Tom Robinson: Racism, Grassroots Music… and Getting Stuck into Twitter

“Is that Owen Jones?” whispers Tom Robinson with some excitement. We peek round the corner and can’t quite make up our minds. “Hang on a sec…” says Robinson and starts speaking a Tweet into his phone… … [Read more...]

Maggie Sawkins: Diaries, Unsent Letters Addiction

“He was sitting there with a big plastic bottle of white cider, with this heroin he was smoking and he had an axe on the floor. He had one eye and one ear, and I looked at him and said: ‘My daughter wants you to go or I’m going to call the police.’” Between fits of giggles Maggie Sawkins is sitting at her kitchen table telling us about the time she had to evict a drug dealer from her daughter’s house on Christmas day. Having spent over twenty years as the mother of a heroin addict, the award winning poet has recently documented and performed her experiences in the play, Zones of Avoidance. … [Read more...]

“Wilful Murder?” Clive Bloom on Thatcher’s Secret War…

“I wanted to write a political thriller,” to cover the factual story nobody else was covering, Clive Bloom tells Searchlight Magazine Arts over the phone from his home in London. Bloom is Emeritus Professor of English and American Studies at Middlesex University, author of numerous books, and is talking about his latest, Thatcher's Secret War: Subversion, Coercion, Secrecy and Government, 1974-1990. He describes a time when the actions of the Security Services in Northern Ireland was “underhand, illegal and transferred over to the mainland,” where the intelligence agencies answered to nobody, and where a series of events “came together violently in wilful murder” - perhaps even with the killing of Airey Neave -- escapee from Colditz and Conservative MP for Abingdon -- who died in a car bomb attack in 1979. … [Read more...]

Song: You Ain’t No Muslim Bruv

Stella has just sent us her take on the heckle heard around the world. It made us giggle… and like all of her stuff, we’ll keep putting it online until she gets us sued (at which point we’ll just stand on a street corner with a speaker).   … [Read more...]

Morrissey, ‘List of the Lost’: That Joke Isn’t Funny?

Penguin Books have so much to answer for… We are absolutely horrified by Morrissey’s new novel, ‘List of the Lost’. All the reviews are true – read this excellent rinse by Michael Hann in the Guardian – he is spot on. The book may only be 118 pages, but reading it feels like a horrible, long, draining penance. So, why on earth did he write it? Really, there are only two options. One; this is just another way to trot out his standard Morrissey themes – this means, on some level at least, he must see the text as non-abysmal. Two; it is just a great big joke – an ‘art piece’ – Dismaland the novel. So, what is the likelihood Morrissey is laughing? … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Tiddles the House Cat

For the fifth time that morning the little cat pushed her head repeatedly against the old man’s hand in a vain attempt at coaxing it into life. For ten years the lazy tuxedo had wanted for nothing. She had been doted upon to the point of obsession. Her bed had four posts, dinner was always catch of the day… and her ears were the subject of endless poggling. Leaping up onto George’s sallow chest, Tiddles nuzzled tenderly against his cold face and gave it a lick. “Hmmmmm,” she mused with a purr, “I think I’ll start with the face meat.” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Not-So-Original Prankster

If only he’d stuck to gluing pound coins to the floor. But no, he had to go further, and Manchester Printworks on Sunday morning was perfect for it. Placing a small baggy of washing powder on the ground, he stepped back and waited. “Excuse me son,” said the bemused policeman, “are those your drugs?” When all you’ve got is a childishly idiotic excuse, it turns out that walking around with 20 bags of white powder gets you into quite a bit of trouble. It’s also why everyone on the wing greets James with a daily, infuriating catcall of, “Alright Daz!” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Drinking with Graham

“I won’t have a pint,” said Graham moodily at the bar in the pub they always went to. “I’ll have a large water.” This was not what Simon had hoped for, even though drinking beer with Graham could be difficult and this option was cheaper. “I’m having a pint,” he tried hopefully, but Graham didn’t respond. Holding their drinks they moved down the thin, dark space, to the back. The place was empty but their usual table wasn’t, so they shifted the mess next door. Cricket was blasting from the big screen. After a minute Simon said, “I’ve been fired.” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Numbers Game

“I like you. I want you to be my girlfriend.” As the girl on the other end of the phone launched into a response, he stared intently at the mirror opposite his bed. “See, you do remember, yeah. I work with Mark at the Oriental. He gave me your number.” Looking down from the mirror he continued tapping out a text. "Okay, I’ll speak to you later." Glancing back at the mirror he zipped up his black tracksuit top, pushed the white earbuds in a bit further and scrolled down on his phone. “Hey girl, you know who this is?” First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]

100-Word Fiction: Cuddling Panda Babies

They were giant, fat bundles of soft-toy-fluff and all Sarah wanted to do was cuddle them. The trouble was, the panda babies were in China somewhere – on a breeding program – and Sarah was stuck in the accounts office in Macclesfield. “They’d nip you,” said her daughter, concerned over the phone, that evening. The next day, back in the workplace, Sarah tried to hone in on her spreadsheets. Only now the columns were ladder rungs, and half a dozen nearly-extinct baby pandas were clambering up from that bottom line. She found it hard not to focus on their big, blunt cuddle-paws. First published on Searchlight Magazine Arts... … [Read more...]