I found a way through the gridlines of power or whatever they were and saw the sign for the Release tent. I didn’t know much about them other than that they were a charity that helped drug users. A face loomed out of the crowd that wasn’t mine, well, it was me, but it wasn’t this me, if you know what I mean. I recognised him as a person I’d met the year before, or it might have the week before. I’d been sleeping rough in Tenby, scrounging off the girls who worked in the cafes and hotels and occasionally begging off the tourists, when I met Sarge and some other people at a barbecue on the beach one night.
We hung around together for a while, Sarge and his mate, Captain I think, came from the valleys somewhere, maybe Ystrad Mynach? Anyway we marauded around Tenby, harassing the holidaymakers and the locals, for a couple of days I think. Continue reading →
It’s likely that this narrative will get a little jumbled up at this point. There are a few reasons for this, principally, I suppose, is that it’s about events that happened 43 years ago, but also because the events that happened were experienced while I, the narrator, was in a state of mind that had been heavily altered by drugs of one kind or another – principally LSD, which, as you probably know tends to muck about with the brain of the person who’s taken it, causing delusions and hallucinations that may or may not have any relationship to what we know as reality. Continue reading →
I have to tell you that even though this is about my experiences at the Glastonbury Festival in 1971, I am only now, 43 years later, writing it down in this form. I also have to tell you that in my opinion, 43 years is a bloody long time, and no matter how hard I try to make this piece an accurate retelling of what happened back then, or even an accurate retelling of what I perceived to be happening back then, it is going to be blurred by the years and by the myths about myself that I have built up over those years of my life, and by the myths that society has focused on and enhanced over the same period of time. Continue reading →
There’s a fire on the hilltop
There’s a fire in my heart
And it’s always been there
Since the very start
There go by the engines
The engines there go by
But they can’t put mine out
So they needn’t try
There they go again now
Racing from the hill
They’ve put out that fire
But mine is burning still
The memory was sparked off by the smell of a grass fire alongside the motorway. I saw the smoke first, smudging the spring-blue sky above the road ahead, I thought it might be mist or fog, but it was too dry and too late in the day for that. Then the sweet-acrid smell of a grass fire seeped into the car through the sun-roof – tilted open to compensate for the non-functioning electric windows. I love the car, it’s an environmental baddie, an old Rover Vitesse Turbo; it drives like a confident oil-baron and swallows a hundred miles of motorway without taking a breath, but it’s done nearly 200,000 miles and it’s disintegrating. Continue reading →
It’s not often I write something reflective, believing that the work should speak for itself, but I’m going to indulge myself for once.
I’ve been editing the manuscript for my next novel Boys from the Backfields. It’s been a long project. I wrote the first draft of the book in the mid-nineties, almost twenty years ago. I got some interest from a big name literary agent at the time, but through naivety or stupidity I blew it.
The book was written in two parts. Grandly, I named them Book One and Book Two, like it was a great saga. In fact the novel only ran to 70,000 words. The agent loved Book One, but felt that it could be extended into a full novel, leaving my precious Book Two to fall off the edge of the desk into the dustbin. I protested, and argued my case, Book Two was what it was really all about, the whole point of Book One was to set things up for Book Two. Correspondence ceased, I was cut adrift. Touchy bastards those agents. Continue reading →
The fucking mice are back. I know they’re there. They’re crawling under the fucking floorboards. The cheeky fuckers are even hiding under the settee. I saw one last night, a dark beige flash, zipping from the side of the settee towards the hole in the floorboards. It’s my own fault. There shouldn’t be a hole in the floorboards. It’s as easy as that; all you’ve got to do is give them a fucking excuse and they’re in. It doesn’t have to be anything major, a little gap in the bottom of the back door, a small crack in the floorboards, and that’s enough; that’s all they need. Continue reading →
I don’t know how this is going to turn out, but while Cheats and Liars is cooking I’m looking at all my works-in-progress deciding what story to focus on next. Trouble is, there’s a lot to choose from and I really would like to work on them all.
Here’s a batch under consideration.
From the Backfields
The favourite at the moment is From the Backfields. The first draft of this was written about 15 years ago. It’s been lingering at the bottom of a drawer and at the back of my consciousness ever since.
From the Backfields is set in the Welsh seaside town of Elchurch and follows Mick, a man puzzled by the mysteries of his own life, for 50 years. The story starts in 1963 when Mick is just 13 years old.
Elchurch is really Llanelli in a parallel universe. Perhaps all stories come from parallel universes, or, maybe, a parallel universe is created every time someone tells a story.
Things fail – bicycles, cars, washing machines, governments, recipes and businesses. A failure is something that has failed, fair enough. For me though, that word has always been impossible to apply to a person. Someone who failed to make an appointment because of a traffic jam may have failed to arrive on time but is not a failure. Life is a complex web of possibilities and the choices we make about which threads to navigate are influenced by every micro-facet of our existence, whether we are aware of it or not.
Blame is another word I have a problem with. It’s a very negative word and is used to attack and hurt people. This doesn’t mean that people are not responsible for the choices they make, responsibility is not blame, though the two terms are often used the same way. The point is, life is complex and as tiny creatures in this infinite universe where every nano action ultimately has an effect on everything, we can only pray we are making the right choices as we step onto the tightropes of those threads.
That’s the hypothesis. Now to the real world – I am a failure, I am to blame. It’s true. Continue reading →