Scribbling, socialising and making connections


A week of interesting bits and pieces.

  • Birthday celebrations in the sun at Brentford (beer at The Griffin; football at Griffin Park)
  • Writing a piece for Nottingham’s Left Lion magazine as part of a series celebrating the city’s literary history (no, it didn’t focus on Byron, Sillitoe or Lawrence – don’t be cheeky).  More on this soon.
  • The launch of Harry Paterson’s Making Plans for Nigel at Five Leaves (Nottingham-based independent publisher and bookshop).  I discovered, Harry has an amazing talent for recognising people from terrible FaceBook photos of them sitting on the stairs with unkempt hair and tatty t-shirts. That threw me.  Seriously though, Harry is an amazing speaker as well as a thoroughly nice bloke.  I’ve been reading his earlier book Look Back in Anger, a sedulously researched, accessible and (of course) angry book about the 1984-5 Miner’s Strike — an event that has left massive scars (economic, social and psychological) in the places where grew up.  Harry’s talk (on the rise of UKIP) was funny and alarming by turns but the great thing about it for me was that it opened up some reflection on a skipload of tenuously connected concerns.  The end of policy in politics.  The rise of the ‘sleb’ politician. Social control through the language of positive change.  When did ‘acceptance of change’ become a synonym for conformity and colluding in your own oppression?
  • Finally, made a bit more progress on some fiction.  In fact some of the thoughts Harry provoked seem to be sneaking into the narrative … 😉

New project


One of the things I’m working on in April is a story for Comma Press: this involves working closely with a scientist specialising in the area of sleep.

I’ve been over the Pennines for a fascinating discussion about sleep obsession with Dr Simon Kyle, a Lecturer in Clinical and Health Psychology at Manchester University.

Fortunately for me, Simon is a very smart guy who can explain complex psychological research to a non-expert, non-scholarly audience.  He was generous with his time, enthusiasm and hospitality: I enjoyed my away day in Manchester and look forward to further collaboration.

If you’d like to know more about another Comma Press project I worked on, have a look at Beta Life.