Things like this always seem a bit egotistical, but I thought it might avoid awkward questions later. Links to the various websites mentioned, and other to other pies in which I have a finger, can be found under the Same Finger, Different Pie heading on the right.

Cover of Smoke 16So, I’m most recently co-founder/editor of Smoke: a London Peculiar, a slightly irregular (in publication schedule, not shape – that would be way too expensive) periodical featuring words and images inspired by London – fact, fiction and many things we were never entirely sure about, but absolutely no bloody awful amateur poetry. There’s lots more info on the Smoke website, including excerpts and details of how to order back issues, should you find your appetite whetted and your fancy not just tickled but giggling like a tipsy vicar’s wife who’s just been asked if she thinks the bishopric’s too big.

Under the Smoke banner (a rather tatty old thing after a while, but we always made sure we saluted it every morning before beginning work), we also produced Soho!, a literary board game inspired by the two things for which that small, historic patch of London is famous around the globe: its pubs, and its one-way system. Again, there are lots more details on the Smoke website, including photos of the various bits and bobs you get in the box, such as a 20-sided dice and a set of forty-eight playing cards featuring lovely black and white photos of forty-six highly convivial hostelries and these two sadly familiar jokers…

Sarah Records logoBefore Smoke… I used to run/co-run a couple of record labels, the more famous of which (I use the word relatively, unless you’re Japanese, in which case please feel free to call round and cover my naked feet with cherry blossom – it’s been too long) was called Sarah Records, and the less famous of which was called Shinkansen Recordings. I think it would be fair to say that Sarah changed the face of modern independent music, but sadly the world isn’t fair. There is a website, but it’s in serious need of an overhaul, so don’t get too excited – that’s a long-term project. As is the modern way, though, a lot of the stuff is available to listen to via the usual digital gateways*, Spotify, iTunes etc.

Before Sarah… I used to edit a music fanzine called Are You Scared To Get Happy?, issues of which were laid out using a Silver Reed typewriter and Letraset, then hand-collated and stapled and sold at gigs, often with a free flexidisc… but now I’m just starting to feel old and possibly confusing/scaring any young people reading, so I’ll shut up.

And while doing that, I spent a year working on the 11th floor of an NCP multi-storey in Bristol; a non-unionised workforce, scant regard for health and safety – you could say that operating that mechanical arm eight hours a day, sometimes in the middle of the night, made me what I am.

A man with only one finger.


* Digital Gateways – not to be confused with Somerfield on-line shopping.