Filthy Broke Recordings’ third anniversary release from
Bradford sound-meister Dean Cavanagh
The lone glove on the ground is universally bonding. Who does it belong to? Why is it there? Where is the other? Questions fuel a writer’s inventiveness. The glove on this cover is by no way a writing prompt, for me it simply represents the imagination, the beautiful, the dark, the unknown, the funny, the angry, life affirming stories that are inside us all … and possibly the creature who hides beneath the grate scratching in my underground carpark because he lost his other glove! Who really knows, it’s just a guess.
This zine is new on the scene, but the mastermind behind Glove is not. I’ve been inadvertently following editor Ian Cusacks‘ work for years via the Great British zine train that I seem to have an eternal ticket on. Hand Job, Paper & Ink and the now defunct PUSH and their branch lines have been hurtling my mind to great publishers like Tangerine Press, Burning House Press, East London Press, Murder Slim Press, Pig Ear Press , Blackheath Books and short fiction magazines like Open Pen . These all include the standout writers from the zines that I cherish. My writing connections already satisfyingly endless. Glove had its first issue launched at the beginning of the year. This birds latest carry round tome for those moments when all things electric fail me. Moments when ones mind needs sustenance away from the permeating light of devices. I knew this issue would be filled with high calibre word blasts from the names on the contributors page.
We start with Michael Keenaghans Thief Taker. Michael delves into the personal side of cop and ‘chavenist bastard’ Jack, as he copes and battles the juggling of business and pleasure. Michael’s storytelling is laced with grit and heart, personal crimes weave in and out of the turmoil of being on the job 24/7, a kick it in the guts beginning. In this issue, Cusack’s goal it seems, is to fit this fat with as many authors as possible. After this story, it becomes devour time. Stock Car Racers by Gwil James Thomas takes us to a place of early memory, as “the weekend warrior” finds time to escape and find their bliss. We start to understand the myriad number of ways we entertain ourselves, our reward for time spent away from our true loves and our true selves. Gwil’s poetry collection Gwil Vs Machine has many more perfect moments and recommend you get a copy in the second print run of it via Paper & Ink Zine.
Terence Corless is a constant of the zine lit fiend circuit and rightly so. This, a taste from his upcoming novel Quarter Life. Some of the characters that Terence pulls out are right scrotes. Seems Terence has had loads of experience cause the characters and circumstances he pulls the reader into feel very real with that numb, no consequence terror of friends we have left behind. Don’t know much about Governor Scott Walker or Wisconsin politics for that matter, but author John Grochalski surely gives me plenty to ponder with his dedicated poem america the beautiful (or) moloch for too early in the morning. Such beautiful, maniacal venting has me pounding my desk with yes! The defeat in his second piece widening gyre, is heartbreaking, there is a surrender in the words, sharing the frustration inside the pus of politics.
Independence Day Party by Christopher Iacono at first feels no way celebratory. A letter is cleverly dissected by prose that reveals and twists over the lives of Joanie and Richard. Tragic and bizarrely joyous, Christopher Iacono has more work to read via cuckoobirds.org . Josephine Allen’s The Life and 21st Century Nudes smack right into me. Her truth and empathy stings, “my sexuality isn’t just seen, it’s smelt and touched and heard in the tiny moments in between” Whooshka! I am becoming a huge fan of her writing. Joe, Me and The Theory is Jason Jackson’s piece. I know Jason shares my obsession with heading out with new ways of seeing via his photography. In this piece he has me pondering the Fibonacci sequence as he asks what makes a great photograph. Interspersing his love for music, and heroes on the wall “It’s hard to tell whether he’s about to ask if you want a drink or a smack in the face” when you are talking to Strummer it would surely be even bets. These experiences shape our path, the questions only he can answer.
When I see other zine editors in other zines I get such a buzz. You feel their feet on the table, that relaxed – ‘this is for someone elses gathering kinda vibe’ instead of that awkward – ‘It’s my party and I’ll write if I want to’ feel. I’ve spied a few through these pages so far. Hi-Vis Publisher Jim Gibson shares a candid moment from his youth or that of fictional acquaintance Greg, in Greg 4 Kelly. Small town first love memories, simple, its melancholy brushes light – not quite “She walks in beauty, like the night” …thanks LB – more a solid ownership of regrets and decisions amore in a small feral town. Joe England, he of PUSH, 5 Managers and his new word venture C.O.N thrilled me with a brilliant piece on snogs and office gossip. His writing in The Letter is as tender as it is hard core, Joe can obviously do more than gather the greats onto pages. Paper & Ink Zine editor Martin Appleby lets his beard down with a couple of treasures that may or may not come from his poetry release Worse Things Happen At Sea. Dreams and In The End We All Become Our Parents Whether We Like It Or Not both lament decisions, changes in our priorties, but only one mentions a heavily tattooed dwarf. Glove editor Ian Cusack of course deserves to put on his writing jacket and give us two belters Ballybofey which is an out of time mind stomper that has me thinking Ian has been smoking his belly button fluff while Shopping is a lump of text that forms a photograph of suburban surreality, unlimited in its chilling or mundane ending, you choose. Delighted to find more ways on how to find his work.
The contributors continue. Mark Beechill is beautiful gloom and reflection with Ghosts and Pebbles. It has more of a micro fiction feel hiding inside a poetic coat. I will definitely seek some more of his poetry that he has released from his den of obscurity. Pretty sure I’ve read Ian Parris before, can’t put my finger on where but know I dig his style of story. A Tripadvisor nightmare, boys on the prowl and very much out of their comfort zone. Parris has a great honest flow in his story Holidays In The Sun. The reader becomes trapped inside the cogs and thoughts of four lads with two things on their mind, booze and broads abroad. What goes on inside these heads is fast paced smarts that tickles as much as they repel. Ford Dagenham posts a poem or pic a day on his blog Hatchbacks On Fire. I have said before it is an essential fix of mine to read everyday. The two selections here are not from his brilliant poetry release A Canvey Island Of The Mind so I feel another book may be forming if this is the magic that Ford is exposing here. “I was on a wild ragged drunk. I was in a teflon bubble” boils Fuckup POV In Hiatus. Barking In The Streets reminds me why his imagery and thought processes become addictive.
Anna Wall I read with fresh eyes and excitement as my skin goosed by so much beauty. Adultery and The Bricks That Built The Kiln, two different relationships, lust perils, the understanding of mistakes and the chemistry of comfort. A regular at Nottingham’s Speech Therapy, if I ever was in town I’d be there in a blink. Keep Calm And Carry On by Emily Richards recites the loner armed with a beautiful optimism. Her breath of humour ignites as she tries to impart her good heart on Patrick the homeless fella round the corner. This is a delight. Diving into her blog Poetry In Pink with my next cuppa.
The truth emitted from Rob Plath‘s single entry And Nothing Else Fills reveals often all is not what it seems. With many releases revealed via his website, they will surely be on my reading radar. It is quite challenging at times scanning through such a variety of styles and emotional states in one sitting, sometimes you have to stop still after one short story or one single poem. At the Border Crossing Between Hello And Goodbye by Ron Gibson Jr had this effect. Too much to process to just pass over to the next. Fortunately I have read Jared A Carnie’s work before, his taster here Geography dwells on the traumas that our land amasses. His novel Waves is one I hope to get to read one day. Love a good spy story and this short, Wolf Orff’s The Reckoning (For Elif Bateman), seems like a snippet from a larger saga and sets a great premise complete with hand knitted bog roll covers. Also check out Wolf’s amazing collection of discarded and abandoned bits and bobs via his blog just a treat.
These glimpses of the great under heard via Urban F is an easy way to record writers I should never forget. Topped and tailed with these outbursts of feelings reminds me of their style kinda like Guy Pearce in Memento using photographs to remember, I use reviews to recall my life of reading. Writer Chris Milam though will need to be ‘post-it’ noted on my computer. His story Garbage Man is so intriguing. I had heard about archeologists knowing how rich a family was by the size of the stem removed from an asparagus stalk. But the effort of discovering more, via this ‘trash voyeur’ is an amazing uncovering. He knows everything about the lives he rips into. Holy hurricane indeed, I want more stories by this guy.
Unfortunately, as with all great small print runs, Issue One has sold out *pass the tissues* which also means everyone better get in quick once issue Two is announced. Submissions for Issue 2 are coming to a close but more contributions are always welcome via email@example.com
Ordered and mesmeric. This family’s interactions can pause to an extent that almost becomes non existent. Do they exist only if all is involved in the conversation? An eerie language that connects time, memories and moments described to the second. So aware of time, of measurements, the foundation of their lives. This seems to be all they have except for Strungballs. One can hear the buzz of boredom in their ears. What do they have besides every boys dream. The most sort after accoutrement with all its status, dangly strings and models. So coveted one must remove a piece of flesh for, again and again until nothing really holds you together.
Reading this short story has one’s imagination suffering as we plod through the minimal and awkward silences that is their lives. We peer into it and can’t help being pulled into its trance and rhythm. It sounds unpleasant but that is good storytelling.
Ten year old Sydney is undergoing a rites of passage, done with a beautiful vision on the perils of materialism and human conditioning. His leap into a different spirituality that he discovers via room 333 and new friend Albert is a beautiful awakening. Where the body and his fears are non existent, triggers the spark for knowledge and realisation of his individuality. Unknown king of the inquisitive, he very quickly questions doctrine and all the whitewash and begins the great unlearning. Sydney is on the search to find himself.
All cultures are full of strange stories, telling them is in our dna. This sci-fi dystopian fable is a gem. I wanted it fatter though, a little more filler could of helped us hold onto its message more. So although, it is a quickie, I enjoyed the imagery. The proud father whose dreams of his son selling or promoting Strungballs is paramount, the melancholic suppressed mother in a backdrop of tears and fears, white, black and red, flesh & robot nurses is vivid. The slow minimalism perfectly empty. The reproduction anatomy lesson in the middle jarred a little, though amused enough. If that particular imparting of fact was extended into a psychedelic touchy feely fun parlour I would of enjoyed the trip a little more and a little longer. Overall, I got to know Sydney and wanted to see how his quest would end, so this taste of author of Mike Russell has me prying into his world. Strange days indeed. You can purchase Strungballs and check out many more stories and Mike’s empire via his website StrangeBooks
A stark cross in the brickwork. This is England and Hand Job have been exploring the best from the underground for 10 strong issues. This its final before they head into the heady territory of publishing via Hi Vis Press ‘Publishers Of the Unbound’, with many projects already slotted for the ink treatment.Blazers of the do-it-yourself ethos, this gang of word renegades are ready to share their finds and like minds, voices breaking out of an uninspiring age. They are part of the new awakening. The more I read from the many publishing houses that I have been introduced to via Hand Job and friends, the more I realise I have nothing in common with the popular. I am absolutely proud of this fact. I love the reality I have chosen, that is celebrating a part of the shaping of unheard and underheard voices of Britain, all in the comfort of my little nest in Sydney. I lived and worked in England for many years. It is very much a part of me and my loved ones. The only reason I started Urban F and reviews was for the sole purpose of staying connected with a place very dear to me. The people, the towns, the language, the humour. In doing so I have miraculously entwined myself with some of the most brilliant writers, comfortable in their talents, choosing to be original, rebellious and beautiful, with many ‘did I really just read that’ moments. I like the trust one develops with independent publishers, Hand Job wont give you a bum steer. They will sniff out all the bad, the profiteers and schemers.
This line up is the best of ten issues. So here I am again, with paper in front of me, a comfy chair. Silence, the day passing inside someone else thoughts. Yessica Klein “an excuse to jump momentarily into someone, the contours of their past”. It is this and a poet’s eye that we build ourselves by reading and exploring our responses. Thomas McColl goes the ‘sad tale, hard lesson’ road well with 50p and the his new creation myth, the very funny and weird Han The Headless. Regular Hand Jobber and Glove Lit Zine’s Ian Cusack hits the page with his matter of fact solid text. His faustian wet dream had me in shock. A thick retelling of close encounters on the motorway is amazing. He does misogynistic psychopath with so much flair you can’t help being torn. This is a hit with a brick tale. There is the compelling short stories from Amy Victoria Gray which seem to dissolve into each other. The Great Pyramid Of Tower Hamlets and Council Estate Ghost walk through concrete realities, she writes out of body of stark monotony, her story telling is heady and unique.
Terence Corless teases back and forth in a daydream with a taster 2nd Weekend from his upcoming novel Quarter Life. His second contribution Big Bruv is an eulogy of the living. A life encapsulated, his shortcomings forgiven. Miggy Angel smacks out four pillars of hard hitting sublime beauty with The Door, Alchemy, Life On Mars (Bars) & The Plastic Detox Mattress. His urban creative is endless, Burning House Press and The Arsonist Magazine just one part to keep an eye out for.
Holly Watson shines out of the page with two treats Jackie’s Marvellous Medicine and The Lie. I’m addicted to Holly’s storytelling, her funny light bending in our day to day, her take on family observations and growing up in Coventry has me reaching for the ventilon, keeping my smile on well after the her stories finish. Her Coventry Conch blog page is my favourite remedy when life starts to stink.
Shame by Ben Williams is a heart wrenching story on bullying, when children pack and encourage, roused by cruelty you understand how the right interference and a simple gesture can steer wrong intentions.
Regular at Hand Job central is Dean Lilleymen. More extracts from his novel Billy And The Devil. Check out his performances, recitals of passage on his fantastic website. These snippets will hook you to tackle the whole story and guide you to links to purchase. Another piece plucked from The Gospel According To Johnny Bender, a snapshot from the Edendale carnival is a smirk away from being uncomfortable, and is a definite on my reading list this year. There is also a piece called Diference = Exchange that is a knockout, “tricked by her own singularity in a meadow of same” Rise Up! indeed.
On to our host Hand Job president Jim Gibson. Thrilled to be seeing more of his work around the place, both these pieces An Essay On Woodcarving, Nature and the adrenalin kicks of Romance, has me paused and re reading to feel the atmosphere and mull over the sentiment again and again.
A couple of quickies from Joseph Ridgwell that at first glance would have you topping yourself if the blade was handy. It spits and hisses after a bad night on the booze, it’s vapour a mood changer. If New Year Blues has an opposite it would be serene observations and psychogeographical waltz of Wardie Bay Blues, and its lilting bliss.
Wonderful to see Gwil James Thomas on a new page. My main encounters have been poetic, this time Gwil tells the story of ‘how I’d meet Diego, the world’s greatest coach driver’ This is the same trip where beautiful prose materialised for some of the pages of Gwil Vs Machine available via Martin Appleby’s, Paper And Ink Zine offshoot. Gwil makes us all comfy, he tells it like we are all sat round a table sharing sangria, sunrise travels, reminding us all we have so many stories to tell, this one perfect and simply told.
Martin Appleby whose work has appeared in many past issues of this brilliant literary zine has the final page, Burger Man and Shit Jokes is punk word beats and past loves, funny, melancholic, straight up thoughts with no pretention. The accompanying picture has me pondering Martin’s finds.
Though the words are at the heart of Hand Job one must mention how their design just keeps getting more sophisticated no doubt accentuated by the artful eye of Sophie Pitchford. After gazing at the photography and layout of this Anthology issue, one gets a taste of what exceptional results the posse at Hi Vis Press can achieve.
This anthology is like a grown up version of itself. Ten issues, The layout, images, strong short stories and sublime poetry is planted perfectly. You can purchase this, back issues and follow new projects via Hi-vispress .com.
Spent days trapped in a world where words are alive. Four to the beat, smashing symbols. Thousands of characters born into an idea. An alchemy of the beautiful, the lost, confused and nasty finding some way to gel, to become real. In starting this book, one might think it is full of typos. My mind was glitching, electronic aspic playing tricks in the formatting. A few quizzical frowns later it hit me. Once attuned to the author’s rhythm something wonderful happens. Extraordinary notes fall beats between words missing, then discovered with stealth ear, the ampersand as proper noun. Well it was once held in high esteem, brutally taken away from the alphabet and now the ultimate character in this extraordinary piece of art.
When one smiles two pages in, you kinda know you gonna dig the beast ahead. The power of language, ideas and worlds that smash into your own and form our illusions of reality, our lives just one big novel filled with a ‘remix of superstition, fear, confusion and hearsay’ Sharing his life of information -duration spent in fresh air with a good dose of cathode input – Dean shapes and spits antecedent memory, breathing inside our disjointed fragments. This book is its own attempt to understand itself.
The narrator comes alive. A big buttinski that appears like the hand of god, her finger pointing in his ribs. The prose moves in and out of its own subconscious, or just loses its train of thought, bored, goes for a smoke, who knows. But it does regroup and old friends come back to haunt me. It triggers again and again inside an ether filled handkerchief. Biblical re treatments, fantastical celebs make guest appearances, a mishmash of identities as philosophical theorems get a workover in a post post-modern cut up that makes perfectly feasible nonsense, controlling theories of our chaotic magick awakening. ‘She’s placing wagers on Ouija boards again, speculating on the outcome of man made disasters body count and collective trauma’ these moments hold you in your tracks, his opals of unmined walls.
A psychick doll of stories taking great swipes at the self-promoting super sceptics. Could this be a book without a point? Each page gets more farfetched, crazy ideas spiral out of control. Words that you will only see in deep search for synonyms appear like cities from a power beyond. Pages and pages of extreme depravity, word wizard pushing his own limits, knocking off lists of despicable acts, degenerate visions that would make the horror gods tear up their manuscripts or push wads of money down his breeks because their minds couldn’t match the scenes pulled out. You keep reading, trusting in the author, that it will all make sense and if it doesn’t you will be seduced by the information dumps. You will definitely get a good chuckle out of it, maybe even help one dig out of their stagnant mind-well. The detective work is done by the reader, a chart where everyone takes their own route.
Fusing novel with essay, with dream, with review, with stories, when Ampersand enters the chapters all hell breaks loose. It switches from hard boiled in a blink. I adore when he goes noir on our asses, the cigarette smoke and sweet tea scenarios drift through the senses. This is more than one event it is a line of binary in parallel universes triggering mind hops and tangents for the dimensionally jarred. Always struggling to join the dots, chastised and tormented. Puns, rhyming slang, sayings, the dance of language rolls through the words, a manic, Tourette stylee. A rapid fire white patois rap of inner monologue gets quite scary in that it won’t stop. The ability of letters to transform into accents, missing letters become ghost limbs, all is understood, phonetics are a secret language. Will he achieve all he set out t say, *errrr grimace and spasm* I reckon he does, though many will run out of cuticle from scratching their heads. I found it intelligent, exciting, sexy, violent and inspiring. One can only adore the chaos, the tricks to reveal his truth.
Get your mirrors out cause he really loses it. This book is physically draining, a tongue workout while you chase the author round the white space expecting him to shed his straightjacket at any time. Totally fucking wild. Unedited word tanties, god I love this book’s total gaga gobbledegook cut and paste brilliance. Though at times, wading through the mess has you drooling on your desk. I feel you experience the ride more empathising with the author himself and the struggle it can be at times to get the story out of your head and onto the page. Some paragraphs feel they have been written after eating a bad curry. Dean Cavanagh has an unlimited supply of different ways of communicating wavelengths and if you can’t keep up then this book will leave you at the bakery, a snappy ride, where-to-next finger clicks. My only advice is to open your mind and hold onto the hand that is dragging you into this.
A friend leaned into my kindle
“it looks like word art”
“Yep it is”
“lots of swearing in it too”
“Yep there is”
I’ll leave you with an extract from a review written in 2026 with Dean Cavanagh who chats about his book, The Secret Life Of The Novel…
‘I saw my relationship with the reader as a sort of sexual one. But now it seems more like a late-night conversation with really good friends, when the bullshit stops and the masks come off‘
We are the words not uttered.
I’m into heightened experiences. Often going to great lengths to get the most out of my book selections. Thrills like reading Sautet in a coffee shop in Paris, Bourdain in Vietnam to simply sitting on a tree stump in the wondrous Southern Highlands of NSW reading Lorne Johnson’s poetry chapbook Morton in Morton National Park. A bridge too far perhaps? Never!
Gunnin’ down Sheepwash Road, one is taken aback by the scenery, especially wondrous for us stuck in the city. The Bowral-set in their vintage boy racers hold up traffic with time travelers. Stories of old timers that come to light later like Sassafras 1903 & A Gold Miner At Yalwal, 1933. The history of the place is a great study of internal explorers and identities of colonial NSW, the dispossession of traditional country of the Yuin People with many significent sites of Aboriginal mythology and culture. No stranger to the area, older generations of my family where evacuated to Exeter during the war. It’s a small town in the Wingecarribee Shire close to Morton. Loads of stories of the bush and encounters with its wildlife relayed to me by my mother. This is what may have triggered my curiosity.
On Saturday, I was the first to arrive. Good idea to start early. Nature is on the move as the day warms up and the walking tracks get busy on the weekends especially at my entry point of Fitzroy Falls. The area Morton covers is huge. It contains 200,000 hectares of unique species of flora and fauna found in the area. It is a birders paradise. It took a while for the buzz from these city ears to open to the quiet. You stand and wait to hear where the whistles land, look up and scan the trees for birds you’ve never seen. There are trees for special diets, fussy rare birds. As one walks, the occasional look down is welcomed, for unsuspecting lizards sunning on the edges of the tracks are often too blissed to notice walking boots. Twisted branches are used to dart from. Morton is a tangled mess and aftermath of storms and fire. Branches weighed heavy with wind splinter, wildflowers, insects and human interference. I can see exactly where the poems come from.
Lorne’s poetry is another way to discover Morton and its guide to secret destinations and his love of birds. I know I will find Honeyeaters, Satin Bowerbird’s that are partial to ‘Smurfs‘ and ‘Ansell wrappers’ to swoon the hearts of potential mates. His anthropomorphic and humourous scenarios say a lot about himself, ‘sipping grog from a gumnut’ and ‘diggin’ Miles‘. Musical tastes beat fresh in a few stanzas, meeting his reflection in anothers nest. Superb Lyrebirds actions hints at a city boy’s eyes. Macleay’s Swallowtails and the unknowing help of a common wombat during one of the areas fires, just a few of the beautiful observations you’ll discover.
Inside Morton, one is secluded in nature but surrounded by bustling country towns, some with dubious environmental agendas. Coal mines, polluting factories and hunters. A Reaction to a 2012 Hunting Proposal poem is met with a level head, reading the personality of culprits and possible problems that may occur. If this poem was read out at the council meeting, the NO’s would be unanimous. You won’t be bored with Yet Another Poem Featuring Gum Trees, Lorne knows these guys inside and out, he has such a beautiful take on things. He has a very colloquial heart, written in a different language but that’s because no where in the world, other than here, would you encounter a Dusky Antechinus or a Greater Glider, in places like Billy Bulloos Canyon or Dungeon Creek. You have to know what a wobbegong is to understand all the treasures here. I especially have never heard a Swamp Wallaby described more perfect.
Lorne’s poetry is a medicine, a timeless message to explore and find yourself in the beauty of the bush. My close encounter with these poems, honeyeaters, parrots, wildflowers, waterfalls and a fork in the trail certainly enriched my weekend.
You can find Morton via Pit Street Poetry. They have done a sublime job in the design and print quality of this beautiful chapbook. The pictures have that lovely real gum haze, Lorne’s photographs remain true to eyes, simple compositions and taste of Morton’s jewels. If you want to connect with Lorne you can visit his blog and also on twitter
Writer, Pessimist, Pugilist
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