Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Soft Cartel published my short story

My thanks to Soft Cartel, who have seen fit to publish my short story Contracts for the Design of Certain Vulgar Necessities. It's a very dense, rather nasty gimp/swinger-club reimagining of H.G.Wells's Island of Dr Moreau.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Soft Cartel to Publish My Short Story

I'm pleased to announce that Soft Cartel have agreed to publish my short story "Contracts for the Design of Certain Vulgar Necessities" in their June issue.

Short fiction is a side of my work which I have slightly neglected over the last couple of years. In all, I have written 12-14 short stories, varying in length from 2,000-7,000 words. CftDoCVN will be only the fourth of these to have been published, after Curse of the Traffic Penis (Undertow) 25 years ago, and Lolitasaurus (Twisted Vol.1) and Disaster of the Will (Fictional Cafe) in the last couple of years.

It strikes me that my short fiction vs. long fiction prose styles are very different from eachother. When writing short fiction, I write in a very compressed and modernist style of the sort that you might expect to find in genre writing - e.g. science fiction. My long fiction tends to be much more florid and expansive, and reflective of my tastes as a reader, which lean very heavily towards the classics of the literary canon.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

I translated my French sonnet into English

Here's my original Sonnet 141, published back in August in the French Literary Review No.28:-

Sonnet 141
Après avoir ces cent quarante écrits,
je suis épuisé et me considère
une langue craquée léchante, dedans, un puits
empli d’une boue visqueuse, d’une croûte grossière.
Il en reste quinze encore, coincés, cachés:
des crapauds rotants que les murs moussus
font résonner. Enfin, bloquée, fâchée,
la langue, toute sèche et vulgaire devenue,
va bifurquer, et désormais siffler.
Chaque midi, pour un instant, le soleil
éclaire cette vie grimpante - viens regarder!
Voilà en bas, frétillante et vermeille,
la langue, les crapauds fugitifs, la chasse
avant que l’ombre couvre la disgrâce.

And here's the translation, in which I've preserved intact both the iambic pentametrical meter and the conventional Shakespearean rhyme scheme. The numbering refers to the verse's place in a collection currently in construction, provisionally titled 'Bristolian Cantos & Epigrams':-

Sonnet 141 en englais, traduction de l’auteur
These forty and one hundred thus inscript,
being sore fatigued, myself I do conceive
as cracked tongue licking in a dirty crypt
filled with a slimy mud up to the eaves.
Just fifteen of them left, captive, concealed:
those toads whose croaking on the mossy walls
reverberates. At last, rancid, congealed,
the tongue, gone dry from talking utter balls,
will bifurcate, and like a serpent hiss
Each midday for an instant, the sunshine
illuminates the orgy - come, watch this!
Down there below, writhing and intertwined,
the tongue, the hunted toads, the brutish chase,
before the shadow covers the disgrace.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Excerpt from Helix Folt the Conservative - my novel in progress

Tad Curmudgeonly, lordly luminary of the local offices of that venerable campaigning organisation Greenwar, was delighted to make acquaintance with this johnny-come-lately whelp of his sister, and waxed exceedingly loquacious under the influence of the obscure and précieuse gin with which he was plied by the fellow. Apart from looking somewhat askance at the, shall we say, semitic appearance of the surname with which his nephew presented himself, he betrayed very little curiosity as to the provenance of the cove, being keen to expatiate at considerable length upon certain of his own interests - the iniquities of modern commercial agriculture, the numberless multitudes of benighted subcontinental farmer-wallahs whom the thraldom of modern crop science had driven to make away with themselves, and the spiritual desiccation of modern schooling with its gradgrindian fixation upon rote learning and competitive sports, practices serving only to gratify the instincts of the bloated Israelite bankster and the portly Israelite factory magnate. From these topics, he strayed as the fancy took him up and down many and diverse conversational lanes and by-ways, frequently finding himself in dialectical culs-de-sac, from which he only with difficulty extricated himself, and then only by means of summoning the aid of his nephew.

For his part, Mark Wankstain tolerated this imposition with his customary equanimity; and when, very late that night, he finally returned to the familial bungalow in Mangotsfield, it was with the consciousness of having gleaned from the tsunami of his uncle’s verbiage at least one nugget, namely that Uncle Curmudgeonly felt a profound personal distaste for Crass Cheseham.
“Ghastly jumped-up little plebeian, reeking of armpits and feet. Betrays his want of education in that unlettered filth which the Council’s culture-boobies pay him to spray all over the walls. Lord knows what your poor dear mama sees in him.” And now venting a sigh and a harrumph, he added, with his characteristic insensitivity, “at least he is not that palsied poltroon Quicksotte, I suppose. That is as much as can be said for him.”

Notwithstanding his animus against the dreadful oik, Uncle Curmudgeonly counselled against Cheseham’s summary rustication from the Ledwitch kraal.
“It pains me to say this, but the man’s gorn bush. Bosom pals with all the big chief bone-in-the-nose blackamoors in St Pauls. Fact of the matter is, dear boy, squalid and distasteful though the business be, you’re best off appointing him your agent for the ward contest.”
In response to this, Mark Wankstain smiled most toothsomely, and reflected upon the leverage which he enjoyed over the truffle-boar in question, in virtue of his appointment as dispenser-in-chief of ponce-making patronage.

The revelation of young Wankstain’s intention to forsake the Greens, the socialists, and even the liberals, in order to stand as, of all things, a Tory, was initially somewhat discombobulating to his uncle. However, and chiefly by dint of several further and commendably liberal applications of the obscure and précieuse gin, Mr Curmudgeonly had within the space of thirty or forty minutes reconciled himself to the notion that it was not altogether a mean thing to switch a succession of hobbled mounts for a fresh one.
“There has of course been no green politics worthy of the name,” he announced, “since the present shower of sock-’n’-sandal namby-pambies disavowed their roots in the honest old British Union of Fascists.”

Labour and the Liberal Democrats came in for like deprecations. Socialism had been an empty vessel ever since those middle-manager thugs in their shiny off-the-peg suits had chucked good old Wedgie Benn overboard. And Lord knew what the Liberals stood for these days - Uncle Curmudgeonly never could abide buggers, and most especially not buggers who went in for shooting eachother’s dogs; which being so and by process of elimination, there remained but one course open to the blue-blooded bien penseur feeling himself obliged to do whatever he found necessary to retard the degeneration of this once great realm.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Sonnet 24 accepted by Zoetic Press

I'm pleased to announce that Lise Quintana and her colleagues at Zoetic Press, the publishers of the Non-Binary Review, have accepted Sonnet 24 for publication as a feature in their forthcoming Alphanumeric, focussing on the life & works of Antoine de Saint Exupéry. I'm given to understand that links to Sonnet 24 will be forthcoming. Here, meanwhile, is a link to Zoetic's main website.

The state of play with regard to my sonnet cycle is that to date the following have been published, or have publication pending:-

Sonnet 74         Commended entry Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition March 2017
Sonnet 142       2nd Prize SLQ Competition August 2017
Sonnet 141       Published in French Literary Review August 2017
Sonnet 24         Publication pending, Zoetic Press/Non-Binary Review/Alphanumeric

It is quite clear to me that four publications, gratifying as they have been and continue to be, are not as yet enough to justify publishing the entire 155 sonnet cycle as a collection. For this happen requires, I would think, at least another half-dozen individual publications. Accordingly, I'll carry on submitting sonnets to journals. I'm presently also getting stuck into the plotting of Helix Folt the conservative, which will turn my Bristolian trilogy - Amoeba Dick, Pretty Poli, and Odour Issues, into a tetralogy,

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sonnet 16. Insipid, Lamentable Jeremy, Odour Issues, and Helix Folt the Conservative

Here's a Petrarchan sonnet which I wrote a good 18 months ago, but which seems a little bit more relevant than in those halcyon days before the Red Menace became quite so immanent.

Sonnet 16
Insipid, lamentable Jeremy
gird thou thy loins in shell suit of a beige
appropriate for this heroic age,
and thus accoutred smite the Pharisees.
Compassed was Sir de Montfort all about
with lounging scribes, makers of likenesses,
and gentlemen from the Daily Express,
and Watson: spectacles, disposed to shout.
Insipid, lamentable Jeremiah,
Milne’s glove puppet, who fists you as you flail.
Your praises shall be warbled by no choir,
instead your epitaph’s “utter betrayal”.
Who protest’s luxuries has long enjoyed,
is by burdens of duty soon annoyed.

I'm also delighted and relieved to be able to say that I've finished Odour Issues. I'm spending the next couple of weeks giving it a final read-through before publishing the first Kindle edition. This could probably happen within the next few days, were I not simultaneously engaged in some fairly extensive landscaping and wall rebuilding at home. I'm also looking forward to starting work on my next project, my George Eliot-parodying Rees-Mogg satire Helix Folt the Conservative.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Sonnet 74, Commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Competition November 2016

I don't know what if any embargo the people at SLQ impose on the subsequent publication of their poetry competition's winning entries. However, at least as a courtesy, I thought I'd leave a year or so before republishing my Sonnet 74, which was commended in the SLQ's November 2016 competition. The year in question being up, I think it's probably in order to go ahead with the republication of 74. It's a conventional Shakespearean sonnet - iambic pentameter, ababcdcdefefgg rhyme scheme - in the form of a parody of the opening lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, and is intended as an anatomisation of nihilistic Bristolian sleaziness and pessimism, with topical references e.g. the Trump Presidency locating it as the product of Autumn last year. 

Sonnet 74
Whan that Novembre wyth hys soddynge leaves
of Yndyc Summer hys layt standde hath drownn’d,
and raynnes yternal blyte ye mowldy glebe
and clerkes skulck yn thayr cells yn studye brownne;
whan erly nyt and drearye mornyngge greyye
array ye darklyngge slummes yn damppe drabbenesse,
and laytest tydyngges fromme ye U.S.A.
extyngwyssh’d havve alle howpe and happynesse,
than longen knayves to gowe onne herowynne.
Nowwe sleezye marchaunts bearyngge Chyna Wyte,
and hypsters wyth a thyngge for Bombayye jynne
and Wyte Ace drynkers, these forsaykyngge Spryte,
converge lyk starvyngge dogges onne queynt Stowkes Crofft,

and daunce Saynt Vytus jyv wyth armes alofft.

Soft Cartel published my short story

My thanks to Soft Cartel, who have seen fit to publish my short story Contracts for the Design of Certain Vulgar Necessities . It's a ve...