M. John Harrison, ‘Wish I Was Here’ (Serpent’s Tail, 2023)

This delightful, insightful, stubbornly peculiar “anti-memoir” by Mike Harrison is my book of the year so far; I can’t see anything overtaking it, frankly.

The writing is as luminously sui generis and haunting as his best work, although there’s so much in that category to render the superlative clumsy. Wish I Was Here is also fictively tricksy, memory standing in for the undeniable, unreliable narrator, the weight of evidence such that each of us is essentially no more than palimpsest, dense overlays of misrememberings and dismemberings. Perhaps it’s a book about writing, about not writing, about an escape to and from writing: I don’t really know, and don’t need to know; I just absolutely loved its brilliance and its ghosts.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the author at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this coming August.

Wish I Was Here was published by Serpent’s Tail in the UK in May 2023.

Psammomancy booklet & CD


Fine sand is poured from a pouch,
trickled onto a tray or table,
fingertips are used to find figures,
tracing, erasing, effacing, shaping . . .

The mysterious art of sand reading explored in text by Mark Valentine and music by Brian Lavelle, with black and white photography by Jo Valentine.


This collaborative project is published in February 2018 by Seacliff Press, a small press Mark and I have established. There’s a Twitter account here for occasional news items.

Professionally printed 16 page booklet with professionally duplicated CD. Limited to 120 numbered copies, of which 100 only are for sale.

Psammomancy is available from Mark direct: contact markl [dot] valentine [at] btinternet [dot] com, removing spaces and replacing the words in brackets with characters.
(Note, the fifth character is the letter ell not the number one.)


Language of Objects book & CD

Language of Objects - front coverLanguage of Objects: a new book and CD by Murdo Eason of the Fife Psychogeographical Collective and me, Brian Lavelle.

Language of Objects: a 58 page professionally printed book in full colour inside and out, accompanied by a glass mastered CD with a separate download code. Text and images are by Murdo; sound by me; cover design by Vincent Pacheco. The CD contains a new 28 minute composition—Sullen Charybdis, the Blue of Scarabs—which is my response to the imagery in the book.

Language of Objects: published on 14 September 2017 by Blind Roads Press, our collaborative imprint.

The book/CD is available for £10.99 plus postage and can be ordered here.


Technical details
Paperback, 58pp, full colour, 148 x 210mm, perfect bound
300gsm cover, 120gsm interior
Glass mastered CD
Edition of 100 copies
Published 14 September 2017
ISBN 978-1-9997718-0-5