Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A Decent-Sized Roller Coaster

Probably more like 'The Tornado' in Morecambe's [ex] Frontierland than the 'Pepsi Max' at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach but you get what you're given. As you all know from my constant whining, I don't get to see the football matches I want, or the amount I want (first world problems...), but tonight was rare in that I did get to see Liverpool play. Half of their game against Arsenal, but you get what you're given (HORSE).

I come into the pub just as the first half finishes. One - nil to us I see, Suarez has scored I see, 'excellent' I think. I get my drink and impatiently await the second half (seriously, waiting for it was almost as tense as my last blood test results, but I digress...). Seeing Hendo's goal was just magical. Sustained pressure from our lads, a bit of a lucky rebound but then the cool head to side-foot around an outstretched keeper and into the back of the net. Riding pretty damn high.

Then within seven or eight minutes we were drawing... It was kind of funny in a way, we've not being doing well against higher-table teams, and this was comedy by repetition. How could we throw that lead away?

Where oh where could Arsenal's first goal come from? A set piece? Absolutely! That was the funniest, they had two really ridiculous dives (one drawn from Lucas, the next from Agger). Neither had any contact, as replays showed, but at least one of them resulted in a yellow card for the dive, rather than the false offence (take that Giroud :P). But anyways, the first goal came from a free-kick. It wasn't an inspirational take by Giroud, but it was perfectly weighted and placed. Reina didn't have much of a chance, and all I say is fair play to Arsenal there, good fighting spirit.

Their next one... blimey... They seemed to be doing what we wanted to do but much better. That knock-around between midfield and front line, casual yet precise as you like, before our defenders are so confused a goal seems almost inevitable. A ball breaks out to Walcott (when's he going to be thirty, I wonder...) and from a pretty damn tight angle, he bends it around Reina. Past couple of years I've not been Reina's 'biggest fan'. He's making more errors and doing less of the basics correctly. This one, not to take anything away from a great strike by Walcott, I think Reina could have adjusted his feet a lot better (he had the time, he could have seen it coming) and should have stretched his arm out across the trajectory the ball took.

Brendan Rogers, our glorious manager, is entitled to sleep very well tonight, despite 'losing two points' (if that's how you want to look at it). Playing a 4-3-3 was a good idea, plenty of attacking possibilities, bringing the fight to the 'enemy' rather than stagnating at the back. Again, I only saw a couple of highlights from the first half so I'm no expert (as if I would be anyway...), but it seemed to be paying plenty of dividends. Since Arsenal started scoring though, for a while it didn't look like they would stop. Walcott, after his goal, seemed like a man possessed, I have a few brown stains on these pants of mine. Rogers saw this, and introduced another defender onto the pitch. It was great in the sense Arsenal didn't score again, but you could tell from that point on that our attack suffered slightly. Suarez and Henderson got caught in 'pass tennis' rather than going forward at one point, which was, I think, a direct result of the substitution. But then Sturridge (who was taken off) squandered a fair few chances. One of the reasons I didn't want him to come to the club was because of how he behaved today: trying ridiculous shots on his own for personal glory, rather than being less of a dong and passing it to a team-mate clearly in loads of empty space.

But that's the question. Should we have attacked and tried to get the three points, or defended a one-point profit. Personally, it doesn't matter. What I saw of the game was so compelling, I might just have been happy to lose outright. To get such a deserved result can be refreshing, no matter what it is. For once it didn't come down to bad decisions. What was ultimately great was that Liverpool fought hard at the end. It didn't work out perfectly, but what ever does? You get what you're given.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


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Just Like That

Things are better. The power of communion really is amazing. The generator has whirred back to life. The lights are back on. The clocks have started moving forward again. They stutter slightly, sure, but pothing's nerfect right?

Things haven't been resolved, but then what ever is? Do I know more about writing? No. Do I know more about myself? No. Am I a writer? I'm still not sure, but I am still writing. Also I'm thinking about future projects, feeling that excitement again. Next stop: getting cracking (hopefully).

This has been a response to Not Sure Anymore. Things have changed. As it often does, the Morecambe winds have cleansed the bad thoughts away. The only problem now is that the sea's anger seems somehow related to those lads messing around with the vending machine at Preston train station.

I'm not normal...

Monday, 28 January 2013

Not Sure Anymore

I'm reading David Shields' Reality Hunger (Penguin Books, 2011) at the mo. I'm not saying that it's because of this I feel the way I do, but naturally, reading something that problematizes things you hold dear is going to disconcert you somewhat. Things, in fact, that I just about manage to pin down, to understand, perhaps.

It's this whole writing thing... I don't know what it's about, or even what I'm about. Well, I was pinning down what I'm about and it's just been reinforced (with a capital force) that it's irrelevant. Well, maybe not irrelevant. See what I mean about problematizing? How can I be accurate? On big and small levels of meaning, I just don't know anymore.

"Try" says Shields. "Sure, what's 'real'? Still, try to get to it."

Reality Hunger is poetics. Poetics is often hard for me to get my head around. I'm looking at an atom, most of which is empty space, but the overall effect of the various constituent parts seem to add up to "you're wrong." But then there's no such thing as THE writer, right? There are writers, each one different. We don't all have to agree do we?

Why does that not make me feel any better...

I wish feelings were pieces of toilet paper, because right now I could just wipe my arse with them.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

I Have Been

No Man but
On the other
Side Every
Man. Living
In my head
In a prison
Close to un
Maybe super
Who can say
When being
Every Man
and No Man.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

What's Going On?

I don't know, is something going on with the moon? Maybe the sun too... I dunno. I certainly think it's something to do with the skies. Solar flares?

It's just that nothing's really going on. Town's quieter, there's less going on online... seems like lethargy has just crept into everyone everywhere. I've certainly nearly stopped altogether.

Anyway, how are you guys, still alive?

Anyone out there?


Friday, 25 January 2013


They say no two snowflakes are alike, but these all look the same to me: closer to slushy hailstones than to the romantic building blocks of snow-people. It falls down from the grey sky onto the grey floor and it is grey. If white represents death, then this represents a living death.

The wind whips my face so I turn my head away. I look down the promenade, past the rock groynes and machine-disturbed sand, and see all the fishing boats, lifeless. I wonder when the last time was that somebody actually went out to sea in them. The snow seems to pick up a little, like it's trying to cover everything up as quickly as possible. The shoreline makes me think of Pompeii. The dinghies are the children, looking helplessly up to the whammelers who can't do anything to help. A short distance away, perhaps some of the other boats tried to flee, but the snow is omnipotent and inexorable.

In the wind's lull I turn my head back and look out across the bay. The sludge of the tideless coast reflects the greyness of the sky. I think to myself that I've never seen a snowy beach in all my life. The concept only seems strange if you contrast two idealized images of sunny Spanish holidays and chilly North Pole romps in winter onesies. In reality it's not that odd - just an expanse of sand at the mercy of the weather like the rest of us.

I have to head inland now, I've got business to take care of. The snow is settling on the ground now. Passing cars make constant slippy squelches. Streetlights and headlamps cry out, but their rays are polluted with grey flakes. I have to go inland, indoors. I have business to attend to.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Big Thank You

Yes, that's right, a big thank you to everyone who has ever read my blog. I'm not quite the cold and heartless nincompoop that I always appear to be... Whether you've accidentally clicked on a link and curiosity got the better of you, or you regularly come here to check on a real-time mental breakdown, I appreciate it.

There is a bit of a serious side to this blog. I do, in amongst the 'random' stuff, like to share good books I've read, films I've watched. I've not been very successful in stimulating online discussion, but if I've made you think about something in a new way then that's good enough for me. I'd also like to think some of my posts have achieved their aim of giving ideas, advice (other people's!) and even reassurance to other writers out there. Maybe I've raised a laugh now and then. There's nothing much sweeter than making someone laugh in my book.

You may be wondering why I'm saying this now, but in January alone (which hasn't finished yet, unless I slept in a little more than usual this morning) I have just got over a thousand page views. I've been working pretty hard to get more material on here and circulate it more, so it feels good to have some stats to back up the graft (and, if I'm being egocentric, it proves that people like it ha).

All that's left is to say thanks again folks! I'm not going to promise anything, but one day there may be something worth reading on here...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Scenes: Number 66

Roaring rivers, raging torrents, inexorable floods of angry raging power. Swarming hordes of vengeful mobs. Dusty plains full of stampeding cattle. Avalanches, rock slides and hillsides of rolling boiling lava.

Nothing compared to the Lancaster Uni Refreshers' Big Night Out. Dat some scary shit, yo.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Free Flowing, They Said. Free Scoring, They Said...

Being doomed to have work shifts fall on just about every Liverpool game this season, I was as excited as an American at a gunsmiths to get the chance to watch some of the African Cup of Nations today. When I saw Tunisia were playing Algeria on ITV4 I got giddy and imagined all the blistering pace, stunning technical ability and goals that were about to float my boat. What a let-down. Very reminiscent of having sex with me, in fact.

There was one goal, saving it from being the worst game I've ever seen, but that came after ninety-two minutes of football. Yeah not every African nation can be the Ivory Coast, but I was incredulous at how sloppy the play was. So many passes either failed to find their man or were hit way too hard. The level of awareness was shocking too, incisive passes weren't even tried because players seemed over-keen on either going it alone or passing to someone a metre away. I just wondered if they were actually scared of scoring, since simple forward movement was eschewed for small side-to-side or backward passes. This is very different to, say, Liverpool's play. They focus on keeping possession and keeping the ball on the ground, but when they pass backward it's (sometimes) snappy, so the opposition are chasing ghosts. I'm sure to get plenty of hate now for using Liverpool as an example of how to play good football, but hey!

Sure the referee didn't help the game's case. The players fell over at slight touches and he bought it completely. That's excusable because he can't help that people are trying to dupe him. What really took the biscuit was giving a foul for basically every time two players challenged for a ball in the air, whether there was serious contact or not. It seemed at times the game was stopped more than it was actually going. If you added up the stoppage time properly, I think it probably came to about another half.

Anyway, I'm sure the rest of the tournament will be great. Didn't get to see the Togo v Ivory Coast game but I hear it was much more exciting.

Next I'll probably get to writing something awesome, that you might actually want to read. I had a couple of friends saying they wanted to read something dark I wrote a long time ago, but I'll have to do a bit more soul searching and drinking before I do...

Peace out.

Monday, 21 January 2013

It Was Like a Nice, Big, Warm Piss

It's been a long day. A real long day. There been technological mishaps, family arguments, late trains, penises trapped in zips, burnt toast etc. Been a lot of work too, but I think I've done alright.

My best hopes were realized with the MA session tonight though, there was great discussion, friendly faces and even a handout! I think I had some good points to raise too, it's just a shame that I am not as half as what I want good at telling people what opinions are in my head out loud to them to be honest, I think. But I don't think people could even notice that I was maybe not as eloquential as I could have been when I am talking good stuff about things that we were discussed about.

But yeah, being back at uni filled me good feelings. It was like taking a nice, big, warm piss (which incidentally empties you, but... but fills you up with... well, what I just said).

Saturday, 19 January 2013


So, not much to write about today (why bother then) - who said that? Erm, yeah I've been really busy with uni work and also had to cover a shift at work yesterday meaning I had even less time. I think I'm on track though... Have had to sacrifice a night out with friends to be on the safe side (oh boo-hoo) - seriously who keeps doing that? As I was saying, I'm trying to be sensible so everything's done in plenty of time. Turns out my post '+ve' is all a lie too, so that's a little disappointing (aww diddums) - hey! Stoppit.

Good stuff... good stuff... Oh yeah, Liverpool beat Norwich 5-0 today, pretty impressed by that. Didn't get to see it of course... but hey. I guess that's the power of football, I still felt good about the score and the way we played just by reading text commentary (you only like winning because you're such a loser) - cut that out! Seriously, don't make me come down there.

Also feeling good about going back to uni next week. It's a very good place to be. Some good events coming up, looking forward to the next workshop, so that's pretty groovy.

Yep, that's about it. Feel free to unsuscribe at any point by the way. I don't want you to but, y'know, I can't force you to carry on...

Catch you later folks.

Friday, 18 January 2013


Normally I'm about as positive as a drawer full of photograph film (I tried there, I really tried...), but it struck me the other day while doing work on an assignment: there is hope. I know the fact that it was an 'academic' essay may make people question the relevance to the practice of creative writing, but I can honestly see ('feel' is also as appropriate) a difference.

I remember, not too long ago, the feelings of utter restlessness that used to haunt me whenever I sat down to write something. Usually an essay, but also creative pieces (when they were done completely off the cuff). Whenever I started a piece, came back to a piece, re-started a piece or even came back from a piss in the middle of a piece I'd be all out the groove and have to ask myself "right, what am I doing?" I noticed on my last essay, though, that I've managed to be more relaxed about my approach and have also gotten cracking much sooner.

In the writing of the first draft for my latest endeavour, it took me barely a few minutes to actually start pushing keys (after my usual notes on paper - much more civilized!). Did a little bit of internet surfing, but only really to check my blog.

Which brings me onto what I think are some of the main causes of my increase in dynamism. First: deleting my facebook games ('Angry Birds' especially) has cut out so much potential procrastination and made a lot of my work avoidance more practical (if I do go on facebook, I'm able to socialize quickly and check what other writing pals are doing, other than that I'll check my emails and whatnot - also very useful for keeping up to date with writing events and stuff that no doubt you've signed up to). Second: my blog. It's got me writing more regularly (thereby helping to increase my writing stamina), thinking about content, formal elements, comedy and perceptions more and it's got me reading reading other people's stuff more - generally being more 'active'. The blogging has also helped me associate the internet with the right kind of fun, i.e. writing. What better way to procrastinate from writing than to write? That's a win-win-win situation!

Anyway, there're more reasons, but I've gone on long enough as it is.

Just wanted to share some positivity I found in a world of rolling negative-storms.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

And Relax

Okay, so just a nice easy one today. I heard through the grapevine that people been talking about my blog. A little bird told me, you could say. I hadn't previously felt my ears burning, but that's neither here nor there. I cast my mind back to other times this had happened, times that are few and far between, but made me feel a million dollars nonetheless.

Anyway, enough of the idioms, I'm sick to back teeth of them after just one paragraph. I'd like to say a big hello to Sheena, Pete and any of the Sheena Gang who have stopped by. I hope you've enjoyed your stay and come back soon!

Here is a song:

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Introducing: 'facebosom'. I'm, er, not really sure what it is to be honest. I'm being told it's like a new social network site, sort of similar to facetome and visagebook. I've never even heard of them...

I mean, don't we have a diagram to explain it or anything? Oh, I'm being told there is a picture, but we can't show it to you. It's not rude or anything, it's just that it's for the makers of facebosom.

Is this actually a real thing? It's not a joke is it? I'm being told it is real... It's a real joke based on the pretense of a real lie. Sounds real enough.

Anyway, the point is it's gonna shake things up in a real big way. You won't know what hit you! Up'll be down, down'll be right etc etc.

So, er, folks... That's that. That's what facebosom is.

Who knows?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Slaughterhouse Five and Beyond

An intense neutrality. That's what I felt upon finishing Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Much like a 'petit mort', I didn't exactly feel happy or sad, just a calming and strangely pleasing nothingness. In a way this is strange because the book is filled with hilarious observations and one-liners, great characters and dramatic developments, yet the culmination was decidedly level. I mean that in the best way possible.

Really I've not read anything this powerful since Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. The great scope of the novel is particularly striking, taking on themes of war (and the destruction inherent therein), humanity, existentialism, death and whatnot framed structurally within a pastiche (or maybe it should be parody?) of science fiction. The war elements were harrowing for various reasons. Not only does it form a critique in the sense of 'why is this senseless act being allowed to happen' (the book's alternate title is The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death) but also shows the effects in the darkness of the book. Some people (with mindsets from long ago) would find mixing humour and death tasteless, but Vonnegut's own experiences have no doubt de-sensetized him from such petty concerns, allowing him to write 'truthfully' about such events.

At the time of reading it, I thought it was like a cross between K-Pax (I've seen Iain Softley's film, the one starring Kevin Spacey) and Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square. It resembles Softley's work in the sense of us being presented with two different realities for the 'main' character and we are presented with evidence to support either reality and resolution of this conflict is a very slippery thing. This makes a book great, in my opinion, because it teases the reader and gets their mind going. It reminded me of Hamilton's novel in that Vonnegut writes about a 'fourth dimension' that Billy Pilgrim can exist in, but in Hangover Square the narrative device is a "click" that sends the protagonist into a "dead mood". These are both cerebral states, it can be argued, neither one of them experienced by anyone else (at least not those that are really real) and they make you feel close to the characters (as you are privy to the same things they are) and get emotionally involved.

I've tried not to include much plot detail to avoid ruining the experience of reading the text, which creates problems because then the post doesn't contain much of the book I'm on about, just my ramblings. C'est la vie. If you like the sound of sci-fi more than the war elements, why not check out Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. It's a more out-and-out science fiction novel but still with the same satirical take on religion, the human condition and beyond. The tension of a world-shattering device teetering on the edge of misuse is timeless, I hope you enjoy reading one or more of the books mentioned here.

I am indebted to Neil for lending me both Vonnegut books. Two steps in the right direction - thank you.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Truth Lies

I were just thinking about telling lies. Thinking about the act of lying, not thinking about actually doing it, you understand. It seems to me that lying gets an unfair rap. It's generally seen as morally wrong and I think that's a little ridiculous. If telling the truth and lying are binary opposites, it's strange that the truth is 'standard', almost 'morally neutral', 0 on the scale, but lying is perverse, morally negative and -100 on the scale.

The real crux of the issue is that this focus on the act is simplistic and outdated. The next logical progression is that the effects of lying/telling the truth should be scrutinized. Just as lying to keep from hurting someone's feelings (bloody humans and their petty emotions...) shows the act is not the issue but the effect, so does telling the truth when it causes emotional distress.

The acts of telling truths and telling lies are simply the act of communication. Yes this seems an oversimplification to a superstrate term, but there's more. The act of communication is integrated with our psyche, and our acts are mitigated by our personality or mood.

We make communications choices consciously and sub-consciously. Often sub-conscious is our use of standard or non-standard language. For example, when we're with friends we often use less standard terms to adhere to the informal atmosphere and thereby reinforce our identity within the group. When it comes to the aforementioned moral issues, the choices are perhaps more conscious. 'I don't want to hurt his feelings, so I'll tell him I like his present' might be something that'll flash through your synapses before a Christmas lie, for example. This knowing lie helps, in the short term at least, prevent confrontation and ill will.

So it is evident that the effects can be fine. This islike authors who create truth/lie professionally. They aren't immoral (well, I've not met all of them to be honest...). In fact, as with before, the effect can be very positive (a message about human equality like the one what's in To Kill a Mockingbird as an example). Now this is just a 'brief' (ish) post to pique your interest and stimulate thought. Obviously there's been no critical opinion, you can find that yourself. I know it'll have been said before by others, but they've not said it the way I have and that's what might make my musings worth perusing.

Peace out.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Top Books

At the last MA session before Christmas me and the other writers gathered in a pub. A sense of community is important in many ways for writers, and alcohol is important for me so it was a win-win.

One thing we discussed was favourite books. What I'd like is if everyone reading this post commented and said what their favourite book is. Since I'm not a Nazi, I'll broaden the view a bit: maybe you could say what you think is an important book (culturally or personally, whatever really). Heck, maybe not even book - why not film, play, poem, sculpture... Whatever.

I'd just like to hear from you. Just put the title of the thing, maybe say why you feel the way you do about it. There's no pressure, I'm just interested in anything you have to tell me.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


I'm just a nappy
But I need your ass and
I love your shit.

Just 'cause I rash you out,
Don't mean I don't care.
Let's cuddle up together, open
A bottle of Bepanthen
And make love.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Hi There

Please, dear people, I have a favour to ask of you. There is this blog I like and it'd be really good if you checked it out. It's written and performed by Chris Killen who's an ex Edge Hill student, which is how I found out about him and his book The Bird Room (also worth a look actually). Anyway, this latest blog of his is called hi there.

I'm not just linking you to it because he gave me a 'shout out' (though it is admittedly nice to repay the gesture), I'm bringing it to your attention because I like what he's doing. I hope you do too. I believe blogs are about embracing as much multimedia as humanly manageable (without replacing quality of content), and using videos is an effective way to do this. I've used pictures and links before, but audio clips and videos should feature too, and watching Chris' vids has been really useful.

So check it out, get involved, comment, follow etc. Thanks.

P.S. Please don't mention the irony of me saying how good it is to embrace multimedia in a post, then producing one that's so bland...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Scenes: Number 23

It's late in the evening. The street is dark and foggy. The sparse streetlights merely illuminate the fog, not the pavement you walk on. Work was okay today, just long and boring. You really want to get home and crack open a bottle of something alcoholic.

You turn onto the road you live on and from all the way down the street a strange sound throbs through the air. It booms, low and persistent. Your smart shoes clip and clop, high and precise noises, but the booming smothers all. What the hell is it?

The bright lights of the BP garage ahead just about cut through the fog. Iit's very thick if it can dull the usually sun-like power of that place. As you breathe in you notice a smell. Something burning, or at least burnt. It's almost barbecuey, even a little bit like weed, neither one nor the other. The smell seems to fade though, replaced by the feeling of your ears vibrating.

You're nearly home now. You can see your front door and you're walking towards it. You look left towards the petrol station where the booms are coming from.

It's chavs having a mini-rave on the forecourt.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


"A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.

Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.

In simple terms, a blog is a website, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.

Since Blogger was launched in 1999, blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.

And we are pretty sure the whole deal is just getting started." 'Blogger Tour' from

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Follow Up (And Not In Any Other Direction)

So here are a few peeps who have done the whole new year blog thing pretty darn well.

First up is Lisa Holdsworth from Deadlines and Diamonds. Though predominantly about screenwriting, it is useful for any writers and, to an extent, civilians too. The humour is brilliant, but so is the insight into the industry and its people-satellites. Enjoy!

Next is a very lovely man-friend of mine Jordan. Ever the self-depricatist, his post is a very honest and yet ultimately uplifting one. It certainly gave me a lot to think about (especially the notion of writing stamina), and I hope it does for you too. Oh and don't worry about the title by the way, it has nothing to do with Fifty Shades of Grey.

This is a bit of a departure, but at least it mentions new year so don't shoot the blogger...

On a side note, really excited for a new North Western poetry anthology coming out called Sculpted. It'll be important and no doubt challenging too, no link to it and no picture because that's not working on blogger at the mo...

Also something you might want to check out is Stream Universe, a selection of free and legal films, documentaries etc all selected to inspire and enthuse artists and art lovers.

Peace out.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A New Year

So I hear there's this whole 'new year' thing. It seems that I've changed my mind about it all. I've gone from 'resolutions are another way to make you fail more' to 'hey, you know what, having goals may actually be a decent way to better yourself.' After all, I believe that one should become a person like other people.

Anyways, what's you guys thinking about the new year? You looking forward to leaving bad things behind and jumping both-feet into a steaming pile of better tomorrow?

Comment maybe?