My first stand-alone collection of poetry and prose ‘Dust Particles’ is now available via Big Cartel, and you can order a copy by going here. Each copy sold will be signed by me, and retails at the price of £6.50 (+1.50 p&p) If the link isn’t working and/or you’d prefer to pay by cash, contact me direct on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m currently writing a short story called ‘Time Gentlemen, Please’ which appeared in an earlier incarnation on this blog earlier on in the year. Sticklers for linear narrative and such other boring things will be pleased to hear that I have ditched the constant shifts in time and space found in the original draft and stuck to a more straightforward plot structure.
It’s written in the first person, and details the plight of a group of squatters/anarchists who take over a derelict pub in Digbeth and throw a party. The narrator isn’t as clued up or right on as the others, and spends the party in a stupor in the outside toilet and wakes up to find the place deserted. Has he gone back in time? Is the place haunted by the ghost of the junkie known as Mad Julie who died there? Why’s everyone disappeared? Who’s the strange old man in a dirty blazer squeezing sachets of brown sauce into his mild the next day?
Me being me, i’ve decided to present the story not only as your 3,000 words, but also as a short film, with photos I took when I was allowed to roam about the Floodgate Tavern in Digbeth last year in August with my iPhone. This is the full gallery, set to the lovely sounds of CAN – Evening All Day from the superb The Lost Tapes Box Set that’s out now on Spoon and you should buy it here. The photos aren’t the best in the world, and it’s only been made on Windows Movie-Maker but they convey a good atmosphere, especially for those like me who dig the idea of mooching about derelict spaces. Some of the photos will be used in the finished article, with me or someone else reading out the story over it.
For now, here’s the photo gallery – looking forward to working on the final product.
The Tesco’s at Five Ways is the largest supermarket in Birmingham City Centre. However, this accolade is soon to be wrestled from its grasp by the new Morrisons’s near the Calthorphe Road in Edgbaston. Morrisons has definitely started its campaign in earnest, an M Local now stands on New Street where Habitat used to be. There is a new generation of superstore dominance in Birmingham City Centre – next to Birmingham Snow Hill station there is a coyly named Little Waitrose; however, over the road a string of artisan food shops have sprung up in the Great Western Arcade, Anderson and Hill placed opposite the tobacconist and the Greggs. And the Pallasades, once a breeding ground for pound and thrift shops, has been consumed by what appears to be a giant metallic Pac-Man, it’s sated gob belching over the shoppers walking on Lower Temple Street.
So I have never actually been to Walsall despite my 33 years as a Midlander. The New Art Gallery has always come recommended; I was very interested to learn that Laura Oldfield Ford had curated her own exhibition there in April, around the time that I was putting my finishing touches to my MA, and it would have been a rather fantastic research opportunity. I was going to make a special excursion to Walsall another time, as a friend told me that the Greggs there were doing a run of limited edition chip-shop chip pasties. The train I used to get to Perry Barr terminated at Walsall as well, so getting there wouldn’t have been a problem. But unfortunately my old foe procrastination and that bastard laziness got in the way, and I didn’t go to the exhibition or to the Walsall branch of Greggs.