Odds and Sods

Vocabulary

He chose his words carefully.
Each one a gun, a grenade or a knife.
Beneath the rattle and stutter,
the swagger and bluster,
lay a bruise, an assault, and a life.

Diary of a Somebody

Today is Publication Day for my new book, ‘Diary of a Somebody’. I hope you may find it in a bookshop near you; or failing that, an online bookshop near you, such as one of these:

Hive

Waterstones

Amazon

And here are a few nice things that have been said about it so far:

“At last, a genuinely funny comic novel.” The Times

“Brian Bilston turns the base metal of comic verse into gold.” The Guardian

“A brilliant comic novel.” The Spectator

One of the funniest novels for years.Reader’s Digest

Unseen Poem

OK. Turn the page. Right, here goes …
The first line’s straightforward, I suppose.
At least I know what the words all mean.
It has an AA BB rhyming scheme.
 
What’s that French word for when one line
runs into the next? Jambon? Never mind.
Susan Jenkins is smiling, I bet she knows.
Oh great! Now the rhymes have disappeared
 
and the language is getting more obfuscatory
by the stanza. The voice keeps changing.
At first, it was confident. But now it’s confused
uncertain (?) and … hesitant?
 
and as for this bit
what was the poet even thinking?
 
(personally, i think
they must have been drinking)
 
Susan Jenkins needs more paper.
I hate her. There are ten minutes left.
What’s this poem all about anyway?
No idea. I shall just have to guess.
 
I’ll say it’s a metaphor for death.

Announcements

We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to the wrong kind of deal,
which indeed is any kind of deal
that might make your forward journey possible
at this time.
 
Passengers are advised to seek
alternative countries
where available.

We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to a mechanical fault
in the machinery of government.
A team of engineers is working to fix this problem.
We hope to continue on our journey
in the autumn of 2055.

Passengers are advised
that a government replacement service
will not be operating on these routes
at this time.

We would like to apologise for the delay.
This is due to leavers on the line.
A buffet car serving refreshments,
including hot and cold snacks,
will not be available.

Passengers are advised
to somehow keep their sense of belonging with them
at all times.
 
We would like to apologise for the delay,
signalling failure
at this time.

Diary of a Somebody

I’m really pleased to announce that my new book ‘Diary of a Somebody’ will be publishing in June with Picador.

The novel takes the form of a diary interspersed with about 150 poems and explores themes such as love and death, crime and punishment, family and loneliness, Wittgenstein and custard creams.

It’s available for pre-ordering from any bookseller. The page below provides good links to some of the online sellers:

https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/brian-bilston/diary-of-a-somebody/9781529005547

It’s been lucky enough to receive some kind early reviews. Here are a few of them:

‘Nobody must find out about this unique gem, because I’m giving it to EVERYONE, and I want to appear clever and discerning. It’s a very funny/touching/novel/ poetry kinda book all about the big/little stuff, and above all, it’s eminently wrappable.’

Dawn French

‘Glorious. I will be astonished if I read a more original, more inventive or funnier novel this year.’

Adam Kay, author of ‘This is Going to Hurt’

‘The English comic novel, whose death this year was announced prematurely, is actually alive, well and in the safe hands of Brian Bilston. Here is a wonderful, laugh-out-loud comedy of suburban despair in the great tradition of David Nobbs and Sue Townsend. And it comes, of course, with the added bonus of Bilston’s poetry, sparkling here with all the wit, intelligence and humanity that has won him more than 50,000 followers on Twitter.’

Jonathan Coe, author of ‘Middle England’

‘Highly original, genuinely funny and clever, with a gentle humanity in between the lines. Brian Bilson should be Poet Laureate.’

John O’Farrell

‘In the future a new word will enter the language: a Bilston, which will denote one of those times in the day when we see the world from a perspective that is strange, wonderful and packed with a kind of gleaming joy. This book is a clock ticking with Bilstons.’

Ian MacMillan

I’ll stop talking about it now.

Thanks,

Brian

To Do List

1. Delay with an urgent hesitation.
2. Be unwavering in vacillation.
3. Embrace the art of equivocation.
4. Read a book on procrastination.

5. Dilly-dally; dither; be dilatory.
6. Drink tea through the day continually.
7. Look up ‘avoidance’ in the dictionary.
8. Ignore all forms of worthwhile industry.

9. Break for lunch

10. Ponder the intrinsic nature of work.
11. Re-prioritise which tasks to shirk.
12. Allow three hours to hem and haw.
13. Lollygag; chew my jaw.

14. Stroke the cat; lose my pen.
15. Re-do tasks from one to ten
16. Lurch and flounder; loll and wallow.
17. Write To Do list for tomorrow.

Penguins

They were sighted off the south-east coast,
drifting in towards the port;
their boat, a snapped-off block of ice,
melting slowly in the warmth.
 
By the docks, a crowd had formed itself;
mob-angry, it looked on.
Placards were thrust. A chant began:
GO BACK TO WHERE YOU’RE FROM.
 
‘They’re just economic migrants,’
declared a spokesman for the right.
‘They’ve come to rob us of our jobs.
It’s as clear as black and white.’
 
‘Tragic,’ said the Home Secretary,
mock-sadness suppressed his smirk.
‘We’d let them stay but here’s the rub –
they have no paperwork.’
 
‘They’ll undermine Our Way of Life!’
The warnings raged on Twitter.
‘They stink of fish.’ ‘They’ll rape your wife.’
‘There’s bombs beneath those flippers.’
 
‘PENGUIN CLAIMS “MY HOME IS MELTING!”’
The Sun printed in disgust.
‘But whose fault is THAT – except THEIR OWN?
What’s that to do with US?’
 
The last of the ice had disappeared.
The penguins battled through the foam,
swimming, swimming,
from land to land,
searching for a home.