Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bend It

I'm not doing a good job of blogging. I know, I know, I know. Blame it on the world cup. I'm also trying to get a new novel together and it's occupying my thoughts rather. I will blog something soon. Honest. Maybe. No. I mean yes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

There are not really explosive kegs between my legs

...just in case you were wondering. I mean, I haven't posted for over a week, and for all you know I might have blown myself up, with those dangerous kegs nestled down there.

Did you know that I live between the M5 motorway and the Malvern Hills? Look out one side of the house and you see the snaking panorama of those hills. The other, and it's the motorway. I consider this of significance. The M5 motorway is the main arterial road that takes you from Cornwall to Birmingham (that is to say, from heaven to hell). The Malvern Hills are like the last ramparts between the East and the West (or England and Wales, if you're looking at an old map). They inspired Elgar to write all that music. You look at them and you just know there is some kind of energy inside them. People who live on them... believe me, there are some strange people up there (especially in West Malvern). There's a theory that the hills inspire creativity (see Elgar), but if you get too close, you get madness.

Just East of them there used to be Powick Hospital, which for years was called Worcester Pauper Lunatic Asylum. My mum worked there when she was young and, going by the stories she's told me, it was exactly what you imagine (eg: escaped madmen roaming the countryside). Was it such a good idea to put them all so close to those hills? Maybe not. Then again, perhaps all those crazies who live on the hills are just the escapees they never found?

I live at just a nice distance from them hills, ta very much. The M5 motorway, I dunno what that inspires. It's nice to see though, all those stressed commuters stuck in that time/space warp while I'm chilling in my back garden with a beer and a book.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

There are explosive kegs between my legs

I seem to be forever posting here just to knock off the last post, which has become embarrassing. (For the record, I don't wear those trainers with those trousers usually. I was just... ah, never mind.) Anyway, the new issue of BULLET magazine is now out there and raising hell, like a class when the school bell rings. Issue #6 features stories by Ray Banks, Al Guthrie, Chris Morrow, and many others. I officially declare BULLET the best fiction mag in Britain. I strongly urge you, dear lover of sweet lies on the page, to go and buy it (or place an order). The mag has style, the mag has grace, Rita Hayworth gave good... Er, I mean the mag has great stories, and is on a mission. Get on the Bullet Train right now.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Llanelli Confidential

Congrats are due to Robert Lewis, whose debut THE LAST LLANELLI TRAIN has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction (bit of a mouthful that). I really hope he wins, because the other nominees look mostly dull (though, predictably, famous), so keep your fingers crossed for him. Readers of this blog will know Robert from the little "tour" we did last year, touting our dubious wares. To jog your memories, here's a shot of me and him at the Port Eliot Festival, singing 'OK Computer':

Other big congrats go to Ray Banks and Jenny Davidson, who have both scored big on the deal front.

So, yay!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Smiths

With great pleasure I announce that my story SWEET AND TENDER HOOLIGAN is going to be in the Smiths-themed anthology PAINT A VULGAR PICTURE (edited by Peter Wild and due from Serpent's Tail some time). The idea of the antho was to take a Smiths song and use it as inspiration for a story, using the title. I think I came up with one of my best stories. Look out for other music-themed anthos from The Fall and Sonic Youth.