Category Archives: Uncategorized

Monday Morning in a Cafe

It’s Monday morning and I am in a cafe. I am a bad man. I repeat. Bad. The rest of the world is cleaning the streets, digging up clods of earth, ramming hedge funds into their foaming mouths, earning a living wage, earning an unlived wage, crying into soup cans,  wiping baby mush from howling lips, delivering carpet, ripping out carpet and throwing it into skips, making chips, drumming fingernails on squeegee wiped counter-tops  But me. I am in a cafe on Monday, oh glorious Monday, morning. Drinking very pale tea. WITHOUT SUGAR. I am a bad man, howling at the crescent moon not yet dipped into the dark of someone else’s pay-packet.

I am a vampire of the good times. I am a werewolf of the leisure industry. I am a unicyclist on a four lane highway eating carrot cake I barely deserve. I am a bad man with an ebay laptop.

They won’t put me in prison. But they might scrape my skin with a razor blade and send it for analysis.

Who is this human being? Who the hell does he think he is? Sitting in a cafe on a Monday morning. Drinking pale tea. WITHOUT SUGAR.

I am a bad man. And I like my carrot cake. And Mondays better get used to it.

And you Wednesday! Stop shaking in the corner with your thumb in your mouth ! I own the exclamation marks and it’s your turn next. You mid week slob.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


I’ve got a beard. A lot of people do. But it has always been a badge of a kind of alternative living. “Shaving,” a beard suggests, “is for people with who want to slip more easily into the torpedo tube of modern life.”

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to push a bearded man into the torpedo tube of modern life. I have and I can tell you it’s not easy. They slip in ok up to the neck but as soon as you get to the bristle it’s no go. They jut up the chin and then it’s a bit like trying to fit a brillo pad into a Smartie tube.

Granted you often see submariners in moody continental TV docu dramas with a growth the size of  a koala but they’re often the Commodores. They have a big old shrubbery face but all the ratings have smooth little adolescent chins.

And these are the poor fools who will be slipped into the torpedo tube of modern life and fired out into the cold Arctic waters.

Gillette may be the best a man can get. But he should expect to be fired from a torpedo tube on a transcontinental ballistic mission into the fury of global existence.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hand Claps and Bone Snaps

There’s a man round these parts taken to counting out the minutes with hand claps. He stands outside the local church marking time to a blues riff no one else can hear. Eyes closed. Slow. Every now and then a flute of steam comes out his nose like an upside down kettle.

Lunch time he’s going faster, smashing invisible blue bottles in his hands. By tea time his wrists are flapping so fast you can hardly see them. The blues riff  has gone drum and bass. And then, at sunset, his hands fall off. They go hopping down the road like a clam.

I bend down to hear what he has to say. He doesn’t move, he doesn’t open his eyes,  he doesn’t blink.

“Going to the sea,” he says, “those hands are going beachside.”

And he keeps clapping his arms without hands, applauding the silence.

Most days you can see his hands out at sea, flapping and clapping and snapping, cutting coupons from the sky.

You got to hand it to that bluesman. He cannot play the blues. But he cannot help but try.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Read Odd Books

There’s a magnificent review of “Automatic Safe Dog” at the fantastically named “I Read Odd Books” by Anita Dalton.

It concludes:

“I get lots of books sent my way and I have come across a lot of extremely talented writers. I think McDonald’s writing is very near genius… this book was a revelation. A murder mystery, a farce, a romance, a sketch of a lunatic world, a glimpse of an uncaring and venal societal and the way that small venal sins can become mortal sins if we let them go on too long. This is a long book, coming in at 270 pages. McDonald got me hooked… and he kept me reading. I devoured this book in three days because the hilarity and silliness thrilled me as I waited for the other shoe to drop. I can’t remember the last time a new book from an author unknown to me proved to be the sort of read I simply could not put down until finished. Highly recommended.”

Reviews like this are like gold snowflakes. They’re worth keeping. We spend most of our time staring at the sky, with our hands cupped round a puddle of melted ice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ear Plugs

Great fan of these. Though my most recent acquisitions are shaped like rubber bullets. It thus feels like I am shooting peace and solitude into my head, a kind of inverse crowd control.

I love a good oxymoron but not as much as oxyacetylene torches. If I could I’d have a welding torch in my studio. For every story I’d edit, for every song I’d write, I’d weld another strut in the tower of song. I’d make a skyscraper prone to earthquakes but with great views.  The wild wind would whip around my head up top but I would hear nuttin with my ear plugs in. Gently push the bullet towards the brain. Go on now. Gently.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Next Big Thing

We interrupt this blog and its recent meditation on shoes and boots and handstands for a bit of blatant self publicity. “The Next Big Thing” is a self referential interview that’s been  hopping round the writer’s community. You question yourself on your latest opus, “tag” someone for the next interrogation and then they pull their socks off, until everyone gets to show their bunions in public.

I was tagged by the unclassifiable surrealist writer and one man novel engine Douglas Thompson. Douglas has about four novels coming out or just released and is probably having a novel published in the Balkans that even he can’t remember writing. What’s more his poetry has just been included in the legendary Ambit Magazine which Carol Anne Duffy and J G Ballard cut their teeth on and then edited.

But let’s tiptoe into my latest strangeness.

1) What is the title of your next book?

The Centrally Locked Mothers of America.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Lord knows. These things pop into my head like a finger through a piece of cellophane.  I seem to have a thing about people and animals being pushed around on small wooden castors. (My first book was about dogs on castors made into furniture. This is one has a cast of comatose American mothers being rolled about on little wheels)

3) What genre does your book fall under?

The genre that includes animate beings being rolled around on little castors. Either that or “Home Improvement”.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The main protagonist in “The Centrally Locked Mothers of America”, Professor Wolfenstein, is a bit of a lothario. So probably a Hollywood bad boy. Or a younger Alan Rickman. Someone with balls and hair.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A professor is completely paralysed by the syndrome he helps to discover and then wakes up on a cloud-base in the sky surrounded by his naked female patients playing tennis.

6) When will the book be published?

As soon as I get my bunions looked at.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Well I wrote the first draft over  3 months. There’s been a lot of drawer slamming and rewrites and WD 4o since then.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Automatic Safe Dog” ( my first novel about dog furniture) . And I know it sounds poncy but Renee Descartes “Meditations” must have been a big  influence ( the philosopher who came up with the mind body divide)  Think of my book as  a mix of Descartes and those patient information leaflets wilting in the racks of the doctors surgery like forlorn birds. Mix that with an Elmore Leonard potboiler,  a dash of cumin and Borges, a few shavings of bunion and you’re there.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The man pulling the strings at the bottom of my brainstem. I don’t know who he is or what he’s doing there but all day long he’s pulling on those ropes like a bell ringer at a coronation.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Sex in the sky, sex on earth and not much contraception.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Army Stands with Boot Hands

This is also possible in a Spike Milligan kind of way but not especially helpful as having boots on your hands while firing a rifle is, at the very least, a bit clumsy.  If you had particular skills in this area you might be able to fire the weapon with your toes while doing a handstand into your army boots. This presents its own difficulties with toe size, dexterity, trigger access and loss of balance due to report after firing. But given that problem-solving by killing people is already pretty stupid then this can only improve matters or at least improvise them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Handstands in Army Boots

This is possible but a bit top heavy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Walking in Walking shoes

There’s nothing like a good warm walking shoe to bounce upon the earth. The only problem is dog shit. I’m pretty neutral on dogs. But not dog shit.

It doesn’t matter how Vibram soled Goretex layered your walking shoe is it will not be impervious to dog shit. In fact your molten lead resistant super strong yet flexible yet cushioned shoe Vibram base with intricate jigsaw puzzle grip surface attracts dog  shit. It dreams of it. It weds it. It writes love poems to it and goes on honeymoon to Bali with it and asks if it can move in on a cohabiting basis and share domestic duties pinned to the kitchen noticeboard with it.

If I walked predominantly on Scarpa Fell or Ben Nevis I might get sheep poo. But for an urban walker with mountain pretensions you get the arse end of civilisation.

None of this would matter if we lived in a culture where we took our shoes off before we entered the house (as per Islam) But we live in a society where the shoe is a welcome guest on our Axminsters and sheep wool rugs.

What to do? Stop walking in walking shoes? Carry a pressure hose with you at all times and spray the path ahead like a vain fireman? Or walk barefoot through the shopping malls and always carry a wet wipe.

I’m going to wrap my super waterproof super breathable acid and alkali resistant walking shoes in Waitrose carrier bags and crunch through the streets like an explorer aching for the pure white fall of snow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Walking in bike shoes

I cycle so much nowadays I wear cycling shoes with metal cleats in the bottom that lock into the pedals rather than choose my comfortable leather loafers. I’m  writing and thinking about bicycles so much that when I close my eyes I can see wheels within wheels like a hula hoop party.

But there’s only so much cycling and cycling related thought a cycling related writer can cycle.

So I’ve taken to walking in my cycling shoes. “Damn these shoes,” I think. ( For I think in a kindly 1950’s RAF kind of way. Where shoes are damned and handkerchiefs jolly)

For all the excitement of cycling there is an equal and indivisible excitement in walking. A pause of a breath in the slow lilt of a good stroll. When I walk in my cycling shoes the metal “cleats” in the soles crunch against the grit on the pavement. Like celery being munched on mercury fillings. You may not like celery but it is a very present meal. And every step in the crunchy walk of a cycling shoe is a very present walk.

Crunch. Leaf blows from branch and flip flops onto windscreen like autumnal parking ticket. Crunch. Woman peers into bakery in moment of cake uncertainty. Crunch. Puddle shakes like granny wrinkles. The walk of the cycle shoe has the power to make the world brace and shiver in all its mundane brilliance.

The walk of the cycle shoe is a low wire circus act of incalculable bravery and Buddhist foolishness.

The walk of the cycle shoe is a deceleration into hob nailed contemplation and velorapture.

So here’s to walking in cycling shoes.

And here’s to cycling in flip flop blues.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized