Hello friend. Hope you had a lovely weekend and were able to take advantage of this heatwave lashing Great Britain. I went swimming in the sea. It was initially perishing then lovely. I rather enjoy that moment where you take the plunge, and it’s so cold you think: oh God, what have I done? Then you start swimming for all you’re worth, and it becomes bareable, and life goes on. There’s probably a lesson in that, but I can’t be arsed to parse it.

This week, I have gigs at Latitude Festival.

On Friday, I’m on in Latitude’s Poetry Arena at 11:30pm.

On Saturday, I’m on at 4:30pm (I think – something like that).

You should come to watch me! These will likely be fun performances. I’ll have copies of my poetry collection, Pub Stuntman, on sale, as well as copies of my album, Jesus Buys Me Cigarettes. Come and say hello.

I still have a summerload of gigs coming up, but in-between them the time has come where I knuckle down and return to the novel and its possible sequels. It is going pretty well, thank you. Things are happening behind the scenes. I am pleased with it, but I think it can be better, so I am going to make it better. Work, work, work, but my favourite sort.

This Week, I Have Been Mostly Reading

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. No two ways about it, this is a depressing, upsetting book. It’s basically an account of The American West from 1860-1890, and how white settlers drove the American Indians from their lands, hunting them down, placing them on brutal forced marches, and imprisoning them in reservations with inadequate food and poor soil, so they died of disease and starvation.

It’s a very famous book, and reading it, it’s easy to see why. I don’t have any great insight to add to what has already been written on the subject. I’m just aware that this is a sad, important narrative. It’s terrifying to remember the attitudes that some people had towards the original inhabitants of the land. The sense of entitlement, the pernicious dogma of Manifest Destiny, and the callous disregard for human life. If you put some of these characters into fiction, they would seem like ludicrous exaggerations. In any case, an important, unpatronising book. Read it.