04/04/2012 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

Chapter Three: I Feel Utterly Oddly Proud And Utterly Worthless…

…in which I find myself in Chorlton, the keffiyah capital of Manchester, speaking with Socrates Adams about working in recruitment, living in the wild, and his first book Everything’s Fine.

You can also find this episode on iTunes.

Who is Socrates?

For the longest time I knew only of Socrates. The writers of North West would speak of him in a uniformly praising and affectionate tone, directing me to his blog, Chicken and Pies, or imploring me to go see him read at one of Manchester’s intimidatingly well-attended literary evenings. And I never did – not because I didn’t want to; chance, as chance will, just got in the way. In the end I met him through work – we found we both worked for the same bookshop chain, two in the mighty secret army of writers toiling quietly away as retail minions. From his blog, I’d pictured him perpetually on drugs, covered in paint, blood and stains of less decipherable fluids, and always either screaming or crying or laughing manically. He turned out to be a nice guy.

When I read his online stuff, I really liked it. And when I read his novel – Everything’s Fine, the beginning of which you can hear him read at the end of the podcast – I thought it was brilliant. It manages to combine all the simplicity, weirdness and semi-nihilism that writing on the internet demands with the pathos, poignancy and depth of character you’d expect of a novel.


Tao Lin – an American writer who has a blog and has written some books, the latest of which is Richard Yates.

Chris Killen – Manchester writer whose blogs dominate the internet and whose novel The Bird Room came out in 2010.

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa – written in the 20’s and early 30’s, this is, some would say, the ur-novel of the enigmatic fragmented, fractured narrative that was to become so ubiquitous during the 20th century.


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