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Here they are, I think they’re lovely
They are lovely
‘Add New Post’
This blog / website / whatever it is called now, wants me to add a new post every time I come here. If I do make the effort to add a new post it normally means I’ve got something specific to write about. Whether it’s one of my feeble attempts to market my books and/or art or whether it’s one of those rare occasions when I get wound up enough about some topic, usually political, or vegan-related, to feel a need to make some comment about it.
There is a third reason I add new posts, and that is the most important reason – it’s when I share some of my creative work, like a short story, or a poem, or some rant about parallel universes and/or the nature of reality.
But sometimes there are gaps when I have nothing specific to say, and I don’t feel particularly inclined to share some creative work, yet I still feel the urge to add a new post.
This post is a result of one of those gaps, there is no reason for this post other than to fill it (the gap).
Yet . . .
I do have something to say, I’m sure I do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
15/3/89 – 16/3/89 Midnight
Late and alone again. The cigarette end crushed in the ashtray, the insect trapped in the lampshade and the television in the background. It’s all really in the background even my hand scribbling on the paper, my own thoughts. Earlier my own weak flesh succumbed to the curse of overeating, my own lungs demanded too much cigarette smoke. Now I am ensconced again in my satiated accursed body.
Safe in the warm bosom of the living room, sitting on the edge of the dilapidated sofa, my obesity squashed against my thighs, feeling the awful fullness again.
The spiritual human trapped in the world. The world continues to turn and my own thoughts continue to whirl. Sleep is the blessing, if I can. Timing is crucial, if I go to bed too early, my acid stomach will wake me at two in the morning; too late, and I will be overtired, hyped up and full of dreams. Distraction is crucial, something for my whirling mind to latch onto. From the background the late night broadcast from the Open University; ‘Three psychologists comment on the play of some 1 to 4 year olds.’ How wonderful to be so wrapped up in a vocation and believe that in some way you are making a contribution to the flash of light that is man’s brief sojourn on this planet.
He sees the small one, eyes down, knees up, trying to understand why he’s just been stung by a wasp in the sun. He wants to tell him not to stay in that place; he wants to tell him to shake it away. Look, everything’s going to be all right.
But he can’t, he has to shake this away even though he suspects it may not be true. Didn’t he read something the other day about memory? How it is simply a mental construct from one physical part of the brain. How that part can be damaged or destroyed. The being can still function but more on autopilot than by intention.
Maybe his memory is damaged; maybe what he defines himself as is gleaned from broken brain cells. Whatever – it doesn’t matter anyway, because this life is a one-way trip.
He sighs, yawns, gets off the sofa and stares at a fly trapped between the net curtain and the glass. Alone, he’s alone, he’s so alone.
No one reads poetry,
English Literature undergraduates,
and some academics.
(though these are mostly the same people)
No one reads poetry,
unless they have to,
or think they should
for their career.
(usually academic – sometimes journalistic)
If you follow a few rules,
show you understand,
you’re not a charlatan,
you know the form,
you can be a poet too.
You then acquire mystical powers,
and you are allowed to judge,
to evaluate and assess,
to stamp your approval,
and you realise
that’s what you wanted all along.
NOTE: This blog post is meant primarily as a personal record of something I did and the context in which I did it. It’s no more than that.
In the late sixties, when I was a teenager I used to sit in cafés and watch people. I don’t mean in a creepy way, I was just a casual observer. At seventeen I spent some time based in Paddington and worked as a Lugger – a Roadie’s assistant, carrying speakers and amps in through the back entrances,up the steep stairs, and along the narrow passages of nightclubs all over the UK. I grafted for several bands including Jon Hiseman’s Coliseum and Jimmy James and the Vagabonds. I shared a flat with other roadies who between them worked for some of the biggest names of that period.
What do I mean? I mean this is a short story with no style and no substance.
Why not? Style is taste, substance is an illusion.
Fair enough, but I don’t understand.
You don’t need to.
I mean I don’t understand the point of it.
Your short story. This.
Nor me. In fact I’d go so far as to say that there is no point to it.
But what’s the point of that? Why should I read it?
I don’t know. Do you need a reason?
Well, yes, otherwise I’d be wasting my time, my breath, my life.
Look at me shrugging. Read what you like, or not. Who cares?
Well, you should, it’s your short story. Don’t you want people to read it?
Yes of course, but I still don’t care if they do or not.
If you say so.
So what’s it about?
Nothing. It’s got no substance.
What’s the point . . . oh, never mind.
Good, you’re learning.
No I’m not.
Yes you are. You’ve learned that there’s no point.
No point to what?
No point trying to find a point in something that has no point.
OK. If you say so.
I was being sarcastic.
Because you’re winding me up.
Because of your stupid story that has no style and no substance.
And no point.
So what’s the problem then?
You’re doing my head in.
With all this story nonsense.
Well you don’t have to read it.
Fuck off then . . . .
An extract from my book To Me
I’m told I ate the dog’s biscuits and drank a lot of water. I dunked my blond locks in a bucket of lime and nearly died of pneumonia at a few weeks old. The pneumonia and the bucket of lime are unconnected, at least in the normal linear way we deal with time.
The truth is that after nearly sixty years of being me, (and being me involves a lot of thinking about these things) I still know nothing about myself. I am here – that’s all I know. I accept that here may not be ‘real’. I accept that reality is the biggest myth.
REALITY IS THE BIGGEST MYTH
“We are all in touch with everything at all times. There is no separation in reality. This life is an illusion created by a random collection of sub-atomic particles and no doubt sub-sub atomic particles. Because we are conscious we have to make sense of it so we make up stories.”
I’m sure the story of me will all come out in some way or other at some time or other. Here on the road this is a signpost or a post or just a sign. So the point is that if I was to represent the sun with a full stop . like that, then there are stars out there that are the size of this page – this room even, and we all know that the earth is tiny compared to the sun and we are tiny compared to the earth and if I could look into my fingernail or any other material thing I would see that it is composed of sub-atomic particles which really don’t exist and I can write my own story but even then you could say it is already written because there once was nothing then there was some sort of bang or expansion that emanated from some point in the middle of that nothing, nowhere, and the force that propelled that and created those stars the size of a hundred million Earths also created me and I am just a consciousness on some sort of trajectory through time and space and all I’m really doing is observing as I zoom past and I don’t have any choices except perhaps which dot to focus on.
I thought I’d written about this before but can’t find it anywhere. I know I did write a poem at least, and I know it ended with the line ‘But there’s always burnt jam.’ I can’t find that either. I wonder how many other poems or snippets of writing I’ve lost, many of them on paper from my teenage years, and many more on broken computer disks since. Ah! Sometimes you just have to let things drift down to the dim depths of the Akashic Records.
It was the late sixties, possibly 1970; I was seventeen or eighteen years old. I used to hang around with a group of young people from around the town of Llanelli, where we behaved in ways that defined that period if you believe the myths that have arisen since. The truth was there were not that many of us, no more than a few dozen – a hundred or so at the most, and that from a population of around 77,000.
We were a small group, but we were highly visible because of the way we dressed and the way we behaved – roving around the streets, openly smoking joints and tripping on acid, as well as squatting the grass opposite the town hall, playing guitars and engaging in free love, well free foreplay at least. Continue reading
- Character A: Life is temporal.
- Character B: Uh!
- Character A: You know, it exists in time.
- Character B: Yeah? What’s your point?
- Character A: Your life, my life, whoever’s life, has a very limited existence. Against the background of eternity it is infinitesimally small. It’s not worth getting so worked up about.
- Character B: Who’s getting worked up?
- Character A: Well – I am I suppose.
- Character B: Yeah – that’s your problem. Do you fancy a cuppa?
- Character A: Why not.
It’s now normal to take pictures of yourself; no one thinks you’re weird or that you have an ego the size of China if you post a self-taken photograph of yourself on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or wherever; in fact, posting a selfie is a cool way to let the world, or at least your so-called friends and followers, get to know who you are.
So, I present to you the Selfieview – an interview with yourself. Let’s face it, you’re probably not interesting enough to be asked a set of questions about your innermost thoughts and desires, or even your outermost achievements and beliefs. But that’s where the rest of the world has got it wrong, hasn’t it? You are interesting! Of course you are. You are a unique and magical being infused with all the energy in the universe, and besides, you do have things to say about the meaning of life – you may even have the answers. Continue reading
I recently wrote a little piece about an event I was due to perform in. You can read it here: The Suchlike Zen.
Here is what happened next.
Disclaimer: The following piece was written by a different version of me from a parallel universe therefore the views expressed are not necessarily mine. It’s also a bit long, and a bit of a head-fuck, even for me.
‘Hello! I’m Derec – sort of. The thing is, I’m not from round here, and to tell the truth I’m a bit lost, and when I say lost, I mean properly lost, lost in space and time.
You see – I’ve got this theory that, hmm . . . hang on, let’s try to keep it simple. OK, let’s just say that – and remember, it’s only a theory – well, not even a theory really, in the scientific sense, it’s just an idea really, a smidgeon of a thought about the nature of reality – you know, what it’s all about, I mean, I’m not going to pretend I know the answers, any answers to anything, but, and I think you have to show me some respect as a fellow living, breathing creature of this universe, or any other universe come to that.
And that’s the point – Any. Other. Universe. That’s what I mean, there are, according to many respected scientific thinkers, many universes, in fact, according to some, there are an infinite number of parallel universes.
The Suchlike Zen
On Sunday February 9th, 2016, I will be appearing on stage in the theatre at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. This is a very weird and unusual thing for me to do; it’s so unusual that apart from a couple of best-forgotten skirmishes I’ve never really done it before. One of the reasons it’s weird is because, as of now (January 29th), I have no idea what I’m going to do on that stage – well, I do have some sketchy ideas, but I don’t know if what I end up doing will have any resemblance to what I’m thinking of doing now.
For example, I have written 7 or 8 sides in an A4 notebook that may or may not be the first draft of the story I will tell on that stage. Thing is, It’s not really a story, it’s more of a ramble about parallel universes and quantum mechanics, the main idea being that I am not me but I have somehow got my consciousness mixed up with, another, almost identical, version of me who exists in an almost identical parallel universe.
Now, I think that the opportunity for me to appear on that stage and have complete freedom to do or say whatever I like for 10 minutes is rare enough to warrant me developing something, an act if you like, that is worthy of such an opportunity. Trouble is I don’t think my quantum ramble is good enough and I can’t think of anything else clever enough so I’ll probably end up reading poems or passages from my books.
Unless . . .
Watch this space.
EDIT: The follow up to this post can be found here: The Zen. The Zen. The Zen.
One of the projects I’m working on has the physical attributes of a book. It looks like a book and it reads like a book (or will do when it’s finished). In its present state it contains about 80,000 words all typed up in the same Word document. The content is snippets from diaries, journals, and scraps of paper going back to when I started writing such things half a century ago when I was twelve or thirteen.years old.
I’ve got a few more bits to type up – say a couple of thousand words. When that chore is complete the real work will begin and I reckon it will take about a year. The idea is to then superimpose a story over these seemingly random unconnected scribblings, so the end result will be a kind of meta-fiction-autobiography-fantasy type of thing. So far it looks like there’s a Magic Elf and a thirteen-year-old Alien girl involved in the plot. Continue reading
Besides the work on other people’s books I do as a publisher I am working on at least three of four of my own.
The second and third books in the DI Frank Lee trilogy – Beats and Bones – the first book Bums has already been published. These are two full-length novels.
The second edition of my poetry collection – The Words in Me, though I may rename it.
This is it – is a full length novel-cum-autobiography. The title and content may change
So this is something I wrote about This is it just now
Friday October 30th 2015
For the blog
As well as all the other stuff I’m working on at the moment I’m writing an ‘experimental novel’. Its working title is ‘This is it’. It’s not easy to explain without sounding like an apologist for Tracey Emin’s Bed, but that is what it is – the Tracey Emin’s Bed of literature – at least that’s the sort of thing is might look like to the casual reader (which is what Tracey Emin’s bed looks like to the casual observer – or I may be wrong and Tracey Emin’s bed might actually be rubbish as may the book I’m working on.).
The point is, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of my book because I’m writing it only to myself – my future self in fact. So I make the rules and revise them or break them as I please. So, if you were really nasty and / or cynical you could say it’s a wanky book, created only to please myself.
The process by which I am writing (or constructing) the book might be of interest though.
So far I have compiled a total of almost 45,000 words. Some of it is new writing, some of it is copied from old documents in the depths of my hard drive and some of it is typed in from the many dozens of notebooks and thousands of loose papers usually lurking in cardboard in my attic, or more accurately, because I’m working on them, they are now dominating the dining room.
There is so much material in my personal archives that I am having to be very selective in choosing which pieces to include in the new book. This is a good thing because most of the material is so unpolished as to be unrecognisable as writing in the first place – still I hang on to it because I know that underneath the patina are gems waiting to be revealed – whether I will ever have the time to hack away at them is another matter.
The book is a novel, and it is also an autobiography. Obviously it can’t be a full autobiography because how can you get a whole lifetime into a book, or even a library. As a novel it is hard to pin down to any genre but let’s say it has elements of fantasy, magic-realism, science-fiction, crime, suspense, literary, historical, speculative (whatever that is) and I can’t be bothered to carry on searching for words to describe stories.
Let’s put it this way – it is definitely a story, it is definitely fiction, and it is definitely true.
And another thing – this piece is being written for a blog post, but I’m also going to put it in the book.
After a slightly stimulating chat with a mate today regarding the nature of reality that incorporated such things as quantum foam, event horizons, and Zeno’s paradoxes, I realised that every moment is unique. Ha! So what eh! Of course every moment is unique, I mean, in one moment my thumb is hovering above the space bar on the keyboard I’m using and in the next the same thumb is touching the same space bar. And, if you consider a moment to include every other event that is occurring at that exact point in time then it becomes even more unique (if there is such a thing as a sliding scale of uniqueness).
So, between one moment and the next, countless molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles have moved in some way, in fact it’s probable that every single particle that exists in all the infinity of the universe has moved, because nothing is actually static, nothing stays the same, everything changes, all the time.
The friend who I was talking to – over a cup of tea in the Chapter Arts Centre as it happens, later emailed me a link to a wikipedia article about Zeno’s paradoxes, if you want to find out more here it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno’s_paradoxes
I have read it and will go back to it and I promise I’m not being lazy but I am not a scientific writer – I don’t really care about science – and probably don’t believe in it anyway. Science is just a feeble attempt to make sense of something that is beyond making sense of – the something that exists before science and will exist when science fades, as all things do. No matter how far out science goes, how deep it penetrates, how far back in time, or forward in time, there is always something more, something that science cannot explain.
Also philosophy – which is a sort of science in that it tries to prove something using logic and, arguably, evidence. Yes, also philosophy is merely a wisp on the breeze of eternity.
So, if science and philosophy fail me what is left?
No, it’s not religion.
I was trying to get to a point, so let me see if I can just jump to it without all the bother of following a structured logical path.
OK, this is it. You are a different person than you were a moment ago, the universe you are in now is a different universe than the one you were in a moment ago. Every moment is another you, another universe.
I would go on but I am tired and no one is listening, not in this universe anyway!
I did think it would be good to listen to Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water from 1972 while writing this, and I am listening to it, but to be honest it seems dated and restrained. Yes there’s some nice little riffs in the mix and it does build nicely but I wouldn’t put it up there on the top tunes shelf with Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love from 1969 for example.
Hang on . . .
Now I’m listening to Whole Lotta Love and it smacks Smoke on the Water’s arse with a rather large paddle. Maybe it’s because when the album Led Zeppelin II, where the tune comes from, was released, I was living in a flat in Paddington with a bunch of roadies (one of them went on to become Led Zeppelin’s roadie as it happens) and we’d just scored some very tasty Mexican Grass, so I spent many happy hours, lying back, stoned to buggery, eyes closed, headphones snug, drifting into the void on Led Zep’s shimmering discs of sound that seared deep into my primal core – orgasmic.
Anyway, back to what sparked off this post.
I went to buy some soya milk and then popped into the Post Office to send a pair of too big Vegetarian Shoes back. When I came out it was drizzling with rain – a fine spray, quite pleasant in a way – a soft cool shower on a muggy day. When I got home I noticed a strong smell of burning aromatic wood permeating the house. Damn, I’d left the bathroom window open and some nitwit had lit a fire in their garden which was being dribbled on by said soft shower; consequently it was billowing smoke like a hippie from the aforementioned sixties.
So. after I pointedly slammed the bathroom window shut, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be a larf to write something about that and make up an attention-catching headline’, so seeing as it was about smoke and rain (i.e. water) then the tune Smoke on the Water came to mind. I couldn’t even remember the song, but the title is well and truly embedded into the fabric of my brain, and I suspect into millions of other brains around the world and particularly into the brains of people of a certain demographic.
How much other crap is crammed into that endless space in our heads, and is that all we are? Are we just a mashup of memories and memes, blended with a trove of trivia, Is that what makes a person? If I had your memories would I think like you? Would I behave like you? I mean what if I was the person I am now, whatever that is, but remembered only your life? What if you were still you but could only access my past? Would I become you and you become me? If so then we wouldn’t notice – perhaps that goes on all the time.
If you ever make sense of that paragraph above and believe it to be true then it means we are just our memories. The things we think we believe in, the stuff that makes us the sort of people we are, all that, it’s just decoration, window-dressing at best. But that’s not all we are is it? God, we are so complicated, so complex at every level of our existence that it’s just not possible to ever get to know ourselves let alone each other.
But, there is mitigation; if I was a religious person I might call it faith, but to me it’s simply the feeling of being alive, of being capable of experiencing the physical word and able to contemplate what it all means.
Shit! I’m supposed to be editing my novel ‘Bums’
Ah well, everything in its own time eh!
- Always look on the bright side of life.
- People and a pigeon
A walk into town to meet my wife from work and buy a new blender. We’ve been using a horrible cheap smoothie maker to make tofu for the past few years. Thankfully, it degenerated into a dysfuntional lump of plastic and metal, and so, if we wanted to continue making home-made tofu, we had no choice other than to buy a new blender type instrument; it had to have a fairly large capacity – at least 1.5 litres, and be heavy duty enough to cope with grinding up soaked soya beans efficiently enough to justify making home-made tofu in the first place.
I got to town earlier than planned, because instead of walking I jumped on a passing bus, so I went for a walk around, pausing in the market where I bought 2 dairy-free bounty-type bars from Clancys, the vegetarian stall.
After coming out of the market I heard someone playing the guitar and singing the song “Always look on the bright side of life,” from the Monty Python film. As I got closer it amused me to see that the guy with the gitbox had the most miserable expression I’d ever seen on a busker.
What I really wanted to do was to film a video of him singing that song with that downturned mouth – I’m not kidding – it would have got a fair few views on Youtube I’m sure. But, because I’m too shy, or not cheeky enough, or a coward, I carried on walking past for going on for 50 metres and took the photo that the picture below has been cropped from – it’s only a phone camera after all.
He wasn’t bad actually – voice-wise and music-wise – I’ve paid to see less entertaining performers.
I’ve never done any busking but I did beg on the street once or twice, mostly in Tenby when I was about seventeen; sleeping on the beach and harassing holidaymakers.
The police threw us out of town in the end. They drove me and a mate Jimmy, from Birmingham, to a spot just outside the town boundaries and told us to bugger off.
We hitched to Torquay – got harassed out of there eventually as well. But that was a long time ago.
It was busier than it looks in the photograph – and sunnier.
We’re going out for a drink tonight – now, in fact. Hope it’s not too busy. Will report back . . . .
It’s twenty past eleven, back from the arty-farty centre after 3 pints of cider and a quarter packet of crisps. Had some proper craic with some proper people or maybe I was just a little drunk.
Besides the people we had arranged to meet we bumped into an old (young) friend from the old (old) village. He’s an actor now and doing all right.
Overall we talked about art and music, theatre and television performance, writing and publishing – what did you expect in an arty centre?
But after all that the point is that it just all goes on – I mean in our small party there were people over 60, people in their fifties, people in their mid-forties and early thirties and people who haven’t quite left their teens, but the point is that we were all human beings of the sort that are willing to investigate and challenge the received wisdoms that we are required to subscribe to – up to our own individual limits anyway.
I get the feeling that this piece of writing is not working so I may abandon it now , , ,
But, hold on. I promised you I’d tell you how it all works – if you believed the title of this blog post that is. And since it’s related to part 1 then it should have at least a little relevance to that previous post where we talked about how many stars there are in the universe – i.e. – out there.
So, now we must talk about in here, you know, we must drill down into the sub-atomic level and beyond that even into the quantum foam.
Suffice it to say that where there are 400 billion stars in the galaxy and 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe then are are just as many particles, or bits of stuff, at the quantum level. As far as I know from my limited knowledge of quantum mechanics and from the results of my own contemplative thoughts then everything is made of particles from molecules via atoms to sub-atomic particles, But when you examine a particle then it is far too small to actually see it – it exists only by the effect it has, and individually a particle is far too small to have any effect anyway – so there is nothing!
What it all boils down to is that nobody knows anything and anyone who tells you they know something to be an absolute truth is either daft or deluded.
But the way it goes is that we have to use what we’ve got, so, just let it be, get on with it. Keep on trucking!
That’s how it all works.
It’s all a bit random and it could have all come together in endless different ways, but this is the reality we have to deal with. According to the latest quantum thinking there are multiple versions of the universe and they all exist in parallel. I find this difficult to understand, or to get my head round, as they say. Maybe that’s because my head isn’t the right tool to do the job of understanding, maybe it’s too small – after all, even just in physical terms, my head takes the space of a small watermelon.
Comparatively, a melon-sized head is infinitely small in an infinite universe, even our dear Mother Earth is a tiny smudge in the night sky when viewed from Venus and in the context of the galaxy our precious planet is a grain of sand that’s slipped between the pebbles on Brighton beach – There are up to 400 billion stars in our little galaxy – The Milky Way; and and there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe – and that’s just the observable universe and that’s just one of countless parallel universes.
The numbers dissolve into mulch and become meaningless, but let’s just say that in the grand scheme of things a single person is beyond insignificance. But I know, yes, I know, that one single person is also the most significant thing there is or was or ever will be, because in the end, without that person, without that consciousness to experience it, those billions of galaxies and gadzillions of stars might as well not be there. They’d be unseeable and unknowable and unknown forever.
Doesn’t mean we’ll ever get our heads round it though. I mean, think about it. If we could understand the multiverse with something the size of a melon then there’d be something very wrong with it (them).
So, how does it all work then?
Maybe I’ll come back to that one.
In the meantime:
It’s only 9 am. As usual I have Radio 4 on in the background. I do sometimes listen to Radio Wales or Radio 6, and occasionally Radio 3, but more often than not Radio 4 is my companion during the day and has been for decades. I’m just wondering what that’s done and is still doing to my take on how it all works.
“You’ve got to fight for every little thing you want to achieve.” Words of wisdom from Rebecca Adlington, Olympic swimmer, who is the guest on this morning’s Desert Island Discs. But, is that true or is it just a part of the world view we’re expected to stick to and which is propagated on mainstream media such as BBC Radio 4. What does a lifetime of absorbing Jenny Murray’s drone and Melvyn Bragg’s whine do to your mind?
Who the fuck am I? What would I be like if I had donated my brain to Radio Hip-Hop instead? Would there be any difference anyway, since both types of media delivery are based on the idea that we must share a common vista. What if you didn’t engage in all that? One of my Facebook friends has just posted a link to a news story about a man who became a hermit for 27 years. The headline is: ‘What Happens to Your Identity When You Don’t Speak to Anyone for 27 Years?”
The hermit article goes on to say: ‘Anyone who reveals what he’s learned, Chris told me, is not by his definition a true hermit.’
Maybe I’ll come back to that too.
God, that Rebecca Adlington is full of herself isn’t she? You’re just a swimmer mate, you’re not going to bring world peace or anything. OK, she’s a success, I get it, she’s worked hard for what she’s achieved, she deserves it – yeah yeah OK. And she is quite young I suppose so perhaps her full-of-herself-ness is forgiveable.
Do I sound bitter? I’m not really, I understand that life and everyone, every creature even, who possesses it, is as complicated as the aforementioned multiverses, but that doesn’t mean I buy into the middle-class, middle-of-the-road, middle brow stew that the BBC and particularly Radio 4, has been pumping into my brain since I crawled from the swamp of adolescence.
I will not be brainwashed.
Resist . . .
Resist . . .
Resist . . . . . .