Category Archives: Uncategorized

Red Fox in Coyote Lands

June 2017 USA Utah >> Idaho >> Oregon >> Washington

The higgledy-piggledy fences sit lop-sided on small hilltops. The grass is drying out for summer, dotted with green shrubs clinging to the soil. There are animals in fields. Horses, lithe and muscular, cows with horns ruminate, goats cluster with mischief. The hills give way to rocky drops tied together with powerlines. The only constant as we trundle through a changing landscape. There are farms. Graveyards for broken down machines. A museum of yesterdays. An abandoned power station sits in a gulley. Crumbled stonework and strange shapes remain. Like a ruined castle for the fuel of the past. We walk towards a future which may swing left or right. The only certainty is uncertainty. We’re running perilously low on gas. But maybe just maybe, with enough downhill roads, we can coast it to the next town.

Dogtooth Chronicals Spring Sale plus new novel update

I was gonna run an Easter Sale on Dogtooth Chronicals, but lets be fair, it’s a Godless doorstop full of swearwords and the only cute fluffy bunnies that feature get skinned and eaten. So, hey lets call it a Spring Sale. Until 30th April 2014 folk in the UK can buy the beautifully designed paperback for just £6 plus free delivery. You also buy it direct from us in our shop – Bees Make Honey Shop – using the security of Paypal, thus not giving a penny to Mr Amazon.

In other news I am making gradual progress on novel number two, KATJE, with much valued support from Nottingham Writers’ Studio. It is speculative fiction/literary science fiction set way in the future after the Earth is all but destroyed. Humans are a refugee race kept as pets on another planet by an intelligent alien species. I’m not the first to write this sort of theme fo sho, but I’m writing it from the perspective of an alien. WHY?! Because I love to make things difficult for myself. I’m also editing Bees Make Honey’s second novel to by published The Dust on the Moth by Darren Simpson, so along with all the other stuff I do I’m keeping busy.

Happy Spring. See you on the flipside x

Buy Dogtooth Chronicals here.

Frank City Film Club – Episode Five

Brian Snuff – Not so much Protagonist as Bystander

The Man with the Movie Camera. That’s me. Even without the movie camera. I am focused, mechanical. I am watching. Not in a creepy way, at least not anymore creepy than cinema itself. Voyeurist verses Narcissist. I’d like to see those two exchange blows in a streetfight.

Kes has been building puppets. Incredible puppets with plaster and strings and faces full of toil, age and expression. They’re irrelevant to the film we’re making at the moment. But he’s driven by impulse, he needs to busy his skills. I sometimes wish I knew how to channel him better. He’s worked his fingers to dry blisters and is feeling anti-social.

SNUFTY (TENTATIVELY) :  You are coming to film club tonight, aren’t you, Kes?

Kes is washing his hands in the kitchen sink. He is of slight build with dark blonde hair. He wipes hair from his face and pushes spectacles up his nose. He has the face of an angel. He would probably win the hearts of women everywhere if he was capable of communicating with them. He gets too preoccupied with details.

KES : I’m not sure I can.

SNUFTY : Shall I ask you later?

KES : Yes.

Kes gets tired of human interaction easily. Particularly groups. It’s probably because he notices too much detail. It’s difficult to take it all in. You have to prioritise, I think. Not all the mis en scene and dialogue is vital. You must somehow pick out and emphasise the bits that matter. Like when Jeanie is telling of her latest strange adventure, there is a lot of filler you should filter out. Kes struggles with listening to Jeanie.

I took some digital photos of his puppets and left for the cafe where Nikita is working today. She lost her other job recently, I’m not sure why. Sometimes it’s best not to put your hand in a tiger’s mouth to find out why he’s missing a tooth.

Bane is already there with Rhian, who has a ready-to-be-bored expression on her face. I try to give a little small talk before we start talking shop but it falls from my mouth in a stilted fashion. Bane interrupts.

BANE : Where’s the halfling?

I communicate the answer silently, my mouth set in a fine line. Bane tuts.

SNUFTY :  He’s made these though.

I show Bane and Rhian the photos. She takes the camera off me and peers at them.

RHIAN : Creepy.

BANE : I thought he was making a zip line for the camera.

SNUFTY : He is. He says he’ll finish it tomorrow. We don’t need it it until next week anyway.

BANE : But he doesn’t even know if it will work. He needs to check it doesn’t shake too much. I should phone him. Give him a kick up the tiny backside.

SNUFTY : He won’t answer.

Bane ignores me and rings Kes. Kes doesn’t answer. He texts me ten minutes later asking why Bane phoned.

SNUFTY : His own sweet time. And it really is.

BANE : What?

Nikita is loitering next to our table polishing cutlery. At first I think her new manager is annoyed at this. Then I realise he’s just staring at her generally. Bane is reading through some of the tweaks I’ve done to the script. Except I don’t think he knows where the tweaks are. Bane needs something to go POW! before he notices it. Rhian has already got bored and left. Our conversations are full of in-jokes and jargon scraps to her, I suppose.

BANE : That line is really funny.

I peek over.

SNUFTY : You wrote that bit.

Bane looks up and laughs. He has a very solid head, with cubic qualities. Someday I’ll summon the courage to make him play a robot.

BANE :  I’m such a dick.

NIKITA : You are.

She takes the tray of cutlery back to the counter. Her manager cracks a joke I can’t hear, she fake smiles at him.

SNUFTY : Why isn’t Leon…?

BANE : Eh?

He turns and looks at Niki.

BANE : Hitting that…?

He puts the words in my mouth. I could never use the phrase. Bane looks at me.

BANE : Making sweet sweet love?

SNUFTY : Yeah.

Bane shrugs.

BANE : He’s a stoner, Snufty, mate. They like to avoid negative forcefields.

My phone buzzes. I check the message, it’s from Kes.

‘I’ve finished the zip line. I’ll see you tonight’.

Subtext – Jammy little genius.

Frank City Film Club – Episode List

 

The Audio Landscape in a Head Full of Pain – Extract from Dogtooth Chronicals

THE AUDIO LANDSCAPE IN A HEAD FULL OF PAIN

Simian Thomas, Durham County

It is a morning dream. The waves are crashing against the windows of the train, portending their strength. The train crosses sand banks that sink as fast as we pass over them, like wet sand beneath feet. It threatens to suck the train into the Earth. I try to grip the sides of my bunk, but I’m paralysed, I can barely move my eyes. Eyes pinned on the ocean, mistrusting how peaceful it looks, knowing with the fear that knows my subconscious-self better than I, that the sea will rise.

It’s flat-lined on the horizon. I have no memory of the Indian Ocean rising up to swallow me. Maybe I never saw it. Maybe I was napping when it swept me up. But I can imagine the sea rising – the horror of a great wall of water speeding towards me and the collective panic of the people. I wait for it to happen in the dream. I stare at the flat line of the sea, waiting for it to swell higher. But it doesn’t.

We were going to Newcastle, a city that had felt that weight of water. I should be used to this kind of disaster zone, but Phuket was like a dream now. I wasn’t sure if it ever happened. It didn’t seem real. I was glad the train was still moving as it meant we weren’t there yet. I hoped we’d never get there. I slipped out of my bunk and sat down by the eastern window. There was no sign of the sea. There was a droning noise in my head. I shook my skull, trying to expel it.

“Is that a no?”

Someone was talking to me, that was the droning, an exterior reality.

“What?” I said, maybe a little rudely. My eyes focused. Claudia, ever impatient.

“Tea? D’ya want some fookin tea?” she asked.

“Yes, please.” I looked around and felt slightly startled.

Everyone was up and sat about. When I’d slid from my bunk it’d been like nobody was there. Just an empty sleepy train. Just me and my horrors. Charlie was rolling a cigarette.

“I thought you didn’t have any tobacco?” I said, trying to prove to myself I could still put things in chronological order.

“Negotiated sum rations with the men folk,” he answered mysteriously.

“Wouldn’t it be better to just give up?” Roxy asked.

Charlie laughed and said nothing. I looked out of the window again at the steadily passing banks and trees. I almost hoped there would be a blockage on the line, so we’d have to stop. It was a bright day, the low sun creating hypnotising webs inside my eyeballs every time it peeked over the bank between the trees. A cup of tea was planted in front of me, nearly spilling over the side. It had milk in. I had no memory of us getting hold of milk. Maybe Charlie had negotiated milk and tobacco. I took a sip. It was still too hot and tasted odd. I looked at Claudia, and she looked back at me. That dead pan gaze.

“It’s sheep’s milk… remember?” she said.

“Oh,” I said. I didn’t remember, but I failed to think it mattered. I stared off into the haze, listening to the vibrations of my stomach telling me I’d not eaten in many hours. The empty, rocking motion like a ship on a sea inside a bottle – back and forth, back and forth. A storm of dissent threatening to rumble and roll. That noise again as well, droning, like an insect inside my head.

Roxy touched my arm. I think she’d been talking. All I could hear was the sea inside the seashell which was my ear. I met her quiet eyes and wondered what she saw in mine – a confused mist of time which had no structure. She’d given up asking me if I was okay (or maybe I could no longer hear her), but she remained quietly patient, as though she could will me out of part-catatonic states.

Things were better when I didn’t have time to think. Things were better when stuff just happened and I had to deal with it or face the last nails in my coffin. It seemed very odd that I was alive at all. I was fascinated by a body that continued to function. As though I was separate from it, as though it wasn’t mine to destroy. Rather it owned me – it carried me to safety when the world became threatening, it sought out food and warmth and shelter. I’d made no conscious decision to walk into the Red Deer all those months ago, beneath a sarcastic rainbow. My conscious decision would’ve been to stay in the doom all day and wait for death to put me at peace.

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Psssssssssssssst… when Dogtooth Chronicals reaches 100 ‘likes’ on facebook, we’ll give away a free paperback (UK only)