Sunday, 21 September 2014

Internet Corners: Part 3.

There's a lot of nonsense talk about the internet and social media. Professional havers of opinions always like to say that the internet has killed the written word, and that stories are done for! 

I can't agree with this. For one thing, the internet is full of the written word. I mean, it's like the internet is made up of: 1: Porn, 2: Cats, and 3: Written articles, about all sorts of things. Including short form fiction, literary criticism, and literary interviews! 

Seems to me like people might be reading more now, than they ever have. 

The written word seems to be going in all sorts of different ways, and there are loads of potential new forms that writers and storytellers could be embracing. Check out the 'curated writing' section in Part 1 of the 2012 Best American Non Required Reading, for example, which takes Twitter's best reactions to the death of Osama Bin Laden, and sculpts them into a narrative. 

Anyway, quite apart from that, another interesting thing is that the world wide web in its current, popularised form, has a history all of its very own. 

When the web first started getting popular in the late 90s, it was pretty rubbish. There was no such thing as social networking and the only means you had of communicating with your fellow humans across the world were: email, Yahoo! chatrooms, and guestbooks on people's Geocities websites.

Geocities were like a kind of personalised website, with easy front-end adaptability that anyone could build, for any interest of their choosing. Think of it as a kind of pre-proto-Myspace or Facebook, only one that visitors couldn't really interact with in any way. 

There were literally thousands of Geocities website, at one time. Many operated in 'webrings', where one of the pages linked to other Geocities websites with similar interest. 

Unfortunately most of Geocities is now gone, but there has been a web archiving project to try and rescue and re-publish as much of it as possible. 

One shining example of a Geocities website is the site "Davelicious", which I provide a link to here

I hope you will enjoy it. 

Currently reading

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Internet Corners: 2

Again, people talking about the internet killing interest in the written word, and crushing - CRUSHING! - our human instinct for storytelling.

Can't help thinking that people who say this have never really looked at the internet. It's full of stories.

Recently I've been getting really interested in how communities come together on the internet, and tell their stories. I spent a pleasant few hours trawling the LiveJournal website, and found this: Customers Suck! a community dedicated to giving disgruntled shop employees the chance to vent their discontents about rude, angry, or irrational customers.

This sort of stuff is a goldmine to a writer. It gives you the chance to really experience what it is like to be a minimum wage store employee. And it's all out there for you to read.

A fie on anybody who says that the internet is a poor resource for writers.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Internet Corners

People like to say the internet has killed interest in the written word, and that's simply not true.

The internet is full of people writing fan-fiction, reading fan-fiction, commenting on one another's fan fiction, and deeply involving themselves worlds partly of their own mutated creation.

Fan fiction, in case you didn't know, is when fans of a particular series, or film, write short stories using characters from that film or series. It's a bit of a weird thing, but people have been doing this sort of thing for years - for example with action figures, or LARPing (live action role-playing), all that sort of thing. It's a way of people creating new stories, and I can't say that's a bad thing. Unless it results in a book called 50 Shades of Grey, which started it's life as Twilight fan-fiction, in which case you definitively can say, yes, in that case, fan-fiction is bad.

One of the best things about the internet is that it enables people from all over the world to form communities, based on mutual (fervent) interests. These interests probably seem niche to outsiders, at best.

Anyway I found one that is fan-fiction based on the trashy 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Thursday 25th September as part of 'Dead Ink in Conversation' at Wakefield Lit Fest (18.00, free)

Saturday 27th September I'll be reading a story at Leeds & Bradford Anarchist Bookfair, at Bradford 1 in 12 Club, around 14.00 I think, and I think it's free in. Join the facebook event for more info.

Monday, 8 September 2014

A slew of interviews...

I've done a few interviews lately - thanks to all who have asked.

Literature Works SW have chosen Brick Mother to be their book of the month in September, and I did a short interview with them apropos of that. Here it is:

"What struck me about the novel was how you captured the mundane everyday lives of the hospital staff alongside developing a dark central storyline. Why was it important for you to capture these small details?" (You can read the whole thing over at the Literature North West site)

Jessica Patient over at Writer's Little Helper invited me to open an imaginary bookshop.

"It's a wonder for anybody who doesn't know what they're looking for, and a nightmare for anybody who loves order and alphabetisation." (You can read the whole interview over on Writer's Little Helper.)

Richard Smyth & I were also interviewed by the Yorkshire Post: "[Bradley's] style is refreshingly direct and pared-down, while her empathy for the characters comes across strongly" (You can read the whole feature on the Yorkshire Post website.)
Currently reading

Wild Ink Richard Smyth

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Mid-year new year's resolution.

I'll be starting my New Year's resolution in September this year. Autumn seems like a good time to do it. My resolution is to blog more often. Here's today's. 

You might have been following the rather depressing saga of Jennifer Lawrence et al's nude photos appearing on Reddit, and just generally all over the internet. Pictures of Lawrence, and others, which they took for personal use, were stolen by a bunch of basement-dwelling perverts, who circulated the pictures amongst themselves. So far, so sordid. 

The pictures appeared in public when one of the basement-dwellers tried to sell his collection to the highest bidder. In order to prove that the pictures actually existed, he posted a number of them on 4Chan. These later circulated to Reddit and other sites. (This basement dweller apparently also later complained that he was only bid $120 in bitcoins for the rest of the collection. As though other people had something wrong with them.) 

The comments beneath any internet article about this whole debacle have been the most depressing aspect of the whole thing. It's like misogyny whack-a-mole down there, below the line. A popular variant is: "These women rely upon beauty as part of their job; therefore, if I want to see them naked, I have every right to see them naked." Well yes, they do rely on beauty - because the film industry dictates that beauty=value, and you can't get anywhere as a female actor without it. But that doesn't mean they have to show you their tatas, just because you want to look at them. 

(Another popular comment, probably posted by people who send their comments into the internet by carrier pigeon, reads: "If these women didn't want people to see their pictures, they shouldn't have put them on the internet in the first place!" By the way, Grandpa, they didn't. Their phones were maliciously and systemically hacked by criminals.) 

In short: Jennifer Lawrence has achieved a lot in her 23 years, but let's not task her with the job of single-handedly smashing patriarchy, as well. She's got a job to do (i.e. being ace in films.)

Currently reading

Good Company (unpublished novel) Armin Koomagi

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Short stories you can read for free!

The other day, I was boring on to somebody about short stories, and how there are so many great short story writers out there, doing great work.

Even better, there are even lots of magazines - high quality ones - publishing new short stories that you can read, completely FREE, online.

Electric Literature does this amazing series called "Recommended Reading" where they publish a new story, every week, recommended by a reputable organisation or writer. The best of all is, they also publish these in e-reader friendly formats, so that you can send them to your device, should you wish to.

One of my recent favourites from Recommended Reading was 'Not a Bad Bunch' by Anu Jindal:

"One time, Stigsson, a lumbering, manic Swede, leapt while climbing down from the mast. Fifteen feet, blurred blond beard and soiled bare feet flagging in the air towards the deck, where he landed in a funny way. As it happened, a stray nail had been left behind where he touched down and it entered him through his heel, paralyzing his foot permanently so that he walks always with a kind of slump now."

You can download or read the rest of it here:

There's this other publisher called Fiddleblack who specialise in what they call a 'modern literary aesthetic', specifically 'antipastorialism'. It's pretty interesting and you can read their mission statement here.

A recent favourite from their publishing series was Sharpening the Sickle to Shame the Scythe by Matthew Jabukowski:

"IN THE HOURS BEFORE Lauren Hunter-Aikens got the news she was stuck trying to revise a story she had written in her creative therapy group.

In the story, the narrator imagined that the news of her son’s death would come by phone. She would be at work drinking coffee, clicking with intense focus through documents on her computer screen. Her phone would buzz in her purse. Not wanting to disturb the office silence, she would answer right away and keep her voice low out of respect for her colleagues on the other sides of her cube.

The voice would ask if she were sitting down. She’d say yes, why?"

You can read the rest of the story on the Fiddleblack website.

More soon. 

Currently reading

Thirst Andrei Gelasimov
Norwood Charles Portis