This is like an online notebook, this stuff is not finished or often even started properly.

Pulp

A while a go me and mate started a zine but only did one issue cause we're fucking lazy, I intended to write an episodic brummie pulp thing here's what i got done.



Chapter One

I rented an office on the middle floor of the rotunda in Town and stuck a card in the slot on the door saying ‘Private Investigator’. I chose an office with a big window and the city almost looked grand if you leant back at the right angle and closed your eyes slightly. I printed off a certificate and framed it and hung it above the desk. I installed a phone and put an advert on the internet. “Birmingham Private Investigator”. I made up some experience that sounded romantic enough and left it hanging in cyberspace while I shopped for scotch and stocked up on cheap cigarettes.

No one really replied to the email and I mostly used the office as an escape from the outside world. A rest-bite from the hims and hers the grouping them’s and the ever encircling isms. I mostly browsed the net and masturbated. I ordered furniture using the dead man’s card and a hat and a suit. I got those shuttered blinds but the light didn’t cast over me like it did in the movies it was just too dark, so I mostly had them drawn. After three or four days I began to grow bored and wondered if I should report the dead man in the bushes at the end of parent’s road and fess up to the eccentric shopping spree I’d gone on with his card while he stiffened up with rigamortis just out of sight of the footpath.

Thats when she emailed me. Exactly the standard detective fair I had expected a woman wondering if her man was loyal, giving me the details of his work address and the basis of her suspicions, cliched female paranoia, a work colleague, late nights at the ‘office’ lip stick marks and unexplained perfume no doutbt. She made no mention of the price so in my first act of improvisation I replied suggesting 150 quid a day plus ‘expenses’. She left my offer hanging for three hours in which time I fantasised about her features and imagined her bending over the desk and offering me a quickie as my reward for a swift and clean solving of her case.

She told me the price was right and she arranged to come by in the morning. I slept under the desk with my clothes folded neatly on-top and I awoke to find her standing over me perplexed and smoking.

‘Late night mate?’

I stood up and offered apologies pulling on my trousers and my shirt, she poked a cigarette in my face and I accepted, she lit it and smiled all nicotine stains and neglected dentistry. She wasn’t not pretty with her hair scraped back and died a boring blond. She was young and didn’t look to have given birth, although she had the appearance of one kept thin by smoking and bitching her dusty pale lips clamped around a new superking. She had one of those accents as well, that only reminded me of dinner ladies and my mums work friends, an old fashioned brummie from somewhere white. Her fella worked in construction or something I made notes but I lost them so I’m not really sure and she never bent over the table and offered to fuck me so I spent most of my meeting inside my own head kind of embarrassed that I’d let my ploy go on this long, that she’d come all the way to patiently tell her completely uninteresting and overlong story. At the end of the meeting she scribbled the address of her husband’s office on the back of a tissue and left it me. I did nothing for a long while after she left and her smell hung around the fags and the perfume and the hairspray and the sweat.

I drank scotch and looked out the window. I contemplated the dead man and the cold surprise on his face that had stuck with me as I tucked his wallet in my pocket and tried to forget about him. Why had I done this? Why had I placed the advert on the internet, why had I rented this office? Why was I now typing the address into google maps and vaguely plotting my route there, checking the time. It was only 4, the husband finished in an hour. I ordered a pizza with topping I never really have, maybe I shouldn’t have tried them all at once, it was a bit too much.

At ten to five I found myself sitting on a wall opposite the office the internet map led me to and smoking one of those cigarettes I was starting to regret buying so many of. I was drunk from the scotch, I didn’t normally drink in the day or drink spirits, definitely not straight but the drunk was giving me some purpose and mugging off the self doubt and questioning. I wondered how I knew which one he was, how I would follow him if he had a car? She hadn’t mentioned whether he drove and she probably assumed I did, what type of detective doesn’t?

Only three people came out the office and I pussied out on following the first two so the third one I followed he had red hair, which she may have said and he walked back towards town with his hands deep in his pocket. It was cold for a summer evening and I tried to remember which day it was, it was friday he was probably going for a drink. He led me to a bar in town where I bought a drink (the dead man had written his pin down and left it in the wallet, innocent soul) and watched down the bar as the husband held court around a pound machine spending maybe a quarter of his wages in the the 5ft from the machine to the bar over the course of a couple of hours. I held onto my pint till it was warm and flat and I got strange looks from the bar staff who wiped around my hands and didn’t catch my eye.

He must of slipped out the back while I was smoking out the front, although I was sure I’d seen him buy a new pint before I’d gone outside. I walked back to the rotunda and realised I hadn’t got my key. I found a number on the door for a 24 hour caretaker and called him. He looked like I’d dragged him away from his own funeral and barely responded to my apologies and over energetic lies. The internet wouldn’t work when I got in and I had to jack off to my now well glossed image of my only client. I couldn’t help laughing as I lay down under the desk and I wondered how common it was to laugh one’s self to sleep? Seemed normal enough.

To be continued in the next chapter….

Chapter Two.

She sent me an email in the morning asking what I’d found out. The she called and I ignored it, I didn’t what to say. What had I found out ? That a man, maybe her husband had spent a few hours drinking in a bar I hadn’t bothered to note the name of. I was still on the email when she started typing to me on the instant messenger
‘Why didn’t you answer the phone’
‘I was out the rom’
‘*Room’
‘Sorry’
‘It ok wat did you find out?’
I wanted to tell her something but I had nothing to say so I signed out and hoped she would write it off to a bad internet reception. I went out of the office and walked around town for a bit window shopping and leafing through magazines. I wasted most of the day and at 5 I found myself outside the husbands office not so drunk as the previous day and seriously questioning my motives. What the fuck was I doing? Avoiding my responsibilities? But then I hadn’t really ever gathered any. Wasting time? Who isn’t? I thought of my best mate telling us all at 15 he loved to smoke cause it “killed time”. The husband came out and waited around for a bit and then a taxi came and he got in. I stayed put. I started to walk back and my phone started ringing - it was her, I picked up.

“Hey”

“Hello this is Detective Constable Matthews can I please confirm who I’m speaking to?”

That voice, it wasn’t in my head. He was saying those words and beads of sweat starting dancing on my brow pre-empting some horrible turning in my stomach. I put down the phone. I didn’t know what else to do. My thoughts raced back and forwards failing to find any reason why I shouldn’t panic, after all what I was doing was illegal even If I wasn’t quite sure what It was I was doing. After a minute the phone started ringing again, this time from a withheld number. I turned the phone off. I couldn’t go back to the office and I quickly counted up what I’d left there, not much nothing that would tell they who I am and everything was in the dead man’s name.

The dead man.

The dead man.

I couldn’t go back to the office. I walked around town for a bit not even thinking trying not to think of the deadman. I walked back from town arguing it from all sides it my head defending myself to all parties, to her, to the police, to my parents. I walked the back way to my parents house not wanting to walk past the point where I hoped he was still laying alone, selfishly.

Berlin ich vermisse dich schon!

Bei Die Mauer.

The old man lets his hound wander
Criss-crossing the old border
With an ease that must sting
Even now
As the trees peel once again
Banishing the young coveters of frei skin
Leaving he and his
Who wear brown as a tribute to the cycle
They know it is the real colour of death
His cigar branch-like
Dripping tar to rest in the breeze
Where once stood the greatest organ of this city
The limb that held history in motion
Throughout his life
That he cannot escape
Which his hund is circling
And perhaps he knows he circles too
His nub end untwisting in the breeze
Earthen strands turning
Meeting with rot leaves
His head tilting forward
At me passing ?
Immature in black
A stranger to death
Or does he nod in tribute to the cycle
To the turning of the earth
To the passing of time
To his anchor
To his inside pockets filled with dead leaves and cigar dog ends.

Re Drafts



Home Town Blue.

There is a home town, dimmer than London
Fat from history, belted in roads
Drowned in canals, raise a toast to drying concrete
The Lunar Society losing light, raise a toast to burning embers
A toast to our heart, stuck with tar
A toast to our country, only for winners
A toast to the future, in shades of grey
A toast to England, to Birmingham
It’s abandoned child
The smoke blackened sheep.

Your Civilisation Is Just An Aesthetic.
Your civilisation is just aesthetic
Your society just a trend
Your high streets and swag tourniquets
Muted before the storm
Stumbling numb towards a full stop
That will be burnt into our foreheads
Your lens is fogged
Your tongue tipping ash on the pavement
Your bones waiting to be painted
Your best suit is rotten
Your civilisation is just an aesthetic
Applying pressure to a cut
That in time will flood with colour
Whether you like it or not.

Untitled Weather Report.


Every year they tell me it will be better when the colour of the sky changes
That it’s just the way the fog hangs low over the pool table
That makes the balls look like they are travelling through time
Even so we stock up on coffee and milk for the mornings
And strap our bodies in wool, tight like wounds
Keeping our blood close
We roll our cigarettes quickly, the rubbing of our fingers causing
Friction enough to spark them off
So we save on matches
And the ice keeps our shoes hard held together
So we need not venture to the main streets
That lay themselves in swag and disco balls
And rustle with the anxious sound of money.

The Day Dream Is Over wake the fuck up.

If there is one thing that the phone hacking scandal has taught us it is that truth is almost entirely absent from the total narrative of the mass media, and that corruption is not only a product but a necessity of power and that any residual left over feeling that the old orders were dead is gone, it’s business as usual for the old etonians et al just as it it for the lads smashing up the phonebox outside my window as I write. Today the Sun ran with the headline that Norway had experienced it’s own 9/11 and now was the time to crack down on Islamism, the narrative is lazy and badly written as reliant on cliches and diminished audience expectation as hollywood tripe. What the whole news of the world hacking scandal tells us really is that truth and reality were com-modified a long time ago like the in the very way that the verite aesthetic has bled into mainstream cinema and television providing the special entertainment hit that only truth can, that the mainstream media has also distilled truth into something it can easily provide and recycle, the footballer coked up and fucking prostitutes, this type of reporting is essentially the industrialisation of narrative and truth the increasingly canny reporters working overtime to reduce the great buzz of existence into popular melodies, structures we can easily recognise and consume. Homogenising storytelling in the same manner corporatism would homogenise every aspect of the world, what use is something if we cannot target it at a particular audience and predict it’s future success. Living on a wave of speculation we have devalued truth and immediacy and left reality a vague concept clung to by the old and dying. One day everything will function like an addictive substance, because for speculative investment that is the greatest model, the weapon with which to destroy everything. The encouragement of voyeurism and the devalued expectation of the audience of us of the inhabitants of the planet and the inheritors of history has gone so far that the society of spectacle would be too grand a phrase for what we live in for it is not a spectacle it is the theatre of the mundane, they are selling us that which we already possess a peephole into our neighbours houses, the gossip of the village pub but falsified and entrapped in order to assure it’s steady flow irrelevant of it’s reality and so it’s fundamental truth the logic of its action. So again to the Sun headline, News International could not recognise the atrocities committed in Norway for what they really are, news, real important vital and relevant as a real event the murders are assured their place in the global narrative they are by the very nature of being real in possession of logic of being the end result of some narrative algorithm but maybe not one set in motion or under the control of the mainstream media, so the impulse, the gut reaction is to slot them into a pre existing narrative, Islamic terrorism something the audience expect regardless of the knock on damage such mis reporting and lazy narrativising has. The wheel of life rolls in circles, in the age of speculation we are have lived through two decades that were essentially a daydream of the late seventies, a mere speculative imagining of what could come with no solid reason for this dream to become solid and absolute, now we are back in reality let’s not start day dreaming again.

Scab Book.

I bust my knee slipping on a fence
So every morning I clean it wiping off the pus that might form a scab
And applying a new plaster
I lie in bed afterwards and read a crime novel
I’ve read it many times before
But I like the hard boiled phrases
And the hero has guts like I don’t have
It’s gradually turning into one of those books my dad had when I was a kid
The kind I always wanted with yellow pages fading in from sharp orange edges
The scab is forming whether I clean or not
The pus is going hard around the edges of the wound
I’ve never been good at doing things
Lying in bed with the froth from my beer coming out of my mouth.

Dole Day.

The red bricks crumble all around me, just at the corners losing the definition that made them so industrious when this city cared and had use for them. I spill my ash and pour a drop of beer on the hot road like I’ve seen American gang members do on TV, an ancient habit of mourning from that same impulse that makes us throw change in ponds and fountains. The same feeling that keeps you quiet at an open casket wake, the same feeling that keeps me silent now, finishing my cigarette alone in amongst Birmingham’s carcasses wishing for some voodoo to save Digbeth from it’s inevitable rhinoplasty, a glass and metal assassination.

A train shakes the bridge as I pass under it obscuring the beggars voice, making him mime sadness with folds of his face, I empty my shrapnel into his hand and cross his palm with rolling baccy he pockets it and in one movement shakes my hand hunching his back until we’ve adopted a sickening medieval tableau of master and serf, another train shakes the bridge clouding us in industrial dust, I reach the end of the road and head for the canal thinking that I’ll sit until the sun sets. The traffic is distant now, held at bay by a whole block of ghosts.

Down by the the heavy smell of burning weed, as I turn the corner a Rasta nods at me in slow motion the tips of his dreads dipped in silver, hovering at the edge of old age. I nod back and remember that I haven’t been down by this canal since I was 16, beaten up and robbed, spotting my black eye in the dark currents, hanging over the water the metallic tang of blood dripping from the loose tooth along my tongue drop by drop disrupting the distorted reflection. It was a day like this, mid summer the bricks and later I set fire to a dead tree watching the smoke rise over the city and spitting the tooth into the fire, returning hours later and finding it in the ash, it still lives in a tin in my bedroom. I finish the bottle and look back towards the Rasta who’s gone now maybe he felt the impending end of the day I rest the bottle against a wall and for a moment consider smashing it, but that would achieve nothing.

The cracking leather of my boots leads me back to Floodgate Street back past the beggar who approaches me again this time stumbling over his words with a spirit sodden tongue, I give him another cigarette’s worth of baccy and avoid the awkward handshake. I continue until my ears let me know I will imminently be returning to civilisation to the anointed bit of Digbeth that was granted a 21st Century purpose, back to the Irish bars and the coach station, to where the police station is that has a bolt on the door and no buzzer, back to where the brothel hides in the neck of a sex shop and a chippie the paint on it’s walls concealing a long history of insurance related arson, and where an hand written sign pokes out from behind a curtain, “new somalian ladees”.

I enjoy the gust of wind that brings the chill of the evening and I begin to lose purpose, I’ve wandered and reminisced I’ve mourned a cultural passing and more importantly run out of money and beer, I roll a fag and under the guilt regret being so generous to the beggar. There was a time when Birmingham pumped, when the canals railways that strap this city were less than tourniquets when the city bulged at the seams with working class opportunity, The Lunar Society’s face has lost all it’s teeth, nose like a brawler swelled with broken cartilage eyes burnt out smoky yellow iris lost it’s voice and it’s wisdom rolling it’s tongue over it’s cracked lips and going in for a another decade of surgery. This city is an unfinished sympathy, twilight drinkers the last indigenous inhabitants of the grand pause and this is the last brummie street the last place you can reflect with a can in the day and not fall foul of a last minute law, the last den’s of the Zulus a stone’s throw from St Andrews, the home of the best clubs and riots, soon to be a conference centre, the centre of dead star orbits. I’m at camphill now, at the round about before little Mogadishu, where the gunman twice grazed my mates teeth with his pistol and emptied out his bank account. The sun’s gone and only the wasteland lies ahead until you hit Balsall Heath and Moseley. There’s not much left for me now, I try to summon a bus with a fag and insulate myself against the catching breeze with hands in pockets.
As I wait letting my cigarette rush towards me with the breeze a figure zips up his fly and approaches me, his hand flexing instinctively for a pint that isn’t there. He asks me if I know when the bus is coming, but regardless of the answer he monologues about the red brick building behind us.

‘I was in there as a kid, run by nuns it was, brutal Irish women you know with tight lips and strong arms I used to run away all the time and when you’d come back the nuns would kick the shit out of you with anything they could get their hands on. God I hated it, you know, loads of abuse and that went on there, I was raised a catholic you know and if you can’t church who the, who the fuck can you trust?

He pauses and the wind blows ash into his face.

I finish my fag as well, the bus still hasn’t shown. The man rocks back and forth on the hell of his black brogues.

‘I went back there of course, years later after it was closed, squatted in one of the back rooms, I was in their coupla of weeks, kinda weird seeing it all falling apart cause you know however shit it was it made me, I got a council place now can’t stand it, thin walls and that ennit’

The bus pulls up.

‘Here mate you got a coupla quid for the bus’

I tell him I haven’t and show him my out of date ticket.

It’s no problem the drivers staring at his phone and doesn’t even look up as we got on, I sit up stairs and stare out the window, the guy sits at the back and I hear him cough every couple of minutes until I get off and go home.

The mad guys at bus stops are always the most sincere.

This guy turned to me at the bustop and told me that he’d never felt pain but lived his life in fear
His eyes said it too
With red veins
And flickering
He was clearly lonely
Maybe mad
Maybe he’d pissed his pants
And didn’t mean what he said
But the mad people at bus stops are almost the most sincere I find
I mean for fuck’s sake
Why lie to a stranger?
Anyway he bugged me for a lighter and didn’t even smoke
Just stood there pouring
Waiting for the bus
Waiting for guilt
It was a sunny day and after the bus had come and I was sat face against the grazed plastic window
I saw the man smiling at me
And waving his hand the fingers all straight and extended like a spider
And I thought
Fuck that guy.

Take your pension with a whiskey chaser.

Let the stream rise
And the condensation slide the bottle around your palm
Cross your heart and hope to die
With smoke anchored lips and lungs caving in
From Begging for volume
Let the smoke settle on your fuckable curves
While you cough the blues at all the mirrors in this city
Screaming with undone shoe laces
On the steps of a long dead lovers house
She had been pretty as a film star
Weathered the storm
Grow old how I want to
With a young man’s dancing feet
And hunger for pigment and bodily fluids
Grow thorns , wings and breathe fire to scorch bar stools
Blow the windows out with your last gasp
Skin tearing at the edges.

I like leather and milk and the smell of rain on concrete

One day maybe I’ll grow a beard
And stop dropping the ember from my cigarettes
Let my belt and shoe laces loosen
In rhythm with the expansion of my chest
Realise that innocence is something you find
And the most of it is just words
And mean half as much as a bruise
Less than a dropped pint
One day I’ll quote people I used to be mates with
Like they were dead calculators
One day I’ll stop repeating the lies I rehearsed under my bed covers
And just do what everyone else does
Mass absurdity
Maybe they did put acid in the water
Or water in the acid
Concrete was a social revolution
When we stopped recognising our own inventions
And started living in this alien place in
Which it’s illegal to daub our names on walls
In which its not enough just to breathe and let others do so
In which they want to build a wall and then another one and then a roof
And find some replacement for the sun
Put a stop to fire
And change the taste of beer

Word Riot

Here Comes The Avalanche in Word Riot.

Here: http://www.wordriot.org/

Culture

How much culture ?
I haven’t moved for two days
My feet well oiled in the floors dirt
My eyes well baked
Absorbing ever faster
Beating at the keyboard
Digging
Digging
A new film every hour
A new band every day
New ideas
Drowning in vitamins
As over nourished and thick and heady
As the skunk I smoke
To keep my anchored
To this portal
Where time is laid out flat
And ideas are all equally praised and attacked
Where academics come to die
Where books come to burn
And idiocy takes hold
And beauty strangles itself.

Here Comes The Avalanche.

Death to bingo wings and retirement spent on fags and red wine and missed mornings and migraines and your children hiding from your smell of soot. Here comes the avalanche, the ghosts of milkmen the silence of the factories waiting for this well housed street to be flooded or burnt down, waiting for war, waiting for the return of heroes, waiting for tradition and rebellion. Death to wishing for black and white, death to wishing for brown, death to wishing and wishing for death. Death to gods and myths, death to industry and working your hands to the bone, smoking bones. Death to flowers. Make your bed out of cardboard and wake up somewhere new. Women smoking, men hiding, kids dreaming. Here comes the avalanche.

MOURNING

Who’s waking me up? From dreaming of a stranger spitting in my ear, of broken cracking tarmac and a black cloud shared through a kiss. The end of a human dipped in leather dressing me down, ignoring the irrelevance of my aches. I’ve got a stranglehold on my sleep at last, my pillow and bible held together with stickers and flyers from long since passed away moments, passed over emotions a thick X on my wrist. My nails and teeth peeling like an old door, I eat breakfast with nostalgia for photographs you could hold and cigarettes I cared about. I can still feel all the small bones breaking in my hand from all the times I’ve punched the wall and all the whirring arguments with could have avoided if we held in the sludge and swallowed hard. Sometimes when drinking my morning coffee, milk in first, I regret all the people I’ve looked down upon and all the hours I’ve spent leeching in books and on the internet. The internet. Window boxes, mirrors, fractal associations, sex and history and art and fashion, gloved and anonymous, academics smoking DMT and writing backwards on a russian forum. Hives of buzzing international phenomenon underground and ethereal. Grey and white blended and free. Guilty of speaking english of stunted growth and cheap chicken decadence. Sometimes it’s so hard to love somebody, sometimes the world opens up and I wake up with an erection and an empty bed. All of this presents us with a far greater image of how sex has changed now, humbug, cocks are cocks, I hot knife the morning, melting toast on my tongue and searching for the first of many of something. I read a bit but can’t quite get comfy, this past year my nails are always bleeding and sting when I spill spirits or peel an orange. I crack my knuckles and bang at the keys like a dumb peacock. The rest of the house wakes up and I go to the bathroom, finally get comfy and read the back of the air freshener four times. I wish it was snowing or raining or their was a war or a riot on. Television has been reduced to buzzing treacle barking at our crotches, urging to make that pathetic spliff from the bits of weed collected around our edges. The inks dried out and I suspect a virus in our bones and all I can hear is the deadly shuffle of drinkers to the bar.

3:AM Magazine Repping.

Two poems. Yes pussyole poems. Here