Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pirate Life for Me

“He told me it was a national service with a lot of money in the end. Then I took my gun and joined them. Years ago we used to fish a lot, enough for us to eat and sell in the markets. Then illegal fishing and dumping of toxic wastes by foreign fishing vessels affected our livelihood, depleting the fish stocks.”


It seems that modern piracy is relatively polite. Compare and contrast:

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank,
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

John Masefield.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Origin of the Braai - Payment for Sex?

"Only male chimps hunt for meat, so females can only acquire meat if they are given it from males, or if they steal it. For the males, this means that the more successful they are at hunting, the more meat they will have to give away in the long term, and the greater the potential for sex. For the females, the benefit of this exchange is the meat, which is an uncommon treat for chimps, as they mostly eat fruits and vegetables."

Finding Dulcinea

Samuel Beckett on James Joyce

"Joyce paid me 250 fr. for about 15 hrs. work on his proofs.... He then supplemented it with an old overcoat and 5 ties! I did not refuse. It is so much simpler to be hurt than to hurt."

And again, two weeks later:

"He [Joyce] was sublime last night, deprecating with the utmost conviction his lack of talent. I don't feel the danger of the association any more. He is just a very lovable human being."

From a JM Coetzee piece on Beckett in the NY Times.


"Commercial television doesn't demand honorable conduct, but it doesn't preclude it." David Milch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Short Fuses - The Authors

Dan Holloway was once, in the same year, officially the most intelligent person in the world and the fourth best discus thrower in Oxford. The quest for “a storyline that makes sense” has, sadly, taken its toll on both of these.

Sean Cunningham is a criminal vandal/sheisty supervillain, currently in hiding from the governments/policemens. He does not have a pet cat, but if he did it would wear a top hat and have a lisp.

Reclusive author Patricia J. DeLois is rumoured to live in Vermont, but in fact she spends most of her time at her home in Maine.

Roland Denning was born in North London a long time ago. He’s still there. He’s not a Goth.

Jasper Dorgan lives and works in Wiltshire and writes his nights in a garden shed.

Derek Duggan lives in Spain – “He is the best new writing talent I have seen by a country mile,” is what award winning author Kazuo Ishiguro had to say about Derek Duggan in a recent dream I had. Kofi Anan had some stuff to say too, but I couldn’t hear him over the sound of the banks crumbling. Find him on Facebook.

In his youth, Danny Gillan used to think he was a musician, and played in several bands in and around Glasgow with varying degrees of failure. Now in his late thirties, he accepts that rock godhood is an unlikely eventuality, and has decided to think he is a writer instead. In order to fund this delusion, Danny works In Social Care, supporting adults with learning disabilities. His first novel, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, was published on 1st October, 2008, by Discovered Authors. Find him at:

Gillian Hamer lives and works around Birmingham as a Company Director in the retail sector, but most weekends heads for the wilds of North Wales where many of her novels are based. After a promising career as a pro-footballer was tragically cut short by a crippling metatarsal injury, her talents turned to her real love of creative writing. A former columnist for Writers’ Forum Magazine, she has completed a Writers Bureau course, written three crime/paranormal novels and numerous short stories.

Larry Harkrider lives in Texas, where he spends every spare moment plotting his escape.

JW Hicks - Ancient Celt, scribe and dreamer of the dark.

Amanda Hodgkinson lives and works in south west France as a columnist, travel writer and translator. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in various literary magazines in the UK and USA.

JA Hudspith — Johnny hates bios. He lives in the Shed.

Perry Iles was born in Cambridge (the English one) in 1955. He moved to Scotland in 1991 and now lives near Dumfries with his wife, their daughter and a deranged whippet. He has been writing since last century and is the author of three novels, several short stories and a book about his memories of European travel as a child in the 1960s. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Other Side of Here. In 2004 his ending to Fay Weldon’s One Size Fits All reached the fi nal three in the BBC’s End of Story series. Until recently, he worked in the IT industry, but he has now given this up to concentrate on writing fulltime. His other interests include travel, modern music, and the sustained abuse of electric guitars.

When Lorraine Mace forgets which country she now lives in, she takes refuge in the Shed.

These days, R.K. Nathan lives in Barcelona, having wandered around various parts of the world as a writer, teacher, translator and musician and come full circle, all the way back to the country where his parents met in the Summer of Love.

Lawrence Poole was born in London in 1962 where he still lives, posthumously. His interests include avoiding thought of any kind and his main concern is ensuring his unfinished novel remains unfinished. To this end, he hangs about in the virtual bar at because a) it is the best peer-review site for writers he knows and b) it is the only place that will put up with him.

Nick Poole is a writer, husband, father, Civil Servant, Internet Troll, drunkard, layabout, Socialist, anti-royal, a blinkered chauvinist and like all writers he is both a seeker after truth and a liar.

Jo Reed lives and writes in a leaky house in Somerset, shared with two opinionated Chihuahuas. At certain times of the year she may be found causing mayhem along the Spanish coast with the pointy end of a sailing boat.

Jane Dixon-Smith lives and works in the English Lake District, where she is currently writing a series of novels based on the Warrior Queen, Zenobia, who led the greatest revolt ever staged against Rome.

James Whyle earns his living in Johannesburg, inscribing runes on 64bit Packard Bell electric stone. His play, Rejoice Burning, is available in New South African Plays, Aurora Metro Press.
He is a founder member of The BookShed.