Blogs

Glasgow Girls BBC 3 pm, written by Brian Welsh and Joe Barton, directed by Brian Welsh.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b049n0js The story of Agnessa Murselja (played here by Olivia Popica) a fifteen-year old refugee and pupil at Drumchapel High School that was taken with her family to be deported, in a dawn raid, and returned home to Kosovo. At home whisperings of fields unsown/ Maybe the kind old sun will know. Home is the key word here. The Home Office suggest her home was somewhere else. The Glasgow Girls, as the name suggests...

Alan Hansen: Player and Pundit BBC 1

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0499fb1/alan-hansen-player-and-pundit On the eve of the World Cup finals this is a hagiography of a football player and pundit. The latter is easy to deal with. He talks shite for a living. There wasn’t an aha moment. He’d been offered the Liverpool manager’s job after his mate Kenny Dalglish had left and he didn’t take it. With a wife and two kids, he contacted Sky(BSport) about commentary work and ‘fell...

ielfstan's place, Richard Girling, published Longmarsh Press

A place of haunting savagery. The elements bite, sting, punish; the rocky paths cut feet, hard-pressed drovers mortally break their overloaded horses. In 'Humphy', 'in the thorn hedge, spun like lace between black spiteful bobbins, spider's webs glimmered in the low grey light'. At sea in 'The Prophet', 'the slaps became hammer blows as the wind reared up and the gathering clouds came smoking against them in long black fingers.' Spite, slaps ,...

William McIlvanney (2006) Weekend.

I didn’t mean to read this book. It was a bit like having a wank, not unpleasant but plodding on and on. Harry Beck, one of the protagonists, is a writer. I’ve nothing against writers. I hold McIlvanney’s book Docherty with great affection. I remember it as a tale of a little man that is a big man, a miner that lives by his own rules. If you asked me anything else about it I’d be found out as a charlatan. The Big Man, well, that was a step down...

How to Write in the Summer & the Wasafiri Prize

Ever since I've written I've always looked forward to the summer with longing. From a distance it looks like a long expanse of constructive dreamtime - and hopefully the majority of those can be trapped on paper. A desk in the shade of a tree, hours and hours stretching forward unassigned to duties, broken only by the scratching of a pen. But the days of July and August can so easily slide into September without achievement - the challenge, the...

Homeless in Detroit: Stacey Dooley in the USA, BBC 9pm.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b049bcfb Motor City Detroit no longer has motors and has lost much of its manufacturing base. About a third of its building lie empty, about 70 000 abandoned lots, many of them burned out. An estimated 20 000 homeless try to find somewhere to sleep in one of the coldest winters on record. Just when they thought things couldn’t get any worse Stacey Dooley is parachuted in to investigate. She immediately hits it off...

Common, a drama by Jimmy McGovern, BBC 1 9pm.

Jimmy McGovern has got his own production company. Anything he produces is snapped up and given prime billing by BBC 1. So when he rallies against the law of joint entreprise, McGovern doesn’t write to Parliament about it. He creates a drama. What can we expect? Strong women characters and weak men. Long pauses and melancholic trumpet solos and tunes. Working class lads that get shafted when they do the wrong thing and then shafted again when...

Tour De France

We have major road closures in and around East London tomorrow due to the "Tour De France", making it impossible for me to do any meat deliveries in Central London. This means that I'll lose money tomorrow. I'm just wondering if the good hard working people of Paris will have the same problem when we have "The London Marathon?" I don't think so... I

James Baxter: Poet, New Zealand 1926-72

Radical, prolific, innovative, brilliant; in his short life James wrote over 2,600 poems. He also founded a commune in Jerusalem after being summoned to do so in a dream. Native peoples, a neighbouring nunnery, people in the cities who struggled with homelessness, drug addiction or shared the poet's ensnarement to alcohol, anyone else who cared to pitch in, all were welcome. This was in 1970, if I had known I would have bust my piggy back and...

ABCtales & Unbound

This week I’m proud to announce a new collaboration between ABCtales and Unbound - the crowdfunding publisher who have already published one ABCtaler’s novel, Jennifer Pickup’s Unbelievable . Unbound offers a modern take on publishing, putting readers directly in touch with authors. Authors get a platform on Unbound to pitch their book, and if enough readers support it, the book gets published. It’s a simple way of putting the power of...

Pages