Midnight Musings 1989

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.

***

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A bit of impromptu live writing

Some unedited ‘live’ writing

Written on 15:01 Sunday November 1st 2015

I was reading about yet another writer half my age who has won some prestigious award and is appearing at several upcoming literary festivals and events as a featured, if not the star, guest.

So I started thinking why. Why has that writer achieved more than I have despite the fact that I was writing before they were born – before their dad’s sperm had reached their mum’s egg even. Before their father and mother even knew each other existed – probably.

Then I realised that the only thing between me and success as a writer is myself – or rather, some of my inner, more abstract thoughts and ideas. Thing is when I say, as I do often, that those who have achieved success, especially material success, though I suppose all kinds of success are eligible, owe it to chance, not to some god-given talent, or to some angelic-genius quality they possess, yes, the thing is, I am also referring to myself as successful – so I am already successful and I deserve it no more than anyone else does. Therefore I think I do not deserve success so when I see it standing passively alongside my path I tend to ignore it when what I should be doing is grabbing it.

Even while I’m writing this I’m thinking ‘what an arrogant prick you are Jones, what makes you think you can write in this self-indulgent way’, you don’t deserve it, and no one wants to know anyway’ that sort of thing. And I realise that (besides all the bits in between) these are the two dominant manifestations of my character. Manifestation 1 is the arrogant prick, who thinks that every word he writes is a raindrop of pure gold and Manifestation 2 is the pathetic whimpering grotbag who thinks that every word he writes is a dollop of pure diarrhoea.

So, what happens then is that every time I get near to what looks like some sort of success, I close my eyes and wait for it to go away. Now, I’m probably deluded but I tend to attach a spiritual tag onto this perverse behaviour, combining the Eastern religious concept of Karma with the more recent Western scientific ideas about parallel universes. What I mean is that I think that there is another version of me enjoying success as a writer, and of course, there is another version of that young prize-winning writer who is broke and despondent, smothered by the feeling that they are unloved and unappreciated.

So since it all evens out, if not over a lifetime then over several lifetimes, or several versions of the same person’s lifetime, then I just have to accept that in this universe / lifetime, I am very lucky, despite the lack of writerly success – while also realising that I actually am a success.

Maybe I’ll focus more on getting a new business venture off the ground than on this splurge of words.

We’ll see.

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Being Air Under Sky

Being Air Under Sky

From the deep, enigma
the source of the river
springing, sparkling
spreading its dream
flowing, glowing
a growing stream

Through the long, dilemma
the course of the river
shoaling, shining
shedding its blood
splashing, flashing
a dashing flood

To the wide, conundrum
the force of the river
scouring, scumbling
scuttling its breath
flaring, glaring
a sharing death

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He’s so alone

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.

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A visit from The Magic Elf

This is an extract from one of my books.

And now it’s the morning of March 15th 2016. One of the things that’s prompted this bit of live writing is my desire to reach 100,000 words. As I type I can see the word-count at the bottom of the screen and it says, hang on, I’ve got to catch it unaware because of course it will increase as soon as I type in the number: The number of words that are in this book so far is 98,951 (including the number 98,951), but of course it’s more already – it’s relentless, nothing really stops, everything changes.

It’s a bit like that with life – as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on it, the second you think you’ve got it sussed – it changes, it becomes something else, that’s one of the consequences of getting older, you lose the certainty of youth, and when I say youth I don’t mean childhood, I mean adulthood, from your early twenties or whenever it is you feel as if you’ve grown up at last, all the way through to old age in your sixties or whenever it is you feel as if you’re old.

Continue reading

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Careful what you wish for . . .

At the end of next week – on Saturday January 7th, I will be appearing on stage at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff along with a wonderfully disparate bunch of performers (which is what you might expect considering it’s a Wyrd Wonder happening). I won’t explain too much here but there is more info on the Facebook event page which should be accessible if you click this :- https://www.facebook.com/events/551824065014351/

The thing is I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but the fallback position is that I read a story or perhaps some poetry. What I would like to be able to do is some kind of stand-up comedy, or a funny narrative, something that will make people think they haven’t wasted their time sitting quietly for fifteen minutes watching some idiot making an idiot of himself.

So I thought of the opening joke:

“When I told my wife I was thinking of doing a stand-up comedy routine, she pissed herself laughing, so I knew I was onto a good thing . . .” – Ta-Da!

What do you think? It’s a bit Tim Vine isn’t it? In fact it probably is one of his that I’ve subconsciously absorbed and regurgitated.

I’m only kidding of course – ‘kidding’ – get it? (ha ha)

But seriously, I’m not serious about the stand-up idea – or am I?

Who knows, maybe I’ll see you then.

Cyfarchion y Tymor

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Cardiff Central Library – Open Space Event

Next Thursday December 15th

T O N I T E

open-space-english-leafletmore details on FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1307412925977956/

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Tools of the Trade

tools-of-the-trade-rsSome work in progress.

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Reading and discussion at Cardiff Central Library Open Space Event

On December 15th 2016 from 5:45pm until 7:00pm I will be at Cardiff Central Library reading from and discussing two of my novels – Boys from the Backfields and Cheats and Liars. I might also discuss some of my other books and possibly talk a little bit about the publishing process.

Backfields-front 1 cover oct 8-2013Cheats-and-Liars-Front

The two novels

Boys from the Backfields  is a murder mystery set over half a century. The story begins in the 1960’s when Mick a young teenage boy and his little gang witness the murder of Betty Fish while out blackberry picking around the Backfields council estate in South Wales. Mick is haunted by this tragic event for the next 50 years until finally the truth is revealed and the mystery is solved.

Cheats and Liars is set in an affluent inner suburb of Cardiff and follows Brian Llewelyn, ‘The Greatest Living Artist in Wales’ as he comes to realise that his success depends on the sycophants, cheats and liars that share in it. The novel follows Brian as the foundations his life is based on crumble from under him and he has to redefine what is important.

There will also be plenty of time for any questions from the audience.

This is part of the Library’s Open Space Events series and it’s free but space is limited so it might be best to book through Eventbrite where if you search ‘Open Space Cardiff’ you should be able to find them, though, as I write this it may be too early for the December event’s listing.

More about Cheats and Liars

More about Boys from the Backfields

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On the Wall at Off the Wall

I’m very pleased to say that my paintings are now on the walls of the Off the Wall Gallery in Llandaff. The gallery is a proper gem of a place close to the cathedral and the High Street and its walls host the work of some of the most sought-after artists working in the UK today.

The gallery really is worth visiting in person, the paintings are exhibited beautifully. If you want a preview click on the image below to visit their website or click here:

off-the-wall-website

 

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August Art

Here’s some paintings I’ve been working on for the past few weeks:

I’m not sure if they are finished yet. I like to leave them for a while and take a fresh look, so there is a possibility that these images will change completely and effectively cease to exist except as a low resolution image on this website.

4 of the paintings are the same size, that is A2 or 594mm x 420mm; the other is twice the size at 800mm x 600mm.

(: More painting news very soon 🙂

Acrylic on Canvas 800mm x 600mm

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Blodyn – Legalise Poo

Here’s a painting from nearly 15 years ago – one of the first I did. It was painted on the back of a placard/protest sign that I had previously used in a satirical community play I wrote called ‘The History of Llangennech – Part 2’

Blodyn has become a bit of an icon for me since I painted her. She was used on the cover of my poetry collection “The Words in Me” and will be used again on the cover of my new collection “More Words in Me” due to be published in a couple of months.

Here she is:

blodyn-rsBlodyn – 2002: Acrylic on board: 520x670mm

And here’s the back of Blodyn

blodyn backLegalise Poo

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No style, no substance

writingWhat do I mean? I mean this is a short story with no style and no substance.
Why?
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.
Of what?
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.
That’s weird.
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.
Clever sod!
OK. If you say so.
I was being sarcastic.
Why?
Because you’re winding me up.
Why?
Because of your stupid story that has no style and no substance.
And no point.
Exactly.
So what’s the problem then?
You’re doing my head in.
Why?
With all this story nonsense.
Well you don’t have to read it.
You’re right.
Fuck off then . . . .

***********

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Two new paintings

Two new paintings, temporarily named ‘The Red One’ and ‘The Green One’, both completed very recently, followed by the classic ‘Bright Environment’ which was painted 13 years ago.

Besides their obvious stylistic similarities there’s a reason why these three paintings are linked and why I am noting their existence now.

But more of that in a couple of weeks.

Here’s The Red One:

The-Red-One-resized-100

The Red One. Acrylic on Canvas – 800mm x 600 mm (31 x 23 in) July/August 2016

Here’s The Green One:

The-Green-One-Resized-100

The Green One. Acrylic on Canvas – 800mm x 600 mm (31 x 23 in) July/August 2016

And here’s Bright Environment:

Bright-Environment-Aug-2016-resized-100

Bright Environment. Acrylic on Canvas – 1000mm x 800 mm (39 x 31 in) 2003

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in a shell

Myself is in a shellinashell

Myself is in a shell,
Being hung up
And that.
I shed my shell,
From now
And then.
I am being sat;
Upon a wave
Of Freeness.
My shell is shed,
But what
Do I find to be done.
In the phase,
It’s hot
Outside, it’s muchly warm.
I am being moved myself,
But be looked
Onto Scorn

We Us-self do change
Our scenes and our shells
And in the interim of truth
We’ve such a much to tell

***

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Another Flower

Last Saturday I attended a screenprinting workshop at the Printhaus in Llandaff Road, Cardiff.

The Printhaus is an amazing and unique place which is equipped with comprehensive screenprinting facilities. I have always loved the idea of screenprinting and did a bit a very long time ago when we lived in a shared house in Cardiff associated with an Ashram in the seventies.

We used to print posters and sometimes on canvas bags.

blodyn-screenprintBlodyn – 16″ x 24″ (40cm x 60cm) – approx, on card – border added digitally

This is what I printed – actually this is a photoshopped photograph of what I printed, the original is much more organic and lovely.

Just 4 copies were printed and the stencils were washed off the screens in between each colour. As you can see it was designed in 4 colours – red for the hair/petals, dark reddish-brown for the face and lettering (although it looks more like black in the photo), green for the body and yellow for the features and the buttons.

Each of the four prints is unique because of the slightly arbitrary way the card was positioned under the screen when applying the paint through the stencil. The stencils were made of thin tracing paper and were destroyed during the process of cleaning the screens, so this truly is a limited edition.

blodynsall the little Blodyns drying after the workshop
Blodyn is Welsh for flower btw

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Everyone’s a Writer and an Artist now

listApart from the odd shopping list or doodle, there was a time when the content most people created was limited to school work or writing reports at work.

When the Internet took hold a small proportion of people started keeping blogs or journals of their thoughts online. Then Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media platforms emerged,  and now everyone tells everyone else every day what they’re thinking, whether that’s by sharing content they relate to from other sources, or whether it’s by the creation of their own original text and imagery.

This is all welcome of course, it gives those whose voices were previously unheard a way to let the world, or at least their extended social networks, know what’s important to them. It doesn’t stop there either: if you want to publish a book it’s easy, just open an account with Createspace, upload the text and cover image and it will be available worldwide almost instantly. It’s free and you don’t even have to buy a copy yourself. Fancy getting your artwork onto T-Shirts or mugs or greetings cards? – just as simple. And if you haven’t got the time or skills to do it yourself there’s always some student willing to do it for the price of a pizza.

As a bonus, now and again a seemingly random scribbler is raised from the ranks and elevated to the status of superstar vlogger or best selling writer of tacky fiction, thus giving us all hope that one day, as long as we continue with our prattle we might be discovered and earn those millions we have always deserved.

But what does it mean to all the people who previously defined themselves as professional writers or artists or photographers? Those who spent time and money studying, and dedicated most of their lives to improving their skills and producing ‘work’? I mean nobody wants to pay for anything anymore, least of all for the witterings and snapshots of some stranger when they can get all the above and more from their ‘friends’ for nothing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re someone like me who has been writing since long before the advent of social media then it’s tempting to believe that all the noise now being created by every person and their companion animal is somehow diluting the literary or artistic merit of published work. I mean, without the traditional gatekeepers, who knows what kind of hideous barbarians will enter the citadel?

On the other hand you may think that the privileged few who were allowed entry in the past have finally got what’s coming to them, and now have to be judged by the whole hive mind rather than just protected by a small cohort of praetorian guards.

I’m not sure, but I do believe that most people, whether they define themselves as writers or artists or neither, are capable, with lots of practice and a little guidance, of creating work that is every bit as good as that which was previously created by the few patricians lucky enough to have had the opportunities in the dark ages before the Internet.

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Stacked Vegan Pizza

I fancied making a pizza the other day but was fed up of those pale lacklustre crusts available from supermarkets so decided to make my own dough.

I chose wholemeal bread flour and quick yeast since that’s what was in the cupboard, made the dough and used half of it to make a pizza base, rolling it out into a large rectangle to fit the oven tray. I made a round loaf with the other half of the dough.

Unfortunately the pizza base didn’t rise and then I burnt it in the oven – probably because I’d flattened it too much with the rolling pin and cooked it too quickly.

The bread turned out lovely – and a tasty, if dense, loaf emerged. So I cut that into rounds and used them as pizza bases.

I made far too much topping, stacked it on the rounds of bread and baked it slowly until the cheezly made an attempt at melting.

pizzagIngredients

  • Tamari-marinated taifun tofu fried in olive oil
  • red, green and yellow peppers
  • pimento stuffed green olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • tomato puree
  • onions
  • garlic
  • sliced aubergine
  • birds eye chillis
  • white cheddar cheezly
  • spicy salad leaves from blaencamel farm on Riverside market
  • sliced chestnut mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • homemade wholemeal pizza bases bread

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The BEBS Award for Best Ever Book

Winner-The-BEBSWell, I did it, I won the Best Ever Book Award.

The BEBS is a very prestigious award made just once – I mean how could it be awarded more than once – it’s for the Best Ever Book after all.

My latest book ‘To Me’ beat all other competition from all time, past, present and future hands down.

I would just like to express my thanks to the BEBS and to myself for writing such a marvellous award-winning tome.

Thank you

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The drip

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