There is an absolutely delicious irony about cycling at the moment. Read any online mention of cycling, no matter how peripheral, and I can tell you precisely what you will see there if comments are enabled. At least 50 people moaning about cyclists jumping red lights, another 50 moaning about cycling on pavements, and other creative criticisms like riding across crossings or the wrong way down roads. Presumably cyclists are a different species of human who all wear lycra and who’s mating rituals involve butting helmets and ringing bells? Whoever they are, it is ok to discriminate against them en mass even though racism is now frowned upon. It is very depressing.  Vehiclism is on the rise!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, London is actually becoming a pretty cycle friendly city in some ways – incorporating a lot of the latest designs for integrating bikes. I have even been involved with testing some of it with the TRL (a rainy day testing a new way to get bikes around bus stops – over and over again). And this is where the irony comes in. What do we see among these new designs? Cycle routes that hop on and off the pavement depending on safety. Traffic lights that let cyclists move at different times to cars (jumping lights, in effect, though safer obviously) or directing us across crossings with pedestrians instead. Even cycle routes that run contrary to the flow of cars or the wrong way down one way systems. Funnily enough, EXACTLY what everyone has been moaning about so much is now being incorporated officially as the latest cutting edge! The irony is beautiful!

I was always too . . . what is it? . . . law abiding to jump lights or ride around in weird places. But it was always clear that sometimes it was safer and I am very glad to see these new changes. The rules of the road are totally geared towards cars in foundation and don’t even fit bikes very well, so it’s no surprise that some take the system into their own hand. Bikes are still in an awkward place, not quite fitting in either on the road or off it – and we have to work with that as best we can, trying not to annoy people in the process but also trying not to get killed and trying to actually, well, move!  

Then again, some of any vehicle do drive like idiots as well. I could tell a few stories . . .

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rambling on Basalgette in the London Night

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Bazalgette . . . on a bridge . . . under a bridge . . .

Can’t effing sleep! Honestly my body clock doesn’t know which way it is going these days – late, early, nocturnal, occasionally even normal! And hey – here’s my blog, my almost ignored blog, the perfect place to moan into the void in the not-so-small hours! What the heck do I do now? Carry on lying here? Go out on some loopy bike ride around London to greet the dawn? See if any shops are still open somewhere and buy something weird?

Funny thing – I love being outside, especially riding old Basalgette (my bike) through the quiet streets. The nice thing about cycling is that you become transient and removed from the world you pass through – you flit by and are gone, with little involvement with people. I seem to be becoming increasingly allergic to physicality these days. The more time passes, the stranger and more alien human interaction seems. It’s not that I don’t like people – quite the reverse. I LOVE people. But meeting people in the flesh, actually talking to people, it all feels like some weird performance I am supposed to be involved in – and quite simply and literally it sometimes feels as though I have forgotten how to do it. Forgotten how to talk . . .

If I ever knew.

In the face of that, isolation is very seductive. But if so, then why am I living here? And I suppose loving it in some weird way? If there’s one place where it is impossible to ever be alone, it is here in London. Oh you can be lonely, it’s probably the easiest place in the country to be lonely – but never alone, the strange paradox of the city. Even as I spin through the streets at 4AM there is always something . . . .

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Some figure hunching their way onwards, presumably with some mysterious destination in mind that you will never know.

The homeless huddled in corners – a lot more of them now, no surprise. they leave you feeling almost guilty that the world has not yet destroyed you, only them.

The occasional police who you strut past almost proudly (“look, I’m not committing a crime, isn’t that nice!”). Is it possible to strut on a bike? It is on Basalgette!

The drunks who, temporarily changing the rules of how the world functions, excitedly drag you into some brief clash of interaction, leaving you staring after them almost puzzled.

Some girl crying in the distance and every bone aches to ride over and offer help but then a million news and opinion articles and blog posts hammers a massive ‘fuck you’ as a reward for ever breaching that isolation straight between your eyes and you very quickly take the other road – then spend the rest of the night feeling sick with spiritual pollution and confusion.

The street poet who catches you during some pause and spouts words at you that on these night streets resonate as strong as any book, so you empty your wallet of change.

The shop-keepers of the little all-night stores that sell everything from European sausages to exhausted fruit via every kind of junk food you can imagine. Usually they just glower at you no matter what you say – but just occasionally you run into something else and exchange a small smile.

The drug-addled, probably the least dangerous people of all, glancing at you vaguely and analysing what universe you happen to reside in.

Even some maddie who is desperately trying to convey that one vital message, over and over again, to a world that really and genuinely isn’t listening. And again, do you say ‘I hear you’ or do you take the other road? There’s a lot of other roads in London. In that respect, the city seems infinite.

Ah well – I doubt many can be bothered to read this crap – so here’s another picture of the night time London instead.

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Published in: on March 13, 2014 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why i never go out

Why i never go out:

1)      The following thought process: “Oh I would love to go to Xjgiglk!  I can get there easily for a daytrip and it would be just beautiful.  Breath of fresh air – time out of the city – exercise . . .”

2)      Checks price of tickets – affordable!  “Yes!  This is easy – why don’t I do this more often?”

3)      The following thought process: Y;lkj;lj is just a few miles away!  It would be crazy to go all that way and NOT see Y;lkj;lj!  Just a few £ extra for a 20 min train ride . . .

4)      Get into a stew on Google earth – want to see ALL the places.  Which should I chose? Where should I go?

5)      The following thought process: If I am going then I really should do it properly – it’s only fair.  You can’t go to a place in a rush without seeing all it has to offer!

6)      Looks into overnight accommodation.  Must do this on a budget.  YHA maybe?  Walking tour?  Camping?

7)      Plots 10 days of travel in the general area of Xjgiglk.  6 youth hostels, 10 trains, 4 buses, one hillside and a dodgy B&B in Y;lkj;lj.

8)      The following thought process: Oh gawd – if I am going to do this I will need some serious new shoes.  Waterproofs.  New rucksack.  A tent.  5 maps . . .

9)      Realise I have run up a prospective bill of over £800

10)   Give up and gloomily go and watch train videos on youtube . . .

Published in: on June 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Die with a T

It seems that everyone and their mother these days is banging on about philosophies of food – so maybe I will take a turn.  There was a time, way back, when I was in what you might call ‘diet panic mode’.  I was looking round the various options and all I could see was a load of contradictions. Eat lots of grains, cut out the grains – eat meat and you will die horribly, don’t eat meat and you will, um, die horribly – ‘X’ substance of any kind whatsoever will save your life, ‘X’ substance of any kind whatsoever will kill you and all the pretty girls will dance on your grave giggling . . . it just about did my head in.

I did notice two things though that have lingered with me. The first was exploring the so-called hypo-allergenic diet, which involves cutting out everything that humans are known to be most sensitive to, regardless of whether you are actually allergic to anything. The reasoning being that these are probably harder on the system in general. The interesting thing was how this corresponded almost perfectly with the food we actually evolved to eat way back (which is these days defined in the so-called palaeolithic diet – good luck with that one in modern society!). Both suggest that the optimal food is basically the simplest – many types of veg, fruit, meat, fish, honey etc. but go easy on the bread, grain, pulses, dairy, processed stuff, mystery chemicals etc. It was an interesting conjunction, one from a fairly direct modern science of allergies and the other from ancient history – and it was the only thing (=regime) I ever saw that rang at all true.  It made other rigorous options like vegetarian or macrobiotic or Atkins (or grapefruit, or starlight, or living on miso soup and lentils, or whatever other eternal crap is out there) look much less sound.

The other thing that lived with me was the ayurvedic approach that recognises that different people have different requirements, which suggested that any kind of culinary evangelism or carefully controlled regimes can be off-beam anyway! The ayurvedics will probably hate me though because instead of going ‘wow’ and following their system, that was my excuse to just give up listening.  Enough was enough – I was getting just too stressed out.  This kind of joyless calculation and endless worrying isn’t what food should be about.  After that panic mode was over, for a long time, whenever I heard some vegan frothing at the mouth on the subject or some earnest guy saying follow ‘X’ and save your soul, all I heard was a faint buzzing sound. I still do, though one must of course be open to all actual genuine information.  The hardest thing I ever faced in this business was overcoming my revulsion at the preaching and ideology and iamrightyouarewrong (not to mention the aggression and hate it seems to whip up all too often) to find any small kernels of actual info in there.

And then there’s the small matter of human instincts.  Go against them at your peril!  Maybe the reason the hypoallergenic/Palaeolithic ideas got through to me more than any other was because they seemed faintly familiar, from some primal place inside me that already knew what it needed . . . Not that I am a practitioner.  I hate absolutes far too much to ever align myself with any creed directly (absolutes must surely be one of the most poisonous and illusory aspects of human thought).  But it does offer some interesting ideas that can be thought about and built upon.  For me anyway.

These days, I am still somewhat ‘anti-diet’.  However, I do have a personal recipe for life that I try and follow (doesn’t always succeed, especially when I am busy and fed up, but I try!). It goes something like this: Know what makes you feel good and eat it!  Keep up with the facts as far as possible but if anyone starts telling you what to do, walk away.  Then cheer up and get on with life!  Being happy and fulfilled (not always easy I know) will do you more good than any diet I think.

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can you heat your house in the winter using junk mail?

Having seen the budget news from posh-boy Osborne with his back scratcher and whip, I have a thought experiment – before I get on with anything more important today. Would it be possible to heat your house using junk mail? Given that you can get little briquette makers for recycled paper, just what would happen if you signed up for everything you could find of the spam, newspapers, catalogues, circulars, instruction manuals and other crap they are so desperate to send you for an entire year – would it be enough to power your heating for the winter in a modest way?

Of course, this presupposes a) a woodstove of some kind and b) some storage space, neither of which are a given these days. But aside from that . . .

I have no idea!  I might have to do some calculations . . .

Published in: on December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Free PDF for download – Yellow Eyes

As well as the ‘official’ ebook free samples, I have released a PDF of the complete first novella in the collection Feather: Tales of Isolation and Descent.  Entitled Yellow Eyes, it tells a very dark story from Feather’s childhood, growing up in isolation with her eccentric father in the woods by the sea . . . and in the shadow of a maybe abandoned nuclear powerstation.  This is the story that lays the foundations for just about everything else I have written about her.

Download the PDF from the Eibonvale Press website.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Back to School?

I don’t even go to school any more and haven’t for years – but even I am being driven spare by all these ‘back to school’ sales slapped all over everything. Trumpeting that message of doom and despair to kids everywhere with such unholy glee is just about the only thing in my life that has ever made me want to kick in a shop window!

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Novel teaser – The Windmill

Here is a brief sample or teaser from my upcoming novel The Windmill, after it was released on Facebook a short while ago.  This is the first glimpse of the work I have shown anywhere!  Who knows what could happen between now and finishing the book, but here it is!

 

Cars and London busses, all barrelling along, added to the scene and Feather finally got moving. This unpleasant junction was not what Camden was about. It was familiar enough but it told her nothing. Nothing of the essence of Camden that she wanted to remember. She hurried down the road towards the wilder heart of the place, quickly and uneasily slipping through the streaming streets – almost afraid to look too closely at the surroundings. Finally she passed under a sombre brick railway arch surrounded by high spiked fences and entered the Market – and immediately a new world closed in around her. A world where she hoped to find something that made more sense. This market sprawls in the middle of the town, among a tangle of railway bridges. This was a familiar place. She had been here many times before, she knew that. But even so, she could not find any kind of a map of the place in her head now. Indeed, this place seemed to defy mapping. Looking around at the colourful and untidy chaos of stalls and canopied shops, they just seemed to fit into the bizarrely shaped spaces between and under the railway lines like some sort of growth – which was what it was, she supposed. The feeling was that all you could do here was wander around the seemingly endless avenues, passageways and paths, mostly of smooth and incongruously old-fashioned looking cobbles, and see where you ended up.

The diversity of shapes and ways was only matched by the diversity of people and goods. Mostly it seemed to be clothes and trinkets. Oddments for a determinedly alternative and gothic heap of people. There was a bizarre mixture of cute and deathly here. Pretty pink lacy dresses with slogans about neutron bombs. Classic horrorshow skulls and death-masks. Black underwear in leather, all carefully impregnated with the gothic smell and exhibited under ultraviolet light. Serene mannequins in crazy wigs dressed in contrasting colours with more lace and more frills. Then there were stalls of ethnic trinkets, DVDs, anime, badges, bongs, lamps, furniture, Chinese food cooked in huge woks – and all this vibrancy set up under murky canvas or under the utilitarian brick or metal roofs of the old railway architecture. And all this under trailing wires of light bulbs or netting. This was contrasted with overflowing dustbins and dumped scraps of all kinds in the more out of the way places. An old bath tub filled with masonry fragments. Traffic cones cordoning off piles of timber and roles of plastic. All proving that, in spite of the Goth and counterculture veneer, this was a place with better things to do than fret about pristinity or image.

For Feather, as she slowly wandered through this bustling place, there was a feeling of something waking up in her head. Nothing as direct or concrete as a memory, it was just a feeling. A feeling of extreme familiarity. The realisation came slowly, but with tremendous force, and at last she bought a tray full of Asian food and sat down at a picnic table to think. This was home. These streets were her streets and this market was her market. This was Camden Town. This was where she lived. And this was where she had been found, a few nights ago, passed out in an alley, stuffed full of broken glass.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Feather is now available as an ebook – free samples

My collection Feather is now available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords, priced at a mere $5.  That’s a good price for 10 years of work, right?  :-)  More importantly, both sites are offering free samples, which can be downloaded to your reader or your computer.  Free samples is something I should probably have done ages ago, but hey – better late than never.  Smashwords is offering as much as 20%, which I hope will cover the entire first story, Yellow Eyes.

Anyway – I invite you to pop over to either of them and have a look.  Download it and have a read!

Here’s a few review comments (hey – I have to engage in promotion, you know!)

… David Rix’s writing style reminds me a bit of Clive Barker. He has the same kind of a sense of style and depth as Barker, and he’s capable of shocking his readers with psychologically and violently horrifying scenes, which reveal the almost animalistic behaviour of human beings (he isn’t as explicit as Barker, but he can shock his readers when he wants to and he does it skilfully). The dreamlike and a bit weird atmosphere also reminds me a bit of Clive Barker. There’s also a touch of Laird Barron’s sense of style in his stories…

…David Rix also has an uncanny sense of grotesqueness, which manifests itself in fascinating and unexpected ways. I have always loved grotesque and unsettling stories, so I was thrilled when I noticed that the author seems to be able to create an unsettling atmosphere with just a few paragraphs and carefully chosen words. This is one of the reasons why it’s possible that some readers may compare him to old masters like Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood and M. R. James…

- Sami Airola at Rising Shadow

…It’s the final stories, however, that are the crowning jewels and where David’s talent as a writer is on full display. Displaying a less cerebral style but still showcasing a sharp sting, this is dark and urban gothic at it best as we follow Tallis through the streets of LjubLjana. A tale of bleak and functional spaces – and one that might remind a reader of Gary McMahon or even the early stylizing of Clive Barker traversing the streets of Liverpool.

Overall, this is like one of the more magical books one might read in high-school, but bristling at the intersection of Horror and Slipstream. A strange metaphor for the authors character itself – and at turns mythic and seductive.”

- Matthew Tait,  Hellnotes

…The author has a very visual and engaging prose style that drew me right in. A lot of the settings are quite bleak: isolated beaches, concrete jungle cityscapes, the loneliness of Dartmoor, or half-empty halls of residence occupied by dirty, impoverished art students, for instance. There’s a touch of melancholy about these places, yet the descriptions of them are vivid and realistic so there isn’t an off-putting atmosphere of gloom. Instead there’s always the feeling that something interesting is about to happen on the next page…

…But these stories portray the world as largely unknowable. Meaning seems elusive and perhaps even impossible to find, and it’s certainly futile to search for it. It’s almost like reading anti-stories. I found this interesting and frustrating in equal measure. Because what is fiction for if not to help us make sense of an irreducibly complex world? Of course we know that life can’t be broken down to a few simple themes and moral lessons, but doing exactly that is part of the charm of stories…

…Feather is a mind-boggle. I can’t decide whether David Rix is being really smart or just annoying when he plays with the concept of the search for understanding. However it’s an entertaining kind of boggling, and I warmed to the character of Feather with her scarred innocence and cheerful practicality, whilst the stories themselves are colourful, strange and surprising.”

- Ros Jackson at Warpcore SF

Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Open Letter to the Royal Mail

Dear Royal Mail,

Primarily the question in my head at the moment is how anyone can possibly justify the following:

  • Value of items ordered from abroad: $24.22/£15.52
  • Maximum value for the exemption of Import charges: £15
  • Total import costs billed to me without so much as an embarrassed smirk: £12.54

Not exactly high finance I know, but it is the principle of the thing that bothers me!  Including the so-called handling fee (the biggest rip-off of all!), that is approximately 80% import costs if I have my maths right and I fail to see how that can be acceptable under any circumstances in a world that is increasingly embracing globalisation.  For 80% import costs, I hope you put the box up in a good hotel and handled it with only the best silk gloves (I will expect the vacation photos at your convenience?) – and I would have thought at the very least some info could have been provided so I have some idea what I am paying that 80% for!  E.g. address and sender of origin, declared description of contents and maybe X-ray and CAT scan data while you are about it.  That way, maybe I wouldn’t get this ‘ripped off’ feeling quite so strongly whenever I am forced to import stuff from abroad.

We live in a world where borders are increasingly irrelevant and where the globalism of life is increasingly changing the world for the better – all of which might be called the first tastes of one of the most important stages in human development since we started farming.  Things are possible now that would have been unheard of only a few decades ago – such as the cross-pollination and inspiration of cultures and the ability to explore areas, concepts and objects that were previously denied to us.  It is a shame then that the boarders themselves and those involved in crossing them don’t seem to have heard of all this.

Published in: on July 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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