DIRTY OLD TOWN is the debut collection from the prize-winning writer Nigel Bird. His brilliantly observed slices of life allow us to visit places we may not normally choose to enter and to walk a few miles in the shoes of others. Though his tales have darkness at their core, they are also full of a heart and spirit that one rarely finds in the world or ‘noir’ or ‘crime-writing’. There are 8 stories here: Drinking Wine (Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee); Dirty Old Town; Sea Minor; Sisterhood; One Hundred And Ten Per Cent; Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight); Three Little Birds; and Silver Street. Each will remain with you for days after you’ve read it. Some will be around for weeks. In this collection we meet a frustrated housewife who needs to let her hair down; an elderly school janitor who can’t see the wood for the trees; a group of Muslims intent on revenge; a young girl whose father has just left home; a father and son breaking-and-entering partnership; a young man working on a city farm; and a pimp who’s fallen in love. All of them struggle to meet life’s demands and some of them cope better than others. Five of the stories here have been published by the highly respected editors of The Reader Magazine, A Twist Of Noir, Beat To A Pulp, Title Fights, Static Movement and Dark Valentine. The collection also includes two pieces that are being given their first outing and another that was put together put for the Big Beat From Badsville's Ramones series. In 2010 Nigel Bird was the winner of the prestigious Watery Grave Invitational competition hosted by the Drowning Machine. Since then he has gone on to win the Things I’d Rather Be Doing fairytale/crime-story competition. ‘Taking A Line For A Walk’, included here, was listed among the top 5 stories of 2010 by Bill Hayes and Naomi Johnson over at Death By Killing. Praise for Nigel Bird and his work includes: 'It won't take long to realise he is also one of the best writers out there on the noir scene' Ian Ayris (Abide With Me) ‘A rare talent.’ Allan Guthrie (Bye Bye Baby, Hard Man, Slammer) ‘So nice to read a story with this much heart in it.’ Patti Abbott (Discount Noir, Pattinase) ‘Absolutely brilliant.’ Richard Godwin (Apostle Rising) ‘Great Stuff.’ Charlie Stella (Charlie Opera, Johnny Porno) ‘Brilliantly razor-sharp, jagged slice of life.’ Paul D Brazill (ubiquitous, You Would Say That Wouldn’t You) ‘I sought out everything I could from him. I dare you to read and not do the same.’ Chris F Holm (8 Pounds) ‘Took my breath away...Powerful.’ Kathleen A Ryan (Playing With Matches, Women Of Mystery) ‘Nigel Bird continues to amaze,’ Naomi Johnson (The Drowning Machine)
45 years. It's been a long journey. I've been a primary school teacher for almost half of them, moving from mainstream to exceptional needs to additional support needs. I'm most happy with and most proud of my own family. Second to them comes my involvement in writing and peripheral projects. I co-edited the Rue Bella magazine for 5 years or so and am mighty proud of that too. Recently I've been more involved with writing my own pieces. I've been lucky enough to find spaces for some of my work and I'm hoping that one day I'll write a novel that's worthy of publication. I've given up gambling, alcohol, smoking and any kind of unnatural highs over the past few years and am looking for a new compulsion - maybe I've found it in Twitter. Yep, 45 years. I haven't always known it, but I've been a very lucky man.
‘An Arm And A Leg’ to be included in Britain’s Best Crime Stories edited by Maxim Jakubowski.
‘Hoodwinked’ to be put up at All Due Respect.
‘No Pain, No Gain’ due for publication in Crime Factory
I began my blog Sea Minor earlier this year and have been running the extremely successful series of interviews ‘Dancing With Myself’.
selected as one of Chris Holmes’ top 5 stories of the year with ‘Beat On The Brat’ at the Death By Killing Blog.
selected as one of Naomi Johnson’s top 5 stories of the year with ‘Taking A Line For A Walk’ at the Death By Killing Blog.
selected as one of John Kenyon’s top 5 stories of the year with ‘Beat On The Brat’ at the Death By Killing blog (also including Ray Banks, David Zeltserman, Chris Holm and Kieran Shea).
selected as one of AY Hayes’ top 5 stories of the year with ‘Taking A Line For A Walk’ at the Death By Killing Blog.
Interview over at Chinwag At The Slaughterhouse (by Richard Godwin)
(Forthcoming in December 2010: ‘11 Pipers Piping’ at Dark Valentine’s blog
‘Into Thin Air’ to be part of and Untreed Reads holiday anthology.)
‘Mind Your Step’ in MiCrow Magazine (editor Michael j Solender)
‘Taking A Line For A Walk’ at Beat To A Pulp
‘La Ronde’ posted as part of Patti Abbott’s La Ronde series.
‘Merry Christmas I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight’ posted on my blog as part of Donna Moore’s Ramones themed collection.
My review of The Hound Of Culan (Requiems For The Departed) at Spinetingler Magazine
‘Sugar And Spice’ at A Twist Of Noir
‘Siver Street’ at Dark Valentine Magazine (summer 2010)
‘Drinking Wine (Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee)’ at A Twist Of Noir
Beat On The Brat in Needle Magazine summer 2010
‘Sisterhood’ at A Twist Of Noir’
‘Drinking Wine (Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee)’ in Caught By Darkness (Static Movement)
‘Beat On The Brat’ wins the ‘Watery Grave Invitational’ competition at The Drowning Machine (last year’s winner Hilary Davidson author of The Damage Done)
‘Suture’ at Pulp Metal
‘An Arm And A Leg’ in Crimepree Magazine.
Interviewed for Spinetingler’s Coversations With The Bookless series.
‘Sea Minor’ in The Reader Magazineread more
Reviews forDirty Old Town (And Other Stories)
Just from story one "Taking a Line for a Walk" I know this collection is going to take turns making me chuckle and sucker punching me in the gut. From the fellow who wrote "Beat on the Brat," 9 more tales with heart. From heartbreakers like "Sea Minor" to good laughs like "Three Little Birds" (if you have a sick sense of humor like me) this collection of fine stories is worth your while. Nigel is known in crime fiction circles, but these city tales shouldn't be pigeonholed. Full of emotion, they run the gamut and reminded me of Dubliners in how as a whole, they give a picture to the Dirty Old Town he lives in. 5/5read more
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This short volume consists of nine stories, most depressing, all fairly well-written. Actually, calling them stories probably paints the wrong picture. While things do happen and event follows event, they seem contrived to arrive at a certain point and leave you with a certain feeling. There is an art in that, and Bird does it pretty well a couple of times, but overall this just wasn't my cup of tea. You may like it better. I'm not opposed to downbeat stories, but they need a little more complexity than Bird brings to them.read more
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