Friday, May 27, 2005

"Dude, I finally got the venue I wanted"

There's another festival lined up - the Port Eliot Festival, some time in late July. I'll be doing something with Rob Lewis again (we're becoming something of a double act). This is no ordinary festival. Instead of just reading, you're supposed to do something, er... "performance art"-ish. (Don't laugh.) Me and Rob have had one or two ideas so far: a comedy magic act (a la Tommy Cooper *), and a celebrity cage fight (but without the celebrities).

Suggestions welcome. Anything. Anything.


* Some Tommy Cooper:
A woman tells her doctor, 'I've got a bad back.' The doctor says, 'It's old age.' The woman says, 'I want a second opinion.' The doctor says: 'Okay - you're ugly as well.

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Anyone have a copy of last Friday's (20 May) The Sun? I'm told there was a review of FAGS AND LAGER in it. If you go to a barbershop or a chinese takeaway, have a look at the reading matter in the waiting area - they usually have some old Suns. That's my only hope. So go on, treat yourself to a short back 'n sides, with egg fried rice and prawn crackers.

There have been one or two other reviews, but I said I wouldn't talk about reviews so I won't. One was in yesterday's Metro, including the nugget: "Blake is the perfect antihero, engaging as well as terrifying, his delusions of hard-man grandeur fuelling fierce black comedy. Delivered in Blake's rich vernacular, Fags and Lager is yokel Tarantino."

Yokel Tarantino! My next two books will be KILL JETHRO vols 1 and 2.

Also a good one on the BBC Collective website, which goes something like: "Williams' greatest achievement is Blake himself, a dazzling creation of well-intentioned prejudice and overblown machismo, dripping with dramatic irony, who would rather spare the upholstery of his 2.8i Ford Capri than ferry a wounded mate to hospital."

Wouldn't anyone? Meanwhile, I've got to choose a FAGS extract to read at Hay next Wednesday. This will be my first reading from this novel, and I've no idea which bit to go for. Probably best to just start at page 1.

Dog Day Morning

What, none of you know what to do with problem dogs? (I know Ray does.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dog Day Afternoon

Anyone know about dogs? I've got two. They're younguns really, between puppydom and adulthood. But I tell you - they're barmy.


The one tries to bite your nose off (but in a friendly, loving way) whenever you so much as look at him. The other eats everything. I mean everything. He projectile vomited all over the wall last night, and I got a little snapshot of his diet. I found (besides the food we give him):

  • stones
  • polystyrene (a lot)
  • wood
  • leaves
  • grass (a lot)
  • sweetcorn (where the hell did he find that? How does sweetcorn always find its way into these things?)
  • beads
  • (beads?)
  • yes, beads
  • one penny (very shiny)
  • one pair khaki Action Man trousers (soiled)
  • (no sign of Action Man)
  • pencils

OK, so I merged two voms into one to get that list, but you see what my problem is. How do I get this beast to slow up on the chow? (Or at least, be a bit more selective.) Last week he apparently cornered a young rabbit and ate it whole, head first. Now that's good - I can put up with that kind of snacking. (In fact, that's what he's here for.) But... polystyrene?.

(And who the hell has been feeding him sweetcorn?)

Any tips?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Say It Quiet...

...because I'm knackered.

Why do I always need another holiday when I've just been on holiday? Ah, life. Anyway, this holiday... besides drinking gin and beer and fighting jellyfish, I found time to read two great books from Hard Case Crime (cheers, Ken). FADE TO BLONDE by Max Collins, and Donald Westlake's 361. Oh, these are great. If you like you're noir... well, noir, these two will do it for you.

Charlie enjoying a noir moment

FADE TO BLONDE benefits from having an uppity bouncer as its hero, a crisp plot involving pornography at a time when you had to keep a list of private customers, and a gorgeous cover. 361 benefits from being just plain goddamned superb, and one of those priceless novels where everything for the protagonist gets turned upside within a few pages, and reality becomes a thing of the past. Ace, ace, ace.

Hurrah for HCC.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Say It Loud...

I'm back and I'm proud.

Ta for keeping the blog warm, anonymous visitors. I've been chilling in Turkey, sitting around all day drinking beer and gin. I couldn't tell you that before, of course. You would have found out my address and robbed my house. You can't fool me, mate. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to... Hey, where's my TV?

Anyways, check out the latest edition of Crime Scene, if you know what's good for you. It's flipping great. And it also has a bit of nonfic by your humble narrator (ie: me). The subject?

Tears, frustration, and mental anguish.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Sign off

I'm offline for a week, so no posts here for a few days. But hey, don't desert me. I'll be back, I swear. Why don't you drop me an email in the meantime. I'd love to hear from some of the millions of people (OK, tens of people) who quietly check out this blog (OK, six people). I'm a nice guy, I really am. I'm generous. Send me an email, and I'll give you something back. Like a cigarette. Or maybe a swig out of my can (and I won't even wipe it with my sleeve after). Give and take, see.

For now, let's take a look at some of the more interesting keywords that have led, via google, to my site:

female wrestling in novels
swansea stripper
david hasselhoff leather pants
tit licking uk
If you are one of the people responsible for those keywords, I'm not mocking you. I'm celebrating you.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fags and Feedback

Maybe what I should do is mention reviews and general feedback (of FAGS AND LAGER) as it dribbles in. But I'm not the kind of guy who does that. If it's a good review, it looks like I'm blowing my own trumpet. If it's bad, I'm wallowing in self-pity, or trying to look all nonchalent but failing, and just looking sad and damaged. So definitely no review posting from me. I'll just ignore all that. Yep.

And anyway, there's only been a couple so far. One in FRONT magazine, which is a lads' mag. Flick past all the tits and asses (go on, keep turning those pages you old lech. Oh, you're a girl... er...) and you'll find the review on p149. Here's a bit: 'Fags and Lager is seriously funny... Anyone who's ever grown up and put up with the rude boys, growlers and thugs of a crappy, rain-soaked market town in the middle of nowhere, will no doubt fall in love with this all-too-fictional nonfiction.'

The other one is in the Birmingham Sunday Mercury. I haven't read it but I'm told it contains the blurbworthy nuggets: 'fast-paced, darkly comic... an unputdownable read... a matter of laugh and death.'

But, like I say, I'm not interested. I'm ignoring all that. Just sitting here, finishing my coffee. Enjoying my coffee.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


May 10th

A traditional pagan festival, Fags and Lager Day originated in the Old English territories of Mercia and Wessex. Local communities spend the entire day smoking cigarettes and drinking a yellowish mead, known as "lager". After nightfall the menfolk indulge in wrestling (often with the aid of smashed pint glasses), whilst the women cheer them on.

FAGS AND LAGER hits the shops today. I've just been down Ottakars in Worcester (my favourite local shop) to sign stock, and leave a load of beermats on the counter for YOU to pick up. Later on (3pm UK time), try to catch my interview on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester (the link leads you ultimately to a web link). Hey, here is a great picture of Ottakars in Worcester (last year) (note the display to the bottom right):

Other things to do on Fags and Lager Day... check out Ray Banks' hypertext extract.... Buy the book... Read an article by me (about Fags and Lager) on the Serpent's Tail site... Have a look at the local news... Buy the book... etc...

Later on, you might find me here:

Have a great Fags and Lager Day!

Monday, May 09, 2005


Anyone read METRO newspaper? It's the one you can pick up at all the train stations etc (in the UK). Anyway, look out for some sort of interview with me in it this week. I think it's the regional METRO (as opposed to the London edition), but maybe I'm wrong. And hey, if you see it, drop me a line. I always miss these things.

And yeah, here's that Worcester Standard piece from last week. It's a quick read, I'll say that for it.

Anyway, cheers to the Worcester Standard and Metro.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Daren King

I just have to link to this interview. I mentioned a couple of days ago that Magnus Mills is the most interesting writer in Britain today. Well, Daren King is the most talented. And original. No... Mills and King tie for originality, but King has it with the pure talent. He's like a Jackson Pollock paintbrush, spattering colours all over the page and somehow creating something grounded and accessible. You've had 6 years to read his debut BOXY AN STAR, so if you have't yet, do it now. I must admit, I was well put off by the "E generation" cover they put on it when first published, but I'm glad I got over it. And besides, they've put a new one on it now (not much better, but less hideous).

Oh, and he's got a new one out - TOM BOLER (a prequel to his debut).

WARNING: Daren King is one of those writers who get their language right under your skin, making you speak and write that way. So if you're in the middle of writing the Great American Novel and it's a delicate paper house of speech patterns, steer clear of BOXY AND STAR (until you've finished).

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Local Media 2

Hey, I'm going to be on BBC radio next week! I'll be doing a live set with my band "The Twats" on the Radio 1 Evening Session... Er, no... no. That's not true. It is true that I have a band of that name, but I'm the only member and we only have two original songs (and no recordings) and never perform live, so really we're just known as "The Twat". However...

I'll be on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester at 3pm on Tuesday the 10th (FAGS AND LAGER publication day) talking to Dave Bradley about the books. From what I gather, you can pick it up on the web here. (I'll try that later.) Should be interesting, because BBC Radio H&W is broadcast from Worcester, which is the town Mangel was based on.

(Mangel is the setting for DEADFOLK, for those who have not read it. Also FAGS AND LAGER and BOOK 3 (which will come out next year).)

Local Media

Anyone in Worcester reading this? There's supposed to be an interview with me in the Worcester Standard today (I think it comes out Thursday). (Is it Thursday today?) Anyway, maybe you could check. I've not seen it (and I'm not around today).

There's one or two other media things coming up shortly, to coincide more or less with publication of FAGS AND LAGER next week. I'll announce them here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

You've got your good things, and I've got mine

Hey, there's been no blogging from me for a few days. That is because I've had nothing worth blogging about. And, as you know, only the finest blogging material finds its way onto this site. If nothing matches our high standards of blogging excellence, then nothing gets purveyed.

Oh, I did find out one interesting thing. Magnus Mills, despite being the single most interesting writer at work in Britain today, is keeping it real:

After driving the 137 and 159 buses out of Streatham Bus Garage, he became a postman, only, so the story goes, so that he could say he had become “a man of letters”. Now he subsidises his writing by driving a van for British Telecom and he’s still with letters – he delivers the internal mail from London to Oxford.

You've got to buy his books just for that simple fact. Imagine finding out that Martin Amis is a part-time panel beater? Or that JK Rowling slops out the showers down the Garnock Valley Amateur Boxing Club?

BTW, Magnus has a new book out September - EXPLORERS OF THE NEW CENTURY. (Check out the awesome cover.)

Meantime let's take a look at some classic movie moments...