Tuesday 21 May 2013

The New Midnight, Eternal Love Saga

(And now for some silly and fictional humour)

Stephanie Myers has written the last twilight novel, well for now, and JK Rowling has finished the Harry Potter saga, until her next novel bombs. So Persephone Hebdon-Bridge, author and inbreed middle-class floozy, has written a new saga to fill the void, The New Midnight, Eternal Love Saga, which she’s confident will soon become an international movie franchise.

The Twilight books had a vampire as its hero, Harry Potter was a wizard. Persephone Hebdon-Bridge has chosen, as her hero, a far older and more elemental mystical being. A man, Jeremy, who is un-dead.

Her heroine is a young gal, on the verge of womanhood, a mere eighteen years old, from one of the best Home Counties’ families, Tamara.

Tamara is tired of the usual sweaty palmed and chin-less boys she meets at the tennis club and the Young Conservatives’ Barn Dances. So, when one night, on the way home from an England for the English meeting, Tamara meets the tall, dark, handsome and un-dead Jeremy. It’s love at first sight.

Extract from The New Midnight, Eternal Love Saga

Tamara pulled her Porsche 911 to a stop, at the side of the country lane, in the heart of England. God’s own country. Where the ancient Oak trees spread their two hundred year old branches protectively over the lane. Their leaves cast a dappled pattern over Tamara’s high-end car.

Tamara turned to the handsome passenger next to her. The moonlight fell upon his face, turning his green skin to a pale olive. His eyes, in that moonlight, shone a deep gold, rather than their normal demonic yellow. In that fading light she could barely see the drool from his rotting, black teeth and his putrefying, grey lips. He looked especially handsome tonight, she thought.

“Jeremy, you’re not like the other boys,” Tamara said.

“Ugh,” Jeremy replied.

“You treat me so differently to all the other boys,” Tamara gushed. “You’re not always trying to get inside my Janet Raeger knickers and wanting me to do unspeakable things on the backseat of your BMW.”

“Ugh,” Jeremy replied.

“It’s so refreshing that you want to get to know me as a whole person before we give ourselves to each other on a physical level,” Tamara said.

“Ugh,” Jeremy replied.

“I feel so squiffy just merely being in your presence,” Tamara said. “I don’t need to resort to mere Champagne cocktails, like the other girls do.”

“Ugh,” Jeremy replied.

“Oh, Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy,” Tamara said. “I wish we could stay together forever.”

Jeremy smiled at her, hungrily.

Drew Payne
November 2011.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Art is the Best Revenge

Desperately Seeking the Exit, Peter Michael Marino’s one man show

What do you do when you’re in a foreign city, you’ve written the book for a musical but everyone has their own “ideas” about it and aren’t talking to you, you’re smoking so many cigarettes that British American Tobacco shares have gone up 5%, everyone keeps asking you if you’re “all right” when you obviously aren’t, you’re bleeding from the rectum, you throw yourself in front of a bus in desperation but it’s going so slow it doesn’t harm you and Debbie Harry is delighted she “wrote” your musical? You go mad or write a one man show. Peter Michael Marino did both, though not at the same time.

In 2007, Marino wrote the book for the stage musical version of the film Desperately Seeking Susan, with the music of Blondie and Debbie Harry. The show lasted four weeks before closing, not so much flopping as crashing and burning. But was Marino disheartened? You bet. Out of the ashes of that disaster, and after a lot of therapy, Marino had created his one man show Desperately Seeking the Exit.

Fortunately, this isn’t the “pity-me” style of theatre. Marino tells his story with humour and energy, but this is still the dark side of show business. This show is about the failure of a West End musical, the crash and burn of this musical and the effect it had on Marino. But in the same way this isn’t a self-pity show, it isn’t a downbeat and depressing one. Marino has a sharp and lively sense of humour and fills his show with it, making us laugh at his nightmare experience.

I never knew that producing a musical was such a long twisting journey. Marino’s humour navigates this journey for us, with the constant changing “vision” for his musical, as director, chirographer and then producers all add their “ideas” for how the show should be and Marino’s nightmare deepens. His is a truly nightmarish journey downwards, at one point I even wondered how he survived (when he described a two hour meeting to find an alternative to the word “pot” you knew all hope was lost), this world was as unreal as Lewis Carol’s Alice stories. Marino also proves that, even in the theatre, the writer is at the bottom of pile but the first to be blamed when things go wrong, even when it’s all taken out of their hands (So, not much different then for writers elsewhere).

A lot of Marino’s humour does come from the differences between American and British culture, though his are much more intelligent insights then how we pronounce tomato and the temperature of our beer. At first, I was disappointed to hear so many jokes about our differences but as show when on they served to show his alienation, he was in a foreign country as everything went wrong.

From such dark material Marino has crafted a lively and funny show, with a heart that is all too human. This is a must-see show for Marino’s insights into the madness of producing a West End musical and his always sharp humour. Unfortunately we saw Desperately Seeking the Exit at the end of its run at the Leicester Square Theatre but Peter Michael Marino will be performing it elsewhere so check him out online. Unlike the musical, this is no flop.

The website Desperately Seeking the Exit.

Desperately Seeking the Exit on Facebook.

Desperately Seeking the Exit on Twitter.

Desperately Seeking the Exit on SoundCloud

Desperately Seeking the Exit on Tumblr

How to write a West End flop, BBC online article about the show

Original Guardian review of Desperately Seeking Susan (The Musical), and it’s not good.


Sunday 21 April 2013

Sex Sells (In the Literary Sense)

Last month, two of my short stories were published in the anthology Eros at Large, twenty-seven stories about the “erotic impulse” (Surprise, surprise they are all about sex).

When I received the submission call for this anthology, it said that they were looking stories about Lesbian and Gay life and how sex relates to it (Though they said they were looking for stories about sexual attraction). I tried to write something along these lines but found I couldn’t, I kept wanting to put twists on that or have a frustrating and unfulfilling ending. None of them worked. So instead I look a different take on the erotic.

I submitted two short stories about men in long term relationships. The first story dealt with a man who finds out that his lover is cheating on him, yet again, but doesn’t react in the “traditional” way. The second story was a about a couple, who’ve been together over ten years, and are trying to spice-up their love-life, with messy and embarrassing consequences (These stories are much more my take on sex and relationships). The editor obviously liked them because they’re both in the book.

Eros at Large had a book launch last month (I was tweeting about it madly in the weeks before) at the Houseman’s Bookshop, in Kings Cross, and I read at it. I didn’t read from the story about the couple spicing up their love-life, it starts with a description of them using whipped cream in sex, a rather explicit but not very erotic scene, and I didn’t have the nerve to read that out in public. So I read from the other story, stopping when the narrator finds out his lover is cheating on him.

It’s a long time since I’ve read from my own work in public and it’s always been a strange experience. When I’m reading my own writing it always feels as if there’s nowhere to hide. If it was someone else’s writing then it’s their words people like or dislike but when it’s my own work I worry that people won’t like my writing, won’t like how I deliver it or both. Yet I want people to read my writing and book launches are all part of the process.

Well, no one booed me and Martin said I read well, so someone liked it. The evening did go well, but most importantly my stories are included in that anthology. So, onward and upward...

Eros at Large can be bought here, at the publisher’s website, or you can find it on the “Bookshop” page of my website.


Thursday 21 February 2013

The Carnival Triumph Cruise Ship Diary

On 10th February the cruise ship, Carnival Triumph (owned by the same company who owned the Costa Concordia that capsized off the coast of Italy last year) had a free in its engineer room. No one was hurt but the ship lost power. One of the things affected were the ship’s toilets. Passengers described it as “Third World” conditions. Here’s a BBC report on it.

Here I imagined the holiday diary of one of those passengers. In sketch form, I submitted it to the Newsjack Radio program, I think “toilet humour” was a bit too much for them, but I like this sort of humour.

Thursday, February the seventh.

This is the holiday diary of me, Mrs. Madison Boulevard. Myself, my husband of nineteen years, Brick Boulevard, and our two wonderful teenage children, Cameron-James III and Shannon-Krystal are holidaying on the Cruise Liner, The Carnival Triumph. It was recommended to us by our neighbor and fellow church goer, Mary-Belle Newton. She has such immaculate taste so I am sure we well have a simply fabulous holiday.

Friday the eighth.

Cameron-James III has just informed me that our Cruise Liner is owned by the same company that owned the Costa Concordia, the ship that sank off the coast of Europe, last year. I told him, Europe is a far more unsafe and dangerous place then here in American. They have socialism. Nothing bad can happen to us, we’re Americans.

Daman that internet, he’s learning too much from it.

Saturday the ninth.

I am so bored. There is no decent malls on this ship and I can’t get any of my favorite TV shows here. The crew all say there is no reception out at sea, but I know they’re not trying. This won’t happen at home.

Sunday the tenth.

There has been a fire in the engine room and now we have no power. I blame all those Mexicans in the crew, they all have moustaches and way too much aftershave. This means we have no television, and I was just getting into re-runs of The Love Boat. Brick cannot use the gym, like he ever does at home, and the children cannot partake of the unlimited ice-cream in the dining hall. That is a good thing, if you ask me, Shannon-Krystal is getting far too tubby. She’ll never get a husband looking like the side of a barn.


No electricity means no toilets, and the toilet in our middle-range, semi-deluxe suite has already backed up. I knew having the Full Mexican Four Course Banquet last night was not a good choice.

Later still.

The smell of our toilet can clean knock you off your feet. We are having to relieve yourselves in the shower, Shannon-Krystal broke our sink when she squatted over it, and Brick has taken to doing his dirty-business into a plastic bag. I wish he would open the bag first. My own mother taught me to hold my own bowel movements in, a lady only uses a toilet bowl.

Much later.

Praise the Lord for Tupperware! I thought my insides were going to explode.

Monday the eleventh.

The ship is rolling from side-to-side alarmingly! This is something to do with having no power and therefore no stabilizers. All I know is that our overfull toilet bowl is sloshing its contents all around our bathroom floor. Dear Lord, the place looks like a South American pig farm, and smells worse. And to add insult on top of that, I’ve run out of Tupperware boxes.


Because there’s no power, they can’t cook any food. The crew is now rationing the food. As I said, we are Americans, we don’t do rationing, most of us can’t spell it. We demand triple serving of everything... Well, not the Full Mexican Four Course Banquet.

Much later.

The children are crying with hunger. Well, that’s what I tell myself, but Brick keeps forgetting and opening the bathroom door.

Tuesday the twelfth.

We are now running out of drinking water, because we have no power. Brick says he’s not too concerned because he can drink beer, which he is doing in large volumes. This will only make him want to relieve himself and I have now locked and barred the bathroom door. The sight in there is truly unholy.


Some toilets in first class are still working. We all rushed up there but there was a huge queue for them. We’re Americans, we didn’t wait at the end of queues, we should be at the front of them. I blame and Obama and his damned socialism!

Much later.

Now these toilets are blocked! This is where liberal bowel movements gets you. At least Cameron-James III found some clear plastic bags.

Wednesday the thirteenth.

Last night we slept up on deck. It was cold, uncomfortable and were we jammed in tighter then illegal immigrants in the back of a Wal-Mart truck, but at least you could only just smell the toilets out there.


All the food that is left is dry crackers. Why did I start my Jenny Craig diet at New Year, with the misery that entailed, when I could have just waited for this holiday and watched the pounds drop off me?

Later still.

Cameron-James III has got us food! He had to sell his body to a Mexican crew member for it. I was about to chastise him for selling his virtue and kneeing in front of the Devil’s Toolbox, but he’d got us toasted sandwiches!

Much later.

A helicopter has delivered emergency food to the liner. I overheard Shannon-Krystal tell Cameron-James III that he sold himself for nothing. He told her he didn’t care, the sailor was hot. I hope this doesn’t mean what I think this means. Cameron-James III wants to go to sea!

Thursday the fourteenth.

People, obviously not Americans, have been stealing food off their fellow passengers. How unchristian. One of them burglized our cabin and stole all my full Tupperware boxes. They’ll get a surprise when they try to eat those chocolate brownies.


Brick has just informed me that today is Valentine’s Day. He suggested we lock the kids out of our cabin and have a night of romantic, married relations. I told him that he could have that if he would shower, and not in urine, empty our toilet bowl so I can have a satisfying movement, and clear our cabin of that smell!

Much later.

We slept up on the deck again tonight.

Friday the fifteenth.

Praise the Lord, we are on dry land, with working toilets! This floating septic tank has finally made land, and not a today too soon!

We docked in Mobile, Alabama. Alabama? I would complain that this is a terrible common place to be in, but they have working toilets so I can’t.

Shannon-Krystal said surviving that cruise liner was like surviving a third world disaster. I told her not to be so stupid. In a third world disaster you Obama-aid and all those liberal, Hollywood celebrities to help you out, you have it easy. All we had to survive that nightmare was our American know-how and Tupperware.


The pencil-necks from the cruise company have offered us a free cruise as compensation for our nightmare. I was going to tell him to shove it were the sun-don’t-shine, but Brink only went and signed us up for it. But as he said, a free cruise is a free cruise, and what could go wrong it?

Drew Payne
February 2013.

Friday 15 February 2013

Ding-Dong The Pope Has Gone

IRISH WOMAN: Oh the Pope, God love him, it’s all taken it out of him, being Pope I mean. It must be so hard on him telling us all who to hate and who’s going to hell, and covering up for all those kiddy-fiddling priests. Well, what else has he done?

Above is a short piece I submitted to this week’s Newsjack Radio Show, unfortunately they didn’t use it but it does reflex my attitude to the Pope, Benedict XVI.

I’m no fan of this Pope, if you read back in this blog you can see that, but I was as surprised as anyone by his sudden resignation. When I first heard the news I actually though it was a joke, April the first come early. Since then I’ve watched the coverage of it by our media and I’ve been sickening by so much of it, especially the BBC. They were completely uncritical of the Pope, seeming to treat his resignation as the loss of one of our greatest human beings. They showed no one who wasn’t completely supportive of the Pope; decentring voices seemed to have been banned. So much for balanced broadcasting (I did complain but my voice seems to have been completely ignored, no decent allowed).

This Pope has not been a saint, by any means, and for anyone lesbian or gay, he’s been a homophobic monster. He seems to have gone out of his way to spout his homophobia. There is no other way to describe the things he’s said about us, lesbians and gay men. He’s described being gay as a greater threat to the world the global warming (!!) and that I am evil just because my sexuality is different, yet I’ve NEVER molested a child (Unlike many of his priests). He’s also said that marriage equality will lead to the end of the world and claimed condoms cause HIV infection. Yet he doesn’t even have the moral backbone to back up what he says with any sort of evidence, surely the mark of a bigot.

His actions have also backed up his homophobic words, as if there was any shortage of them. When his bishops compare marriage equality supporters to Nazis, he remains silent (Doesn’t he remember how homophobic the Nazis where or is that conveniently forgotten now?). When the Ugandan government announced their “Kill The Gays” bill (A law that would make being gay punishable by up to death and prison sentences for anyone who doesn’t turn in someone they know to be gay) the Pope reacted with the crassest of homophobia. He blessed Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament and the person behind “Kill The Gays” bill. I was left speechless by this, wanting to kill me is seen by him as a “blessing”.

Then there has been his reaction to the scandal of children being abused by catholic priests and other members of his church. So much of his career, before he became Pope, was take-up with covering up this scandal, and this didn’t change with his reign as Pope. He’s made a few, mealy-mouthed speeches about how “sorry” he is that this scandal happened, but that’s as far as it has gone. He hasn’t used the great resources of the Vatican to stop the abuse and expose the abusers, he certainly hasn’t turned over the extensive Vatican records to the authorities to help catch these abusers, nor has he given any resources over to helping the victims of this abuse. He has blamed homosexuality for this abuse, when the evidence is the opposite, and refused to allow any discuss around the forced celibacy of priests which has added to this abuse.

Also, the recent abuse scandals in Belgium, Australian and Holland all show that there has been no change in the Catholic Church’s policy of covering up abuse at all costs.

The Pope has repeatedly spoken out against “secularism”, making it sound more organised and dangerous then Communism and Nazism combined. What organised secularism? Where’s his evidence of this? We’re never told. Though, this all sounds as sourer grapes to me. As the Catholic Church has lost power in the West so we’ve seen the exposure of its sins, especially the industrial cover-up of child abuse.

Still people talk about all the “good” this Pope has done, but what I want to know is where? I’ve seen nothing but hate and repression coming from this Pope and his church. There has been a lot of talk, especially on the BBC, about how charming and intelligent the Pope is. I’ve never seen that. All I’ve seen is his ignorant hate spilling forward at any opportunity.

So, the Pope-n-Hater will be gone by the end of the month, therefore shouldn’t I be hopeful that the next one will be an improvement? Afraid not. This Pope has appointed over half of the cardinals who’ll pick the next pope. So, more of the same is on the way.

I can hope that the whole of the Catholic Church, rotten to its core, implodes on itself. Now, that would be worth seeing.


Thursday 7 February 2013

Sex & Romance (Sort Of)

Last week I returned home from work to find that our front door would only part open; a parcel was stuck under it as I tried to open the door. This happens all too often. I arrive home before Martin (My hours mean I always finish work before he does) and often have to climb over the post behind our front door, parcels often get stuck under the door. It was nothing new for me having ease the front door open, trying not to damage the parcel that was stuck there, but it’s a real pain when it’s cold and wet outside and all I want to do is to get into the warmth of our home.

Finally inside, I saw that the parcel was for me and it was a book, but I hadn’t bought any books recently. When I opened it I found it was a copy of Boys In Bed, a collection of erotic gay short stories, and the fifth story in it is by me, Two in the Bed.

This is one of the best moments of being published, the moment when I receive my writer’s copy of the published work, the book or magazine that’s sent to me as part of my payment for my writing. That new, clean copy of the book with my name there inside of it. Once I have it held in my hands then I know for sure it’s real, I’ve been published and other people will be able to read what I’ve written, majority of them don’t know me and will never meet me.

I submitted my story to this anthology last year and, to my surprise and delight it was accepted. The story’s about a guy who wakes up, one Saturday morning, next to another guy in his bed. It’s about how they got there and what happens next, it could be described as the nearest thing I’ve written to romantic fiction.

Being in an erotic anthology there’s sex in the story, and that was the hardest part to write (no pun intended). There is a lot of bad sex writing out there, an awful lot, so I was very careful not to fall into many of the clich├ęs of it. I tried to concentrate on the characters, especially the character of the narrator, and tried to make to the story realistic but still exciting. I hope I succeed; I did succeed enough for the editor of Boys in Bed to want to publish it.

You can judge for yourself because Boys In Bed is now available, either directly from its publisher HERE, or from Amazon HERE. It does contain sexually explicit material, but then that’s obvious.

Happy reading.