Reasons the Volkswagen Beetle shouldn’t be your first car

By which I mean: ‘God, I wish the Beetle had been my first car’. It’s a quasi-genetic need to covet it. In my childhood, three Beetles, a mini and a bay window camper made their way in and (sadly) out of my Ma & Pa’s driveway. The final bug was going to be my first but on reflection here are some fond memories and reasons why I’m … Continue reading Reasons the Volkswagen Beetle shouldn’t be your first car

Empire Aristocrat

Typecasting: Bottling.

A little microfiction. Short shorts, flash fiction, micro-fiction, whichever epithet you prefer, fills a pretty little niche between narrative poetry and the short fiction. Here is a piece written on an ‘Empire Aristocrat’ (essentially a Hermes Rocket made in England). They (David Gaffney, the undisputed master of the form and many more) say you should not rely on a ‘punch-line ending’ which… well, I’ll let … Continue reading Typecasting: Bottling.


Dirty Type Slugs: the 1947 Smith Corona Sterling

Half of the fun is fixing typewriters. My current record stands at 3 in 4 typers arriving and needing some immediate attention to get them functioning properly, despite ‘good working order’ descriptions. Soon I’ll start hunting the old fashioned way, in reclamation centres and thrift houses to get up close before adopting another basket case. This Smith-Corona didn’t arrive as a basket case, but the carriage would not return all the way … Continue reading Dirty Type Slugs: the 1947 Smith Corona Sterling

Bukowski kissing typewriter.

Bukowski quotes so positive you could sell them at garden centres

He gets a bad wrap Bukowski. Whether for misogyny, alcoholism or dirty-realism, he’s a tough nut to love. It’s clear though, from a small crop of quotes, that his misanthropy was a pall covering a simple, hedonist’s love of life. Here are some quotes (a few admittedly pushing the boundaries) which you might see scrawled on a rough piece of wood that you’re Gran might buy … Continue reading Bukowski quotes so positive you could sell them at garden centres

Lettera 22. Big. Blue. Il bruto. Garibaldi

Leonard Cohen’s Olivetti Lettera 22

I haven’t acquired the Olivetti Lettera 22 that Leonard Cohen famously ‘typed with under water’ and did, in a rage, throw across his room. I would like to think that thanks to the good folks at Hermes Delivery company, I do own an uncanny replica of the ill-fated machine. Although, his was a pistachio colour. Mine’s called il bruto Garibaldi: ‘The Brute Garibaldi’, because it’s Italian and has the rugged … Continue reading Leonard Cohen’s Olivetti Lettera 22

Best-british-short-stories. Title. Feat image.

Interrobang name-checked in Nicholas Royle’s ‘The Best British Short Stories 2014’

An update for the Interrobang Project! We were privileged to be named in the acclaimed anthology series, edited by Nicholas Royle, ‘The Best British Short Stories 2014’, alongside journals such as Ambit, Structo and the Edinburgh Review. Some very kind words considering the circumstances in which I and my partner fumbled two issues of Interrobang into Nicholas Royle’s hands. Click on the picture below to … Continue reading Interrobang name-checked in Nicholas Royle’s ‘The Best British Short Stories 2014’

Kelso I.

Typecasting: Riding the hell out of Kelso

I’m venturing into realism. This is a rough first draft of a story I banged out. The short version: it’s about a young man dealing with the loss of his grandfather, and more besides. It needs paring down, sharpening, but its a lump of clay I’m happy to continue sculpting. A revision by friends won’t be resisted either. I’ll post a typecast of draft II sometime … Continue reading Typecasting: Riding the hell out of Kelso

Shaman 1. TKKLoM. II.

Typecasting: The Kind King Light of Mind

Uploading images of type-written text is one way to road-test material without contravening the provisos of many literary journals. That being: not to send in work that has been otherwise ‘published’. Included in that definition is the publishing accomplished on personal blogs. The draft of a story below ‘The Kind King Light of Mind’, is just that, a draft. Every time I retype it, the story becomes a … Continue reading Typecasting: The Kind King Light of Mind

Silver Massive II

Tabulations: the Silver Reed 150

There is a wealth of information on the interwebs about most brands of popular typewriters. But it can be difficult to find much material on the models less-revered by the typospherians. When I bought this Silver Reed 150 ‘Tabulator’, it was largely due to the long-trusted description: ‘one lady owner from new’, with the added bonus bracket: ‘(my mum)’. That, and it’s shinier than a Jimmy … Continue reading Tabulations: the Silver Reed 150

Time to Lay Dormant for a Year

The first FiNaPoWriMo NaPoWriMo had it’s highlights: Over 500 people visited the site in 30 days 30 bloggers followed 1 poem was commissioned and used (I think) in a job interview A national museum recorded a poem and posted it on their page I didn’t imagine a better response. I’ll see you for next year’s instalment. Dissertation year poetry sounds like a ready-made quality standards issue. … Continue reading Time to Lay Dormant for a Year

M&F 46A Winter


NaPoWriMo #30 Valley Home. Home is in the hills. Among valleys where flora turns emerald ice dead winter, Where water tastes of dew from the strands in a duck’s moustache. House is the habitat. Home when breath breathes ‘welcome back’ a ghost-hello, condensing words in air. ‘kettle’s on’, or ‘put kettle on’, steam: birth of a brew. The brick and mortar, the tile and plaster, … Continue reading Valley

A4 Pacifics NRM

Rolling Hulks

NaPoWriMo #28 Rolling Hulks Exibit chesspiece, Leviathan, foreigner, imported, cast iron, steel-alloy, turntable, turnpike, contacts ignite, piston rupture. Walking round, tripped by invisible wires between men and their cameras. Iron giants – immobilised, geriatric, asleep. Oil on the air, in the lungs – sorry, excuse me – Finley, come here! – Excuse me. Stephenson’s there, Gresley’s grizzling in the corners, counting the lubricate spots on … Continue reading Rolling Hulks


The Loveseat

NaPoWriMo #25 The Loveseat While She shaped the pyramid, spending an aeon crafting for others, He whittled a select timber shaft Each season scrimshawed his digits into the grain. Fashioned an X-brace marionette’s soul to rest on spun struts, a giant’s cane, cross-hatched the skeleton frame with upholstery. Her choice, rested. Only to spring the leaves, decades on, to recede under worn, time-drawn arses. After … Continue reading The Loveseat

Radio Roll


NaPoWrimo #23 Condensing Everything abridged at sixteen to a fan of cards to slot into a sober, leather-looking wallet. Three for bank, four clubs, two bus passes, driving license and one light motorcycle, one organ donor. Now each life is in profile an enduring record for the flash-bulb mind. Kick start those pages, how can I count thee? before the server konks out and I’m … Continue reading Condensing

Postcard from J. - Redacted

Postcards from the Mentally Ill.

NaPoWriMo #22 Postcards from the Mentally Ill Let fly a culture of Freudian slip between the legible black on white indelible ink, imperative: I was not involved with my cousin Carol. as though the recipient has power to prescribe dignity, lost to diffraction patterns in boyhood mishap. Otherwise a foul in genealogy. Yet heightened amiability, the fact you know the middle-name, despite impossibility licks my … Continue reading Postcards from the Mentally Ill.

Asian Soldier Reading

In the Sun

NaPoWriMo #15 In the Sun In the sun somewhere, anywhere, dusty a man, no name, anyone digs to divine water’s loci. In the sun there, everywhere, all over an opaque hand, bigger than the Cayman Islands salts the earth, drives water deeper, undermines his spring quicker. This limb, spanning the hemisphere incubates expenditure in its palm half a world away, thinking of it as offspring … Continue reading In the Sun

words for teenagers

Cut-Ups Poetry Experiment. NaPoWriMo #14

NaPoWriMo #14 Cut-Ups Experiment. Compendium of the ‘i’ 09/04/13. If giving customers a bed down London’s ice is Labour’s new energy, the four chimneys broke with the theatre’s grey. Falklands wand finally to addiction. There is a timiction helpline special. In death, you especially imagine a celebri-divide, I met Margaret where she was detoxed once. She created the more-vention, went smooth Britain – contradictions of … Continue reading Cut-Ups Poetry Experiment. NaPoWriMo #14

I want you Jun 2011

Economic Prothalamion

NaPoWriMo #13 Economic Prothalamion The odyssey casts off from here, hereafter now you six are competing for favour of more suitors than ever you’ve tried a’gaining advantage of before. Don’t be a cynic! Honest, Penelope, I wouldn’t dare. I bet you, in the least, it’s ten years ‘til you guys launch those thousand ships to Ithaca. ‘til then your carbon carats’ are gonna be crushed … Continue reading Economic Prothalamion

Gracie, Mum, Me.

Holding you like I might a bottle of wine

NaPoWriMo #12 Holding you like I might a bottle of wine On my favourite sofa. both eyes reflect over my shoulder your mother, left. your father, right. Each one separate and both combined Your father’s face, a pride you cannot yet fathom through blurred vision where people become the air. And hers, simply in disdain of your furrowed brow to do so. Outward from those … Continue reading Holding you like I might a bottle of wine

Morse Carpet

Morse Carpet

NaPoWriMo #11 Morse Carpet All that viscous gunk in the fibres from years of tramping custom over the mat dot-dash-dash-dot I told him to update and refurb, turn into a coffee shop, replace the bald welcome improve and serve the barista-madness but he is old hat dot-dot-dash Keeps shop capital under his bed doesn’t trust the bankers still greets on the high-street – everyone, Surrenders … Continue reading Morse Carpet

Da Vinci SEX

Un love

NaPoWriMo #10 Un Love You eat munchies When you greet me The work you undertake: are opinions You fail to recognise Your Laugh I could forgive you like a horse masticates on carrot, it is as welcoming as Zyklon B is obsolete, like male nipples, to you as unwanted as bad childhood memories? the opening bars of ‘All you need is love’, is a prerequisite … Continue reading Un love

Dada Poetry Experiments NaPoWriMo #9.1 & #9.2

A • lea • tori • cism Aleatoricism is the incorporation of chance into the process of creation, especially the creation of art or media. The word derives from the Latin word alea meaning the rolling of dice. On day 9 of NaPoWriMo I ran short of creative juice. Someone had asked me on day 8 whether I would be writing about the death of … Continue reading Dada Poetry Experiments NaPoWriMo #9.1 & #9.2

Gas Mask Baby

Misgivings I Will Only Admit to Friends

NaPoWriMo #8 Misgivings I Will Only Admit to Friends On pain of above-par trivial pursuit skills On pain of aversion to milk in tea On pain of loyalty to Waitrose On pain of pretentious baby names On pain of pretentious dog names On pain of periodicals posing On pain of allusive non-drip gravy trains On pain of internet-composed faux-ancestry On pain of Smeg fridge On … Continue reading Misgivings I Will Only Admit to Friends

Blackberry Jun 2011-Feb 2012 187

Herd Mentality

NaPoWriMo #7 Herd Mentality Within the picture frame of a tea-caddy valley an airborne lottery wheedled its way to the nostrils of the sheep, selected the club night in the cow sheds promising cuts of cut-rate sweet-meat. Animals grazed as clan for millennia, hailed by their thousands, into the news reels and word processors of the Dictaphone media: no Nazi propaganda, no furnace in the … Continue reading Herd Mentality

Sheffield Dialect periodic table

Language’s Monologue I

NaPoWriMo #6 Language’s Monologue The graft of the sentence is I transmute meaning. latch onto anything between synapses, father to order. Grapheme, Cut of the Jib, significant. Say I were multiplied, given a header, written as a letter then never sent, am I still a letter? Intentions, deviate, obsolete. when translated into Latin, my rhetoric increases its calibre. Quidquid latine dictum sit altum sonatur. Anything … Continue reading Language’s Monologue I


The Pyramid Scheme

NapoWrimo #5 The Pyramid Scheme She took a bronze saw nine feet long, set with sapphire teeth to business carving life into a Pyramid of manageable blocks. Descending to the largest of jobs, leading to glitches eventually larger than life – top down organising, placing the smallest in a pocket of time five minutes from now. Now the miniscule, later the monument. She began: scratched … Continue reading The Pyramid Scheme

Interstellar Shanty

NaPoWriMo #4 Interstellar Shanty NASA pressurised an ink pen – spent a pennny Russians risked graphite – mocked the moneyed Soviet pencils are Sputnik’s armoury logic translates compensate in Klingon We’ll float, float on, ‘til we find a teapot orbiting the sun. There are many questions many more answers, how d’you photograph a gas giant, And what does Venus’ arse look like? But we’ll float, … Continue reading Interstellar Shanty

Family Triptych

NaPoWriMo #3 Family Triptych Up a gangplank through the land between house, home and road three of a family tree trod, one in front of the other digits trellised dovetailed together a linked length a pedigree. First Father, grandpa, clergyman drew Mother, their grandmother, philanthropist up. Denied purchase from spent years caring. And steadying the give, behind The daughter, granddaughter, the student. Brogues, slippers and … Continue reading Family Triptych