Showing posts from March 15, 2020

'Border 7' by Pauline Kirk

Compelling, chillingly plausible and a cracking good read if you like your English dystopia authentic and local and with a touch of Zamyatin and Orwell. I thought I spotted Manchester and York though am willing to be corrected –   while the capital retains its name. Certainly the North of the book has resonances with its own former border history and reiving past and with the strength and courage of the those deemed to live in the outer reaches: those who, apparently, need pacifying and containing. In an England hundred and fifty years hence, government and democracy hardly exist and Corporations have taken control by offering apparent freedom after the deposing of the Junta. The miles high sky-scraping blocks are run as self-contained and all-encompassing microcosms for the benefit of the companies that own them. Conformity is demanded and maintained with the threat of the world of warlords and chaotic subsistence-level living outside. However, it seems, the propaganda inside

Spring 2020

This was my poem published in Dream Catcher, 29. Things have moved on since then. To May, late under cloud Reading the news, I watch through the window how you sit up, shake your hair, slough peat slag over breasts, between thighs; overslept, blowzy ladies smock in the sump of your pit. Here, a sexton beetle, dislodged from your nostril where bees buffet musk of catkins, finds carrion. Your bush, untamed thicket of thorn beyond my fence, spikes spare blossom as you stretch, arms high, dripping slow-worms from your fingers and yawn wide-mouthed after a long sleep. Later, digging, I hear a lone cuckoo; back from across the Sahara, it slips an egg in your nest of hair. Yet, though I blunder, astonished at the snipe wooing his mate with a whoop of feather-fanning (your belly laugh), still, I hear you blub at the loss of beetle and moth, bereft but for orange tips foraging the margins of my vegetable patch. And when you lurch, drunk, over the mill lade, frock rucked, spilling intoxicati

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You: Hartlepool Hubs how a library became known as a 'shelf by the fireplace'

David Millar The Ministry for Ignoring Climate Change

Set on an island off the West coast of Canada and in Ottawa, this novel is a fictionalisation of a still-controversial geoengineering project. A Canadian cross between ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Whiskey Galore’ but with bigger, climate-affected fish to fry, it is an antidote to current enforced self-isolation and makes the argument for community action to combat climate change. Though its satire is gently mocking, make no mistake, there are claws here. All human nature is exposed in the world of the city and the tiny island community eking out an existence on the edge. Pieter Breugel the Elder would approve the panoply of characters. Though the jury is out on the science, the implications of words and actions of politicians with a tenuous understanding of their effect on lives outside their bubble, are chillingly, if darkly humorously, portrayed. The fast pace and cast of characters of all shades of green and those not even faitly reminiscent of it,