Sunday 26 June 2011

Greek Smoking Ban (2)

So the Greek Smoking Ban (2) bites the dust, as we all knew it would. I'm not talking about airports and touristy places. I'm talking about out here in the sticks, where the normal people live. Fair enough, Greece has been nabbed by its European partners for fiddling the books, and is now paying the price. This was bound to happen, sooner or later, when fiscal control was handed over to Brussels. But the smoking ban is something else. It's being policed by the Greeks themselves. And no European partner/ally/comrade/foreigner is going to tell them they can't have a smoke when they go out for a coffee.

Thursday 23 June 2011

What Happened In Greece

Here's one:

"The Aliens Police Office was in the red light district. The building looked derelict. The paint was peeling off the facade, and there was a huge chunk of brickwork missing at the entrance, as if it had been rammed by a truck. According to the sign, the lift was big enough for six adults, but it was usually stuck somewhere. This was why the stairs were so crammed with people coming and going. All of them, like me, were foreigners."

You can read the rest of this story, Aliens, on McStorytellers.

Sunday 19 June 2011

A Wee Fiction: from Musical Death Knell

The laughter behind him was raucous. Everyone seemed to be talking about Professor Kaiser. Alan looked at the girl with the loudest voice. Her hair was short, died tartan. A matching red, blue and yellow butterfly was etched into her throat. He took a deep breath. 'Who's Professor Kaiser?' he said.

'Oh, you mean Professor Mackay!' said the girl. 'Kaiser's his pet name. He doesn't know, though!'

'Who is he?' said Alan.

The girl looked at him as if he were an imbecile. Or senile. 'He's the main lecturer on the bemuse course?' she said. She sounded Australian, via Bearsden.

'The what?' he said.

'The bemuse course,' she said. 'Bachelor of Music. BMus?'

'What?' Alan laughed, and cast an eye over the audience. 'Is everyone here a music student?'

'Yes,' she said. 'So what?'

Thursday 16 June 2011

Here's What Happened In Greece

It goes like this. Vote for me if you love your children. I'll fix them up with jobs in the civil service. I'll fix them. I'll make your dreams come true, because your dreams, the dreams you have as a parent, are for your children to be teachers or doctors. I'll fix it. There's only one thing, though. You will keep your mouth shut as I cream off the cash, buy land and build villas. This is the price I'm asking, but it's a small price, because I'll fix your children. Forget about all the other people who won't vote for me - there's nothing they can do. They will see me creaming off the cash and buying land and building villas, but by then it will be too late, because by then I will have most of the judiciary in my pocket. The people will be angry. They will stop paying taxes to the state - why should they support a state that is corrupt? They are not stupid. However, do not be afraid - they won't want to cause a fuss, because in a few years it will be their turn; they will vote for a man because they love their children, and he will take my place. It will be their turn, their children's turn. He will fix their children. He will fix them.

Wednesday 15 June 2011


It's common enough in schools,
though not among the staff.
He runs to the kitchen,
which is closer than the toilet,
and leans over the sink.

He watches the drips.

We all know the colour,
but it's the sound that gets him,
the regular thud thud thud
of liquid on moulded metal.
It seems to be striving for resonance,
as if it's trying to ring,
as if it's trying to make the sound
of a bell.

He thinks of the word 'campanology'.
He has been a teacher all his life.

It isn't stopping.
It's getting faster.
He feels the pressure easing,
in triplets:
let it out, let it out, let it out...

Sunday 12 June 2011

What's The Big Deal About Poetry?

Poetry is where it's at - there's no doubt about it. Forget plot, narrative and all the other stuff. The big deal about poetry is that it's clear that the reader - you - are getting something from another human being. First hand. No flannel. It's communication on a personal level. Perhaps this was what Kelman meant when he tossed detectives and wizards into the mix. Perhaps this is something all writers should be striving towards - to put a bit of the personal into their writing - a bit of poetry. Even writers who use plot, narrative and all the other stuff.
I agree with him.

Sunday Question

See on Sundays, right, what do folk do instead of religion?

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Information for Writers: Reasons For Rejection

Rejection is something we all have to deal with. There are three main Reasons For Rejection:

Reason 1

They thought what you were offering was shite. (Although never expressed in quite these terms, this is a difficult one to deal with. It commonly leads to extended periods of sleeplessness/anorexia/thoughts of self harm.)

Reason 2

They thought what you were offering was okay, but found that it didn't hold their interest.

Reason 3

They thought what you were offering was good, but it didn't fit in with their plans.

Writers should note that the above three Reasons For Rejection also apply to knockbacks you may receive from agents and publishers.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

A Wee Fiction: Rock Vocalist

ye cannae jist walk up tae some guy an go You're a handsome big bastard, kin ye? Naw, ye cannae. Ye cannae come oot an state the truth like that. An ae is, ae's handsome, ah'm bein objective. But whit ah cannae go, right, is the way they sit in that corner wi their loud conversations an their loud laughter, thinkin they're the bees knees. So whit if they've got an album oot? Eh? So whit? Ah mean, has anybody heard it? Ah've no. An that vibe they've got goin  - We're big on the Continent. Whit's that supposed tae mean? Where's the Continent? Eh? Right, it's Europe, but be specific. Does it mean they've selt a lot ae records in Belgium, is that it? Aye, we're a hit in Czechoslovakia, so whit? Fuckin posers. An as far as bein handsome goes, whit's that aw aboot? So whit? Form over content, man, it's the pits. Aye, ah ken they write their ain material - so dae ah. 12 songs, a complete set, an album's worth. It wis the demo that pit the scuppers oan us, though - no ma fault. We pit the bass, drums an guitar doon oan the Monday, then Baz fucked off. He kent how tae work the 4-track. Ae turned up late the next day, wi a hangover. Ah did it in yin take - ah hud tae. The recordin wis aw wonky, ken, ma vocals. One minute it wis growlin, the next it wis screechin. Baz said it sounded like Barry White humpin Minnie Mouse, an neither ae thum wis enjoyin it. Ma songs, tae. Well, the words, anyway. It wisnae long after that ae phoned me. That's the band split up, mate, ae says. That wis it. They got back thegither a week later, the three ae thum, withoot me. Fair enough. It's what we rock vocalists call Goin Solo. Ah'm open tae offers. Nae time wasters, though. Nae posers. Pit the word oot if ye want. Tell them ah'm guid, ah write ma ain stuff, ah've got an album's worth sittin. Good lookin, tae, so they tell me. No that ah shout aboot it, though, no like some ah could mention.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Where Did Those Stories Get To?

You can find my stories in the following places:

Ironstone 3

MAFF - print only 

Drey 2: Random (Red Squirrel Press)

Curfew - print only

Spilling Ink Review

The Next Stop Is Croy

The Legendary

The House Of Hugh Green



The Midwest Literary Magazine

Peach Blossom Paint
Aksios! Aksios!


The Cafeneio In Forty Churches

New Linear Perspectives

Mac and Wills
Yin Eye


Musical Death Knell
Old Flames And Time Machines
A New Life
Greek Coffee In An Emergency
Mr Golden
Signing On And Off In Greece

Ink Sweat and Tears

The Weird And Wonderful World Of TEFL #1 - #10
The Weird And Wonderful World Of TEFL #11 - #14
The Weird And Wonderful World Of TEFL #16 - #20

The Athens News

Interlocutor - print only

Junk Junction

(editor) - print only

More stories will soon be published the International Literary Quarterly.