Last week, like a little belated Christmas present, I received my first bad review.  I read it with a touch internal schadenfreude and kind of wished the author had been a slightly more scathing. As Sophie Ellis Bextor once told the NME in the last nineties, ‘I’d rather be Marmite than butter.’

There were a few things I disagreed with throughout the review, which I won’t list here – people are entitled to their own opinion (even if it is complete bullshit). And I must admit, it was quite fun having discovered I’d irritated someone I’d never met. But within it, I found a bigger issue, an issue that bugs me when I certain reviews – the reviewer trying to figure out the point of the piece, as though that validates it.

It’s art, dude, there is no point.

You take away from it what you will. If it makes you angry, great, if it makes you happy, even better. At least it elicited some sort of emotional response. But there was no conceited game plan when writing Pills, it was something that I had to write. And if you don’t understand shit like that, you don’t understand art.

Anyway, that’s your fill. Baby well, dog well. I’m still living in Australia. Was asked how I was liking Sydney after a year. I replied, ‘It’s a place, I suppose.’

But yeah, I’ve been writing again. Not with any particular point in mind. Just because I needed to. Maybe I’ll give you something new soon.

See ya.



  1. Years ago, I wrote a scathing review of a chick-lit novel set in Paris, an advance reader copy of which had been sent to me by the publisher’s PR agency. In my opinion it was riddled with cliches, including the names of all the main French characters. I was quite proud of my review, which I considered not only accurate but clever and funny. I was such a self satisfied little shit.

    Anyway, I forgot about the entire thing until many years later when I found myself being interviewed for a piece in national women’s magazine’s online edition. (Not a big deal; they were looking for several quotes from different sources. I may have been mentioned in one tiny sentence somewhere in the middle.) As I was talking to the journalist, I kept thinking that her name sounded so familiar, and it was only until the end of our chat that I remembered. She was the author of that novel! I was so surprised I blurted out the whole story, but she was so incredibly gracious about it. (Heck, my review was in my obscure Francophile blog, not the London Review so she’d never even heard of it, thank God.) Not only that but she offered to send me a copy of her latest novel, which landed in my mailbox just a few days later.

    As it turned out she said she knew her first novel wasn’t the best but she never gave up. She kept writing, kept learning, kept improving, kept persisting. She maintained her day job as a journalist but the novel she sent me was her FIFTH. Her fourth was a New York Times bestseller and a critically acclaimed book. Her fifth went on to great success as well.

    So moral of the story? You’re already doing it. Forget the reviewers. Write, write, write more, write always. Never stop making your art. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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