2013: In Review

…and so concludes another year, arguably my best to date. When I first sat down to consider my year I struggled to piece anything together, to draw memories out from my temple with the tip of my Phoenix feather cored Holly wand and place them into the Pensieve. I struggled to recall exactly what had happened this year. Once I started joining the dots however I realised this year has been rather fantastic.
I wrote. I stood. I flew. I gigged. I joined. I rode. I fought. I bled. I ate. I drank. I puked. I smoked. I ran. I walked. I crawled. I competed. I attended. I submitted. I blogged.
Here is my review of 2013:

January
I started the year with a rather ambitious set of resolutions. I refuse to suffer the poison of fools who do not subscribe to the ‘new year, new you’ philosophy. Whilst I agree that if you really wanted to do something you would have done it already, the first step is a good mental attitude and if you can’t even bring that together then you’re not going to manage to achieve anything.
My resolutions for 2013 were:
Get Published.
Finish first draft of Hold On
Finish first draft of Six
Raise £1,000 for The Prince’s Trust
Get fit before October
Save money
Record an EP
Blog less
Enjoy my life

I’ve tried my hardest to get published. It is a lot trickier than I possibly gave credit. To date I have submitted the first three chapters along with cover letters, synopses and bios of three different novels; Situation 1, Visions Of Violet and The Stamp Collective. I’ve had small victories in the form of submissions taking months to be returned rather than days, and even received a hand-written note from an agency head which I took away as a complete win. I’m still waiting on a number back for The Stamp Collective which I only sent off in early December.
Those attempts aside I did manage to self-publish a book of short stories; Where Did All The Money Go? Doing this offered up opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. People were very fucking cool about it, very supportive and I need to once again thank the people who read it along the way (Stacy, Kate, Ben, Adam, Sam, Emily) and I am still indebted to Adam Gardner for his cover design. He’s become my artist of choice this year and it doesn’t matter if I still owe him a bottle of Metropolis and the biggest box of Tick Tock I can find he will continue to get first refusal on everything I do.
I have a first draft of Hold On although the title has completely changed. It became one of the two books I wrote during NaNoWriMo, but there will be more on that later.
Getting a first draft of Six together in the form of which I intended has not happened. This year Ben and I who are ‘Six’ in human form took on an entirely separate beast altogether and I’m so proud of it and I’m excited to see where we go in 2014.
I keep receiving emails from JustGiving to advise me my page is about to close. The final amount raised for The Prince’s Trust for my Sahara Trek was £1,115.00. I owe so many people a thank you for that. It is an incredible amount of money and I love everyone who sponsored me this year.
How subjective is the idea of getting fit. I managed it to an extent. I continued to run. I started going out for hikes in practice before the Sahara trek. I was in a better shape than a year ago so that’s a win again.
I’ve managed to save myself from a tailspin of wasting money through a number of ways and have managed to put some money away for my future.
In February I recorded the Birthday EP, an acoustic seven track acoustic set of recordings I did at The Broom Cupboard in Rayleigh. It was an amazing experience and one I am hoping to replicate soon in some way, shape or form.
Once I got to a year of blogging I did start to blog less. I blogged every day for a year. It was excessive. I wrote just for the sake of it. I still write something every day but I try to limit my blog to the things that really matter, to make it an event when I update the world on what I’m doing rather than just spilling my daily beans. It was an excellent way of opening up my mind in regard to the way I write and considering my work. I’ve recommended starting a blog to so many people this year and I’ve noticed a couple starting to pop up which I am very proud of and enjoy reading.
Again, how do you measure an enjoyment of life. There have been a number of occasions when I have looked around myself or considered where I have managed to get myself to and thanked myself or whatever external forces were responsible for getting me there. I was stood in Studio 2 at Abbey Road studio. I was stood on a sand dune in the Sahara desert watching a sunrise. I was onstage performing. I visited the Van Gogh museum with the girl I love. I saw The Rolling Stones perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. I love my life. It affords me the most incredible memories.
I’m in the process of writing another set of resolutions to drag me through 2014. They’ll be just as out there as the ones I set this year. I’m proud of the things I have done, the opportunities I have been afforded, the people I’ve been able to do all of those things with. I’m a very privileged and fortunate young man.

January also signifies the anniversary. In 2013 the two year anniversary of the relationship I thank myself for being a half of every day. It’s hard to think of a time when we weren’t together and I reality check my happiness all of the time. She gets me. I dig her. We went to see Matilda up in the West End and had lunch in Jamie Oliver’s Italian. It was a lovely day out and one I still catch myself thing about.

I also continued my excellent working relationship with the film website Screen Geek. Under the guidance of their editor I was sent to a number of specialist press screenings for the widest and best selection of films.

February
For me the second month of the year is purely for my birthday. The whole month orbits around it, specifically because it falls smack bang in the middle. I was treated like a little prince, and got a wide selection of books, films and experiences. Kate and I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour where I spent a ridiculous amount of money in the gift shop and we relived our teen dreams of being students of Hogwarts.

On my birthday I went into the studio and recorded seven songs acoustically. I had been listening to a lot of Dylan and it seemed the best way to go about things. I love those songs in the way I love every song I have written, and every story I have written. They become my children, and my family is always growing. I would love to do the same thing again this year. I’ll have to see what happens though.

Another highlight was attending the London Comedy Film Festival. It taught me the joy of saying “Yeah, I’m Paul Schiernecker, I’m on the guest list”. What an incredible sentence to be able to utter. I took my sweet Jocasta with me to see Wizard’s Way and Klovn, which were both incredible. I saw a special screening of Wreck It Ralph with Mex which included a Q&A with Sarah Silverman and the director. I also saw Graham Chapman’s A Liar’s Autobiography which was introduced by Terry Gilliam. I breathed the air of an actual Python.

I also headed to Brighton for a weekend with Kate and her Les Mis loving pals to spend a little time pretending I was a student again. I miss that part of my life but I’m glad to see the back of it.

It was also the month I bought out my own domain. It means that I can Google myself to my heart’s content and always be in the top spot. It’s provided a good platform for my work as well as connecting me to a past I thought was long gone.

March
I was offered one of the most exciting articles I have ever been a party to, the chance to visit Abbey Road studios for a talk on recording techniques, focusing primarily on the studio’s most famous recordings, those of The Beatles. It takes a lot to amaze me. Being in that room did just that. I was unable to get any additional places so went it alone. I didn’t speak to anyone for a couple of hours and then had the most amazing conversation with the security guard as I was on my way out.
He confessed to me that when he’s doing his rounds of the building, on patrol as it were, he sticks his head in the door and belts out a note just to be able to say he has sung in the same room that the Beatles did.

It was also the month when the second of my two godsons was born. Little Conor. He’s such a well-behaved and aware kid. Reminds me of how I was when I was little. No trouble. I’m so lucky to have those little guys to kick about with and thankful that their parents were able to forgive my hedonistic past to allow me the honour of being their Overlord.

I also got to visit the Royal Albert Hall to see Russell Brand and Noel Fielding aka The Goth Detectives in their Teenage Cancer Trust gig along with Tony Law and Shaun Walsh. I haven’t had much chance to hang out with my friend James this year but that was one of those nights when I really understood what it was we had spotted in one another those few years ago in a lift in Southend that brought about our friendship.

April
I was contacted by an old university friend who told me a friend of hers had recently self-published a book and she knew I had intentions on doing the same. This is how I met Joe Gardner. Since then we have met a couple of times but for the most part our correspondence has been via Facebook comments and messages. It’s nice to meet someone who is on the same trajectory. I’m surrounded by beautiful, bright, artistic people but Joe is one of a few who seems to really put himself out there in order to eventually hit that goal. It was very coincidental that we were even made aware of each other. I read his excellent first book; The Life And Loves Of Jet Tea and wrote a review on my blog. When I self-published in May he returned the favour. As much as people like to joke about what the life of a modern day writer might be like there is a real camaraderie in finding someone who is living it at the same time as you.

During April I received the proof copy of my book, and excitedly revealed it in a YouTube video. Holding that book filled me with a kind of pride that I can’t begin to explain. It makes all of the hours sat editing, and all of the rejection and the shitty comments from people who are supposed to be friends worth it. To hold something so tangible in my hands blew my mind. It was incredible.

It was also the month when I gave up two-thirds of my wardrobe having found the brilliant Project 333 blog promoted by The Minimalists. The project involves reducing your wardrobe down to just thirty-three items for three months. People thought I was crazy. James even called me to show me around his ridiculously opulent wardrobe and the additional wardrobe he stores in his sister’s room via FaceTime. No man needs that many scarves. He think he’s Keith Richards. Taking part in Project 333 taught me the value of the things I wear. It taught me about my habits. Since then I haven’t really returned. Every other month I find myself throwing things out and not replacing them. I’ve never been one for brands but I now find that I am developing a PS costume, which I prefer to wear variations of on a daily basis. I recommend it completely.

Kate and I went to the V&A Museum for the David Bowie Is… exhibit. I thought I was a fan before but being given such exclusive access to a man I have wanted to be since I was about three years old was something else entirely. He just doesn’t rest. He’s an inspiration.

May
After a night out with one of the characters featured within I sent out my book into the wild wide world. It was six in the morning. I was buzzing. I couldn’t sleep so I gave it one last read and then submitted for publishing. It was up and available on Amazon within the day. I sold 50 copies in the first month. People would order it and send me their confirmation email screens or selfies with the book itself. The Alex in Southend recommended it. People left five star reviews on Amazon and told others to buy it.
Through a special promotion code I was able to get the book listed as free to download on the Kindle for five days. In those five days it rose into the Top 20 for Free Kindle Books > Humour. Every time I mentioned it people were smiles and likes and support. It was so fantastically well received and it was such an amazing thing to be able to share with people.

May is also the month of birthdays for a lot of those around me. Both of my brothers, my old man and my girlfriend have birthdays within a fortnight of one another. It’s a wonderfully expensive time. We tried and failed to throw a surprise party for my youngest brother who turned 21. I drunk myself into a stupor and ended up vomiting for two hours.
For Kate’s birthday we returned to Rococo, one of our favourite restaurants in Leigh for dinner. I also revealed the fact we were heading to Amsterdam for a couple of days.

June
Kate and I flew out to Amsterdam. I read Joe Gardner’s collection of short stories, Oh Vienna! on the way.
We ate very well. We drunk a lot of beer. Kate got freaked out and couldn’t find the sink, hated the curtains and made me promise to smoke the rest of the weed to save her from herself. I am a good boyfriend.
We rode on canal boats, stood outside Anne Frank’s house, visited the Van Gogh museum, posed with a seven foot cock in a sex museum, got lost in the Vondelpark and really enjoyed some tropical juice and chocolate biscuits.

It was also the month for another bit of escapism as I headed to Worthy Farm with the alumni of SEEVIC college to drink warm cider, watch people gurn and try and run between stages to combat the many clashes that make up Glastonbury festival. I got to see The Rolling Stones, Rodriguez, Palma Violets, Villagers, Vampire Weekend, Haim, Swim Deep and many more. I drunk Zombies in Shangri La, I saw the sun rise while trying to make a fire against someone else’s tent. At no stage was I suffering the worst. It was good.

July
I got my second novel prepared for submission. Rather than the silly drunken adventures of my first novel Situation One (an elaborate piece that fed into WDATMG) Visions Of Violet is a love story. It’s the most commercially viable thing I’ve ever written, and that was by no means intentional. I just wanted to pen something as far from the debauchery and ‘laddish’ S1 as I could and found myself writing as a teenage girl in the nineties. It cost me nearly thirty pounds in stamps to be rejected by ten different agents.

I was asked to give my first public reading of part of my book as part of Old Trunk’s Tales & Ales event. It was fantastic as an experience and gave me the chance to get to know Sarah and Sadie better, who later in the year would push me into putting on a musical. I sold an additional five copies off the back of the event and it gave me the deluded sense I could stand up in front of a crowd and be funny.

August
With my trek across the Sahara just two months away I decided it was about time I invested in some training. I started heading out into Hockley Woods at weekends to hike for ten to twelve miles with a weighted backpack. I knew it wouldn’t compare to the desert but I had to start doing something.

I attended Joe’s book launch for Jet Tea. I got to meet the friends of his that had become characters and enjoyed a couple of pints before having to run back to Liverpool Street in order to make it home. It put a bee in my bonnet about hosting my own event.

Having decided that I was born to be an adventurer I signed up for yet another ridiculous trek before I had even discovered if I was capable of doing the first one. In October 2014 I will be heading to Peru to trek for three days up to Machu Picchu. I didn’t know anyone else who was going when I signed up.

September
I grew a pair and gave my first ever attempt at stand up comedy at The Alex. It was absolutely phenomenal. The feeling I had beforehand however was not. I always get nervous before I perform in any capacity but the friends who had come to support me said they had never seen me look so bad. Once I was up and safe in the knowledge I did know all of the words I had written it was fine, and when I finished the rush I got was like nothing else. I wanted to curl up in a ball and die, in a good way. Do you remember that bit in Trainspotting where they inject one of their girlfriend’s for the first time and she says “Aye, that’s better than any cock in the world”… that is how I felt coming offstage.

I also spent a week in Devon with Kate, her brother Joe and his girlfriend Stacy. We had a brilliant time with no Wi-Fi and no phone signal, just reading and walking and eating. I only got slightly ill due to the lack of Twitter and it was good practice for the Sahara. I also watched the Bourne films for the first time and realised I had been missing out.

October
The entire month seemed to be occupied by just one thing, a big sandy thing that I had to walk across. I found myself unable to focus on anything. I had no idea what the experience would be like and so my mind was a complete void.
It was, as I said at the time, the single most incredible experience of my life, so far. I’ve already written about it comprehensively, both on my blog and as part of NaNoWriMo so I won’t repeat details but it was enlightening. I met some amazing people, it changed my perspective and it was beautiful.

I also managed to finish The Stamp Collective, a novel I converted over from a script I had been trying to work on for a number of years. In the space of two months I finished it, wanting it out of the way before I started in on NaNoWriMo.

November
With the Sahara out of the way I struggled to return to life. It wasn’t until I realised that Ben and I were supposed to be putting on a show that I pulled my head out of the sand and got on with things. Ben and I have been writing together for ten years but Unkie Joe was the first thing we were in a position to show people. It still had a beautiful unfinished quality to it.
We were amazed with the turn out and will take Six Presents in new directions in 2014.

While this was being sorted I was also attempting to write a book and grow a moustache. It turns out I am a lot better at writing books than I am at growing moustaches. By the end of the month I had written over a hundred thousand words, across two different books. I had grown about three hairs on my top lip.
I wrote Yallah! about my travels and Sue Key, a fantasy novel which I was calling ‘Hold On’ at the start of the year. It’s the first in a three-part idea I have had for the last five years and it was good to get it down on paper, even if it has completely changed in that time, and continued to do so as the month wore on.
It was during National Novel Writing Month and our meetings at The Alex in Southend that I met Hollie who invited me and a number of other local writers to begin contributing towards WUWO. I had been looking for something new to get my teeth into since the work for Screen Geek had fallen by the wayside and told her so. She called it the ‘law of attraction’ and I have since started spinning out as many articles as I can for their website and am formulating things for the first issue which is due in late February/early March. It’s a great project to be a part of, especially knowing that KC is onboard as well.

Kate and I went on a tour of St Paul’s. Considering our agnostic leanings it was interesting how enthralled we were, especially when we got up into the dome and could see London spread out before us.

I also attended a record number of gigs considering my hatred of people and crowds. In the space of a week I saw Arcade Fire, The Darkness and Peter Doherty.

It was also the month when my beautiful Jocasta Devillenerve quit her lousy job to join me in London for easier access to salt beef sandwiches.

December
Our guide from the Sahara, Saaid, arrived in London for a week’s holiday. We met up with him and went for drinks. It was so odd to see him outside of the desert setting I associated him with most.

Kate and I went to see Placebo in Brixton where we mutually fell in love with Brian Molko.

I submitted my third novel The Stamp Collective to agents, specifically aiming for a Young Adult market. To date I have only had one rejection back and am hopeful that the fruits of my labour will come to something incredible in the new year.
If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen and I would be proud to market the book as my first novel as a self-published writer. I have absolute faith in it and like the idea of hosting a launch party in a pub.

I went to see Russell Brand perform at The Cliffs Pavilion. Regardless of press opinion I think the man is a great comedian, an incredible social commentator and quite possibly the new messiah so it was brilliant to see him in my home town when I had previously had to jog up to Camden or the Royal Albert Hall to see him. He was as brilliant, witty, manic and insightful as ever.

I was invited to read something as part of another Old Trunk event, this time it was Winter Tales & Ales. I wrote a poem called How Paul Schiernecker Ruined Christmas which was the final piece of the night. I love readings, especially when there are so many other great writers involved. I met some cool people who I look forward to hearing more from in the coming months.

…and that brings us onto Christmas and the last week. I was spoilt by Kate who is taking me to Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa next month. I also got a stack of films and books to work my way through. My brother bought a little synth/keyboard for me to annoy him with through our paper thin walls and Mum got us tickets to a Bowie tribute gig in February. I did very well.

In the confusing no man’s land between Christmas and New Year when everyone just wanders around trying to work out where the hell to put all of their stuff Kate and I have decided we are obsessed with the TV show Dexter. This is to see us through until New Year’s Day when the third series of Sherlock starts. It took all of six minutes of the first episode to convince us this was something special and we haven’t thought of much else since.

But here’s to 2014. It will be the year when I step it up yet again, when I bring the noise and when I live my dreams.

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Merry Christmas To You.

It’s Christmas Day. I’m sat alone watching Doctor Who and wondering when the call will come for me to take on the lead role. I’ve been hard at work on the present I am making for a number of my closest friends.
Last year because none of us had any money we decided we would all make one another gifts instead of just buying things for the sake of them. I obviously can’t say what it is I am doing in case they happen to read this post before I get a chance to deliver on it but it’s pretty cool and I’m quite excited.

That being said, I have made a little Christmas video featuring the poem I performed at the Old Trunk Winter Tales & Ales reading earlier this month. Regardez:

Reflections on gigs.

Is it just me or have people stopped caring at gigs?

Last night I went to see Placebo at Brixton Academy, it was essentially the latest in a number of gigs I have attended this year that have nearly been ruined by the audience. I don’t know if it is just me growing older and more cynical with the world around me but I fucking despise people, especially at gigs. As far as I am concerned the actions of the following types of people I am about to outline represent a massive disrespect to both the band they are supposed to be a fan of, and have paid over the odds for tickets to see as well as the rest of the audience including the most important member, me. I know I’m not the first person to bring it up and unfortunately I won’t be the last but certain activities at gigs really get on my wick (or really grind my gears depending on your cultural references for methods of outlining one’s annoyance).

iPhone photographers

Don’t get me wrong. I am an iPhone user, as well as being an Apple sympathiser. I am on that damn thing morning, noon and night. I have an online rep to uphold you see. When I step into a music venue, cinema or other suitable area of general deluminated reverence I put that little bastard in my pocket on silent and try to avoid the habit of checking on it to see if I’ve been retweeted or if Mummy has text me. What I certainly wouldn’t do is text, tweet, update or Instagram during a gig, while a band are onstage. I watched someone do it last night, as I remember seeing someone do it at Arcade Fire at The Roundhouse last month. I say I watched them do it because when there’s a light glaring in your face more powerful than the bounce of the strobes and floodlights onstage then it can be somewhat distracting. There are certain times when it is an absolute joy to be able to ignore my phone. I don’t do it enough and it’s for a limited period but shut it down. In addition there is absolutely no point in trying to video the band from anywhere in the crowd. They have production crews and documentary filmmakers for that. It doesn’t matter how thin Apple are able to make their telescreens (that’s right, getting Orwellian about this now), they aren’t able to make a way to stop any audio captured on video being tinny and awful. Nobody sits reminiscing the drunken gigs they attended on a cold Monday in December again. You will never need that footage. If you want footage of Placebo playing live then do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy of their Soulmates Never Die DVD from 2003. That’s how to experience a gig on a screen.
Last night I watched parts of the gig through four different smartphones being held up within five feet of my face. It’s unnecessary and selfish. Be tall and block my view, don’t be a twat with an arm aloft saluting the generation who don’t have a place and don’t give a fuck.

Conversationalists
Once the band are onstage your conversations can wait. There is nothing you have to say to your weedly little smarm haired, double denimed mate that can’t hold out for an hour and a half. If I can hear you over the band then you’re doing it wrong. Get out of the way. Go to the bar as your inane fellatio-suggesting mime actions imply. Hang around at the back with the dads who are mad their garage band never made it to the Academy. Just fuck off.

Coupley couples
Gigs are not for being a couple. They’re for dancing about and having a drink and enjoying the music. Do you remember the music? I hate it when people are clung to each other like Care Bears trying to get their rocks off. This is no place for you. Go and carve your names into a tree and hold one another beneath its crisp empty boughs and weep at the general beauty of your courtship.
I was at the gig with my girlfriend last night. I don’t think we touched other than jostled shoulder contact. We were both just enamored by the band. I fell in love with Brian Molko all over again and Kate later commented that the drummer had muscly arms. That’s how you do it, not clung around someone’s neck like an Angora scarf while society condemns you. Keep your hands where I can see them.

Rubberneckers
If you’re going somewhere then move, quickly, out of my path, and don’t tread on my feet. I hate it when someone walks in front of me with three pints and then just stops, craning their head about in the darkness looking for the two mates who wouldn’t dare do them the favour of either making themselves known or just going to the bar together so they are out of my way.

I appreciate this blog post makes me come off as a curmudgeonly old man but I feel like that is what I’m becoming and if time and nature have anything to do with it then it will most certainly be the case. It feels like everyone’s attitude to music is going along the wrong lines. There’s no respect for music as an art form or for those who perform it and it feels as though that is something that has come about because of the way we take in music. It is everywhere. There’s no specialty to it because it is everywhere. The way we can receive music is better than ever but it appears to have devalued the way we look and think about it and that’s a real shame. With so many options it is impossible to treasure things in the way they once were. When I was ten years younger I could rarely buy myself new music so I made damn sure I really wanted to invest my (sort of) hard earned cash in Five’s in Rayleigh High Street. Now the shop is gone (although it still shows up the rest of independents by rocking up Leigh). Now I have fourteen days worth of music crammed onto a device that fits in my pocket. I’ve lost track of what any of it means and I think most other people have too. We don’t value an album as a piece of work, it’s pulled apart by Shuffle settings and being wanked over adverts for department stores, insurance companies and party political broadcasts.

Can we just go back a bit, please?

How Paul Schiernecker Ruined Christmas

The following is taken from my reading at Old Trunk’s Winter Tales & Ales event, and it is mostly factual:

Twas Christmas day in the Schiernecker home
But Paul was busy texting on his mobile phone
You see while the turkey was to be roasting
He wanted to be in the pub raising a toasting
There was a girl going he wanted to impress
In the hopes he could crawl inside of her dress
Mother Schiernecker agreed he could go until three
But then he was to return to the family
Because that’s what Christmas is really for
Not spilling your beans up inside some whore
“Mother please” he yelled from the door
Throwing a coat over his shoulders, shuffling on the floor
And heading out into the snow
At last to the pub he could go
Now I should take a moment to explain
This pub was a link in a national chain
But for legal reasons I cannot say
It was a Wetherspoons anyway
So eventually Paul Schiernecker got to the bar
To find his share of takings in the tip jar
He’d been working there sporadically
When he was home from Uni and needed the money
But it didn’t matter how much time he put in
His wages always ended up behind the bar again
So he had a double whiskey to get things going
Followed by several pints to keep himself flowing
And he thought he was being entertaining
Regaling the punters with tales of his flailing
And slurring false promises into the ear
Of the girl he lusted for who amazingly still stayed quite near
And didn’t run for the fire exit although it must be stated
They were exceedingly well illuminated
It was only when covered in Tequila, lemon and salt
He realised his own time keeping fault
Because while he had been trying to woo
It had already struck half past two
And he had a thirty minute walk to find
And that was if he could make it in a straight line
Which isn’t an easy task you see
When you’re up to your eyeballs in whiskey
When he made it home Mummy could really tell
Because his eyes were lit up like the fires of hell
And he couldn’t really articulate
How he could possibly be late on such an important date
So he attempted to sit at the dining table
Instantly regretting the Johnny Walker Black Label
He had imbibed trying to seem sophisticated
And to convince the girl they should have dated
A starter was presented that made him feel pale
Avocado halves drenched in prawn cocktail
Because even with so many options of food
It’s fun to have a first course from 1972
But of course the last thing Paul really needed
Was the pink and green he was about to be feeded
So he abandoned the festivities to kneel
In front of the porcelain and to God he appealed
“Oh what was I thinking, I was showing off
Thinking I could handle the mixed drinks that I coiffed”
So he abandoned Christmas dinner and headed to his room
To nuzzle in blankets and find a pillow to spoon
Mother Schiernecker was really pissed off
“Paul Schiernecker ruined Christmas” she scoffed
Before sitting with her unusually well behaved offspring
Who couldn’t compete with the madness Paul was offering
Despite their abilities to break hearts and bone
They were perfectly docile, they were far too stoned
Several hours later with a bad head
Paul awoke in the glow of TV on his bed
Still dressed in his jeans and Christmas jumper
He said “Jesus, this headache is a thumper”
But of course Jesus could not call
Partly because it was his birthday but mostly because he’s fictional
So Paul looked up at the television
Feeling more cut up than a circumcision
To see Pauline Fowler collapse in the snow
“First Arthur now this, how low can they go
Mark drove off into the sunset on his bike made of AIDS
And Martin smashed in Sonia’s barricades
I give up on soap operas, I live my life for me”
And he went downstairs to apologise to Mummy

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Submission

Today I have submitted my third novel The Stamp Collective to five literary agents in London. The hopes are that this will be the one to get me noticed and dragged out into the limelight I feel I am owed.

The Stamp Collective is a story very close to my heart. As I have been redrafting it recently it made me realise just how truly close to home much of the content was. It talks about love and loss and about family and there are so many little indicators thrown into it that I can’t help but love it. i have the upmost faith in it as a story. I honestly believe it is the best thing I have ever written. 

The Revolution Will Be Staged

Last night I was lucky enough to get tickets to see Russell Brand’s new stand up tour Messiah Complex. I’ve been a fan of Brand since I was introduced to his 6 Music show years ago by a friend and I’ve followed through the trials and tribulations as he rose to become the significant figure he is now. What a lot of people seem to forget is that he isn’t some joker in the pack, although he plays that role very well, he is a very articulate and astute comic, writer and commentator and his stand up is beginning to be streamlined more towards his thoughts on the world around him more than simply an excuse to try and maintain his perceived status.
I first saw Brand live at The Roundhouse in 2007 where he commented on the fact The Doors had played on that stage and talked about the inevitabilities of ‘nut-brush’ when conducting a FMM threesome.
Of course he hasn’t completely separated himself from the ‘Shagger Of The Year’ he was awarded by The Sun newspaper for two years running but his thoughts have become a lot more focused. The bizarre antics of his past are material, and he has honed his craft into a captivating show.
You leave wondering exactly why it is you trust a man to run your country when he can’t even perform a suitably upright thumbs up. According to Brand it’s because he “ain’t good at sex”, to which he added a lovely mime of George Osborne licking the PM’s bumhole. It was a lot more like political satire and less like playground antics than it sounds, really.
The stage is his natural platform and he controls it completely. When walking out into the audience his approach is met like that of the messiah, women expose flesh and men reach out for a grasp of the man like he can cure their ills. Russell Brand is a figure in himself, he’s dressed himself up as being both a prophet and a jester and it works. You want to believe that the world can change but he isn’t the one who will nobly step forward to bring it about. Instead he is just pointing out all of the wrongs in the world. We are all more than aware of the majority of them but the way Brand takes apart the most recognisable of consumerist mascots, symbols and slogans is as cutting as it is whimsical.
The real question is where he can go from here. How long will it be before his rank as the town cryer of injustice is slayed by the press as the result of him fucking it all up again. He has a self confessed self-destructive streak and the concern is that all of his talk and all of his showmanship and bravado will amount to nought if he were to implode once more. We need Brand more than ever, and he knows it.