The Knife by Frances Holland

1922 In the topmost attic room of a run-down terraced house in Salford is a small packing trunk. Inside the trunk is a canvas bag containing an identification card, an empty brandy bottle, and, wrapped in a grubby handkerchief, a small switchblade knife with a mother-of-pearl handle. I take out the knife and turn it over in my gloved hand. I slide it inside an envelope concealed in my coat pocket, and leave without a word. *********************************************** FIVE HOURS EARLIER I adore the sound of the telephone ringing in the hall. It makes me feel connected to the world, to life and activity everywhere. We have several in the newspaper offices in which I work, writing articles on local leek Read More

Sonnet by Jay Lythgoe

My gestation brings not effulgence forth. A spotty, ruddy splotch is my rough cast. This blessed plot recalls not fertile earth, But scorched terrain where purple scars will last. I have known buns in ovens smelling grand. Less scrumptious scents do waft or leak from me. I big bellied do not sail on land – Nay, waddle wretched wrecked with SPD. If babes do shift and flutter in repose A brood of teeming ferrets dwell within. And if in expecting you’d joy suppose To painful labour’s peril my thoughts spin. And yet, dear burden of my womb unmet, In clichéd love all this I shall forget.  

Your Week Ahead with Myers-Briggs by Lauren Ipse

Just like horoscopes, Myers-Briggs types are both utterly unscientific and strangely popular. If you have added yours to your dating profile, FaceBook page or Twitter profile, then noted mystic and village wisewoman Lauren Ipse peers into the mists of time and reveals what fate has in store for you. ESFP – Performer Netflix has been profiling you for three years, and correctly suggests that you might enjoy watching Son of The Mask, Horne and Corden’s sketch show and Good Luck Chuck. INFP- Healer Next week, a hurricane will coincidentally receive your first name. It will then be responsible for a number of extravagantly horrific accidents, including blowing a shipment of kittens into the spinning blades of a wind farm and Read More

Theatre Review: New Atlantis – Both Waving and Drowning by Lydia Nicholas

Sieman’s Crystal, the fractured, urgent glass polygon where Last Theatre’s New Atlantis sets its immersive stage, is an ill-fated location to explore the public’s place in humanity’s struggle to face the oncoming climate catastrophe. Above us oil-monarchy sponsored empty glass baubles run from the gargantuan ExCel centre to the O2 along the Emerites Airline. Massive 19th century cranes are dwarfed by even more massive business hotels, monuments to one withered stream of capital become sculpture to entertain the acolytes of the next. To the south the evening sky is alive with the light of a thousand Canary Wharf executive’s windows. Turning East along Victoria Dock, we stare right up the business end of London City Airport’s runway where for £10,000 Read More

The Punch Bag by S S Haque

“Thunder, thunder, lightening.” “Aish!” Nabiha landed a cross to the head, a sharp left hook and a right roundhouse to the ribs that pushed me back a few paces. I held up the Thai pads and watched her eyes for a flinch, a giveaway. The dark brown discs were still, on my chest. Her shoulders were static and her punches landed without warning. Jab, cross, jab, cross! Fast and strong, her leather fists smashed the leather pads with satisfying whacks. She moved in and out on her toes. “Woah!” Her front teep kick took me by surprise and I fell back against the ropes and bounced forward. “Come forward, yes!” As I placed the Thai pads, keeping up with her Read More

A Dry Spell by Thomas Willshire

A Dry Spell By Thomas Willshire Characters Andy : Early thirties. Pam : Early thirties. Trudy : Late twenties. Kieran : Mid twenties. Action The play begins in Pam and Andy’s bedroom but doesn’t stay there long. Each setting is described or at least implied by the characters. ACT 1 (The play opens with Pam in bed and Andy standing away from her. It is clear the action begins some time after the conversation began. Pam holds a cup of tea.) Andy : I was just thinking about our problem. Well, my problem. I don’t know really. There isn’t a way in which I can express it without hurting your feelings. Pam : It’s a bit late for that. Andy Read More

Flora by Karina Cornell

You know when you wake up, and in the first few seconds of existence you don’t know who you are, why you are, and can’t seem to grasp any significant detail about your life? That void of endless possibility, is my favourite part of the day. My mind reels in circles, trying to grab onto any tangible thought or memory as slowly I open my eyelids, peeling them up like tiny drawbridges unlocking my world. The first thing I see is my enormous tree, just outside my window. The lush green leaves move each in their own individual way, but connected as a vast force, in sync. It gifts me the hope that there could be more than just that Read More

White Cliffs by Susie Campbell

No more than this left from once warm bodies. Sloughed off under pressure, trashed; left to fossilise, silicify. Soft bloom of phytoplankton pinched out, light-fed single cells compressed to a thick white wedge. Now arising clean and bitter from clay’s mucky slump, these cliffs a bone shield against Caesar’s legion. Grudges held hard against all marauders: Spain’s nutshell fleet, a sour return on wars and bad investment in dominion. Sun sets as the old bulldog quivers. Abdel’s a giant, tall as Salisbury steeple and he breakfasts on little English people. Outlined in chalk, blanket pulled up to chin. One last rictus of stolen teeth.

Thoughts on Primer (Shane Carruth, 2004) by William Eddingtackle

“They took from their surroundings what was needed and made of it something more,” says the narrator of Shane Carruth’s fiendishly knotty debut, pairing words that mythologise the film’s accidental (time) tourists Aaron (Carruth himself) and Abe (David Sullivan) with a deadened electronic tone that flatpacks their experience into drudge. It’s a fair summary of Carruth’s extraordinary achievement – having written, directed, designed, shot, scored and starred in this $4,000 Sundance winner, he has as good a claim as any towards legitimate auteurship. As underlined by an anecdote about NASA’s failed attempts to create a pen that writes in zero gravity (the Soviets used pencils), this is the science, and the cinema, of found things, awesome ideas stumbled upon by Read More

Watching every episode of Star Trek The Next Generation for the first time Part Two by C T Thorbens

Part Two of what happens if you wait twenty years to finally watch a beloved scifi series and find yourself baffled by it. 8. The Battle: The Ferengi are back to offer a ship ‘as a gift’ and since none of the crew have ever heard the phrase ‘Trojan horse’, they accept. It contains a Picard-specific magic box, the effects of which are too silly to go into here. Despite their obvious shiftiness (including significant pauses and actually rubbing their hands together) no one, including Troi, picks up on their hidden agenda. Her empathic abilities are limited to saying quickly ‘ooh, I felt something too,’ when Picard lurches out of his chair, clutching his forehead in agony. I’m going to Read More