Midwinter Memorandum

Festive greetings from the snowy moortops. Seeing as I have spent most of the year either a) locked away writing b) moving house c) living out of a suitcase – I thought it was worth sharing some of the bits & pieces I have published this year if you are curious to know more…


I have set up a new shop page on Bookshop.org that contains links to all of my titles that are currently in print and available, plus a few books lists to whet the appetite such as Books of the Year and New Reads for 2022. Bookshop.Org is an online store for independent booksellers and authors in the UK that allows readers to order direct, thus letting us keep a healthy percentage of the sale instead of the dastardly Amazon!


‘Luxury Complex: New Faces in Hell’ is an essay on past-life regression, satanic panic and a hauntological group art show in Excavate!: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall. It’s quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written but had to reach the twisted depths of Mark E. Smith, H.P Lovecraft and the psychic realm to do the subject justice. It reads like a Fall LP sounds. Congratulations to editors Bob Stanley & Tessa Norton – Excavate! was Louder Than War’s #1 Book of the Year and was a Rough Trade, TimesMOJO, and Uncut Book of the Year. 


Stay Alive Till ’75 is an exclusive pocket-sized edition featuring ‘The Humber Star’ poem, and two memoir pieces (or perhaps auto-fiction) set on the fringes of a religious cult in a fading East Yorkshire seaside town. It has been designed & published by Cally Callomon and is available at Ration Books, alongside new writing by Bill Drummond and Benjamin Myers. Visit their website for further info.


Flashback: Parties for The People by The People is a fold-out publication from this year’s British Textile Biennial that tells the story of the infamous Blackburn Acid House parties. It contains a series of pamphlets including reportage, fiction, poetry and oral history by Alex Zawadzki, Anna Wood, Balraj Singh, Dorothy, Fergal Kinney & Jamie Holman. It also includes my anti-love story, ‘A Place Called Bliss’, a tale that revolves around the smalltown life of two friends and their doomed attempt to escape their daily drudge via the ecstatic promise of Blackburn’s legendary parties… in an Austin Allegro. You can order direct from Rough Trade Books

‘The Beautiful Game’ is a short story of football and shameful secrets that appeared in the debut edition of Ambit Pop (243) edited by Lias Saoudi. Copies are available via Ambit’s website


Sheffield’s Eccentronic Research Council have released a limited edition album soundtracking the recalled dreams (and nightmares) of friends, artists, actors, scientists, poets and filmmakers and a whole array of eccentrics and people with actual proper jobs. I was delighted to be asked to contribute a lockdown dream to this collection, it’s called ‘Adelle’s Dream’ (of course!)


If you subscribe to the Yorkshire Post, you can read some of my articles from the past year. If not, for just £1 you can purchase an Axate day pass (linked on the articles) and peruse everything in the YP’s online archive. Even the tightest Yorkshireman has to admit it’s a bargain! 

Todmorden: The Place for Good Music, Independent Shops & UFOs 

Ross Orton: Sound of Steel City 

Hebden Bridge: A Magical Town of Writers & Poets with an Independent Streak 

Andrea Dunbar: A Great Yorkshire Writer


I will be hosting an evening of Derek Jarman’s films at HOME on March 10thGlitterbug and The Queen is Dead will screen from 35mm prints. The event is part of Jarman at HOME: a retrospective of one of the most influential figures in contemporary British culture. 


Described by Rolling Stone as a “jaw-dropping rollercoaster”, Ten Thousand Apologies is a wild tragi-comic account of the life & times of Fat White Family. I have co-written it with Lias Saoudi – the band’s lead singer – and have spent the past 18 months of lockdown interviewing, researching, writing, and stitching together the band’s extraordinary story. Visit White Rabbit to pre-order a hardback. 


Some of you might have heard about The Gallows Pole, which is currently being adapted by Shane Meadows for BBC One. It has been a crazy few months up here in the hills, with a large cast sporting mullets, clogs and mucky faces. It is mindblowing to see how this local story of the Cragg Vale Coiners, dreamt up by Ben in our old Mytholmroyd attic, is being transformed for the screen. Following an open casting call involving 6,500 self-submitted videos, the show will also feature an ensemble of first-time actors from the area. It’s true, summat wicked this way comes…

Portico Prize in The New Review

Anita Sethi has interviewed six shortlisted writers (including myself) for this year’s Portico Prize for the Observer New Review… with portrait photographs by Richard Saker (this one was taken in Mytholmroyd on a cold, blustery December afternoon)

‘Do writers in the north have to work harder to get published? Is there a northern aesthetic? We talk to the six authors shortlisted for the Portico prize – AKA the “Booker of the north”‘

Eight Days Left

Eight Days Left is a new short story commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Art Gallery in response to the Martin Parr Return to Manchester exhibition. It was performed in the Gallery on Wednesday 5th December as part of the 2018 Manchester Literature Festival. The story, which is inspired by one day in the life of a Salford funeral director, is now available to read at Manchester Review. An audio version can be heard on Soundcloud…

The Short, Reckless Life of Andrea Dunbar: Black Teeth Reviewed in The Spectator

There’s a fantastic review of Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Andy Miller in this week’s Spectator:

“Stripe’s novel mixes fiction and biography in a manner that brings to mind the work of the late Gordon Burn. It fizzes like two Disprin in a pint of cider. The author’s voice and Dunbar’s mingle to create not just a portrait of an artist — funny, mischievous, reckless and truthful — but also divisions of class, geography and opportunity which continue to shape this country. You can read it in an afternoon and should; there are too few British novels as effervescent or as relevant as this.”