The Fixer

Nov 18, 2014 by

I can’t be the only person reading this who, when they visit a book or record shop, um, rearranges stock to their liking? There are always books and records which in my view need shifting about a bit so that casual browsers might spy them and do the right thing.  I feel like I’m sticking it up to the man, being mildly punk and anarchic, albeit in an admittedly benign way.

 

This snap of Edwyn Collins, Grace Maxwell and Dave Haslam at Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester would be outstanding were it not for the mysterious straying head

This snap of Edwyn Collins, Grace Maxwell and Dave Haslam at Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester would be outstanding were it not for the mysterious straying head

I was in Manchester this weekend to catch Edwyn Collins talking and singing and sharing his wonderful The Possibilities Are Endless film, so would like to apologise to Piccadilly Records, the Record Exchange and the big Waterstones for rotating their stock over the length of two days (although really you should be thanking me, you were hiding some real gems from your lovely customers. I see myself more as a fixer, really). I hope this confession doesn’t mean that I’ll have to visit these shops in disguise in future. Surely not?

 @cathbore

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Strange

Nov 6, 2014 by

It’s up to you what you think is strange or not. What is strange to me might be perfectly normal to someone else, it’s a subjective thing, but I was walking in the town centre near where I live and I came across this cage. Everyone I’ve told about the cage has found it strange or quirkily odd at least.

cage

Why would you hire this cage?

Who would?

What would it be used for?

Suggestions for use have included cage fighting (for children, it’s too tiny for adults), a holding cell for children during parties, a safe haven for parents to enjoy Chardonnay unspilled?

The man who owned the cage didn’t think it strange but definitely believed me to be as I stood taking a photo. I’m thinking he or the cage might make a good short story prompt if I ever run dry of ideas. I get asked all the time, where do you get your ideas from? Here’s your answer : weird stuff where I live.

@cathbore

 

 

 

 

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Old friends

Nov 5, 2014 by

I found this album at the weekend. We are moving a few things around in the house at the moment and finding books and records we haven’t seen for a while, it’s like getting reaquainted with old friends. “In Bed With Marina” is an album of rarities (on the Marina label) carrying gold nuggets by lots of Scottish pop groups, obscure German bands – and our very own Shack. Liverpool gets everywhere!

 

In Bed With Marina (Marina)

In Bed With Marina (Marina)

In other news, I have a  flash fiction in The Good Men Project‘s “100 Words On Love”  in December called Safe In Sorrow; as I pride myself in writing to the absolute minimum with my flash fiction, no excess words flabbing it out, Safe In Sorrow is just 92 words long. Safe In Sorrow is about love, but a love with lots of pain in it (after all, what is a love story without pain?). I like The Good Men Project, they’re so proudly pro-women, unusual for something aimed at the male market and I can’t wait for Safe In Sorrow to be part of it.

@cathbore

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Poise your pen!

Oct 26, 2014 by

I was so pleased to be asked to be a judge for the Poised Pen Flash Fiction competition, alongside author Nik Perring. We took a category each and had a tough job of picking winners.

It’s good that  flash fiction is picking up speed in Liverpool, thanks to work done by groups like Poised Pen. Big love to Vanessa Lester and all at Poised Pen for inviting me both to judge the competition and asking me along to the presentation night on Friday last at Fly In The Loaf in Liverpool city centre.

Me at the Poised Pen presentation night, an evening of ace local writing.

Me at the Poised Pen presentation night, an evening of ace local writing.

More info on Poised Pen here.

@cathbore

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The Curiosity Cabinet

Oct 26, 2014 by

curiosity

I have a short story in Curiosity Cabinet Magazine called Goodbye To The Ghosts. Don’t be mislead by the title, it’s not a ghost story or written for Hallowe’en, but about something much more domestic instead. You can read it here, why not peruse the rest of Curiosity Cabinet while you’re there, you’ll find lots of good writing and wise words.

In other news, my flash fiction The Shuffling Man was shortlisted for the Retreat West competition this month, I didn’t win but a shortlisting is always very warmly welcomed. My new book (a crime novel) is coming along well. I’ve given it a working title of The Affectionate Punch but the title will change by the time I submit it. I’m already thinking of a few potentials, noting striking words and terms when I earwig hear  them. I’m a terrible word thief at present :-)

@cathbore

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My short story is out today in Twisted Tales (paperback)

Oct 9, 2014 by

At last after me blathering on about it for months Twisted Tales 2014 is released in paperback (Raging Aardvark Publishing). It contains THE SHORT GOODBYE written by me, you can order the book via Amazon or Createspace. Check the prices first, because they vary between the two sites. There is a Facebook party on Friday night, you can join in here if you so wish. The ebook version is out in November.

twisted tales book

 

@cathbore

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Short story shortlisted for Retreat West competition

Oct 9, 2014 by

One of my short stories, a flash fiction, is one of six stories shortlisted in the Retreat West competition. The theme was “smoking” and the competition is judged by Vanessa Gebbie. The final results are due very shortly, but needless to say I’m beyond chuffed to get this far. More details (not that many, I can’t even tell you which one is my story in the interests of impartiality) can be found here.

retreat west

 

 

@cathbore

 

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Rallying

Oct 9, 2014 by

Our much adored Siamese cat Penny was taken very ill on Tuesday morning, and put on a drip at the vet surgery for most of the following 24 hours, but despite great efforts she is gone now and we’re terribly sad in our house. The vet tells us she rallied at 3am in the morning before she went downhill. I love the thought of her rallying, having one last push at life and wanting to come home to us. I will cling on to the image of her being a rallying cat and remember her that way, rather than think how poorly she got, so quickly.

penny oct 2014

So, it’s been a grim week personally and on top of that everything is a threat to everybody or so the news tells me. I’ve heard about the terrorist threat, UKIP threat, ebola threat, and of course the horrible weather threat. With all the threats and the loss of our beloved Penny, the only thing that might – at a push – turn this week around is Elvis giving me a call saying he just wanted a bit of time to himself these last 37 years and he’ll pop round in a bit for a cuppa tea and a catch up.

So come on Elvis, lad; the kettle’s on.

@cathbore

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The sign of a civilised society

Oct 6, 2014 by

Out and about, I’ve noticed more mini libraries in places one wouldn’t expect.

In Liverpool we have book trees, where people can take a book and leave one in its place:

Book trees in Liverpool ONE shopping centre

Book trees in Liverpool ONE shopping centre

 

In Liverpool’s Ship & Mitre pub on Dale Street, they have a similar set up:

A library in a pub!

A library in a pub!

 

In Birmingham this weekend I spied this cosy nook in the hotel we stayed in. Nite nite is a budget chain hotel but they still have a library.

Well done for Nite Nite for showing such initiaitive

Well done to Nite Nite for showing such initiative

 

Have you seen a library in an unconventional place?

 

@cathbore

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Happy to live on Twee Street

Sep 29, 2014 by

The things enjoyed at thirteen years old rarely prove satisfying when we grow older but I’ve always liked Glasgow band The Bluebells, strong melodies and the whisper of melancholy in the lyrics squeezed my heart then as they still do now, apparent to me even at such a tender age. Some people smile when I say I like The Bluebells, I can’t be certain why but can imagine. Pop isn’t a dirty word to me, it’s a joy. Pop is neither hip nor cool, but I myself never slotted in either category anyway so it suits me fine, we get on together well.

Fine pop music indie or commercial, is like a genre book to be loved as much as any high art. Who says what is high or lowbrow art anyway? I listen to no one’s opinion on that but I’ve been listening to The Bluebell’s first album, the flawed and messy “Sisters” (what might have been if only...) for the last thirty years or so and enjoy the songs still. “Sisters” was the only material available to me apart from a nice compilation album of the singles and b-sides, random Old Grey Whistle Test clips on YouTube, any other snippets leaked and released in Japan (everything gets released in Japan) never made it to me. So it’s just been “Sisters” and the compilation for me until this summer when “Exile On Twee Street”, the 20 song CD (or 10 song vinyl edition) of demos from 1980 – 82 landed on my doormat.

I was always going to love this album, of course I was, there’s a delicious inevitability to these things. Clever indie pop, yes pop goddammit, with tunes and everything, the sound of working class youth albeit from a generation ago. There’s a real thrill to it for me; the working class, non-Camden voice is silenced and mocked more now as ever was, told to get back in its box and know its place, I find that sad, it’s beautiful to be reminded things haven’t always been this way, and we can speak.

twee st1

We made the trip to Exile On Twee Street’s launch at Mono in Glasgow last weekend because we’ve never been to the city, just passed through, and I’ve never seen The Bluebells play, they split up by the time I was fifteen or thereabouts. Glasgow reminds me of Liverpool so much, its river and architecture, its people not afraid to express an opinion – and every record shop has Scott Walker albums in it; the ones with no remote trace of a single hit.

We ate at Mono, I asked if everything on the menu was vegetarian.

“Yes it is. Don’t worry,’ smiled the waiter. ‘You’re safe here.’

The Bluebells sound checked, I sipped wine as they sang, and ate the best veggie burger in the world ever, then had the best of nights afterwards, a gig I’ve waited thirty years for.  I have a vinyl copy of the album now (it’s blue vinyl, of course; I’d expect nothing less) to sit happily alongside “Sisters” and be played and loved, often.

I love Glasgow, me; and my home too. I live happily on Twee Street wherever I find myself.

 

@cathbore

 

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Who DO you think you are?

Sep 1, 2014 by

bey

Oh, Beyonce. Who DO you think you are? First, you win loads of critical acclaim as the member of a vocal group and solo artist, earning pots of money at both, then start acting in films and people like that too. I suppose you reckon you’re pretty bloody good, yeah?

The ego on the woman! What’s that? She’s done WHAT? Beyonce Knowles has written poetry? And someone’s published it? That can’t be right, surely? Beyonce has penned a poem and like Kristen Stewart and Pamela Anderson over the past year, got someone to publish it. Controversial, yeah?

Famous women write poetry and suddenly everyone has an opinion, it seems; here’s mine. Just because some poetry isn’t technically the finest written doesn’t mean it’s not valid; I don’t think we should silence women, no matter the form they choose to use to make themselves heard.

After all, you wouldn’t mock an “ordinary” woman who wrote about her feelings via clunky or awkward verse, because that’s rude and cruel. Or maybe you would?

 

@cathbore

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Bang-bang, loom bands.

Aug 27, 2014 by

loom

When I was eight years old, my sister shot me. Looking at those words back now in black and white on a page it sounds all rather dramatic and 999 numbers panic-punched into the phone, but the incident was nothing, not really. My sister was twelve and pissed off with me, as almost-teenagers often feel obliged to be if they have an eight year old sister annoying them. I think I was eight; I can’t really remember because what happened wasn’t a thing of great consequence at the time so I’ve no bothered recalling much detail.

Okay, my sister shot me with an air gun and that’s quite bad, the air pellet pinged off my belly leaving a small painful circle of cherry pink in its wake, but the mark vanished soon enough. Also, it happened in a 1970s summer during the long boring school holidays in a village in Lancashire on the urban/rural cusp, when and where holiday clubs and courses for children to keep them amused were seen as exotic and a bit weird, so what else were you supposed to do with your time except practice your shooting? WELL?

I don’t think any of the children up my street here on Merseyside shoot their siblings, they seem more into the loom band thing, plastic circles spillages scattering the pavement in front of the house like multi-coloured ringworm. Young people today; they don’t know how to live, clearly.

@cathbore

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The C-Word

Aug 26, 2014 by

Creative AND cultural; we've got a lanyard to prove it.

Creative AND cultural; we’ve got a lanyard to prove it.

When I first moved to Liverpool, it was all independent shops and food chains specific to the north, alt clothing outlets so alternative no contents within stretched to my hip size. Fast forward a couple of decades and every chain store you can imagine stands boxy and high, smooth pavements out front.

‘I preferred it when none of the big shops were here. Before all the changes,’ a native to the city throws the casual comment out there at me, a frown creasing sharp black lines into his brow. ‘It was so much more creative then!’

He left twenty years ago in search of work elsewhere; I fancy he rocketed out of the place at the precise time I stood at Leyland train station and bought my ticket to Lime Street.

The cause for shop independente is a strong one in Liverpool now, as it should be, and culture is the new black. But, Merseyside has always boasted culture, and we create it too, aren’t we clever? We have writers (erm, cough cough), and more musicians per head than other cities, the philosophy being you can never have enough of either.

Last week I went to the Steve Levine’s Assembly Point Sessions (creativity!) at St George’s Hall (culture!), part of Liverpool International Music Festival (creativity AND culture!). Levine talked about Liverpool’s culture and creativity, as did a chap from BBC Radio 6 Music laying it on marzipan thick. Natalie McCool sang on a mass recording of Ferry Across The Mersey, right there and then on the night, as did Hollie Cooke and Mary Epworth, and we the audience also, bless us. Mr BBC Radio 6 Music man went as far to say we can all now claim we’ve been produced by Steve Levine (that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’ll pop it on my CV anyway), wowed at how creative and cultural we all are.

Aw, shucks. Thanks. Kinda knew it already, though.

 

@cathbore

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WALKING IN THE FEMININE : STEPPING IN OUR SHOES

Aug 21, 2014 by

I have a piece of ceative non-fiction called MY SISTER in a forthcoming book, to be published in the US sometime in 2015.

More information including release date coming soon.

walking in the feminine a stepping into our shoes anthology

 

@cathbore

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The Cat Circus comes to town

Aug 19, 2014 by

featured

I have  a new short story out today, The Cat Circus,over at Flash Fiction Magazine. I wrote the snippy flash because last month a circus came to near where I live, one with live animals. Big cats and others who in an ideal world would live in the wild are transported around the country and made for perform for us, the public. I hate the idea of a live animal circus and I understand it will be outlawed in the UK soon, but the very idea upset me so I wrote a story about it.

The fictional big cats win out in The Cat Circus, I just hope the ones in real life will be ok too. You can read The Cat Circus here.

flash fiction

 

 

@cathbore

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