Charlie says...

2015-11-23 18:55:16

Last Orders at the Bucket of Blood

In 2013 I released Crooked Pathways, a collection of short stories that includes Last Orders at the Bucket of Blood, through Amazon. The short story was adapted into a play in 2014, which showcased at The Burrell Theatre, Truro, Cornwall on the 25th January 2015. 

Unfortunately the theatre company involved could not raise enough funding to continue the project, despite an offer of three appearances at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington, London. 

I have now decided to adapt the story into a 67 page script for TV. Why? Just a gut feeling that this will make a great film/drama. 

Last Orders at the Bucket of Blood *free script*

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015-08-10 23:25:58

13 Antiheroes*

Anyone who has read my books will have noticed that I do like to write about antiheroes; I guess my books fall under the antinovel [1] category. Personally, I find novels/films/drama with jolly plots and happy endings running through them, rather dreary and one-dimensional. This is why I don’t read or write those kinds of books, nor do I like to watch those kinds of movies. I like to write about outsiders, scoundrels, brooding geniuses and fallen angels, they all inspire and fascinate me, whether it is in books, film or reality. Every book or film needs a loveable villain or rebel to drive a good story, don’t you think?   

So, I have compiled this list of my top 13 antiheroes along with an explanation of why I love these characters and what they reveal to me about the human condition.  I could easily come up with another 13 lists of brilliant scoundrels and fallen angels, but for now, this is the one I have put together for your pleasure:

 

 

13. Travis Bickle – Taxi Driver 1976 [2]

One of my all-time favourite antiheroes is the character Travis Bickle [3] played by Robert De Niro in the classic film Taxi Driver.  For those of you who have not yet watched this remarkable film, it tells the story of Travis, a damaged Vietnam War veteran who works as a taxi driver in New York City, while suffering from severe insomnia and depression. Travis is quickly brought to the brink of insanity by working the graveyard shift driving his taxi around the city.  Of course, it doesn’t take long for him to plunge headlong into a personality disorder characterized by his increasingly odd behaviour and thinking.

Throughout the movie Travis’s repressed rage starts to slowly ooze from his damaged soul, but what disturbs me the most about the character of Travis Bickle is that I have witnessed a little bit of him in certain individuals that I’ve met in the real world.

"You talkin' to me?"

 

Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett [4] 1946-2006

I don’t mind admitting that I very nearly didn’t put Syd on this list because he seems more a victim of fame rather than an antihero. However, Syd’s music and lyrics are very strange and entice the listener to meander through his hallucinogenic rose garden. His tilted view of reality is ingeniously expressed through his multi dimensional word play, which is laced with sinuous melodies that haunt the mind and demonstrate without any doubt, he was one of the main originators of psychedelic music, as well as being a poet. It’s also worth mentioning that Syd was a very talented artist/painter too.

The pressures of fame combined with his growing personality disorders ultimately led to his ruin, whereby in later years he became a recluse, ironically he also became a cult hero throughout the late 70s right up to this day - his music reverberates through speaker systems all over the world as I sit here typing out these words. But above all, Syd’s music and words have a dark beauty that makes no apologies or compromises to the listener; Syd did things in his own crooked way, as he plunged further and further into the abyss. He was a fallen angel who’s neglectful decadence throughout his uncompleted slice of fame, in my humble view, makes him a kind of ill-fated antihero who, for a short period in his life was a force of nature that shone way too bright for this sad old world.

I’m a fan!

 

 

11. Jason Williamson – Sleaford Mods [5]

Right, if you haven’t heard of the Sleaford Mods then you just aren’t paying attention, because these guys are doing something profound within the music industry that I haven’t witnessed since the Clash, The Sex Pistols, Ian Dury, Crass, etc. Mix all of those with a splash of John Cooper Clarke, [6] for good measure and even then, you’re not getting that close to putting a label on the punkie reverberation of the Sleaford Mods. So, if you like the sound of that lot, then go search-out their music!  I digress.

Back to Jason Williamson, the singer, whose verbal attack comes at you in a barking-mad monologue of raw unadulterated, seething genius.  This man *is* an amazing lyricist, although, I see him as a kind of audio-scriptwriter who’s words conjure up irate mini-dramas within the listener's skull. I reckon he’s just the fella to shake up the dismal state of the music industry today, but what I really like about Jason is the way he portrays himself as a man who is about to go off in societies face like a satanic nail bomb. This, in my humble view, exposes him as a verbal protagonist, and an antihero in the true sense of the word!  A punk-rocker poet whose lyrics reek of the dismal hopelessness of the underclasses, while also revealing the absurdity of all those over-privileged apathy-mongers out there, who sneer at the abject poverty that surrounds them.  Jason depicts a social landscape pushed to the brink that’s about to be broken into a million splinters, while society chomps on a dog-shit sandwich. You don’t get a nobler antiheroe than Jason Williamson.  

Go buy their music and listen to it full pelt while washing the dishes!

 

 

10. Maleficent - Sleeping Beauty [7]

Maleficent scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid; everything about her is evil, yet she is strangely enigmatic and dazzling. She is on my antihero list simply because she is - the self-proclaimed ‘Mistress of All Evil’, of course!

 

9.  Jim Morrison – The Doors [8] 1943-1971

Jim Morrison needs no introduction, most of you will know who this man is and if not, you surely would have been exposed to the music of The Doors at some point in your sorry life.  He is on my list of antiheroes not for being an amazing singer/songwriter/poet, but for being a hell raiser who demanded attention, which consequently caused much embarrassment to those close to him. Jim played by his own set of rules. An antihero who shook the hippie movement out of its stoned malaise as well as the music industry at the time, by giving it a good man-slap across the back of the head, while cackling like a defiant devil! Jim was full of mischief, a rascal with the looks of a Greek God who was totally fearless in the face of authority.

However, he, like most antiheroes, wandered too far down the left-hand path and croaked unceremoniously while taking a bath. He had been experimenting with pure-cut heroin, which proved to be too potent, even for the Lizard King. Although, there are those who believe he still walks among us today, and that his death was a cover-up story to escape the heavy chains of fame. He broke on through to the other side without even meaning to, I fear. Despite the unanswered questions surrounding his suspicious death, the music of The Doors lives on forever.  

 

 

8. Nurse Ratched - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [9]

A remorseless bitch of the highest order, Nurse Ratched is a fictional character and one of the main antagonists in Ken Kesey's 1962 novel - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In some ways she could be seen as a peculiar representation of how corrupt authorities within mental institutions of that time corroded the disposition of the bored detainees, regardless of their lunacy. 

Of course, I could just as easily have gone for Jack Nicholson’s role as Randle Patrick "Mac" McMurphy; protagonist and antihero in the story, but there was something extra wicked about Nurse Ratched. The actress who played the part in the film version as the evil Nurse Ratched; Louise Fletcher, [10] won the Academy Award for Best ActressBAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.  She played the part perfectly! Throughout the film and the book, she has a powerful presence that could be deemed as slightly erotic (cough).

 

 7. Annie Wilkes - Misery, by Stephen King {11}

If you haven’t seen this film, well, I advise you to go and watch it; it’s a classic! As is the book! Annie Wilkes played by Kathy Bates [12] is the epitome of the antihero playing the part of an obsessed fan who finds herself in the fortunate position of aiding her idol, novelist Paul Sheldon (played by James Caan). Without meaning to give away any spoilers, Annie turns out to be a sadistic lunatic intent on never letting go of her new guest - even if that means crippling him with a few solid blows to the leg with a sledgehammer. Annie’s psychopathic behaviour *is* creepy as hell, yet mesmerising, Stephen King is a flipping antihero-generating genius!

 

6. Lemmy – Moterhead [13]

Lemmy is one badass mofo and needs no introduction! A rock n’ roll metal pirate who plays a mean bass, and is more punk rock than he gives himself credit for! However, I reckon he’s a big softie deep down. An antihero of the highest order, hate him or love him; he makes no apologies for the way he is. Nuff said.

 

5. Queenie – Blackadder[14]

She’ll cut off your nose if it’s prettier than hers, or maybe have you stretched on the Rack if she gets a bit jaded with your presence.  A woman who gets what she wants! On a whim she threatens her courtiers with execution, just for the EviL play of it.  She makes Caligula [15] look like a big Mummy’s boy.  Queenie is a monster with a pretty face . . . Queenie loves to party, get drunk and have wild sex with whoever takes her fancy.  Queenie rules!

 

 

4. Yosser Hughes played by Bernard Hill – Boys from the Blackstuff[16]

Yosser’s story written by the very talented Alan Bleasdale is one of the darkest television dramas I have ever watched. Set in Liverpool in the 1980s, a bleak and despairing tale of unemployment and poverty whereby the main character Yosser, brilliantly played by actor Bernard Hill, hits hard times after losing his job, his wife, his home and eventually his three kids. He has a complete mental breakdown and winds-up homeless, wandering the streets of Liverpool approaching unsuspecting strangers with the simple request, ''Gi' us a job, c'mon.''

I won’t lie, it is difficult to sit through this woeful story, not because it’s too depressing (it is very depressing), no, it is difficult to sit through because it is so damn powerful! TV executives today could do with watching this; they might learn something about what good writing is, especially the opening scene where Yosser’s nightmare foretells his downfall as he and his three children wander into a boating lake and one-by-one his children duck under and disappear into the murky water as Yosser panics to save them. 

A masterpiece from start to end!

''Gi' us a job, c'mon, I can do that.''

 

3. Cool Hand Luke -1967 [17]

Call me old-fashioned, but I love this film! The main antagonist, ‘Cool Hand Luke’, played by Paul Newman, gets arrested by the cops for being drunk and chopping the heads off of parking metres, and ends up having to do a two year stretch in a southern chain gang.  The movie is set in the 1950s and tells the woeful story of a man who refuses to be broken by the harsh prison systems back in those days. Cool Hand Luke embodies all the negative traits of a defiant antihero who simply won’t play by the rules of the Captain. Luke symbolises the resilience of a bad-boy that laughs in the face of authority, even if it means being forced to dig ditches until he falls into the ditch half dead from exhaustion. I’ll stop with the spoilers right there and urge you all to go and watch this film if you haven’t already.

“What we've got here is ... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach.” 

 

2. Mark E. Smith – The Fall [18]

Regardless of the fact that I’m a massive Fall fan, I know for sure that Mark would cluck under his breath, while piercing me with an amphetamine induced grimace, take a long drag on a fag, and calmly declare: who gives a fuck!  But, this is what endears me to the old bugger. 

It is clear that Mark E. Smith isn’t too fussed about being liked and would probably be the first person to admit that he’s not a nice man. Like his music, he radiates belligerence along with his anti-fashion dress sense; he is anti-everything; he is a freaky-force of nature that explodes attitude in the face of conventional mediocrity; he is always recording a new album and always sacking band members.  Mark E. Smith laughs like Judas did when he shook the hand of Satan! Welcome to The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith.

 

1. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson [19]

This is a story that needs no introduction either, other than it being a work of genius that cunningly exposes some of the dark shadows that we all recognise hidden deep within in the human condition.  We are all capable of doing bad things and Robert Louis Stevenson was a writer who identified this through his main character Dr Jekyll, a man who creates a drug that is capable of separating a person’s good-side from their bad-side. He becomes hooked as he slowly transforms into Mr Hyde - the EviL oNe!

The rumour goes that Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde came to him via a nightmare he had while suffering from tuberculosis induced fevers.  I guess this would explain why he implies through his grim tale that maybe, EviL is sometimes more enticing than we realise, and that, maybe, there aren’t always happy endings in this life.  If we’re honest, a little bit of Mr Hyde dwells in all of us; this is why I have chosen Mr Hyde as my ultimate antihero . . . Amen!  

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinovel

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxi_Driver

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Bickle

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syd_Barrett

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleaford_Mods

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cooper_Clarke

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maleficent

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Morrison

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo%27s_Nest_(film

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Fletcher

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misery_(film)

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Bates 

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemmy

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackadder

[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula

[16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boys_from_the_Blackstuff

[17] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Hand_Luke

[18]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fall_(band

[19] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Louis_Stevenson 

2015-07-11 20:24:20

The Plight of a Mind on Fire . . .

sunflower blogNice sun flower, eh? My 3-year-old son Noah planted a seed and to his surprise (and mine) it grew. He is well chuffed that it has grown taller than his older brother’s sunflower, which is currently being attacked by hungry slugs. It’s a sunflower growing race! Like most boys, my two wee lads are very competitive and are constantly trying to outdo each other.

It seems everything in life is a kind of race or competition of some sort or other, driving us all to get up in the morning and carry on with the gruelling climb up some other bugger’s hill to try and *win* at this game of Life. Even if you’re lucky enough to be able to climb up your own hill, it’s still a test - you still want to win! Right?

I guess the hill is also there to gage our progress before the old meat van (our bodies) turns into a lump of flesh that no longer works, rendering us senile and choking on a dry spoon-fed Weetabix in the Geriatrics ward.  Oh, how I dread the thought of the knackers yard - time *is* of the essence!  (Cough)

So, here I am doing my very best not to make this sound like some sort of rubbish sales pitch - nor come across like a tormented soul having a mid-life crises, trying to show the world how amazing I am at compiling dark, hilarious fiction that haemorrhages out of my imagination like ripe festering boils on the bald head of Satan’s first-born.  No, all I am trying to do is get the attention of all you avid readers out there to read my latest book EviL BreW or my other book of short stories Crooked Pathways and to put up a review on my Amazon page . . . even if it's just a few honest words about the books, this will really help!

Why?

Well, the rules of the game are as follows: more reviews means more exposure, which means reaching a wider audience, which means more book sales, which means I can use the money to fund my next book. 

In the mean time I’m going to crack on with my 3rd book; Jimbo’s Ayahuasca adventure in the jungle …

 

 

 

2015-06-23 20:51:16

Cosmic Jokers Stuck in the Material World*

BLOG POLTERGEIST

Back in 1977, I can remember sitting with my dinner in my lap watching TV with my mum and dad one rainy evening, when a BBC Nationwide Special came on that was investigating the strange case of The Enfield Poltergeist[1]. I didn’t even know what a Poltergeist was at the time, as I clung to my chair listening to the distressing male voice of an old man channelling through a young girl called Janet Hodgson, my dinner plate near fell off my lap because my knees were trembling . . . I was utterly terrified! Of course, my parents thought the whole thing was ridiculous and tried to laugh it off, but I could see through their facade; they were frightened too. This footage was so powerful it set off my fascination with the subject, along with my love of old horror films. In the late 1970s horror movies and the paranormal were all the rage and Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee films were very popular in our house. But, The Enfield Poltergeist was different – there was something very real about it, and as I watched the Nationwide Special reporting this weird story, my imagination was ever so slightly disturbed by the very notion of a poltergeist!  

Here’s the link for the actual footage I watched aged 11: https://youtu.be/_JI8Pk1qbfo

The programme only runs for about 12 minutes, but I remember it vividly as it had such a massive impact on me, especially the creepy voice that works through Janet, sounding unnervingly like the growling voice of an old man with a serious smoking habit. Of course, this could have been her faking it, but I always remember at the time being very unsettled by it . . . as I say, there was something very real about it! I started reading up on the subject on my weekly trip to the local library every Saturday and as I got older I discovered writers like Colin Wilson[2] and T.C. Lethbridge[3] who opened my mind to all sorts of eerie possibilities of what poltergeist[4] phenomena could be.

A fascination with the paranormal has stayed with me to this day; so much so, I have written a dark comedy about an alcoholic atheist poltergeist who finds himself marooned in a Cornish pub! The book is called Crooked Pathways check it out here! My ghost story was also inspired by the excellent 2007 Channel 4 documentary -Interview with a Poltergeist: https://youtu.be/Pvraq3KfP6w

Watching this documentary jogged my memory of the time I saw the Nationwide Special with mum and dad back in 1977, and I don’t mind admitting that I feel just as spooked out by it now as I did when I was 11. In fact, I managed to totally freak myself out by watching hours of footage on YouTube documenting the Enfield Poltergeist. I’ve listened to all the collected voice recordings of the ghost talking through Janet, which was recorded by paranormal investigators Maurice Grosse[5] and Guy Lyon Playfair[6] both members of the SPR Society for Psychical Research. Have a listen for yourself; I WARN YOU IT’S RATHER CREEPY!!

https://youtu.be/DO5mGpx_7mU

If you do have the nerve to sit through all of the links you will surely feel a bit unsettled by the ghostly voice of the old man channelling through the young girl - and when the investigator asks the mischievous spirit what it could remember about its own death, the voice answers, “I went blind, then I had a haemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in a chair in the corner downstairs.”  Sure enough, when the investigators researched the history of the house they were contacted by Terry Wilkins whose father, Bill Wilkins, had lived in the very same house before the Hodgson family. He told them that his dad had died exactly as the poltergeist had described.

Then there was all the other evidence of activity witnessed by the police, news reporters, and caught on camera, such things as: beds being jolted, chairs being tossed in the air, marbles being flung at speed, landing on the carpet without bouncing, mini fires being lit that mysteriously go out of their own accord, the sisters being pulled out of their beds throughout the night by invisible hands, Janet being levitated in mid-air, relentless knocking on the walls that goes on and on for days, excrement being smeared on the walls, apparitions presenting themselves as an old man, or sometimes as an old woman, voices talking through Janet that came as outbursts of swearing or sometimes growling or barking like a dog. The list goes on and on and on.

I find it difficult to be sceptical, considering all of the reliable evidence and the personal accounts of all those involved, all of whom stand by what they experienced in that house 30 years ago.

Here’s an interview with Janet Hodgson on This Morning TV show 2012: https://youtu.be/Dqf7azyYxtQ

 

She tells the same story today and seems so genuinely sincere, so haunted by the experience, and Guy Lyon Playfair (one of the main investigators) is still convinced that this is one of the most profound poltergeist incidents ever recorded - yet, to this day, sceptics, regardless of all the documented evidence, still claim that the whole thing was a prank played out by two naughty sisters who’s mother was either easy to fool or indeed, in on the joke. But why would a single mother living in a council house play out a paranormal hoax over a 14 month period and allow her daughter to go through intense psychological tests for months in a psychiatric hospital?

It’s a real shame this happened back in 1977, nowadays investigators have the added advantage of decent equipment in order to measure and record activity in a scientific way. What would you do if you had to share your home with a poltergeist? I know what I would do; move the hell out! But, what if it followed you? And how-the-heck do you explain the situation to anyone without them thinking you are going completely nuts! Then there’s the mental torment of sleep depravation to consider!

So, what was this Thing? Was it the trapped ghost of Bill Wilkins who was possibly angry and confused about all these strangers living in his house, but why be so childish and spiteful about it, why not just communicate with the investigators? Or could it be that Janet was in some way willing mischief and creating a sort of hologram or ghoul by generating a weird paranormal feedback that somehow manipulated physical objects? Maurice Grosse contacted London University to have Janet tested by a student of experimental physics to see if she could bend metal just like the famous television personality, and self-proclaimed psychic of the time Uri Geller[7].  She was asked to try and bend a piece of metal with her mind whilst holding her hands 6 inches above it. Sure enough, she successfully bent the metal without touching it, and this experiment was performed in a scientific environment; make what you want of that!

Anyway, I dare you to watch all of the the links I’ve listed so you can come to your own conclusions, but be warned, it’s not for the faint hearted and it may set your imagination reeling with notions of Cosmic Jokers creeping around your house, who seem full to the brim with malignant rage hell bent on causing mischief and pandemonium.  (Gulp!)

 

(((EviL CackLe)))

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enfield_Poltergeist

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Wilson

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Charles_Lethbridge

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poltergeist

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Grosse

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Lyon_Playfair

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Uri_Geller 

2015-06-07 14:23:22

If it’s dead daddy, why can I still see it?

dead mouse

“Is that mouse dead?” My 5-year-old boy asks me as we loom over the pitiful little corpse that lay by the side of a dirt track, on our way to the beach.

“Yes, it’s dead.” I answer casually as we gawp at the poor thing.

Alfie looks up at me with a perplexed expression, “If it’s dead daddy, why can I still see it?”

My brain races for answers, “Um, well, um, the little mouse is going through a kind of recycling process, I guess.”

“What recycling? Like we do with the plastic bottles dad?”

Alfie looks even more confused. We both look at the dead mouse again as I try to summon up an ethically correct answer about how death is a sort of recycling process, and that the mouse’s little corpse will dissolve back into the ground where it fell, to be slowly composted back into organic matter, eventually fragmenting into dust particles that’ll blow around in the breeze for eternity. How do you translate this to a five-year-old boy? 

He looks up at me, “Am I going to die?” 

The question hits me like a punch in the heart. Immediately I’m overwhelmed with a deep sense of sadness, knowing that - indeed, we will both one-day be as dead as the little mouse that lay before us. I look into my son’s eyes, “Yes, I’m afraid we will all die one day, but not for a very long time . . .”

My inner voice stands up and bravely announces that – only the body dies, we cannot die, so, don’t worry about it. It is what it is; all we have is this moment, don’t waste it worrying about bits of dust blowing around in the breeze. Weirdly I'm interrupted by the voice of Julian Cope singing in my head like some sort of cosmic joker:

Free your mind and your ass will follow, the kingdom of heaven is within . . . open up your funky mind and you can fly . . .

Alfie grabs my hand and gives me his cheeky grin, as I snap out of my malaise and look away from the dead mouse giving him my full attention.

“Dad.”

 “Yes, Alfie.”

 “Can I have an ice-cream when we get to the beach?”

 I give Alfie a nod and then we plod onwards  . . .  

 

Dead mouse song

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Cope

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Your_Mind..._and_Your_Ass_Will_Follow

 

 

 

 

 

2015-05-31 17:56:28

The Psychedelic Enigma of Reality*

blog 2

I spot a person staring into the middle distance and catch that familiar blank look on their face, emptiness in their eyes.  I find myself smiling - what must be going on behind that vacant stare?  I can only imagine the monologue of thoughts and emotions zipping through that person’s mind. For me, this is authentication of the soul, even if it is just a pointless surge of biological triggers making sparks that somehow create the force of nature that is consciousness. You know, the stuff that makes us what we are and gives us a sense of purpose and meaning, urging us to plod onwards.

There are many religious concepts of the soul being immortal and seemingly living beyond physical death, such notions have always fascinated me, but at the same time, never sat that well with my affinity for pragmatism. Personally, I see myself as an agnostic with atheistic tendencies. As fascinating as doctrine is, likewise, science with its mathematical laws of cause and effect, as well as the weird realms of Quantum mechanics, keeps me grounded. Truth is, I don’t know what the truth is?

Then I hear the voice of Gordon, “Charlie, your life isn’t just a bit of a joke, no, it's a perpetual joke that you have to keep living out until you get the joke. Get it? Karma. Get it?”

I blink and Gordon is gone.

Reincarnation, now there’s a concept to sink my fangs into. Maybe we have always been here and physical life is but a waking dream that we all play out like some kind of perpetual joke – doomed to be reborn over and over for eternity until we can unlock ourselves from the shackles of rebirth - though, this begs the question of why we self-forget all those past lives. Why can’t we remember those other people we were and those other lives we lived?

Or, maybe I’ve just got a healthy fear of death? Just a collection of birthday candles waiting to be snuffed out. The big sleep ensues and the physical world goes on without us. But why, what’s it all for? Nothing is certain and time moves on and my thoughts are stuck in a state of flux that seems to keep me in the here and now.

Confused? Yeah, so am I.

This is my Catch-22. It forces me to take the path of the agnostic pragmatist, which is at the crux of everything I write about. I enjoy bringing apposing theories together via the medium of writing pure unadulterated fiction. This is why I love to play the part of Devil’s advocate when I develop characters, it’s like some ethereal force takes hold and plunges me into someone else’s skull, exposing their internal ranting’s and emotions. I get to cherry pick the bits I like, scribbling it all down onto cream paper with a biro full of blood to try and capture the moment forever, for whatever.

2015-05-29 22:45:00

Just Another Ego, Jostling for Position Through a Mob of Indifference . . .

blog

The other day I caught a brief glimpse of myself sat at my desk clicking away on my computer, procrastinating as usual, assessing this, judging that, snooping around this web thingy that comes in boundless formats and guises, streaming all sorts of stuff directly into my conscious mind. Even when the virtual faucet is switched off for the night, the data still reverberates around in my sub-consciousness like distorted segments of dreams that I can’t quite remember. As I titter at this, sneer at that, and on and on it goes like some queasy cartoon that never seems to end.

My sensible voice snarls back at me – it’s your own darn fault; since being made redundant from your day job you have done nothing but indulged yourself in fabricating fiction, now look where you are - caught up in this stupid writing game, with no choice but to see it through! And, believe me, it is a game and I *will* see it through. I guess this is an existential predicament that most writers and artists find themselves in – snared by an invisible cable of awful self-loathing that chokes the flow of creativity and corrodes the soul. But regardless of all this inner turmoil, the books are out there, and the deed is done. And yes, there will be more books. However, I won’t lie, it’s like treading water trying promote my work without coming across like some kind of self-absorbed brat jumping up and down in a virtual world screaming – me, me, me, look at meeee!

So, here I am, attempting to blog, trying to entice you to buy my books. Just another middle-aged beardy-man purging the information-overload that rattles around in his fried brain. Big deal! This is all very passé and I most probably am a speck of dust in an infinite ocean of reputable writers and thinkers, who would probably cluck at my feeble endeavours. But guess what folks; I’m in it for the long haul, and the journey has only just started.

Onwards to oblivion! (Shakes fist at the sky!)

2015-04-11 16:44:00

My new book 'EviL BreW'

 

Buy EviL BreW today!

This is what one of my readers had to say about the book after giving it 5 stars on my Amazon page:

By P. Smith on 11 May 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

Bad-trip tightrope ride makes for extremely entertaining read!

A psychotropic blend of Irvine Welsh, Hunter S Thompson and Edgar Allen Poe, Charlie's latest offering is a crazed and drooling tightrope walk above the abyss. A 'fictional' (yeah but how much really, wink wink?) account of a madcap group of friends as they navigate their way through a seemingly endless menu of illegal goodies and the synapse-warping night on the town that ensues. A brilliant and entertaining read and you'll find yourself cursing such earthly concepts as work and sleep for making you have to put it down! Also, look out for a cameo appearance from legendary ur-shamanic rock star 'Peggy Pope'. Awl-right!

>> BUY EVIL BREW NOW ON AMAZON <<

 

2014-09-25 13:00:37

Last Orders at the Bucket of Blood

 

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One of my short stories (Last Orders at the Bucket of Blood) has been adapted into a play.

Last Orders at the Bucket Blood 

A showcase 'staged reading' of the play will be presented by Escape Theatre on Sunday 25th January 2015 at 6pm for 7pm, at the Burrell Theatre, Truro. Entry is mainly by invitation, with a restricted number of tickets for the public.
More details will appear in the press. For information, please contact Escape Theatre's Event Coordinator at:
katiehamley@yahoo.co.uk

A Play by Peter Delaunay: http://www.peterdelaunay.com/ 
Directed by Derekk Ross: http://www.derekkross.co.uk/
Music by Martin Bills: http://martinbills.com/

Escape Theatre: http://www.escapetheatre.co.uk/

A modern ghost story woven around the myths surrounding the Bucket of Blood public house in Hayle: a spooky comedy that includes a new sea shanty, composed especially for the play (along with a fully integrated musical score throughout) and sung by the Hayle male voice choir. 

In a ghost story with a twist, Escape Theatre delve into a dark world in which existence and non-existence rub along uncomfortably together in an eerie but comic tale of odd Cornish goings-on.  The play is a contemporary take on Cornish 'ghost story' mythology.  It's about the dark side, and the outsider experience. 

 

 

 

 

2013-08-30 11:42:21

Another great writer and inspiration wanders off into the Void.

RIP Ian Banks.

2013-08-30 11:38:52

Seamus Heaney RIP

Seamus Heaney R.I.P. A very cool guy.

(((Sad)))

2013-04-09 16:30:50

A Dickensian Punk Rock Approach to Writing a Short Story.

Is it a bit cheesy to be a fan of Charlie Dickens? Sod it, I don't care, I love his works! I wonder what must have run through his mind as he drifted through the busy streets of Victorian London. It is well documented that he regularly walked many miles round the old city, I often brood over this image. His skill as a writer allows me to wander those streets with him; mesmerised by his voice and ability to stir up empathy within me by way of his potent descriptions of nineteenth century London. I’ve always been fascinated with his urge to write about the anti-hero, his sense of justice and awareness of karmic forces that may or may not be real. The way he stirs up sentimentality that presses me to question myself and re-check my moral compass with regards to my own humanity. I’ve always been in awe of him.

Anyhow, it dawned on me one fine morning that Dickensian imagery has much in common with punk rock, well it does in my mind. Maybe I feel this weird parallel within because I’m of a generation that lived through punk in its first manifestation? It kind of adds up, when considered. I would have been about 12 years old at the time and I got saturated with the gush of Dickens cartoons and movies on the TV, at the same time as punk seeped from stereo speakers everywhere. So for some weird reason I’ve always associated the two. Funny how abstract feelings and childhood memories of feelings can bring about strange concepts when you’re older. It’s hard to find words, a kind of a Déjà Vu sensation I suppose?

This connection became a strange formula for my short stories,   bringing into focus the plight of the anti-hero. I guess I took a one - four - five punk chord progression and mixed it up with Dickensian imagery from my minds eye. Another way I like to think of this is like I’m pointing a spotlight on the ill-fated soul of a protagonist who always seems to walk the left-handed path with no worthy virtues.

Of course, when I try to write with such a preoccupied concept rattling around in my head, the rules of grammar can sometimes drift away from the page. Although I try to be attentive about the grammatical rules of writing, I find that glimmers of clarity only come from brief, ambiguous moments, if I sit and scrutinise my grammar for too long, the concept, or idea fades away from my drifting concentration. It’s all a bit Zen. If I think about it too much I lose the essence of the idea. I miss the target. Again!

So the key was simplicity. Just tell the fucking story Charlie, suck up everything that goes on around you that has any worth, and use it as paint. Then, I would toss the voodoo cards up in the air and watch them fall. There comes a point however, where you have to stand back from your work and let it soak into your mind, while trying to be as objective as possible. There also comes a time when you have to let others read your book. This is always a queasy time for me; I hate seeking the approval of others. There has always been a little self-centered piece of me that wants to write, but never let anyone ever read my murmurings of calamity and woe. Then there is the issue of grammar and all that pragmatic stuff. I cannot emphasise enough the value of finding a good editor! After a few attempts of my own and some personal meltdowns, I needed to find an editor who could understand my Dickensian punk rock approach, I got lucky; I found one.

Not only did the process of working closely with an editor make me stand back and think about plots and structure, it also pointed out to me how oddly subjective grammar can be. It’s so easy to assume that readers will engage and ‘get’ your writing style. It’s so easy to assume what you write is worthy or good enough. It was tricky to see my errors because I was so wrapped up in what is good and what is bad, what must stay and what must go. Thankfully after a lot of probing and re-working, these errors were all smoothed out, suddenly the book took on its own identity.

Bam . . .  Dickensian-punk!

 

 

2013-02-22 12:00:57

Cough.

Welcome to my website.

Can I firstly say that these blogs are written in a light-hearted way, with the odd rant thrown in here and there. Please, envision the scene - of me sitting in a padded room ranting to myself, while looking into a broken mirror. Therapy for me, and hopefully some mild entertainment for you. Yeah, I'll be talking a fair bit about my journey as a writer, but I'll also be talking about random stuff as well. It is what it is.

As you've probably worked out, I've written a couple of books, and yes, they are for sale via Amazon on the links provided. 

Congratulations! I sense you thinking. Hyperventilation and panic ensues at the very thought of you, or anyone reading my work. Is it a worthy read? I've asked myself over and over again. Sometimes I worry about all those clever cynics out there. You know, the ones who love to hurl psychological grenades of lethargy at any form of self-driven creativity. Writing is a competitive business these days, which can  make a new author (like myself) feel like a  deluded cyber wimp, jostling for position among a mob of established, self-published authors and, indeed, published authors with a loyal following of readers. Yes, I am human; I  do worry about such stuff.

Most of my life has been spent recording feelings or scratching out bits of fiction in little notepads and on bits of scrap paper. It's almost like I'm constantly trying to capture the moment in an attempt to preserve it forever or indeed, for whatever.Truth is, I don't know why I do this, but I'm strangely driven to do it. 

 

 

 

 

Charlie says...