May 22, 2007

Not much to write, but I wanna make sure I post, so here’s two little things (refreshed!)…

it all came down to this.                           life through txt.

I like these anyway. The first was written almost exactly a year ago following my first day at my current workplace, a breast cancer charity.

The second is a collection of genuine text messages, all saved to my phone during my time at university. There are some, shall we say, more personal ones that I’ve left out due to respect to people and I’ve referred to people as vaguely as I can, for example, in pseudonyms.


(if you bother to read, happy birthday Ange!)

my mate decanus…

January 16, 2007

my mate decanus…is very excited about the football today. After a lengthy abscene from the game, I – accompanied by my good friend the Doctor – will be making my debut for his team.

Dynamo Chicken Kiev (I’m 70% sure that’s the name but I can’t remember exactly), I think they’re called are currently mid-table in the local six-a-side league after taking over another team’s position in the league mid-season.

Decanus, my friend, is this man on the right –>>>>>>>

Doesn’t he look threatening? He’s harmless, but this is what he looks like when he plays football.
Or so I hope.

But for me, the football will be hard and I hope for Decanus’ sake, it isn’t too hard.
See my friend, the Doctor, is a sporty energetic man. If I remember correctly, my old friend is a shouting, aggressive bloke when playing. I, I’m afraid to say, am none such thing. Well, maybe shouty. Decanus too is a sporty man – he gyms, he will run a marathon this year. Even the team’s ‘biggest’ player is probably far more athletic than I. But nonetheless, I shall rise above it and once again, become a footballer.
For thirteen minutes each half.
I shall ache, I shall get cramp, and I’ll probably cough up my lungs but yes, I shall be, a footballer again.

I’ve heard the Doctor has been boning up on research, reading an edition of FourFourTwo that has Arsene Wenger’s guide to five-a-sides in it. Nice. Decanus will probably wake up tomorrow, limber up and prepare his mind throughout the day. I shall have a beer on the train home and see what happens. He emailed over the teamsheet this morning, all nicely laid out on half a green football pitch the size of A5 paper when printed, letting us know the starting six. (It’s pasted below).

I’m adopting the no running, playmaker role in midfield – I like to think of it as the fountain, distributing passes, spraying the ball around. Like Tommy, Tommy Huddlestone – the future of English football (except the Newcastle game at the weekend… shame).

I’m afraid I’ll be a bit more the stone, not moving and looking lifeless.

But it’s nice while it lasted. At least for these few seconds here, I’m mentally a footballer. But I’ll try my hardest goddammit, I’ll fight for Dynamo Chicken Kiev and kiss it’s buttery badge of herbs and chicken and oozing watery stuff from inside its beautiful breadcrummy exterior.chickenkiev.jpg

And if, perchance, we win the game and I notch a couple of goals, then I’ll walk home happy with myself and with a spring in my step, faith restored in life. And I’ll walk into that pub. I’ll breathe in it’s smoky air. I’ll neck that pint and… fuck it… I’ll buy a 99p frozen Chicken Kiev from the Turkish corner shop on the way home.

Then again, if it goes badly, I don’t expect I’ll write about this again.


Tuesday’s line up


This is my current favourite picture. I just love the sheer, unbridled joy and innocence of this picture. I took it a few weeks ago (on my mobile phone!) at the iCount rally about global warming that took place in Trafalgar Square, London. Over 30,000 people attended that day and afterwards, people who had been dressed in fancy dress costume even stood around in the cold, entertaining little ones – like this young girl. When she saw the panda, it had its back to her and she tapped it on the back. When it turned around to give her a big hug, her smile was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

There’s a new poem on the pinboard here (it was written when very, very drunk).

oh, and i have a flikr account with some pictures here.


faith no moreYou know when you rediscover a band that you’d almost completely forgotten about? My current one is Faith No More.

It started a few weeks ago when my friends, who play in a Mr Bungle tribute band, Bungle Jnr (aside: they’re brilliant), were talking about a gig they were playing. After seeing them, I was just completely inspired to listen to as much Faith No More as possible. I hadn’t listened to them properly for at least a year – I’d completely forgotten how good they are.

Formed in the 1980s, this band were completely and utterly unique and went for around 15 years or so I think. Every LP is so diverse and creative and illustrate a band with almost too many ideas. The musical style? Well, I was discussing this last night with my friend Mike, I think they’re like an experimental hard rock act; he would argue more metal than hard rock. Either way, it’s still fucking brilliant. ‘Angel Dust’ is probably one of the best albums of the ’90s and songs are packed with wit and invention. There’s no need to rehash over old stories, as they’re all on the Internet, but the best one involves a song on ”Angel Dust‘ – ‘Land of Sunshine’.

This song was written whilst singer Mike Patton was on a three-day sleep deprevation experiment (firstly, that sounds like a brilliant idea for songwriting!) and every line of the lyrics is taken from the daytime TV, self hope shows and . Oh, and a couple from a fortune cookie! It’s absolutely exceptional and his operatic delivery of three words from the middle of the song (“varicose/comatose/senile”) is one of the funniest things I ever heard.

extract: ‘Land of SunshineAngel Dust LP
Does life seem worthwhile to you?
Do others push you around?
Is age against you?
Sing and rejoice!
Does life seem worthwhile to you?
Does emotional music
Have quite an effect on you?
I can help you help yourself!”

There’s a FNM long argument about singers; original (Chuck Mosely) or the longest one (Patton)? For me – and maybe this is because I discovered toward the end of their career – Patton was the best thing that could’ve happened to Faith No More. As a singer, he is completely inspiring, creative and unafraid of any challenge. My favourite example of this is another song from Angel Dust

Probably my favourite song of them ALL is ‘King For A Day‘. Apparently known by the band as just ‘Acoustic’, the chiming guitar is central to its development, jangling throughout before it kicks in the middle section. Bookended with a similar outro and haunting, repeated refrain (‘Don’t let me die with this silly look in my eyes’) it runs out beautifully – it’s a brilliant song.

Their influence is immense, at the start of their career they were merging rap and metal long before their peers. But now, with it over, and the majority of music so boring – you just want more of them.

I haven’t checked out Peeping Tom yet, Patton’s new project, but I think I will now. Faith No More; ashes to ashes.faith_no_more1.jpg

Listen to Faith No More (MySpace).
Read about Faith No More
Visit their rubbish website

– Bit shoddy that all in all. But I’m off to Germany for a week and I wanted to leave something up in the time while I’m away.This band were brilliant though. Back soon. J. (by the way, ta to the people who left comments for the last few entries… I almost got a bit excited!)

mother mary.

November 11, 2006

A poem, written a while ago, added to pinboard

Mother Mary.

Mother Mary is staring, looking at me,
In a Spanish grillhouse, in murky Tangier.
Why is she looking? Why does she stare?
At my eyes, at my face, every strand of my hair.
The waiter is talking, chatting us up,
For an extra mixed salad, to increase the cost.
But a void keeps returning, accompanying her gaze,
To remove any comfort and put doubt in its place.
As thousands and millions of faces die young,
And the elderly rot from the heat of the sun;
A city is flattened with rising waves,
Exposing and opening the truth to your face.
But all of it stands detached from my eyes,
And to say that I feel it would be just a lie,
So as I sit down to chew on some meat,
I’ll feel her eyes burning and long for release.


essex rage.

October 23, 2006

Saw a bit of rage after the Tottenham-West Ham game on Saturday. I am now using the ‘pinboard’ as a place for these kind of short writings.

————————————-READ HERE—->>>>>>>>

I don’t hate Essex, but I do generally dislike Romford. Some people there are great, but it just seems to attract idiots with the wrong attitudes. This is a reprint of some thoughts on Romford.


One night in Essex…

Through the station’s exit I see my first glance of the familiar sights: the pigeon shit, McDonalds, the pubs and bars and clubs and ah, yes, the cock(y) lads and the skimpily dressed gals. Taking a deep breath of Ford exhaust fumes, I walk down South Street, the main hub of Romford’s nightlife. I stop and look out into the night.
Types of Romfordian youth: the underage major and underage minor. Underage minor is roughly 14-16 and has told her mother she is at a sleepover. These girls are out to salvage their reputation at school and prove they can cut the mustard.
The underage major is your veteran who will have been going out in Romford for years. These girls will usually be loud, brash and will have struck friendships with bouncers due to reasons I wish not to mention. These girls are the benchmark for the underage, they are cool.
Next, the forever teenagers. The ones who haven’t changed since they matured enough to pass underage major, bin their fake IDs and become adults. They work jobs they don’t care about and meet their chums every weekend to drink away their wages, tongue some guy in a club and occasionally get the odd pump up round the back of the Wetherspoons.
These individuals work in the area and just love their nights out down Yates’ and Brannigans. Time & Envy too, which is so classy that a now very famous footballer once swamped its bar before his evolution into the respectable parent and England international he is today. The forever teens are veterans of this scene, and will put their bare flesh out to the chill of the night for as long as it can take.1.jpg
Next up, come the Chavs. These surprisingly cover a wide age range. In Romford, how can you notice who’s Chav and who’s not, when everyone wears the same clothes? Gold chains, polo shirts, tracksuit bottoms, burberry, Nickelson, Hackett. That’s the uniform. Yes, you can be middle aged and be a chav.
We continue our tour of the outgoing youth with the wide boys. These are the commuting bankers, who just can’t let the legend of Romford die. Rather than move on, these lads love to be the big fish in a small pond, and will splash their cash in the high-cost places like Time. They will only go out on the strip and love any excuse to splash out, impressing their mates with the size of their wad. You can speculate yourself as to why they live this way.
And finally, the out-of-placers. People, like myself, who can’t yet find a way out. Luckily, I did in the end, others love it so and wish to stay. An old friend of mine who I knew for years as a youngster has become a Tory councillor for Havering. If he thinks he’ll be able to change Romford, he’s mistaken.
So as night encroaches, the sky begins to crackle and the rain comes in. In most places worldwide, the rain is usually a time where people bring out coats and umbrellas. In Romford however, no-one wears coats, and the girls run from bar to bar in their sodden strappy tops and miniskirts and see through tops and nipples. The blokes walk slowly; they’re too hard for rain and would rather abuse the grunge kids walking past. Occasionally, they will see a big-nosed man and call him Jewish. Yes, that happened to me (I’m not by the way, which made it even weirder).
But after all this, is it still possible to feel warmth towards the creatures of the night?
Romford may be rude, brash, boozy and loud but doesn’t it have some charm? That depends. It’s the only place in the world Thatcher the milk snatcher gets mobbed by adoring fans when visiting its marketplace. It’s a place where an MP can be elected with a huge landslide victory, despite his belief in gun ownership, membership of the Tory’s banned Monday club and despite having links to a fascist youth organisation in Italy.
It’s a place where you can guarantee that there will be cheap, alcohol-pop fuelled women, dancing on poles in bars on the strip, giving it up to all and sundry.
It’s a place where a lad can get stabbed, just for sitting and waiting for a lift home.




Awful headline. Disgraceful.
Today, we draw our attention to a historical archive that’s being run by the National Trust. October 17 has been designated as a day to capture the ordinary. They want everyone’s words, they want people to post as many different daily blogs as possible, as a resource for people in ten years, twenty years, a hundred years etc. Read about it here. Really. It’s actually really fucking interesting. The actual archive is here. Go post yours.

And now, for your reading pleasure is the entry I put into the historical archives…

“Woke up. Got out of bed. Didn’t drag a comb across my head because I’ve just had a haircut and it’s not long enough.

Bit of Johnson rage this morning. Ignore it though, have to help him out later, well late for work so run to the shower and step in. Fecking freezing. What a bar steward. Underground crap, rammed with people, causes lots of people to tut all the time. Lots of people sneeze. I shut off with music and read. Much better.

Went to work. I work for a breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Care. Do lots of web work, I like to call it ‘Web Monkey’ work, but really it’s just writing content, text, doing images etc. for our website. It helps people reach out to each other and educates about breast cancer. Very good organisation, I actually don’t feel guilty for being a capitalist, profit based, arsehole everyday. I feel I have a bit of social responsibility. I like it. But really I’m just as bad as everyone else, no matter how much I tell them off for things, I’m still playing the system to. There is nothing left, no alternatives, you can only join in with the rape of the natural world.

At lunchtime, I reinforce this by walking down streets and buying things. Well, normally I would, but I’m skint because I forgot to pay my rent. Spent a lot of time thinking about the novel I’m trying to write, listened to music on my MP3 player, then worried phenomenally about how dissatisfied I’ll probably end up on my death bed, when I’ve been to lazy to follow my hopes and dreams. Read about the war in Iraq. Thought how evil George W. Bush is. Thought about whether Tony Blair’s more evil. Thought about national blogging day. Thought about how I’m having to leave work for reasons I shall not mention here, but are not my fault. Went and got a pint in a bar. Liquid lunch.

Thought about how bad it is that we have so many cars. Thought of great literature and music. If anyone bothers to read this, read some Charles Bukowski. Please.

Am now writing in preparation for going home from work. You won’t know what’ll happen then as I’m writing this now. Bus and train home, smoke some cigarettes, cook whatever food I can and then go to the pub to binge drink. You’ll have to guess what’ll happen to the rest of the day.

Maybe I’ll help the Johnson.

My song for today is relevant I think. ‘How Soon Is Now?’ by the Smiths. Even if everyone in the future has never heard of them, the thoughts, the communication… I bet it still rings true:

“You shut your mouth/How can you say?/I go about things the wrong way?/I am human and I need to be loved/Just like everybody else does” “.

What do you think? x, J.


August 29, 2006

a month in marocAware that due to holidays and what-not, I haven’t posted in a while. Here’s an extract from a month in maroc to tide this over:

x, J.


In Casa, you know when you’ve seen it. Its minaret rising up over 200 metres toward the heavens, above the surrounding towers, shanty towns and shops.

The Hassan II mosque is the third largest mosque in the world. When in service, its retractable roof opens to the heavens, unveiling 25,000 worshippers to the sky. Costing more than half a billion pounds to build; it employed a 24-hour a day workforce for six years, hammering away until finally: completion. Whilst the surrounding area still takes shape, the building cuts a powerful figure. Behind it, waves crash onto the rocks on the waterfront. A true spectacle, at night its minaret lights up, indicating the way to Mecca.

Reaching its plaza, J.T., Fatboy, Olly and Laura descend the complex for the 2.30 guided tour. By charging tourists and allowing non-Muslims inside the mosque (a rarity in the Islamic world) the mosque pays for its upkeep, saving a further drain on the country’s already diminished resources. The building was, after all, paid for by ‘voluntary’ contributions from its population.

As they queue, conversation between the foursome is minimal, drained as they are by the afternoon sun and stifling heat. Now in its peak, it is an adversary not worth fighting.

After what seems like an age, they enter the building with their English guide in tow. They remove their shoes, as is the custom, and congregate in the main prayer room, resplendent in the finest materials from across the land. Only the chandeliers are imported, with Italy’s glass deemed superior than Morocco’s.

Their guide introduces herself as she covers her head. As she speaks, she plays, twirling her headscarf through her fingers a few times before placing in back on her head. She repeats her routine throughout the next hour.

First though, she’ll finds out where the group are from:

“UK.” “USA.” “Australia.” “England.” “Scotland.” “Holland.” “Nederlansch.” “Ireland.” “Ger-many.”

Next it comes to Fatboy, “England”. Next J.T., possessed he booms out in a fake German accent, “ENG-LANT. JA, ENG-LANT.”

The tour guide looks at him, bemused, whilst his three friends struggle to hide their laughter. She moves on. Maybe you shouldn’t act like this in a holy place?

As they walk away, Fatboy whispers, still laughing, into J.T.’s ear: “What was that?”

“I couldn’t help it… I heard the German bloke and I wanted to outdo him.”

A whirlwind tour of the impressive mosque, accompanying Absolution Rooms and Hamman follows, before the foursome ascend from the building’s bowels toward the sun. The staircase’s glare and heat increases with each step upward. Exhausted, they reach the summit of this tiled mountain. Standing in the plaza, in front of the building, a sea of pale brick and green tile-work and tiled roof faces them. Thrusting upwards, its minaret reaches toward the sky. Turning they survey the rest of the plaza, big enough to house an army. Behind it, Casablanca: home to over five million living souls and the countless bodies of history buried in the ground. It is a ever-growing, sprawling, growing city, with all but a few becoming poorer and more desperate by the day.

They walk across the plaza, towards the water edge. Below them, they observe five-metre high waves break with anger and fizz on the coastal walls and rocks.

“Quite choppy down there…”

“You don’t say?”

“Fuck off.”

As they adjust to the sun’s brightness and stare out to sea, the four split as the couple get separated from J.T. and Fatboy and wander off. Just as they realise, J.T. and Fatboy are distracted by the sight of 50-odd Moroccan kids running past a protective barrier to the edge. Below it, they look over a fifty-foot sheer drop onto the crashing waves. To the Brits, this seems like a dream; kids of all ages, opaque against the blinding sun throwing themselves manically one-by-one into the thrashing waves below. Not a care in the world. They jump, crash, splash in the waves and climb up and out via the rocks. They scale the rocks and wall, run right back up the stairs to the top and do it again. And again. After hundreds of jumps later, the police arrive to disperse the crowds. Or walk around whistling and shouting at the youngsters. They whistle some more and wander off. Ten minutes later, the kids are back.


a month in maroc.

August 5, 2006

Half of a 16,000-word novella, a month in maroc has been posted online, accessible under the ‘a month in maroc’ tab (top of the page). This iis a partial reconstruction of a backpacking trip I took with my friend, David Ho – a.k.a. Fatboy, Norm or Stan – around Morocco in late 2005. The route we took was:


I’m going on hols for a week to Lake Garda, the most beautiful place in the world, so will finish the update when I get back and upload the second half. Enjoy it if you read it and comment away.

a month in maroc


‘Life through text’ is a window into two years in the life of a mobile phone. Featuring some of my best mates from university, it is a glimpse into communication. This writing features NO embellishment, these are the real text messages I received, along with a line of explanation.
View ‘life through text’ by clicking the ‘writings & short stories’ tab and following the links or go direct by clicking the link below…

life through text.


Ever fancied hearing something completely unique?
Modern music has never heard anything quite like Orpheus: A Rock Opera. Masterminded by my good friend, Mr Richard Campbell, Orpheus: A Rock Opera is a collection of some of the most crazy, intense, rocking music around. Complete with lush orchestration, snarling drums, tearjerking ballads and thrashing guitar 6-minute rock-offs, the dramatic story clocks in at just over 51 minutes and 13 tracks.Richard Campbell's Orpheus: A Rock Opera
Seething with energy, the opera conveys the story of Orpheus & Eurydice – an age-old tale from Greek mythology. Orpheus, the greatest musician to have lived, is able to entrance everyone with his beautiful sounds. He is desired by all of womankind but is alone until he meets his love. But when Eurydice, now his wife, tragically dies fleeing danger, he embarks on a dangerous quest to the region of the dead to find her again. The gods stand between him and his one and only. Will they release her to him?

It all started for me last year. Richard, who is a founder member of our band/side project, red zebra, got in touch asking whether I was interested in writing some lyrics for a new idea he had. Whilst off travelling in Morocco, I scribbled down lines of material touring the country, whilst Richard plugged away creating his masterpiece in own studio. After spending two hours typing them out on an Arabic keyboard (which is not easy!)in a Marrakesh cafe, I emailed them off into cyberspace and Richard’s inbox. I had no clue of any melodies or tone or what on earth the finished songs would sound like.
Last night, I sat down and heard his compositions for the first time with my words. I was blown away. I know that Richard has amazing talent, after working with him on our red zebra creations, the random kollexion LP and random monkey corruption EP, however, this is something else. It’s very cleanly produced and features a cast with pure, clean voices, exactly what you need for telling a tale of such purity.

Orpheus: A Rock Opera, as I say, is completely unique. If we were to look towards influences then a starting point would have to be Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Richard is also a huge fan of Dream Theater and I’m sure their influence will be heard by some of you.
Richard says of Orpheus: “It’s 50 minutes worth of ‘though-i-say-so-my-self-bloody-brilliant-ness’, split into three acts.
“It is, so far, the best thing I’ve ever done. Ever. My greatest personal achievement, and I absolutely love it.”

Orpheus: A Rock Opera is available for download from the website of Hunger for the Crash, which is Richard’s main, day-to-day band. Check them out too while you’re at it.
It is highly recommended that you also download the lyric booklet, which will allow you to follow the story more closely and follow the story’s dramatic developments.
If you think you’re open-minded, have a good ear for music, can acknowledge that love is the most powerful emotion we can feel and fancy rocking your nuts off…. Then follow the links below:

Orpheus: A Rock Opera

Orpheus: A Rock Opera (lyric booklet)

Full track listing and information:

Richard Campbell’s Orpheus: A Rock Opera

  1. Prologue
  2. The Lyre
  3. The Proposal
  4. The Wedding Part One (The Ceremony)
  5. The Wedding Part Two (The Wedding Night)
  6. Tragedy Part One (The Longely Shepherd)
  7. Tragedy Part Two (Grief)
  8. Journey Into The Region Of The Dead
  9. Declaration
  10. Return From The Region Of The Dead
  11. Seven Days At The Gates
  12. The Attack
  13. Epilogue

Written & produced by Richard Campbell; Words by James Grainger/Richard Campbell;
CAST – Toom Boon as Orpheus, Heather Loxston as Eurydice, Alex Broad as the Narrator, Laura Burrows as the Thracian Maidens, Lefteris Ioannidis as Aristaeus.

Over and out,


sweaty john & morroco.

June 28, 2006

A couple of pictures have been added. These are an image from the Majorelle garden in Marrakesh, and the 180-metre waterfall at Cascades d’Ouzoud, three hours drive from Marrakesh.
My friend, Fatboy, and myself visited Morrocco in late 2005 and spent time at Ouzoud, chilling, sleeping in a berber tent and chatting to a wise man from the nearby Sahara. We stayed at a campsite near the ‘falls, called Camping La Pinard. It was immensely, immensely cool. Pictures can be seen here.
Also added is a short story, ‘Sweaty John’ written years ago at university whilst under the influence. I haven’t re-read it yet, but I have yet to upload additional stories, so I think it should go up! It’s posted under the writing & stories section- here.
My good friend, Shandy T. McDonald assisted me, I vaguely remember(!). He’s a top bloke, but he does insist that he’s Scottish, when he was born in Reading.

Also some thoughts on a Tool concert, 14.06.200, at Hammersmith Apollo.


short story added.

June 21, 2006

Not sure when (and if!) people will read this as I'm not sure when the site will go live properly. Anyway, a short story has been added on the writings/short stories section:

"it all came down to this"

Here's a brief snippet, click the link to read the story.




"I stepped into the shower and turned on the taps, allowing the water to cascade through my hair and over my body. I stood for what seemed like an age and again, felt the tears welling up in me. I collapsed to the shower floor and heaved, crying, my tears mixing with the clean water spraying down upon me. I vomited and rose up to my knees.
And then I thought, fuck it, and I felt it.
For only the second time, I felt it.
I hadn’t been able to since I found it.
And it was still there."