I am temporarily on hold while kind people search for my missing blood platelets, or more precisely the cause of the little stickies’ demise. “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown!”

So, why not read my first novel, Stolen Hours, instead:



Meanwhile, a second (I won’t say ‘last’ because that would be manipulative) novel is currently (DC or AC?) being generated by steroids, sleep-deprivation and a cross-circuited (un)consciousness. It’s (possibly – too early to know) a pensioner’s coming-of-age story. Please seek medical advice, if you want to try this yourself.


Jazz and Literature #1

Sidney Bechet is said to have been a model for the character of saxophonist and bandleader Pablo, in Hermann Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf (1927).

And as he spoke and conjured up a cigarette from his waistcoat pocket and offered it to me, he was suddenly Mozart no longer. It was my friend Pablo looking warmly at me out of his dark exotic eyes and as like the man who had taught me to play chess with the little figures as a twin.
“Pablo!” I cried with a convulsive start. “Pablo, where are we?”
“We are in my Magic Theater,” he said with a smile […]

He gave us each a little opium to smoke, and sitting motionless with open eyes we all three lived through the scenes that he suggested to us while Maria trembled with delight. As I felt a little unwell after this, Pablo laid me on the bed and gave me some drops, and while I lay with closed eyes I felt the fleeting breath of a kiss on each eyelid. I took the kiss as though I believed it came from Maria, but I knew very well it came from him.

Bechet appeared in the German film Einbrecher (1930), which perhaps echoes some of Hesse’s vision of jazz clubs of the period.

Einbrecher clip

Pablo 1
Hot Music, Ragmentation, and the Bluing of American Literature, by Steven Tracy

Vintage Saxophone

It’s not often that a vintage saxophone comes with any of its original sale documentation. I recently sold a Buescher ‘True-Tone’ alto saxophone, with almost perfect original matte satin silver plating, made in the USA in 1924. The year that Paul Desmond was born. The hire-purchase agreement is shown below.

Having read Annie Proulx’s novel Accordion Crimes, I wonder what the story of this saxophone has been between Joe Molaro buying it brand new from a Buffalo N.Y. store in 1925 and nearly 90 years later, when I bought it off eBay in the UK.




Anthony Burgess

British author, composer, pianist translator, screenwriter, who would be 100 this weekend.



Amongst Burgess’s many brilliant and often prescient novels is A Clockwork Orange: dystopian fiction dealing with conflict between the individual and the state, the punishment of young criminals, and the possibility or otherwise of redemption.

“One of the more unusual examples of this influence was the novel’s appropriation by the espionage community. During the 1970s, the title supposedly became the codename for an alleged campaign to undermine the prime minister, Harold Wilson. Prompted, apparently, by fears that Wilson was a Soviet agent and that he’d been placed in office after the KGB had poisoned the previous Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell.”


BBC Radio 3 doing a lot about Burgess over the next week, including programmes on his musical influences, his range of talents, attitudes to populism and class, etc.

Q. What might he have done with a letter of congratulations from the Queen?
Comments welcome.