When Slipknot’s bassist Paul Gray died of a relapse and overdose in 2010, I was twenty years old, and angry. I refused absolutely to believe it. I ‘yelled’ at others on social networks for sharing news of his death, and I denigrated the Iowa newspaper that first reported the news as a ‘lying tabloid’ — I had, of course, never read it before then.
Why so angry? Because young men — hell, men — get angry when the bubbles in which they live are burst. Gray’s death was one such bursting. I had spent between ages twelve and twenty, half…
This review was originally posted in January 2021 on the author’s personal Goodreads account, and republished on An Injustice! at the invitation of the editor. Talley’s book was published in 2015.
Where relevant, links and comments (in bold) have been provided for full context.
As I begin to pen this write-up, I am keenly aware that what I’m about to say is a touch at odds with much of what’s been said about ‘What We Left Behind’.
This, in all fairness, is part of the reason I even picked up ‘WwlB’ in the first place; every year I take out…
This short piece was originally published elsewhere on March 13th 2021, in the wake of the death of Sarah Everard at the alleged hands of a police officer, and is here republished for completeness.
When I lived in Reading for three years, and would go out drinking most weeks, I’d usually walk home alone, very late. Rarely would I feel myself to be in any sort of danger, even when I was thoroughly poleaxed. …
This piece was my entry into the NYC Midnight Microfiction challenge, for short stories at not more than 250 words in length.
Sadly I did not win. Happily, I can now publish it here for your enjoyment!
I was assigned the following Genre, Action and Object: ‘Adventure’, ‘Crying’ and ‘Machine’.
In a short life, Aesu sees a machine only once.
Being strong, he fights in his king’s squabbles, spills blood upon the brecks. The salt in blood is dull and thick.
Aesu moves southward when his king falls and his family dies. He does not linger; southward, until he comes…
(Originally written in 2014)
I’d’ve liked to show you lines today
To which I’d sign a wish-you-well.
I’d’ve loved to pose a bit of complex prose
And laid down all I’ve yet to tell.
There’s plenty left I must relate;
Joys and sorrows, songs and scenes!
They cannot wait, and to their safes
I had the combinations and the keys.
But I’ve lately purchased good strong chains
And clasped them tight about my wrists
The light’s dipped, it’s gone, I slept too long,
My muse’s stop it seems I’ve missed.
Who trusts the tales by snakes in sales? …
I have a few things to tell you.
In a pandemic, two things happen to you, if you’re lucky enough to live through it, and if you have a lot of time to think, like I do.
The first is the realisation of just how little you actually control in your life; how your job, your home, your prospects and your circumstances are at the mercy of something — a disease — as ludicrous and cruel as it is entirely natural to the globe we walk on, or else something — say, the late-capitalist systems we move within…
A poem commemorating the Broad St. Independent Chapel in Reading, currently occupied by a bookshop.
My local Pantheon, they say,
weaves dead men in its roots.
There stood here once a tombstone,
from which a fable shoots.
No Zola, nor a Hugo,
no Voltaire ‘neath your feet;
a forgotten soul of no renown
hides here in restful sleep.
This building in utero
this grave man had once known.
Some talk he heard of Lambs and Love,
but not from Albion, nor Rome.
From the dome fell psalms in echo,
and no façade to block the light
that shines nor’west at even-time,
KENDRICK LAMARR | 𝘛𝘰 𝘗𝘪𝘮𝘱 𝘈 𝘉𝘶𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘭𝘺 | (Hip hop)
So… is this the best album of 2015? One of the most diverse, imaginative and fucking fearsome records made this past decade? As grimly furious (‘The Blacker the Berry’) as it is adventurous (‘Wesley’s Theory’) and pensively hopeful (‘Alright’)? Does it feature Lamarr at his absolute peak as a writer and rapper? And did I sleep on this album for five straight years, like an utter moron? Yes, to all of the above. …
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝐾𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑑𝑜𝑚: 𝑆.4
The instant Uhtred of Bebbanburg gets back to Bebbanburg, this series ends. That’s the common refrain about ‘The Last Kingdom’, at least, and I’m less and less convinced it’s true, and more and more convinced it’s simply what Netflix encourages you to think in order to keep you binging. Plenty of characters in this story achieve everything they want, and then have to fight to keep it, more often than not losing it entirely in the process and creating compelling drama as a result. Refusing to actually let this possibility come within view of the lead…