Beatnpress is expanding with submissions from other writers! The current Bard of Exeter, aka The Professor Of Whimsey – Robert Garnham has a fantastic new book of “serious poems” on its way. Woodview is a departure from his usual works, and is the perfect fit for Beatnpress. Robert is highly respected on the Fringe circuit and has travelled wide and far to share his writing. More news about this book coming soon.
There is also works in the pipeline by other writers, the respected novelist Pete Mckenna, and poet Carl Burkitt. On top of that a series of short stories has been considered.
Also soon to be released is the third Pulp Fiction Poetry tale by myself, The Forgotten Whisper On The Wind. With a foreword by novelist/podcaster and the man behind http://www.zani.co.uk Matteo Sedazzari.
The Lost Notes Notes by Diz is receiving great feedback and will no doubt continue to garner enthusiastic readers. The fact that Beatnpress has enabled such projects to see the light of day is something that I am proud of.
This next twelve months hopes to see things build, in both my writing career, and the success of beatnpress. There are projects on their way, and many new opportunities to come I am sure!
It’s been a very mixed year for me 2021. I have had some extremes throughout. There are almost too many things to mention – and that is no way me to trying to brag. From an individual point of view I have achieved some things and made a reality things that were once upon a time dreams and aspirations.I have made my publishing venture more than just a vehicle for my own work – it now serves as a platform for others. Beatnpress saw the publication of the incredible memoir written by the late Tanya Kennedy – UB40 a legal drug – who with her husband Andy Kennedy – we created a book that has proved to be quite popular and at one point was number 2 in the Reggae Music Book chart on Amazon – all proceeds of which have gone to St Margaret’s hospice in Taunton.Earlier in the year I published my poetry collection Pop Versus Subterranean – a collection of Pop Art poems I am extremely proud of. As yet due to the Pandemic I have only read and performed from it once to a live audience and that was on stage at The Palace Theatre in Paignton.2021 also saw the www.beatnpress.co.uk website go live – providing an outlet to sell these books and other books I have written over the years. I have also had a busy time writing articles including articles for Detail magazine, Adam Cooper at Heavy Soul, and Subbaculture – as well as working on my most recent book The Lost Notes By Diz (An unconventional novel about spiritualism, jazz and erm – Jim Morrison!) , and other forthcoming publications. There is my first non fiction book The Desired Article – a Concise Look at Style. This is a series of articles written about articles of mens clothing and some particular fabrics. Articles that reflect why they have remained popular throughout the last century and form the basis for what in the 21st century we see as the building blocks of true style. The book will be published by Zani soon and more news about it will be announced in the New Year. The brainchild behind Zani is Matteo Sedazzari – who has worked with some fantastic people and is a respected author in his own right. Recent publications by Zani are Tales from the Foxes of Foxham written by Matteo Sedazzari and the play Performers written by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh.I have also been co-writing Sartorial 64 with Nick Keen with the design and artwork by the fantastic Alf Button – if you are not familiar with Alf’s work check out Alf Button’s Revenge. This project has taken up many interesting hours of research, and is one I can not wait to see when it’s complete. All I can say is – we are all in for a treat. 2022 will see me continue to write, including my third Jake Brody Novel Reach Out Of The Darkness – which is taking longer than I had hoped since I have been so busy on other projects. There is also my third Pulp Fiction Poetry tale The Forgotten Whisper On The Wind to complete, and is I am pleased to say, nearing its climax.Other things that happened in 2021 that I did not expect but did were: taking my father to see Tom Jones perform live in Plymouth, be on Morcheeba Band‘s guest list at the Gone Wild Festival at Powderham Castle, meet Steve Brookes at the Stone Foundation gig at Exeter Phoenix and briefly chat with Neil Sheasby and Neil Jones. All of these things were highlights to at times a difficult year. Continued separation from loved ones has been hard. The Pandemic has made life far far from normal – and I feel blessed to have achieved some things in the last twelve months. However, financially I have struggled, and health wise things have been up and down both physically and mentally. As I write this, I am writing it whilst having Covid. At the moment I seem to be OK, and I sincerely hope I make a quick and full recovery. My wife is also poorly, and I so hope she gets well soon. Understandably this isn’t the end to 2021 that we hoped for. I hope 2022 will be one of vast improvement, and that I am able to continue to follow my dreams. I also hope there are many good times to be had by all in the future. I like to live in the now and will take each day as it comes. My reflection on the past year – is that determination can see you through if you believe enough. Follow that dream – work hard and eventually things will fall into place. I dreamed of being a writer, and 2021 has been the first year that I can say writing is more than a hobby – it is what I am supposed to do. So, move forward always, and learn from your mistakes. Peace and Love to you all and Happy New Year. I think 2022 may hold a few surprises… JD aka Diz x
When the new book by Diz was conceived it was after the discovery of many pieces of writing had been found in a box at the back of a cupboard. Writing that had been written a long time ago. Some of it was even over twenty years old! Half written projects, ideas that had been quickly noted down – but were not fully formed. None of it was a cohesive narrative. Taking the concept of William Burroughs cut ups – it was decided to take these many separate themes and ideas and create something new. Creating a character that linked the different mediums together, and with that character being a jazz musician – so the concept of composing came to mind. Like any piece of Jazz there are those moments that hook you in, and take you on a journey – and then the tune can take you off on different tangents with improvised moments before returning to its main theme. This is exactly what The Lost Notes hopes to achieve, and so far the initial feedback from those who have been fortunate to read pre release copies the concept has indeed created something that is both different and entertaining.
Gary Malby from Gama Clothing had the pleasure of reading The Lost Notes, and his reaction was everything Diz hoped. Gary is a clued up guy with a broad knowledge of music, style and culture. His site sells a range of t shirts, accessories and books to people who have interests in British subcultures, music and modernist ideals based around living a full life. He stated it is
‘Like a Blue Note Revisited album, the sights and sounds are familiar and classic, but with a brand new twist baby! A great tonic for the instant throwaway culture and a great read’
Gary Malby @gamaclothing
Another recipient of a pre release copy was Jason Brummell. Jason is an author in his own right, and has been called the leader in modernist fiction thanks to two seminal books and a raft of articles. His books All About My Girl and All or Nothing being cited as two of the best tales depicting the modernist experience in 60s Britain. In fact his work has spurred other people to take up the challenge of creating fiction and his encouragement of other writers is to be highly commended. His reaction to the pre release copy was also glowing.
“A highly entertaining lysergic flight of fantasy across the astral planes. An energetic rollercoaster of voodoo, jazz, Jim Morrison and the power of spirituality. As inventive and as original as a solo by the master himself, Dizzy Gillespie.”
Jason Brummell, Author.
Jason’s reaction sum up the book succinctly. For all the elements he mentions are indeed in the tale. It mixes creativity with a fantasy that evolves, and as it does it enters other realms of existence and deals with spirituality, death and magic. Its a potent mix that conjures up an original tale that is as the author hopes – refreshingly different.
Another, and the final endorsement for this forthcoming Beatnpress publication is from Detail Magazine’s Claire Mahoney. As an editor and writer herself – her reaction to the book was one that ‘Diz’ hoped would be positive and insightful. Diz needn’t have worried. She stated:
“If Jack Kerouac and Carlos Castaneda went on a road trip together, you would probably wind up with something not dissimilar to The Lost Notes. A beguiling transatlantic tale of jazz, spiritualism and Jim Morrison ” Claire Mahoney, Detail magazine
Claire Mahoney, Detail magazine
In all this experimental novella that mixes poetry, prose, screen writing, music and images together achieves what it set out to do. It is a book that is not only entertaining, but explores composition, structure and a mixed media approach to provide something that is just different enough that the experience itself is original and new. It’s a true trip with a jazz element. If it was a piece of music it could be termed Acid Jazz, but as it is a form of literature it’s a modernist beat book for the soul.
Creating something that is both original and different is no easy task these days. It can sometimes feel like everything has been done before, and to some degree that is true. The Lost Notes by Diz is a book that sees the author approach his topic in a creative form that is- well – not typical. There is an affinity for Jazz in the creation of the novel – but not in the long unpunctuated style and rhythms of the original Beat writer, Jack Kerouac. No. This book has themes running through it, ideas that are interesting tangents, and distractions, yet will return to its main theme. Much like the improvisation you would find in Jazz music. It’s novel approach creates a tale that is modern, yet has enough familiarity in it that it is still entertaining. There is in fact a point where the novel explores the ideas of clichés and whether both the book and the protagonist needs to use them. The layered approach allows the reader to enter the realms that are created. As fellow author Jason Brummell, ( All About My Girl and All Or Nothing) says – it is
“A highly entertaining lysergic flight of fantasy across the astral planes. An energetic rollercoaster of voodoo, jazz, Jim Morrison and the power of spirituality. As inventive and as original as a solo by the master himself, Dizzy Gillespie.”
Using poetry, prose, screenwriting, images and other creative elements it generates an almost fragmented trip into both reality and the fantastical that serves to echo its contents. The tale is also the result of twenty years of discarded ideas and notes that have never been published before. When the notes and discarded manuscripts were found they were edited and spliced together in yet another inspirational cut up style creating a completely new and original narrative.
As yet it is uncertain whether there will be a second tale. Diz is both a construct and a psuedonym – Should there be another though. It will certainly be another great addition to the Beatnpress library.
This book is proving to be a hit. Its first print run of 100 copies Sold out in three days, its second print run has already sold 50% of the stock that was ordered from the printers. In the meantime it has been through the global reach program and has appeared on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and various other online retailers.
Amazon, (as if we didn’t know) is considered one of the largest retailers in the world. So, imagine myself and Andy Kenned-y Tanya’s husband’s joy at seeing UB40 (A Legal Drug) at number 4 in the Reggae Music Book list! To be in the top 10 o this sort of ranking is something to be very pleased with.
Tanya sadly passed away from Cancer last year – but her autobiographical account of being a super fan of UB40, is a wonderful account and a real coming of age tale. It’s honesty is wonderful, and her account of following her favourite band both home and abroad is a fine example of dedication. Her relationships are shaped by her choices, she even got married in Jamaica because of her passion for Reggae and the band. Her relationship with band members is one of initial awe, fascination and then real friendship. So much so Robin Campbell and Martin Meredith contribute to the book – making it a really special account.
This book is also quite special because it is raising money for St Margaret’s hospice in Taunton. So far it has raised in excess of £1250.00 and is proving to be a wonderful tribute, and legacy.
This book is a departure from previous publications by Beatnpress – but still has all those ingredients that tick the boxes that make up the Beatnpress vision.
It is full of hope, aspirations, and life. Music is at its core and a personal journey evolves on the page that is as relatable, as it is fascinating. What’s more the book has been produced to raise money for a worthwhile cause. That being raising money for St Margaret’s hospice in Taunton.
The book will be retailing for £21 and has never seen before photos, and a foreword written by Robin Campbell.
Another recent publication is my book Pop Versus Subterranean – which I am pleased to say is, receiving some favourable comments. A collection of Modernist Beat Poetry that explores many topics and the relationship between Popular culture and the underground. From Art – to music, to politics and the Pandemic it is a series of thirty poems that either provoke or inspire.
The first book to be published by Beatnpress that isn’t written by my good self is – in my humble opinion is something to celebrate. It also means that there could be opportunities for other aspiring writers. This new start could mean that a New Beat Generation can be realised. So, if you are an author, a poet, or someone that wants to see their Memoirs in print. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a new collection of what I term “Modernist Beat Poetry” coming out on March 26th. It is available via Beatnpress.
It is a collection that delves into various topics and thoughts during the last twelve months. The world is very much changed, as society has had to come to grips with the Covid 19 Pandemic. So, in this book some of the events and my personal perceptions are revealed. Such as, the Pandemic, Black Lives Matter, the Government, reflections on love, youth, the Jazz Age, suburban life , the influence of Pop Art, the Cosmos – understanding how we need to recreate our own space – virtual, fantasy or reality.
It is not unlike other books I have written, as there are elements of musicality in my poetry. I am fascinated by society, culture and art, and write honestly, sharing things as I perceive them. During lockdown, we all have moments of fear, horror, hope and yearning. Thereabout comes senses of rebellion and at times even confrontation. But, there are also moments of optimism and hope. Life is complicated, and as a writer I search for understanding. There are also moments where I drift into surrealism.
However the main focus in the book is the relationship between Popular culture, and underground culture. What is underground today, could be the popular culture of tomorrow. There are nods to Pop Art, and some quite Avant-garde ideas, as well as the fickleness of Pop. More niche ways of thinking are looked at by society with suspicion yet are equally valid. Underground movents or subcultures can express amazing wisdom and foresight. Some will disappear, but others will grow in popularity.
This book is like a collection of verbal photographs, it is a series of moments and thoughts made during 2020 – 2021, that I have recorded and chosen to share.
I hope though, that the work serves to inspire, and in a small way educate. Like my literary heroes, I believe in the art of expression. I self styled myself as a modern day Beat Poet because I have similar tastes to those that went before me. I live to live, and wholeheartedly take on board experience – no matter whether it is good or bad. I live in the moment, and take each day as it is. During the Pandemic, as with many of you out there, there have been difficult days, and days that seem easier. Creativity has helped me. As I am sure many of you out there have also been productive. This is the fruit of my labour. I hope you like it and whether it stays underground or becomes popular is not up to me. I just want it to be read, and hopefully appreciated.
The collection has a wonderful foreword written by poet and artist Becky Nuttall, who is also a curator of exhibitions and helps run Stanza Extravaganza, a (before Covid) regular spoken word event in Torbay. She has her own collection called Nick’s Gift – which I highly recommend. It is available from Amazon.
Pop Versus Subterranean will officially be available from Lulu.com as of 26th of March. It is also available via myself and in a few weeks time from various other online retailers.
The book retails at £10.99 +pp
Please send me a message if you would like a copy.
I have come to realise that as a writer, there is a style I gravitate towards. I don’t pretend to be highbrow or sophisticated like somebody who went to a particular university, or had a privileged education. I do not have airs and graces. I write about what I find interesting, and entertaining. I weave tales that are not over complicated, but have enough spice (I hope) to turn a page. So, what is it that drives my interests? What is it that makes me return to a genre that is full of those things that so called “polite” society call taboo?
It’s that boyish sense of adventure. I am quite clearly a little immature. I want to be titilated, and experience danger, lust and crime. I want to be the sheriff or the man in the black hat as you would see in a classic Western. I want to be a Gangster, or a super sleuth. I want to sleep with the Femme Fatale, although it could be the death of me – and so it goes on.
Pulp Fiction, is where its at. You escape into the underbelly of life and experience a grittiness that is equally alluring as it is distasteful. The tales can appeal to our most basic instincts. But they also serve as a quick escape from the real world. Where the mundane existence of life seems to crowd in. I think that a great pulp tale from the 20th century provides a portal to life that has a glamour that isn’t as obvious in life today. Interaction between characters is vital, and at a time when distancing yourself from others can be seen as important, so these interactions jump off a page.
So, for me writing within this genre seems a natural fit. I don’t just stick to the formula though. I experiment and provide stories that have enough familiarity that you want to read, but are also different in structure. My Pulp Fiction Poetry for example has a lyricism that helps convey mood, rhythm and a musicality.
Whereas my prose embraces many different genres so as to try and create something original. That is the crux though. How do you provide something that hasn’t been done before? Well you don’t. You go with your instincts. You write about things you are interested in, and hope others are as well. You pick the elements you like, you absorb ideas from around you – on the Internet, in books, on film or even on the radio. Then you regurgitate it in a new way. Taking things forward in the manner that storytellers do.
It’s hard work being a 20th century Pulp Fiction writer in the 21st century. But it continues as an accessible entertainment, and tradition that is there to be enjoyed.
I have written two novels and two Pulp Fiction Poetry collections. This year I hope to complete a third novel and a third Pulp Fiction Poetry collection. I am pretty sure these won’t be my last. It seems I am on a road of my own choosing, where story telling is my thing. So if you want to dig my work check it out at the various online platforms it is available from:
Barnes & Noble
Watch this space for my forthcoming projects – including news about my first non fiction book.
When the Covid 19 Pandemic hit the UK with a lockdown in March 2020. I took the opportunity to self publish the sequel to my debut Novella Seven Day Fool. The novel titled Take It Or Leave It. The novel is a tale set a few months after the end of the first book, and sees the main character develop, and become the reluctant hero I wanted him to be.
I felt that due to lockdown, it was prudent to publish this second novel as an ebook. However, after publication it has not really sold. Naturally I questioned “why?” Initially it was formatting errors and Covid that delayed distribution. In fact despite re-formatting I am still trying to be patient as I wait for this novel to go through the whole global reach process, again, and be more widely available. So, yes. Take It Or Leave It is being more Left than Taken at this moment in time. But, I hope it will not remain so. I am after all quite proud of my imaginative story that puts one man into a situation that is quite profound and different from his life so far. It sees him discover what he is capable of, and his determination to get through to a conclusion that is for him, is satisfactory and just.
The tale pays homage to sixties spy novels, crime capers and the sort of Pulp Fiction I enjoy. With it being set in the sixties I am able to include elements of style and culture that are of that time. For me, the novel is quite cinematic, and it’s international flavour, and Cold War paranoia makes for the sort of thriller that although feels familiar, is just different enough that it achieves to bring to life that era without it feeling corny or a pastiche. The story is not Austin Powers meets James Bond and The Avengers. Its more The Ipcress File meets The Quiller Memorandum with a dash of The Saint in my mind. So, why am I sharing this?
Quite simply I want people to read my novel. Perhaps it’s my own insecurity as we live in these insecure times that has made me write this. I believe in the work I have spent many hours creating. But, without an agent or a traditional publisher – self promotion is the only option at this time.
As with all writers, one thing that inspires us is feedback, whether it be constructive criticism or praise. I want people to enjoy my novel. I want people to say yes – that was a great little tale. But equally, I want to hear where I can improve and develop.
So, please check it out. Maybe read it, and let me know if you were right to take it, or perhaps you feel you should have left it.
Those of you who have read my previous posts, know that I am inspired by the Beat Generation. I have mentioned the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg et al in more than one article over the years. I don’t know why I always come back to the Beats. But, I often do. I suppose it’s that identification, with lonesome travellers, mavericks and people who want to dig everything. Get their kicks and be totally themselves.
My first introduction to The Beats, like many was the novel On The Road,
It opened my eyes to many things. I was a teenager, I was discovering my own taste in things. Because of this book I really began to appreciate Jazz, I also understood the need for kicks. I had yearnings, and wanted to live a life that was exciting, where I could appreciate everything that I experienced. Now, the point of this blog post today, is that since last Monday, whilst staying at home thanks to the Covid 19 Pandemic, I have been sorting many things out at home. Getting rid of junk, and whatnot. I found in in a shoebox a stack of papers. Some of which were half finished stories, others were original poems – all written twenty or more years ago.
One was the start of a short story or novella. I haven’t yet decided what it will be just yet. But, upon reading what I had, I found that I had a desire to rewrite it. The project I have subsequently called: Stateside Dreaming
It is the tale of a young man living in the North of England, who wants to experience America. He has a mundane, low paid job, he is an avid reader and more importantly a dreamer. He is also obsessed with the novel On The Road. (Sounds familiar?) Anyway, the tale opens with him quitting his job, and spontaneously heading off on his journey of discovery. The story then descends into a number of dreamlike episodes, some are disjointed like dreams can be, some are nightmarish, others are clear and focused reinforcing his ideas and decisions.
Whether the project will have legs. I don’t know. But, for the moment I am inspired to work on it, whilst also working on other things.
The main thing when you are staying at home, is finding other ways to travel, and, this is mine. Stay safe, and look out for a new article next Monday.