rashbre central: March 2022

Thursday 31 March 2022

Temporary stall

I've reached Page 200 in my latest novel and am at that difficult transition from Part 2 into Part 3.

It is always a difficult point and I've also made a few notes about some earlier sections that need re-work. 

I'll mull over it whilst I take a walk or paint a ceiling. That'll be after coffee. I think this will become Novel 23.

Wednesday 30 March 2022


There is a project at the Museum about the sugar trade, based on our local maritime connection. It involves plantations and the slave trade, which did feature in the west of England economy.

I'd also recently read Wake, a graphic novel by Rebecca Hall, an American academic, who skillfully weaves her direct experience of investigation with the narrative of the triangular Atlantic slave trade, comprising sugar, tobacco and cotton to Europe, textiles, manufactured goods and rum to Africa and slaves to America.
It all came together in a short talk by David Olusoga at Budleigh Salterton, when he succinctly presented some of the issues. They are also available in a much longer and more detailed form in his book about Black and British. 

Someone in the audience asked him one of those oppositional questions, and I was surprised that he launched into an attack. It was clear that he'd heard this line of questioning before, like those strange agent provocateuers on Twiter.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Rachel Parris live at the Northcott

An excellent evening yesterday, as we resumed old habits and zipped along to the theatre to see Rachel Parris performing her stand-up show. 

The advantages of living in a smaller city were all too apparent to us, taking only ten minutes to get to the Uni where the the gig was booked, easy parking and an uncrowded bar.

Then to the show, which opened with Parris singing a song about those in the audience who had been brought along, only knew her from the Mash Report and so on. It took me a moment to adjust to the fact that she sings, and plays piano rather well. "Classically trained" as she put it, with a virtuoso run along the keys.

The show was densely packed with anecdotes and home truths, which invariably included references to Covid and the government, but stopped short of anything involving the most recent events. 

It was all well-observed and funny, and Parris worked the audience for the extra laughs. 

She described how she had become well-known, not directly from the television Mash Report, but from the repeated posting of funny clips on social media. She described the day when the retweets and watches were pinging her phone every second. 

The Northcott was packed and with a good mix of audience types. Parris described her last gig in Lichfield where she said a couple of people walked out, but there were no such scenes for this show, which still taunted the same rogues.

There was also a section where she dealt with mental heath revealing that she had suffered badly after a year of what should have been pleasant turmoil. 

From not knowing much about her, by the end of the show, I felt that she had revealed a considerable amount, and entertained in the process.

Wednesday 9 March 2022


I'm enjoying the aroma of my latest novel, "ignoble". 

Instead of being printed on classic white paper, I've gone for a wood pulp finish. 

Most people won't notice the difference, but with ignoble, it is possible to smell the wood on which the ink has been laid. 

For artefact lovers everywhere, it is out of the regular sequence of my novels, and strictly it is a compendium of 'Corrupt' and 'Sleaze', but it does really evoke that 'hug a tree' sensation. 

This is truly a book to bury one's nose in.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

ignoble : a corrupt and sleazy compendium

This time, I thought I'd try an experiment with a different format cover. 

 Already, several unsolicited remarks have reached me along the line "it's different!" 

I wanted to try something where the artifact of the novel is printed on woodpulp, has a scuffed faux-leather cover and looks as if it has been partly written in ink. 

 I'm still waiting to see what the final product will look like, and after all it is more an exercise in marketing,  particularly given the £1.99 Kindle eBook price for all 898 pages of the two novels of Corrupt and Sleaze. 

The full book weighs in heavily and I'm afraid the physical copy will reflect that in its price.

The novels are set in modern times, around Parliament, which has its own set of unsavoury pacts. 

Some of the characters from earlier novels are still operating. Anyone familiar with The Triangle, The Square, The Circle, Raven or Raven's Card won't have too much difficulty diving into these.

Maybe it is time to step away from the keyboard?

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Sleaze: Beep-beep, Beep-beep, Yeah


Well, here we go with Sleaze, the follow up book to Corrupt. In Corrupt, we saw an orchestrated plan to manipulate MPs through the lobbying system. Some were more susceptible than others to what was a clandestine scheme. This new novel speculates about politics, the car industry, global business, money laundering and the effects of big business upon Members of Parliament. It can get very messy. Click on the cover for more information.