Wednesday, 30 March 2011

‘Three’ and ‘Colosseum’ by Joe England


Took a razor
shaved my head
but left the bum fluff
round my lips

He looked me up and down
when I got there
via the bus
I want to see The Exorcist
you don’t look eighteen
I am eighteen
you’re not eighteen

What else is on?
The Incredible Melting Man
I would like to see The Incredible Melting Man
you don’t look fourteen
I am fourteen
you’re not fourteen
I am definitely fourteen
you just said you were eighteen

How many screens you got here in total?
what else is on?
Star Wars
am I old enough to see it?
you are
a ticket for fucking Star Wars then
sold out


Went to Rome recently
wandered up and down
and wondered about
the Roman road planners
who wrote the plan
to construct such a
long straight road
in Berkshire

The Nine Mile Ride
is nine miles long
in Rome though
found impatient motorists
in frustrated roadways
hating everything
about being
on the road
so many miles less that nine

At the colosseum
made me think how
I wanted to see them
drive themselves inside this area
in their metal capsule frustration
in front of us all

Beep yourselves to death
we would cheer
fucking demand
then get the lions
to feed on half-dead motorists
impaled on wiper blades

© Joe England 2011

Sunday, 27 March 2011

‘Getaway Driver’ and ‘Coming Home’ by Joe England

Getaway Driver

He just wasn’t cut out for it. He didn’t even have the bottle to steal a copy of the NME, something he attempted to do as part of his own pre-robbery training, failing miserably every single time; collapsing in a fit of nerves before even stepping inside the targeted newsagent. He had admitted in full the theme of his weakness to the masterminds behind the job in the hope that after much ridicule he would simply get dropped. But even after he had explained at great length how he had only been driving for a few weeks and was anything but a good driver, they made their intentions clear once again. They didn’t want anyone else as the getaway driver.

Having broken into the site, alarms that they didn’t believe the company had invested in were set off and an escape was made over a fence at the back of the site. But he was still out front behind the wheel, looking ahead, all pensive and foolish in the car, oblivious to everything around him as he listened intently to a Teardrop Explodes album. Listening to the cassette tape right up until the arrival of blue flashing lights.  

Upon recognising the horror of capture about to befall him, he made his own attempt to escape. But having got only as far as second gear, he soon appreciated that he was facing the wrong way as he glided towards the dark emptiness of an industrial park cul-de-sac.         

Even though panic and fear engulfed him, the success of his driving test returned in him as he checked his mirror, then indicated to towards the kerbside. Having pulled over he turned off the tape, then the engine, remaining strapped in until he was instructed otherwise.

Coming Home

Lost to Fulham at home
went home
to the local
all my friends were
so others began
me off

A wanker recognising I’m alone
made some comment
about (my loneliness)
gets above himself
says my children
suck his cock
naturally to incite
but such a stupid cunt
I’ve got no kids

I hit him in the face
and when on the floor
I make sure that I kick him in
such a way
he definitely won’t be having
any children himself
from now on
he doesn’t even groan

You’re barred
says the sister
of the hunchback of
the landlord
who hides upstairs
too afraid
to show himself
without the drink inside him

Lucky man
he is
to be able to
hide like that
I tell her
then I also say goodnight all
after she again says

I exit

© Joe England 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011

‘Sheila’s (a) Waterfall’ and ‘Stand Up, Comedian’ by Joe England

A short while back, I entered a short story competition on the BBC website set by the legendary film maker David Lynch. Can’t remember what the prize was but the short story was to be no more that 150 words and had to contain the following – fire, water, bacon, closed, cold, organic.
          Here’s my effort (that didn’t win) and another poem.


Sheila’s (a) Waterfall

It was no surprise that the indoor fireworks experiment manifested into a spectacular blazing fire. Two choking gentlemen were rescued from a Victorian ground floor flat.
          “They (Mr Pimm and Mr Egbow) smelt like grilled fatty bacon,” said Freddie Kelp, the brother of Alfie Kelp, the renowned salesman of organic produce. “It’s amazing that these two gentlemen are alive,” added Freddie.
          And he had a valid point. Because even though the fire station was closed, as it was a Thursday, by an amazing stroke of good fortune – and not long after the moment where the indoor fireworks experiment had backfired – Sheila Fanbatt, who lived on the floor directly above, had unknowingly allowed her bath to overflow with the cold tap full on while chatting to another person on the phone. About nothing in particular.

Stand Up, Comedian

Is it a deliberate game
of shame
that you play
in the dark
when alone
on that stage

Or do you think
that what makes them
actually comes
from within you
is not stolen

But I know you
the real you
been on the receiving end
of your legendary foul moods
so many times

That’s why
I don’t find you funny
to me you will always be
a standing joke

© Joe England 2011

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

‘In Screamadelica’ and ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by Joe England

In Screamadelica

When I began writing my first novel about a video of a snuff movie found in a lay-by bin, I had no idea where it was going to go. What I did know as cast-iron fact was that I wanted the narrator to be obsessed with a classic album, exactly like a good friend of mine, who still no doubt to this day plays ‘Doolittle’ by the Pixies like it came out yesterday.
          I couldn’t use that album as it was too obvious a choice so instead I went through CD and old vinyl, searching.
          What soon became apparent was how many albums I still played regularly that were getting on a bit – ‘London Calling’ The Clash, ‘Rubber Soul’ The Beatles, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ Sex Pistols, ‘Bolan Boogie’ T Rex, ‘Touch Me’ Gary Glitter, ‘All Mod Cons’ The Jam.
          But none of these albums seemed to ring true for my narrator.
          Only one album constantly came back into the reckoning time and time again, younger than the albums I have just mentioned but one that retains a freshness of sound so long after its heyday.
          In ‘Screamadelica’ I had my own ‘Doolittle’.
          Primal Scream are a band who blend rave/soul/blues/funk/punk like no other and this year is the twentieth anniversary of their Mercury Music Prize winning album. There is a special edition vinyl boxed set and CD boxed set released yesterday and also the band are playing a UK tour starting today, performing the whole album live track-by-track, accompanied by Andrew Weatherall on the decks.
          Like anyone who goes to these gigs and/or purchases the boxed edition, ‘Screamadelica’ will quite rightly take you back in time to 1991 and early 1992. A time when I also played the album to death. It is definitely worth returning to.

Waterloo Sunset

Mopping out the bogs
me, Hugo and Job
ignoring the comments
from so many snobs
bigmouthed gobs
blaming us for the stench
that they make

Mopping out the bogs
me, Hugo and Job
no disgrace in working
while others are jerking
off behind closed doors
but we can hear those
porn pages rustle


© Joe England 2011

Friday, 4 March 2011

'Millwall Away On Valentine’s Day' by Joe England

Millwall away
on Valentine’s Day
you’re making a mistake
I heard her say
as I marched out

London Bridge station and
Metal Gear Solid extras
meet and greet
with guns and cameras
clearly enjoying their role

Like SS guards obeying orders
forcing bodies onto trains
lacking empathy and decency
a familiar routine played out well
destination: hell

They call it
Cowards Way
the walkway to our end
but there’s no cowards among us
all walking tall
in ordered silence

Once inside how Millwall mocked
and roared
in such a cowardly way
from a safe distance
a perfect gesture

She was right
I had made a mistake
the wrong type of goals prevailed
that awful song played out
each time

My thoughts now abstract
flowering in the gloom
maybe get a bunch from the Esso
all the hope I had left
to save such a miserable day.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

'Only Here For The Ride' and 'White Noise' by Joe England

‘Only Here For The Ride’ is the unsympathetic voice of a young man escorting a manic depressive/tinnitus sufferer to a chemist and this is followed by ‘White Noise’, a poem about tinnitus.

 Only Here For The Ride

Outside it has started to rain. I’m inside the motor. Waiting. For Kathy. The truth is, I’m only doing this right now as a favour called in by a good mate of mine. He was busy this morning and wanted me to hold her hand on the way to the shops. Told him what I’d expect to get in return and he saw no problem with any of that. Sounds easy enough.
          But nothing comes laid on a plate and Kathy’s always hard work. There’s something wrong with her. She complains, cries and begs for sympathy about her invisible misery, her punishment from God – the ringing raging in both of her ears.
          Kathy claims she once had a brilliant career as a DJ that spanned from Ibiza in 1987 up until just before any of us first met her. Won’t touch a turntable though when we ask her for a demonstration. Says she is tormented by her past now that she has the constant ringing in both ears, how she can never sleep, think coherently. Last thing she needs is to go near the decks.
          But I don’t believe her. About her past and her present. It’s all a show. Attention seeking.
          It’s now starting to really piss down heavy and even though I’m under cover, in the passenger seat, I’m gonna get soaked when she drops me off later. If this keeps up. For some reason I’m picturing myself already back home, out of her car and getting wet as I jog up the lane towards the house. These idle thoughts get dislodged when I spy Kathy coming out of the chemist doorway. She pauses, regards the rain and disappears back inside.       
          Fuck’s sake.
          It may have been only a couple of minutes, but it seemed like I was well into the next day by the time she reappeared. Having now appreciated that the rain had eased, she makes a bandy-legged run towards her car, the one with me inside, looking bored, hopeless, but watching her, watching Kathy skip round the puddles while clutching at a large green chemist take-away bag. I reckon she must dream about a perfect world with a 24/7 Chemist Drive-Thru.
          “Sorry Gordon,” she says, getting in the motor, trying to sound like she means it.
          “I’m only here for the ride Kathy,” I say back, because after all, that is the truth. “Get anything interesting?”
          “Just the usual, you know, the usual.”
          Just the usual is her funbag packed with antidepressants and sleeping tablets. This person is a vessel of pills. Shake her and she’d rattle all right. No wonder she can’t sleep.
          “Still experiencing trouble with your sleep then?”
          Her eyes sparkle to life for a brief second, no doubt what with me having just fooled her into thinking I am generally interested in anything but her body.
          “Yeah, yeah, no improvement – even with the sleeping pills I still spend half the night wide-awake trying to cope with the noise.”
          “I’m not sleeping too well these days either,” I tell her because I am sleeping appallingly right now. Don’t know why that is, just is. But typically, she hates any form of competition and immediately goes on the defensive.
          “Well, I’ve haven’t got any pills to share…I mean, I’ve got none spare…they’re my prescription, Gordon; I have to have them all. That’s why my doctor prescribes me them. I can’t share, I’m not allowed to – ”
          “Kathy, I was only stating I’m not sleeping well. Don’t worry, I don’t want what your doctor said you must have.”
          She is clutching the big bag of pills tightly to her chest, her posture stiff and upright having just turned herself into an ice pop about to crack. She is fucking mental.
          “Yeah, I know, I know,” she then says, with that slight smile. She begins to thaw some more and puts the bag behind us on the back seat. “Gordon, listen if you ain’t sleeping too good you should try taking Kalms. That’s with a K. Johnny Munn and Billy Compton, they use Kalms. A few beers Kalms and you’ll be out like a light. That’s what they reckon.”
          She puts the key in the ignition and the car jumps forward aggressively and stalls. Kathy freaks out like we’ve just ploughed into the car in front. Which we nearly did. I was already braced for action. Kathy is a bad driver. She will regularly turn off the engine as she reaches a standstill with her foot still on the clutch, leaving the car parked in gear. She’s does this all the time; she’s a fucking nightmare.
          “Kathy, there’s no need to cry, you left it in gear again. It’s no big deal. Calm down for fuck’s sake.”
          Five minutes later and outside it’s stopped raining but Kathy is still a tear-stained mess. I wish I could drive. But I can’t so I have to sit waiting for her to relax, which really can take days sometimes. In moments such as these she should try taking fucking calming pills or something.

White Noise

Wake up with the white noise,
in the middle of a black night,
like a jet plane taking off inside your head,
ears continue to ring long after take off,
suitably replaced with the unforgiving hum,
of some hellish long wave radio station,
out of tune to the usual whistling ghoulish shrills,
volume set on full, dial broken

There is little fun to be had,
when you wake up with the white noise,
in the middle of a black night,
tired thoughts paint a bleak picture,
of the lunacy that will prevail,
into the coming of another day,
as the piercing ringing continues to scream,
that familiar soundtrack

Best be friends with your white noise,
don’t fight the invisible host,
(no one else cares but you)
conserve all energy to accept,
a true part of your being,
go cradle you sub consciousness,
let it command you,
to suffer gracefully in silence or perish soon

© Joe England 2011

About Joe England Books

I have never been to university or on a creative writing course and I never set out in life to write one word. I wanted to be a professional musician, a bass player that just played the bass in a band. But when the drummer of my last band threw me from a balcony – there was obviously no TV set in the room – I must have awoken something in my head when I hit the ground. Because not long after that incident I had this overwhelming urge to write and also, just as surprising, to read books. (I should mention here that nothing positive should be attributed to the action of this drummer, as he is, as I am sure you already appreciate, a complete cunt.) So I began to write and with no idea on where the story about a video of a snuff movie found in a lay-by bin was going to go, I set about my first novel which I titled ‘Sliced’ and once completed I sent it out to a dozen publishers. Only one responded. George Marshall at S.T. Publishing. He wrote back, ‘It’s the best piece of fiction we’ve been offered – and deserves to be a cult classic’ and many other kind words. I fell apart. Couldn’t believe my luck. I was going to be a published author. I wanted to ring a million people all at once. Then I read the last sentence. “We say no to books every week – it’s the name of the game.’

For me at the time, it seemed an even bigger fall to recover from than the one from the balcony. But I licked my wounds, showed the book and the email from George Marshall to a journalist friend who in turn advised that while there was potential there, it was perhaps ‘too raw’. The book continued to ‘do the rounds’ for a while but the general consensus was that the writing needed to be developed greatly to have any chance of being considered for publication.

I felt out of my depth and didn’t write for a whole year and then rewrote the story as ‘The Roadside Picnics’ – it grew three times in size – and again sent it out to a dozen or so publishers. Allison & Busby ‘really enjoyed reading it’, Viking/Penguin ‘found some parts very funny’ and Canongate said ‘this is an interesting piece of work’. The book was rejected.

I was never expecting miracles but over the next few months understood how the process of submitting a book is a complete head-fuck, a seemingly pointless task with no return other than the self-loathing and complete loss of energy you experience when your manuscript is returned. But I was now at least clued-up like everyone else; you can’t get published if you submit an unsolicited manuscript. So why bother? During these grim belt-tightening days your book won’t even make the slush pile for the office junior to pick over. A better option is spending the postage money on a lottery ticket, the odds on success are greatly improved.

I didn’t bother sending the book out again for submission or purchasing any lottery tickets, instead I just carried on writing as it seemed the best plan of action. But over a period of time I developed an annoying habit of constantly looking back – never a good thing to do too often – and over-tinkering with completed drafts. This was proving to be a major obstacle on the road to any new writing, so in December 2010 I set up a site to host various stories as free downloads so that I could hopefully move on.

‘King of the Zulus’, ‘The Killing’ and ‘Underdog’ have never been submitted to any publisher. These stories may contain the odd grammatical flaw as I do all the proof reading. I make no apologies. As I already mentioned, I have never been to university. Right now I am writing a novel set in a perfume factory, ‘Green Light To Paradise’ and a short story, ‘The Last Temptation’. Both of these stories will be available as free downloads during 2011.