Nowness: December 2023

December 2023 is almost over and I should be thinking about my end-of-year roundup more than updating the Now page. What can I say? I live in the Now.

My partner and I still live in Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a writer, though much of my work these past few months have been writing-adjacent or administering the necessary business side of writing. I’m fine with that.

Work

From the Sublime… just published a piece I wrote about Pogs and nostalgia in their second issue. It was fun to write about the idiotic cardboard discs and I like the whip-pan “Dudley via Honolulu” structure I came up with.

I’m making a film with Mark Cartwright and Anthony Irvine about the Iceman. We’re basically adapting my book into a documentary. It’s been nothing but fun so far. We’re trying to cover some of our expenses with a Kickstarter so please chip in if you can.

Issue 15 of New Escapologist is out now. It’s been my main workload for at least two months: writing, commissioning, editing, proofing, printing, promotion, shipping. I’m trying to arrange proper distribution for this one too, which I think will happen in January thanks to distributor Ra & Olly.

My first novel, Rub-A-Dub-Dub just scooped a Saltire Award for Best Book Cover. Amazing. September also saw a nice interview about the book with my old friend Reggie Chamberlain-King in Pop Matters.

I’ve almost finished editing John Robinson’s second book about Momus. It’ll be published by P&H in February.

This is a lot of work for me. I’ve loved every minute of it but I’m looking forward to a proper break while the world enjoys Christmas and probably a deceleration in the year of the orangutan.

Reading

I’m currently reading Bore Hole, the memoir of Joe Melen who drilled a hole in his own head. Recommended.

I also recently read Butts by Heather Radke, a cultural history of arses.

Nina Simon’s Gum by Warren Ellis, meanwhile, is the story of how the Dirty fiddler pocketed Dr. Simone’s gobbed-up gum at a concert and what happened next. It’s fab.

Travel

My partner was finally granted citizenship this month. Rejoice! It’s been a long journey. Her passport also arrived today (a separate process, by the way), which means we can leave the UK for periods longer than 180 days if we want to. Ironically, citizenship means the ability to stay without fear of deportation but also the ability to get off this blasted island.

I was in Paris recently, visiting the Asia Now exhibition, dossing in a hostel, and hanging out with Landis who was over from Chicago, signing books and consorting with publishers.

I visited the Netherlands in November ostensibly for a day of Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht but also flaneuring around (and hostelling again) in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Delft. Oh! And Luxembourg, which isn’t even in the Netherlands! It’s hard to convey how much I enjoyed this trip: the freedom of solo travel, all those lovely European trains, a rich variety of experience.

I was filming in Wolverhampton and Birmingham later in the same month with Anthony and Mark, and also meeting the amazing Fliss, Jim, Michael and Arthur.

Time Wasting

Most weeks, we attend a particular Monday night pub quiz. It’s a waste of time, money, and health but we continue to attend for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s because we keep WINNING. Oh yeah.

For TV, my partner and I have been watching Moonlighting (1985-89), which is a lot of fun so far with its fast-talking silliness and two charismatic leads but I worry about all the fourth-wall breaking that’s starting to happen in the second season. On my own, I’ve been watching Season 5 of Fargo, which is awesome. The pared-down minimalist narrative doesn’t get my blood up like Seasons 1-3 but is a welcome reduction after the messy Chris Rock season.

A film I enjoyed recently was Other Music, a documentary about the important record shop in New York City. I also enjoyed Wil Hodgson’s comedy show Barbicidal Tendencies, free to watch on YouTube thanks to GFS.

Here’s my picture of the “month” (this time with Mark and Anthony) so you can continue to monitor my ongoing decay:

You’ve already seen that one? Okay, here’s another:

Nowness: September 2023

September 2023 is breathing provocatively down our necks. My partner and I still live in Glasgow, Scotland. And I’m still, thank fuck, a writer.

Autumn is approaching and I’ve been eating veggies and apples from Alan‘s allotment. Nature’s bounty has NOT given me the squits. In banal news we’ve got a new sofa bed coming tomorrow. We sold the old sofa on Gumtree last week and we’ve been sitting on the floor ever since.

Work

Last month’s Kickstarter to bring back New Escapologist went extremely well. In fact, it outstripped all of my expectations. The first new issue of the magazine is now printed and available and continuing to sell well.

Work has already begun on Issue 15. I’ve been writing, editing, and commissioning like a trooper.

The magazine is available in a handful of shops as of this month too. The ever-supportive Aye-Aye Books in Glasgow has a hefty wodge of copies, while Print Culture and Good Press in Glasgow are stocking it too. Exciting news for Londoners: we’re also stocked in the famous magCulture now. Success!

Also this month I’ve been working hard to promote my first novel, Rub-A-Dub-Dub. This has involved interviews and prize submissions and some chats with booksellers. I’m not sure when this will all start to pay off.

Oh! And I had a piece about the Iceman published in From the Sublime…, the cool new zine from Manchester.

Reading

I’m currently reading Salinger’s Nine Stories. This particular copy was given to me by Martin who found it in a Montreal bin.

I also recently read Claire Dederer’s excellent Monsters, Rodge Glass’s biography of Alasdair Gray, John Robinson’s first of three biographies of Momus (which I enjoyed so much that I uncharacteristically left a review for it at Waterstones), a so-so selection of comic essays by Sloane Crosley called I Was Told There’d Be Cake, and a great comic book called Hell Phone by Benji Nate.

Travel

We’re still waiting on my partner’s citizenship application and trying not to think about it.

This month I was in Wolverhampton to be interviewed for YouTube by Ginger Beard Mark, Hay-on-Wye to see some middlebrow tourist bookshops, and at the Edinburgh Fringe for fun and profit.

I’ll return to Edinburgh this week for some exiting hangouts and to see Simon Munnery’s Fringe show, Jerusalem.

Time Wasting

Most weeks, we attend a particular Monday night pub quiz. It’s a waste of time, money, and health but we continue to attend for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s because we keep WINNING. Oh yeah.

For TV, I’ve been watching Fleishman is in Trouble, which is okay but I don’t particularly recommend it. Danes dains to be great in it. My partner also got us into Gothic Homemaking with Aurelio Voltaire, which is exactly as it sounds.

The main film I can remember watching this month was The Red Shoes, a beautiful 1948 Powell and Pressburger movie. Oh, and Barbie at the GFT, which is a load of old piss really but the atmosphere in the cinema was fun.

Here’s my picture of the month (this time with GBM) so you can continue to monitor my ongoing decay:

Nowness: July 2023

It’s July 2023. My partner and I live in Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a writer.

It’s summer and the sun has been shining. I have a big pile of library books to enjoy. We recently made the switch from crap vegan margarine to real butter from a dairy I used to walk past when employed by Stirling University in 2014: it gives me a pleasant sense of connectedness when I spread it on my toast.

Work

I’m bringing back my small press magazine, New Escapologist and I’ve been working joyfully on the comeback issue. Please back the mag’s return on Kickstarter if you’d like to.

I published my first novel earlier this month. It’s called Rub-A-Dub-Dub.

Go Faster Stripe recently published my book Melt It! (with Anthony Irvine). We had a launch event of sorts at Guggleton Farm Arts in England last week.

Reading

I’ve been reading about early German Romanticism, fungi, Dora Carrington, and Eric Gill. I love public libraries.

Travel

I just got my passport renewed! It took only two weeks.

This month we’re also applying for my partner’s UK citizenship. Wish us luck please.

I spent last week in London, Devon, and Wiltshire. There are photographs in the July section of my Tumblr photoblog.

Time Wasting

Most weeks, we attend a particular Monday night pub quiz. It’s a waste of time, money, and health but we continue to attend for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on.

For TV, I’ve been watching Jeopardy! Masters, Mr. Inbetween, Cobra Kai, The Bear, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The only film I can remember seeing this month was The Red Shoes, the devastatingly gorgeous 1948 Powell and Pressburger film.

A friend sometimes gives me free tickets to the GFT. The most recent film I saw was Beau is Afraid. It gave me a nightmare.