All posts by lbloom

The Weaver Of Balliguish

In this district, there are few that can match the fame and eminence of the Weaver of Balliguish. Ask any member of the public and they will speak of him in hushed tones of adoration and respect.

Renowned for his remorseless work ethic, his creations once decorated every tavern and watering hole in the locality, yet there are none that could pick him out from a lineup, much less claim to know him.

The textiles he has produced are legendary, but sadly there are hardly any examples remaining in this quarter, the majority long since exported abroad or destroyed through the carelessness and general desuetude of the local folk here.

Credit: DeepAI

Despite this, the weaver’s reputation as an artist grows ever stronger, his designs the stuff of fable. Even the loom he works on is exalted, held up as an exemplar of craftsmanship.

Hand-built in Italy many aeons ago, the loom is said to be tremendously intricate, comprising countless components that are no longer available. Lovingly fashioned by a team of Florentine craftsmen, this vast apparatus was sanded, polished and varnished in a different era, when pride was commonplace.

The weaver keeps it positively glowing through the application, daily, of a special wax. This in itself is no mean feat considering the size of the loom, which is, in every direction, excessive.

It takes up the whole of the poor weaver’s house, leaving him scant room for bed or living quarters, and forcing him to sleep amongst a nest of threads and fibres. He is, of course, usually far too engrossed in his work to notice, but still it cannot be good for his health.

Credit: Dall-E

Many people underestimate the weaving trade, they do not understand the precision necessary to plait each subliminally different shade of thread, one to the other, and then to do this over and over again, joining hundreds, thousands, millions of threads together in an apparently random way, only to stand back and find, suddenly, the most sublime of patterns.

These people, these cynics, patronisingly tend to think of weavers as mere artisans, never artists. They say weaving is a livelihood fit only for the peasant folk and in some cases, no doubt, they might be right, but the carpets woven by this weaver are quite different.

They stand alone as almost perfect specimens of the craft and all who see them marvel at the vivid, lifelike colours. His early creations, it’s true, were rudimentary, and many of those from his middle period do not display the same attention to detail or level of craftsmanship as his finest work, but there is really no denying that, now, in this later phase of his career, he is without equal.

For it is now that he is in the midst of tackling his bravest work yet, his magnum opus, a weave unlike any attempted before, a colossal undertaking.

This new work sees him glued almost constantly to his loom, slaving away endlessly. With this latest design, he has pushed his practice in a radical new direction, seeking new forms, incorporating patterns within patterns in a fractal of near-invisible threads.

Credit: DeepAI

He has created whole areas that replicate his old designs such that the overall appearance is that of an organism growing ever outward. An organism that is now so vast that there is only one edge of it visible. The edge along which he works day and night, deftly ducking and diving. Adding a thread here or snipping one away.

To the outsider, it is impossible to tell the shape or purpose of this vast task. All one can do is place their trust in his vision. Believe in the great mystery.

But sadly, this important work may never be completed, for of late a malady has taken over the poor weaver and it seems the task he has set himself is far greater than his feeble body will allow.

He continues with his toil but, at times, a black look overtakes him and it appears his heart is no longer in his work. What is there to do? Could what was once such a joy to him have become a burden?

Day in, day out, he grinds on, for he can no more stop weaving than he can stop breathing in this world, and yet it brings him no comfort, for he knows that after he is gone all these heaps of half-finished fabric will amount to nothing more than unwanted threads, slowly unravelling.

An early morning walk

Again, I find myself walking down that particular stretch of pavement. It leads vaguely towards the centre of town. A place I haven’t been for many years. Not if I can help it in any case. Too many dangers. Too many triggers. Out here, the air is somewhat fresher. I tell myself that’s the reason. I check the clock on my mobile again but it is still far too early. A dog barks three times. Its owner no doubt still asleep. As are most people out here. Sleeping, dreaming. A man appears from a doorway.

Let me help you he says.

I back off, irritated, telling him I don’t need any help. He stops, respectfully. Smiling very slightly with the corners of his mouth.

I am just out for a walk, enjoying the morning air, I say.

He sniffs the air suspiciously, as if detecting a bad odour. I shuffle awkwardly, indicating the long pavement ahead with a nod. He just smiles his tired smile again, a slight frown furrowing his brow at the same time.

I don’t need any assistance, I repeat.

The man moves to one side. The pavement stretches out into the distance and I find myself sniffing at the bad smelling air. I long to be back in the city. It has been a long time. Too long really, when I think about it. All the circumstances in between. Piled up on top of each other like disused garden furniture in winter. And what is life other than a series of circumstances, one after the other, in any case? The dog again barks three times. His frown has gone now as he towers over me.

If we can’t help each other what then, the man says, what then.

Image credit: Ivars

Prototype 2 / Unsound Methods Anakana Schofield

So it seems I’ve not posted on here for a while and having made it halfway through 2020 and finally managed to log back in it seems a good time to share a couple of pieces of news.

Anthology 2

First up, I’m delighted to have a short piece featured in Prototype 2, the second issue of the annual anthology from Prototype Publishing.

Founded in East London in 2019, Protoype is a multi-disciplinary press that publishes poetry / prose / interdisciplinary projects run by Jess Chandler. It was established to continue and develop the work begun by art press Test Centre. Check out their catalogue here:

Unsound Methods Ep 32

We have reached episode 32 of Unsound Methods already and this month it was a pleasure to chat with Anakana Schofield. Anakana spoke to us remotely from Vancouver and we had a great discussion about working through Christmas, the agony of the cereal packet copy-writer, and the right to life amongst other things

We have some exciting partnership news from Unsound Methods coming soon so stay tuned for more.

It feels surreal to be halfway through 2020 already but fingers-crossed that Part II of the year is a little brighter.

Unsound Methods Episode 17 – Eimear McBride

eimear mcbrideThe first episode of Unsound Methods in 2019 is up now and this month we are delighted to be joined for a second time by Eimear McBride.

In episode 12 we spoke to Eimear alongside Noémi Lefebvre but we didn’t have much time to speak to them before that evening’s event, so Eimear was kind enough to come to the studio for a more extended chat.

Among other subjects in this episode we discuss Eimear’s process, experimental fiction and the role of the novel in modern life.

Eimear’s debut novel, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, won the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize in 2013 and the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Thanks again to Eimear for her generosity with her time.

If you enjoy listening do add a review on iTunes. Find us on twitter @UnsoundMethods

In conversation with Eimear McBride – Unsound Methods 17

A great pleasure  to be joined for a second time by Eimear McBride on Unsound Methods.

In episode 12 we spoke to Eimear alongside Noémi Lefebvre but we didn’t have much time to chat before that evening’s event, so Eimear was kind enough to come to the studio for a more extended chat.

Among other subjects in this episode we discuss Eimear’s process, experimental fiction and the role of the novel in modern life.

Eimear’s debut novel, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, won the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize in 2013 and the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Thanks again to Eimear for her generosity with her time.

If you enjoy listening do add a review on iTunes. Find us on twitter @UnsoundMethods

Unsound Methods Ep. 12: Noémi Lefebvre and Eimear McBride

Noémi Lefebvre eimear mcbride

After a bit of a break over the summer Unsound Methods is back with a couple of bonus episodes, recorded at the Beyond Words Festival at the Institut Francais earlier in the year.

We sat down with Noémi Lefebvre, the author of ‘Blue Self-Portrait’  and Eimear McBride, author of ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ and ‘The Lesser Bohemians’. It was hot, and there was a lot of noise in the street, so the sound is not 100%, but we found it very interesting to speak to both writers about the similarities and differences in their approaches.

We caught Noémi and Eimear just before they went on stage, so this is a brief chat. At times Noémi preferred to speak in French, so we have included the translations from her interpreter Axelle Oxborrow in this audio.

The Institut Francais have kindly shared the audio of the event that followed, which will be released a few days after this one as a bonus episode.

Thanks to: Nicci Praca, Cecile Menon, Sophie Lewis (who hosted the event), Axelle Oxborrow (translation) and Lucie Campos.

Blue Self-Portrait available from Les Fugitives:
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Galley Beggar Press/Faber)
The Lesser Bohemians’ (Faber)


Unsound Methods Ep. 11: Olga Tokarczuk and Jennifer Croft

In the latest episode of Unsound Methods we speak to the winner of the Man Booker International prize 2018 Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft.

man booker international 2018

Olga and Jennifer were joint winners of the prize for the translated version of Olga’s book Bieguni (Flights) and we caught up with them two days after their win to discuss the whirlwind of literary prize-winning, composing constellation novels, suppressing your first published book, and the challenges of translating fiction.

The superb ‘Flights’; is out now on @FitzcarraldoEds –

You can find Jennifer on twitter: @jenniferlcroft

Photo credit: Janie Airey

Unsound Methods episodes round-up

A quick update with some of the most recent episodes of Unsound Methods. We are now approaching episode 10 so thought it was time for a quick round-up of the last few…


Ep 06 Alex Pheby

Alex Pheby is author of  ‘Grace’ (Two Ravens Press), ‘Playthings’ and the forthcoming ‘Lucia. We talk about having different editing and writing persona, blending fiction with historical research when you are writing about real characters, hitting 3,000 words a day and whether it’s rational to have any faith in an external reality.



Ep 07 Daniel Levin Becker

Daniel Levin Becker is a member of the OuLiPo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or ‘Workshop for potential literature’). Daniel talks to us about the attraction of writing with constraints, his journey to France and the Oulipo and gives us a flavour of how the group operates (including a membership cancellation policy that Mark Zuckerberg can only dream of).



Ep 08 Will Eaves

Will was Arts Editor of The Times Literary Supplement from 1995 to 2011 and his work has been short-listed for the Goldsmiths Prize, the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry and the BBC National Short Story Award. We discuss his approach to structuring a novel, turning notes into a finished work, working with a small press and capturing the dream-like state of the unconscious in prose.



Ep 09 Paddy Langley

Patrick Langley is the author of Arkady from Fitzcarraldo Editions.With a background in art criticism and radio production, Paddy talks to us about drafting and structuring a work, finding inspiration from the urban backwaters of London and the problem with building elaborate memory palaces…



As always head over to to subscribe and get the latest episodes as they come out.

Unsound Methods Episode 05: Esther Kinsky

This week we speak to Esther Kinsky, recent winner of the Leipziger Buchmesse Prize and author of River from Fitzcarraldo Editions.

We talk about the interplay between memory and writing, turning notes into art, the linguistic acrobatics of multilingualism and trying to apprehend the gap between sensation and the experience of language.

River is available in English:

Follow Fitzcarraldo Editions on twitter: @FitzcarraldoEds

Details on the Leipziger Buchmesse Prize:


Follow us @unsoundmethods or

Update Description

Unsound Methods Episode 04: Michael Stewart

In episode 04 of the podcast we speak to Michael Stewart, author of the novels King Crow and Cafe Assassin and the collections Couples and Mr Jolly.

We discuss performing plays in prisons, how dialogue decides form, the explosion of indie publishers in Northern England, and how to escape if you’re locked in a shop with a stranger…

Michael’s latest novel Ill Will is published by HarperCollins imprint HQ Stories and is out today –

To listen to the podcast head to:

King Crow and Cafe Assassin are both published by Bluemoose Books –’

Both collections by Valley Press –

You can follow Michael on Twitter @headspam

Follow us @unsoundmethods or