Jon Dee Graham

It was the final weekend of SXSW and the good weather had finally broken. There’s a great club high up South Congress called C-Boys. They have a sponsored festival (ie everything free to enter, tips only) called the Soco Stomp, a five-day, 50-band live music extravaganza with room for several hundred in the parking lot behind and maybe 150 in the club, where I’d just been watching Charlie Sexton’s band, Mystic Knights Of The Sea, with Ray Wylie Hubbard guesting. The main appeal of seeing SXSW shows is discovering new music, and, anyway, it was raining out. I bought another beer and waited to see who came on next. A grizzly bear of a man appeared and began teasing the sound guys about the length…

On Serendipity. Bob Dylan in New Orleans, April 1, 2024

1978. My first full year at University, during which I spoke to Tennessee Williams, at the press conference for the an initially ill-fated play called Vieux Carre, at Nottingham Playhouse. I didn’t get to speak to Bob Dylan, who I’d loved since I was seven. But I did get to see him, not once but twice, on the opening night at Earls Court (having queued overnight for tickets) and the picnic at Blackbushe. I thought these might be my only chance to see Dylan, who toured so rarely, but there were at least thirteen more to come. I never thought I’d visit the setting for Williams’ play, but here I am in New Orleans, staying in Vieux Carre, and tomorrow I plan to visit the building…

Where You’ll Find Me

Anybody who came here looking for my annual best songs of the year blog posts will, I’m afraid, be disappointed. The best of year compilations that I put together with my partner, Sue, who died in June, won’t be carrying on. I might do a playlist this year, and I might write about it. Or I might not. Everything, as they say, is still up in the air, and I shan’t begin to make any long term decisions until the summer, after I return from my long-delayed fellowship in the Ransom Center, Austin, where I will conclude research on my novel about Graham Greene’s four months in Nottingham, which I hope to publish in late 2025. In the meantime, if you’re interested in my current…

Sue Dymoke: poet, teacher, partner: 1962-2023.

My partner Sue died five weeks ago today. I’m not ready to write about her at length – I’ll be writing the introduction to her final collection of poetry, What to do Next, which she completed in April, when I feel up to it. However I know that people will come to this website looking for information, so here’s some. Our dear friend David Almond has written Sue’s obituary for The Guardian, and done a beautiful job. Thanks also to Graham Lester George, who snapped the accompanying photo, which captures Sue so well, while we were chatting in our garden not so very long ago. There have been an overwhelming number of tributes on facebook and twitter, capturing what a huge influence Sue had on…

Stanley Middleton, Peter Porter, Martin Amis (& me).

Martin Amis was the only contemporary novelist that my late friend Stanley Middleton kept up with. I tuned in with ‘Other People’ and greatly enjoyed ‘Money’, went off him with ‘London Fields’ but really liked ‘The Information’. I didn’t get on with ‘Night Train’ or ‘Time’s Arrow’ (a gimmick that worked when I first read it as a short story but didn’t at novella length). I decided to give up on him after the execrable ‘Yellow Dog’ but Stan persuaded me to read ‘House of Meetings’ and it was really good. I avoided ‘Lionel Asbo’ as, regardless of his much imitated yet unique high style, it looked dreadful. Much of the non-fiction, of course, is terrific, though the auto-fiction in his final ‘novel’, Inside Story,…