Ian Pollock’s Illustrations for Housing Benefit Hill

Housing Benefit Hill was a series of columns which appeared in the Guardian Weekend between September 1993 and September 1996. Originally it featured a cartoon series by Steven Appleby, which were very funny, but not specifically intended as illustrations of the text. (Mind you, sometimes they could be accidentally appropriate). However in September 1995 the editors at the Guardian commissioned Ian Pollock to illustrate the stories, and the results are shown below. They are remarkable drawings, not least because somehow or another Ian seemed to be able to capture not only the essence of the story, but the actual appearance … Continue reading Ian Pollock’s Illustrations for Housing Benefit Hill

Katrina’s chocolates are simply heavenly

It’s become something of a tradition. Every year around this time I encourage my readers to shop locally and to buy their presents from one of the many artists or crafts people who live and work in Whitstable. This year I’d like to introduce you to Katrina Louise Taylor. Some of you will already know her. Many of you will not. Katrina is an artist, but she is also a very talented chocolatier. Ah chocolate: that most heavenly of confections. Who doesn’t like chocolate? But Katrina’s chocolates are in another league altogether. She’s been featured on the BBC Good Food … Continue reading Katrina’s chocolates are simply heavenly

The Empire of Things: a new book by CJ Stone

  CJ Stone wrote a column for the Guardian Weekend from 1993 till 1998. It was called Housing Benefit Hill and won the writer much acclaim. He has also written columns for the Big Issue, for Mixmag, for Radio 4’s The Afternoon Shift, for Prediction magazine and for Kindred Spirit, as well as writing regularly for the New Statesman and the Independent on Sunday, amongst others. Currently he is a working postman. The Empire of Things is his sixth book. The novelist Jon McGregor attributed Housing Benefit Hill with making him want to become a writer. He wrote: (The Observer … Continue reading The Empire of Things: a new book by CJ Stone

Justified and Ancient. The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds

The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs Available here. I recommend this book. John Higgs has taken the standard rock biography format, done some strange incantations over it, waved his magic wand and – Abracadabra! – turned it into a philosophical tract. This book isn’t just about the KLF. In fact it is hardly about the KLF at all. It’s about Dada and Discordianism. It’s about the Illuminati conspiracy. It’s about Dr Who and the Situationist International. It’s about the number 23. It’s about Ken Campbell, Robert Anton Wilson, Alan Moore, Carl Jung, … Continue reading Justified and Ancient. The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds

Sharing Rupert Hayes’ wild and wonderful world

I went to see the Rupert Hayes retrospective at the Horsebridge. Many people in Whitstable will remember Rupert. He was like a cross between a New Age Traveller and a garden gnome. He was sort of dangerous, elemental and lovable all at the same time. http://hubpages.com/art/Whitstable-People-Rupert-Hayes From The Whitstable Gazette. The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number. Send letters to: The Editor, Gazette House, 5-8 Boorman Way, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3SE, email kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk http://www.kentishgazette.co.uk Continue reading Sharing Rupert Hayes’ wild and wonderful world

The Unknown at the Labour Club

There was a band on at the Labour Club this weekend, called The Unknown. This was their 20th anniversary. They’ve played at the Labour Club once a year, every year, except for the year of the flood, since 1989. I’ve watched my life go by in those 20 years. I was there for their first gig. I designed the poster. It was a front cover from one of those 60s science fiction magazines, called “Secrets of the Unknown”. The title was written in bold 3D letters. By the artful use of tippex and crayon, I blocked out the words “Secrets of”, just leaving … Continue reading The Unknown at the Labour Club

A Review of The Cheering Rain by Kate Adams

A foreign country During the launch of her poetry collection at the Whitstable Labour Club Kate Adams read the title poem, The Cheering Rain. Before she did she introduced the poem, saying that she was waiting for a publisher to confirm if it had been accepted for an upcoming anthology. She said that the publisher had asked her which country it was set in. “Birmingham,” came the reply, to a ripple of laughter. It’s easy to see why the publisher was confused. Continue reading A Review of The Cheering Rain by Kate Adams