Category: Fiction

The car didn’t slow down as it mounted the pavement outside the dairy, wobbling as if stepping onto the kerb without knees. It didn’t slow down as it started to envelope the lamppost, bending it slowly over as it did so. Then it did, it stopped. It was lucky for the driver that he hadn’t been going that quickly in the first place. His seatbelt held him, but at the price of a cracked collarbone and an arc of a bruise around his right eye. It was a crisp night, around midnight, and the sparkle of the tarmac on the Aldridge Road had begun. The bus driver (a 113, returning to depot) that saw the impact assumed that the car had hit a patch of ice. He told the car driver as much when he sat him down on the empty bus, watching him shake and offering …

A story of ice Read More »

Monaco of the Midlands is a novel by Alex Dennistoun, which I really enjoyed reading. It’s set in modern Birmingham but is most interested in a time about 30 years ago — much like this site. I’d be trying to pay it a massive compliment if I said it reminded me of novelisations of TV programmes from the ’70s like The Sweeney, it’s honest, straight, and gritty, it’ll go down well.  Someone should be looking to make that slightly retro Netflix series out of this. Anyway, here’s an exclusive extract: go see what you think. Recently released from prison, Tony Walker spends his days pretending to be Polish to get cash-in-hand work at the local car wash. All the while he’s carrying ten grand’s worth of £20 notes in an old jiffy bag. The money belongs to him, but he can’t spend it. He needs it to …

The Monaco of the Midlands – an exclusive extract of the Superprix novel Read More »

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I’ve never heard anyone scream when they’re really hurt. I don’t know why that is: maybe shock, maybe adrenaline, maybe you’re just that bit busy thinking about the consequences. I didn’t scream, but I groaned with the sheer inevitability. The explosion seemed centred just below my right knee. The pain both quick and flowing, flowing up and around, and then I hit the ground and one, two, three lesser pains of impact made me lose track of the first. I knew it was coming. I wasn’t fit, I wasn’t concentrating. I hadn’t wanted to play. I’ve not wanted to play much in the last year or so. As much as I love football, I love it as a game you can win. You can’t win as a reserve, all you can win is a chance in the firsts and that wasn’t happening for me. There’s really no …

Central League Read More »

I don’t have a problem. Or rather, I don’t have the problem you think I have. I’m not drunk. I’m unstuck in time. I slipped into the Rose Villa for a swift half. The gathering night battled with the street lamps and swooshing, the tyres scratched and the dull hum of a bus cream and blued it’s way through a puddle. There was light behind the door, through the mottled glass. ELO playing on the jukebox. But first I needed a slash. “Ahh, that’s better,” I said to myself. The bar looked the same, but different somehow. I didn’t recognise anyone, but I guessed I must be early. Or late. Nearly Christmas and everyone’s routines get shot to pieces. But I couldn’t get my bearings. I searched the taps for anything I knew. No Brew, no M&B, no Ansells, no Black Label. So I ordered pop, reasoning …

Pub Timelord Read More »

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It’s 1999, Birmingham, the end of the millennium and Jim Vale, aka Jimmy Tyrant, singer of one hit wonders The Tyrants, has lost everything he once loved. Like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and many rockers before him, Jim tries to end it all by committing suicide at the age of twenty seven. Trouble is… he survives.  To clear his debts the band’s manager suggests Jim fake his own death – just for a while – so they can raise The Tyrants’ profile and sell some records. But as the press and the fans wonder more and more about the disappearance of the mysterious  Jimmy Tyrant, Jim gets drawn deeper into Birmingham’s gangland and  further  away from his ex-girlfriend, his troubled family and music. Karaoke-singing gangsters, reclusive teenage internet millionaires, sex, drugs and rock and roll all collide as Jim tries to understand the person he has become, to …

Premillennial Tension: revisiting Birmingham in 1999 Read More »

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In this new story by Alex Wyatt, a man and woman get more than they bargained for on a night out in the second city. Dark.   Darkshining outside and everywhere.   Dark through windows, alleyways and doors. Arm-in-arm, couples stroll steambreathed down Bennett’s Hill’s rainsmoothed cobbles. On Saturday, the day when the word is given. Some head home into light, into electric arms. Away from the grip of the dark.   Some.   Some hold firm in the clench.   The Lost and Found.  

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