Tuesday, 23 December 2014


A few years back the kind people at Do Some Damage published my flash fiction story Secret Santa. I liked it then and reading it back again I still do. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year folks!


David Cook exited Canary Wharf tube station, feeling icy sleet on his face and hearing staccato out-of-tune squeaks and parps. Turning the corner Primrose was a sight for sore eyes.

“You’re a gentleman and a scholar,” said Primrose. A beaming smile exposing bad, nicotine stained teeth as he pocketed the pound coin.

“A cold morning for it, Primrose,” said Cook. “You look a seasonal picture though.”

“Aye,” said Primrose. “But the elastic on these Alan Whickers is cutting me friggin’ arse to ribbons.”

Primrose poking and pulling at his buttocks tottered on stilettos. His red silk dress rode higher; revealing a scary glimpse of hairy goose pimpled flesh, suspender belt and stocking top. Primrose’s only deference to the bitter weather was a three button M&S cardigan, straining across his barrel-chest, and a Santa hat.

Cook laughed and took a copy of The Big Issue. Saying, “Take care my friend,” as Primrose readied to let loose with the battered alto-sax.

As Cook reached the First Global Bank building he heard the old transvestite honk out the first few gruff and wobbly bum notes of ‘All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth’.


Cook spotted the diminutive, mutton dressed as lamb, Georgie Bell. He could count on one hand the number of times Georgie had spoken to him since she was appointed FGB International Director. Making no secret that she regarded him as a middle-aged has been.

Reaching his desk Cook said a cheery, “Morning all.”

In her office Georgie feigned not to hear and continued to tap on her keyboard, a sour look on her face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.

Cook thinking, silly, stuck-up bint.

Firing up his computer Cook hacked into Georgie’s email account. The Human Resources email confirmed his suspicions; today was going to be the day.

Accessing the Pietersen account he began coding instructions; marvelling at the transactional procedure. One pence, disguised as a currency fluctuation, was deducted from a multitude of FGB international accounts each day and deposited into the Pietersen account. Miniscule amounts skimmed and totalling a tidy six figure balance.


The email arrived at 15:45, instructing him to go immediately to HR. Waiting for the lift he spied two security guys locking down his work-station. FGB was following standard dismissal security protocol.

Georgie, not bothering to attend, sent her deputy, the snivelling Derek ‘Jellyfish’ Ponting. Cook was told by the HR manager that regrettably his position was redundant. Hearing corporate platitudes: Deficit. Tough trading. Efficiencies. Rationalisation.

The Jellyfish limply shook Cook’s hand and gave him a meagre redundancy cheque. Saying, his tone as camp as a row of tents, “Wishing you a, err... happy early retirement, David.”

Cook was escorted from the FGB building with not so much as a thank you for thirty five years of unblemished service.

Doing the sensible thing, Cook found the nearest bar and downed the first of several large malts.


Cook tracked Primrose down to a hostel for the homeless in Vauxhall. Finding him semi-conscious in the canteen amongst empty cans of Tennent's Super.

Primrose insisted on taking his beloved alto to the Starbucks where Cook plied him with black coffee and cash and more black coffee and a guarantee of more cash; if he followed instructions to the letter.

Leaving Primrose tooting and wailing a stuttering version of ‘We're in the Money’, Cook hailed a black cab. Falling into the back seat as the driver regaled him with a barrage of insight on: London traffic. The Coalition Government. The idiotic Mayor. Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Cook managing to interrupt him for long enough to say, “Heathrow Airport.”


Primrose padlocked his rusty bicycle to the railings of the, oh so chic, L’Antipasto. Thinking, you can’t be too careful with these posh bastards.

The party was in full swing as Primrose made his entrance. He’d made the effort: Burlesque corset. Tutu. Fishnets. Four inch heels.

“I’m looking for the lovely Georgie,” Primrose hollered. “You’ve not seen a stripogram like me before, darling.”

Heads turned; watching Primrose stride to the FGB table and moon at the po-faced Georgie.

Georgie gagging and spraying a mouthful of mange tout.

The Jellyfish, finding his backbone, jumped up. Saying, “Get out you drunken, filthy slob.”

“I’ll take my leave then,” said Primrose. “You’re all a bunch of philistines and snobs!”

Theatrically sweeping back his long, greying locks Primrose planted his forehead square into Ponting’s pudgy face.

In the resulting confusion Primrose pulled a package from his new Prada handbag and dropped it on the pile of parcels in the middle of the table. Snaffling slices of turkey breast, a handful of brussel sprouts and a couple of roasties and washing them down with two large glasses of crisp, Pinot Grigio.

Belching loudly and breaking wind Primrose slipped out the fire exit; leaving a silent but deadly gift for the clientele to savour.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Matthew Strauss, FGB Managing Director and guest of honour. “The unfortunate interruption is over and the... air is now clear. Shall we continue with the festivities?”

“Here, here,” and glass tapping chorused around the table.

Ponting gingerly dabbed his swollen nose with a blood stained handkerchief.

“Let’s have the Secret Santa,” shouted an acolyte.

Georgie stopped rubbing the vegetable stain on her sparkly designer dress and gushed, “Matt, would you do us the honour of being master of ceremony?”


“This... oddly shaped one, is for... Georgie!” Strauss said.

Paying reverence to tradition Georgie got to her feet and enthusiastically shredded wrapping paper; revealing a fleshy pink, ‘Rampant Rabbit Big O’. Shaking like a frightened schoolgirl as she digested the digits on the slip of paper sellotaped along the shaft.

Georgie not wanting to believe the balance of her ‘Pietersen’ slush fund account. Her addled brain thinking: Zilch. Nada. Zero. Reading the gift tag tied delicately around the thick base Georgie peed her pants:-

Dear Georgie,

I Cook-ed the books: Go f**k yourself!

Secret Santa x

Saturday, 8 June 2013


I’m thrilled to have my piece, Man About Town, included in THIS.

My thanks go to Matt Hilton, a terrific writer and editor of this cracking anthology. And, many congratulations to all the other fine contributing writers.

Friday, 29 March 2013


The cobwebs on this haphazard blog of mine are growing thick and fast. But, I can think of no better reason to blow them away to announce I’m chuffed to bits to be part of this project.

GLOVES OFF is out now! A cracking anthology of dark short fiction brought to you by the NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE team.

I’m in very good company and holding onto the coattails of some terrific writers:

Paul D. Brazill, Gareth Spark, Richard Godwin, Aidan Thorn, Pete Sortwell, B.R. Stateham  Brian Panowich, Ryan Sayles, Chris Leek, David Barber, Vic Errington, Graham Smith, Walter Conley, Tom Pitts, Allen Miles, Jim Spry,Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw, Mike Monson.

My thanks go to Darren and Craig for putting this whole thing together and for allowing me to be a small part of it.

It’s a bargain basement snip as well and all proceeds go towards the upkeep and development of the NTTK E-Zine. So treat yourself and give it a clickety-click!

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Yes, I’m still alive and kicking. I’ve not been that active blogging of late. No excuses, just that big old lazy bone running through my body.

TRUE BRIT GRIT is out now! I’m pleased as punch to be part of this super anthology and a big thank you to Paul and Luca. Here's the terrific line-up!

Introduction Maxim Jakubowski

1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths
2. Eat Shit by Tony Black
3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie
4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson
5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley
6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton
7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan
8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird
9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block
10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek
11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs
12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt
13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson
14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin
15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by A J Savage
16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding
17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill
18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter
19. Hanging Stan by Jason Michel
20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow
21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott
22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham
23. Adult Education by Graham Smith
24. A Public Service by Col Bury
25. Hero by Pete Sortwell
26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill
27. Smoked by Luca Veste
28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers
29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock
30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant
31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber
32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris
33. Never Ending by McDroll
34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham
35. Escalator by Jim Hilton
36. Faces by Frank Duffy
37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris
38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan
39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan
40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon
41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade
42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams
43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan
44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey
45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks

Monday, 9 January 2012


How the devil are you? Broken all ya resolutions yet? Well I’ve got just the thing…the launch date and venue for the latest edition in our short story collections - the mighty ‘Radgepacket 6’ from Byker Books...

Now then, the previous Radgepacket' collections have shaken up the established literary order and this one will certainly be no exception. With over twenty different stories of madness, murder and mayhem Radge6 will be launched on Saturday 10th March at ‘The Back Page’ in Newcastle upon Tyne between the hours of 12:00 and 15:00.

The book itself costs only £5.99 because as you know (or maybe you don’t!) Radgepacket was conceived and set up to promote those authors who write 'industrial strength fiction' but who never get a look in because they haven't been on Big Brother or had their bits out in the paper and we also wanted to produce a quality publication that gives the reader value for money and we think we've done that. In fact in this austere day and age it’s probably a crime not to buy something that works out at about 30p per story – it’s for nowt man!                    

For those of you who don’t know it ‘The Back Page’ is one of Britain’s best (if not the actual best) sports book shops and carries a massive range of books and other sporting paraphernalia, not to mention the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet anywhere…ever!  

The full address is :  

56 St. Andrews Street
Newcastle upon Tyne,

So come along, have a drink with us (on me...unheard of that like!) get a copy of the new and improved Radgepacket, get it signed by some of the contributors in attendance and hear a bit of spiel from my good self – and hopefully a mystery guest speaker - what’s not to like? Oh...and if you could spread the word that'd be nice like...



Monday, 2 January 2012


Happy New Year; hope 2012 is a good year for you all.

About a week before Christmas I was chuffed to bits to find out that I was the lucky winner of a copy of Abide with Me by Ian Ayris. Now then, I’m no book reviewer but as the book treated me very well I thought I’d post a few words here.

Abide with Me is not a long book, a hundred and fifty pages or so. That suited me fine and dandy and I cracked through this over the festive period. It’s not strictly a crime read although the last third certainly gets a little nastier. As the blurb says it’s a story that has elements of friendship, community, football, hope and biscuits… oh, and gangsters!

For me, Abide with Me is a cracking read because it has a real ‘voice’ - the voice of John Sissons. A story told first person point of view with an East London vernacular. A style of writing that maybe not for the fainthearted as there is more than a fair share of effing and blinding. But, it is the language that gives the narrative such a genuine voice, pulling the reader into the story from the get go.

Being a similar age to John Sissons, Ian Ayris paints a picture of London that I’m more than familiar with. Lovely hooks and signposts in the narrative that join the dots nicely: Primary school nativity plays. The long hot summer of 1976. F.A. Cup finals - always a big event regardless of the teams. The 1980’s recession. A changing workplace. A hard-lined government intent on tackling the trade union movement head-on. A country split; the Haves and the Have-nots. Intense class war. And, an ever growing list of the mass unemployed.

Abide with Me starts in nineteen seventy five. A London still not fully recovered from the damage caused by the Second World War. Austere times and a London filled with corrugated iron, latchkey kids and all daylong footie kick-a-bouts. And, not a Hooray Henry in sight! A London I remember fondly and yes I too had a red Raleigh Chopper bike.

Abide with Me is about a young lad, growing up fast, taking the emotional knocks life throws at you. Taking the blows on the chin and blindly ploughing on regardless. John Sissons struggles through a school of very hard knocks, emerging as a young man who now knows right from wrong. Harsh lessons learnt that some things are very precious: Family, friendship, community, hopes and dreams. And when you lose those it hurts like hell.

Abide with Me is a bruising, emotional roller coaster of a read and one that Ian Ayris should be truly proud of. It’s a remarkable debut novel. Scheduled for release in March 2012 and I recommend Abide with Me in a heartbeat.