you may be wondering what I’m doing here


Do we have to call these things blogs? I guess we probably do, though I want to avoid most blog-like things, e.g. there won’t be endless unedited observations on the minutiae of my life, out-of-focus photos of my cat being wretchedly cute, or the opportunity to respond to posts and engage in intelligent debate. And not just because my cat left home after accusing me of being a trivia-obsessed egotist with no self-control who never listened to what she said or noticed when she had a new hat. Or because she took my camera.

So – who, when, why and what the hell is that thing in the corner of the room? Well, you’ve presumably arrived at this page for one of two reasons: either you’re a reader of Smoke: a London Peculiar, probably the greatest small-format magazine ever published, or you’re a fan of Sarah Records and/or Shinkansen Recordings, probably the two greatest record labels ever to have existed (at this point, you might be realising why I’ve deactivated the “comments” option – I prefer to be left alone with my dreams, my bitterness, and my much-thumbed, partly chewed death-list). Oh, and the thing in the corner of the room is an elephant, but I don’t like to talk about it.

What this most definitely ISN’T is a web-version of Smoke, because Smoke is a magazine made out of paper, and will always remain so as long as there’s one tree left standing on this planet we can hack down and write on. God, I hate trees. But paper is no good if you want to be vaguely topical, or change your mind; and the long gaps between issues of Smoke mean that people occasionally phone up to ask if I’m dead, which is a bit disconcerting, especially when they phone my mother. Even more so when they turn out to be my father. Most importantly, though, Smoke is an “us”, whereas this blog is a “me”. Or, because this is a blog, a “me me me me me!”

Basically, the idea is to post a single new “piece” each week… or possibly month… but I also want to gradually collect together various bits of writing I’ve done in the past in the hope that someone will spot them and offer me a job/book deal/free copy of Dreamweaver. The posts will be listed under the “index” tab, the other stuff under “writing” – I’m working on the principle that no one in their right minds ever reads archives. And if you don’t know what Smoke or Sarah/Shinkansen is, there are tabs for those too.

The title? Well, one of the first things I ever discussed with Jude, my erstwhile partner-in-Smoke, was that on the southbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo there is a small yellow hinged panel on which are written the words DANGER: VOID BEHIND DOOR. Given that the southbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo is an unlikely place to find a portal into a realm of infinite, timeless and possibly diabolical darkness, it was, we agreed, very good of London Transport to warn us about it. I did write something about this in Smoke#1, but I’m not sure it made a lot of sense, so I’ve rejigged it as the first post on this site – just to get things rolling.

OK, I think I’ll stop there, as I can see some people at the back looking a bit restless. All you really need to know is that I’m making it up as I go along. If you have any thoughts – or would like to offer me a job/book deal/free copy of Dreamweaver – feel free to e-mail

What’s that? Who am I? Oh – sorry, I sort of thought you knew. I, my child, am a many-horned love-god. Because it’s always useful to have a spare.