Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Whenever I hear “Can I get a skinny latte?” I summon all my powers of restraint to prevent myself pummeling the head of said speaker against the counter time and time and time again. Fortunately it doesn’t happen often as I’d sooner drink my piss from an old tin cup than enter a coffee shop but it niggles away at the back of my brain with frightening regularity. So, not for the first time, I let out a little cheer and raised a fist in solidarity when Joseph Ridgwell writes “I hated coffee drinkers nearly as much as I was beginning to hate Juliette’s constant criticisms, walking around with their stupid paper cups like toddlers with comfort blankets”. Ahem, brother.

Ridgwell’s typically bolshy “Jim Morrison’s Grave” is one of ten short pieces and three interviews originally published on The Beat website and now collected in the latest book from Blackheath Press. Many of the writers I’ve championed in the past and they again come up with the goods. I like Melissa Mann’s detail in “Beetroot”, the muggy air and detachment in Jenni Fagan’s “The Acid Burn No Face Man” and the flouncing gracefulness in Andrew Gallix’s “Sweet Fanny Adams”. They all have strong individual voices expressed in completely different (and entertaining) ways.

Others skillfully scribing a few pages: Lee Rourke, Susan Tomaselli, Ben Myers, Steve Finbow, Chris Killen, Sean McGahey, Darran Anderson, and U.V. Ray.

The Beat Anthology 2006-2009 Edited by Sean McGahey is published by Blackheath Books, priced £7.50 (or limited edition with spoken word CD £10).

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