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News and utter nonsense

8 Aug


It’s been over a year since I wrote on this blog. A whole year. In that time I have been writing, a bit, but I was also blocked for a good portion of it. Have recently been a lot more productive and finally seem to be getting back on track.

At the moment I’m about one or two stories away from a new collection of shorts called (Slight Return). The story I had out in Litro last year – Werner Herzog Gets Shot – is in it, as are two more stories I have coming out in the next couple of months. I’ve had one called Metal Machine Music accepted by The Skylark Review and this will be out in November. I’ve also had a story called 100% / Serpents accepted by Drunk Monkeys, and this will be out soon too (date to be confirmed). More details to follow on these when I have them.

In the meantime I thought I’d post up some nonsense I’ve been playing about with. The story behind this is that I set myself the challenge of writing a sci-fi piece and I started on a story as a bit of a joke which was framed as a screen-play pitch. The sci-fi part was the film being pitched. But it turned out that bit was better than I expected it to be, so I dropped the whole pitch idea and started writing it seriously. So what I’ve been left with are these shitty film ideas that I put together and I had so much fun writing them I thought I’d stick them here. The very fact that one of them led to a semi-decent idea means I’ll probably keep doing it, but for now I have these:

  1. The Matrix meets Billy Elliot. But instead of about dancing, it’s about a musical prodigy in a digital age. (Believe it or not, this has become my story Dead Cities and it’s not as shit as it sounds, well not quite as shit as it sounds).
  2. Terminator meets Forest Gump. All the main historical events of the past are being controlled by a group of Anarchists in the future. That’s why everything seems so random. Henry VIII, he’s a cyborg. Napoleon, Lee Harvey Oswald, Ed Balls: all cyborgs. Sent back with the sole purpose of creating chaos.
  3. Avatar meets American History X. A genetically engineered skin head is controlled by FBI agents to infiltrate a group of Neo Nazis.
  4. Alien meets Footloose. Rogue Nanobots take over the people of a small town. They create replicas of people from their own tissue and the copies burst out of chests and do weird shit (though probably not teaching others how to dance).

Werner Herzog in Litro 136

7 Jul

As promised, link to the latest issue of Litro which has my story ‘Werner Herzog Gets Shot’ in it: Litro 136 – Music

More inane ramblings to follow later. Too tired tonight to add much else…

New Material

24 Jun

Just some shameless self-promotion really, for the spambots that target my blog and anyone else who may or may not still check in despite me neglecting the thing massively for months…

My first new material for ages, ‘Werner Herzog Gets Shot’, is going to be in July’s edition of Litro Magazine. More info to follow I guess, maybe a link if it goes on their website as well as in the magazine.

Comments now welcome on how to increase my penis size or collect the parcel I never ordered from UPS. Cheap Canadian meds? My favourite. Tax Refund? Only as long as I can stop the bank account I never opened from being suspended first.

7″ Fiction Prototype

26 Mar

After a bit of messing about over the weekend, the first 7″ Fiction prototype exists. It was done on my crappy printer as opposed to my decent office one (which needs new ink), but this is essentially what it looks like:

I’m having a logistical problem with the staples. But that will be resolved tomorrow when the cheap long arm stapler I got from eBay arrives. The hardest part was getting the front and back labels to align so the A Side and B Side both show through the paper sleeve. Anyway, it’s looking ok so almost ready to go into production for my first limited run of ten.

Actually, there are still one or two margin issues to sort out too. I think the bottom margin needs to be a bit bigger.

7″ Fiction – Update

16 Mar

First limited run of 7″ fiction will be 10 copies of It’s a Shame about Evan Dando (B-Side Instrumental), the number of the run determined by the number of sleeves I’ve just bought on EBay:

I was originally going to put them into plain white paper sleeves, but after searching around for a pack of these and finding some original ones on sale for around the same price, I changed my mind.

These won’t be for sale though. I’m putting them together to take around with me to any readings I do over the next couple of months. If anyone wants one, they can have one. Most people probably won’t…

What this does mean though is that every piece of writing in the series (am planning on doing up to about 9 or 10 over time) will be in a different sleeve. Which actually, I like the idea of. Exciting times. Just need to get the booklets printed now and we’re away.

Bad Language in Manchester

29 Feb

I’m reading tonight at the Bad Language open mic in Manchester. Looking forward to it, despite feeling like shit with this goddamn cold I picked up from my daughter. Castle Hotel, 7.30 – be good to hear some of the people read who were at the New Libertines event last month. Clare Conlon and Fat Roland in particular.

Happy Birthday Richard Brautigan

30 Jan

I thought I should do a post on Richard Brautigan as 30th January is indeed his birthday. However, I couldn’t think of a goddamn thing to say. Having spent so long writing stuff about him, I’m all out of ideas. So I’m going to cheat. This is instead an extract from my thesis – a section I haven’t put up on the blog which deals with his engagement with autobiography:

…in his writing, intellectual digression and sensual interpretation are geared towards the representation of a consciousness in transit. The scenerios and narratives of his novels, the imagery and physical stimuli of his poems, are secondary to the manner in which the narrator or the authorial voice perceives and rationalises. The device is bared at all times: “expressing a human need, I always wanted to write a book that ended with the word Mayonnaise” (Trout 10). Brautigan inhabits a synchronously self-aware and disposable world, a riotous landscape of evocative symbols that trigger the processes in his mind which become his primary source of interest. How these symbols manifest themselves is purely arbitrary: they can be anything from an umbrella or a seagull to an airport terminal. Terence Malley categorises this technique as a “fascination with everything and anything”, “a lack of proportion” (87), but it is a much more significant feature of Brautigan’s writing than this suggests. As Bokinsky asserts, it is more an illustration of the cognitive method itself – Brautigan “looks at life in terms of analogies”, “one form of experience, or one particular observation, is like something else” (97). Cross-reference is how he, and how we all, “impose […] order on the world’s chaos […] giving meaning to the meaningless” (97). The author’s sensory inhibition represents, in fact, an attempt to redefine the concepts of the autobiographical or impersonal text, to challenge the very purpose of the written form itself.

Brautigan’s work, when taken as a whole, is entirely autobiographical, but in the truest sense of the term. The texts do not recount the events of his life in a linear or synchronous manner, but engage the reader instead with the very fabric of the author’s awareness: how it engages with the physical world, how it assimilates the information being fed to it via its senses, and how it constructs meaning from this raw data through an application of previous experience and knowledge. Elements of the author’s own past emerge as he brings these preconceptions into play and strives to impose order to this haphazard stream of consciousness. Because these elements are never explicitly rationalised, however, they retain a distinctly disembodied character which is entirely in keeping with the objectivity inherent in Brautigan’s model of perception. In essence, his novels are all autobiographies of the present tense in which the personal history of their author is but an indistinguishable element in the much more elaborate fabric of concurrent awareness. It is therefore difficult to find the validity in Terence Malley’s assertion that Brautigan is “curiously elusive” (18), when in fact he seems anything but. “I was about seventeen” claims the narrator of ‘1/3, 1/3, 1/3′, “I was about seventeen and made lonely and strange by that Pacific Northwest of so many years ago” (Revenge 10). He does not elaborate on what exactly it was about the Pacific Northwest that made him this way, but the reasons do not matter in the context of what the author is trying to convey here. Consciousness exists only in the present: it may recall previous instances of its existence, previous present moments that it has moved through and beyond, but these are no more than mere components in the myriad of influences that inform its current state of being. It is this astounding convergence of impulses and interpretations that constitute the current moment that interests Brautigan. For him, this is the essence of the human condition that must be set down and expressed, and quickly before it passes, “so the wind won’t blow it all away” like so much “dust” (So 49).


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