Boldly going forward ’cause we can’t find reverse

And yes, I stole that title proudly from The Firm’s parody song of Star Trek. But it seems to encapsulate the year and a half that has passed since my last post here. So many things have happened in that time. Good things, bad things, personal things. I might find the strength and time to write about some of them, but today is not the day. And to be precise, I’m writing this at half-past midnight, so there you go.

The short and sweet version then. I’ve started writing again. Like properly writing not just pouring over old stuff changing a word here or there. In the background I’ve changed jobs, which might partially have something to do with the unclogging of my brain tap. It might also be because I’ve slowly began to realise that – yeah, I’m not a massively published or popular author, but the few things that some good folks paid me money for, do actually mean I’m a writer and I should own it. Whatever the reason, there are some results. And it feels good to do it.

On a separate note, as some of you know, I’m a bit of a pagan folk/folk metal fan, though if you’ve been here a while you’ll know I don’t limit myself to one genre. In the past, as a hobby, I’ve translated some lyrics for friends from Polish into English so that they could enjoy more than just the musical layer of the stuff I pester them with. And as one of my favourite Polish folk bands, Żywiołak, has released their new single and album recently, I decided to ask if they’d be happy for me to translate their creations into Shakespeare’s sprache. You can find them in a new menu tab up at the top of this page. There’s only a couple but the collection will grow. Hope you’ll enjoy them. And if you do, you can head out to their website to buy things. You know, music and such.

That’s enough for tonight. More to come soon (sounds familiar, eh?). As ever, I will leave you with a couple of songs, one for each ear. First is the aforementioned Żywiołak and their “Witaj księżycu”. And if you want to know what they sing about, just check my translation here.

The other will come at you from the other end of the spectrum. It’s “Bad karma” by the exquisite Axel Thesleff, that tickles something deep in my brain.

Light at the dark side of the year

Returning to balance is hard work. There’s so many pits one can fall in. Not to look far, as I’m writing this, the ruthless clock shows half past midnight. But as with everything else, it’s the repetitive little steps that count. I hope. Ask me in a year.

But enough about that. The last two months were busy (which ones aren’t, eh?). Changes are coming. Some are already here. I’ve started a journey towards self-employment and I’ll be announcing stuff and showing my creations soon. It’s in equal parts scary, exciting and liberating. And also surprising. As kids and young adults we have dreams, hopes and some preconceived notions about where life will take us. It is refreshing to know that it’s also able to surprise us. In a good way. Anyhow, more soon. And I mean, real soon.

On another positive note, I am once again able to write. Sounds ridiculous when placed on a writer’s blog, I know. But the truth is, I have been struggling with putting words together for nearly two years. There’s still days when it seems too exhausting but I’m doing my best to keep them few and far between. What this means in practice is, that the work on my story collection has resumed. Few stories still require finishing and there’s plenty of editing to do, but the end is in sight.

Which in some twisted way brings me to my recent attendance to BristolCon, our last best hope for science fiction (to brutally butcher the byline of Babylon 5). Now, I have been going to BristolCon for a decade and always found it to be extremely friendly. But there have been occasions where, stuck in the cloud of my own self-depreciation, I’ve spent entire hours avoiding people. And let me add, it was despite the wonderful atmosphere and active efforts of some of the con-goers. That trend became so prevalent that this year, especially in view of reduced number of attendees and covid restrictions, I considered not going. I did in the end and feel so much better for it. For the first time since… no, for the first time ever, I genuinely adopted the ‘give no fuck’ approach to human contact. As you can guess it resulted in some great conversations and new acquaintances gained.

In the interest of giving a shout-out, I will now list few people. I’ve spent some quality time talking RPGs with Mieke Blaushild and Emma Collis, digital zombies with David and Claire Cartwright and Andre Garzia. Discussed burying children under the shed and AR board games with Allen Stroud as well as crashing the table of the Guests of Honour Anna Smith-Spark and Adrian Tchaikovsky to reminisce on some shared memories with Pete Sutton. I’ve also (in longer or shorter form) caught up with: Jo, Roz, Chris, Pete, Ian, Nick… this list is becoming ridiculous. Suffice to say, there has been people aplenty and I enjoyed myself immensely. Awkward-free.

There, that’s my personal outpour for this season.

Hopefully you’re still here and awake. Because as tradition dictates there’s some music heading your way. And the recent months have been ripe with good tunes.

Let’s start with something time relevant. It’s a recent release by Żywiołak, a Polish folk/folk-metal band who dig deep into the collective Slavic soul, singing about Dziady. Now, I don’t think this song is a potential radio hit. It doesn’t have enough repetition to become an ‘ear-worm’ but it does strike a chord. Check it out. And if you’re curious about the holiday itself, check this article.

To balance the inherent darkness of Żywiołak, have a listen to Darktek, frenchcore producer whose music (featured in Mr Robot soundtrack) keeps my endorphin levels high. It’s fast, it’s bonkers and full of joy. I love it and as my wife claims, it says something about me. Not sure what though…

And that’s it for tonight. There’s more music and more news, but the call of the Holy Pillow is irresistible. Hello and goodbye, as always.

Unstuckness [Explicit]

Burnout is a bastard and getting ones’ head unstuck from your own arse takes more time then you’d think. *

These two obvious truths are obvious only in the damned retrospect. But if you’re anything like me, dear reader, you’ll heed no warning. And then you’ll realise how much you need people and just how dangerous is getting stuck in the ‘temporary’. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll also be able to arrive at a conclusion that while all flesh is grass, there are lovely green patches just a step to the side of the beaten track that you can graze on. Too metaphorical? Good.

There’ll be more. Soon. It’s a bloody process, savy?

For now, have a listen to the etheric Purity Ring and the beautifully bonkers Sam Spiegel.

* Yes – I’m aware it’s not entirely the correct meaning, but sod. 😉

Cover reveal

Some more weeks passed since my last post than I intended. Sadly none of that time was filled with leisure and pleasure. Luckily some of that work went into various upgrades to this page and into writing stuff. Though the latter goes kinda without saying, right?

Most notable change is the domain name move to the proper .com one. This means various exciting things like newsletters, bonus content and greater control over what happens to things here. But all that will come with new year and will hopefully brighten up the grim reality of this post-brexit little island of ours.

In the meantime, let me share with you some exciting news of the anthology for which I’ve translated a story, the Eurasian Monsters published by Fox Spirit Books. Firstly, the cover is finally here. So ‘feast yer eyes’ and don’t forget to follow me to make sure you won’t miss the premiere.

Secondly, the book should be available still this year. So keep some pounds and pennies on the side as it will be worth your money.
If you’d like to be check Fox Spirit Books’ offer, head over here and if you’d like to discover who Margrét Helgadóttir is make sure to check her blog at this link.

And that’s it for tonight. Short and sweet as they say, but rest assured more news will be coming with increased frequency. I leave you with two pieces in Polish. One is by the brilliantly fresh Kwiat Jabłoni (or Appletree Flower if you happen to be rusty with the lingo). Titled “Mogło być nic” which loosely translates to ‘there could’ve been nothing’, it inspires to cherish what you have.

The other, by half-legendary Strachy na Lachy, is aptly titled “Żyję w kraju w którym każdy chce mnie zrobić w chuja”. And I’m struggling with translating this title and remaining at least somewhat swear-free. Let’s just say it roughly says “I leave in a country where everyone tries to… cheat me.” Feel free to add as much filth to the last two words as you like.

Stay safe and until we meet again!

Eurasian Monsters

Hello friend.

As promised, we meet again and as promised I have more good news to share with you. Earlier this year by both, pure chance and friend’s suggestion (yes John Bav, I’m talking about you) I was enlisted by Fox Spirit Press to translate a story for one of their ‘Monster’ anthologies. You have likely guessed by now that the full title is ‘Eurasian Monsters’. More details and table of contents are your finger tips by clicking the picture below.

For now there’s no official release date or cover image but worry not, I’ll be posting here as soon as information becomes available.

This week my head has been invaded mainly by K-Pop artists. The short piece I’m currently working on is rather bleak and I found I tend to listen to light, simple music on such occasions. It helps retain some balance, but at the same time makes for a weird ‘inspiration playlists’. As my wife calls this a guilty pleasure, I’m left with little choice but to invite you to this cosy and sometimes bizarre world. Below song, by the genre’s titan, Blackpink, is the typical mish-mash of styles and inspirations with simplistic lyrics and satisfying harmonics.

If you’ve been here before, you know I like balance. Which is why the next song is from completely different fairy-tale to poorly paraphrase the Polish saying. This piece, by the Polish band Lemon, is one of those songs that invokes various feelings depending on the listener’s starting mood. If you know the language you’ll be able to appreciate the precise diction and sparing yet powerful lyrics.

And that’s it for tonight. There are other projects I want to share with you, so stay tuned and keep well. Until next week.

A new beginning?

Hello Friend,

Firstly, thank you for visiting. I have not been here a while and so have you. Let’s change that.

A lot has happened in my life and in ‘Life’ in general since my last entry here. Most of that sadly relates in one form or another to covid. But let’s leave that subject to other spaces. Here, again, I’d like to share with you news about my work, my inspirations, some fantastic and wonderous human beings I’ve came across so far and well, occasional rant or two. Nobody’s perfect.

For tonight, I’d like to share with you some great news that are somewhat dated but still warm up my black heart. Way back in April this year The Best of British Fantasy released their yearly anthology, which you can get here. They also published a Recommended Reading List of 50 stories (here) and yours truly had his name included. To some it might be a small achievement, but I found it to be a perfect boost to kill a little of this self-doubt that every artist have. Therefore a big ‘thank you’ goes to the team at the BBF and also to the editors and publisher of the anthology in which my story was originally included. And if you’re curious if it’s worth a read you can get the physical or virtual copy below.

Now, as things are changing they aught to stay the same a little. Just to keep the balance right. Right? I will keep the tradition of sharing of some music with you. If you know me personally you know I love good headbanging metal as much as a thumpin’ techno and won’t shy away from anything in between.

To keep true to above here’s two earworms that have been living in my brain recently. First is a piece by Five Finger Death Punch. It’s not a band I generally listen to but this piece is just lovely. There’s a lot of fluff at the start of the video so just bare with or skip to 1:20 😉

The second song is by the house and techno legend that is Westbam. A nice mature piece guaranteed to get your leg twitching.

And with that, I leave you for tonight. The next instalment will arrive in a week and more changes, including some structural work to this website, are coming. Stay tuned and keep well.

The Airship has landed…

…for the second time. That’s right folks. A follow up to my first ever English publication will hit the stores this Saturday 26th October. The official launch will take place at the legendary Bristol Con at exactly 2pm in Panel Room 1. Just sayin’ cause you might wanna turn up.

I’m obviously chuffed that I’ve been given a chance to revisit those characters and that weird setting. Hope you can come and join me and a fine bunch of other authors in celebrating the birth of our brainchild. All beer donations will be graciously accepted!

My appearance at BristolCon will not be, however, limited to the launch and standard boozing at the bar. I’ve also managed to secure a space at a panel discussing if Sci-Fi is harder to write than Fantasy. I will be exchanging thoughts and arguments in the fine company of Rosie Oliver, Jaine Fenn, Daniel Kelly and Greg Chivers. If you’re interested find us in Panel Room 2 at 1pm.

And finally, if you’d like to hear me stutter into the microphone, please pop in at 12.50 to the Panel Room 2 for a little sample of my writing. Who knows, you might even like it.

“Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!” to quote Porky Pig. See you Saturday and for now I leave you in the company of Polish bands: Żywiołak and Percival Schuttenbach. Both of which had some serious influence on my writing. Curious how? Ask me.

Easy muffins

don’t exist. We all know it, yet we all would sometimes like to not remember. This post was going to be about ‘Stoney Street’. There is one, that I’m fond of, in the town I now live. It’s a nice ‘character’ street. But the real stony street is inside.

I grew up in what some of you would call ‘coal country’. Dead in the centre of a city made of concrete and contradictions. Exploited for centuries by Germans, Polish and the local population alike. Where whole districts welcome you with slogans such as “Witamy w krainie, gdzie obcy ginie” (loose translation – I beg forgiveness) “Welcome to the land where the outsider dies”. And at the same time home to the largest park inside a city in Europe and more than 900 years of history.

Covered with red brick, concrete and asphalt, there’s a lot of ‘stoney’ places about. They glisten when the heavens open. And there’s a special kind of crouching alertness to it late at night. Like… Well, if you grew up in the city, you know what I mean.

Below song, was with me when I trotted the empty streets, risked life going through old military training grounds and gawked at the sky in futile attempt to see the stars. Whenever I hear it, a piece of my, call it soul for lack of better terminology, opens and I’m back home, dangling feet from the 4th storey window of my room, listening to the hum of civilisation and soaking in a panorama of dirty rooftops bathed in the light of sodium-vapor lamps.

Made by Amon Tobin, whilst titled ‘Easy muffin’, to me will always remain Stoney Street. Why? Well that’s another story.

Enjoy this muffin!


Still alive and kicking. There will be changes coming and more regular posts. Well… as regular as I can muster but still. It will get lively, though not all posts will be about writing.  So to start…

Open your seventh ear to the beauty of Nitrogen. By Juno Reactor. One of the early psychedelia I used to regularly include in my dj sets.
Here combined with Alejandro Jodorovsky’s disturbing visions from ‘Holy Mountain’.

Da thang!

October shenanigans & BristolCon

Time flies and is never available in sufficient quantities when most desired.

Things are happening in my life. Not all of it good and not all of it I’m willing to share here, but stay with me and find out about the fun stuff.

I will be reading a story at the “Tales from the Graveyard“, which is a literary event of spooky stories presented to you by the North Bristol Writers as part of the Bristol Festival of Literature. It will take place on 19th October at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol with a start date of 7pm. The event requires tickets, so go, friend, go! Get one!

So that’s 19th. Then, on the 28th, there’s the famous BristolCon, taking place at Double Tree Hotel in Bristol. The program for it has been released now and I’m happy to report that my name appears on it twice. First, I will take part in panel discussion about languages in science fiction and later on I will host a workshop helping you write that perfect dialogue. So don’t be shy, pop along.

I’m obviously super excited and moderately anxious about running the workshop, but I know there will be ample amount of time during the day to catch up with friends in the bar. The full program can be found here and as always, there are far to many things I’d like to see/attend at once.

In the meantime, I leave you with something for the ear. Or two. Because tradition and all…

First, a piece of Mongolian folk metal, because why not. And on top of that it has throat singing.

Second is something slightly different and a bit more… jumpy with a very lively video. Enjoy!