Word Power.

On my first day of Creative writing lectures it quickly became clear that apart from the bloke at the front doing the talking there was only one person in the room who truly knew what he was talking about. And it definitely wasn’t me.

After talking with this man over a period of a couple of years I came to know that he was the real deal. Most of us had read vigorously from an early age, but then most of us read what we liked. We weren’t really looking for a challenge. This man read his way through quite a few modern classics and had been an accomplished poet for some time. He was and is roughly the same age as me.

We became friends, collaborated on a couple of projects together and drank far too much. We eventually fell out.

The part of him that remained with me, though, was his commitment to understanding his craft. He didn’t just read some books, have some ideas and think that was enough. He practised daily and mined the culture for the deep structures that he was building his art around.

His word power, grammar knowledge and sheer passion for the language fauna that we don’t always notice was and probably still is, literally staggering. Think about that. I mean it. His knowledge would leave you punch drunk and staggering for words, maybe staggering for balance.

So you’ve not been dyed in the wool in quite the same way, but you want get into things, ease yourself in, build yourself up. Where’s a good place to start?

Well, give me ten minutes of your time and I’ll explain in the video linked below. I promise, it won’t be boring.


Reading State

Over the last few days I’ve been constructing a video for my Patreon page. I’m quite proud of it so far but it needs more time.

So today, instead of a that, I’ve got an excerpt from Iain M. Bank’s short story collection, The State Of The Art. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love this man’s books. This particular story takes place within the vast confines of his Culture universe.

Go out and buy a copy. In the mean time, here’s me reading a little bit just for you.

Local Hero

The Bristol Cable is a local paper in my home city of Bristol. Created using a cooperative model, it’s already pulled together nearly 2000 people.  Continue reading “Local Hero”

Driving Time

In the UK, depending on who you talk to, views of the Soviet Union range from ‘that wasn’t proper Communism’ to ‘it was worse than Nazi Germany’ to ‘everybody was fed, everybody was housed, yes there were problems but…’. I’ve made these ‘quotes’ up, but over my time of swinging around the political spectrum, of talking to people from all sides of the left/right debate the USSR is hard to avoid. Continue reading “Driving Time”

Shift Key

Shift Key was written well over a year ago and contains one or two references that are now thoroughly out of date. It was, however, fun to write. It was also a direct result of reading Reality Hunger. Remember, a story can be anything. It is fundamentally how we communicate. What story are you telling? Continue reading “Shift Key”

American English


I’d picked M up from Gatwick early on a Friday morning. The sun came up as he landed. I set the cruise to legal plus a little and we warped the hundred and fifty odd miles back to Bristol.

Continue reading “American English”