Tag Archives: Apple

According to . . .

18 Apr


According to

Tiffany Atkinson.


Once, about the time you start to notice trees

and he found out his wife was not his wife

in any sense but name, Elijah took the dog,

two apples from the sideboard, and went out.


Not long afterwards, he came upon an old friend

bent beneath the bonnet of his car, cursing

every sprocket of combustion engines. What

do you suppose the point is? asked Elijah.


And the friend replied, I have to be there.

Throw your spanners down and come with me,

Elijah said. And so the friend did. And his name

was Tomos, after whom he never thought to ask.


And Elijah was amazed. Next there was a daughter

which, close up, they didn’t know. But Tomos said

she looked a lot like his girl would’ve had she lived.

He split one apple threeways, and the girl laughed.


And her laugh was as a pocketful of loose change,

as the moment when you down your pint and dance.

Her name was Manon. She was heading to the clinic.

Then she got her mobile phone out. Mam? she said.


So from there they went north, telling stories. Till

they came upon a farmer, bitter drunk, for all his fields

had failed. They listened, picking fruit seeds from their teeth,

and where those fell sprang cider-presses, booming.


Soon a crowd came out to see what had been happening.

I killed a man, said one man, looking thin. Shit happens,

said Elijah. Sell your house, give all the money to his folks

and walk with us. The man did. He gave nobody his name.


Meanwhile the crowds grew till there wasn’t room

to slide a slice of toast between them. Tomos asked,

what’s this about then? And Elijah said, just as you

left your hurtful car to walk with me, so this lot feel.


Look at the rhododendrons! They don’t give a toss

about the funding cuts, the polar bears. They do

their own thing. Throw your keys into that hedge,

ignore the cameras. Be your own true kicking self.


So Tomos did. He was a simple man, and able

to draw truth like tears from anyone. Elijah said,

you know the way that pressure-regulating valves

secure the rear-brake lines for heavy braking?


Tomos nodded. Well, Elijah said, you see, that’s you.

At this the grief beat out like crows, and Tomos felt

a hatching, in the space, of light. Elijah felt it too. And

where they left a third, unheard-of apple, grew a hamlet,


grew a village, grew a town, where people started over hope

fuller than all the Born Again Virgins of America.

These are the words of Manon, set down with the baby

on her knee. Elijah Tomos, he’ll be. All this happened.



From Catulla, Bloodaxe, 2011. For a review of this book, click here.





The day my hard drive died

2 Sep

This is a question mark


Worse things happen, obviously, certainly. But it was the suddenness of the event that most surprised me, after having the damn thing switched on for around five years and using it around the clock. One moment it was there doing my bidding, the next it is casting grey questions marks at me through a grey mist in a singularly humourless way.

I probably shouldn’t have spent so much time on the roof with it. It must have had a touch of the sun. But then again, I have heard that the generation of macbooks late 2006 to mid 2007, such as mine, suffered a design fault, but Apple, not wishing to lose their impeccable image, did not do a general recall but simply put a notice on their website saying if anyone wanted a change they could have one. Bunch of bastards.

And now I have lost some not inconsiderable notes on a half-written novel,  a couple of stories, who knows what else. As well as millions of photos and lots of music. I am going to have to send the machine to one of those specialist forensic outfits that you see on programmes like ‘Spooks’ and await their decision. But I reckon Apple should pay, since it now appears that whole generation of macbooks had dodgy hard drives.

All this talk is sending me to sleep. Still not recovered from a couple of very late nights followed by early mornings.

I knew a man called Question Marco once, a skinny rodent-faced Spanish beggar, in San Sebastian. A haunted-looking fellow with a bent spine, hence the sobriquet. This was in the days before people started thinking nicknames were cruel and heartless. I was hanging out with a big German called Kurt who was always falling over and consequently his face was covered in bruises and welts and scratches. He told me a joke once that went on for ages and ended with the line ‘so why don’t you cement your garden?’ followed by this manic obscene laugh, hyeugh hyeugh hyeugh, which, like Pig Bodine’s, ‘was formed by putting the tonguetip under the top central incisors and squeezing guttural sounds out of the throat.’

Question Marco was shaped like a question mark, and his heart was a question mark, and everything he said ended in a question mark. With such a man there is never anything to be gained by a direct approach. For such a man the world begins and ends with a question to which there is never a reliable answer.