First Date

First Date 3

“My mother sometimes loved me” he says, “well that is to say she loved me when it suited her. She was not an affectionate woman, not affectionate at all. As a matter of fact she could be quite unkind.”

“I’m sorry to hear that” I reply, “mothers should always be kind to their children.”

“Yes you would think so wouldn’t you?” His lips part to form something more akin to a grimace than a smile.

I search for phrases, conversational pieces suitable for such a candid revelation. “Was your childhood very unhappy?”

“Oh no” he says “not at all. It was mostly very pleasant. I didn’t know any different you see. I thought everyone’s mother gave kisses as treats to be earned. “

“A mother’s love is usually unconditional” I say.

“Yes apparently so. Still, I had the last laugh” he lets out a sly chuckle. “She’s dead now.”

“Oh dear.”

He claps his hands and rubs them together with glee. “Shall we have some dessert? The Death By Chocolate looks exquisite don’t you think?”




I’ve had a great few months of activity but sadly not writing activity.  You know the sort of Summer stuff that we all do, festivals, holidays, general outdoorsy stuff. Well having just come back from a few weeks in wonderfully hot & sunny Croatia to some cold, wet & dreary UK weather I’m pretty sure all that wonderful stuff is behind me now & the rest of the year is likely to be taken up with more indoor pursuits, although we do have the Birmingham Literature Festival coming up soon which is always good. Generally though I’ll try to buckle down & produce a bit more material.  Anyway here’s a start. Whilst on holiday with a bunch of friends we were talking about apology letters which are apparently trending right now – who knew? Not me that’s for sure. It got me thinking about the first possible apology letter & here’s what I came up with….

Dear Adam Continue reading “Sorry”

The Commuter Kid Strikes Again

Commuter Kid 1

Monday morning and I’m sitting on the train feeling pretty damn pleased with myself: I’ve skipped breakfast because I’m on this crazy new diet thing where you can only eat eight hours a day so I’ve managed to catch an earlier train. I pull out my water bottle and take a big glug. Even though I can never remember how much I’m supposed to drink each day, I try to take on a much fluid as possible because that’s healthy, right? Except I’m drinking so fast I nearly choke. So I start to think what would happen if I really did begin to choke, I mean really dramatic, gut wrenching stuff? Well it would be pretty embarrassing for a start, no it would be very embarrassing, but what else? Would someone rush to my aid and slap my back or, I dunno, perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre or something? I look around at the empty faces and wonder if they’d even notice my face turning blue as I retched my way into New Street Station.  I decide it’s unlikely: Angry Birds, or whatever it is these days, is probably way more appealing.

It’s a short journey so I don’t have too long to go before we’re pulling into New Street. I’m on a cross city line so, while most of the train empties out, there are just as many getting on. The platform is rammed with people waiting for their chance to change places.

In my carriage there are two queues coming from opposite directions and meeting at the doors. At the head of the opposite queue there’s a guy with one of those monster pushchairs, the sort that probably converts to a Porsche or something when the little tyke is old enough. Continue reading “The Commuter Kid Strikes Again”

Journey To Paradise

Minibus 4

It probably doesn’t happen much these days but it was quite common back then. A couple of hippies had put in a personal ad for five or six people to share their trip up to the top of Scotland.  “We’re moving to a commune up there. We’re committed to peace and love,” he said, as if announcing he was giving his life to God. “I hope that’s not a problem?”

“Only if you expect me to commit too,” I joked but they seemed nice enough on the phone and anyway, I couldn’t afford to be choosy. I needed to get away quickly and had very little money of my own. Scotland felt like it might be far enough and I had always liked the sound of Edinburgh.

The minibus was a ramshackle old thing with worn leather seats that were mostly taken up by the time it reached me. It was a chilly March morning but, even so, it was colder inside than out.  I said a polite hello to the other passengers and took a seat next to a small women wrapped tightly in a fur coat.  “It takes a while to warm up” advised Dawn, the other half of the couple, “you might want to keep your coat on.”

“It’s a bit slow too,” said one of the men in front of me. “Not in a hurry are you?”

“Not at all,” I said. The small woman gave me a faint smile as if she knew I was lying.  Continue reading “Journey To Paradise”

In Memoriam


Sid vicious red

February 1979. Ten years ago but she remembers it clearly.

Thursdays to Saturdays were club nights then. Different clubs each night but nearly always the same tribes, like-minded characters who were drawn to their own kind. On Friday nights they went to Rudy’s an easy going, ramshackle place that specialised in Ska and Two Tone with a bit of Northern Soul and Punk thrown in. It was a bit shabby but the music was good and the Posers provided the missing glamour. So long as you didn’t murder anyone in Rudy’s you could do what you liked, no one cared.

They were also the nights she had guaranteed sex with Gez. He was always there, waiting for her. They’d skirt around each other to begin with, each one not wanting to be the first to move in, but eventually one of them would break. They’d make small talk for a while, maybe dance then go to his car.  It had been that way for eighteen months. Continue reading “In Memoriam”

All That Glitters

.AndertonStterracesLadywoodToday was going to be a good day. Yesterday she’d stayed behind after school to help Miss Simister pack everything away and received a large bar of chocolate as a thank you. Hope Street was closing and in September she would be going to Lee Bank, a brand new school promising endless possibilities and uncertainties. But this was the beginning of the summer holidays and no time for thoughts of school. Instead she concentrated on her plans to conquer the world even though the world, for Dawn Adams, was no more than a small area of inner city Birmingham that was one step away from being knocked into oblivion.

The plans had already been made by Dawn and her friends in the preceding weeks. They had a list of adventures they were going to have this summer including the exploration of several buildings abandoned in the mass exodus of a community desperate for a better future; a community that saw no need to look back at the fragile history they were leaving behind in the hands of the city’s developers.  Every week more families left for a suburban promised land and for those that remained the daily struggle became even harder. Buildings were either being bulldozed or falling down of their own accord and the only increasing population in evidence were the rats who grew bigger and bolder as the human inhabitants became fewer. For the children of Highgate though this was a world of unlimited pleasure and fear. They never knew what they were going to find next and the thrill of it was immense. Continue reading “All That Glitters”