the m john harrison blog

Month: March, 2013


S’s miniature dachsund chases a fox across the common. The fox, which has a dead rat in its mouth, increases its pace slightly above a walk and the dachsund on its two-inch legs immediately begins to fall behind, looking crestfallen. “This crestfallenness,” I suggest, “seems to indicate a more socially complicated transaction than first appears. It must always have been perfectly clear to the dachsund, for instance, that it wasn’t going to get any of the rat.” “The tragedy of miniature dachsunds,” S agrees, “is that they are only ever looking for one thing: recognition as dogs.”


welcome to the middle classes

You sit over a one-bar electric fire in a rented room. As soon as you feel recovered from the commute you’ll boil some potatoes on the gas ring, then, three minutes before they’re done, drop an egg into the same water. You can hear the family downstairs laughing at something, some dressed-up cats or something, on the internet. After people have cooked, they can often get use out of their gadgets–join a world building game, preorder the gadget they want next–although the load soon precipitates a brownout. During the day you work in a 7th floor office in the Strand. Publicity for a fuel corporate. It’s nice. All very heads-down but worth it to have the security. Outside it’s minus ten & you have no idea what’s happening on the old housing estates by the river. “Welcome to London,” someone in the office said today. That got a laugh. “Welcome to the managerial classes.” All he really meant was that like everyone else he would do anything to stay this side of the line.

what it looks like now

You got involved with an East Midlands junkie who claimed to have a telepathic link to another world & to be able to control a 3d printer with their mind alone, & they turned out to be seventeen not twenty seven as they said, & after their staffie/mastiff cross, which they were looking after for a friend in rehab, bit two fingers off your ex’s left hand when he came back from an oil-exploration contract in one of the ‘stans, you forget which one, they fitted all the lights in the house with blue bulbs then tried to commit suicide in your bath in an excess of adolescent self-disgust. It was a cry for help. They’ve gone now–last you heard they were with a grindcore musician in Peckham–and you’re glad, but you miss their smell, which was instantly exciting; & their dysfunctionality, which you remember as “character”. The sex was tremendous, if a little full on & tiring.

note made at night

“The repeated killing of R is leading up to the narrator’s first meeting with him inside the space, clarifying references to their previous penetrations of it. We see some of that as a flashback. (Maybe up to R’s death from the fungal infection?) Anyway, everything is tracking towards a partial reveal which sets up the cyclic nature of the story.” And then: “Don’t forget Isis myth, & The Treasure of the Sierra Madre!”

I am so close to understanding why I wrote that.


eat lug butter

Lug butter is retrieved by a new process, from the ears of drowning men. Lug butter: lardy, creamy & relaxed about being rich. Lug butter’s everywhere this season. It seeps out while you sleep. Interesting facts about lug butter: it was originally used to make crosses on top of Hot Cross Buns! What’s the better bit of butter that leaves everything looking new? Many answer, “Lug butter’s all we need to know.” Remember our slogan: “Guv loves lug butter.” We all eat lug butter. Eat lug butter now.

self promotion

In this new story I address the usual themes. People sit on sofas, staring ahead; while at the edges of the room things shift inconclusively from one state to another. They may be real, they may be not. Meanwhile, in another part of the small Midlands village, Ms Suihne the plump medium who runs the hat shop believes she is changing into a bird &, to the accompaniment of rough music, jumps off the roof. Another party is engaged in a relationship with three empty sacks arranged on a pole in his living room. At one point, things will turn sexual. All this might or might not be happening, or somebody might be telling it as a story to someone else, who is not listening. To sum up, the impossibility of knowing other people; or, really, anything. If you like the sound of it, click through to the usual outlets. Or you can catch me reading it from the hill on Barnes Common, most Wednesdays. There’s a review up at Wild Eyed Visionaries & obviously I’ll be tweeting.

getting the science right

When you speculate about the future your first duty is to get the science right, so for yesterday’s post I worked hard on that.

the future

Work is a fairly problematic thing for me at the moment. If it was a mirror I wouldn’t know who was looking at who. Or, exactly, why. Burrowing about in your own head: is it even a job?

The future will look like this, but only if you are really close to it.

rockets of the western suburbs

Listen, and it’s steady straight-down rain. No wind. A car halts at the corner, pulls away in acknowledgement of its own muffled existence. Tyre noise louder than engine noise. Against this, the tendency of things to be. The rims and ribs of terracotta pots hard and slick with light. Roofs like mirrors. The bricks suck up water. Everything supported by the perfect angle of a drainpipe. This afternoon Barnes is quiet. This afternoon every garden plant is one uncanny green or another. The visitors ring the bell, wait in the doorway, too polite to come in immediately but chatter a lot when they do. They are nice. Their children always have some new practical thing, less a toy than the beginnings of a fruitful lifetime interest. Without warning (an act in itself 100% pure communication) the camera cuts away from this: very fast, upwards, turning in a series of vertical 180 degree snap rolls, so that first you see the world kaleidoscoping rapidly from a thousand feet up, then from low orbit. By the time everything’s returned to the right scale again, the rain has stopped and the sun is coming out.