Category Archives: Winter

A black falling empty unfamous star: Jonesying – The End by Elizabeth Young

The late Elizabeth Young is one of my favourite writers and critics. Her journalism was published widely and her short stories have featured in various collections. This Christmas I thought I’d post a seasonal short story, an anti-Christmas story if you like, by her – Jonesying – The End, which includes,  some of my favourite lines ever:

“He turned up on Xmas Eve. I was feeling sorry for myself. I kept hearing that song on the radio, something like ‘So now it’s Xmas/And what have you done?’ (Fuck all.) It ends balefully – ‘the Xmas you get you deserve’ – so reassuring.”


“How does that hymn go? ‘Change and decay in all around I see …’
Right. I should get that methadone and some extra sleepers and come off. I know I should.

I’ll start tomorrow.”

Young was one of the most gifted literary critics and writers to emerge from the UK over the last 30 years. Very, very sadly she died of Hepatitis C at the age of 51 in 2001. Combining an extraordinarily fierce intellect with a filigree sensitivity, natural unforced writing talent and enormous breadth of literary knowledge. An elegant writer and perhaps too talented for this world.

A collection writing of most of her writing (but not, unfortunately, containing any of her fiction), Pandora’s Handbag, was published by Serpent’s Tail, posthumously, and it is a book that I highly recommend. It is a work of unassuming genius.

Pandora's Handbag – Adventures in the Book World by Elizabeth Young

Anyway, here is a short story by her: Jonesying – the End, Young’s mordant riposte to the other eponymous Miss Jones,  which was published in the Time Out Book of London Short Stories Volume Two, edited by Nicholas Royle (2000).

Her good friend, the writer Stewart Home, who Young described in Pandora’s Handbag, as being a “conceptual artist, installationist, theorist, novelist and all-round cultural terrorist”, wrote a very moving tribute to Young.

I realise that these jpgs  are possibly not the best way to present scans online, so I apologise in advance for the legibility, or otherwise, of these scans. If anyone would like me to email them my pdfs of the pages, please contact me.


Filed under 20th century writers, Art, Elizabeth Young, Literature, Poetry, Short stories, Short Story, UK fiction, UK short stories, Winter

Love in a Cold Climate – Happy Solstice, with a Snowflake from Heather Mae Jones

On these winter days, during Solstice – the dark tip into the end of the year, when the sun disappears and time slows down and closes in on itself, I often  listen to  Snowflake* by the singer and writer, Heather Mae Jones,  which reminds me very much of this season. A magisterial song,  full of deep meaning and resonance, layered with loss and longing, unrequited love, mourning and regret but qualified (redeemed?) by the fragility of hope – the echoes of which travel outwards and on and on.

From Snowflake:

“I could forgive you anything,

I’m not here to stand in your way,

I’m just struggling with the weather here and the short winter day.

What hell have I created here?

What was in this for me?

Suck it up baby,

well I know what your eyes are telling me.

When hope flies in on a plane from I don’t know where

She brings a snowflake and some sunshine and a feather for my hair.

I need a doctor and a politician to put a bandage on this incision.

Got to get over this need

Got to get over.”

As she says, suck it up baby. xxx

* The video shown on Heather’s myspace page is made by the brilliantly gifted film maker Dario Vigorito of 241-24-7

Heather Mae Jones aka H Jones x

Here is a small thing I wrote earlier this year about Heather (who I am lucky enough to count as a good friend, which I should declare now, I guess):

‘With her music having been variously described as possessing the lyrical sharpness of Patti Smith and of evoking Annie Oakley, Smith & Wesson, empty highways and empty beds, the Californian musician and songwriter, Heather Mae Jones has just released her first single, Midway City.

Originally from LA, and with impeccable rock n roll credentials, as a teenager Jones – then Heather Hiegel – was in the original line-up of Hole, before leaving to form The Hotshots with ex-Cramps bass player Candy Del Mar with Aaron Sperske of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti on drums. Jones has collaborated with with an range of LA musicians, including The Beachwood Sparks and Bobby Bones of Sky Parade and The Morlocks.

On her marriage to Jim Jones, she moved to London where she still resides with her son, Jude. Since her displacement here, and wishing to free herself from “the confines of a band situation”, she has been writing, performing and recording her solo material and has also learnt sound and music production.’

Follow Heather on Twitter at @Hjonesx

Insect Ball/Midway City cover image

Happy Holidays! Xxx

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Filed under Art, Dario Vigorito, FIlm, Heather Mae Jones, Literature, Music, Performance, Poetry, Winter