I fear it may take me a while to complete.

I've been listening to the new album by Chrome Hoof and enjoying that daft song by Professor Green that samples INXS, and which I downloaded at a cost of 99p. There seems to be some better pop music around than there does rock music at the moment

But mainly I've been dam-building down at the pond that sprung a massive leak in the prolonged sub-zero winter we just had. I've spent a month shifting rocks and tyres and weaving dead branches together in the rain, then redirecting a stream into the pond in order to get the water levels up, circulate more oxygen etc. The pond is full of fish - perch, mainly, but one or two over-sized pike aswell.

Here is how the ponds looks so far. The birds seem to be enjoying the new lease of life breathed into this otherwise neglected old mill pond.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Chain And The Gang

Last night I went to see Ian Svenonius disseminate, dismantle and subvert the "consciously satantic" constructs of rock 'n' roll with his new band Chain And The Gang.

Ian has previously played in Nation of Ulysses, Make-Up, Weird War and others, and should be on poster on walls the world over. I also recommend his book The Psychic Soviet and his TV show Soft Focus.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Help Needed

I'm struggling to come with a first name for the lead character in my current novel-in-progress. Can you help?

He was born in the north-east of England circa 1980. He is an underdog / anti-hero protagonist, to whom we - the readers - are largely sympathetic.

If your name matches one on my shortlist I may go with your suggestion. If that's the case, your options and actions will potentially change the future of literature and (hopefully) be forever immortalised in print, even if it is just on an A4 Word print-out...


As of today myself and a number of sometime music journalists on magazines such as Mojo, Kerrang! and Q are relucatantly on strike against our publishers Bauer over what we see as the attempted wholesale plundering of our freelance ownership rights.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Silly, Confusing, Factually Wrong etc.

This is a bit a silly and a bit confusing and factually wrong ('singer', 'Richie' etc)

From The Independent:

"Is Michael Moore getting too big for his boots? The film-maker behind Bowling for Columbine and Farenheit 9/11 has spent five years making a documentary about the Manic Street Preachers but will not release it unless it goes big. Now Nicky Wire, bassist of the cult Welsh band, feels it should be released without too much fuss. "He should just flog it to Sky Arts for a few grand," he told an audience at last weekend's Laugharne Weekend. "But he wants to get it into the Sundance Festival and all that." Wire was best friends with Richie Edwards, the lead singer who went missing in 1995, and is cynical about the cottage industry that has sprouted up around his death, such as the forthcoming novel called Richard by journalist Ben Myers. "I don't think he knew Richie. He's not even Welsh."

Friday, 16 April 2010

New Novel: Word Count Log

17/07/09 - 0 words

17/08/09 – 14,015

17/09/09 – 23,837

17/10/09 - 29,826

17/11/09 – 51,401 (it was dark and wet, a good month)

17/12/09 – 66,322

17/01/10 – 71,993 (including heavy editing, 'lazy hedonistic Christmas period', birthday, short-lived cannabis relapse)

17/02/10 – 79,205

17/03/10 – 87,239

17/04/10 – 101,388

Current working title: '--- ----'

Monday, 12 April 2010

'Richard': Advance Notices

Out in the alternative reality of 'internet forums', Richard appears to be provoking quite an online discussion amongst Manic Street Preachers fans. The novel is currently dividing opinion down the middle - strange, give it is not published for another 6 months yet.

Here are some choices advance notices:

"I imagine the author is just going to come across as a pretentious loser, I can't even imagine this book being well written and realistic. I will, however, almost certainly buy it."

"It's embarassingly poor."

"I think that neither the medium nor the book of Ben Myers [sic] deserve another word."

"The pictures on the cover are well fit."

"This makes me incredibly uncomfortable."

"The fact that this guy is an unknown doesn't mean he couldn't write a great book, surely."

"Would buy."

"I should perhaps reserve judgement on it until reading it, but to be honest I'd rather not waste my time."

"....I like the concept, I think."

" I'll probably flick through it in Waterstones at some point"

"If i read it i can imagine it being the sort of book that would just make me angry."

"Oh dear."

"The only thing i'm interested in this book is if they have included pictures. "

"There is the possibility of it being totally respectful or vice versa. I think it's unfair to say it's 'crossing the line' just because it's fictionalised."

"I would never say something so silly that Myers is lazy, unprofessional and/or the kind of awful journalist that should be resigned to work at the Gulag of weekly newspapers in dead-own towns like Whitehaven. However, I will say he's a fucking cunt."

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Message From The Country

Click here for my latest 'picture postcard column' for Caught By The

Thursday, 8 April 2010


* The Brutalists feature in the first issue of Aspidistra magazine, out now. We have three poems in there.

* I intend to finally read Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

* And also Sick City by (fellow Brutalist) Tony O'Neill.

* As of tomorrow I am officially a non-resident of London (though I moved out 10 months ago).

* My dog Cliff has had his knackers chopped off. 'Guilt'.

* Current working title of new novel: '--- ----'

* Current word count of new novel: 98,301.

* Feelings about new novel: hopeful, slightly fatigued, confusion about how it will end.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Liberation Theology

I lost my internet connection for a
day or two and it felt liberating.

Monday, 5 April 2010


I've been on my annual trip to the Lake District with my family, and managed to climb a couple of mountains in the 48 hours I was there. Most notably a trek up to Angle Tarn, near Patterdale.

I also write this piece on The Doors for The Guardian.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter Wander

I think I'll go for a bit of a walk for a few days.

Novel-in-progress: update

92,897 words.

211 pages

(single spaced, Times New Roman, 13 point).