Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I was going to update both these blogs with the same content, as Blogspot stuff seems to do better on the SEARCH engines. But I can't be bothered, I just can't find the energy.

So >>> everything is over there >>> at Book Armor.com

And here is just a place I used to come, going to grow old and lose its relevance, like a glove on top of a bus shelter...

Friday, October 20, 2006

I am going to be published...

by Granta , in an anthology of new writing, and on the British Council’s New Writing website. In June 2007. I returned from fifteen hours on various chicken buses, visa renewed, and there was an email.

New Writing 15

I am delighted to inform you that your Short story entitled The Sandwich Factory has been selected by the editors Bernardine Evaristo and Maggie Gee for inclusion in New Writing 15.

Please expect to hear from Granta should they have any copy-editing queries for you, and expect also to receive page proofs directly from them. This will be for a final check and they will ask that you only make changes that are absolutely essential.

We will be sending your contract and invoice for completion shortly.

Isn’t that good news for me? Now when I say I am a writer and the question comes back about being published, I can say, “Oh yes” etc.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Let it bleed

Patti took some blows for Team Gringo yesterday. He got the snot beaten out of him by four Guatemalan men. They took his phone, his watch, and all his money. I had done my best to get him home and we never quite made it. The man is too heavy and drink revealed a boneheaded streak. I left him real close to home, thinking, hoping, he would be okay. And he is okay, only his eye is out a mile and his top lip is two inches thick.

"It could've been a lot worse," I told him, "it could've been me who got beaten up."

Patti has two beautiful young Dutch girlfriends and I suggested he ask them to lay in bed with him, figured they could break out tissues and do a little "erotic dabbing." When I cracked that joke, the other two men present started smacking themselves around, "Hey, we need a little nursing, too..." Such is the power of beautiful Dutch girls to warp men's minds.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I am holding a crab


For today, here I am, holding a crab. This is one way to always think of me, stood there, holding a crab tied up with fresh banana leaf.

I tore the keyboard off my laptop today, finally too frustrated to put up with the malfunctioning contacts. And then I separated the printed plastic circuit, finally achieving some kind of success. There's something satisfying about witnessing the guts of this machine.

And I bought three types of bananas from the market for company. You can picture me putting down my crab and eating a red banana, that's a very Central American thing for me to be doing, yet it doesn't border on cliche. It's not like wandering around Cancun wearing a sombrero with a pocketful of jumping beans. It's cool and culturally specific, and that's a good way to picture me.

The red bananas are so delicious.

Excuse me, it's time to experience them again, to the sound of Van Morrison. Ah, a man of contrasts, yes, to be sure. Picture me having just put down a crab and now eating a red banana to the sounds of Astral Weeks. A trailblazer. Goodbye.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love and Jefferson Airplane

(Remember to recommend BookArmor.com to other people. This post is part of a 3-part tour through my early 20's...)

Had an evening of marijuana cigarettes. For the occasion, the listening pleasure was two classic Sixties albums, Forever Changes by Love, and Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane. And what a great pleasure it was. Even through the vile meandering plastic mess of my laptop speakers, out came amazing music, music of a lost time. The usual passion for a time machine, set for The Summer of Love gripped me, then subsided into a sweet ache as the music pulsated. And for my money, if I had to choose the higher high, it would be Jefferson Airplane. They are not as talented, but they throw out a study in bliss mixed with the most awful tension. And I dig it. Love is a beautiful off-kilter experiment, a phenomenal psychedelic tapestry. At times it sounded upside-down, just my thing.
That I am thinking of this tonight, in 2006, in the mountains of Guatemala, is a message in itself. I felt fresh this evening, the music held all the promise it ever has, since I was a moody teenager first listening to New Order, The House of Love, The Happy Mondays, and Joy Division. And the passion for music that connected into enthusiastic odysseys to Coventry. Or Nottingham. Or Loughborough. Imagine that! Somebody being excited about going to Loughborough. It happened! We would concoct bizarre bus and train journeys to attain our final goal, a rummage through the racks at The Left-Legged Pineapple - an incredibly stupid name that we thought was brilliant back then.And you had to buy some records after such an effort. Even if there was nothing you wanted. So there they were, the American Import singles, badly assembled sleeves of terrible artwork adorning appallingly misconceived and recorded music. And it was utterly essential. Band names like Clawfinger, Tar, Butt Trumpet(*), New Radiant Storm King. Who doesn't feel a little superior, sitting down of an evening, pipe in one hand, a glass of port in the other, and while the neighbours scavenge for artistic sustenance in the plastic depths of an Abba album, you are savouring the sonic melange of Butt Trumpet. Leave aside your casual prejudices and admit it, it has a certain allure. And these records were all around the same price, 3 to 4 pounds, and they waited on the counter, obviously for people to shy/incompetent/fussy/poor to buy proper music. So that's what I slowly accumulated over five wonderful years, a collection of rubbish music by forgotten artists, who I only indulged due to my total commitment to damning whole genres of music while I relentlessly pursued clear vinyl 12" German editions of Depeche Mode singles. (Or the Maxi-Single as the Germans named it).

And tonight those happy days are not gone. I am still in possession of every marvellous bus ride, every wasted second trying to convince myself of the dubious artistic merit of the latest Gnu Fuz offering, every wasted hour trying to decipher incomprehensibly stupid lyrics, either via the ears, or by pouring over the equally disgracefully punky exercises in erasure that passed for a printed lyric, and every wasted day spent wandering around my village in a band t-shirt for something hopelessly obscure and ill-judged, Pussy Crown or Mutated Hard-Boiled Eggs, hoping some impossibly informed and heavy-chested pouting beauty would wander up to me and say, "You're the one..."

And the marvellous thing about the disease I describe above, that gripped me so hard, is that it was a collective disease. And it had a place where everyone suffering could assemble and escape further into their sad fantasies. And the name of that place was cool, too. It was...

(actually, somebody should guess the next Three Word Phrase...)

* See, I'm not making this shit up!

Monday, February 13, 2006


Extreme Unction is now Bookarmor, go there.

Monday, January 30, 2006


This is the last Extreme Unction post. I am going to give myself over to the professional portion of my workaday existence and issue no more free words to the galaxy.

I know there are millions of idiots, but the few who have swarmed to the front of the cage to hurl monkey shit at me via this blog have depressed me still further. Leaving aside my dislike of the English middle classes and Hollywood movie stars, I feel that there has been little in the way of genuine disdain in Extreme Unction, and the attacks have been unwarranted. I have spoken out time and again in the defence of freedom of speech, against the tryannical actions of Bush and Blair, against the demonising of teenagers pushed to the edge by the hell of modern society, against the excessive and hypocritical rhetoric of Christian fundamentalists, etc, etc. For this I expected no medals.

To everyone who has come here and found something stimulating, I salute you. To those who have shown me ill will, know this, that you will be remembered only for your crimes.

Here is Alexander Pope to play us out...
Cease, then, nor order imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee.
Submit. In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.