Wednesday, 23 November 2016

POETRY COMPETITION:- THE DUNTHORNE PRIZE

Richard Craven is pleased to announce a new poetry competition. The Dunthorne Prize will be awarded for the best, i.e. worst, poem modelled on Joe Dunthorne's "Poem in which I practice happiness". The judges (Richard Craven) will be on the look-out for banality, talent's absence, and cultural deracination. Meretricious rhyme, inadvertently jarring meter, crude sententiousness, and infantile allusions to association football are all acceptable.

1st Prize: a cheque for £100
2nd prize: the opportunity to sit naked with your head in a bucket in a corner of the living room of the judges (Richard Craven) for a period not exceeding 12 hours.

Rules.
1. Poems not exceeding 50 lines are to be sent in the body of an email to rmcraven1@icloud.com.
2. Name & address for despatch of cheque in case of winning, i.e. losing, poem in the body of the email underneath the entry.
3. Deadline: 1 April 2017.
4. The decision of the judges (Richard Craven) is final.
5. The judges (Richard Craven) reserve the right to publicise, or suppress, the results of the competition, as they see fit.
6. The judges (Richard Craven) reserve the right to publish a selection of entries as an admonitory anthology, without further recompense to those whose entries are featured.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

New page for pisspoor poetry, inspired by "Poem in which I practice happiness", by Joe Dunthorne in the New Statesman

Just now, I was scanning the New Statesman, and came upon what has to be the most facile, disgusting piece of doggerel ever accorded the dignity of publication. Ladies & gentleman, I give you the excrescence known as "Poem in which I practice happiness". It was conceived by one Joe Dunthorne who is, somehow, the garnerererer of a panoply of awards for his, er, writing. Don't ask me, that's what Wikipedia says. And he's got a British Council listing, according to which he is a Faber New Poet. That's Faber, remember them? T.S.Eliot must be turning in his fucking grave.

Anyway, here is his ickle poemy woemy. Those of a delicate disposition are advised to look away now:-

"I love pigeons
even when their claws are stumps
and they walk as though in heels.
I love guinea pigs
for the idea they are in some way
a pig. Their heartbeats make their bodies
vibrate. I like to pretend
to answer them. Whom may I say is speaking?
I love football. More people love football
than love social justice
but that doesn't mean football
isn't brilliant. Whenever I head the ball
I feel a poem evaporate.
I hate the bit of the poem
where you're obliged
to hate something.
I love the piano.
I love true crime.
I love the sun
when it arrives
like a tray
of drinks."

And the New Statesman published this. E.J.Thribb, eat your heart out. I despair.

Actually, I don't despair. What I have decided to do is start a new page on this blog, for pisspoor poetry which somehow manages to get published.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sonnet 75

Behold Sonnet 75, which I wrote this afternoon, and had the effrontery to submit to Trip Advisor as a review of Leigh Delamere Service Station, an establishment adorning the M4 near Chippenham.

Sonnet 75
Leigh Delamere, you should have written verse:
a minor, whimsical, Pre-Raphaelite,
or modernist perhaps, but not too terse,
although stooping betimes into the trite.
Now come we in our cars to chew your stodge,
buy petrol - ludicrously over-priced -
take part in orgies in your Travelodge,
and moan about your toilets not being nice.
Leigh Delamere, I’ve been your Porlock too.
I’ve visited your stately pleasure dome
skidmarked your nylon sheets and blocked your loos,
stolen your towels and buggered off back home.
For these foul desecrations, let this be,

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Sonnet progress

I've so far written 52 sonnets of my projected total of 155 - Shakespeare wrote 154; see what I'm doing?

Here are a couple of relatively recent efforts. 43 seems to be some kind of attack on ivory tower relativism, and 47 ridicules the vapid raptasticness of Kate Tempest:-

Sonnet 43
Reason suborned by shallow sentiment;
old culture chloroformed, hog-tied and gagged;
facts executed, and their corpses dragged
through lecture halls of Anglia and Trent.
Truth twisted on the relativist’s rack;
philosophy traduced, and maimed, and marred;
poor questions begging in the seminar;
and beauty drowning in a lake of cack.
The march through institutions, once begun,
acquires momentum, grows unstoppable.
So logic’s murdered and is beastly dead,
and Gramsci’s parasitic worms have won.
Sleep now, brainfart, and dream of shitting bull,
for nothing else exists inside your head.

Sonnet 47
That trite millennial aerial, Tempest
channels, inevitably, Caliban.
It lies beneath her dignity to scan
her adventitious rhymes - a palimpsest,
whose artificial patois has effaced,
beneath a sediment of right-on grime
(Cultural Marxism’s squalidest crime),
high culture’s faintest unregarded trace.
Eternal shame of cringing TV pimp,
of fawning critic, slave to passing fad,
of coked-up literary copraphage!
That agency’s limp-wristed PR gimp
should lavish praise on something quite so bad
marks the degeneracy of the age.

Publication of the Twisted50 anthology, featuring my story Lolitasaurus

Chris Jones and his colleagues at Create50 have been so good as to include my short story Lolitasaurus in their inaugural Twisted50 anthology. This will be out on Kindle in the next few days, with a paperback edition to follow in a week or two. Here's a link to their website.

Monday, 12 September 2016

My newest sonnet, inspired by the inexpressible loveliness of Stokes Croft

Sonnet 32
Perplexed and eke disgusted, I look out
through windows on the street at broken men,
and scope a swarm controlled by pathogens,
all yellow eyes and chronic shuffling gout.
Tuberculosis spits from blackened teeth,
from winnowed skulls the septic flesh withdraws,
and diabetic wounds are scratched with claws,
disclosing the obscenity beneath.
Where once was moderation and restraint
with freely chosen boundaries to keep,
is now the consequence of lawless vice:
squalor, indignity, and rancid taint,
nightmare while reason, opiated, sleeps,
and souls embedded comatose in ice.


Friday, 22 July 2016

Sonnet frenzy - and Sonnet 21

Having written the first half of Odour Issues by February, I abruptly left off in order to get stuck into a welter of short stories. Having written eight or ten stories, probably by the beginning of May, I took up anew with the Montpeliad, which had been languishing for a couple of years as the 40 line introduction to a Papist (Pope - giddy?) satire of the follies of Montpelier in Bristol, where I have lived for over a decade. The Montpeliad being completed, very swiftly published in Bristol 247, and daubed as previously described on the walls of Meat/Liquor, I have now embarked on a sonnet frenzy. The thinking here is that Shakespeare wrote - correct me if I'm wrong - 154 sonnets, so I can write 155 of the bastards. Anyway, I've written 21 so far, in a variety of Petrarchan and Shakespearean rhyme scheme, although none so far in the Spenserian style. My latest effort is a sort of experimental reverse Petrarchan, insofar as the sestet precedes the octet.

Sonnet 21
Has Earth to show anything more uncouth?
Dulled to a greyness now, the underpants
cling limply to his calamari cleft:
their seventh week as barnacle to youth,
a scowling spitting verminous pissant
of all the social niceties bereft.
Fair maiden, pharmaceutically fatigued
carps like a slave in his triumphant ear;
joins, renegade, the world against him leagued.
Where is the valium of yesteryear?
Not to be had at 6am, for sure.
Watch from your window as the forms recede.
A brief crescendo. Someone slams a door.
You lie upon your bed and try to read.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

I Join the Ranks of Bristol's Graffitirati.

I recently spent an entire week writing utter filth on the walls of the disabled toilet in Stokes Croft Bar MeatLiquor. The Montpeliad, all 620 lines of it, is now up in glorious monochrome Sharpie, and I have tendonitis of the inside elbow.*

I'll get myself back down there in the next day or two and take some pictures. For now, I thought I would take the opportunity to thank Chris and his team for being so very nice about the weirdo in the khazi.

*19.10.16 I saw the doctor about this a few weeks ago, and she diagnosed bicep tendonitis. It's not really getting any better as yet, sad to say.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

An amusing juxtaposition in yesterday's Guardian

In the echo chamber that is modern leftism, it is of course perfectly normal for the bourse of a newly failed state to be entering a bull market:-



Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sonnet 14

Sonnet 14 has as its target a certain particularly coarse kind of rage which seems lately to have overtaken political discourse on the left of the spectrum. I'm thinking particularly of
(i) the anti-semitism controversy which Livingstone & Galloway and more recently Corbyn have got caught up in;
and, perhaps more immediately of
(ii) the reaction of many Remainers to the Brexit vote, and the bullying and coercive tones adopted by Remainers, which - and here's my theory - drove Leavers underground. This explanation accounts quite well for the surprising nature of the result; call this the 'quiet leaver' explanation.
Anyway, without further ado, here's the work in question.

Sonnet 14
Your face inflamed with that bottomless rage,
that fashionable nihilism quite bereft
of moderation or respect for age:
the ranting coarseness of the modern left.
There’s more decorum in the ape-house yet
than iv’ry towers in defence of Mao.
Fly to your eco-conference by jet,
and do not ask the little people how
your cosmopolitan outlook’s at odds
with their quotidian reality:
the shop-workers, the carriers of hods;
to you, of course, utmost banality,
something to rant about in Stokes Croft bars
while buying the coke and ordering the cars.

Sonnet 14 has a Shakespearean rhyme scheme:- abab cdcd efef gg. Regarding the volta, I would hesitate to say that it's in its traditional place at line 9. In fact, I wouldn't go so far as to say that there is one, although there are a couple of shifts in tone. So ... not entirely orthodox in every way, but at least it's in iambic pentameter and has one of the orthodox rhyme schemes.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bristol 24/7 publishes The Montpeliad in its entirety

Here's a link:-
http://www.bristol247.com/channel/culture/books/poetry/local-poet-pens-epic-the-montpeliad-bristol
I will never be able to show my face in this town again!

To be honest, I am a little surprised - in a good way - that they went ahead so promptly with publication.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sonnet 5

I've lately taken to writing sonnets - Petrarchan rather than Shakespearean. No doubt this follows on from my completion of The Montpeliad (619 line heroic couplet satire of the follies of Bristol, modelled on Pope's Dunciad).

I've written five or six sonnets in this latest frenzy. So far one or two have seemed slightly shallow to me; one or two slightly better. Sonnet 5 below is highly topical, given that I'm writing this post on the eve of the Referendum. I think I'm quite pleased with it. It doesn't sound too trite to my ear.



Sonnet 5

The tide’s edge where, lurking between the ebb
and flow, flip-flop between each absolute,
this moment when affairs become acute,
you lounge on your divan with your Black Leb.
At least you’re reading up on politics:
Ryan, who lectured you at UCL.
You really thought tonight you might as well
Here, history bifurcates. Some ratchet clicks.
That slouching beast of Yeats, or evil twin
of beast, pauses for breath in Beit Sahour. 
Rancour develops between fastest friends,
fools prick eachother’s effigies with pins.
Someone like Kissinger extends a claw,
and Eliott’s whimper signals when it ends.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Another gruesome image of Referendum debaters exchanging spit in Stokes Croft

Almost every day, I walk past this splendidly witty contribution to the Referendum debate, which is to be found in Stokes Croft, Bristol:


which is modelled on this iconic image of Cold War tyrannosauri Brezhnev and Honecker engaging in tonsil hockey:
I thought that, in light of Eddie Izzard's thoughtful and restrained Question Time performance the other night, I might add my own amateurishly photoshopped reimagining:


My first ever Petrarchan sonnet

I make no claims for profundity on behalf of my latest creation, which chronicles an unpleasant episode in my life, lasting for roughly eighteen months until roughly eighteen months ago. Suffice to say, it meets the criteria defining a Petrarchan sonnet, these being:-
(1) an abba abba cdc/e cdc/e rhyme scheme (although I'm given to understand there have been some variants on this pattern).
(2) an octet (the abba abba portion) followed by a sestet (the cdc/e cdc/e portion).
(3) a volta or turn in line 9, introducing a change in mood and presaging the ultimate resolution.


Sonnet 1

When junkies moved into the house next door
I feared that I would never sleep again.
My mind’s eye pictured taking up a Sten,
and in this way enforcing frontier law.
They partied twice a week and often more,
dealt smack in ten quid bags to chavs, who then
would congregate in groups of eight or ten
and leave my front path full of sharps and gore.
Until one day I filmed a female guest
as from a window she relieved herself.
Then to YouTube I sent the video.
Betimes pornography is for the best:
I’ve since regained most of my mental health,
and care not where their landlord made them go.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

An Excerpt from the Montpeliad, a Work-in-Progress

Excerpt from the Montpeliad.

The Montpeliad is my first proper attempt at writing in heroic couplets - rhyming pairs of iambic pentameters. The heyday of this verse form was in the late 17th and 18th centuries, the era straddled by the satirists and serial Homer-translators, Dryden and Pope. The South African poet Roy Campbell single-handedly revived the form between the World Wars. However, it has very much fallen back out of favour since his passing, which is a pity, I think, because it lends itself very nicely to the mock epic to which I'm extremely partial.

In The Montpeliad, he unnamed narrator roams Bristol, where a sort of Olympic Games for twats is being held, and discourses on the mindless folly which is the presiding spirit of that town. The Montpeliad is modelled on Pope's Dunciad, which is itself a satire of the follies of Pope's literary contemporaries.

The following excerpt is very obviously a satire of Bristol's recent mayoral elections.


You wondered how the officers could cope
with all that cash stuffed in brown envelopes.
Suffice to say, as soon as they were paid, 465
the new Porsche showroom did a roaring trade.
At length, the chief returning officer,
all Rolex watch, gold teeth, opossum fur,
snorting the purest powder to be found
between Montpelier and High Kingsdown, 470
looked up from guzzling overflowing trough
invited silence with a hacking cough.
Thy will be done, electorate,” he said,
although adjusted as determinéd
by such emoluments lately bestowed, 475
of gold, of silver, and of cash a load.
He wiped the gravy dripping from his lip,
from crystal flute of Cliquot slurped a sip,
and with majestic dignity announced,
the easy winner, who by far has trounced 480
his rivals in this cheapening charade,
this whited sepulchre, this cracked façade,
is neither clown nor smirking architect;
the pawn instead of narrow Marxist sect,
the slaves of dogma which can only yield 485
the false utopia and killing field,
In short, good people, Marvin Reece has won.
Now liquidate the kulaks, rape the nuns,
sign with the Nazis non-aggression pacts,
erase the hist’ry and re-write the facts.” 490

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Text of Jan Böhmermann's Erdogan poem, auf Deutsch

Schmähkritik 
Sackdoof, feige und verklemmt
Ist Erdogan, der Präsident.

Sein Gelöt stinkt schlimm nach Döner,
Selbst ein Schweinefurz riecht schöner.

Er ist der Mann, der Mädchen schlägt
Und dabei Gummimasken trägt.

Am liebsten mag er Ziegen ficken
Und Minderheiten unterdrücken.

Kurden treten, Christen hauen
Und dabei Kinderpornos schauen.

Und selbst abends heißt's statt schlafen
Fellatio mit hundert Schafen.

Ja, Erdogan ist voll und ganz
Ein Präsident mit kleinem Schwanz.

Wie gesagt, das ist 'ne Sache,
da muss man nicht machen

Jeden Türken hört man flöten:
Die dumme Sau hat Schrumpelklöten. 

Von Ankara bis Istanbul 
Weiß jeder, dieser Mann ist schwul, 

Pervers, verlaust und zoophil - 
Recep Fritzl Priklopil. 

Sein Kopf so leer wie seine Eier, 
Der Star auf jeder Gangbang-Feier. 

Bis der Schwanz beim Pinkeln brennt, 
Das ist Recep Erdogan, der türkische Präsident. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Create50 announcement - my short story is being published!

This morning, Create50 announced the list of the winning entries for their inaugural Twisted50 anthology. Amongst the winners is my short story Lolitasaurus! Here's the link to the Create50 announcement:-
http://singularity50.create50.com/blogs/twisted50-volume-1-and-the-winners-are

This represents something of a landmark for me - my first publication since I quit academia and resumed my true vocation of literary fiction. Hopefully, there will be many more to follow. I feel very strongly that, particularly in my current short-story frenzy, I'm mining a rich seam. Also, I recently had another look at my play, The Senseless Counterfeit, and I'm increasingly persuaded that it's going to make my reputation. Hopefully, at some stage in the not too distant future, I'll be able to persuade decent agents & publishers of the merits of my case.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Mr Nice's Bottom

In my rage against the late unlamented Mr Marks, I wrote Mr Nice's Bottom very quickly. I finished it fifteen minutes ago, and have already submitted it to Twisted50 Volume 2.

Here's a link:-
http://www.create50.com/scripts/57122cc76e6f647231000048?age=verified

Monday, 11 April 2016

The death of Howard Marks has given me an idea for my next short story

The death has been announced of Howard Marks, who in his lifetime morphed from large-scale cannabis smuggler into counter-cultural celebrity lionised as Mr Nice by left-liberals everywhere. James Brown of Loaded magazine describes Marks as a "true modern-day folk hero", who "stood for everything we loved" and "is a bloody great example to us all". 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/11/mr-nice-howard-marks-dies-of-cancer-at-70/

Marks himself described his career in no less glowing terms:-
     "Smuggling cannabis was a wonderful way of living - perpetual culture shock, absurd amounts of money, and the comforting knowledge of getting so many people stoned."

My perspective on Mr Nice is somewhat different. I know, I know, de mortuis nil nisi bonum and and all that jizz. But I speak as one of the so many people he got stoned. I was introduced to cannabis at the age of 15, at around the time Marks was consorting with such beacons of moral excellence as Pablo Escobar and the IRA. I subsequently spent a quarter of a century as a wake 'n' bake stoner, from when my weed habit became entrenched in my early 20's, until I eventually managed to kick my addiction - yes, hippies, addiction - two and a half years ago.

So, in my estimation, Mr Nice was actually rather unpleasant, an opinion corroborated when I came across this account by his former wife of the destruction wrought by this preening narcissist on his own children:-
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1187009/Mr-Nice-More-like-Mr-awful-father---Ex-wife-drug-smuggler-Howard-Marks-tells-destroyed-family.html

Mr Nice went through life sublimely untroubled by the wreckage he left behind him, succumbing eventually to cancer of the colon. I consider it fitting to commemorate his passing with a short story. "Mr Nice's Bottom" is just waiting to be written.

So long, Mr Nice, and thanks for all the memories. Cunt.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

And yet another Twisted 2 entry

This afternoon, I completed and submitted to Twisted50/2 the first draft of my latest short story.

The Telescopic Philanthropist's Modest Proposal is about Drusilla Kaftanjellyby, a morally undernourished aid worker in an unnamed country in the grip of war and famine. Drusilla hosts one Mr Marsh-Marlowe, an ineffectual little man whom she believes to be an accountant sent out by the agency in order to question her about the famine relief funding which for ideological reasons she has spent on expensive organic food. Their conversation takes place against a background of artillery fire, controlled by a war lord called Leopold, with whom Drusilla appears to be on very easy terms.

After a while, Drusilla drives Mr Marsh-Marlowe to a restaurant, which turns out to be a very expensive establishment in the middle of a refugee camp full of people starving to death. While they wait for their meal, Mr Marsh-Marlowe reveals that he is actually there at the behest of the Child Protection Unit for Drusilla's local borough back in North London, in order to investigate allegations that she has left her own children to fend for themselves. At this point, however, his attempt to exert himself in his official capacity is interrupted by the reappearance of the head waiter, a Lebanese exile called Pierre, who serves them their braised kid, shot that very morning by one of Leopold's jackasses.

Here's a link to the beast:-
http://twisted-vol2.create50.com/scripts/5706551d6e6f64100f00007d?age=verified

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Yet another short story submitted to Twisted50 Vol 2

This one, which I wrote over the last three days, rejoices in the title 'Contracts for the Design of Certain Vulgar Necessities'.

Jissom, who works in some nebular capacity in industrial design, is stranded on the motorway on his way to a conference in The Vale. He is rescued by a heavy smoking alcoholic with a name very much like Wankingstain. Wankingstain takes him to Club, which is inside a building on a dilapidated industrial estate under the flyover. There, Jissom recognises Professor Goetz, a disgraced anthropologist conducting an independent research program focussing on depersonalisation among the gimps who are part of Club's furniture. Drunkenness, escaped gimps, murder, arson, weird funerals, embittered recluses - it's all in here.

http://www.create50.com/scripts/56f3ffac6e6f645d1f000357

Friday, 18 March 2016

The Dharma of the Eye - a New Short Story Submitted to the Next Twisted50 Anthology

The Dharma of the Eye is a peculiar little story about a civilian CCTV operator in Shroud Town. As the New Era approaches and everyone starts wearing their Star Trek uniforms, this overweight enema addict harasses the health service with his digestive Munchausen disorder, wrestles with the singularly unrewarding magical fiction inflicted on him by his vacuous landlady, and drinks cider and pernod alone in the pub. And all along, the Unauthorised Enema Squad have had their eye on him.

http://www.create50.com/scripts/56e9ae8e6e6f645d1f00008d?age=verified

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Two Short Stories

In the last few weeks, I've written two short stories:-

(1) The Inanity of the Deed, a 4,000 word adaptation of Conrad's novel The Secret Agent, which I've submitted to The Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology. A sex shop proprietor sacrifices his clueless step-son to an agent provocateur's plot to bomb the local cadet depot, and secures his alibi by participating in an open-mike activist benefit evening, where he reads his excruciatingly bad poetry.
https://www.bristolprize.co.uk

(2) Professor Guzman's PhD Student. Like Inanity, Guzman riffs upon the theme of incompetent terrorists. In the run-up to the election as Prime Minister of a Corbyn-esque useful idiot, ivory tower sociopaths plot to burn a polling station in the Mendips, leading to the deaths of the idiot Greenpeace-ish chuggers hired for this purpose. I've submitted Guzman to the second Twisted50 anthology; readers may recall that two of my short stories - Lolitasaurus and Disaster of the Will - are already on the shortlist for the first Twisted50 anthology.
http://twisted-vol2.create50.com/profiles/richard-craven

Diverse speeches from my play, The Senseless Counterfeit

(1) Suliman's Yoga Creep Speech. Act 1 Scene ii

It seems to me that Shakespeare missed a trick.
He might prophetically have writ about
another age of man, the Yoga Creep,
between his Justice and his Pantaloon,
whose shrivelled member, kept from its repose,
held upright by those blue remembered pills,
twitches in the presence of young hippie chicks.
I see right through you, Sleaze. You’re nothing but
a goat who gulls impressionable youth,
an oniony old sage with borrowed cloak.


(2) Mr Luvvertory on Selling Ketamine. Act 1 Scene i

It’s true. Powder of Equus Tranquillus,
which is to say, that wondrous ketamine,
which makes one snorting it think he’s a worm,
or else an elongated pasta strand.
A true alchemic catalyst is k
makes of the meanest bedsit sumptuous halls,
transmutes the vilest, most disgusting knave
unto the choicest ponce that ever graced the court;
although it’s ultimately bladder-wrack,
causing its hierophants to go around with bags.
A vertically integrated biz:
I cook it up myself in pots and pans.


(3) Slime on Selling Cocaine. Act 1 Scene i

Betimes, I dabbled in an allied trade,
a merchant in Talcum of Medellin, I was,
importing in swallowed prophylacticals
that snuff, for which fine gentlefolk
betaking themselves unto the privy room,
upon the cistern thereof chop it out in lines
and by it most subtly are energised,
which their companions do remark upon
when they resume their wonted dinner seats,
and overbear all others with their rant.

H.G.Wells nails Henry James

As Frances Wilson, writing in the Telegraph, puts it,

"[James's] middle period produced The Bostonians, and The Princess Casamassima, among the least satisfactory of his novels, while the “late style” of The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl and The Ambassadors – which HG Wells compared to a hippopotamus laboriously attempting to pick up a pea that has got into a corner of its cage – sealed James’s reputation as The Master."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/henry-james-a-novelist-for-the-wi-fi-age/


Although I can sort of see the point of The Ambassadors, I still feel that, had I been made aware of Wells's comment before embarking on 'Plomacy, I would have been spared a gruesome ordeal.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Odour Issues Update, and an Entry for the Bristol Short Story Prize

Odour Issues is almost at its halfway point - 45,000 words and the middle of the twelfth chapter of an envisaged 24 + prologue + possible epilogue. I'm hoping to finish it before Autumn. Then I'll start work on my Canto collection. To this end, I've started reading - and in many cases re-reading - Pound's Cantos. I have also read the first Canto of Byron's Don Juan - not quite sure how this is going to serve my purposes, but it's been fun.

I've left off writing Odour Issues for about ten days in order to write an entry for the annual Bristol Short Story Prize. My story is called The Inanity of the Deed, and consists in a loose adaptation of Conrad's novel The Secret Agent as a retelling of one of the petty outrages which Bristol's somewhat footling community of sixth form Kropotkin-readers sporadically inflicts upon our City.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Two short stories short-listed for the Twisted50 project

This morning, the folk at Create50 announced the shortlist for their Twisted50 project, on which they have been so good as to include two short stories of mine, viz:-

*'Lolitasaurus' - fleeting episodes in the conscious life of a psychopath running amuck following his erroneous release from a mental hospital.

*'Disaster of the Will' - a criminal hiding out on a coastal campsite awakes one morning to find the place taken over by nudists, whose occupation promptly descends into internecine strife with unsavoury antisemitic overtones.

Here's a link to the Twisted announcement:-

https://www.facebook.com/Twisted50Book/posts/220850108249906:0

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Goatherd's Plaint and Lament - from Odour Issues Ch9

La queixa i llàgrimes del cabrer

While in this close Arcadia I’ve dwelt,
careless and ignorant and quite at ease,
my thoughts being occupied with making cheese,
I’ve nought considered how it must have felt
to be shut up in rubber in a shed,
and lie all day on leaking waterbed,
subject to buggering by chaps with fleas.

For all my daily business was with goats
I got, to salve my loneliness, a gimp
loaned to me by a psychopathic pimp,
for which I paid in maculated notes.
I leavened then my pastoral eclogue
with bosky cottaging in my own bog,
at the expense of an ungainly limp.

A tolerable stasis now ensued.
The farming of a gimp, like planting trees,
entitled me to EU subsidies.
What better way, they asked, of getting wood?
For months our lifestyle was quite middle-class
while I made free with gimp’s capacious arse
and goats roamed unattended o’er the leas.

For all gimp favoured with its rash my bell,
which ever and anon oozed greenish pus,
I pardoned it, and didn’t make a fuss,
but loved my masked avenger passing well.
Its mute submission blithely I mistook
for acquiescence - with a funny look -
and manfully ignored its pungent musk.

But gimp more goaty than my goats now smelled -
its odour issue did invade my dreams.
One day I brought it to the babbling stream
and bade it bleach its mould’ring spandex pelt.
Gimp about nudity evincing doubt,
I lent a onesie I had lying about,
and anti-chafing prophylactic cream.

Respecting modesty, I turned my back -
I’d never seen its lissome form undraped,
not even on my covert webcam tapes.
I heard just then a duck’s protesting quack,
and turned again, anticipating now
to see my laundered gimp freshly aglow
with nicely warmed and buttered rectal gape.

Alas! The renegade had crossed the flood,
and in its onesie climbed the further bank
and fled pellmell across the pasture dank.
I heaved a sigh, trudged homewards through the mud
and, reacquainted with my solitude,
the pages of ‘Goat-Fancier’ unglued
and then embarked on a most joyless wank.

My gimp hath lately slipped its bonds and fled,
wherefore I do beweep my outcast state.
If swain of gimp would fain avoid my fate
keep chained thy gimp unto its waterbed,
nor suffer it to don, behind thy back,
that rude mechanical old onesie sack,
else only billy gruffs will thee fellate.

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...