Sunday, 14 May 2017

How One Of Them Remembers The Conversation - Digital Fiction

That break-up conversation. Desperately replaying it in your mind over and over, trying to sift it for any clues. But it's impossible to remember it verbatim. Then there is also the fact you break up every nugget of every word for meaning, can we get back together again?

From the initial ten lines of the break up conversation, those words are sliced, diced and re-spliced back together as one voice takes on both parts of the dialogue, trying to parse for hope.

Words and concept by Marc Nash
Animation by Caitlyn Redden
Soundtrack by DJ Allmoe

Click here for my essay on modern literature and the possibilities of drilling to the level beneath words, that of the letters that compose words, as in this video.

Friday, 12 May 2017

None Of The Below - The UK Parliamentary Election, Questions for Candidates

Less than a month to the election and to date I've received two leaflets from the Conservative Party and nothing from any of the other 4 candidates, but that may be due to the leaflets not yet having been printed as the deadline for candidates to announce their standing was only yesterday. The Parliamentary seat I live in is a marginal; in the last 4 elections, two have been won by Labour and two by Conservative. Currently it's number 46 on the Labour target list, which they would need to win a majority at the election. So there's very definitely something to play for in this seat. Yet I suspect the odd leaflet aside, as for the past 4 elections I will not see hair nor hide of any Party court my vote in person. I work part-time, so it's not even a case that I am always out when the canvassers are on the trail. No, this is just the faceless nature of UK politics in the twenty-first century. I've had more visits across the years from jehovah's Witnesses than Parliamentary party candidates. And this is in a competitive seat remember...

So I'm just going to offer you the questions I would pose each candidate from the 5 standing parties were they actually to show their face. I am not going to offer their responses, if they want, their parties or supporters can respond in the comments section. For the purposes of this exercise, I'm not going to proceed along my belief that the election result is a foregone conclusion.


When did you cease being a progressive party? Everything about you is reactionary. It's as if you yearn for a return to a vision of 1950s Britain, certainly your leader seems to come from that age (which is odd as she was only 4 years old when the sixties commenced). Mrs Thatcher was a reaction to the politics and freedoms of the 1960s (as was Ronald Reagan in the US). May seems to be a reaction to 1970s Britain, which no longer exits (not even in Labour Party leader's Jeremy Corbyn's vision for Britain), yet that is the picture the Conservatives are painting of the current Labour leadership. I see no progressive policies or aspirations, other than a vague notion of Britain getting its identity back once Brexit is concluded. But can you define what that identity actually is? The notion of a singular identity in our culturally diverse 21st century nation is obsolescent. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major's appeal for a return to 'Family Values' was an unmitigated disaster and contributed to his defeat & the Conservatives' exile during the Blair years, partly because no one could define Family Values and moral hypocrisy by Conservative MPs undermined any possible notion of it being instituted.

So what apart from an all out assault on the Welfare State, the NHS, and a reinstitution of selective education do you stand for? A reaction to the post-1945 Labout government which set up the modern Britain in other words. All under your mantra of balancing the books, instead of going after corporations and rich individuals who are not paying their fair share of tax. I think part of the reason for that is you don't want to drive such 'patriots' into tax exile, just in case Brexit turns out to be a disaster for the economy, so your sole response will be to set Britain up as a tax haven, so you need these people to stay onside in the interim.


 You know Jeremy Corbyn's policies such as nuclear disarmament, greater equality of pay, certain re-nationalisations of  some failing industries such as rail and energy provision, are ones I could fall into line with very easily. However there is no way I could bring myself to back a man who has palpably shown no leadership qualities and surrounds himself with political cronies of no ability whatsoever, such as John McDonnell and Diane Abbot who hold shadow cabinet briefs in two of the most important positions, the Treasury and Home Office. No matter how visionary (or not) you are, without a great slice of political nous and the powers to persuade not your core voters, but those who are in two minds, your ideas will not take the day. Corbyn showed a complete lack of leadership during the Brexit referendum, Now I understand why Corbyn did this, after the disastrous consequences of the Scottish Independence referendum campaign, where Labour were slaughtered by their supporters for appearing on the same platforms as Conservatives, Corbyn didn't want to be seen making the same mistake for the Brexit vote. But it was a miscalculation; Labour voters were left without any rallying point, allowing UKIP to turn some of them and once you've made such a drastic move once, it's not so difficult a second and third time. Finally, his commitment to allies has seen a lamentable failure to deal with anti-Semitism within some parts of the party, his support of Ken Livingstone being testament to that. Labour has failed to either appreciate, or make clear the differences between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. In doing so, it has managed to alienate one of its steadfast support bases of London Jews who are split down the middle as to their current disposition.

So much for political praxis, what about the ideals of this visionary? In some ways the Conservative Press is right, that the programme is an echo of where Britain stood in the 1970s, which after all was the crucible from which Corbyn's ideas were formed in the field of local politics. So far from revolutionary, Labour too seem to be reactionary and hanker after a past golden age. They want to, not unreasonably in many cases, turn back many of the Conservative policies from the 80s and last seven years. But there is not much forward thinking behind these declarations of intent. I also suspect that the manifesto represents a fairly watered down version of Corbyn's true political vision, which in itself is not a criticism, since it does at least nod its head to the art of the possible and appreciating that winning power first is a key requisite to any radical change. Is Corbyn anti-capitalism? I suspect he is, and his right hand man John McDonnell is a confessed anti-capitalist Marxist. But this manifesto seeks to work within capitalist free market, merely filing off some of its rougher burs. This cuts against Corbyn's impassioned ideals and echoes so much of the failed last campaign of Ed Miliband. I see very little difference between the two and it didn't exactly go well last time round now did it?

Liberal Democrats

What do you actually stand for? The oft asked question of many recent elections. An anachronism, a vestige of a once proud party in the nineteenth century that provided us statesmen like Gladstone and Lloyd-George. Historically the Liberal Party was a rigorous free trade/ free market party, a role subsumed by today's Conservatives. Around the turn of the twentieth century, the definition of Liberalism changed; no longer freedom to do such and such, but freedom from being prevented to be able to do such and such. That is it became reactionary, defending and upholding rights that were under threat. A vital function, but one that has been unable to sustain them as a meaningful party of power. So much so that they jumped into bed with the ideological antipodes of the Conservatives in 2010 to form a coalition, in which their only claim was that they managed to shave off some of the rougher burs of socially punishing austerity measures. The party of putting your finger in the dyke to hold back the flood...

But now as they look to rebuild after their massacre for joining up with the Conservatives, they have eked out a genuine position, the only one of the three parties to commit to reversing the Brexit decision. A reactionary position disguised as a radical one. They want a return to the status quo previous to June 2016. I was a Remainer. I would never vote Liberal on that one policy. First the people have spoken, however misguidedly I credit it to be and it is fundamentally undemocratic to go against their popular will formally expressed in a ballot. Many other feel like me, or just accept that we've got to get on with Brexit and so the numbers do not stack up for the Liberals in their calculations. What else do they stand for? I couldn't tell you and even if I could, their recent record is they could tear it up in an instant if they make a similar political calculation to participate in power sharing through a coalition. Besides, it's never sharing, and the junior partner always gets punished in the following election - either your claimed strength for moderating the majority party's nastier ideas is taken as interfering and preventing the business of strong government, or people just think why vote Liberal, we may as well vote Conservative and get a proper government rather than a half-baked coalition, which is exactly what happened in 2015.

Green Party
I almost voted Green in the last election and in a way they most closely match my personal vision of society. except, like Labour I'm not quite sure how much they do. Are they a fully anti-capitalist party, which in truth is really the only way a genuine environmentalist party can be, or are they plying a gradual transformation to build up support? A genuinely Green economy would be so radical a shift from our current state of affairs, it would be a revolution of values, of employment, of well economy. Have they articulated that end point of their vision at all, let alone the manner of the transition to that? No, is the answer.

UK Independence Party
(They're not getting their party logo, I despise them so).
Now that Brexit has been secured, with the two main parties committed to delivering it, what reason do you have for even existing? None. Your spurious claim that you are needed to steer through a satisfactory vision of Brexit is a) subsumed by the Conservatives who can act without concern for your views and b) would you then just fade away after Brexit is complete in March 2019, no of course you wouldn't, cos unlike the outsider politicians you claim to be, you still lust after hanging on to what moderate power and influence you wield.

This purposelessness is doubly so in London, which being a cosmopolitan, diverse, outward facing city, has consistently rejected your inward, homogenous, chauvinistic values. Then there are the personal beliefs of your leader, who baldly states that the NHS should be privatised, that climate change does not exist, that the endemic sexism expressed by former (ie "sacked) members of the party is also shared by your glorious leader.

So, there you have it, the sort of discussion I might engage in with any party candidate were they to show up at my door. If they did, do you think they'd engage me in a debate of these points? No, me neither. They just want to tick or cross your name on their voting intention list. They're not going to devote/waste twenty minutes it would take to even skirt these issues. Even Jehovah's Witnesses will take the time to engage me in discussion of their beliefs for twenty minutes (in fact it's hard to break off debate with them, but that's my fault for engaging with them in the first place)> So I will most likely spoil my ballot paper by writing "none of the above" across it.


Political theory in 153 words blog post

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Rareripe - Flash Fiction

“Their firm bodies exuding faith in the future” - Laurent Binet “The Seventh Function Of Language”

Sunken bloodshot eyes. Heavily lidded like an escarpment. Only the sempiternal rheum moraine, suggestive of occupation within the caliginous orbs. A vestigial liquefying blink reflex. Dried out, desiccated and doped. Blunted through the constant triggering of those miasmic fumes, like a smoke alarm having its batteries removed. But also through any possible experience of surprise having atrophied. Like all emotions. Never any tears to drive runnel cleansing trails through smut smirched faces. Supernumerary tics erupting elsewhere on the countenance, as if to compensate for the mouldering nictation. 

Noses constantly impressed with a finger at the nostril. As if trying to expectorate their coagulate soul, which is of course an impossibility. Unable even to break down the sclerotic wall, that so immures their heart, that they cannot detect their own pulse beyond. Perhaps that's why they breathe shallowly like a panting dog, in spite of a low heartbeat rate. No pulse means no adrenaline response engendered. Thereby no perspiration either. 

Mouths that eschew any movement of the top lip. Lest a scintilla of such expansive enunciation above an uninflected muttering, offer the utterer as jumped up beyond their station. Asking, no demanding, to be slapped back down for his pretension. His aspiration. A disarticulating anti-intellectual radar no less sweeping than that of the Khmer Rouge.

Heads unable to be hoisted by necks forever pinioning gazes down at the pavement. Partly locked in place, through scanning palm-cupped phone screens like dowsing twigs piloting their journeys. But also to ensure avoiding challenging eye contact with knife-wielding sentinel peers, demanding the shibboleth of your postcode before grudging grunted grant of passage. 

If the emissions are imitative of the tubercular, the anatomies verge on nineteenth century rickety. Liposucted by nourishment-free fast food. Willowy bodies with Dutch Elm fungal paunch. Uniformly sallow skin trespassed only by florid roseolas and pustules. Baggy and saggy clothes ape/accentuate the flesh's amorphousness contours. 

Penetralia scooped out by surfeit, sensual responsiveness hollowed through habitude. A degenerative self-negation through the flesh of another, also negating themselves reciprocally. Sexless sex. No corporeal double helix convolutions, to ignite and conjure the chemical angels stood on the pinhead unseen within. 

Their flabby, formless bodies exuding no presence in the present, let alone any awareness of futurity.  

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Just Aphasia Going Through - Kinetic Typography Video

Thought I'd repost this, my first kinetic typography telling of a flash fiction story "Just Aphasia Going Through", as the second is about to land imminently and I can't wait to share that one with you.

Update, you can view the new one "How One Of Them Remembers The Conversation" here

For a some thoughts on the current relationship between literature and kinetic typography, my post here

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Extra-Mural Studies - Flash Fiction

It was old-style graffiti. Before it became an art form. If you can call a canvas solely consisting of the artist’s signature, his brand, his logo, his spoor, ’art’. This was spray painting as a tool of communication. Mural messaging. Words rather than calligraphy. Plaintive or outlandish. 

Walls have always provided a surface begging inscription. Whether thrown up to keep others out, keep your own in, or just to hoist up numinous edifices inviting God in. In the atrium to God’s chamber, Jews write their messages and prayers on paper, rolling them up and inserting them into the mortar of the Wailing Wall rather than profaning it directly. The Wailing Wall, one of just four retaining walls retained. A remnant. Yet each ersatz prayer scroll mulcts a wisp of that mortar, so that at some point of critical mass of the entreaties of a people, the Wall will collapse. Not from weight, but from lack of coherence.

Closer to home is another wall, that is currently being dismantled brick by brick beneath sledgehammers brought from home. A people united. Families gleefully repatriating themselves into the bosom of loved ones not seen for a couple of generations. One side of this wall was directly graved upon by ink and the blood of those shot trying to scale it. The other was inscribed with graffiti, an expression of freedom of speech and a plaintive plea against conflict, division and injustice. After the initial flurry, I returned nightly to secrete away a couple of the bricks and add to my burgeoning collection. Only those with graffiti on, hopefully none with captioning blood. Few of the bricks were intact. Words sawn off by a hammer blow. 

Du kannst den Bruder nicht vom Bruder teilen. Es macht uns mehr entschlossen zu arbeiten, um diese Mauer zu zerreißen. Um unsere Brüder frei zu machen. (You cannot divide brother from brother. It makes us more resolved to work to tear down this wall. To set our brothers free).

I moved around the pieces in my collection. Trying to form new words from the serrated letters. Coalescing new slogans. Reminded of my toy letter bricks as a child. Though there, each brick was only stamped with a single letter per face. Multiple bricks stacked in order to construct a word. A word that could be subverted, simply but turning another face of the brick to face front. Surprising words when the edifice was read as an acrostic. But these fragments were not hewn smooth enough to sit on top of one another without cascading back down. 

I made mosaics of the bricks. Moved them around one another to form blotches of colour. My wall was spelling out the new freedoms. Or perhaps the new repressions. When a dividing wall comes down, somewhere on the earth another one goes up. I hear Mexico is to have one. And of course, the Wailing Wall has its modern accompaniment all around the biblical borders of the nation that last existed when the Wailing Wall was intact. Strange geographies. Anomalous echoes from history.

arbeit macht frei

For every wall, there always have to be wall builders. 


Some wall themed songs

Pink Floyd - "Another Brick In The Wall"

Mickey Dread - "Break Down The Walls" 

The Style Council - "Walls Come Tumbling Down"

Tom Robinson Band - "Up Against The Wall"

From the Berlin Wall

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

"Apoptosis: The Things We Lose" - Flash fiction

The webbing between our toes and our innate ability to swim as a neonate, swiftly disappear as we begin to ground ourselves in the world. 

When our gullets are no longer reliant on being coated by our mother’s milk, the sounds shaping words can start to form, but in doing so we lose our singular pre-vocal communion. 

And until our infant eyes and brain can attest to the material permanence of an object, babies are blessed by not being immured in fixed notions of reality. 

And on entry into the world, we surrender our immortality and start approaching death.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Sovereignty - Flash Fiction

It was easy for the Fascists to insinuate themselves into the street unrest. They just donned the same Guy Fawkes’ masks as the ultra-democrats. Their own death’s head insignia was more discreet than the skull and crossbones of the pirates and anarchists and more anatomically correct, as they went on unerringly to prove with their clubs and bludgeons. 

Their first act in power was to pension off the old queen. The beloved crone was replaced by a sixteen year old and to solidify her ascension to the throne, the government cut off the internet and tore down phone masts. Sovereignty established with a steampunk aesthetic.   

They ensured this English rose's throne was outsized so that she couldn’t cross her legs as they photographed her with fisheye lenses from floor level. They had her cupping the testicular orb and lubriciously gripping the erect sceptre. They forwent silhouetting, so that men could lick the back of her head when sticking her stamp on a letter, or by stretching out the crinkles in banknotes they could make her flash her pudenda. And when the rape fantasies projected upon her wrought her haggard and drawn, they simply replaced her with a clone. The Royal Line now secured for all eternity, the preservation of pure autochthonous genes sealed. 

They needed no grand gesture to establish their new power, for they didn’t have to blow up Parliament, merely let it crumble away beneath the erosion of the River Thames. However as was their wont, they remained preternaturally superstitious. Accordingly they culled the ravens in the Tower of London to signify a thrusting new kingdom dissevering that of the past. But synchronously the red rose standard and emblem of England was struck by a blight, never to return to the soil of the land, while the Barbary Apes left Gibraltar’s rock to underscore the end of England’s last colonial vestige, gobbled up by the mythic European superstate. Scotland, Northern Ireland and now Gibraltar, a small price to pay for recovering sovereignty in English eyes. 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Fricative Fricassee - Flash Fiction



















































Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Story Of Story - Flash Fiction

With the summer round of book fairs and literary festivals just around the corner, authors rolled up to the storehouse of stories. They checked in their plots that would keep them fermenting throughout the winter cold, executing them beside a roaring fire. In return they took possession of anecdotes and terminological exactitude, blew the dust off them and dialled their agents to inquire of the travel arrangements, itineraries and Green Room riders.

When their literary rambles and belletristic excursiveness were over for the season, they all assembled at the fabled construction and pushed on through the silo doors only to discover every last one of their story stock had disappeared. They were aghast, with their instinctive reactions of placing their professional pen-holding, or keyboard-palpating hands over either eyes, mouth or ears resulting in a series of tableaus vivant of the Three Wise Monkeys. “What, ain’t you lot ever heard of backing up your work then?” chimed in the warehouse’s custodian, who wrote the odd bit of cyberpunk in his spare time but never showed it to anybody.

“This is an utterable, bloody disaster!” expostulated a writer of the old school.  

“Swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary, or didn’t your mother teach you that bouncing you up and down on her knee?” snarked a writer of erotica. 

“I feel… bereft” sobbed a writer of romances.

“Of course you do dear” smirked the erotician.

“Just because you have no need of a plot in your- I can barely bring myself to call them - stories”.

“Ladies, ladies, come now- who’s that sniggering? I hardly think this is a situation that invites levity. We have all just lost the entire wellspring of stories-“

“All seven of them-”

“- That affects us all”.

“- Not me squire, I write anti-novels”.

“What are you doing here then?”

“My Steampunk writer pal is giving me a lift home from ‘Wilderness’ festival, but he had to stop here to load up his saddlebags”.

“They can’t just have vanished”.

“Recycling’s Tuesdays, so can’t have been carted off in a commercial waste lorry”.

“Not funny”.

“Call this dialogue? It’s bloody rubbish”

“Yes, well we’re rather lacking for stories to hang realistic characterisation on at the moment, aren’t we?”

“Magical Realism bloke, can’t you conjure up something for us here?”

“I got nothing”.

“Christian Fiction guy?”

“I do redemption endings not deus ex machina ones”.

“Pretty simple really. Someone’s nicked them. Half-inched the schemata, hitched up our storylines and had our narratives away on their toes”.

“What on earth are you talking about you ridiculous little woman?”

“Clues me dear. It’s what I deal in. Detective fiction at your service”.

“Well your books can’t be much cop. Our plots haven’t been stolen so much as devoured and consumed. We writers of Police procedurals do things properly. By the book. Anyone here pen forensic science protags?”

“Yeah I do and I see what you mean. There’s insect husks scattered all around here”.

“What are they, boll weevils?”

“I dunno mate. I’m not an entomologist, I’m a writer. I’m the geezer who emails the entomologists when I need some facts”.

“Well here’s a fact for you, boll weevils feed on cotton, not stories. Not paper. Something you’d know if you read my saga on slavery and the Deep South”.

“Oh, I remember that book. When the critic pointed out the infestation that destroyed the crop only happened long after abolition and the Civil War”. 

“Yes, well poetic licence and all that”.

“Historical Fiction, or as we call it, Anachronic-ism”

 “I think you’re all missing the point here. The custodians have a duty of care to our germs of ideas. So we should demand redress. Write a wrong, compensation for lost earnings”.

“Germs of ideas? That’s more Billy Burroughs’ territory. Words as virus”.

“Billy Burroughs? Close personal friend were you?”

“Wasn’t everybody?”

“Plot hole my fictive friend, Burroughs has been dead nigh on two decades. Can’t have been responsible for this”.

“Copycat? Plagiarist?”

“Is no one listening to me?”

“Probably not. Cos no one’s read you I know that much”.

“We should sue the Depository.

“I think you mean sue the Repository?”

“No, I mean Depository”.

“You don’t know what you mean. You don’t know what you’re talking about”.

“You’re splitting hairs”.

“No I’m being pedantic. If they meant exactly the same thing, we wouldn’t need two different words would we?”

“Oh go shove it up your sphincter”.

“He’ll require a suppository then”.

“Fellow writers and Creative Writing Fellows, we can still solve the riddle here. The husks are shed larval skins. Therefore there should be adult insects round here somewhere. We should be able to tell what they are then and what they’ve done with our stories”.

“This might be a clue! This big lump of earth in the corner here!”

“A termite mound! Yes, I’m pretty sure termites eat wood pulp, so paper would fit their diet”.

“Well where the hell does that get us?”

“Into the mound! Our words would be excreted by the insects, so if we can collect them all up, maybe we could reconstruct the plot lines”.

“What are we looking for exactly? What does termite pooh look like?”

“Termite ‘pooh’? What are you, a children’s author?”

“You don’t need to go scrabbling about on the floor. That mound is part earth, part termite faecal matter”.

“I’m an artiste darling, I’m not plunging my hand into a mound of insectile cloaca for literature or anybody”. 

“That’s not true of your last book”.

“That’s not just a mound… that is the literary Omphalos. The font of all story”.

“Who let the prose poet in here?”

“The literary Omphalos, here in Hay-On-Wye, are you sure?”

“Insects, this is all a bit Kafkaesque don’t you think?”

“Kafka’s insects were more metaphorical than literal I would have said”.

“What, insects devouring our words then shitting them back out as pellets and making a tower of them isn’t a metaphor you mean?”

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Gyre - Flash Fiction

Bodies on display in the street. Burst pipes spewing clean water and dirty sewage like impromptu fountains. I stood at the lip of the crater where my parents’ home once stood. I didn’t know if they were dead or had just fled. Either way it amounted to the same outcome. We were asunder one from another for good. There was nothing keeping me here, but plenty to propel me away.

I headed westwards. Among a gaggle of others. Some stopped and turned around to pray in the direction we were forsaking. Other than that religious prescription, they didn’t bother to look back. They weren’t praying for a return to their homeland. For the rest of us, our new god faced the other way. We honoured the sun setting on our lives by making a headlong pilgrimage accelerating our progress there.

As more joined our throng, we felt like a drove being prodded by an unseen goatherd. I couldn’t see a bell around my neck alerting to our presence, yet wranglers eyed us suspiciously at the border. They branded us with their marks on our papers yet would not let us stay on as their property. They marched us past ranks of policemen stood in front of wire fences, through which locals shook their fists through the mesh and screamed at us. We were put in a temporary camp at their other border, where we were now the ones contained behind wire, resting and wringing our hands through the chinks, but we were missing the third limb, that of any police to protect us from predations by others within the wire.

We moved on. Hanging from trains or 4x4s like creeping vines, though some of us human berries dropped off and were crushed underfoot, or were threshed by non-fruit pickers. Whether juice, pulp or seed, the ferment in our wakes meant we could not lay down roots here. 

And on we trudged. Overhead a flock of geese. The child next to me threw himself to the ground. He thought their tight formation presented them as a fleet of military aircraft, or perhaps their array of freshly released bombs. No one helped him up. These aerial migrators glided unerringly straight where we ploddingly snaked. Their voyage smooth since they were never challenged for their papers. They were ebulliently raucous where we were bone-wearily silent. They flew perpendicularly over us and I contemplated adopting their direction from latitude to longitude. But I could not raise my feet high enough to escape the rut in the sand that our human train had pressed and carried on in line. 

We reached the coast and found that the sea would always welcome us with open arms. Would always have berths for us to lay down and never rise again. Packed into boats like sardines, once the boat was tipped up and emptied, we scattered and were spread out on the waves. The boats sunk but we floated bloated. Until we were hooked like a fish at a funfair (that too would only live for the shortest time), or we finally settled on land, buried beneath its soil.

In Europe as we were passed from pillar to post, or rather temporarily lashed one from the other, I thought of the Wandering Jew. Supposedly our mortal enemy, now we walked in his exact footsteps. Had he closed the way for us several centuries later? He of course had the advantage of being a shoemaker who could thus repair his own leather, where our callused and bloodied hooves were not so fortunate. Our feet aped that of the European messiah where nails had been driven in to tether him to his pillar and post. The natives do not offer us such sympathy, devotion or care. Instead they hit us, shout for us to pick up our feet to go quicker and not to loiter. 

And so we do. We get the same reception in every country we cross into. Which is to say no reception at all, we are not received in the slightest. We are like the interference on TV screens, the white noise on the wireless, with which one turn of the dial they tune us out and restore their home broadcasts. Eventually we wash back up on the shores of our original homeland. We have traversed the earth seeking sanctuary. And right now our levelled home ringed with fire and bullets, our fellow countrymen rounded up and compacted like shawarma meat on the rotisserie before periodically a giant knife comes and slices off the outer layers, looks more inviting than the treatment we have previously received at the closed hands and hearts of our fellow man.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Entomology Of Love - Flash Fiction

We drifted apart. Uncoupled. Split from one another. Broke up. Leaving a stinger embedded in each other's thorax. Though we ourselves perish from such abdominal rupture, the barb continues to mete out our venom in place of the nectar we used to rub on one another. We were like mosquitoes, with proboscises sunk inside each other's flesh, insensible to the draining of our own lifeblood. Sapped until our baneful sucker is so bloated we cannot but fail to notice and swat it in a hemolymphatic spume. We scratch and tear at every single lens of each other's Argus eyes, until there are no ommatidium remaining and we are returned as blind as the squirming larva we once were. As we now strive to move on, we moult the constricting chitinous coagulation of our exoskeleton, so our spiracles can respire freely once again. Yet palpating at the hollow husk of the shed me with my antennae, I can't help feeling that represents the real me now. Wherefore my new carapace in which I reside is just some regressed puparium from which I will never hatch again. My wings folded into the flexion line of my back, never to unfurl and propel me again. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Fight Back - The Threat Of Donald J Trump

So not three weeks into trump's Presidency and a lot of people on social media and artists are proclaiming the need to not only resist, but to #fightback. I blogged my advice for strategic & targeted resistance last week. But this week represents my #fightback contribution with some cartoons I devised and which I moved quickly to get them illustrated and out there. An artistic response can be quick. Obviously sitting down to write a political novel would take too long, events at the rate they're proceeding currently would have moved on so far by the time it was published, the novel would be out of date. So artists may need to be adaptable and find other mediums. The wonderful art was provided by Wilbur Dawbarn

Saturday, 11 March 2017

20 Anti-Fascist Songs

I wrote a post about the history of the movement "Rock Against Racism" but as we lurch from bad to worse in a post-Brexit, Donald Trump world, I'm now going to post a video playlist of specific anti-Fascist or anti-Nazi songs. The songs don't really require any smart-arse comments from me but can stand alone and speak for themselves.


1) Leadbelly "Mr Hitler"

2) Woody Guthrie - "All You Fascists Bound To Lose"

3) Linton Kwesi Johnson - "Fight Dem Back"

4) Tom Robinson - "Power In The Darkness"

5) Gang Of Four - "Outside The Trains Don't Run On Time"

6) Crass - "The Gasman Cometh"

7) Steel Pulse - "Ku Klux Klan"

8) Dead Kennedys - "Nazi Punks Fuck Off"

9) Men They Couldn't Hang - "Ghosts Off Cable Street"

10) The Specials - "Why?"

11) Fire Engines - "We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thang"

12/13) Minutemen - "Political Song For M.Jackson To Sing" / "Fascist"

14) The Fall - "Who Makes The Nazis?"

15) Propaghandi - "The Only Good Fascist Is A Dead Fascist"

16) The Ex - "They Shall Not Pass"

17) MDC - "John Wayne Was A Nazi"

18) Blaggers ITA - "House Of The Fascist Scum"

19) Sonic Youth - "Youth Against Fascism"

20) The Dicks- "No Fascist friend"

Monday, 6 March 2017

Akashic Books have published one of my short stories

Akashic Books who were the first publishing company to publish 2015 Booker Winner Marlon James, have published my story "Dubmisstep" as part of their "Mondays Are Murders" noir in real locations series.

You can read it here

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Meditation Ex-Cathedra : Flash Fiction

When the levee of my mother’s natal waters broke; when the champagne bottle was dashed against her cervix and started my baby hull moving down the rollers of the birth canal; when HMS neonate me was launched into the world, it had no concept of its future obsolescence and scrappage. Of its down the line replacement by another in the lineage fleet, bearing the same name but managing only to serve in effacing the uniqueness of its memory.

It spent its early days all at sea trying to cohere the view through the telescope provided by the visual cortex and processing chip of a brain. These cozening forces of ordinate and abscissa, plotting the flat earth co-ordinates of reality as fixed and immutable. Freud of course would have it that one is also unwittingly consumed by the perspective rendered extant by the sextant; your personal parental poles of latitude and longingtude. From the antipodes of father and mother, when there is a whole host of the rest of the world to explore and chart. Further palimpsested by majusculed school and prescriptive religion. Establishing a moral foundation erected like a hollow Gaudi edifice, with the dislocating wind blowing up a maelstrom through the upright interstices. 

Of the heritable venerable three questions for man, ‘Who am I?’, ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What have I done?’, most who bother to interrogate themselves only get as far as grappling with the first one. The last is a matter for consideration solely on death beds and the second is forsaken because they fail to supply the context of their inevitable death through which all explorations would necessarily be refracted. They remain steadfastly progressively forward looking, rather than applying the singular teleological certitude to their thought processes. So inevitably they come to focus on their identities. The person they are during their brief sojourn on earth. Yet what is the point fixating on something that is ultimately perishable? They also reify love’s existence in order that they will not spend their sojourn alone, but again why would I devote contemplation on something equally fugacious? 

Author I took the antipodal approach. Placed myself in the full-length mirror. Over time studied the maculations of the skin, burst blood vessels, the ossific curvature, the protuberances and the loss of sinewy definition. No looking glass could reflect the loss of suppleness, the fitful sleep, the arthritic joints. The physicians had diagnosed my corporeal failings, I was now trying to diagnose myself for my readers. To offer them a speculum into their own being. But stood there in the mirror, pressing and pinching the flesh to see if the nevus had regular contours or not, scrotal bobbins cupped in my hand feeling the spindle for noduled swelling, I have no idea of whether I am of any assistance to my readers. As my words are released, I scrutinise them for their effect, but the letters are reversed in the mirror and illegible to me. The audience remains invisible, occluded by my eidolon therein the glass. The author dies twice over; once at the end of his life, the other every day in isolation.