Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ipswich bike thieves - read this or die.

To the thieves who just stole the lights from my bike there's something you need to know about the contents of the saddle bag you also stole.

The bag is worth a tenner new, that bag has been through two winters. It is far from new. 

The rear light was part of a set from a 99p shop. 

The puncture repair kit cost 99p and needs refilling with everything. The tyre levers are lethal, if you aren't careful they become sprung- loaded eye-gougers with the slightest amount of beefy use.

The inner two inner-tubes cost £1.98 each. They ain't great but they should get you home. Not sure how well they'll work on your Sports Direct BSO.

The multi-spanner thing in the bag is terrible. It came with a Raliegh MTB I bought when I was 14. If you get any use out of it you must have greater mechanical sympathy than I do. 

Those two silver canisters in the saddle bag might look like the nitrous-oxide 'laughing gas' you do with your mates but they are in fact Co2.  Huff them and you will die. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The right shorts for lunch - my new book of short stories

Following on from the surprising reception my first Kindle book 'A multi-story tale of NCP Car Park hell' enjoyed I have brought together and published a collection of my short stories.

The right shorts for lunch is a collection of 26 short stories, most of which were originally published for Sticky Distro in Australia.  For this Kindle edition I have added more stories including a few tales written quite recently.

If you like snappy short-fiction with a lift (or a twist) in the tail and you're a fan of slightly irreverent humour then hopefully you'll enjoy this collection.  There is no one common theme running through the stories because I treated the creation of these tales as an experiment in mucking about with genres, but as with a lot of my fiction writing you will find a sprinkling of humour and romance throughout.

Click the link below to grab the book, or search your local Amazon website for 'The right shorts for lunch' and the book should pop up at the top of the results.


P.S Huge thanks to Steve Larder for the brilliant illustration on the cover.

Friday, October 25, 2013

In writing small surprises are to be savoured

I have just been forwarded this email by a friend.  It pleased me and amused me greatly.

I should probably hurry up and publish my next Kindle book, which will be a collection of short stories and flash fiction.  In the meantime feel free to buy the NCP tale by clicking the graphic below:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ipswich gardener - available now!

Does anyone in the Ipswich / Woodbridge area need a gardener?  Due to her biggest client selling up and moving on my wife has spare time in her working week.  She is a qualified and very experienced horticulturalist.

At this time of year clients are turning their thoughts to the plans they have for their gardens (especially with regards to planting plans).  Would you like to breath new life into your garden?

My wife is also an experienced vegetable grower (having been head gardener at an organic vegetable garden) and is keen to help people who are excited about growing their own food.

She works along the A12 corridor between Ipswich and Aldeburgh.

You can call Emma direct on 07790 843 152 or find out more via her website at http://www.gardencaretakers.co.uk/

Monday, October 14, 2013

[ARCHIVE] A few things.

This post is an archive of a page from an old website.  I didn't want to lose it but I didn't know where else to put it!
I’ve been a published writer for a fair old length of time now and I honestly can’t remember all the things I’ve done over the years, so this list is by no means exhaustive, and is certainly not up to date.  I’ve probably missed out a fair few bits that I’ve done that I’m really proud of.  I’ll make you a deal; if I remember any of them I promise I’ll add them right away.  Bits and bobs like reviews I’ve written probably won’t be posted here.
Strategic Risk Magazine
Event photographs
October 2010
Alt Sounds
Interview with Red Sparowes
From Plymouth to Obama
Travel/ Gonzo book
Completed autumn-2009
Alt Sounds
Column/ Article
Schmap – Boston Guide
Photo used in guide
Short story
Bring Back Her Head
Photos for promo/ album artwork
Dangers Close
Photos for album artwork
Red Flag 77
Promo photos for feature in Big Cheese magazine
Mild Peril
Red Flag 77
Loads of photos used on artwork for ‘Rotten on the Inside’ album
BBC Suffolk
Live Music Review
Event Photographs
Guitar World
Live photo of the band ‘Saviours’
BBC Suffolk
Live music review
Event photographs
BBC Suffolk
Live music review
BBC SuffolkMusic festival photos
Criminal (band) 
Publicity shots
Yaller Skunk Theatre Company
Travelog Photography
May 2007
Ipswich24 Magazine
Monthly column
April 2007 to present
BBC Suffolk
Live music review
BBC Suffolk
Live music review
BBC Suffolk
Live music review
Real Overdose Zine
Various contributions
2001 – 2003
Monthly Column
2000 to present

My rim has been compromised

This morning I had one of those rides where I was sure the effort I was having to make felt a little tougher than usual.  Admittedly I'd gone out on a whim having only eaten a banana and I knew that my legs would be a little tired from the forty miles I cycled through a monsoon yesterday.  But still, this morning's ride felt too much like hard graft, even when I was trying to take it easy.

When I put my bike (Mr Blue Bike, a Ribble Audax frame with mongrel groupset) on the work stand to 'Mickle' (clean and lube) the chain I noticed that the rear wheel was sticking against one side of the rear brakes.  They are the sort of brakes that mount to the frame via a single bolt (do all brake systems mount that way?) so I figured the brake mount needed tightening.

Then I gave the wheel a spin and it appeared buckled.  The wheels are Mavic MA3 rims laced to Shimano Ultegra hubs and as far as I know are pretty solid.  I didn't mind if they did turn out to be buckled; they've had a hard time of it over the last few weeks and truth be told I quite like truing wheels (here's how it's done).

So I started giving the wheels a really good clean then noticed something I've not seen before:


Mind you, I've done 1,910.2 miles on these wheels (according to Strava) and the whole bike was second hand when I bought it so I don't really consider that it owes me anything.  The only question now is do I replace the entire wheel or just the rims and spokes?  How many miles can one expect to get from an Ultegra hub?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

How to roast cashew nuts the really easy way.

Cashew nut roasting sounds like a task fraught with complexities, but it doesn't have to be so. I regularly roast cashew nuts because I love the opportunity to tinker with different flavourings. Sure enought there are plenty of flavoured nuts for sale in the supermarkets but there's not much variety, there's much too much salt and the flavours tend to be a wildly dialled up versions that bear little resemblence to food that humans eat.

In order to roast your own cashew nuts you will need just three things: unsalted unroasted cashew nuts (we buy them in bulk from Suma), a shallow baking tray and an oven.  Pre-heat your oven to about 180oC, spread your cashews across the tray and then sling said tray in aforementioned oven. When the nuts start to turn slightly brown take them of the oven. DONE. Simple hey?

It's worth noting that you have to watch the nuts very closely as they go from lightly brown to burnt and buggered in the blink of an eye. Roasting a tray of cashews usually only takes about five minutes. You don't need to add oil as the nuts themselves are pretty choc full of their own oil (you can hear the nut oil 'fizzing' when you liberate the nuts from the oven).

Flavoring your home-roasted cashew nuts.
Here's where the fun begins. As long as your nuts are reasonably oily it's very easy to add flavouring as whatever powder mix you coat them with sticks to their oil. I tend to add plenty of finely ground salt and a mixture of things from the spice rack to a Tupperware container, add the still hot nuts, seal the lid and give the whole shebang a good shake. My cats are wary of this phase but my toddler loves it. 

If your nuts are a little dry when they come out of the oven gently drizzle a very small amount of ground  nut oil over them before adding them to your 'flavour tub'.  

Recently I have been coating my roasted cashews in various curry powders purchased from my local international food store.  The nuts in the picture that accompanies this recipie are madras nuts. 

My favorite coating is Jalfriezi, which consists of one tablespoon of ground coriander, one tablespoon of ground turmeric and two of cumin. I then salt to taste. Good noms. 

I'd love to hear what coatings you come up with, please share your concoctions in the comments section below. 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A multi-story tale of NCP Car Park hell (short story) [Kindle Edition]

My first release in the Amazon Kindle book store is OUT NOW and it's as short story!  There are more releases planned over the coming months culminating in a re-release of a romance novel from a couple of years ago, and then *gasp* a NEW NOVEL!

A multi-story tale of NCP Car Park hell

The (true) story of what happened to a numpty who got trapped inside a NCP car park in South London. Contains concrete, failed vandalism, twisted logic, first world problems, a fox and explicit scenes of idiocy. Based in Catford but contains no cats.

To download the book click the Amazon advert below:

Friday, October 04, 2013

Top Ten lyrics by The Replacements

Originally published in Beat Motel zine issue #1 many, many years ago.

The Replacements Lyrics are some of the best lyrics I have ever heard. They appeal to me because above all they have a great humour to them, in an almost English way though a lot of the lyrics seem quite tinged with sadness. In fact in most Replacements songs there seems to be quite a depressive undercurrent. By their own admission the Replacements described themselves as 'alcoholics in check shirts'.

I only got into The Replacements in the last few years (starting around 2001) so I never had the pleasure of seeing them while they were still an active band. This has given them an almost instantly legendary status in my mind, I did originally assume the only information I can gather about them had been exaggerated to make it sound better, but unlike many of their contemporaries the stories are true! I won't go into any of them here but if you ever have the joy to meet other Replacements fans you can talk the night away exchanging tales you have heard about this fantastic band. Another reason I think I didn't find out about them for years is that over here in the UK they never really broke through like they did in the USA. As I mentioned earlier the lyrics are one of the great strong arms of this band,

Paul Westerberg employs several tricks the most common of which is slightly changing a commonly known phase, hell they even did that with the title of an album! I've chosen the lyrics below party because they are the ones freshest in my mind at the moment and because they are a nice mix of clever, funny and poignant. My top ten are only my current favourites, it changes daily!

Andrew Culture...
1. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting drunk
(Asking me lies)

2. How old am I? Let's count the rings around my eyes
(I will dare)

3. Ashtray floor, dirty clothes and filthy jokes
(Can t hardly wait)

4. I hate music, it's got too many notes
(I hate music)

5. Feelin' good from the pills we took, oh baby don't give me that look
(Talent Show)

6. Put the party on the mirror
(Colour me impressed)

7. Get this over with, I tee off in an hour
(Tommy gets his tonsils out)

8. Gary's got a soft-on
(Gary's got a boner)

9. Jesus rides beside me, he never buys any smokes (can't hardly wait)

10.Eight dollars and fifteen cents, I bought a headache
(I bought a headache)

I also asked a couple of members of LoveJunk for lists:

Mickey LoveFlagRist...
1. God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
(Bastards Of Young)

2. The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them
(Bastards Of Young)

3. And even if you're in the arms of someone's baby now I drink a great big whiskey to you anyway
(Here Comes A Regular)

4. I'll write you a letter tomorrow Tonight I can't hold a pen
(Can t Hardly Wait)

5. I hate music Sometimes I don't I hate music It's got too many notes
(I Hate Music)

6. Hey, Merle, I was wonderin'... if ya had any 'ludes on ya?
(Dope Smokin Moron)

7. Well, I walked out of work And I was tired as hell Another day's come and gone and oh well Somewhere there's a drink with my name on it
(If Only You Were Lonely)

8. How do you say I miss you to An answering machine?
How do you say good night to An answering machine?
How do you say I'm lonely to An answering machine?
(Answering Machine)

9. Twenty push-ups this morning,
that was half my goal Tonight I'll be doin' pull-ups On the toilet bowl
(If Only You Were Lonely)

10. Pretty girl keep growin' up, playin' make-up, wearin' guitar Growin' old in a bar, ya grow old in a bar
(Left Of The Dial)

Tard (Wolfie)
1. I hate music, sometimes I don't, I hate music, it s got too many notes.
Tommy says so, so, so, so what?
(I Hate Music)

2. Big town's got its losers, small town s got
its vices,
A handful of friends, one
needs a match and one
needs some ice
(Answering Machine)

3. Yeah, I know I look like hell,
But I m smoking and I m drinking and I m feeling swell
(Favorite Thing)

4. I can live without your touch,
But I'll die within your reach
(Within Your Reach)

5. A person can work up a mean mean thirst,
After a hard day of nothing much at all
(Here Comes A Regular)

6. If you were a pill I d take a handful at my will,
And I d knock you back with something sweet and strong

7. If being afraid is a crime we hang side by side,
At the swingin' party down the line
(Swingin' Party)

8. Ain't lost yet so I gotta be a winner,
Fingernails and cigarettes a lousy dinner
( I Will Dare)

9. First thing we do when we finally pull up,
Is get shit-faced drunk and try to sober up
(Treatment Bound)

10.Six o clock, batten the hatches,
We got cigarettes but we ain't got no matches
(More Cigarettes)