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The teeming mass of the working class…

“I didn’t want to be in the teeming mass of the working class… I didn’t want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape – but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community – to society?”

Jeanette Winterson – Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

To the heart…

“And there are plays – and books and songs and poems and dances – that are perhaps upsetting or intricate or unusual, that leave you unsure, but which you think about perhaps the next day, and perhaps for a week, and perhaps for the rest of your life.

Because they aren’t clean, they aren’t neat, but there’s something in them that comes from the heart, and, so, goes to the heart.

What comes from the head is perceived by the audience, the child, the electorate, as manipulative. And we may succumb to the manipulative for a moment because it makes us feel good to side with the powerful. But finally we understand we’re being manipulated. And we resent it.

Tragedy is a celebration not of our eventual triumph but of the truth – it is not a victory but a resignation. Much of its calmative power comes, again, from that operation described by Shakespeare: when remedy is exhausted, so is grief.”

David Mamet – Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

Dean’s first collection on the streets…

Sometimes I'm So Happy I'm Not Safe On The Streets. Published by Wrecking Ball Press.

Dean Wilson’s first collection of poetry was going to be called Confessions of a Redundant Postman.  I do hope such trivia will turn up in a pub quiz one day – and not just in Hull but elsewhere, as Dean’s legend spreads far and wide and way beyond the city. As it is, the much more satisfyingly oddball Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets (taken from a line in the poet’s Away With The Fairies) is emblazoned on the cover, atop the body, as is Dean’s wont, of a hairy, tattooed man.

Those that have seen Dean perform have been eagerly awaiting this publication for a while (who wouldn’t want a piece of him?). Those that have neither seen him, nor heard of him, better brace themselves. The 62 pages of Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets’ are packed with an onslaught of absolute gems. Some of the poems within may shock the faint of heart, and other readers may not be ready for Bare Hands, Peer of the Realm and other honest slices of Dean’s life. But Dean’s world and body of work are to be embraced, should be embraced and will be embraced.

These 51 pieces of literary genius will make you laugh, cry, take deep breaths and doubt their veracity. But these are very real poems from a very unique voice. And, even though you may never have heard his nervy vocal stylings, nor laughed at his on-off moustache, or marveled at his recollections of what happened on his way to the Whalebone public house, you will be left with an absolute sense of the man. At his best, which is often, Dean simultaneously moves and induces hilarity.  Sometimes I’m So Happy… is the totally accessible, highly entertaining, utterly superb collection of a superstar.

One day, and one day soon methinks, the world will know of How D’Ya Like Your Eggs in the Morning?, visitor numbers to Bridlington will have dramatically declined thanks to Day Out and Never Stand On A Deckchair will be recited daily by every child on the planet. Every child on the planet.

When I picked up my copy of Sometimes I’m So Happy…  from the offices of publishers Wrecking Ball Press, the exchange was accompanied by the comment “all the hits are in there.” Which they are. Wondering what your life’s been missing? Get yourself a copy right now (an absolute snip at a tenner).

Read five poems by Dean Wilson on the Morning Star’s website.



Struggling with words these days. Had a good natter about it last night.  I think owning a typewriter might help. We’ll see.

“Words… They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more… I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.”

Tom Stoppard – The Real Thing

A total whatever…

“Funny how ye tell people a story to make a point and ye fail, ye fail, a total disaster. Not only do ye no make yer point it winds up the exact fucking opposite man, the exact fucking opposite. That isnay a misunderstanding it’s a total whatever.”

“Ninety-nine per cent of traditional English literature concerns people who never have to worry about money at all. We always seem to be watching or reading about emotional crises among folk who live in a world of great fortune both in matters of luck and money; stories and fantasies about rock stars and film stars, sporting millionaires and models; jet-setting members of the aristocracy and international financiers.”

James Kelman

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing…

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing

1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.


Read more on this from Elmore Leonard at the New York Times Writers on Writing series.

Don’t freeze up…

“Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.”

Thomas Wolfe – You Can’t Go Home Again

This storm…

Murakami is the man…

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the Shore


“There are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.”

Neil Gaiman – The Books of Magic

“It is cognition that is the fantasy…. Everything I tell you now is mere words. Arrange them and rearrange them as I might, I will never be able to explain to you the form of Will… My explanation would only show the correlation between myself and that Will by means of a correlation on the verbal level. The negation of cognition thus correlates to the negation of language. For when those two pillars of Western humanism, individual cognition and evolutionary continuity, lose their meaning, language loses meaning. Existence ceases for the individuum as we know it, and all becomes chaos. You cease to be a unique entity unto yourself, but exist simply as chaos. And not just the chaos that is you; your chaos is also my chaos. To wit, existence is communication, and communication, existence.”

Haruki Murakami – A Wild Sheep Chase

“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.”

Charles Bukowski

Unusual experiment…

I haven’t been drinking, haven’t been in a bar, haven’t been at the Dingo, Dome nor Select. Haven’t seen anybody. Not going to see anybody. Trying unusual experiment of a writer writing. That will also probably turn out to be vanity.

Ernest Hemingway, letter to F Scott Fitzgerald