Blogs

Reading Slumps, New Yorker Profiles and Prizes

It’s one of those weeks when I’m between reads – or at least in a reading slump. I do have a book on the go, Philip Roth’s My Life As a Man , a mid-career book structured in a way that’s somewhere between ingenious and lazy: two long short stories are followed by a novella – which begins with the narrator explaining that he wrote the two preceding stories. While the stories held my attention the novella is just a touch too self-indulgent and...

Retirement

Many years ago, my age was lower. I was an active lad, a dreamer and time meant fishing, being with buddies and looking forward to 14 when I could go to the movies, since in Quebec most theatres were closed to the under 14 crowd --- a fire in Montreal ravaged 400 victims and that was the knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy. As I continue to add numbers to my age, the past is often relived, through my poems and short stories.

100 Years On Competition Results

Our judge at Granta, Francisco Vilhena, read and reread the submissions to this summer’s competition, 100 Years On , in search of the voices that spoke loudest to him of the conflict that changed the course of the 20th century. And it was a difficult decision, a very difficult decision. When I asked Francisco on the sixteenth for his verdict he demanded a deferral to go over his short-list a few more times. It was a very close heat. As often...

Big Issue Vendors now have to meet Sales Targets

It's wrong! I sold BI for four months in 1999 and we were simply given the rules, badged up and allocated a pitch. Then we worked. I spoke to a new vendor in my town asking him where the last vendor was. He told me she had been moved because she had not met her targets. She was a friendly lady and a lot of us got to know her and her dogs. The new guy said the changes had been recent 'These days it's more like a business.' Anyone can become...

Our Latest Reading and Picks of the Week

This Wednesday we had one of the liveliest ABCtales get-togethers I’ve ever been to. From prison-narratives to eerie accordion-accompanied poetry to a stunning set from a handful of My Baby Shot Me Down authors it was ABCtales at its best, and I’d like to thank everyone who came out and took part. One of the things that I was most impressed by was the sheer variety of the work read. From an utterly impressive stream-of-conscious narrative by...

Mikhail Bulgakov (1992 [1967]) The Master and Margarita, translated from the Russian by Michael Glenny.

Published posthumously Bulgakov’s classic is one of those books I kept meaning to read. The Master is Satan, or Woland, making a visit to Moscow, to have a look at mankind to see if they’ve changed much. But the master is also a would-be novelist, and the lover of Margarita. He is writing about Pontius Pilate, the astrologer’s son and fifth Procurator of Judea. At the trial of Christ Satan, of course, was there and had a front row seat, so when...

Uruguay 2—1 England, ITV 8pm.

I love the World Cup. Simple match report. Rooney is not Suarez. England have a dog’s chance. Gerard, like Cassilis has been guilty of big game errors (think of his pass back that cost Liverpool the league). Here he missed an easy defensive header. Suarez didn’t miss the goal. Two goals of exquisite beauty. One a header. Suarez, Suarez, even a half-fit Suarez, is the top man. Rooney tap in. He peaked too early, three World Cups ago. Scholes was...

Weatherwise Weatherperfect

Hello good people. I am trying this out for the first time, and somehow hope to join up with my Blog on my website: www.wsprog.com/rp/ .

My working weekends at Embercombe Farm

I first went mid-December. I arrived in the farm minibus to darkness. I did not know I would be sharing a yurt. The yurt stove would not light, the matches provided were soggy. Sunday was torrential rain. After my first night I loved every second! Such a blissful getaway from all the commercial baloney of the build up to Dec 25th. I was back last weekend. It was brilliant again. The deal is you pay £26.50, help with the farm chores, taking a T-...

Competition results

Anyone seen them?

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