‘Athena B.’ in Pamenar Press Online Magazine
‘Fishersgate, Sussex. December 2019.
I have been turned to stone
by my own shadow.
Rough enough justice?
Medusa laughs at me.
Pissed And Fallen Over,
both my arms broken.
I must be dreaming.
The weather doesn‘t help.’
‘The Further Dark’ by Jeff Noon and Bridget Penney, in Best British Short Stories 2020, edited by Nicholas Royle, Salt Publishing, 2020
‘You received the email yesterday or could it have been last week? In your inbox on your screen you really need to focus. You click. You open. That part is easy. You see a blank. A blank is what you’re looking at a blank is what you’ve been trying to get your head round staring at the screen hypnotised by next to nothing this is what you keep coming back to this is why you can’t leave it because even though you can’t see anything anything anything you keep repeating to yourself you know there must be something there because why would someone be sending you a blank email. Repeatedly. Over and over again. The same email. Blank.’
‘Airtight’ in Denizen of the Dead, edited by Stewart Home, Cripplegate Books, 2020
‘When apartments are uninhabited for more than a week their supply of breathable air is turned off. Non-circulating air quickly becomes stagnant and therefore while the apartment is unoccupied it is more efficient to remove the air altogether and store the apartment in vacuo. Because of the advanced construction methods used in the building of the Denizen and the great pains taken with workmanship at all levels, it is possible to achieve a near perfect vacuum inside each unit. The main door to the apartment is sealed and a notification placed on it that it is a state of in vacuo. Once the seal has been tested to higher than industry standards the air in the apartment is captured by the high capacity vacuum pumps that form part of the air management and delivery system. We have a great deal of experience in this field and therefore the air is removed gently enough so no artefacts or furnishings in the apartment are adversely affected. Please be assured that gravitational forces are still in operation while your apartment is in vacuo. Your furniture will not fly around the rooms! The air removed from the newly sealed apartment is purified before being deployed elsewhere in the building. Whilst the apartment is in vacuo it is technically classed as a void. There is no need to heat or cool a void so residents incur zero energy bills whilst the property is in this state. No dust can settle in the apartment whilst it is in vacuo so cleaning is not required. Another piece of good news is that under current legislation a void is classified as “unfit for human habitation” and therefore exempt from council tax. You will continue to be liable for the full amounts of ground rent and service charges under the terms of your lease at the Denizen.’
‘Black Lake’ in SNOW Lit Rev 8
‘Hugh Lomax’ in gorse no 6, August 2016
‘Lomax is a wonderful writer, that’s for sure. Picking over the flipside of a place dedicated to enjoyment he never turns a hair. Since he first made his fortune as a dramatist, the facility for dialogue should come as no surprise. He seems able to step right inside the skin of those he writes about; their words sting and fumble the air but leave the immense burden of their hearts unexpressed. As for his life? Well he ticks a lot of the boxes for a cult author though his early popular success might be seen a stumbling block. During an unhappy childhood he attended school a mile along the coast from where our market is today. I don’t think the spot is marked by a plaque like the one which locates the early educational experience of Winston Churchill, another unhappy schoolboy, nearby.’
‘Shockwave’ in Transactions of Desire, volume II ‘Are You Allergic to the 21st Century?’, edited by Louise O’Hare and Sarah Perks, Home, Manchester 2015
‘The Russian government announced that it would pay to replace all the windows broken by the shockwave but not for the glassed-in balconies that front so many flats and provide some respite from the harsh winter climate and a place to dry clothes without their freezing solid. In Chelyabinsk in February, the temperature can drop to minus eighteen degrees centigrade. The regional emergency ministry asked people not to panic and advised them to help keep themselves warm by securing their broken windows with plywood and plastic. Glaziers would have to work round the clock for months to reglaze all those broken panes: of more immediate concern may have been that supplies of plywood and plastic sheeting must have quickly run out. Yet more footage on Youtube is from a camera suddenly switched on to follow the shockwave; its owner running out onto the balcony to film through an aperture shaped by the edge of a broken pane. Later he or she would have had to fill that hole with whatever materials came to hand. Spiderwebs of tape holding cardboard and carrier bags in place, anything to keep the intense cold at bay.’
Editor and contributor. Published by Invisible Books, 2015. Read a pdf here.