Date Night


He says my flat is like the Tardis, loads bigger inside than it looks from the street. He’s right, too. It’s got a tiny doll house front door and a staircase that goes round and round and up in a barley sugar twist, my living room blooming high and wide as you go in. My rooms are pretty like a chocolate box, soft furnishings of quiet pastel; the porcelain figurines my Gran left me lined up in rows on the shelves and along the mantelpiece, and on the top of the telly.

He calls our Fridays date night, but we’ve never been on an actual date. No dinner in a candlelit restaurant, or necking in the back row in the pictures, no dancing hip on hip, and lip on lip. I’ve never put on a nice dress for him or painted my face, and gone walking into town holding hands. But, just look at him. Tall and lean, hair thick and clean and blond like the beach in holiday brochures; close my eyes and I smell the sea, same as when you hold an empty shell to your ear and the water laps on a shore, right there.

One Friday, I watch from the bedroom floor as he’s pulling his jeans back on. The belt buckle slaps against his thigh.

‘I love you.’ It’s a shock when he comes out with it.


He blinks. ‘I love you.’

My words whoosh out. ‘Me too.’

‘Really?’ More age slips from his face.

‘Of course.’ But my larynx sheds rust.

Air is snatched from my lungs as it hits me. I’m not in love, am I?  I don’t love him, not at all. I don’t even bloody well like him. Not as a person. This isn’t what I want. He isn’t what I want.

I want to be in love.

I want to be happy, the sort I read about in books. I want to die of summer, feel the sun kissing my face more surely than he ever could.  I need the feel of a firm hand curving my hip and pulling me close, lips resting softly on my temple, the small of my back moist and sticky, cheeks flushed and pink, my pulse racing in my wrists. I want it all, and more.

And yet instead, I gift him a shy smile. Coquettish and coy, I get up and walk over. He covers my mouth with his. As our tongues dance awkward and slow, bumping this way and that, moving out of time, the figurines around us, my figurines, curl their spines into round shells, strike a pose, and freeze frame. The pile carpet thickens under my feet and, the ceiling pressing the top of my head, it bends my neck crooked, the walls around me closing in.

(First published National Flash Fiction Day Flash Flood Journal, June 2017)


Radio show news


I have a new radio show, 6-8pm each Monday. You can listen to it online here or if you’re in the Liverpool area, on 99.8fm. I’m playing lots of new releases, local music from the Merseyside area, and older songs I love a lot.

In other news, I have a short story in a new book, published in 2017. The book, A Furious Hope, will be available in print and e-book and, as the title suggests, is intended to offer some hope in these often grim times. More updates as I have them!


My top night at the Lawrence of Belgravia screening and Q & A – Regent Street Cinema


Lawrence badge 1
“Here is a badge from Lawrence. It is terribly important you wear it.”

On my visit to London last week I took in a rare screening of Lawrence of Belgravia, followed by a Q & A with Lawrence himself and the film’s director Paul Kelly, at the Regent Street Cinema.

If you’re not familiar with Lawrence, or the film, that’s not unusual. I was at an event in Liverpool last month, his name came up and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess asked the audience, “does anyone here know who Lawrence is?”

Three of us did. Sitting on the back row, like the cool kids we aren’t and never will be. It’s a lonely path we tread, us Lawrence fans. But we kind of like it that way.

Lawrence of Belgravia is the final ‘London film’ made before The Shard was built, showing the landscape of a city very different to now, important in itself.

But it is also more than a mere rock documentary covering the ups and downs of a cult icon’s life. An icon who feels he should be better known than he is, world famous in fact, and with a supermodel wife to boot. His ambitions for glory are met with scoffs by some who don’t get it, but totally understandable to us who appreciate him.

Carefully and respectfully following our Lawrence as he deals with personal issues and getting the latest record from his band Go-Kart Mozart, On The Hot Dog Streets, (released back in 2012), off the ground, Lawrence of Belgravia is an important visual – audio document of a man written about rarely, but name dropped often. Revered by passionate people, he’s a hero. On the night of the Q & A, hosted by Dickon Edwards, grown men were tearful and fidgety. Giddy to breathe the same air.

Dickon Edwards, Paul Kelly, and….Lawrence.

Walking in, we were all handed a gift. “Here is a badge from Lawrence,’ we were told. “It is terribly important you wear it.”

When Lawrence, Paul and Dickon came on the stage, Lawrence was the only one without a badge pinned to his chest.  It felt like we were all in a fan club; an emotion not too far from the truth.

Dickon asked Paul Kelly if the film was about authenticity, so much footage in it of vinyl records, mixing desks in studios…

“No,’ said Paul. “This film is about Lawrence.”

Yes, indeed it is.

Lawrence talked about hat shopping, going AWOL for months during filming, anything and everything.

He was asked by the audience if he’d ever get married. “I don’t have sex anymore. Too old for all that,” he said. “I’m asexual now, I think. Unless she’s a millionaire. I’d probably go for someone like that.”

On his disapproval of the internet and refusal to have it at home – please buy the film and watch it, his views on the internet at top notch –  “too many wires, everywhere. Hate wires”.

How about going wireless then? “Nah.”

He told us that Cherry Red records are re-releasing the Felt albums later this year, describing them as “your last chance” to access them with the design for each exactly how he wants. He’s holding back signing off on everything until he’s happy, the tease. Good news is, there is a new Go-Kart Mozart album in March 2017 and there will be gigs around the UK.

He’s not a modest man about his musical output. His favourite Felt record is famously, “all of them”.

At the end of Lawrence of Belgravia, it hurts when he wonders aloud about why he’s been a “failure”, because fame and financial rewards haven’t come his way.  I found myself shouting at the telly when I first saw the documentary, BLOODY HELL LAWRENCE YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE YOU DOUFUS. So tonight I was made up that he conceded yeah, ok, he’s a creative success.

Because that’s it, exactly.

And afterwards, when I told him how much I love On The Hot Dog Streets, he smiled.

“Yeah,’ he said. “I love it too.”

Glad to hear it. But really, I expected nothing less.

Continue reading

You Promised

‘I’ll sing for you,’ you promise, but never do. Instead I get excuses and small talk, coy and cute in my ear.

‘Sing for me,’ I say. ‘You said you would.’

You blink and I wonder how your eyelashes manage to get so dark, your lips so dry, ones that peck me goodbye on the jaw, missing my mouth.

I roll on cooling bed sheets, damp flakes of skin sticking to me like static and take a sly lick of you from my leg. I suck each of my fingers, worming you out from under my nails. You are everywhere and I love it, I imagine you singing for me here and now. In my room, you, singing my song, and making it beautiful.

It doesn’t work. You’re not here. I sniff my arm. Your smell is gone and no crumbs of you garnish my bed. I have nothing of you, so I hum my song, and wish. I close my eyes and follow a ribbon of sound, hold onto it where it pulls me, over mountains and hills, round bends, down steep slopes and up. My calves hurt, stretched then shrinking as I climb, so I stop. I hear it, my song, faint and low. I sway under a navy sky. Night breezes brush my mouth. My lips swell.

I follow my song. I inch up a tree, your bark scratches my inner thighs raw but I shimmy up and up until I peer into a window. It’s you. You smile from behind thick glass, impenetrable, opaque, and sing my song, the one I love. You’re singing my song, as I asked, but you sing my song for her, and not for me, never me. Still, I settle and listen. It is beautiful, the song and you, exactly as I imagined.

First published in Landmarks, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2015.

Read “Good Manchester Rain” over at Flash Flood Journal 2016 here.

Rants, and flashes

rants 2
I Hope You Like Feminist Rants issue 2

It’s been a messy old week, what with the EU referendum, but a couple of nice things have happened to me. We need to cling onto whatever lovely things there are, I think.

Issue 2 of indie publication/zine I Hope You Like Feminist Rants, edited by Golden Boy author Abigail Tarttelin, came out on Friday. The theme for this issue is motherhood. I have Baby Love, an essay on non-motherhood, in it. You can buy Rants online, but if you are fortunate enough to live in Liverpool you will find it for sale in the News From Nowhere bookshop on Bold St, which is wonderful news.

Also, yesterday was National Flash Fiction Day. The annual Flash Flood Journal carries my short story Good Manchester Rain.  I’m glad I submitted this story, it’s quite European in nature – romantic, smutty, and with lots of rain. Like a European short film! You can read Good Manchester Rain here.


New stuff

I have work coming out in some really nice places over the coming weeks. This blog post reads a bit like a list, so I apologise in advance for that!

An essay on sisterhood will be in the A Room of Our Own anthology, the book is raising money to keep the organisation’s website going so they can continue their valuable work.

Another essay, about my non-motherhood and choice to not become a parent, is in issue 2 of I Hope You Like Feminist Rants later in the summer. My writing on housework is in issue 1 of Rants, which you can purchase here.

My flash fiction Good Times, originally published in Slim Volume 1 : No Love Lost (2015), is published in CRUSHED, a book of writing and art on the subject of heartbreak is out this month (May 2016). Editor Charlotte Apsin is producing a zine to go with it.

I’ve got work in the University of Liverpool Centre For New & International Writing’s journal, on  page 18, published last week.

I was made up to have a flash fiction, The Other Woman, included as part of Hayley Webster’s All The Words book festival also last week, you can read it here.

I wrote about LightNight here, and Liverpool Biennial here, for Getintothis.

52% starts its summer break next month, I make my final appearance in this series in a fortnight. The next series starts in the Autumn!

That’s it, I think. For now…


Wondrous Place


It is early morning and Liverpool is opening its eyes, ready to wake up, stretch, yawn, and welcome the day.

There’s a tune, a breathy bass riff. A voice, smooth and clear, high but not too much.

I found a place full of charms.

I hear the voice singing, and I know who it is. Billy Fury. I know the song, Wondrous Place.

I know the singer and I know the song but what I don’t know is where it is coming from at ten to eight on a Tuesday morning in Liverpool city centre. I follow the song. It takes me to a pub, the old boozer type, doors flung wide open. I near and hear singing, a voice on top of Billy’s. It is thin, slightly shrill, out of tune and time. I peer inside.

The pub’s cleaner in her apron is dancing with her mop, humming. Billy Fury sings to her from the jukebox. She’s seventy-odd with crab-apple skin, turned girlish. She’s smiling, eyes closed, slow dancing. It’s beautiful.

I wanna stay and never go away –

Wondrous place.

She dances with Billy Fury every morning, I think. I hope.


(First published by Silver Birch Press 2015)