This blog will be devoted to all that I am passionate about and trust me I get passionate about a lot of things, whether it’s football, books, music, politics I generally have an opinion on it. They’re generally a strange mixture of the unexpected or the unheard of when it comes to my passions. I’ve been lucky to live an interesting and varied life and whilst it hasn’t always been a smooth ride I wouldn’t have picked any other path. So, I suppose I should maybe tell you a bit about myself… well, I’m a young 38-year old who currently lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England where I keep myself busy by having two part-time jobs – one for a supermarket chain, who for the time being shall remain nameless, and one for a music press relations company. The variety pleases me even if both jobs can be hard work and sometimes I do ponder how I got myself into this position but then I count all the positives and realise how fortunate I am. I also try and find sometime to write. I’m currently working on two novels – one which is in the process of being proofed before the time comes to send it off to various agents in the hope they’ll help me get it published and one which has only just been started but which could be finished soon… as long as I find the time. If I don’t blog that often it means I’m working one of these things. Oh yeah, and the rest of my time… when I’m not out living, I try and write poetry and short stories about surreal subject matter in a darkly funny manner… some of these may well be posted as blogs on here so keep your eyes peeled for what is real and what is fiction.
I was born and grew up in London and didn’t leave, bar the odd holiday (they we’re generally odd as well and I’ll tell you more about them some other time), until I completed a part-time degree in Humanities from Birkbeck College in 2005. As a direct result of me gaining a 2.1 I got the opportunity to go and do a Masters degree in literature, of the American kind, in a small village ‘up norf’, Keele, just outside of the sprawling mass that is Stoke-on-Trent. I completed that too but didn’t have enough money to continue onto a PhD so moved back to London. Either I had changed or the city in which I grew up in had and it only took about six months for me to realise I had to escape. Where better, a friend suggested to me, than Brighton. It’s like London but it’s by the sea that is obviously lovely… I now live in a flat that overlooks the beach and trust me getting to look at that sea everyday can do wonders for anyone.
Think that’s enough about me for now so all that’s left to say is ‘hi, welcome to my world… enjoy yr visit!’ Here’s one of my favourite short stories what I wrote myself, it’s called
The End of History in New York.
New York City has always been an incredible city, even having been born in London, it struck me as the ultimate modernist citadel of sin, excitement, sleaze, booze and drugs and all the other things I so craved for in my old hometown. I’d been there once before with the family but this time I was going all by myself and wow did I have a trip planned. I knew which bars I wanted to get drunk in, what gigs I wanted to go and see and all those other touristy delights the city has to offer.
This one morning, I’d had a particularly over-indulgent night before, I discovered the best hangover cure the world can know. The night had ended with me staggering down 9th Avenue in a drunken stupor back to my hotel in Chelsea, en route spotting various mental Jacko fans stalking the concrete outside Madison Square Gardens awaiting the gig the next night… ‘Only another twenty hours to go you sad little freaks’ I thought to myself. I feel asleep easy that night.
So the next morning I wake up and can’t face the idea of breakfast and immediately realize the only option is to get some fresh air as soon as possible. Walking out of the hotel and into the street the cool breeze hit me and I could almost feel it cleansing me as I walked off up the street into the breeze having no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. All I knew was the breeze was great and if it carried on like this I would soon be feeling well enough for some breakfast, even though it was now rapidly approaching lunchtime.
As I carried on walking, my eyes gravitated upwards, as all tourists’ eyes inevitably do in New York and before me stood the imposing spectre of the Empire State Building… ‘Wow, now that is some sight… I wonder…’ I thought, gazing at its immensity.
Before I knew it I was in the front door and all my mind could keep thinking was ‘…what a great idea… I’ve got to do this!’
After paying the admission I was in the escalator, the biggest I had ever seen in my life, hurtling towards the summit. When we got to the top floor we, unlike anywhere else in Manhattan, orderly shuffled out the lift and onto the viewing tower. You could see just about the entire city – uptown, downtown, the outer boroughs – and it was, frankly, N astonishing sight. One of the highlights however was at the end of the Manhattan island, the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. They somehow were even higher than where we were stood.
After wandering around the deck for about half-an-hour I was feeling great and decided I could, finally, go get some breakfast and a big vat of coffee and then hit some shops. I had a list of books and records as long as my arm that I needed to look for. From up there even this great city looked kind of small but at least it gave me the chance to see all of it and marvel in its uniqueness. We were so high it was almost impossible to see the pavement all those hundreds of feet below and as for other human life it was only visible in the offices that could be viewed from the platform. It was a strange experience; life so far up seemed almost impossible.
It wasn’t long before I’d taken the shortcut to happiness and found myself cuddling up to a beer in a bar listening to Charlie Parker on a jukebox munching down a massive fajita from a local take-out. After a couple of hours soaking up the mild lunchtime buzz of a midtown dive I got out and was back on the pavement, this time heading downtown and into the notorious Lower East Side area, towards St Marks Square.
Here I found a tiny little record and bookstore where I went a little crazy. This one band, called Mars and from NY in the late seventies, who I’d been searching for anything by for a number of years had their one CD there and that kind of sent me over the edge into a consumerist binge of epic proportions. After spending far too much money, meaning I could only afford a quick take-out meal for dinner that night, it was back off to the hotel to drop off my recently purchased goodies. On the way back it rained, the streets took on a clean sheen, feeling the grime being washed away. It was just like Travis’ dream comes true, the streets of the city were clean but the people were moaning and running for shelter or hiking up their umbrellas and getting on with their day. Coming from London I was used to rain and this little bit didn’t bother me, in all honesty it helped freshen me up. I almost thought I’d not need to shower that night before hitting the town after this lovely little downpour. I did, don’t worry.
That night I went back out, down to the East Village this time, and into this little bar I’d heard so much about. It was a great night and I hooked up with this great looking girl called Helen and we went back to her flat and had wild passionate sex until she had to go to her job the next morning.
She went off to her cleaning job at the twin towers at six am. I left with her and went back to my hotel and slept. The date was 11th September 2001...