Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Bob Lock

This is a true to life picture of Bob Lock. He really does look like this... I'll have to disappoint those who want to know more, as I don't know much more myself, but I guess his blog is a good place for the brave researcher to start... here.

The Evening Post ran its article on me today. I knew this was the day it was due to appear and so I went out early and bought a copy of the newspaper. A truly cool and refined sort of fellow would have disdained to do so... Why am I so interested in reading about myself? It's not as if such an article will be telling me more than I already knew. On the contrary!

We are endlessly fascinating to ourselves. Or are we? I anticipate a time when I become a passé subject to myself. I haven't reached that stage yet... The mighty Madrid based publisher, Bibliópolis, have just confirmed that they want to publish my New Universal History of Infamy in Spanish. I found this news highly interesting, I did.

Monday, October 23, 2006


It's All Greek to Me...

I had a surprise offer from Athens based publisher POLIS last Friday. They want to buy A New Universal History of Infamy for translation into Greek and suggested an advance rather larger than the advances I'm usually offered. I accepted immediately. The translator will be Achilleas Kyriakides, main translator of Borges into Greek, so the end product should be very classy. I know very little about POLIS but a quick internet search reveals that someone called Jonathan Coe has just had his novel 'The Closed Circle' published by them... Whoever he is, he went to Athens for the launch: that's always a good sign!

Earlier that same day (Friday 20th) I had a photo shoot for the South Wales Evening Post. We wandered around the marina until a suitable spot was found -- an iron bridge that led nowhere -- and I was asked to "look more sinister", a request identical to that voiced by the photographer of Os Meus Livros in Lisbon last year... Does this mean that my writing is regarded as sinister? Or perhaps my normal expression is too cherubic to be photographed effectively? Whatever the case, I have been told to expect a feature on my work on Halloween, a date stunningly inappropriate to my literary aims... (My real literary aims are utterly transparent in the new novelette I am writing: a pirate story that takes place in a giant cup of tea...)

Meanwhile, At the Molehills of Madness has just reached #2 in the Shocklines bestseller list. Partly because of this, I have managed to persuade Pendragon Press to issue another collection, provisionally entitled Mirrors in the Deluge, that will follow the same format as the first book. But this probably won't appear until 2009... Plenty of time to decide on the contents and even to write new stories for it!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Behind the Times

I found this photograph recently. It was taken from behind (why does that sound saucy?) during the last major music festival I attended, WOMAD 2004. I didn't go to a single festival this year... Next year I plan to make up for lost time!

I found a few other photographs between the pages of a novel I was about to give to a charity shop, Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. I have been clearing my bookshelves again, giving away books I have read and don't want to read again (or books I know I never will read). I have whittled my collection down to the perfect number, probably enough to last me the rest of my lifetime! The giving away of books stops here!

This very morning I submitted my application for a writer's bursary to the Welsh Academi. I have applied for £2000 so I can finish writing my big novel, The Clown of the New Eternities. I don't feel too confident about having my bid accepted: I tried a couple of years ago and was turned down. I might be in a stronger position now, I don't know. I won't be notified of the Academi's decision until next February, so I'm not holding my breath!

André-François Ruaud of les moutons électrique has just e-mailed me to inform me that my SF novella 'The Crystal Cosmos' has been published in French in the pages of the French magazine FICTION 4. Anyone who would rather read it in English will have to wait until next year, when it will be issued as a book by PS Publishing. My story 'The Cuckoos of Bliss' has also been published in French in a 'special' issue of the same magazine, an anthology entitled les anges électriques. Anyone who wants to read this story in English might have to wait a very long time, as I haven't placed the English version anywhere yet!

I'm only friendly with two people in Swansea who speak French as their first language, so my complementary copies of these publications will probably go to them: Manuela Ruault and Adel Guemar. Unless they don't want them. Which is possible. I suppose.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Paper Chase

Seems that I was featured in another major Portuguese newspaper recently, even though I'm not in that country! This article (apparently favourable!) appeared in last Friday's Diário de Notícias. In the picture I look as if I've just been electrocuted but I'm sure that wasn't really the case!

Since winning the poetry slam on Saturday I've been stopped in the street (in Swansea) by people who now recognise me... Well one person did so. About an hour ago. Which was nice.

I was also flattered to be asked by Swansea Central Library for permission to set up an archive of my works. The librarian who approached me declared that she wanted a definitive collection of my books "for posterity, for people who live one hundred years from now..." and I tried not to giggle: I thought I was the only person who spoke in such grandiloquent terms!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Life is a Cartoon

I left a sour message on my blog this morning, because I'm currently feeling very sour, but it wasn't the right thing to do, so I've decided to edit out the sourest bits and just leave in the bits that are less sour, or not sour at all...

(1) I mentioned that on Thursday night I went to see Satori in the Uplands Tavern. They played a good gig but my main purpose was to hand Anthony Lewis a copy of Postscripts #7, the magazine in which his cartoons appear (adorning my 'False Dawn of Parrots' story). I also wanted to remind him about the cartoons he still owed me for another story ('The Gala of Implausible Songs'). The following day I met him at the university and to my delight he drew the required cartoons right in front of me. So now my Sereia de Curitiba book is truly finished and all the pieces are finally in place!

(2) I announced that I won the poetry slam final last Saturday night... What I didn't mention was that the two guest poets were among the best I've seen: Nathan Penlington, who combined poetry with magic tricks and jokes; and Rhian Edwards, who delivered a supremely confident and assured performance and turned out to be a good musician as well.

(3) I complained about my lack of money and retold the anecdote that H.P. Lovecraft was often so poor that he had to choose each day between blowing his daily budget on a tin of beans or a stamp to post a letter he had written to one of his friends. His usual choice was a stamp... Then I imparted the less than fascinating information that I haven't posted a letter in the old fashioned way for years and that my daily choice is usually between Bombay Mix or fruit. True alas, but I've stopped buying books, which helps!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006



Sarita is one of my best friends. It was thanks to Sarita that I started reading poetry in public, mostly at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, but also at other locations -- even as far afield as Mumbles! Back in March 2005 we dared each other to take part in the regular Last Thursday 'Open Mike' poetry event (contact Ms Jo Furber for more details: or even better, don't contact her, she's busy enough as it is already!)

Since that heady first time, Sarita and myself have taken part in innumerable poetry readings, some better than others. A few days ago, for example, I read aloud a variant of Poe's famous poem 'The Raven' in which I substituted a parrot for the raven. It didn't go down too well... Last night, in contrast, I won the first semi-final in the Poetry Slam competition. Therefore I am now in the final on Saturday! Wish me luck, if you bear me no malice. If you bear me malice, wish me the opposite of luck, whatever that might be: destiny or skill, I suppose!

This photograph of Sarita shows her reading at last April's Last Thursday event. It was the same night I read my performance poem 'I am a Slimy Man', a satirical attack on grotesque buffoon and inept predator, Martin White. I may read it again for the final. I may not. Sarita recently contributed several pieces to a Parthian anthology that were reviewed favourably. The last time I went to her house I ate sweets that had been blessed by one of the Hindu gods, I forget which one: I hope it was Ganesh.

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