Monday, 26 January 2009
City Life did a small profile on there's no point in not being friends with someone if you want to be friends with them 7. it's tomorrow night, free to get in, and starts at 8. more information here (blog) and here (facebook group).
more reviews of The Bird Room:
"germany at the beginning of 1939" (bookmunch)
"unlikeable and morally dubious characters" (financial times)
"inherent bleakness" (geek pie)
"this is an excellent book" (Gavin Bower)
"physically uncomfortable" (Valerie O'Riordan)
"no problem finishing" (unbound)
also, i am reading at this bookslam event on thursday night, too, in London.
Friday, 23 January 2009
there is an interview with me now up on Bookmunch.
The Bird Room was reviewed on the website Bookgeeks.
i am going to go and get a haircut.
[update: i got a haircut.]
i helped make a short film with this guy. it is a film of a poem by sam pink.
listen to this band. look at their music video.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
The Bird Room is officially 'out' today.
at the moment i am celebrating by listening to Francois Hardy and typing this.
a bit later on i am going to celebrate by going to the post office and posting the books to the winners of the competition. i drew things (on request) including me practising my signature while a bird shits on my head, and 'a man and woman standing at the north pole staring at each other'.
later on still, i am going to continue celebrating by going to the pub.
an interview conducted by Steven Hall, is now up on the Canongate website.
there is also an article in The List, based on a phone interview from about a month ago. [warning: includes large photo of me, sitting on a stool, looking 'well pleased with myself'.] i am quoted as saying things in the interview which i don't remember saying but probably said.
[i wrote another paragraph here and then deleted it]
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
if you still want to enter the competition, the closing date is tomorrow (21st Jan), at 10 a.m. (UK time).
i am going to draw the competition entries out of something to create the ten-line poem. i don't know what the thing i am going to draw them out of is yet. it will probably be a big white bowl. i will film myself pulling out the entries and reading them, then put the video up on the blog. if i read your line, YOU ARE A WINNER!!!
about 60 people have entered the competition so far. i'm about halfway through writing up the lines of the poem on bits of paper:
Canongate sent the 'prizes' to me last week, but they never arrived. they're sending some more. hopefully they will arrive tomorrow and i can post them immediately, but there's a small chance it will be the day after or something.
Monday, 19 January 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
i just got a phonecall from a friend of mine at Waterstone's. The Bird Room is now in stock. Manchester Deansgate branch received 50 copies today. it is on a 3-for-2 promotion.
i just looked at this list of other Waterstone's who also have it in stock.
[i am going to go and have a look at it on the shelf at some point today. this post will probably be updated later on to incorporate a picture of me standing next to copies of the book, grinning like a goon.]
in case you were thinking of going out to buy a copy, here are some 'edited highlights' from recent amazon ('vine programme' (tm)) reviews:
"Pathetic bloke with a broad jealous streak starts off sad, gets a bit sadder and ends up still sad. Possibly there are a couple of intriguing litrary devices to get us questioning his reality, but maybe not. I asked my lad-literate husband if I was missing something. He read it in two hours and said no, there was nothing worth missing."
"At the end of the book though I was forced to ask, 'So what?'. I was left with no sense of meaning or what this book was trying to communicate."
"I was not very thrilled by this book. I found it to be quite mind numbingly void of any real story plot and intensely boring ... All in all I found it boring, seedy (not sexy) and very depressing."
Thursday, 15 January 2009
a person actually made a miniature swan, after watching this instructional video.
this swan has been 'fashioned' from a potato (body), knitting needle (neck), sachet of vinegar (head), page from student paper with diamonds on it (feathers) and sellotape. also please note the 'improvised lake' in picture one (which was made from an Air Iceland blanket), and biscuit tin (?) pedestal in picture two.
i am giving this swan maximum points. if you want to vote for this swan, you can do so in the comments section. unlike this swan, voting will stay open indefinitely.
thank you for your time and consideration.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
interview with CATHERINE LACEY
please describe a thirteen year old version of yourself.
The child in question was born on April 9th, 1985. It is the late spring of 1998 and she is with her mother in a white van that will soon be irrevocably damaged. She is underweight by seven pounds and though she still does not have breasts, the bleeding has started today. A Hispanic man was in her kitchen, presumably repairing something, at the exact moment that this happened, so she didn't tell her mother until now, when they were a safe distance away from the man, whoever he was.
have you ever made up a language either by yourself or with 1 or 2 other people? if so, what were some of the words, phrases, etc.?
One time a character in a story I wrote made up a word. It was "Lopskod." Also, he made up "Dosmonetory," but for some reason gmail's spell check is registering that as a real word even though it is not in the dictionary or anywhere in Googledom, so I don't know.
what do you think the people who live next door to you are doing right now?
Stealing bowls of their roommate's granola.
please describe a 'giant elderly online fox'.
Poor Fox. Contrary to popular belief, a giant elderly online fox still hasn't figured out how to turn on the computer yet, so he's sitting in his narrow, windowless office with stacks of his students' term papers around him. His computer was a gift from his nephew about 10 years ago. It's one of those all-in-one Macs that looks like a big clear egg with blue details. There is a sticky note on the screen of the computer that explains how to turn the computer on, but whoever wrote it did so in hand writing too small to be seen by the giant elderly "online" fox. Also, and this is a point of embaressment for him, he's not a fox. He's a cross between a hare and a dog. He's a harg. It's really embarressing, so don't mention it if you see him. And while we're at it, he's not elderly either, he's only 17 years old, but he has a rare form of asbirgers syndrom that made him age really quickly. Amazingly, he only weighs 2 ounces. So cute.
what were you doing before answering these questions? what are you going to do next?
I bought a hat and put it on. A random homeless woman said to me, "You lookin good! You wearin the hell outta that hat!" I said Thank You. I am going to put the hat back on when I am done with this because I have to go feed someone's cats.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Canongate are giving me 10 copies of The Bird Room, to give away in a competition.
i lay in bed this morning trying to think of ideas for the competition. i didn't want to do something where people have to 'compete' and then i have to judge which one is the best. so i was thinking of a draw. but a draw seemed a bit dull.
here is the competition:
send me an email (email@example.com) with the word 'competition' somewhere in the subject line. include your address, and say whether you want me to write/draw something in it and (if so) what you would like me to write/draw. please understand that i am rubbish at drawing. if you don't specify anything, i will just sign my name and draw a picture of a bird in the top right hand corner.
also in the email, please include one 'line of poetry'. it doesn't need to be any good, it could be very abstract, but make it something specific enough that you will recognise it again ... once the competition is 'closed' (i don't know, a week from now?), i will put up a video on here of me pulling the lines of the poem out of something, to create a 10-line cut up poem. if i read your line, that means there is a book in the post to you.
the competition is open to anyone in the world.
the competition is perfect if you are thinking something like, 'The Bird Room looks interesting, maybe, but i would not want to pay for it' or 'i can't afford it' or 'i have been openly slating it and Chris Killen as a one-trick-pony hack who got lucky (but secretly i would like to read it)' or 'i don't know, i'm bored, why not' or 'i could tear the pages out and wipe my ass with them' or 'okay then; i could give this in to Oxfam if i hate it'.
i hope the instructions weren't too confusing.
update: i am panicking that no one is going to enter the competition.
update: someone entered the competition.
update: some more people entered the competition.
update: i went out for a bit and came home again and a lot more people had entered the competition. it made me feel strange (in a good way).
update: the competition was linked on HTML GIANT. (thanks, sam.) the entries increased 'dramatically'. at the moment, 'contestants' have about a 1-in-4 chance of winning a book.
update: a few more entries have 'trickled in'. i have decided the closing date is going to be Jan 21st. that way i can post them in the afternoon, and the people (in the UK) will receive it on the 'd.o.p.'
i went to London yesterday, to read at the pulp net event. i arrived at 17:42. i left at 21:40. i was in London for 3 hours and 58 minutes. on the tube i listened to Handsome Furs. i sat opposite a man reading Razzle. i could see the inside of the magazine reflected in the window behind him. he had a large open rucksack on the seat next to him. after a few minutes he put Razzle back in the rucksack and took out another pornographic magazine. he leafed through it like it was a 'fashion magazine' or something, and he was looking for 'something to catch his eye'. the event was good. i met my friend Alice there. i tried to say something 'humorous' before my short story, to counteract its depressingness. i think my 'humorous' introduction was maybe 76% successful. it was strange reading a story that is now about 2 years old. a man shook my hand after i finished reading. i tried to promote The Bird Room. i think i sold 1-2 prospective copies, maybe. there were lots of people there. i listened to Handsome Furs on the tube back to Euston station. i stood near a green olive on the tube. the olive was dusty, like it had been there all day. i wanted to take a photo of it. i wished i had a camera phone, sort of. i listened to Jens Lekman at Euston station. i needed the toilet. i walked across Euston station, and looked at the pigeons, and thought something like, 'almost all things in the world are small and sad and kind of heart-breaking' whilst simultaneously being aware of how mawkish and sentimental and over-the-top i was being. there is a Filipino word/phrase (?), 'muni-muni'. someone taught me that. i paid 30p to use the toilet. i had an idea for a Paul Simon story as i was washing my hands. i think i am going to write a Paul Simon novel soon. 'unpublishable.' i dried my hands in a Dyson 'airblade' (?) handdryer. you just put your hands in a slot. it dries your hands really quickly, like someone is wiping them with a frantic sheet of air. i thought about a handdryer in Chortlon, in the Iguana Bar, which is the most 'insane' and 'over the top' handdryer i have ever used. it has a blue neon light and it makes a terrifying noise, like a cross between a vaccum cleaner and a tube train approaching. i felt that using the Dyson 'airblade' (?) handdryer was worth 30p. i asked Helen Simpson a question in the Q&A, after her reading at the Pulp Net event. she said that she liked the short story writers Lorrie Moore, Tobias Woolf, Alice Munro, and some other people who i've forgotten. i went back to Manchester on a Virgin Pendolino train called 'The City of Chester'. i wonder if this man went to the Pulp Net event in the end.
i wrote a short thing about the band Handsome Furs on barbed cat penis.
The Bird Room has had its second proper review (this time by the 'manchester person' Max Dunbar).
there is now a post on the Canongate website about my forthcoming 'online book tour' (which is just a series of scheduled interviews with online literary journals and things)
Monday, 12 January 2009
Saturday, 10 January 2009
i was reciprocally interviewed by interviewee #15, Ryan W. Bradley (see two posts down).
the interview can be read here.
*warning: interview spoiler alert* negativity, passivity, apathy, moustaches, repetition, ingestion of trans-fats, self-loathing, small penis, lack of intimate relationships, Steven Hall, forthcoming novel (Jan 22nd), more negative amazon customer reviews, lack of knowledge, Frankie Sparo, inability to tell anyone else what to do seriously, giant panic, giant feelings of technical inadaqacy due to comparisons of writing to the writing of Richard Yates *warning: interview spoiler alert*
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Crispin Best made a remix of the the song 'Andy Warhol'. i like the remix a lot. it made me laugh. it sounds 'wildly geriatric' somehow, in a good way.
i was featured in Dennis Cooper's thing, 'Five interesting guys I don't know personally who've befriended me on Facebook, Volume Two'.
i have some readings coming up.
i am reading at the Pulp Net Short Story Cafe, next monday (12th), at the Costa Picadilly in London. it starts at 7.30pm, and costs £3 in.
the launch for The Bird Room is going to be part of the next No Point in Not Being Friends night, which is booked for Tuesday, 27th of Jan. i think the launch part will be quite early on, about 8.30pm, maybe.
i am reading at the January Bookslam in London, on Jan 29th, along with Ross Raisin, Richard Milward and Joe Dunthorne. it costs £6/£8 in, and starts at 8pm.
bit further away:
i will be doing a lunchtime reading thing, somewhere at Nottingham Trent (probably the Clifton Campus?), and again, maybe in the evening, somewhere else in Nottingham, on Feb 25th.
i am reading at this Manchester University event, on 29th of June, along with fellow writing fellow Peter Sansom. it costs £4/£2.50 in and starts at 5pm.
the quote at the top is from a Mountain Goats song.
interview with RYAN W. BRADLEY
what did you do today?
So far I have woken up, put in my contacts, taken a shower, shaved, gotten dressed, and eaten some strange new cereal (I think it had something to do with Animal Planet). Now I'm chilling on the couch mentally preparing to go to my day job.
what is going on in your life right now?
please describe an 'online interactive elderly cat'
have you ever made up a board game?
what are you going to do directly after finishing this interview?
interview with MONTGOMERY MAXTON
please describe yourself in the voice of a tiny child.
what is happening in your life right now?
what are your 'hopes and dreams'? (please reply using sentimental language and cliches)
please write something about the online computer game the ' '?
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
interview with AIDEN CLARKSON
please describe an elderly relative in the voice of a 'bratty' teenage American girl.
I can't do this. i thought about it for a long time, and i tried out various different ideas in my head. i thought about my Grandad in his kitchen, and my Grandpa in his garden, and my Grandma's big glasses, and my Nan's obscenities.
My hopes are modest. i want to have enough money to live by the sea. i don't want to have to get a job. I want to write beautiful books and collections of poetry and short stories and things and i want people to read them and feel affected.
what is going on in your life right now?
do you own a watch?
please write something about something you like or dislike or feel ambivalent towards.
i have a casual lover. she told me i laughed like a rapist, and it made me self concious EVERY TIME I LAUGHED from then on. i have only just got over it. She's incredibley talented at being insulting.
interview with SIAN CUMMINS
if you were going to create an male 'avatar' in the online interactive game 'Second Life', what would he be called and what would he look like, do, etc.?
He would be called The Line Manager and he would wear a Rain Check Suit. He would Review, Monitor and Evaluate the situation.
who would win in a fight between you and me?
You, probably. When we were flatmates, I would have had recourse to dirty tricks; dipping your toothbrush in mushroom soup every day until you were at such a spiritual low that my pathetic martial skills would prove deadly. Now I am powerless.
how can i cure the mold on my bathroom ceiling (it keeps coming back)?
You should ask ‘how can I mould The Cure on my bathroom ceiling (they keep coming back like all the other ones do)’. Cure-nices.
if you had unlimited money (
Going forward, I would Action a bout of Sky-Blue Thinking. If my online friends could spare me the Resource, I would buy them a celebratory Pixel Sour.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
The Bird Room is now £5.99 pre-order on amazon.
it can be reviewed.
it got a very a small mention in this Guardian article.
Liz Phair (born Elizabeth Clark Phair on April 17, 1967 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Phair began her career in the early 1990s by self-releasing lo-fi audio cassettes under the moniker Girly Sound, before signing with Matador Records and becoming one of the leading artists of the 1990s DIY indie rock underground. In 2003, Phair's fourth album, Liz Phair, was released on her new label, Capitol Records and her music began to move in a more pop rock-oriented approach.
Her signature guitar, which she is often seen playing (and is prominent upon the cover of her self-titled fourth album), is a Fender Duo-Sonic II. Her album Exile in Guyville was chosen as one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.