A.J. Walker


Snowball's Chance

Ordered a Snowball ICE USB mic from Amazon today. It's currently reduced by £12.50 off at £42.50, which I think is probably a mighty fine bargain. One of the organisers of the Sanctuary Open Mic (Bobo from the Vapery, Waterloo) had put on Instagram that he'd ordered it and I couldn't not jump on that bandwagon. I think that the reduction is because they are about to release a new mic. But if this one does the job, well then it's worth dipping in.


Should get it in a few days and by the weekend I hope to be giving it a try out to see what the difference is from the MacBookPro's internal mic. I assume it will be significantly better and prove well worth the money. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon from over 335 reviews, which is pretty good for tech. The specification and the reviews certainly look positive.

Will do some recording of both guitar/singing and narrative and see what it comes out like. Will report back on here. So if any of you out there are considering podcasting or recording (or just Skyping) then I'll let you know what it's like.

A Seedling Challenge

It's only Tuesday and there may be more to come, but even if not I'm happy with the interest in the fledgling 'Seedling Challenge'. In the first week we had six entries and this week so far there have been eight. From a standing start I'm satisfied with that. I think Angry Hourglass tended to get around 8-15 entries each week (give or take) and was always full of fab writing. If it gets anywhere as regular in terms of numbers and quality of AH then bloody hell I'd take that as a success!

Of course one of the good things about posting the page each weekend is that even if I'm late everyone knows what the prompts are going to be - they are their own VSS365 from the previous week after all. So writers can get on with it in advance of me getting the page up. Happy days all around.

I've also found that although I'm moderating the site I can make people 'Trusted Users' which means they can post without having to wait for me to moderate. So it may be that for the first few times you have to wait for me to moderate your story (or comments on other people's stories) for it to show on the site. But if after I trust you (?!) you may well find your comments going up straight away.

Anyways, onwards and upwards. Keep on writing you VSSers! If you want to get in on Week #2 then just
click here to put up your story or read the existing ones.

I Know Things copy
Thanks for getting involved, cheers!

Revisting Angry Hourglass

It was Open Mic No.6 at the Sanctuary for me last night. There were a couple of guitar issues during the evening (starting with a complete lack of one for a while) but I managed to perform three songs. I didn't use the mic either - so I'm not sure what the event night should have been called.

Played three songs I've done before:

  • 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' - Green on Red
  • 'Somewhere Down the Road' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'Hotel California' - Eagles

Like last time there were two new (and very experienced) guitarists who came along and did their stuff; word seems to be spreading. Enjoyed it as ever.


Matt Holland started the night of reading some of his stories and when the second guitar issue occurred I went up to read a couple of my flash stories. Not having my Kindle with me I had to find something online so I headed to Angry Hourglass to look for some of my stories. It took me a while but I found a few and chose two of my 'winning' stories (although on the drop down for winners there is no A.J. Walker for some reason).

Not sure how many times I won on the challenge (think maybe it was four or five times), but I still remember the first time I did win - I'd had it as a writing goal that particular year to win AH at least once - I was so made up when it finally happened.

The two stories I read yesterday were the apt
'Taking Names' (April 2015) and the less apt but fun 'Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)' (December 2016).

I was intending to upload some old flash on this site under the new 'Writings' section so this seems an appropriate time to put some up. They are both 360 word stories which show what you could do with respect to flash if you are contemplating getting involved with the Seedling Challenge this - or any other - week.

SC365: First Ups

After the bolt from the blue at the weekend I put out the idea of writing a flash story based on one of the #VSS365 stories from the previous week. A simple idea. Don't know why I haven't thought of it before.

It got some positive vibes on that there Twitter which made me feel all warm and maybe a bit gooey too. And so far there are four stories up there on the #SC365 Challenge No. 1 page. Huzzah! I'll take that. There may be some teething problems with people submitting their stories or comments. And I hope to get to the bottom of that one way or another. I have tried to make it so that you can comment without creating a Disqus account. I'm not yet sure if that is working. One of the advantages of creating an account is that you would get an email (if you want to) informing you when people make any comments on your story etc. Though I understand that you may not want to sign up for yet another company - this internet thing is massive isn't it?


Many thanks for the first three writers up there, namely and/or twitter handles:

@aurumsella : 'Evil'
@lexikonical : 'Miss Nicoletta and the Mysterious Mech-Dinosaur'
@michellenadasi Michelle Nadasi : 'Untitled'
@zevonesque A.J. Walker (that be me!) : 'What's A Beach?'

Anyway, like I said, as there are no winners with the weekly challenge in its current form there is no need for a time limit so feel free to add a story as and when using last week's prompts. Or just drop in and have a read of what these guys have done with it - and clap them on their collective backs.

Keep Writing and Enjoying It!



VSS365: Little Seedlings

The words from Sal for this week's #VSS365 have been:

  • teach
  • drive
  • grass
  • push
  • spread
  • lean
  • beach

I managed to remember each day and write one VSS for each of them:


‘Teach me how to love, gorgeous.’
‘You’re too old. Everybody knows you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
‘Who you calling old?’
‘You’re not questioning the dog bit then?’
‘Nah, you’ve got me bang to rights there fella. Woof!’


I need to drive the blues away.
I need to find a way to stay.
With you beside me every day.
I’d be faithful come what may.
You make my heart go bumpetty bump.
And give my trousers this embarrassing lump.
Come on baby, fancy a jump?


The grazes on her elbows would heal eventually, probably before she got the grass stains from the knees of her jeans. Still, it had been a wicked afternoon with Ben. She smiled as she remembered seeing the curtains twitching next door. Mr Spencer must have got an eyeful.


The men looked at the screens in front of them.
‘It’s such an easy game this.’
‘We’re just talking about tiny percentages. A little push here a brash headline there.’
‘We’ll change a few minds. Just a few, it’s all we need.’
The Russians embraced the info war with gusto.


Kev came home early to find his beloved Samantha spread across the sofa wearing nothing but a smile. His mate Dan came out of the kitchen with strawberries, chocolate sauce and cream and all Kev could think was that the pair of them were using the last of the strawbs.


The Lean Mean Menace Machine. that’s what they called Eddie back in college. At one point it looked like he’d make it in football. He was like the Refrigerator but thinner. Should see him now. Not mean really, but definitely a menace and very lean. Bloody meth head.


'Dad, why does mum call Deb from next door a beach?'
'Well she's not sandy or stoney, or near the sea. So I don't get it.'
'I don't know, son.'
'Perhaps you can lie on her. If you've got a towel. Is that it?'
'Go and watch cartoons. I need to talk with your mum.'


A right mix of ideas from the one word at the top of the page each day.

An Idea

It takes me back to the one day I had doing a creative writing course a few years ago in a classroom in Liverpool. In that the tutor asked us to write a colour (I think) at the top of one page in our book and another on the facing page. Then we were asked to write five sentences that each colour made us think about on the following page. Then we had ten complete sentences representing all sorts of ideas. After that we were asked to choose one of the ten sentences to write a flash story on.

It was amazing the stories that came out that day from all the writers; which could be traced back to one word at the top of a page in a notebook. Sound familiar? Each day that's what we VSSers are doing. But we stop at the 280 characters. How many of us are taking them to the next level? From a sentence or two to a flash or short story? Anyway, here's my idea... how about looking at your VSSs you've produced during the week and choosing one to write a story about. Let's say up to 365 words (a nice circularity there and a similar length to the great stories that used to come out from Angry Hourglass back in the day).

Anyone up for it? I've created a page for it. Let's see where it may lead.

The Seedling Challenge


Glastonbury - Photos


I've said I'd write a memoirs piece on Glastonbury festivals after the Twitter vote last week so I've been digging through some of my photos from them. I've been lucky enough to go five times in 2007-10 and 2015. For some reason I don't seem to have any photos from 2010 but hey. Haven't decided where to start with the writing yet. But in the meantime here are some photos showing the usual; bizarre parades, mud, beer, the Bimble Inn, the Park Stage and bands including Broken Family Band, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Frank Turner, Neil Young.

I'll come up with something. But whatever I write it'll never be good enough to say how special and different the event is.

DSCF2778 DSCF2735
























Last week I ran a vote for the subject of my next memoir piece where I pitted some of my experiences in the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation versus music festivals and the winner was... 'Glastonburys.' Who needs world travel when you can just pop down to Somerset? Huzzah!

Glasto Vote

Well, I say huzzah! But it's going to be a tough one to write and keep in decent bounds - I've kind of kept the maximum word count at around 2000. Keeping to that with the bands and experiences I've had there will be a test. First thing is to decide what to focus on, because it can't be the music per se, for where would you stop? It's got to be the experiences. My first one was a lovely bewildering episode, the next few were different with the bigger group of people and the last one - when I won two tickets and took a mate - was lovely. However I end up writing it I hope to get it written and up on the site in the next ten days. It's going to be a fun journey.

Ash Gully1

In the meantime why not read one of my older pieces, like the Raul vs the Volcano: the El Chichon episode.

Andy and the Volcano1

Back at the Dodge1


Wanted: New Job

It's the new year and I definitely need to find a new job. Something that pays enough and provides me with a decent work-life balance. Ideally something I enjoy doing. But if it pays enough then I can live without that - as long as I earn enough to live and have proper hours so that I can have the enjoyment outside of work that balances out the tedium from any crap job.

So to that end I'll be updating my various CVs, including my writing one.

Of course I still have the problem of not knowing what I want to do when I grow up, which is not ideal. It's hard to look up jobs when you're open to consider lots - you end up seeing countless useless soul destroying adverts.

I'm not even sure what my ideal job would be. I mean I love writing, reading, music, beer, football, social media (well Twitter anyway), websiting from my Mac, photography, driving, train journeys, flying (in planes), boats (less so). Britain, Europe, the world, the planets. I love conversations and enjoy solitude too.

So what the hell would be the perfect job then?

Writing content for a beer and music site with lots of travel and a bit of footy thrown in - based in Merseyside with plenty of world travel. Look I'm your man for that. Not seen the advert for it yet and not sure where to look for it. Searching for 'Dream jobs' isn't delivering that. I'll keep looking. You never know.

In the meantime I'll carry on practicing my writing, reading and strumming the guitar and I'll keep an eye out for jobs and training opportunities. If you see this advert anywhere in the coming weeks, please drop me a line!


A Story Setting

When you could print out a bridge in fifteen hours, how long would it be before it was a house, a road, a school; a city? How long before the haves and have nots would be separated by a wall printed over night?

But it’s never that simple. Events don’t happen in isolation. There are needs and wants. We are creatures quite simply needing to balance energy in and energy out. Then’s the procreation desires. That used to be simple. One way of life and all that. Now each one of us can literally contain multitudes without the complication of personal interactions.

Our minds are massive complicated beasts, ostensibly tameable but often fragile. They need stimulation and freedom not containment and control; sometimes freedom.

Always freedom.

We have never craved conformity, not completely. A Ford ’T’ with a furry dice. A front door painted pink. A left field band. A tattoo. The love of art, of music, of architecture. The love of the wrong girl; the wrong man. A dangerous liaison.

We are not the same and we should glory in that.

Then there’s power. People who have it will do anything to keep it. Monitor the people: Stop the people. Manipulate. Build a wall. Build many walls. Close the cities down, until you can’t trust anyone. Art is banned. Free speech is banned. You are not safe in your own home. It is not your home. Your life is the government’s now.

Life is precarious. Freedom was special.

And you don’t miss your water until your well’s run dry.

Open Mic #5

On Thursday I went to my fifth Open Mic at the Sanctuary, was a top night. Initially it looked like the numbers may be a bit down but in the end there were more than usual including a couple of excellent newbies who spotted the Open Mic as they were passing the pub. I think they'd gone somewhere else first and found an open mic was not on, so it was fortuitous for them - and us.

As ever there were plenty of guitarist singers and in addition there was poetry and short stories.

Guitar Blur Sanctuary300

I did four songs and as ever nobody else knew three of them. It may well be the way to continue - if they don't know it they don't know when you're singing it wrong. The songs I did were:

  • 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'You Couldn't Get Arrested' - Green on Red
  • 'Somewhere Down the Road' - Chuck Prophet
  • 'Hotel California' - Eagles

I'll let you guess which ones the viewing public knew... Put it this way I'm spreading the Chuck Prophet/Green on Red gospel.

Here are some photos from the night (I didn't bother with the interruption from the drunk speed fuelled guy).

Sancturary4 Sancturary5 Sanctuary1 Sanctuary2 Sanctuary3 Sanctuary6

Not sure if I'm going to do new ones next time or just try and get better with the ones I've been doing to date first. Strive to get better!


Colonel Panic

Had a few time consuming issues with the scary Kernel Panics shutting down my computer at random times over the last few days. I haven't been able to identify what the issue may be. Assuming it's software and not hardware. Could well be memory issue when I'm using iMovie and other programs at the same time. I had just started removing photos again to help. Will hopefully happen a little less the more I remove. The iMovie files themselves are pretty large and I've only been using them with the messing about with my guitar recordings; I currently record using Photo Booth then edit in iMovie. May look at alternative options at some point.

The scary 'Problem Report'

Seen a recommendation to keep 20% storage memory free and I'm only just around 11% at the moment. It's largely photos and music. Not much I can do about the music so I better get back on to tidying the photos up.

Current state of storage

Will see how it goes... fingers are crossed.

Writing Plans 2019 (WIP)

Still working on my planning for this year's writing. Have the two NaNoWriMo projects to finish off and after that I'll then consider the re-editing and completion of one or both of these. Then there's the consideration of other projects. I've a couple of ideas which could spread across several stories/books, including YA and SF. One of these ideas may come to the forefront.

I'm going to keep an eye out all year for publication options for short stories - whether it being anthologies or competitions. I've already got one lead which looks promising.

I've the few memoirs pages on the website to continue adding to - it looks from the current Twitter vote the next one will be about my Glastonbury experiences, which is going to be fun to recall.

One thing under consideration is a weekly serialisation - of something between say 1000-5000 words - being put up on the website under the Writing section. It seems a neat idea in terms of getting into the swing of writing regularly a decent size chunk and getting it out there.

Anyways, the plans will be firmed up soon. With or without a serialisation... watch this space.

Flipping Heck

After uploading a song yesterday, where I'd flipped it to the correct orientation, I've had to re-upload all the older songs after flipping them the right way round too. A bit painful, and it means I've lost all my 'views' and 'likes' and all that but hell that doesn't matter.

It also means all my old links from earlier blog updates are wrong too, which is a shame.
Heart Breaks

Anyway, they're all sorted now so my T-shirts will read correctly in English - and I'm no longer looking left handed.

And I've put them all into a playlist '
Andy's Acoustic Practicing.'


Updating the Website

Beginning to update the website. Starting to make it look a little cleaner by removing the colours, thick lines and rounded edges on the boxes to begin with. I need to sort out the header to make it smaller (need to look that up as to best way of doing that and keeping it consistent) in the meantime I've just made the header plain colour rather the distracting backgrounds I had before. In actuality that will mean the different appearance will be least evident on the blog.

I've moved the Memoirs pages beneath a general heading for 'Writings' as I intend to put up some small fictions and none fictions under here at some point, possibly starting with old flash from sites like Angry Hourglass and Flash Fiction Friday and the like, but ultimately to include new writing too. I'll see about that over the next few weeks but in the meantime I need to decide on my immediate goals for writing in the coming weeks, months and indeed years.

Just done another Chuck Prophet song 'Heart Breaks Like the Dawn', probably a few bpm too slow but hell it'll do for now. I've also flipped the video so the words read right on my t-shirt. But of course that now means all my other videos have me mirror reversed. Oops. More editing work required at some point.

Heart Breaks

Reading Plans 2019

Having read 41 and 48 books in 2016 and 2017 I failed last year to get to 40, falling six books short. But I've set myself the same book goal this year for reading. Having read just shy of three books a month i need to get it up ten percent or so more this year.

Reading Challenge

The books I read by the end of the year always end up changing a bit from the ones I aim to read at the start. Partly due to new finds in second-hand book shops making me jump horse constantly. But of the forty I am setting myself the task of reading the following within that:

At least one:
Iain M Banks
Charles Dickens
George Orwell
(Homage to Catalunya or Road to Wigan Pier)
Doris Lessing (The Good Terrorist)
Philip Pullman (#2 of His Dark Materials trilogy)
Mervyn Peake (#2 of Gormenghast trilogy)

Excession Wigan Pier

I Am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes)
Hangover Square (Patrick Hamilton)
They Came And Ate Us (Robert Rankin)
Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch)
Lying Under An Apple Tree (Alice Munro)

Apple Tree Xanadu

Non-Fiction to include:
A Line in the Sand (James Barr)
In Xanadu (William Dalrymple)
Milk of Paradise (Lucy Inglis)
On Writing (Stephen King)
The Golden Atlas (Edward Brooke-Hitchings)
Homage to Gaia (James Lovelock)

Gaia Milk of Paradise

I have all these books on my shelves apart from The Milk of Paradise, On Writing and Rivers of London, so I'll be keeping an eye out for them in the second hand shops or sales. I'll no doubt keep you posted on the blog and via Twitter (@zevonesque). If you are a GoodReads user then you can also find me at: https://www.goodreads.com/Zevonesque

If you are a writer who is not writing then the next best thing is reading. Call it research.

Happy reading in 2019 to all of you.

Not So Sweet Carolina

Uploaded yet another song on to YouTube: 'Sweet Carolina' by Ryan Adams. That's eight songs now, eek! One of the songs (along with One I Love, Van Diemen's Land and Splendid Isolation) that I can currently play without requiring the words there - at least as comfort for me. Current song list up there comprises:

  • Sweet Carolina (Ryan Adams)
  • Hotel California (Eagles)
  • Somewhere Down the Road (Chuck Prophet)
  • Couldn't Get Arrested (Green On Red)
  • Splendid Isolation (Warren Zevon)
  • Van Diemen's Land (U2)
  • One I Love (REM)
  • Better Be Home Soon (Crowded House)

Sweet Carolina
'Sweet Carolina'

I need to choose another song to learn this week. Will have a wee think about that tomorrow. Will also be re-doing 'Better Be Home Soon' as the version up there is absolutely pants at the moment.

Have kept the original poorer Hotel California up there for now - just for the comedy value and Football Focus moment. ;-)