Stealing Fire

Stealing Fire, by Craig Sterling Published poet and thriller writer James W Wood, was printed by myself in 2011.

Read more: Stealing Fire

Another Call to Legalise Shoplifting

I ask you: you cannot really want to read Sir Philip Sidney?

Read more: Another Call to Legalise Shoplifting

The Drinkard's Aberdoniensis

This is published with The Combined Technical Jargon of Bev

These are all words and phrases which we have picked up from researches into the Scottish-Aberdonian way of speaking. We are three American students from New York who are in Scotland because of the unique words which they use here, and the Peter Burnett Website has let us publish what we have collected so far.

Read more: The Drinkard's Aberdoniensis

Pish Caked Pete


One night Peter drank so much that he farted in the car port. Standing in the Fettercairned remains of his once sober world .... holding the bottle by the neck .... and swaying in the shit-marracked ruin of his one time holy body .... he shouted out that he was syruped to bits .... at which he took his self back to bed, to finish what of the drink was left.

In bed Peter imagined all sorts of pish-caked beings who came at him from the alcoholic contents of the glass. These were snotty alkys and heavy breathing gyno-doctors, pod swallowers and several dog-headed male and female nurses.

A leading figure in Peter's imaginings however was the brewer Mr Jack Daniels who came to Peter through the covers, threatening to force yet more poison into the poor boy's mouth. "Go to Vegas," said Jack Daniels, "and there I will punish you by making wolves ride you til you are sick."

But Peter refused to go to Vegas and so Jack Daniels got larger and loomed over the bed and filled the Peter's view.

Jack Daniels was a big beardy American with a black bush frothing from his face and Peter quavered when Jack Daniels breathed on him. Smelling Jack's breath, Peter wished then truly that he'd opted for the Vegas option.

"You will drink of me and vomit spangled root parts," said Jack as his frontier style beard waved in the moonlight. "You are not fit for any more of my brew tonight, and so you must finish it in the morning."

And so Peter rose the next day and trailed through the cigarette ash remains of his ruined life, tripping on broken and smashed items as he did so. And reclaiming the bottle from the trash can, Peter sat at his barrels and relished once more, the wooden-mouthed flavour of the garse broth that had killed his daughter.

And it was little wonder that Peter himself died two days later after his final vision, which was of a rusted steel tank … and this was an image of the brewery itself from where steamed the mince like brew which had got him so pot-nastied in the first place. And it had Jack's name on it.

Christmas Service

This is the actual text of the sermon I delivered in church this year:

Read more: Christmas Service


Here is the Jesus Christmas Blessing:


Ö Bless us all, as the season leaves us every one behind, there is a fat chance that cold and lonely we will succumb to Christmas confusion, and in that famous glow, get light and merry to return to glum in January.

And Ö Bless us all, as the season leaves us every one a cold turkey, there is a fat chance that peace presents a memorial quandary as lonely we will succumb to Christmas longing; bang on the day, and in that famous glow, get light and lighter until our sections are unique.

May you all go glumbo to your dinners; where sacred and alone, hold by those others of the self-same birth raft, you supply your company.  AMEN

Read more: Blessing

The War

How can I forget Tony Blair on his hind legs preaching WAR to his flock?

In a haze of David Icke Mauve that made him look like a retired Turkish whore rebranding herself as the Mufti of Ankara, very spiritual, very soigné.

How many colour therapists and their inevitable Japanese companions were employed dreaming up that putrid set, in which even his tie matched, even his lies matched?

"We campaigned in Doggerel. We govern in Gibberish. Jack Straw is on pills for his nerves, living in his Jag, drinking Bells through a Shitty Clout. Way to go Jackie Baby."

New Labour twisted my mother's mind so that now she cooks HAGGIS and is thinking of buying me a KILT for my birthday, and my father found that, mirabile dictu, her overwhelming urge to vote SNP was not grounds for divorce under Scots Law. 


I'm having it tattooed on my chest next Wednesday (in Govan, at Mucky Malky's Tattoos and Neeps Parlour, just behind the municipal gleaming chrome palace of the BBC)...

Random Ranter

The be-an-adult-agony of the week is over, and I can sit and write without the dump-danger of being bagged-up as obsolete, useless or irretrievably damaged (although I am all three, and proud in my exemplary failure) booted and bunged into the local incinerator. Too many unwholly necessary working tasks from my employer, and the need for a cleansing storm overwhelming the senses. Selfish? Oh yes, and so full of ugly pity, witless rage and futile sympathy for my situation, that the coming-home-to-the-self seems the only rational thing to do - the only other alternative is random ranting on Facebook . . .

Strichen's Horse

After the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons were forced into Christianity, the sacrifice of animals was frowned upon and discouraged.  What did carry on however was people’s adoption of skins and horns, yet one more diversion which bugged the early church fathers, even as far back as  St Augustine’s time:

'If you ever hear anyone carrying out that most filthy practice of dressing up like a horse or stag, chastise him most severely,' he said.

This custom derives from sympathetic magic, which is a kind of intimate communication with the natural world, and appears to have carried on as an aspect of Celtic life.  The very last surviving relic of Celtic horse magic is found in hill figures, however, long after people stopped adopting their skins and heads.   Another surviving aspects are horse effigies, which are paraded through towns, sometimes known as an Oss.  The oss is accompanied by a man with a club called a Teazer, and his name suggests he teases the horse under and about its body with his club.

Some of these rites, or part of them at least were assimilated into Christianity, and St George absorbed many of the qualities of then horse god, and horses were even sacrificed to him.  And the Christian knights became riders of white steeds — as readily as other aspects were soaked up into Christianity — such as the brazen sun-disc and the festival of Christmas.

The horse as a pagan symbol was steadily unseated, and mounted by St George, St Margaret and St Michael, and the horse’s spectral association with both the apocalypse and the underworld — at least to Christians — was forgotten.

Communiqué 10







Communiqué 10
The Angry Brigade

Tesco Lager Experience

The Tesco lager was an almost translucent, yellow colour, with a good amount of carbonation and short-lived, white head. The immediate aroma was of floral hops with some grassy tones, followed by a little graininess, and some faint malt in the background.  Shortly after that I was flinging CDs across the room at Tadg, who was trying to play the trombone.

The Revival of Learning

Oh, himmin, Martha, I say Martha? Bring hence the most active hallucinogens, I feel a prophecy coming on … and lo, into the land of Tim'Bhoy, cometh the Lord of Radge callest To'sh and his Dark Companion Bobo, and there waxeth pish at Ba'a, and there is much wailing and rending of expensive replica garments, some in a criminally lurid green, calleth Sh'ell Suits. But muttering so that he alone doth understand, cometh again King Ke'enny to the land of Tim'Bhoy, and riddeth the place of the forces of Pish, unto the last Tombo'yd, and buyeth Scum from the English Second Division to replace them … and now Martha, ringeth oot a Pomegranate Supper and pass me the Scrolls, on which I have doodled this forenoon, there's a good quine …


The official PANATENDA video, shot in Jamaica.

Read more: Panatenda

The Black Death in Alba

I have always been drawn to this description of the Black Plague in Scotland from Andrew of Wyntoun.  Wyntoun was a Scottish poet, a canon and prior of Loch Leven on St Serf's Inch and later, a canon of St. Andrews.

Andrew Wyntoun is most famous for his Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, which contains an early mention of Robin Hood. A striking feature in this description of the plague is the reiteration of the fact that every historian and chronicler repeats about the Black Death, that when it raged, a third of the population died from it.  Actually, chroniclers in other countries have stated that anywhere between fifty and ninety percent of the population died.

Though the plague definitely hit Scotland in 1349, it seems to have been less damaging here than elsewhere, perhaps due to the harshness of the winter.  Although this changed in 1350, the plague does also seem to have had an effect on English and Scottish relations.

I think I am most drawn in this to the cute word 'barnys' - 'bairns' to you and me.  The Book of Pluscarden (Liber Pluscardensis) also talks of a third of the population being wiped out, so the figure must be fair.


In Scotland, the fyrst Pestilens
Begouth, off sa gret wyolens,
That it was sayd, off lywandf men
The thyrd part it destroyid then
Efftyr that in till Scotland
A yhere or more it was wedand
Before that tyme was never sene
A pestilens in our land sda kene:
Bathe men and barnys and women
It sparred noucht for to kille them.


An Invective


Read more: An Invective