When I Grew Up God Was Everywhere

April 27th, 2015 § Comments Off § permalink

Round about the time that I became a teenager my father beacame an orthodox priest. He would go out and about in all this priest’s regalier, black robes and black hat, beard like like Rasputin, this massive eastern crucifix chained about his neck. You could see him a mile off. He looked like that even if he was going out to Boots to buy toothaste. I don’t think my mum liked it very much either even though she could be quite stern about her faith too. 

I went to a Catholic primary school so God was pretty much everywhere. He was there too in secondary school because the headmaster was a lay-preacher. Priests never visited my secondary school like they had my primary school but a band called ’Amessiah’ did play. I had no idea what they were singing about but I thought the quitar playing was great. I loved how loud it was too. I didn’t have pop music at home, in fact we didn’t have a record player. Watching Top Of The Pops was frowned upon. I did have a radio in my room and I was given this old record payer in a suitcase thing that someone was throwing out. I began to discover music.

When I was fourteen or so I went to this Evangelical church which was like a hypnotists show. One of the preachers told this story about how once, when they were flying somewhere, they needed cheering up, because their life was not going as it should, when all of a sudden an air stewardess appeared and offered them a seat in business class. It was an obvious gift from above and a sign that he was real. It was a great sales pitch, you could really see it hooking these kids. Then some people started falling on the floor and wailing. It was quite creepy.

My RE teacher was a rugged looking old Teddy Boy who was rumoured to be a raging alcholic. He brought this man in to chat to us about God. He took out this old watch on a chain and said that it had been made by a master craftsman. Then he said that the universe was like the watch, the economies of scale made this plainly rediculous. By this point in my life I had really had enough of religion, which did not make any sense when compared to all that I was discovering about just about everything. But, it was not until I was at university that I said that I was an atheist out loud. There was a small wood out the back of my halls and I said it out there. I was not smited down. Which I was very relieved about. 

My book launch is next week. I’m reading at the BookClub Boutique!

April 8th, 2015 § Comments Off § permalink

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This April we’re thrilled to be curating live readings from two fresh and exciting, eagerly anticipated new novels, both published this London Book fair week: Paul McVeigh’s ‘The Good Son’ and Xavier Leret’s ‘The Romeo and Juliet Killers’
 
We’ll also hear new poetry from prize winning poets Lewis Buxton and the reigning champion Young Poet Laureate of London Aisling Fahey. Plus new work from notorious Book Club Boutique hosts Salena Godden and Michelle Madsen
 
There will be a live music from Delirium Tremens, treating us to delicious songs from their latest folk noir release. Plus we’ll be drinking and dancing through the night to top tunes from The Book Club Boutique DJ Kevin Richards, and all for just £5 on the door, 7pm ’til late. Click here to join our facebook page for more updates or find us on twitter @bookcboutique 

It’s Here!

March 23rd, 2015 § Comments Off § permalink

  

I Am Change

March 15th, 2015 § Comments Off § permalink

I am change, 
the breaker free of chains.
I am my own benchmark, 
my mountain ridge from which to fling my mortal self 
and let the wind rush 
its drummers thrash  
I am free on wings, 
and rise above the sleeping drones of working days 
and life all missed 
all moments lost, 
for you, 
or him, 
or her, 
or they,
for pension time, 
then silent death, 
all too too quick, 
and no mark left. 
That’s not for me.
This time I have is mine 
And I do claim it. 
And from this entrepreneurial spark I fire my destiny
not yours, or his, or her, or they,
it’s mine this time I make, 
this business that I toil to grow, 
my dream, 
my vision, 
my life long flame.

13 August 2014

The Problem Is Not Daizee

March 8th, 2015 § Comments Off § permalink

IMG_0280Whenever I was in trouble at school, which was a lot, my mum reminded me how lucky I was with the story of this girl she had taught in a residential unit, who’s step-dad sold her to sailors from out the back of his van, which he parked up down the docks in Bristol, when she was three years old. My mum said she was a handful, as were the other girls that she was working with, and that nearly all of those teenage girls were prostitutes. That girl became the template for my character Daizee.

Nothing was done for the real life Daizee even though enough people knew about what was going on. There were no trials, no convictions. There wasn’t even a scandal. I don’t think it was because nobody cared, my mum did for one, but her job was to teach English, not to keep men off her. That was someone else’s job. My mum did say that the girl and her friends did keep getting themselves in trouble, and that no matter what doors were locked they always managed to sneak out. But like I said my mum wasn’t there when all the nastiness was happening. I guess there was no point in going to the cops because these kids already had reams of paperwork on them and as we now know the cops don’t have the best of records when it comes to ‘wayward’ girls.

In Rotherham the coppers said of the girls that were sytematically raped that it was their fault, they chose to be prostitutes, it was their ‘lifestyle choice’. And I thought of the real life Daizee being fiddled with in the back of a van at three years old. Different coppers echoed those in Rotherham in Bristol and then again in Oxford. I am sure it will be echoed again and again as more cases come to light. Then came an echo from that Delhi rapist/murderer, though a Chinese whisper had morphed it into, “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.” And we hear it all over the Middle East too where they take the protection of their women so seriously they cover them up. And again in Mexico where rape is endemic, Ethopia, Shri Lanka, Canada, France, Germany, India, Sweden, South Africa, The US then back again to here, the UK, to footballers’ hotel rooms and everywhere else that it might go down. Because men like to blame women or, in the case of Daizee and girls like her, teenagers, kids, for their own downfall.

My Daizee, like the real life one, is not fallen, she is no Eve who tempts Adam, because Adam has already raped her long before she got anywhere near an apple. All looked on by a male God, who in a later story sent his angel to do his business and then after that his priests. And in that religion like most of them there is an onus on female modestly because men can’t stop themselves.

Daizee, like lots of Daizees, has had to live with what life has thrown at her. And she does, with bells on. And that makes her a beautiful handful that needs to be celebrated and loved, even though she would probably tell you to fuck right off. But fuck off, or switch off, you must not do. Especially us men. Especially us men. Because the problem is not Daizee.

The Romeo And Juliet Killers by Xavier Leret to be published by Dedalus Books, April 2015. 

Turn The Porn On

January 27th, 2014 § Comments Off § permalink

He was lying in the hospital bed with a plastic clip on his little finger from which a wire connected him to a heart monitor. His leathered skin was pulled tight over his cheekbones and jaw. Under his eyes were turbid shadows textured like bruised deflated bollocks. Every now and then his tongue would appear out of his mouth, twitching like a tired old cock in a gentle spasm on those dry and frigid lips. Near dead, he was haunted by the memory of what was once pronounced between his legs, solid and jerking like some plastered drunkard at a dance. Above him on the television screen a national talent show blazed, sculpted kids in tight clothes, gyrating to songs of unrequited love. He didn’t want it switched off, just the channel changed, but he hadn’t the strength to reach up to do it himself. Not that they had what he wanted to watch. Not like in a hotel room.

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WILL

January 12th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

Will was alone, his ear to the door, the pain beyond it near splitting the wood. He heard the doctor issue orders and pushed himself away from the door as the Nurse, whose face and hands were covered in blood, dashed out of the bedroom to call for hot water. The sight of the blood made him shudder. Through the door he could see his wife lying pale and exhausted on the bed. The doctor was by her side talking, though she was barely able to listen. The whites of her eyes showed, her face contorted and then her whole body buckled in agony. Her scream wrenched the nurse back.

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ZED

August 29th, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

Zed follows C to the park. When C sits on a bench, in front of a manmade lake, Zed perches three benches down. Each day Zed changes the way he looks, being careful not put on clothes that would seem out of place, overly ostentatious or headline grabbing. Today he is wearing jogging trousers, and a plain white t-shirt with a sports logo over his heart. He only half watches C who sits quietly eating a home made sandwich of white bread, cheese, tomato and lettuce. Zed observes that the cheese is cheddar. Watching C Zed wonders whether C has prepared the food himself or had his wife done so. Zed suspects that it was the wife, though he has no evidence upon which to base his suspicions. Each morning of that week C has left his house at seven in the morning. Never has his wife come to the door to wave him off or suddenly call him back to remind him that he has forgotten his lunch or to kiss him or to mention that she loves him. There is no display of romance, no love note included with his repast.

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Check out this recording of me at The Writers Hub

September 30th, 2011 § Comments Off § permalink

reading my story Turn The Porn On which has just been published in MIR8.
click me

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    "Unsettling but powerful reading." The Big Issue

    "Dark hardcore stuff, couldn't put it down." Salena Godden, The Book Club Boutique

    "an admirably upfront novel, that wears its heart on its sleeve, and confronts controversial issues unflinchingly... a new voice on the literary landscape." Workshy Fop Blog

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