Showing posts from 2016

New book, wellness, Africa

Just finished the first draft today of the novel I have been working on, on and off for at least the past three years, and very actively for the past 12 months, The Grey Area . It's come out at just over 90,000 words. It's my take on the detective novel, but it doesn't follow the rules and does odd things. At the moment, it's an unwieldy beast, and there are some glaring inconsistencies. And infelicities. When I can bring myself to read it through, I will assess what needs to be done next. I hate reading my first drafts, but I enjoy revising better than writing. It's not so scary. I'm hoping a readable version will emerge by early next year. For now, I will put it aside, because on Sunday Elaine and I are off to Zambia. We're going on the safari holiday I've been promising myself since I was about eleven years old (and collecting the set of 50 African Wildlife cards, one of which was tucked into every packet of Brooke Bond tea my mum bought). The

a book with no name is out

You can now obtain a book with no name from your favourite online or offline retailer. Publication date is officially October, but I am told it can be pre-ordered now. Very pleased with this one. Thanks, Shearsman Books and Tony Frazer for taking it on and making a great job of it. As the back blurb rightly states: It is not a book of poems. It is not a long poem. It is not a novel. Nor a volume of short stories. It is not a work of philosophy. It is not an object – like a stone. Yet it drops into the well of nothingness and is never heard of again. a book with no name fuses the optimism of Beckett with the hyperrealism of Stein.

a book with no name – coming in October

Just signed off the proofs with Shearsman Books for a book with no name – which is due out in October 2016. It is a book of 49 prose pieces – the shortest running to eight words, the longest to several pages. Some have been previewed in this space over the past year or so. You can also read seven of them here . The whole thing is just under 100 pages. This is the cover design (NB ISBN in barcode is wrong – since corrected): Many thanks to Tony Frazer, the publisher, for a wonderful job. Can't wait.


This. This is. This is not. This is this is this is not. This is this is this is not the way. This is not the way. This is the way. This way this is not the way. This is not the way not the way. Not the way this is not the way. Not the way it was. This is not the way it was. This is not the way it was not the way it was. It was not the way it was. It was not the way it was not. The way it was was not the way. The way it was was not the way supposed. The way it was was not the way this is not the way. It was not supposed. It was not supposed to be the way. It was not the way supposed. It was not supposed to be this way. The way it was is not the way it was supposed. This is the way it was not supposed. This way was not supposed this is not the way it was supposed. This is not the way it was supposed. Not the way it was supposed to happen. This is the way it was not supposed to happen. This is not the way it was supposed to happen not the way it was supposed to happe

Yourope, me and us

So I've voted. Remain. My partner and I applied for a postal vote because we're going to be away next week, visiting my Gibraltarian-born aunt in Spain (where she's lived for much of her life). She was very anxious that we shouldn't waste our Remain votes, so I'd like to reassure her it's a done deed. Virtually 100% of Gibraltarians are expected to vote Remain. Yes, they have a vote in the UK referendum too, and they are very fearful of the result for them of a Brexit. Not a lot of people know that. I was born and grew up on the Rock. We Gibraltarians lived in harmony with the British colonial powers. We played cricket with them (the annual Gibraltar Cricket Association v Combined Services matches were keenly contested in a friendly spirit). We imbibed British (as well as Spanish) culture. We lived in harmony with and sometimes inter-married with our Spanish neighbours across the border, many of whom relied on Gibraltar for employment. But we were always awa

What do you think about Yourope then?

I have had it with this fucking referendum. I resent the way the whole country has been sucked into the internal wranglings of the Tory Party. And how this has refuelled the evil xenophobia of the popular press, in particular the Mail, the Express, the Sun. And how our so-called impartial broadcasters – the BBC, even Channel 4 News – have implemented this dreary pretend "balance" – as if the choice were on a knife-edge between serious arguments and serious proponents, when in reality it is plain from all the evidence that Britain exiting the EU would be insane. Never mind the obfuscations about economics, let's look at who's advocating that Britain remain in the EU (or "Europe", as it is colloquially known – so what continent are we attached to, then?): The Conservative Party (minus those John Major used to call the "bastards"), the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Bank of Engl

Hospital dialogue

Late evening. Male care assistant in his 20s/30s, of Asian appearance; male patient, white, in his late 80s. The names have been changed. Bill, I need to take your temperature and blood pressure. Must you? Yes, Bill, I must. Very well, then. [pause] What's your name? My name's Shamoon. Give me your arm now. Where are you from? I beg your pardon? Where are you from, where were you born? England. What's that? I can't hear you. England. I was born in England. Oh, I see. [pause] Only ... I asked because ... Yeah? You look a bit ... Indian. I don't mean Indian as in cowboys and Indians, I mean from India. Yeah? That's what I meant. So what's that got to do with anything? Uh. [pause] So what's my blood pressure, then? Is normal. OK. Ah, that's good. So I'm not dead yet, ha ha. Yeah, Bill, you're talking a load of rubbish, that means you're still alive.


I can't believe how much I have taken my good health for granted for all these years. Before last month (in my 66th year now) I had not spent a day in hospital or had a serious illness since I was a child. Then, a week before Good Friday, a minor and unprecedented problem with my waterworks escalated into a full-blown health emergency over the weekend. By the time Elaine returned from her Hastings Half Marathon run on Sunday afternoon (I felt too ill to go out and support her) I was in such a serious state – extreme pain urinating, high fever, nausea, headache and uncontrollable shivering – that she dialled 999. Within minutes a very nice paramedic was here to check me over, and within the hour I had been whizzed by ambulance – yes, siren and everything, but I wasn't in a state to appreciate the excitement – to the emergency department of the local hospital. Where I spent eight days, much of that time being hooked up to intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Then felt better a

Reading in London

I'm reading this Tuesday (15 March 2016) at the Blue Bus in London, with my old friend Jeff Hilson and Juli Jana. If you follow the link, you'll see it says "a reading of poetry". In fact, I shall be reading from Country Life in my set in the first half, and from a book with no name , which, it has just been confirmed, will be published by Shearsman Books in September this year, in the second. The first book is a novel, the second a prose book of uncertain category. But everything I do is poetry, really. You can sample Country Life here , and a book with no name here , here and here . For those who want to know, I'm now working on a mystery novel called The Grey Area . There is probably no solution to the mystery.

Back in the day...

Just out from Shearsman Books: CLASP: late modernist poetry in London in the 1970s , which Robert Hampson edited with my help. Twenty-three contributors who just about remember the Seventies put their penn'orths in. The cover shows the redoubtable Paula Claire, who performed with Bob Cobbing and others. Available now from Shearsman or orderable from all good bookshops if any such are left.