Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Billy's Letter

Just after PUSH 7 came out in September 2013, I got a message from Steve Sacre, who appeared in issues 2 & 3. It wasn’t a new submission as I first thought. It simply said, ‘I have mailed you something, some words from my brother. Don’t know if you will think it appropriate to use, but felt it might be and had to send.’

No email came. A few days later a letter arrived. I don’t get many hard copy mails through my letterbox with my name and address in spidery handwriting. Inside a brief explanation of what was enclosed. ‘My brother Billy has been an alcoholic nearly all of his life. He has written an open letter to the family. I have enclosed it here but regardless of whether you use or not, it must be returned. But I thought of how it might work in PUSH. Hope all is well, Steve x’

The hardcopy was 4 pages of desperate brutally honest block capital letters. Not written on a computer but a typewriter. The irony that I always insist that PUSH must always be in block capitals was lost on me. I read and reread a harrowing but often touching and even humorous in places, account of a man totally opening up to his family about his life of living in a bottle. Most of the time I felt uncomfortable simply because I was reading something that was meant for his family, not my eyes and mind. But the most uncomfortable of all, was me realising that I would have to go back to Steve and explain my first ever rejection. The writing was too honest, too brutal, even for my little mag.

I honestly felt out of my depth.

Then just when I thought the next time I would handle Billy’s ‘letter’ would be when I folded it into an envelope, I found myself typing it out into lower casing. Then removing all elements of direct family related matter. All of a sudden his title ‘Introducing Myself’ had lost the brutality of earlier, and instead of reaching out to just family, Billy was now talking to me and as I then realised, very soon, to all of us.

He made no excuses. He didn’t seek sympathy. He wasn’t crying any tears. He was simply telling the truth. Something only a few ever do.

Billy ended up opening Issue 8 and the feedback I got from readers who related to his experience was one of the most positive feelings I have had doing this. He connected with other people’s lives. Whether his family understood him or not, the fact was, others did.

I wanted to open the anthology with ‘Introducing Myself’ and for most of the editing that was the plan. But East London Press, at the final hour, rethought this and I agreed that while it had impact opening issue 8 – the recovery issue and still one of my favourite issues – perhaps we should go with my original approach, a London opening, which was as has turned out, the correct decision.

But Billy still had his stage within the anthology. He had the largest font too!

I had intended to write and thank everyone here who had contributed on all levels to a brilliant year for PUSH and to plug the forthcoming issue. But then I got this message from Steve on Monday evening: ‘Hey Joe, after many a fight Billy slipped away peacefully this afternoon. He was so thrilled to be in the book’.

That evening I posted a small message of condolence and respect on the PUSH page on Facebook. Almost immediately, Siobhan Curley, who I have never met, replied with this: I was just reading his ‘Introducing Myself’ piece in the book a few minutes ago – a story I have heard too often. My heart was shouting to him ‘Fight on!’ I am so sad to hear this. R.I.P.’

Billy Bullshit was his nickname on the street. But Billy B.S. wrote for PUSH.

And I now know and appreciate how much he was so loved.

Billy Sacre – Rest in Peace

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

PUSH 14 submissions open...

Right, this is what is now happening. With the anthology out and putting so much focus, obviously, into promoting that handsome claret and blue wonder, my plan was for some long downtime and then open submissions for issue 14 mid January, make it something unlike any of the previous, and put it out in March as the second anniversary issue. The plans for the second anniversary issue were all ready to roll, well all ready to roll well into the new year.

But then I just thought, fuck it. All that plan can now be issue 15.

So that's why PUSH 14 is going to be out in January.

Submissions open now. Theme? I dunno. Top of my head. Ball of confusion. Those that know me will get that. And that ball is definitely not football related.

I have had some very good submissions sent already but most of them I would like to keep and use in 15. I will talk to those about this though so we are all happy.

Even if this is a throwback smaller issue, don't care. Needs to be an issue out next month.

Send your words of confusion to

Word doc please as my laptop is having a strop and wont let me cut and paste.

Think this might to be a limited edition small print run. 70 copies. Or even less. But we'll see what happens. What will happen is that it'll be that continued PUSH forward.

PUSH - the best of the first 10 issues - can be bought from East London Press.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

PUSH book launch party, the raffle, some photos

Saturday was of course the book launch and massive raffle in E17. Before then on the Friday, I had a meet in The Boleyn pub, next to West Ham's ground, for a feature about the mag and the anthology. I think it went well. But I was being interviewed by a massive Arsenal fan, so you never know how these things will get manipulated! Seriously, he is a very wise and honest gent. Was a pleasure to meet up and that's all I'm saying for now.

So on to Saturday and the launch. And I've got to thank everyone who turned up, bought the book, bought raffle tickets, had a good time. And it was a good time. Dickson Telfer flew down from Falkirk and ended up the main act. I have met and engaged with many of the contributors, and Dickson is up there with the best. He is fucking brilliant. Everyone was on the night, but he scored a cool brace at the end. And you should all go out right now and buy his new book Refrigerator Cake.

So on to the party. Here are photos taken by Paul Talling who is with a couple of mine bunged in.

DJ on the night was Mark Raison aka Monkey Picks. Cool as fuck as usual.

I did the first reading. 'Arriving' that was in issue one. But I was all over the place with my delivery and make no excuses. But was pleased to be told after went down well!

Joseph Ridgwell was up next and he'd had as much to drink as me. Seen hear reading 'Keep Rocking 1990' that was in issue ten. His old man, an amazing guy, sorted out the venue free of charge. Thanks Dougie from all of us.

Michael Keenaghan reading 'Bent' that featured in issue one. We had major problems with the mic  during his reading but Michael didn't let that phase him.

The mic was now a redundant associate so Raymond Gorman read 'The Ballad of Gerry McGowan' that was in issue six right into our faces, and it worked a treat.

Dickson Telfer. A PUSH legend. Reading 'Ella 21:18' that was in issue nine. A wonderful man, writer and performer. End of.

Raffle! Raffle! Mob rule sang that. You all did. There were a lot of prizes related to the mag. Raymond Gorman signed this superb EP and love this photo, Where's her hand going! Tangerine Press main man Michael Curran and Adele Morris in shot, behind Adele is Ben Williams author of 'Stranger' that was in issue ten and in the anthology. Came down for launch and glad he did.

John King kindly brought some books down to raffle. This one. 'There Ain't No Justice' by James Curtis, is published by John and Martin Knight's publishing house London Books.

Next up a packet of Crawfords Crackers. We don't do cheapness.

Okay we do do cheapness. Deano wins again. Long story!

I should have never put this into the raffle, but the West Ham connection etc. My brother bleeding well won this. Best moment of the night. He gave it straight away to his son, and future West Ham legend Frederick. Born and bred in East London.

Watching Raymond.

Steve Finbow and Raymond Gorman.

Harriet Bleasby who done the book design and proper on the lash. 

Michael Keenaghan has been in the mag since day one and another legend. On far right is the man who runs Hand Job. Jim Gibson. A great lit zine and he is fine company. 

My two very good mates Steve and Craig, seen here either side of Harriet's fella George - all of them got lucky in the raffle! 

Paul Talling who has kindly allowed me to use his work on the covers of many of the first 13 issues, and took photos and made great company on the night. Cheers mate.

Craig giving jealous glance to Dickson Telfer with John King in shot. Get over yourself Craig haha!

Ridgwell on the decks. Leave it to the Monkey main man mate.

The party is over. Dickson, John & Raymond. 

This book is good too !

I mean it man...

Even though this fella is holding PUSH 1-13 boxset raffle top glory, him and Deano apparently shared a split and meant Deano was strolling out the door with another PUSH 1st prize, this time a handsome tupperware boxset glory under his arm. Seriously, Deano is either very lucky or a gangster...

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

PUSH Book Party

Saturday is the launch party of the book and as the poster explains, it is taking place in the Private Members Bar at Orford House Social Club in Walthamstow from 7pm until late. All welcome.

From what I have heard, it definitely sounds like it will be a good turn out. There will be an opportunity to buy the book, we have a very cool London DJ on the decks and there is also the much talked about PUSH raffle #3. But this one is a bit special. Among many prizes related to the mag is the ultimate first prize. All 13 issues of PUSH - the immaculate collection out of my immaculate collection. I may regret one day parting with these small wonders, but I am in a generous mood right now and the horse has bolted so no turning back.

On Saturday night the PUSH box set could be yours; I have shelled out £6 on the box to house the immaculate collection yesterday too.

But failure in the raffle isn't the end of the world. As I said, there's good music and booze and of course there's the star of the show - the book. Also many of the contributors will be in attendance and one, two, maybe more of those who have been interviewed in PUSH will be there. Hope to see you there too.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

PUSH best of the first 10 issues

If you didn't already know, an anthology of the best of the first 10 issues of PUSH is to be published by East London Press on 01/12/14.

This is a very exciting time for me. I have been lucky to have had so many great writers who have associated themselves with the mag. Some known but most of them, complete outsiders

I used to use the word humbled as my emotion to all this journey, how the contributors and those who buy the mag have driven all this. But humbled is inappropriate. I am proud of everyone involved and right now, arm in arm, we are giving it large.

Fuck the mainstream. And anyone who has any kind of elitist agenda to literature. Anyone can express themselves. And we should always encourage silent voices to shout. Not think that writing is only for certain people.

The publishing game is 1976 and the Sex Pistols are rehearsing in the room next to you. You better believe.

I could say more. But the book says the rest. You can pre-order direct from the publishers here.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Issue Thirteen out this week

Issue thirteen of PUSH goes to the printers tomorrow. At almost 80 pages it is the second largest edition. The standard of writing though has possibly never been stronger.

There are fine debuts from Kit Caless, Linen, Nice Grey Checks and Martin Hayes with Shattered Glass in Shingle. As well as fiction from Steve Finbow, Dickson Telfer, Ian Cusack, Michael Keenaghan, u.v. ray and Rude Girl.

While our regular stronghold of poets once again do themselves and PUSH proud. Tim Wells, Joseph Ridgwell, Jared A. Carnie, Gwil James Thomas all return with guns blazing and are joined by Chimene Sulyman, who makes her debut. 

As interviews have been an integral part of the mag since David Peace and Jenni Fagan appeared in Issue 7, we have another great interview for you. I am delighted that the former guitarist of That Petrol Emotion, Raymond Gorman, has given a superb and exclusive interview where Flann O’Brien, The Troubles, The Undertones, alcoholism, writing and important info about his new band, The Everlasting Yeah, plus so much more is all covered. It is a great read and puts the cherry on the cake. 

And while the theme of the issue was drinking, you will definitely feel when reading that there is a distinctive Irish flavour to issue thirteen.  

Because of the increased size I have jacked up the price by 50p.

PUSH 13 will be on sale this Friday 26th at the latest East London Renaissance function which is at The Bell, Whitechapel from 7pm. And it is FREE to get in. Even though poster at bottom of page says it is £3, I can assure you there is now no charge. Head down to the cellar bar for some quality readings and some lively adult entertainment.

Issue thirteen will also be sold before and after West Ham/QPR on Sunday 5th October.

The street price is only £2.50 but you can also purchase via Paypal for £3.50 that includes p&p at this link –

It will also be orderable on the website by the weekend.

Thanks to those of you who have already pre-ordered, there should be a mail out before this weekend. And thanks to all of you who are about to order.

If this mag didn’t sell then we wouldn’t be here now on the verge of yet another superb issue.

Cheers brothers and sisters,


Sunday, 14 September 2014

PUSH issue thirteen

PUSH issue thirteen hits the streets next Friday 26 September at this event.

It is a big bad edition the size of the first anniversary issue which means I have jacked up the price by 50p. It'll cost you £2.50 on the street or £3.50 via paypal. You can pre-order via this Paypal link

I don't normally give away what's inside but this is what the content page looks like. It gives you a handy insight into the track listing. Some mighty fine writing. Best £2.50 you've spent since you read the Jah Wobble interview in Issue 10.

Will also be on sale before West Ham/QPR on Sunday 5 October. Just get hold of the good looking PUSH selling team and we'll sort you out. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

issue thirteen

The current issue featuring an interview with the author John King (only got a few  left) was the largest print run and the fastest selling PUSH to date, therefore the money is already banked for the next one. Which means for a limited period only, submissions are now open for issue thirteen.

Is there a theme?

There is. Drinking. Pubs, parties, drinking alone, in company, in grief or celebration, numbing the pain of existence or heightening the brilliant wonder of being you, being here now, alive.Or. How you kicked the drink into outer space. Forever. And feel all the better for it...

The writing in the mag can often be quite brutal, but this is always married up to some tenderness.

Both sides are urged to meet again in this issue.

Fiction of about 2,500 words max would be ideal but longer work will also be considered.

Poetry, artwork & reviews obviously also encouraged.

Does seriously help if you are familiar with PUSH before submitting.

I plan to publish issue thirteen in 4 weeks time and the mag will be available for £2 on the streets of East London before West Ham/QPR on Sunday 5th October.

Alternatively, the magic of receiving some important mail when coming home after a shit day can also be arranged, at a slightly augmented cost of £3.

Please send your submissions to either or 

The clock is ticking, the bell about to ring, so get your drinks down you quick people…

ps: if your submission isn’t booze related but still works alongside the other contributors, don’t worry, you will still get let in via the tradesmen’s entrance, if you mention that you know me from football etc…

pps: also just decided this about the future of PUSH. There will be a minimum of 99 issues. So yeah, it’s not about to run out of juice and fold…

ppps: hopefully there will be a PUSH anthology (best of issues 1-10) out soon. watch this space...

cheers, Joe and thanks David

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Something's Coming - PUSH 12 out this week

Ahead of schedule, PUSH 12 goes to the printers this week.

In an 18 page conversation, John King, author of The Football Factory, Human Punk, The Prison House, talks about – his early days of going to football, fanzines, travelling, Agatha Christie, Irvine Welsh and Kevin Williamson, the film adaptation of his first book, the art of writing, the state of modern day publishing, some more Chelsea FC, how he nearly supported West Ham (that’s my angle and I’m sticking with it) football in general, his own publishing house and exclusive news on his latest writing.

And trust me, that’s a seriously lazy summing up.

As well as John King, there is also some first class poetry that quite rightly has far too much attitude and always sits in the second class smoking carriage of this train. I’m talking Tim Wells, Ford Dagenham, Allan Wilson and Joseph Ridgwell. And the themes they are celebrating/lamenting are Mary Millington, some casual psychosis while walking down the Kings Road, sex on a balcony in Paris and the death of the East London boozer.

Also, there’s some truly superb new fiction.

Michael Keenaghan’s Friends, is a story that once again cements why he works so well in this mag, certainly has some twists and asks can you really ever trust your friends? Ian Cusack’s Home Game is a sequel to his short story Thief of Fire that appeared in the last issue; we are taken back to the same fire bomb Newcastle/West Ham game but from a narrative heading up north from East London. Like Michael, Ian is a brilliant writer. Paul Irving makes his debut with No Nay Never, a short story commenting on modern life, the loathing of Reading FC and the hardship of being a Burnley supporter. Set before the promotion of last season, the words are still timeless and honest. While from me you get part two of Combining and what happened to self-employed roofer Bill Ripley when he took his new girlfriend to a game of football. Will it have a fairytale ending? Doubtful.

And finally, do not worry, PUSH page 3 fella Jose Arroyo is still on the scene and his brand new woodcut artwork really does help make the mag keep ticking. A fucking genius.

Yes there’s quite a big football angle to this issue, just like this time last year with PUSH 6: The Football Special. But it is the start to the new season and I do sell the mag at football etc and the public does get, what the public wants…but you do not need to have an interest in Association Football to enjoy this issue. 

Some copies hot off the press will be on random sale next weekend at the Schalke 04 tournament in Düsseldorf, Germany from 01.08.14 to 03.08.14

Then on sale via me and Jamie outside the main gates between 1pm and 2.30pm opening day of the new season at West Ham/Spurs 16.08.14

I’ll also be on the street and selling at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 20.08.14 & 21.08.14

Failing that, go to the website and place your order and I will put one in the post with your name on it. (once my stateside mate Pills Mills has sorted out the link, which will be any time soon).

PUSH 12 is 66 pages.

Only £2 on the street, £3 by post.

Disclaimer: PUSH is not a money making enterprise. And hopefully never will be. Other than what I pay Jamie, all coins, notes and postal orders from sales are banked in anticipation of a future issue etc, etc…

Love you all


Sunday, 29 June 2014

PUSH 12 info

This is not a call for submissions. I have received so much new writing since Issue 11 came out a few weeks ago that I have more than enough to pick from.  The hard fact of doing this is that not everyone will get in. And it has nothing to do with the quality of writing. Because everything I have read is up there with anything that has been featured in PUSH previously.
        It's all about having no room at the inn. I’ve got folk sleeping on the stairs in this issue. Issue 12 really is a full house.

        You can still submit. But it will not be in this issue. But with that all said, a big thank you to everyone who has submitted. I mean that. I cannot thank you all enough. It has given me a headache, but one I wouldn’t want to take a pill to stop.
Another reason why I have not had to open submissions is due to the interview with John King that took place on Thursday. It is the centrepiece of the issue and I am grateful that John took the time to answer my questions and share a few beers. Those wanting to know about what is happening with his current writing and why there has been a delay since the release of his last novel, will find out in Issue 12. A great deal of ground is covered. And just like with my previous two interviews and meets (with Jah Wobble and Grant Fleming) John is also a very charming, friendly, approachable, top fella.

Those that know me will tell you that after Issue 6 – The Football Special – I was all ready to call it a day. Thought the mag had run its course and had little more to offer. Then along came the interviews and an increased surge/quality of submissions. And so on we journeyed. Which was the right move.
        Right now I see Issues 1-6 as Volume One and Issues 7-12 as Volume Two.
        And so, with this next publication, Volume Two then comes to a close.
        Where to next?
        I really don’t know right now.
        Only know this for certain.
       PUSH 12 will hit the streets for the opening game of the new season, 16 August, West Ham/Spurs.
        You will find me and the boy Jamie at the gates from 1pm and in Plaistow after.
        Only £2 on matchdays.
       The rest of you will have to have it brutally shoved through your letterbox at the rip-off price of £3.
        Until then.
        Watch this space.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Into a second year...

Following on from the success of the first 10 issues, PUSH enters into a second year with the publication of Issue 11, the most balanced issue to date and hits the streets with a confident poetic swagger end of next week. 
Since the interviews began the mag has towered and as this latest issue will clearly demonstrate, continues to tower.

There are interviews with some of the main protagonists at the superb East London Renaissance evening that took place in E17 recently, while Raymond Gorman interviews former PIL guitarist, Keith Levene.

I know what you are thinking. First Jah Wobble, now Keith Levene, surely John Lydon up next? No.

That's because PUSH already has a literary heavyweight waiting in the wings for the July/August issue, and I can promise you that this person is yet another massive coup for such a small mag. But more of that in a couple of months.

For now, as well as the interviews, there are five debutants. I am delighted that we have new poetry from the ‘suedehead bard of N17’, Tim Wells, as well as Roddy Shippin from Edinburgh, Jared A. Carnie from Chelmsford and Anneliese McMillan Gregg from Derry. All brilliant poets. As you will find out. There is also a name known to many making a first appearance, Steve Finbow. His inclusion, ‘The Trail’ is a short story about a young hopeful trying to make an impression at a trail for Brentford FC. It is brilliantly written and heartbreaking.      

There is also more first class poetry from the likes of Jim Gibson (aka J.E.G), Ford Dagenham, Andrew Taylor, Pepe Arroyo, Joseph Ridgwell and Ian Scanlon.

Plus some superb new fiction.

‘Thief of Fire’ is Ian Cusack’s 1980s tale of love, sickness, The Mekons and a petrol bomb thrown in the West Ham end at St James Park, while Michael Keenaghan’s ‘Turbulence’ takes us into the unstable mind of a soldier back on home soil and struggling with booze and haunting memories of a recent tour in Afghanistan. Joe England’s ‘Combining’ is about a middle aged roofer, with a history of failed relationships, taking his new girlfriend to her first game of football.

As I have already said, the most balanced issue to date. And I know you will agree.

PUSH 11 is 60 pages and back to only £2 + p&p.

You can pre-order for £3 including p&p from this handy link:

* PUSH 11 will be available to order direct from the website from Monday.

** There are still copies available for the only ever reprinted issue, PUSH NINE, which features interviews with Grant Fleming and Dan Fante. You can order from here:

Issues 1-8 and 10 are all SOLD OUT.