The series is a first-person, present tense, dirty-realism account of a white male in his early 40s. A child of the eighties and a product of Thatcherism, the working-class narrator shouting his mouth off on every topic and especially when his melon is twisted. His is not a story of a perfect life, a false picture, but rather he lets it all hang out, life in all its rotten splendour of success and failure, opportunities fucked-up and challenges too great to overcome. The chronicler freely admits, he is like a hippopotamus on a trampoline attempting to solve the Rubik's Cube of life.
The series is told through the media of prose, poems and pictures, three creative versions of the same him, different angles on the same story. Each chapter (average 75 chapters with 70,000+/- words per book) has at least one poem and a sketch. Why poetry? In our short form world, it’s appropriate. It’s like texting or sending a WhatsApp message, a thought reduced to the minimum number of consonants and vowels. Saying more with less. Being mindful of every letter and comma. A quick way to tell a story or articulate a thought. Sketches and doodles allow the reader to further understand the soul of the protagonist. Using poems and pictures allows the audience to engage with the storyteller through multiple forms… and if you were a psychologist, psychoanalyst or any other sort of mind-bender, it would help you decipher who exactly he is. It was also a creative challenge and one that I thrived on and thought original.
7 Days in 1 week (Volume 1) The series starts on a Friday evening, the reader finding out that the narrator is neither boomer nor a hipster millennial, but Generation X, the soon to be few who can remember a black and white analogue world. He is an average British man and a child of his times. Discussions of his youth were whether he was a Prince or Michael Jackson fan, then Blur or Oasis during Cool Britannia. His cultural influences Loaded magazine and dancing to the beating sounds of Lager, Lager, Lager in the nightclubs of Ibiza. During the week he discuss all his social, cultural, economic and sexual influences. His relationships with alcohol, women, drugs, children, friends, family and the drudgery of work. That he divorced after the death of his son, his life and marriage unravelling. His life is peeled (like an onion) from the carefree surface to a dark centre. He reveals his ups and downs, loves and loses, dreams and insecurities, successes and failures, the death of his best friend from a fight he inadvertently started and finding salvation in Grace, an African immigrant stripper.
52 Weeks in a Year (Volume 2) While only a week older, the narrator hopes he is a lot wiser after the death of his best-mate and, finding the love of his life who worked a pole in his local pub. On whim and chance, the pair fly to Tanzania, this being where his blindfolded finger of destiny landed in an atlas and which his atheist ass considers preferable to being a human chatbot in a call-centre.
The duo have all the highs and lows expected in a cross-ethnic relationship in a distant land in an unknown culture over a 365 day period. They get engaged and split up. The protagonist witnesses death through his drug taking folly. Somehow, the pair get back together, though only after they understand and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and, that what they have together is more powerful than the arguments and mis-steps they continuously take.
10 Years in a Decade (Volume 3) Grey hairs are spreading across the storyteller’s increasingly paunchy body and he is collecting spare tires round his waist as if they’re going out of fashion. Over a decade, we see him go from hopeful father to drug addict, bar owner in Africa to tea-shop proprietor and entrepreneur back in the UK. Dog killer to volunteer. Virile philanderer to admitting his greatest fears and shame in an alcoholics anonymous meeting. Once more, he shares every detail of his life and also the world’s (future guessing on part of the author) ups and downs as he progress along his life path one muddle at a time.
72 Hours in Berlin (Volume 4) is under draft. I’m collecting notes on 3 Days in a Lifetime (Volume 5) the protagonist being diagnosed as HIV positive.