I’m reading at Glue Gun ’91 on September 23rd

I'm very excited that I've been asked to read at the next Glue Gun '91. The theme for the night is 'Glue Velvet' and it will be themed around the films of David Lynch. The night contains 'strobe lighting and scenes of violence'! 'It begins with a clown and ends with a spider'.

I will be reading a new story, set in Brighton, that will unsettle and disturb. You must come along! The night starts at 8:30pm and is completely and utterly free.

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The 2009 Morecambe Cross-Bay Run

On Sunday I ran in the 2009 Morecambe Cross-Bay half-marathon. Last year’s race was turned back half-way due to poor weather so I signed up soon afterwards for this year’s race, determined to complete the crossing. The race goes from Flookburgh to Hess Bank directly across Morecambe Bay at low tide. It’s an amazing location for a race, although the lack of scenery means there is nothing to stop the wind.

The race itself was hard work. The first few miles went well as the wind was behind me and I put on a good pace. We forded the river Kent, which was up to my thighs, about 4-5 miles in I think. This slowed the pace down to 2 mph, but allowed me to catch my breath. After that came several miles running into the wind.

While the wind wasn’t as bad as last year, it was still hard and unrelenting. I had to force myself to slow down, giving up the good time I’d made at the start of the race. By the time we reached the 8-mile stage I was exhausted and felt strangely sad – probably because I knew I had another 45-60 minutes left.

My spirits lifted at the final water station, when the route went with the wind for a bit. I stopped for a drink then set off on the final stage. The final couple of miles were into the wind again and I ended up going as fast as I could near the end, just wanting to get the race over with. I was shattered by the time I reached the finish line.

I’m not sure I enjoyed the race, as such, but it was an amazing experience. I was pleased with the pace I set, just over 9 minutes a mile despite wind and water. I came in 111th out of 239 with an offical time of 1 hour 50 minutes and 57 seconds (note that my GPS had the race distance as 12.15 miles)

Below are a couple of photos of the race. In the one taken at the finish line I’m smiling because I’m so happy it’s almost over.




Selling out

There are loads of things I have to blog about (such as the weekend's race) but that can wait till tomorrow. Today has been an ugly day, but it's made me think. I've been re-reading The Scum Also Rises, an interesting article about publicity and integrity. The writer, a musician, talks about a fan they met while playing a corporate event:

"He gave me this regretful look as he explained that he was a longtime
fan, he'd seen us play many times in smoky downtown clubs that smelled
of bleach and shattered dreams, and, although he was psyched that we
played his company party, he was also disappointed in us for being such
corporate whores. I quizzed him a little bit on what exactly he meant,
trying to discern whether he was hip to the irony of his disappointment
in us, and he revealed a familiar self-rationalization. He was only
working for this company until his band got signed, or his novel was
published, or whatever, but he would have expected better from us.

I'm pretty scornful about bands and writers who sell-out (and that includes you, Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Sinclair). So why don't I hold myself to the same standards in my own life?

New marathon blog post

I'm in Morecambe tonight (well, Bolton-Le-Sands, actually) ready for tomorrow's half marathon. I'll post about the race tomorrow night, when I'm back in Derbyshire, but in the meantime I've added a new post to the Brighton Argus marathon blogHow Not To Fall Over:

I knew I’d face many challenges in my preparations for the Brighton
Marathon. And it appears that one such challenge is learning not to
fall over.

Right! Time for bed. I've got a big day ahead of me tomorrow.

I’m reading in Melbourne, Derbyshire on September 4th

My next reading is going to be part of the Melbourne Arts Festival in the village of Melbourne. I am going to be reading some of my stories which will then be followed by a performance from poet Les Barker. The event starts at 7:30pm in Melbourne Public Hall. Tickets cost £7 – they can be booked in advance, so get in touch if you want details.

My new marathon blog

As from today I'm one of the writers of a new group blog for the Brighton Argus. The Brighton Marathon Blog features a number of people sharing their experiences of preparing for the Brighton Marathon. I'll be posting every other week about how I'm getting on. This week's post talks about long runs and preparing for the Morecambe Cross-Bay Run:

"When I signed up for the Brighton Marathon a few weeks ago, I found I
was more excited by the training than the race. I like going out for
long runs at the weekend and building up the distance I can manage. I
could do long runs without the marathon but having the goal of a race
helps motivate me. I’m looking forward to building up my stamina until
I can run 26.2 miles in one go.

Please drop by, read the post, and leave comments. The next post will most likely talk about the Morecambe run and the unfortunate accident I had this morning.

The RSS feed is here.

The dark side of book dealing

The last day or so has been rather dull as I spent most of it in bed with a monstrous headache. I did manage to complete a 10-mile run before I was struck down, so it's not all bad.

Meanwhile: I found the text below in a Fortean Times interview with Iain Sinclair.  It's a brilliant thumbnail sketch of a strange and dangerous world:

was dealing books from about 1976 to 1986, and for a while it was
potentially quite dangerous – books and drugs were counter-balanced.
Some dealers were literally getting enough profit in a week to set up
the next week's coke deals. There was a particular house in Cannon St
that's right by the crossroads where the head of the Ratcliffe Highway
murderer is buried, and in this house was a pile of really abstruse
books, lots of first editions, and also all this drug stuff. There'd be
people arriving in the middle of the night and you wouldn't know if it
was drugs or books they were after – both were done with enormous
secrecy. The place was watched room across the road by a disgruntled
book dealer who was acting as a police informer.

It was quite
dangerous back then. One man, Chris Rowden, who ran Bell, Book and
Rowden ended up shooting himself with a shotgun. He was very much part
of this nexus, involved in some very dodgy business. I don't think
things are as bad as that anymore.

White Post Modern Farm

I've had a very quiet day today, mostly spent writing at my desk. I went for a short nap about 2 and woke at 6. I have therefore missed Pride, merely enjoying it vicariously through twitter. I'm going to get an early night tonight and catch up on some reading as I have actual plans for tomorrow (among them a long run).

Meanwhile, here are some photos from April that were lost in the draft posts folder. They were taken at White Post Farm (referred to by one road-sign as White Post Modern Farm – how cool?). Visiting the bird-feeding cage has incredible.