Sunday 19 July

To those confused by my recital at the desperately damp Manchester Book Fair today (a majority of the 20-30 good souls huddled in Tent A as I read from Tent B – a vision behind a waterfall – all of whom appeared to sense that something fishy was up, and that the something fishy was quite possibly swimming upstream, occasionally floundering, all the while inexplicably wearing a top hat) I offer this self-indulgent, self-published interview by way of introduction and enlightenment.

When were you happiest? Cotton and coal shares hit new highs, I learn from my favourite carrier, while in bed with my favourite gal.
What is your greatest fear? Missing out on future gossip due to irritating mortality.
What is your earliest memory? Desperately pulling the cord in the steam pram while bearing down on Great Aunt V.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Duplicity.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Being scrupulously honest, at the expense of good punch-lines.
Your most embarrassing moment? Manchester Book Fair, Chorlton Poetry Festival etc etc.
What is your most treasured possession? Daguerreotypes of ancestors, diaries.
What do you dislike about your appearance? My blue-white ‘plates of meat’ appear to have given up the ghost several years ago.
Who would play you in a Puppet Show of your life? Oscar Wilde’s butch sister.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Non-British wine.
What is your most unappealing habit? French cigarettes (consumed anally).
Where would you like to live? By the sea (Miss Jordan insists on running me consecutive baths after my morning dip in the Rochdale Canal).
What does love feel like? Coming up for air/repeal of pro-smog laws (1862).
What was the best kiss of your life? Swarthy Erick side-stubble on countless birthdays.
Worst job? Pot washing is hard work, but there are perks (if you don’t mind a soapy aftertaste to your half-eaten pie).
If you could edit your past, what would you change? A history degree somewhere posh and dusty may have aided projects past and present.
How do you relax? Like every man alive and a surprisingly large amount of women.
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life? Better class of pigeon.
Greatest achievement? Writing a novel (the unpublished Blaggard, 1860)
What keeps you awake at night? Fear of insomnia.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Seize the day, wrestle it to the ground, and give it a good, firm beating.
Where would you like to be right now? Pretending to fish in turquoise waters while contemplating world domination/belly button fluff (mine the latter to achieve the former?)
Tell us a secret: I am ¾ Ponce but rarely visit my homeland.

Sterling (not literally) support today comes from long-time Hatbox collaborators Spike and Dylan and it is to the latter’s chuckling form that I direct much of my reading (a pseudo footerball commentary that simultaneously describes a date with Daisy). Meanwhile Licky feeds the crowd cans of imported larger and homegrown smiles. In genuine news from the world of literature, Mimi Pixel celebrated the launch of her (published) book on the 2nd July while I was in Spain. I raise a can to her, then hurl it towards a funky young poet half my age and trouser size.

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