Contraindications – now on Kindle


I’m pleased to say that my chapbook of six poems, Contraindications, is now available for Amazon Kindle. It will still be available here as a PDF, so readers have a choice of formats to suit their devices, and the option to print. We will also be publishing on other platforms, like Kobo, shortly.

Thanks go to Gabriel May for the hours he spent grappling with code, formatting and converting the files by hand. It was a laborious process; one I couldn’t have managed without his patience and technical expertise. If you need your own ebook converted, Gabriel is considering offering his services to more writers – so get in touch.

The Victory of The Victim

Thank you to everyone who has already downloaded Contraindications.

We arrived back in London two days ago to a dismal reception of rain and royalty, but I could talk for weeks about Venice. The aftershocks of the earthquake 80 miles away (which I mistook for one of my dizzy spells until the doors began to rattle); Watching dumbstruck from our darkened kitchen as a tremendous electrical storm battered Lido with white strobe light; The sad sight of St Mark’s Square flooding at night, as if the Doge had left his bath running…

But of all the wonderful things the city had to offer, my favourite was this 3 Euro postcard.

I found it – along with some startlingly expensive tin ex votos – on a market stall run by two little old ladies who managed not to laugh at my bad Italian.

After scampering away with my prize, I wondered if the skeleton was King Cholera, hence the K, but after some Googling, it turns out that this postcard is called The Victory of The Victim. It’s the final card in a series of six commemorating the shooting of nurse Edith Cavell in 1915. Here they all are, in their shameless gothic glory. Higher resolutions scans of four can be found here.

I’ll admit I don’t know much about Edith Cavell beyond the fact that she was from Norfolk and that, by killing her, the Germans created an Allied martyr whose image went global in days. And it’s little wonder. Artist Tito Corbella, usually so frothy and Art Nouveau, turned Cavell into a Madonna-like wraith wafting around on a background of bloody hellfire, while Kultur (the symbol of German supremacy, replete with cloak and harpsichord) might as well be played by Peter Cushing. For someone so accustomed to painting pretty pastel frocks, Corbella had form when it came to propaganda.

Interestingly, the English batch of Corbella’s postcards were printed in London’s Red Lion Square, where Rossetti lived on two occasions. Small art world.

The idea of an international martyr from Norfolk is a touch surreal. It’s Norfolk. Norfolk. That flat black wasteland of impassioned fiery doom, and… Bernard Matthews. And the image is so Italian. That stare. Those fetishised silent film lips. I love it. What a find.

Contraindications: a chapbook of six poems

Today, on my 26th birthday, I’m presenting my chapbook of poems, Contraindications.

I’ve been putting together Contraindications for a few years. Various poems have been floating around in magazines, and I think it’s  time to unite them neatly.

Unsurprisingly, they stem from passing through the medical system. Marfans, PTSD, eating disorders; they all have to go somewhere. These poems are what I was working on while I should have been filling out those forms asking “on a scale of one to ten, how much difficulty do you have concentrating?”.

Sewn together into a little white book, perhaps it isn’t neat at all. But neither am I.

It’s free to download and only available here, for the time being. Ebook publishers have a way of mangling the format, and I like to have control.