Sunday, 22 October 2017

Helix Folt: the Conservative - an idea for a novel

I live in Bristol. Political discourse in my city is dominated by the hard left. I never fail to be disgusted by this. Whenever the hard left gets control of the levers of power, the inevitable result is tyranny, terror, torture, famine, and mass murder. I simply do not understand why the hard left are excused for their wickedness which, judged in terms of body count, dwarfs that of the Nazis and fascists whom we quite rightly excoriate for their crimes against humanity.

This is why, having just finished reading George Eliot's Felix Holt: the Radical, I have conceived the idea of writing a novel about a socially awkward Tory getting caught up in an episode which is a sort of fusion of the Tesco riots of April 2011 and last year's EU Referendum.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A Short Excerpt From Odour Issues

The Lexus, sleek and shimmering in the darkness, inched majestically along Stokes Croft. Momentarily arrested by the lucorum mutandum junctioning Ashley Road, it took its sussurant repose upon the camber opposite the steaming windows of Bar Wanque, whereupon Sir Hearty Luncheon’s gaze chanced to settle upon certain vey desolate individuals smoking angrily on the pavement.
“What a thing is a man,” he murmured, vey faintly, “Australopithecine, one supposes. Positively exuding cant. I never did bear the cant.”
“Those gentleman are officers in the Unauthorised Enema Squad, Sir Hearty,” said from in front Mr Jagtar Singh, who somewhat reluctantly kept himself au fait with such particulars.

Sir Hearty leant back upon the naugahyde plush, whence emanated in response a sigh of ineffable bliss. There ensued a silence, whilom the Harbourside David de Rothschild digested this new intelligence. Beside him, Sir Gerald Inhali masticated with studied unconcern a slim volume of post-theory.

“From time to time,” opined at length Sir Hearty, “one finds oneself prompted - put under the necessit√© de moeurs, even - of revising one’s initial prognoses. Indeed, upon the present occasion in particular, one finds oneself obliged to withdraw a certain epithet acknowledged to have been infelicitous. The personages upon the pavement are to be accorded their dignity, if it be perhaps, in view of a certain roughness of manner which they have about them, more properly as honest yeomen rather than as gentlemen. Nevertheless, they are most certainly not, let it be known, australopithecine.”

A further silence, the awkwardness whereof being substantially mitigated by Sir Gerald’s venting, not unhappily, a post-theoretical eructation.

“Cant successfully avoided then,” murmured at length that other garter snake Sir Ezra Tertiary-Syphilis from the bucket seat opposite.
“Quite so,” said Sir Hearty, “I never did bear cant, and would not wish myself to be the originator, howsomever inadvertently, of solecism of so egregious a variety.”
“I meant, of course, Gerry’s little burp,” said Sir Ezra rather off-handedly, “very neatly executed, I thought. Nothing escapes his mouchoir.”
“God no,” chuckled Sir Gerald whilom inwardly wincing, “although I have to confess that the theory theory theory repeated on me. Rather tough on the old oesophagus, wotwot.”
Sir Hearty Luncheon disclosed by his silence that he considered the foregoing proceeding, thus explained, adequately free of the marks of cant, and as such to be borne on his own part.

Tandem mutantes luces, the Lexus nosed forwards into Cheltenham Road. As it purred past … er … Squattocrat Heights and swept left up Cotham Hill, Sir Hearty Luncheon found that his thoughts turned from the unbearable cant of titled bohemians, and dwelt more upon the continuing indisposition of Lord Handjob, whom they were presently visiting in a vey discreet sanatorium in Westbury-on-Trym.


The entire episode had been utterly provoking. That he should have found himself being addressed - in person - by that ghastly little man from the trauma cleaning service. Quite unconscionable. What was it to him if Lord Handjob and his personal therapist chose to defecate all over the inside of the executive jet? Such matters fell quite beneath his consideration. He had made abundantly clear his susceptibilities regarding the bearing of cant.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Yahoos from Porlock make a nuisance of themselves in Starbucks

This afternoon I took myself into town for the Sunday Meet-Up at Starbucks in Wine Street. I'd been working on Odour Issues for about twenty minutes, when these four yobs decided to make their presence felt. They appeared to think that lots of shouting and swearing was the thing to do, and that it would be fun to disturb everyone else. Their ringleader appeared to be the fat twerp in the black t shirt. I thought I'd upload the video I took as I left. Maybe these morons will see themselves as other people see them, i.e. as stupid turds who don't know how to behave, an embarrassment.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

My First Foreign Language Publication

My Sonnet 141, which is my first and to date only French composition, has just been published by Barbara Dordi, to whom my thanks, in Issue 28 of the French Literary Review.

My understanding is that at present there is only a paper and no online edition, and as I doubt that Barbara would be entirely happy if I upstaged the online edition which she may be planning, I had better hold off reproducing Sonnet 141 for a few months at least. I will meanwhile leave this link to the Poetry Magazines entry for the Review.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Latest issue of the Sentinel Literary Quarterly, featuring my Sonnet 142

The latest issue of the SLQ has hit the stands. Its Sentinel Champions section features the winning entries for the SPM Publications May poetry competition, including my Sonnet 142, which won 2nd Prize.

The Sentinel is a high quality literary journal. I regard my award as a great honour, and offer my  congratulations to my fellow prize/commendation winners.

Here's a link to the new edition.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

2nd Prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly May Poetry Competition

Opening my email about twenty minutes ago, I was delighted to discover that my Sonnet 142 has been awarded 2nd Prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly quarterly poetry competition. This is the second time Sentinel have seen fit to garland me - my Sonnet 74 was Commended in their February issue - and I am pleased and honoured. I don't think they're due to publish their latest issue until 31 July. When they do, I shall provide thereunto a link. Here, meanwhile, is a link to Sentinel's announcement.

Overall, this means that three of my sonnets have been or are shortly to be published in reputable journals: Sonnets 74 and 142 as per above, and Sonnet 141 is due for publication in the October edition of the French Literary Review. I think that another three or four individual publications will probably suffice for me to release the entire collection.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Two Weddings, a Cricket Injury, Writer's Bleauque, and a Sonnet in the Tradition of Philip Larkin and Wendy Cope

This last month I went to the weddings of two of my brothers, firstly in St Agnes in Cornwall at the end of May, and secondly in Stockholm over that very hot weekend just before midsummer - thankfully it was a bit cooler in Stockholm - 27c? - than back in the UK. The weddings were both fun, but in different ways - sobriety & the keeping of wits vs. wedding-acceptable drunkenness. I drove to my Cornwall brother's wedding, and back home to Bristol on the same day, which necessitated staying sober, and so for the entire day I limited myself to a small glass of Prosecco before the wedding lunch, half as much Rioja with lunch, and later on a couple of very small sips of some kind of gin-based and very pleasant blackberry liqueur. This was in marked contrast to the Swedish stage of the narrative. I got fairly well inebriated at the pre-wedding soiree on the Friday night, which was held in a hotel salon in central Stockholm; and enjoyed a fair amount of wine the next night at the wedding dinner, which was held at the newly-weds' farm house half an hour from the City Centre.

I'm presently recovering from some kind of rib fracture, sustained on a Sunday in early June when I landed very clumsily while wicket-keeping for my club, The Old England, in the North Somerset League. My keeping really isn't what it used to be five years ago. I'm approaching my mid-50's, my eyesight's not getting any better, my reactions have slowed, and I'm half a stone overweight. At least my rib injury is a lot better than it was. I've gone from getting up out of bed being an ordeal to being able to run several miles and lift light weights slowly. Coughing and sneezing still hurt a bit, but not nearly as much. I'm not at all sure about cricket though. I'll be worried about something happening every time I have to dive for the ball.

I've also not been feeling very motivated to write recently. To some extent this is a normal phenomenon for me in my writing cycle - I tend to finish a project, immediately start a new on, and then break off for about six weeks, while feeling slightly pissed off with it all. Eventually, I build up a sort of choleric head of steam, and begin to vent it in the form of light burlesque. The difference this time is that it's taken three months. Hopefully, I'm coming out of this stage at last, because it's really pissing me off now. At least I haven't completely wasted my time, insofar as I've done a lot of reading and re-reading: Trollope, Graham Greene, Edward St Aubyn, Evelyn Waugh, Scott Fitzgerald, and presently Sons & Lovers, with Felix Holt next on the list. I did write a sonnet yesterday, which hopefully augurs a change's being afoot. It's intended as a contribution to the story of Mr Bleaney, which Wendy Cope satirically commandeered from Larkin:-


VI. Mr Bleaney Dies in South Bristol
He, quite alone, with wandering steps and slow,
through Sodom took his solitary way.
The block in Hartcliffe - where the rent was low -
had walls of pebbledash coated in grey.

He hung his coat upon the plastic hook,
and watched quite wearily through dirty glass
the Doberman fouling the football pitch.
At length he sighed, and read again his book,
and scratched distractedly his bony arse.

An interval elapsed. 

He briefly twitched.

The drainage people found him in the end.
A turned down page marked how far he had read.
There was no wake for wizened drinking friends
to speak no ill of him when newly dead.

Helix Folt: the Conservative - an idea for a novel

I live in Bristol. Political discourse in my city is dominated by the hard left. I never fail to be disgusted by this. Whenever the hard lef...