Bill & Ted almost had a Time Travelling dog…

According to Movie Web. Full story here

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How Twitter Stole His Life

This is from 2007/8 maybe so some of the references like Gtalk and Jaiku are kinda out of date but it is one of my favourite short pieces. Originally published in The Delinquent #13 in 2010.

How Twitter Stole His Life

It started when he tried to link Twitter to Gtalk.

He followed the instructions. But it didn’t work. A dud. Nothing.

So he went back to the beginning of the process and started again.

Nope. Didn’t work. So he tried again. And again. And again.

He was patient. Its one of those things. When you are a certain age you have grown up as the technology has grown up. You are used to things being kinda buggy and a certain amount of pointless repetition is a normal IT experience. It’s just how things are.

After the fifteenth, maybe twentieth time though, he gave up. Moved on. Thought nothing of it.

Days passed. Weeks passed. Life went on. He lived, he twittered, he blogged. Played the odd game of Scrabulous on Facebook. Didn’t get sued or anything. He even posted some topless beach shots of an old girlfriend on Facebook.

“That’ll teach her!” He sniggered.

But then he noticed a quiet change. His Twitter followers were ebbing away. One here. One there. A quiet trickle.

“Oh well.” He shrugged, “Its not as if I really know any of these people.”

But pretty soon more than half had gone. A week later three quarters.

By the end of following month he had no followers at all. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Then he started getting blocked. One by one over a period of two or three weeks every single Twitterer he followed blocked him.

He tried contacting those he knew via other applications. But they blanked him. Cut him cold. Left him for dead.

After a month of lonely pointless tweeting he stopped. Gave it up.

But it didn’t stop there.

His Facebook friends dropped him. His LinkedIn links unchained him. Jaiku junked him. He found himself isolated. He decided a good solid blog post on the chilly experience would be the first volley in a fight back. Sketched out some notes and logged in at his work station late one evening when the office was deserted.

His password failed. It wouldn’t let him in.

He tried again. Slowly. Made sure it was correct. Same again. He tried entering it over and over and over. Nothing. Tried all the various passwords he could ever recall using. All failed. All blocked him.

Feeling panicky and paranoid he tried to get into to all his various accounts. Failed to access Facebook. Locked out of LinkedIn. Gmail fail… the works.

He sat staring at the pc screen. Pale. Sweaty. Trembling.

He grabbed his coat and ran to the elevator. It took too long so he sprinted down the stairs to the car park. Dashed to the space where he had left his car.

The space was empty.

He stood dumb, numb and uncomprehending.

Jones the security guard approached and shone a brilliant beam right in his face.

“What are doing in here?” Jones said “This is a private car park.”

“My car has been stolen!” He replied. “I parked it here this morning.”

“I don’t know who you are,” Jones said, “But this car park is for company employees only. I am gonna have to ask you to leave now sir, I don’t want any trouble…”

He caught a bus and then walked. Ran the last few blocks. Turned into the street where he lived and stopped. Stood there in the middle of the road and stared.

His house was illuminated. Every room bright pouring light out into the night. Music played loudly. The unmistakable thud, throb and buzz of a party taking place.

“What the…” he rushed to the front door. Tried his key but it wouldn’t turn in the lock.

He moved across in front of the window. Peered in and felt a terrible shiver course through him.

In the room. His front room. The room where he watched TV and relaxed. Was a crowd. A crowd of Him. Twenty of Him at least. A throng of doppelgangers. All identical. All with HIS face. Four or five of them were jostling his terrified wife. One pulled her sweater over her head laughing. Another turned and looked directly at him through the window a laugh of triumph visible on his face as the curtains were drawn on the scene and he was shut out into the night. Left staring at his own reflection in the black mirror that the glass had become.

He didn’t recognise the face that stared back at him. Didn’t recognise it at all.

A short note about Time Travel Hotel (a novel)

9781909136526This novel took a long time to write, and not that long at all. In elapsed linear years from beginning to end was, I will admit, over a decade but as the real writing took place in 4 or 5 intense bursts it was probably less than a year. I will post thoughts and notes on it in the coming weeks and months but the intention of this post is to say. It is finished. It has a kooky cover by the excellent Dominic Brookman and will be published by Burning Eye (who else!) in April.

Here are some words that pretend to describe it:

Black McCarthy is despatched to INTERFOLD – The Time Travel Hotel Republic to track down “Eugenides”. His client, the Wolf, is on his back demanding progress as INTERFOLD keeps shifting time and place, throwing up residency and immigration anomalies as it does so. Help of a kind is on hand via the Dwarf with the Horse, the Man Who Fell Through Floors, the Girl With Nine Lives, the Nurse With The Curse, and Joylin – the INTERFOLD receptionist. But who is Eugenides? The ManWho Lived in a Vacuum Cleaner? The Man Who Dreamt He Was Dreaming? One of the other oddball residents? Is winding up naked in a sauna elevator in the Car Park at Infinity really going to help track him down? Unfortunately for Black, his client is not the only one who wants Eugenides found, Black is possibly the worst detective money can buy and time is not only against him but ignoring all the usual rules. Beneath the black humour, Time Travel Hotel is an exploration of identity and whether we are defined by a place of origin, residence, citizenship or by the decisions that propel us through life. It is a book about regret and missed opportunities. A book about going back – if only you could.

Cutting Up The Economist

In Cutting Up The Economist is a critique of the extraordinary post Lehman Bros. era in a sequence of montage poems composed using headlines from editions of The Economist newspaper published between 2009 and the spring of 2014. The format mirrors that of The Economist itself with sections devoted to Britain, Europe & the Euro crisis, the USA, China etc.The headlines are used intact and strung into narratives within strict confines ‒ only headlines about Britain are used in poems about Britain for instance ‒ or the contents pages of single issues are redacted to reveal hints and hidden truths about the political calamity of the age of austerity. The result is a quizzical re-cast of a dramatic period of ultra recent history shot through with black humour.

ISBN 9781909136335 36pp £5.00 published May 2014. Burning Eye Books.

Sample poems: