I realised that I didn’t look out of the train window anymore, even when the contest for seats subsided during the holidays, and infact my ability to recognise my location by the sway of the tracks was indeed dismal but particularly helpful. The dark mornings and evenings had long passed, and yet the risk of catching the sky- dazzling blue, pink and orange liquid- gave an unbearable transitory glimpse into something which vaguely resembled peace, so I kept typing into my computer [I’m alright. It’s the deadline for Chair’s Actions today, so naturally no-one is adhering to it and I’m fucking stressed. How are you?]. There was a passage in a book I couldn’t recall which might have helped, and I couldn’t read it again- had it ever existed at all- because I didn’t have the time, and nonetheless the book itself was on the other side of town, sandwiched between other books in a box, between other boxes stacked neatly upon each other, inside a rented room at the storage facility – a type of suspended animation I couldn’t afford to resume. There would be other passages in other books that I wouldn’t read again or at all, because of the weather, or because I was busy, or because I would be dead in the future [I hope you are well. I have compiled a short list of outstanding queries regarding the project which I hope you are able to review/answer, if it isn’t too onerous]. Continue reading “Seasons”



It had become a bit of a ritual. A bit of a terrorizing, abysmal ritual. Every Thursday on the way back from work, a small group of children would ask me to buy cigarettes for them. It was a ritual much like forgetting my lunch every morning, or watching Jurassic Park repeats every Sunday afternoon; only much more disappointing, and with a distinctly crushing lack of dinosaurs. My route home led me through the centre of town, along a main road peppered with several Chinese restaurants vomiting slime onto the streets, as is their wont, and newsagents displaying signs asking for only two children at a time to enter the shop. This was probably why they were always stood outside, I thought- respect for cardboard shop signs was something which was apparently drilled into them from birth. Not so much a respect for human life, but always for cardboard shop signs. I supposed they had to start somewhere.

Whenever I passed them it always seemed to be dark and raining, my general sense of foreboding using my brain as a bouncy castle whilst continuing to wear shoes. I shuddered a shudder of horror and shudderance. They’d have their hoods up with thin trails of smoke emerging from the hollows where their faces presumably lay. Sometimes they would have dogs, but always they would have scooters- evidently the uppermost of the coolness apex. If I ever tried to cross one of them I knew they would chase after me, their tracksuit mentality two-wheeled slaughter vehicles running over my face, leaving the Ben 10 impressions from the safety rubber, all over my body. They were all about seven, and they were hungry for blood, and likely also ice-cream. Thursdays were the rainiest of days.

On any other night the newsagents would provide luxurious refreshment in the form of a Yazoo milkshake on the way home from work, but not on Thursdays. Each week the chubby ginger leader of the group would stand in my way and grin at me like a soggy, over-stuffed bag of week old sausage meat and  back hair shavings. As he talked I couldn’t help but stare at his chin as it wobbled back and forth, gathering momentum until eventually it would whack him in the forehead. Eventually I would notice that he had been yelling, ‘Get cigs, mayte!’ for a few minutes whilst I had been mesmerised by his floppy face. It was like watching a lava lamp. But every week was the same: I would be confronted by the young ginger whippersnapper, threatened unless I purchased cigarettes, and then I would politely excuse myself and anticipate a petrol bomb on the back of my head as I walked away.

Yet for some reason, one week was different. Continue reading “Cigarettes”

Stalin’s British Victims

My college History tutor was an odd man. His face reflected the ache of years stranded in educating the young and the listless; he had given most of his life to History, yet hardly would he be remembered by it. A life more of habit than of passion, the end that would come to us all, he would pace the second-floor corridor with a limp, his grey hair bobbing with every untoward step. A sentiment of desolation would follow him as he walked, and amidst the ardour of the students between themselves, he would simply disappear. He did not belong in a world teeming with love and enthusiasm, rather he would  barely come alive within the laziness of the classroom. He could not inspire where inspiration already left its stain- he could inspire where the bleak reaches of history burrowed into the skin of the living and caused a morbid fascination to bubble dimly in the veins. Here he could reach in and tear the veins apart, but to the outside world, he was merely a creature of boredom and ruin. To me he was a hero of sorts: buried in his own thoughts. It was how I would have wanted to live when I was older; crushed by the weight of my own intelligence, yet dexterous enough to be able to use my madness to feed society with meaningless knowledge… and to get paid for it. It wouldn’t matter because nobody would listen to me anyway. I’m sure my tutor felt this way about his students. I am also sure that he knew how much I did listen. Continue reading “Stalin’s British Victims”