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Showing posts from September, 2012

ME AND MY MOTOR - Frank Neaves

Earlier this year, the nice people at the Hull Daily Mail asked me to contribute to their 'Me & My Motor' section. It didn't start well. I told them my first car was a knackered Vespa 90. 'That's not a car,' they said. 'Stick to four wheels, preferably one at each corner,' they said.  So I gave them my list of second-hand crates: the 1977 Datsun Cherry, the Fiesta with holes in the floor, the Volvo with stuff growing in it ... I could've gone on, but the look of Clarkson-style contempt suggested they'd got the message. Which was when I pulled the chair a bit closer and leaned in, 'Tell you what,' I said, 'if you're interested, I know a bloke who might have what you're looking for.'  I can't say Frank wasn't happy about it. He's keeping a low profile at the moment, but once I'd managed to find him, he came round. He usually does.  1. What do you drive? Last thing I owned outright was a Rover 75, maroon, lea…

NEW SINGLE: 'Mutiny on the Thames' - Pope

Erstwhile Chords guitarist and songwriting mainstay, Chris Pope has been busy. With his band Pope, he's recorded a new single - Mutiny on the Thames. It's probably a bit brassier - in every sense -  than your favourite Chords three minutes, but swapping powerpop for politics brings out the best in Pope and brings to mind the Redskins in their prime.
Either way, it rocks and lays it on the line. And hey, it's not every day a bloke whose songs you've admired for 30+ years drops you a line to tell you about a new one!

EVENT: The Humber Beat at Ilkley Festival Fringe

A heads up for an event taking place as part of the Ilkley Festival fringe on 2nd October. Mr Quantrill and myself will be taking a late drive down the M62 to present 'The Humber Beat' an hour of readings from novels and short stories and discussion about the city and its impact on crime writing. Our session is free that evening - we'll be following on from the paid event with 'The Dark Winter' author, David Mark.

SHORT STORY: 'Shane MacGowan's Coat' in BEAT THE DUST - Made in Sheffield edition

Melissa Mann's Beat The Dust is an online magazine dedicated to bringing new writing into the world. An invitation to contribute to the Made In Sheffieldedition - curated and introduced by the estimable Mr Simon Crump - was not to be missed. Based on an article in The Independent some four years ago, over the years I'd written and re-written the short story Shane MacGowan's Coat more times than I care to remember. It had never quite come together in the way I wanted it. For Beat The Dust, I started again and here it is, finished and in full. It's difficult to remember just what an impact The Pogues had in a post-punk world; seeing the band in the mid-80s, as many will testify, was a riot. A beacon of real music in a sea of synthpop and gated snare drums. I was lucky enough to see them a few times, including a St Patrick's night gig at the Town & Country Club in 1988. Possibly the roughest moshpit I was ever in, but one of those nights you're just glad you we…

BOOK NEWS: THICK AS THIEVES: Personal Situations with The Jam

Having Spent a hefty chunk of the last five years interviewing people about their working lives and unique experiences for social history purposes, it's something of a culture shock to see a book that treats an ever present from my own cultural past in the same way. The track Thick As Thieves from 1979's Setting Sons just about nailed what it was like to be part of a gang, knowing it couldn't last forever. Keeping that spirit on the road, Stewart Debill and Ian Snowball's new book trawls the archives and conducts new interviews with anyone connected with The Jam, the people who worked with them live and on record and those who followed them from Sheerwater Secondary School to Brighton Arena. I've written elsewhere on this blog about the impact Weller and The Jam had on me as a teenager growing up in the suburbs in the late 70s/early 80s. [Check The Young Mod's Forgotten Story Parts 2 and 3] Here Debill and Snowball have the blessing of Weller - he provides the …

CREATIVE WRITING: Short Story Course - Caistor Arts & Heritage Centre

There is something magical about the short story form. I think it's that you can do pretty much anything with it, malleable within a nominal framework of a piece you can read in a single sitting - if you adopt Edgar Allan Poe's formula. It's also unlikely to make you a fortune - not that it ever did, which means by and large you write short stories because you want to, because it suits you, because you have something to say and the desire to get it said. 'The short story, I should point out, is perforce a labor of love in today's literary world; there's precious little economic incentive to write one...' Lawrence Block, Manhattan Noir Coming up with stories and angles for a new series of workshops for Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre, starting this Thursday evening, I had the task of working through a box file full of collected stories, dog-eared photocopies and well-read favourites. And that was before looking for new angles; I wanted to include something t…