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RSS Feed. James, the band released a self-titled album to much acclaim on trendy London indie label Cherry Smash before nightmarish drug habits got the better of them. James recovered from his crippling heroin addiction and by the turn of the century become a huge star, playing his maudlin orchestrated ballads to Robbie Williams-sized arena crowds. Jennings had it tougher, struggling with cocaine and alcohol throughout the nineties. While London rejoiced in its Britpop revival, Jennings hid away in Hollywood, crashing and burning multiple times as he tried to get his life and career in order.

The two would bond and reconnect two years later when Drew quit an investor relations job and joined a reformed Solarstar on tour. Mark was the only original member of the new lineup, his supporting cast from an assortment of Los Angeles psychedelic rock bands. While on tour, Drew interviewed Solostar for Alternative Press magazine.

All these years later, that piece is considered the definitive article on the band. Drew was kind enough to let me and Obliterati Press include the entire transcript for the book. So, what more is there to say? What fascinated me most was the story of Solarstar. I had many chats with Mark and even a few with Mathew when his people would let me.

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As we said our goodbyes, Drew took me to a small room where he keeps many of his music mementos. Drew went on to tell me that this was an early demo that would become the definitive album tracks. He gave us our blessings to share these recordings in all their raw glory. Solarstar was brought to life, entirely due to my Cleveland friends John Petkovic and Dave James who were part of seminal Cleveland garage punks Death of Samantha.

They read the novel and tapped into the soul of the best band that never was. John and Dave wrote the music and I wrote most of the lyrics with a little help from John. This novel was submitted to us during our first, and to date only, submissions window, and within a few paragraphs, we just knew we had stumbled onto something very special. We felt extremely lucky and privileged to have had this novel land on our desks well, in our inbox , and we wanted to make it our focus.

Make Mine A Treble Aside, obviously, from the big price and the potential profit, you might place this bet, it could be argued, as a consequence of being British. Yet the event represents a milestone in the history of one of our most abiding cultural habits. Fast forward a couple of hundred years, and a growing mercantile society, followed, soon afterwards, by the industrial revolution, meant that an increasing number of British people had cash on the hip if they wanted to bet.

Tales of eccentric wagers often come from the British Isles in this period. The Count de Buckeburg is famously said to have bet that he could ride his horse backwards from London to Edinburgh. As Britain moved into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, betting on sports became increasingly prevalent. As early as , according to one history of gambling in England, a million pounds was bet on the Chester Cup, a prestigious horserace, and cash prizes for predicting the results of football matches what would eventually become the football pools are generally believed to have preceded the establishment of a league.

But it was improvements in the railways and the development of the electric telegraph system that made sports betting a nationwide phenomenon and a mass enterprise. With these innovations, you could follow races or games from different parts of the country, and so the prospects of gambling opened up as never before. Similarly, by the twenty-first century, and the speedy evolution of the internet and the launch of the betting exchanges, gambling in Britain had gone through another technological revolution. The act of gambling had never been easier. Its range of markets had never been bigger.

No more recent figures are available, presumably, because it takes so long to count such enormous piles of money. Increased gambling activity is also a symptom of another kind of cultural and social adaptation. As a consequence of the success of industrial society, the logic of wealth production has given way to the logic of risk production. That is, the rapid technological, economic and political developments of global capitalism in the previous sixty or seventy years have destabilised social structures and created a situation in which uncertainties proliferate in most aspects of our lives.

Where once institutions such as the employer, the church, the bank, the media, the nuclear family, even the nation state, might have seemed, at least to some extent, preeminent and secure, nowadays their place and their influence are increasingly equivocal. Or about the spread of bird flu. Or Islamic State. Of course, for the individual, the situation is doubly discomfiting. Not only do the experts and those in positions of economic and political power appear uncertain how to proceed, you have to start thinking about how you might proceed yourself.

What do I do if I lose my job? If the family unit breaks down? If Brexit occurs?


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These are fundamental questions of self-identity. And they can sometimes feel like a catastrophic burden. How do I act? Who do I become? But what I can say with confidence is that something persuaded him to take the plunge. All of a sudden, for one reason or another, Dedryck Boyata seemed like a fuckin good idea. By Richard Rippon.

I. The 3 Rules of Packing Light

Neither would surprise me. I had been a promising long distance runner in my youth, but my athletic dreams took a nosedive when I struggled to succeed at the next level. I quit my nationally-ranked university team and compensated by drinking heavily, often with the aid of Valium, which had been prescribed to me for anxiety issues. With running out of the picture I lost my identity. I did have music, however. My fervor grew to the point where I pleaded with my parents to let me study abroad. The year spent at the University of Essex inspired my first novel Wivenhoe Park , which was first published in I was lucky enough to experience firsthand the rise of The Jesus and Mary Chain, who remain my all-time favorite band and forge friendships that still exist to this day.

I remain close to my best friend at the time, Marc, who inspired the Johnny character. People often ask me why it took so long to write an eighties coming of age tale. For the next few decades I published several fanzines and contributed to renowned magazines such as The Big Takeover , Skyscraper and Alternative Press. So, what triggered my journey into writing fiction? In , my wife and I were in New Orleans with her mother-in-law Ellendea Proffer, who is an accomplished academic with a MacArthur genius award to her name. At this time, I was in a creative funk as the music industry had changed so much that my record label had been relegated to side hustle status and I had been sucked into a corporate day gig.

Writing came up in the discussion and I remember telling Ellendea that I had always wanted to write a novel. Some four months later I completed the first draft of Wivenhoe Park , which a publisher friend loved. Almost a year to the day after that lunch in New Orleans, Wivenhoe Park was in print. The idea of a sequel and, possibly, a trilogy floated in my mind as I was writing Wivenhoe Park and it came to fruition when I started outlining ideas for my novel Heartworm.

Set ten years after Wivenhoe Park , Heartworm is a comedown novel. If Wivenhoe Park was my Psychocandy , celebrating the mad rush of youth, Heartworm is most definitely Darklands. Heartworm is about Drew coping with rejection in his life and it was in fact inspired by rejection. Heartworm the album was a lifesaver for me when I was going through my divorce in Like Drew, I had lived in Ireland and I wanted to capture the vibe of mid-Nineties Dublin and the angst of the Whipping Boy album, which paralleled what was going on inside me.

The story begins in with Drew two-years sober, trying to stay afloat at a soul-crushing investor relations gig in Boston. Circumstances lead him to a record label job in Los Angeles. Writing this final chapter was a therapeutic experience for me. Just after the release of Heartworm I learned that I had a congenital heart condition and that if I did not have surgery, I would only have a year or two to live.

On top of that, two friends in their mid-forties passed away in part from heart-related conditions. One before the surgery, one soon after. This triggered me to give up drinking, which at various stages in my life was quite problematic. I have been alcohol sober for twenty months now and sobriety has changed my writing process. Wivenhoe Park and Heartworm were written on a steady diet of red wine and Benadryl while Sunset Trip was completed on a course of Moroccan mint tea and cannabis. Speaking of Morocco, a visit to Marrakesh inspired the genesis of Sunset Trip.

At this time, I had loose notes for what would become Sunset Trip. One afternoon, while sitting on the rooftop of the riad where we were staying, the whole story rushed to me. I madly typed out the outline and when I came home, wrote the first draft in three months. I sent it to Nathan and Wayne at Obliterati and a few revisions later, here we are. The trailer looked amazing — this time, Balboa was taking on a Russian behemoth and every punch sounded like a nuclear missile exploding.

In a post-Star Wars playground, expectation was high, but we had a long wait until the UK release date. I was hyped.

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Rocky IV right? His uncle was a very good man to know and could get hold of pirate videos. It was a crushing letdown. Then we started watching, and it was incredible. A woman embraces an undead loved one, and has a chunk of her neck bitten off. It was a couple of years before I tracked it down. A pirate third or fourth generation VHS copy bought by mail order. I closed my curtains one Saturday afternoon and watched it in his entirety. It was brilliant. Maybe I should explain. A little while ago, I noticed a writer, Jenn Ashworth, was doing consecutive days of writing and documenting her progress on the socials.

Anything, in fact, to move your writing project along in some way. My first novel, Lord of the Dead , was written in such a piecemeal style - short bursts of activity separated by days, sometimes weeks of inactivity — that committing to a sustained period of writing seemed like a great idea. If I cracked on, I could come up smiling with the best part of a novel in just over three months.

That would be mad. The first few days require a bit of adjustment. I could find a cafe, get something to eat and back to work, and still squeeze in 20 minutes of writing. Writing in the morning really works for me. And then probably go back to sleep. On my least productive day, with a stinking hangover, I did a total of eight words of dialogue.

Whatever it is, work around it. Fit it in. At some point you might run out of stuff to write about. I guess it depends on your writing process. A handful of days were taken just planning out things to write, a list of scenes on my phone for quick reference. One good thing about DaysOfWriting is that you have to think ahead. I think this consistency is great for your book. Featured on the Guardian website 12th February I wrote an article in the South Wales Kidscene Magazine. You can view it online here. Page Featured on The Guardian website 3rd September Featured on the Guardian Website.

I wrote a guest post for the lovely folks over at Together Street. Go take a look. I wrote an article for "In the Moment" magazine about happiness.


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  • Issue 4. Find out more here. Ranked number 5 in the top 10 minimalist blogs in the UK. See the list here. I was interviewed by the Telegraph for an article on Minimalism and Christmas. Have a little read I'm the Mum in the second half of the article. My Blog was featured in this list of blogs about Minimalism, click to see where I rank. Give it a little watch and get in touch if you would like us to produce a video for you.

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    You can read an online version here. Featured on The Guardian website. The very talented Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim blog interviewed me about my instagram. Featured on the Guardian Website 12 March Enjoying the views from Monte Baldo, Italy. I really enjoyed working on the above Blog Post as part of the "Glamadventure" campaign, promoting tourism on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Featured on the Guardian website 3rd February I contributed to this article in 91 Magazine sharing decluttering tips along with other minimalist writers.

    I. How to Pack Light

    One of my photographs of Slade beach on Gower, was featured in this beautiful book which has been put together by a local artist and a local photographer. Click on the image if you want to know more. Click on the image to find out more. Page 52 of the online edition. Featured on the Guardian website 13th November This photo was used on the Eurocamp website, and was taken on our lovely Eurocamp trip to Italy last year.

    You can see it here. The lovely folk over at Real Wales Tours interviewed me about my Photography and my love of the Gower.