Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Just realised, I've been writing for ten years this month. Ten bloody years. And when I say bloody, I mean it. As the great Charles Willeford once suggested, writing is a bloodsport. You tear your hair out for these stories and what do they do when you send them out into the world? Come slinking back, tail betwixt legs. Some don't. Some find a place in the culture, even if hardly anyone notices them. As long as they have a few admirers, everything's OK.

And we write on.

Monday, April 20, 2009

R.I.P. J.G.B.

J.G. Ballard was one of those writers who got my attention straight away. From the first page of CRASH I knew I had a real writer on my hands, someone who was going to meddle with the fabric of language itself as well as tell a story. His subjects were perverse and perverted, his humour omnipresent and always sly, his attitude subversive. For my money, a writer can aspire to nothing more.

It was one of his quieter novels that stood out most for me - CONCRETE ISLAND. I don't know if this is my favourite, but it's a definite case where I can see that a novel has influenced me. A set-up as simple as it gets - a guy finds himself somehow stranded on a traffic island on the main atery road out of West London. That is it. A real writer can take it from there and get some truth out of it, as well as a barrel-load of entertainment. That is what JGB did. Time and again.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Great review (I think) of LE ROI DU MACADAM and the other Blakey books in yesterday's le Figaro. Especially like the sound of this bit: "Le Roi du macadam est un festival de loufoquerie noire". Loufoquerie, love that word. Sounds a bit like... ah, never mind. Anyway, if you like loufoquerie too, check out KING OF THE ROAD, because it's a festival of it. Not only that, but a noire festival.