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.