Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Steve Finbow interviews David Mitchell

1. For Japan Times

2. Another interview in "Stop Smiling"

Steve Finbow read at the recent Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 1 launch. David Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded contemporary authors. They have in common that both are English writers living in Japan.


Steve Finbow: interviews with David Mitchell

1. For Japan Times

2. Another interview in "Stop Smiling"

Steve Finbow and David Mitchell are both English writers living in Japan.


This evening

A Reader

Send us your photos and news reports to onionmbeke (at) A fiver for the best one and dinner with Mona for the runners-up.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gordon's rain

I rejoiced that Blair had gone - and then Brown began to speak

"'It has been a very emotional day,' said Sky News's Adam Boulton. 'I have seen some incredible things today, things I never thought I would see.' What were these incredible things? 'I have seen the Blairs' exercise bicycle removed from Number 10,' groaned the honest fellow; and across Britain one imagined the Sky audience returning their sodden handkerchiefs to their eyes as they were racked with fresh bouts of sobbing. The exercise bicycle! The Prime Ministerial exercise bicycle! Never more to be used in Downing Street again! Woe, woe and thrice woe!" (Boris Johnson)

It's like Foot breaking his foot on the first day, or Kinnock falling into the sea. Gordon promising to rain changes on us, while half the country is flooded out. "We must have change! Change everything! Let it be decreed." It's like a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, topsy-turvy par excellence. Never mind thousands of changes, one good one would be nice.

Feargal Mooney

Things fall apart

"...of all the deranged notions that were floated - Blair as a 'faith ambassador', please - they came up with and settled on this idiocy. Why stop there? Why not put a Klansman in charge of race relations, a paedophile at the head of the Boy Scouts, and set up a Melvyn Bragg School for Cultural Excellence while we're at it? They have selected Tony Blair, the executioner of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the co-sponsor of Israel's murderous attack on Lebanon, the arms dealer to the crooked Saudi dynasty, the detestable spear-carrier for the American Empire, and bag-carrier for Bush, to be the Quartet's envoy to the Middle East." (Lenin's Tomb)

The world has been turned on its head. Jeeves is now to be the boss and Wooster has to go and be an emissary to the fuzzy-wuzzies. Maybe he even thought Apres moi le deluge, as he toddled off with floods all around the country and wars around the world.

Feargal Mooney

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friends of the Willy

Lines between day & night

Nice website, Steve. "Flotsam and jetsam" goes with the feeling of coral or driftwood conjured by the Google graphic at the head of the page. I used to have some "flowers" made out of branching black coral and tiny white seashells that looked just like that.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New London 2012 logo by T Boy

Somebody said that even the teaboy at Sphagnum Photo Agency could do better than the official London 2012 olympics logo. So Sphagnum supremo Onion Mbeke gave the work experience slave, who henceforth wishes to be known as T Boy, 20 minutes, the maximum time that Onion can survive without tea, and here is what he came up with. Wolf Howlin's or whatever they're called took a year and 400 grand to come up with their messy and fragmented effort, which has since struck several people into epileptic fits. For the small price of 20 minutes off, I think that T Boy ain't done too bad. Man. (Feargal)

"These are just ideas. They are not meant to be static or monochrome, they are meant to use the Olympic colours and transform for animations." (T Boy)

T-Boy © Sphagnum

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Support your local bookshop AND authors

New Short Stories 1 is in stock (right on the main counter) at the Willesden Bookshop (Willesden Library Centre, 95 High Street, Willesden, NW10). They have sold eleven copies to date, and I can assure you they won't run out of stock! If you happen to get there and the last one has gone, ask them to phone me and I'll run round the corner (literally, that is where I live) with a new batch. Yes, that is publishing, you know, big business. I was hoping to give the profits to Comic Relief, but as yet not even near breaking even. Come on you lot.

As for Amazon, at one point New Short Stories 1 was in the top 40 anthologies. Don't get excited, though, because this can be achieved by just selling two copies in one day. Now if you all want to help (who the hell am I kidding, nobody even reads this) why not see if we can send the book spinning up to the top of the Amazon charts? Let me know if you buy a few and I'll get a screenshot as proof of the chart position.

I'm rather shameless about promoting this as so much blooming work went into it, and it is also packed with wonderful reading. I can be cool some other time. (When I'm dead will be soon enough.)



Eeeee eee eeee & Bed by Tao Lin:

"...a weightlessness entered into Chelsea’s blood—an inside ventilation, like a bacteria of ghosts—and it was sometime in the fall, before her 23rd birthday, that her heart, her small and weary core, neglected now for years, vanished a little, from the center out, took on the strange and hollowed heaviness of a weakly inflated balloon."

You can now read Tao Lin's 2006 Willesden short-listed story "Sasquatch" online. It is part of the collection Bed (Melville House, 2007).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Troglodytes troglodytes

There Now


King of the birds

I see wrens from time to time and the other day I saw four (this is one of them) at the same time in a dead tree by the window of my writing shed. The king of the birds, according to folklore. They are noisy beggars, for something that could be mistaken for a queen bee as they dart rapidly by too fast to see clearly. They fly low and I've seen them going under a shed and under a building, which must be how they earned their latin name troglodytes troglodytes. Their "song" sounds a bit like some sort of drill.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

The warmonger as human interest

The long kiss goodbye (Martin Amis, Guardian)

In pictures and video: Amis on Blair (Pictures by Dan Chung)

"Deplorably flirtacious" is hardly a strong enough term for these starstruck diary entries about the chief cheerleader and cannon fodder purveyor for the invasion of Iraq. Blair decided that Britain would "pay the blood price" and now spends his time trying to mumble up plausible sounding excuses. All we're short of is the "Saint Sebastian shot full of arrows" illustration. Cool Britannia.

Feargal Mooney

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The sky just now

Sometimes it doesn't seem so bad...

And then, a demon.*

O. Mbeke, Sphagnum

* This would make a good title for Ruth Rendell. Send her a link, Feargal. Ed

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ed's mug beats £20k

Review - Pulp.Net

Twenty grand can't buy you vivacity, twenty grand can't buy you newness, but for a very small consideration, the price of a mug perhaps, you can buy the book that's got more reaction than the stuffy old National short story anthology with its list of dead authors on the cover. If you think our review is not too dazzling, look at the low wattage of theirs.

P. O'Toole