Choke – Ten years of the re-emergence of Cheapside

On Thursday 29 I went up to The Edge, owned by the wonderful Friction Arts yesterday to pick up my computer lead which I’d left there on Sunday. The Edge is located on Cheapside in Digbeth, an area which really kick-started by love of derives and psychogeography, being a maze of industrial units, derelict warehouses street art, backstreet pubs and incongruous new-builds. Walking up there yesterday on a thrillingly wet and blustery day, I was able to look at the new build that is going to be its neighbour for the foreseeable future.

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Pork Pie and The Good Book – two novels agog in the ether and threatening to amalagamate into one gigantic thing.

In 2005, ballasted by Robert Kilroy-Silk’s emerging UKIP party, Jamie’s School Dinners, and a climate of fear boosted by the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq, I had plans for a novel. This novel would be called ‘Pork Pie’. At the same time I was writing another novel called ‘The Good Book’, which was be my life, death, the universe and everything book, using angry young man satire, an omniscient narrator and a cast of characters and parallel universes.

In 2016, with a lot of the satire now being reality, I am toying with the idea of resurrecting them. The question is; should I write them as two novels, or include ‘Pork Pie’ inside ‘The Good Book’ and make it even more of a self-reflective beast than it already is?

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The Wind – The Shape of Things to Come

The first draft of my long gone-on about novel, The Wind, about the changing face of Birmingham City Centre is nearing completion. Everything noted as ‘spare’ needs to go into the chapters. Then it all needs to be printed out and gone through with big markers and red pens. Then re-written. Rinse and repeat.


OK, so this has been massively delayed. I first had the idea for it in 2008, it formed the basis of my MA research in 2012, and it now has different and extended ending. Originally ending in 2013 on a Utopic celebration of the Ultimate Shopping Experience, it now includes that but will end on a sourer note in 2016, that of the pulling down of Birmingham’s Central Library.

The fact that I haven’t actually lived in the City Centre since late 2013 is a moot point. The Wind is coming and it will be well worth the wait. Anyway, it wouldn’t be truly Birmingham if it wasn’t subject to false starts and delays would it? (hopefully that excuse will wash with most of my other life projects I’ve procrastinated about.)

 

Re-introducing ‘Dust Particles’

‘Dust Particles’ is my first stand-alone collection of poetry and prose and there are still plenty of copies left.


It was self-published in 2011, with an ace cover by Birmingham based graphic designer and excellent schmutter-wearer Ryan Killeen. It compromises poems and prose written from 2005-2011.

Includes live favourites such as Harry’s Phwoar, Notebook Crap and the Well Done Pig trilogy (about what happens when a hog roast goes wrong) and intriguing titles such as 1920s Brylcreem Brum Cream and Pies, Tales from Wales and Brum Waitress 1 & 2.

Social commentary, suburban psychedelia and insights into blown minds abound. Includes five (four featured and one hidden) poems relating to my debut novel Pork Pie, and introductions to my influences regarding psychogeography and magic realism feature heavily throughout.

Cover price £6.50 – email me at jameskennedycentral@yahoo.co.uk and we’ll talk postage and packing too.

Also available at the wonderful P Cafe in Stirchley, and soon the also wonderful Anchor Gallery in Digbeth.

 Purple With Orange Sparkles – an afternoon with Robert Horrocks

On the 17th of July at Muthers Studio in Digbeth, Robert Horrocks will be presenting ‘Purple With Orange Sparkles.’ Three acts of  vinyl playback, featuring the Black Sabbath albums Masters of Reality and Vol.4, complete with introductions, annotations, a stage set, lighting, and more. The event is the third in a series that marks the anniversaries of ‘Birmingham’s greatest band’. I was invited to Roberts’ house in Handsworth last week to find out more about this event and his plans for the future…

 

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Wandering Thoughts Whilst Watching Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. PTSD, conscious thoughts after death and fa(e)ir(ie)y magic(k)

I was watching Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom with my daughter today. For those of you not familiar, it is made by Astley Baker Davies, who have the also excellent The Big Knights and the terrific Peppa Pig in their roster. The main characters are Ben, an elf, and Holly, a fairy as best friends.

The episode I was watching was ‘Elf Joke Day’ – a day when the elf population of the Little Kingdom play practical jokes on each other. It’s fun. However, The Wise Old Elf, who lives in the same tree as Ben at room 98, takes things too far. This is where my thoughts started to wander. (Play from 6:58 to get straight to the scene.)

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