Greenies gets Seal of Excellence

I’m delighted to say that my novel, ‘Greenies’ has been awarded the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence.  In the words of the Awesome Indies site:

“Books bearing the pure gold Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Fiction are our top books. They have been reviewed by three or more editors who have agreed that these books are outstanding in their genre.”


You can visit their site here.

Candlewax and Broken China – a short story


This is another short story set in the Balkans.  If you liked ‘The Mother’ in the ‘Conflict’ issue on, then I hope you’ll enjoy this.

Candlewax and Broken China

Perhaps it was close to here, twenty odd years ago, that we scrambled uphill in the guilty darkness, my mother dragging an old suitcase, its peeling Communist stickers being shredded by the brambles.  She had made me pack a few things in my PE holdall, we had climbed out of my bedroom window onto the garage roof, and dropped down by the side of the house.  What I had done had cracked the eggshell vault of the sky, and now at the age of nine I was hatched into an altogether less knowable world.  When I stopped to look back into the valley, to find the tiny biscuit-golden windows of our house shining in the gloom, my mother hurried me on, conceding nothing to sentiment or explanation.

At the top of the hill we climbed over a stone wall and out onto a road.  Walking further into the night we sat down at a bus stop.  Some time later a car pulled up, and my mother reached into her handbag and pulled out a slab of Deutschmarks, pushing them into the driver’s palm.  I knew that dinars were no good anymore, one of many recent, perplexing changes.  I knew that the Bosniaks were going to fight us, because it was on the radio, and I knew that my father wanted St Basil to help us, because he kept saying so, which was odd.  That night I thought my father was so angry with me that he would never speak to me again.  It turns out I was right, about the last part at least. Continue reading

Five star review of ‘Greenies’ from the Awesome Indies

I’m delighted to say that my novel, ‘Greenies’, has been awarded a place on the Awesome Indies list of quality independent fiction.  This means that in the eyes of the reviewers, it is of equal quality to traditionally published fiction.  Not only that, but it has received a five star review:

The Corruptions of Money – a thinkpiece

The Corruptions of Money

Why other people getting super-rich is bad news for you

Here’s a stab at idealism: that through regulation, suggestion and education, the impacts of the individual on the world should be those of one person, and should not be multiplied by the amount of money that they are able to spend. Like Ed Miliband, I haven’t read all of Piketty’s book, ‘Capital in the 21st Century’, but I am aware of the central argument: that when the return on capital is greater than the rate of economic growth over the long term, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is inevitable. Intuitively this makes sense to me, and there is certainly plenty of evidence for it. There will always be arguments over what level of inequality is most desirable, but that’s not what I want to focus on here. Rather, this article is about the impacts of inequality, not the sufferings of the less well off, but the abuses of the wealthy, be they individuals or corporations. So let’s list some: Continue reading

On the Periphery – A short story


On the Periphery

The leaves above are limpid yellow and orange, beech and chestnut distilling the autumn sun into music: golden, rippling arpeggios.  In my mind’s ear, my violin dreams a fantasia of light in a major key.  Yet when I try to give the notes some meaning, to shape them into emotions, they refuse to acknowledge me.  I must live in this moment, revel in this beauty, make my Taoist way that knows no forward and no back, but it is no use.  Now in nature I find only cold indifference.  The beauty is not mine.  It is no one’s.  It has no humanity.

Ahead in a clearing a man is standing stock still, gazing into the middle distance.  “Bass-ett!” I call out.  Somehow it does for hello.

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear you,” he says, turning slowly.  A slight figure with spiky blond hair, he looks like he might fold flat for storage.  I can see him taking in the vivid check on my duffle coat.

“Hi, have you seen a black dog run through here?” I ask.

“No, no I don’t think so.”

“The wood can be enchanting on a day like today, I know.”

“Enchanting!  Yeah, I guess so.”  He smiles and scratches his neck.  I’m an amusement, it would seem.  Well, that’s fine.  Or he’s embarrassed.

“Do you come here often?”  I enjoy clichés.

“I’ve been here once before… A long time ago now.”  There’s a glimmer of concern on his face.

“I don’t suppose you could help me look for my dog?  He’s been gone a while and I’m getting worried.”

“Okay, yeah, sure.”

We try to walk abreast, but the path narrows, hemmed in by bracken, and we move to an awkward single file.  Every so often he stops, looking around, though with no sense of expectation, more a bewildered, distracted air.  I wonder if I’ve seen him before.
Continue reading

Grounded – a short story



Julia paused and reached for her shades. She was standing at the exit from the airport concourse, where the current of arriving passengers met the rip tide of taxi drivers, baggage loaders, the listless waiting and the meandering lost.
A kid had unzipped her holdall and was busy rummaging. Grabbing it, he dashed into the crowd, a scrawny blur in a football top. Yet after a few strides a taxi driver tackled him, the holdall upending, slewing contents across the pavement. Julia pulled her suitcase over, and clung onto it with one hand while she repacked the spillage. She stuffed the mosquito net, still in its packet, and her new sun hat back inside. She wasn’t sure what this bag contained – she’d packed in a hurry – and found Freddy’s toy helicopter. A complete mistake, she’d been meaning to get new batteries for the remote control. Somehow things had got jumbled up. One rotor looked badly bent by the crush. The taxi driver beamed at her and took her suitcase.
“This happen any place. Don’t worry!”
The air was hot and cloying, tourists were pointing, people were everywhere. She nodded and got into the taxi, her nerves about working in Kenya keened to a point. Continue reading

Greenies, Chapters 1 – 2



“8th of March, 2027.  In the mornings when I check my phone, I still expect a message. Today I don’t even have a signal. Four days after the flood, and there’s no news of her. I want to deny what’s happened: – to look away, and then turn back, gaze out of the window, and see the familiar view restored. Just like everyone after a natural disaster. Although this disaster wasn’t natural. And it’s pretty ironic that I should be so affected. Me. Through her. When we’ve both been campaigning for years, shouting to anyone that disasters like this would happen. That they will happen more and more. Though neither of us expected that it would be London. And we didn’t imagine… Well, you don’t.
Huh. It may be the fourth or fifth time I’ve diarised this, but the picture won’t fade. The helicopter shot of the Thames barrier, everything covered apart from the silver tops of the pontoons, like the bows of sinking boats beneath the storm surge. I knew when I saw what it could mean. I didn’t panic. I don’t panic. But I was afraid for her, even then. The bird’s eye view, looking down on hooded curves jutting through the foam, like metal teeth on an enormous mouth. Yes. I was scared then.
Yesterday I slipped under a police line and got into the flood zone. I wish I hadn’t. Near the theatre, where she was supposed to make a meeting about drama in prisons. Almost everywhere has drained now. Like on the news, there are piles of splintered rubbish, silt-covered cars, and the occasional handbag or shoe. Everything stinks of sewage. And there are the remains of people. Things. I saw two, in an alley by a doorway, before I turned back. There was no point me being there, after all; I was just going to get arrested. The corpses – man up, that’s what they were – were bloated and stinking. The police or army will take them to Smithfield meat market to be held in the fridges, before what I guess is a cursory examination. To work out who they are, that’s all. Who cares about cause of death? At the moment they’re just racking the figures up on the tally, feeding the press, the TV ticker tape. And she’s there – somewhere. Halfway to becoming a statistic.
I have to go to the police station. Again. I think that’s why I’m running through this, to put together a timeline, to explain to myself, as though I had the capacity of a five-year-old, that she’s not coming back. Or I could keep waiting for a knock on the front door. How long will it take them? When I look at this photo, the one of us on holiday in Liguria, I think I’ll wait. As though I could hop on a train to northern Italy and she’d still be there, in that turquoise dress, sitting in a square with an affogato, flirting politely with the waiters. I feel like she’s still out there. If I scream long and hard enough I can go back to that time, find her there – I can shift out of the present like a man who dives into the sea, and then never comes up for air. The wall to the past should be flimsy; an insubstantial, oily film that you can slip through.

This is whimsical shit. I have to go to the police station. Maybe this time they’ll actually be letting people in. Microphone off.”

Continue reading