19:15-Chapter TABLE 9 It’s kinda tucked away at the side of the Café-Bar near the entrance to the Art Gallery Table 9 A place to look to assess to judge and comment There’s a woman with her daughter slurping on soup and munching on salad and drinking diet cola A family with two parental figures one presents as a man the other a woman They are at a long canteen-style table with 5 kids Aged from two to ten by the look of them (later you realise that there are three people who are presenting as parents and just 4 kids and you realise that whatever narrative you are imposing is full of your own perspective and is not a universal fact) Their table is laden with drinks, some alcoholic, and café-style plates of food They have screens with games “It’s not cheap cheese” says a young man delivering a plate to a solitary middle-aged woman who must have complained about the price I’m eating dirty vegan fries – a special order they said – and a pint of some German beer, that cost me thirteen pounds And thinking about the fish and chips I bought in 1964 for one shilling and three old pennies before decimalisation and before, long before, I became a vegan 30 years later but now it’s 2022 and things have changed as they do always And my friend, who works here and greeted me on my arrival 30 minutes ago told me about how he came to consciousness earlier today in the void and thought for a second that there had been a nuclear war These vegan dirty fries are difficult to eat because the melted vegan cheese sticks them together in clumps And when you spear one with your fork it brings half a dozen of its closest friends with it to your mouth So you have to separate them with your fingers and stuff them in or eat too many at once so you look around the café-bar to make sure no-one is watching you being a messy dick and then you realise, it doesn’t matter it’s not real because there probably has been a nuclear war and you probably are in the void dreaming of what might have been And your friend, the one who woke up in the original void has disappeared and you realise that you are a dot the size of a neutrino in a universe the size of . . . . . . the universe and it really doesn’t matter – even though it really does Message to mes This is a message to all the mes in all the parallel universes It’s me You are the light You are the love always and forever The Younger Generation I am a member of the younger generation and I always will be you are too I’ll never be old that’s what the 60’s did for me and for you Beware Beware of people who sit alone in the café-bars of arts centres drinking something like a pint, or a cup of tea and they’re writing in a notebook or a paper pad or on the touchscreen of an ipad (type thing), and they look up now and again and scan the room Beware of them They are writing about you
Anyway, here’s Petal.
I recently completed writing a new novel. The title of the book is ‘Skin and Bones’ . More news on that soon, but in the meantime here is an update on a major work-in-progress.
It’s a book with the working title of ‘The Flying Boy’. The title refers to a recurring dream I used to have when I as a boy, probably no more than eight or nine years old, possibly younger.
The dream involved me flying along the street where I lived at rooftop height. I think it influenced me a lot, in fact I am influenced a lot by the recurring dreams of my childhood. There were a lot of them.
I already wrote a book based on the one about The Three Bears and much of my other thoughts about what the universe is, how time works, reincarnation, spirituality, morality and so on, originate in my childhood dreams.
There will be more info about The Flying Boy in future I’m sure and one day the book will be published. Don’t expect a ‘normal’ novel-like thing, but it is a novel. In the meantime, here’s an extract from the work-in-progress. Continue reading “The Flying Boy”
This is a short video I made to help promote the upcoming play from Company of Sirens at Chapter Arts in Cardiff
It’s a collage, that’s what it is, it’s a coll-fucking-age
An extract from ‘To Me’
June 10th, 2006
I had one of those writerly moments earlier; you know, when you have a brilliant idea for a piece of writing; something clever and insightful, something entertaining and wise, something beautiful and exciting, and all encapsulated in the same simple concept.
The words blossomed in my head, metaphors leapt about like lemurs and stunning similes smiled at me.
Right, I thought, I’m going to blog this. This’ll have ‘em dancing on their keyboards – now how do I begin? Ah yes – fantastic, that opening sentence will slay them, and then I’ll say that, and then I’ll bring that in and then I’ll end it like that – wow.
So, I hopped out of the armchair and skipped jauntily over to the laptop.
I’ll put the kettle on, I thought. Now where’s that box of cheating chai, and I’m sure there are some of those melt-in-the-mouth chocolate coated ginger biscuits left in the cupboard.
Damn ants, you only need a grain of sugar to escape from the spoon and they’re all over the place like an army of Eng-er-land supporters on speed. Better clean up a bit.
Right here we go . . . .
Um, er, what was I going to say?
Just found this in an old word doc from February 2000
Don’t ask . . . . . .
Here’s some sort-of abstract works instead
Music is like the wind – it’s just there.
Remember that I’m not saying that making music is easy, far from it – making music is very difficult – I know that there are tens of thousands of very talented musicians in the UK and at least thousands in Wales – and I know a few of them so I know how hard they work to make those sounds.
But I am saying that making music is a cop-out – compared to writing it’s a doddle. I mean once you’ve learned an instrument and the tunes to a bunch of songs all you have to do is play and sing. Unless you’re a composer of course, but even then it’s still easier than writing. It’s still following a bunch of rules and usually that means repetitions of things like beats and lyrics.
I know a point of view like this might upset a lot of people, especially those who have spent decades learning their craft and those who profess their love for certain musical artists or genres, but it doesn’t matter, because my opinion of music doesn’t matter. I’m just an ordinary bloke, that’s all – one ordinary bloke out of tens of millions of blokes in the UK alone.
Besides, I’ve got no influence, no respect, no kudos, so just chill the fuck out – I’m only writing about how I feel – and even then I’ll probably change my mind next week or have an epiphany or something. Yeah, so just chill the fuck out. And there’s no reason or need to dislike me either, just for my opinion. I am not disrespecting you, in fact, I admire you a lot, it’s just that I don’t think music is such a big deal.
Recently I told someone whose life is music that I regarded music as just like the wind – it’s just there that’s all. They and others they spoke to in the music business were horrified. I’m a little puzzled by that reaction to be honest because I think it’s a complimentary thing to say – I mean, the wind is one of the most amazing, wonderful, varied, profound, powerful and beautiful things there is. It is an actual force of nature.
Writing on the other hand is like taking the whole of history, the whole of human evolution and experience, the whole of the universe even, in your brain all at once and issuing words that encapsulate the magic and the majesty in a conscious way. It’s not like just standing on a beach and feeling the wind in your face and the sea air in your lungs, it is the very act of creation itself. Writing is divine in the true sense, not in the namby-pamby repetitive sense.
But yes I still admire and envy you – I wish I could sing and play an instrument like a guitar or a key board.
Maybe I’ll try to learn. Is it too late for me to do this at 67 years old do you think?
From the book “To Me”
The Hidden Manifesto.
Most of what everyone does is unnecessary and harmful.
Stop doing what is unnecessary
Grow or forage for your own food
Cook your own food
Make your own clothes
Build your own shelters
Help each other to do this
Use or abuse no other sentient being
Do what you want but harm no one
What are the secrets
you’ve discovered today?
Did you find out
where the wizards play?
Are they as wise as they claim?
Or is it just a clever game?
No one can win.
No one can lose
No one can challenge
the life that you choose.
Me and a mate chatting – some people think it’s a bit funny – it’s a lot more than that . . . . .
(This is a personal note to myself – please ignore.)
I’m a writer. There’s no doubt about that, as you would see if you bothered to explore my website. It’s mostly about writing and most of it has been written – by me of course. Problem is ‘writer’ is too wide a term to be meaningful to anyone who doesn’t identify as a ‘writer’. I mean, what am I? I write blog posts like this, and . . . well . . . here’s a list of the other things I write:
Plays for the theatre
But if I was forced to define more finely what it is that makes me a writer then I would say: “Call me a novelist”. I would say this even though I have not published a new novel for three years because there is something divine about writing a novel, something that takes a direct line to the absolute essence of my being – it is an experience, or a conglomeration of experiences, that means everything, forever.
So yeah – get on with it.
Extract from Work in Progress novel – The Flying Boy
You. You.You. It’s all about you isn’t it? Yes of course, you think. Who else is it going to be about? There is only you, in your life anyway. Is that sociopathic? Or some kind of pathic? You only know about yourself. You can’t know about anyone else – only what you are allowed to know by whatever this universe is. Ah – there it is, it’s about a u-niverse, so, yes, it is all about you.
But you still have to breathe air, share, and even you admit you don’t know everything. In fact you know hardly anything, possibly nothing. For example you tell people you are writing meta fiction but you don’t even know what meta fiction is until you look it up in the great big dictionary in the sky, just to check that you aren’t talking crap and could be called out by a first year literature student. But you are talking crap aren’t you? You are talking crap because for one thing the great dictionary told you that what you think is meta fiction probably isn’t – for one thing it seems to be spelled metafiction as one word, and the rest of it, well, there’s too many subtleties in the definitions of the word and not many come close to the sort of thing you’re writing. So yeah, you are writing something that is probably not metafiction, but you’re not sure – maybe it’s meta fiction or even meta-fiction.
So what. You’re not writing according to some spurious literary rule. You are writing the truth. You don’t know who Jill is. This is important. Because Jill is . . . Jill is what? Hmm. You can’t deal with all this now. You have bigger fish to fry, or maybe you would if you fried fish. But you don’t fry fish; you don’t do anything with or to fish except look at them now and again in a friend’s pond or dead on the slabs of a fishmonger in the market.
There was that time, maybe thirty years ago, when you were involved with fish more than you wanted to be, more than you should have been. It was an actual fishing competition organised by your brother. He was a fisherman. Not a professional fisherman. He didn’t sell them or anything, though he no doubt traded the odd fish for some other advantage because that’s the sort of person he was, but he had a boat and loads of tackle, and he organised a sea fishing competition. You helped him by creating and managing a little computer database to record the details of the fish the competitors brought back to the weigh-in.
Stop! Pardon. Pause at least. OK.
When you’re writing like this it’s like applying the first daubs/splodges/lines of paint of an abstract painting on a canvas. You step back to look and at first it’s just random marks, random colours, random shapes and textures. Then you catch a hint of form. It starts to mean something and you start to realise that that meaning was there all along, it possessed your hands, your eyes, your brain. It used you to express itself. This is a divine thing – its form and its meaning will reveal themselves.
(Martin Amis is your inspiration. Is he? Yes. Every time you read something about him or by him or see his name on a book cover you find yourself writing seconds later. Is that true? You’re doing it now. Ah! OK.)
Now really restart, resume maybe.
So helping your brother out at the fishing competition means sitting in a damp portakabin behind a makeshift desk, typing bits of information into a computer database. Things like contestant name and number, boat name, time of weigh, species of fish weighed, weight of fish.
Each species of fish has a specimen weight attached to it. So, a sardine say, has a specimen weight of a few grams, while a great white shark has a specimen weight of almost two tonnes or whatever. Not that you weigh any sardines or great white sharks, though there is a shark the size of a spaniel dog and some kind of flatfish with the circumference of a saucer.
At the end of the day there is a winner, the person whose fish is bigger than its species’ specimen weight by the largest factor. The spaniel-sized shark doesn’t win but the saucer sized flatfish might do. You can’t remember. You don’t want to remember.
All that must have been around the same time , late 80s, early 90s, that you read the book London Fields by Martin Amis, coincidentally, you’ve just read an interview with him in the Guardian (online) about the film that has just been released based on that book – London Fields (the film is rubbish apparently). Maybe that’s the reason you’re thinking about your brother’s fishing competition, some feint connection from three decades ago.
So yeah, maybe you have to admit that Martin Amis is your inspiration, your muse perhaps? I wonder what he would think about that? Being a muse for an also-ran novelist. You know what he is. He’s not a muse, he’s the sort of arrogant male artist who employs muses, uses them at least. He’s as much a muse as a jockey is a horse or a fish is bait.
But there you are, there he is, each in your respective universes, and there you will remain. Though Mr Amis does remind you of a dope-smoking friend you had for a while as a dope-smoking teenager. That friend was called Martin as well. He was not a tall person and used to walk around in a thick woollen coat that was too big for him.
Your Martin used to knock around with Jill. Hold on. You’d better stop there to think about it. Jill? Even that far back? Half a century? Is that possible? Are your memories real?
The thing about Jill is . . . .
What is the thing about Jill?
How do you choose which bits of your life to focus on when you write or attempt to write some kind of autobiography like this? What are the criteria? Hmm. I suppose it depends on who you are writing to – yes – because when you write, or at least when I write, I have a ‘reader’ in mind, even if that reader is just an abstract notion of myself – my future self. Like a diary I suppose.
But so much happens in just one day, one hour, one second even, if you drill down into the depths of your psyche and think out to the expanse of the universe(s). Continue reading “A random bit of live writing (Feb 2016)”
There seems to be nothing there, but there are the uncountable billions of past experiences in this or other lives. Then there are the uncountable possibilities of future experiences plus of course the endless experiences occurring now.
And out of this nothing something new has to emerge . . .