41London, United Kingdom
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My self-summary
I'm not actually a Baron, which is lucky as I'm somewhere to the Left of Chernov, and I'd have to put my own head on a pike.

I'm overly dependent on books (for employment, entertainment and propping up furniture) and constantly disappointed that people aren't as militant about random things as me. I have a plethora of ill thought out and half finished enthusiasms on the go at any one time.

I spend many of my evenings hitting a small fleet of decrepit bicycles with hammers and then having a bit of a cry, but I haven't set foot on public transport in about a year so I love the damn things. I seem to spend an unseemly proportion of my income on inner-tubes (Damn you pot-hole raddled South London highways). I appear to have removed all the skin from my thumbs while cleaning chains while drunk. Fans of skinless cyclist man-thumbs apply here.

I find the concept of 'banter' massively distressing, and can only imagine it involves talking like one of the pricks in 'Lock, Stock...' or perhaps Arthur Askey, which would be preferable.

I'm bonkers about the Middle East, Bosnia, Turkey and Greece. Anything formerly Byzantine or Ottoman is the way. All-day mouldering in a Beirut dive bar is my favourite activity by far. I have an overwhelming fear of all things Iberian which is not subject to rationality, except ham and sherry.
What I’m doing with my life
Getting my best shirts covered in red ink, losing highlighters and pretending not to be a sociopath when dealing with authors. Pottering round the genteel peripheries of publishing.
I’m really good at
Finding dreadfully expensive books for 30p in Barnado's, worrying about shelving, cooking, politeness, and accidentally being so cripplingly tactless it must be imagined I was being provocative, when in fact I'll have thought I was being perfectly delightful.
The first things people usually notice about me
The prevalence of my tattoos possibly, though only in summer, and not so much these days what with the ubiquity of ink among the folk of the capital. The severity of my barnet? I vacillate between stupidly well dressed with a dash of vaguely off-putting dandyism, and not, when I'm bicycling. Quickly followed by the fact it's all a bit of a front so people don't interrupt my reading.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
I spend approximately 60% of my waking life thinking about books, it's bordering on an illness. I've worked in bookselling and publishing on and off for years, and I have a house full of hoarded tomes, so this section is a bit difficult. Anyway, if I have to choose.

Favourite Novels: The Lowlife (Alexander Baron), The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole (Frederick Rolfe), The Good Apprentice (Iris Murdoch), Young Turk (Moris Farhi), The Tin Drum (Gunter Grass), The Depftford Trilogy (Robertson Davies), All Tomorrow's Parties (William Gibson), The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea (Yukio Mishima), Women (Bukowski), Great Apes (Will Self), Cancer Ward (Solzhenitsyn), London Fields (Martin Amis), One Fat Englishman (Kingsley Amis) Hell (Henri Barbusse), Full of Life (John Fante), Inherent Vice (Pynchon)... At present I'm tackling Mahfouz's 'Cairo Trilogy' which I thought would be a slog, but is a proper delight so far.

**Update: It turns out that though Evelyn Waugh's politics, religion and personalty were among the most repellent I can conceive of, the 'Sword of Honour' Trilogy is the finest thing I've read in years. Balls.**

Non Fiction: Off the top of my head: Memoirs of William Hickey, The Devil Drives (Fawn Brodie), Pity the Nation (Robert Fisk), The Road to Oxiana (Robert Byron), The Anatomy of Melancholy (Robert Burton)... Any dodgy Arabist gumph, Burton, Lawrence, Doughty... Pevsners by the yard, Loebs by the armful... and anything else that grabs my eye in a musty cellar...

If you're not mental about books, I'll be quite frightened of you.

I need a clear out. Book thieves welcome. Though if you touch the First Ed's I'll have your hands off.


Music comes on vinyl, CDs are good for nothing but coasters: I'm an unsettling combination of overly catholic and unbendingly militant about the music I love, and the music I hate.

Music I adore: Momus, Leonard Cohen, Selda, Swans, Whitehouse, Laibach, Depeche Mode, The Sisters, Moz, PiL, The Pistols, Varese, P.E., John Cale, Buzzcocks, Iggy, Lee Fields, Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Skinny Puppy, Weddoes, Shellac, Mogwai, Neubauten, Bad Seeds, Siouxsie, Suicide, DiJ, Grey Wolves, Rollins, Jason Molina, Crass, TG, PTV............. '90s hip-hop (especially UK stuff) Northern Soul (early), Deep Funk, Punk, Hardcore, Noise, Baroque, Modern Classical and anything overly pretentious and difficult so I can be pompous about it.

Of late I've been back on a vinyl and tapes binge and in the grey and be-damned year of 2013 I have loved: Jonwayne's Stones Throw LP and beat-tapes, everything Ras-G has put out, the Dertbeats instrumental LP, Tuff Scout's 7"s have been a delight and got me right back into reggae, all the Dead Neanderthals releases were brilliant, and the Dam-Funk/Snoopzilla LP was a corker. Looking forward to 2014's record-shop and drunken bandcamp orders. it comes up as an issue here A LOT, I should out myself as that most reviled of creatures: The Beatles loather. I can't stand a note of their twee pompous commercial bollocks. Apart from Helter Skelter, which is fine.


TV's not really my bag, though I will waste my life on Iplayer like everyone else given the chance. Film wise I feel under-qualified to judge as I lived in places without decent cinemas for years and haven't developed the habit in London. I love Herzog, Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and almost anything with Christopher Walken, even if it's terrible. In a top-five listing type scenario I'd likely plump for; Man Bites Dog, The Great Dictator, Goodbye Lenin, Once Upon a Time in The West and The Elephant Man. Though that'll likely change.


Food: I'm a regular cook and baker, I love Italian, Japanese, Greek and Indian especially, and I'm a spice fiend. I love to cook at home, and I'm always trying new recipes (both my Mother and Step-dad were chefs so I started early).
Six things I could never do without
Teetering piles of LPs and 45s,
Distressed stacks of hardbacks,
Occasional visits to either side of the Mediterranean,
Corrective lenses of some fashion,
London's secretive network of dipsomaniac booksellers in cellars,
Ink of many kinds.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
...How to engineer my life to allow the possibility of owning lots of dogs.
On a typical Friday night I am
Gigs, or R4 and gin. I was a club promoter for a decade, so I'm not much for clubs these days. Gigs when possible, mainly smaller punk/grindcore things, with a bit of Corsica Studios bumph thrown in. I still love techno, but Good Lord it's on terribly late.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
The constant exposure I receive at work to the terrible grammar and appalling spelling of professional writers is slowly making me more and more tolerant of poor English. That terrifies me.

I'm deeply suspicious of sincerity in all forms, and public shoelessness should be a hanging offence. Unless you're Blixa Bargeld (if you are; hi Blixa, thanks for the clanging, put some shoes on man).
*UPDATE* Blixa wore shoes last night. Most strange.
You should message me if
If you know every Sam Smith's in London (though sadly they've started charging on an equivalent scale to every other beggar) or you know, you wish to. (Or you are Wendy James, in about 1989).
The two of us