Sam & Mark

A short story and a hello

Hey - there’s a lot going on - beyond the genocide - I got an amazing literary grant - feels good to be awarded free money for graft. Thank you. Particularly to Irvine Welsh and Geoff Nicholson for vouching me. And the establishment forces of Pen, Society of Authors, RS Literature, and such honourable, Nobel awarding, brilliance - Amazon and the TS Eliot Foundation chipped in. It’s to help me through this curve. (I once heard about Doris Lessing getting her Nobel, from a wonderful literary professor I used to prof with - who always paid for lunch - and Doris just wanted to be with her cats. How cool. How now. I’ve always been Outside. Until now.)

But really, T H A N K Y O U - gives me time to write without stressing the fuck out about being asked to work for free, every day, at car park apocalypto ground zero. I have friends in hospital atm - both working, and patients. It’s a horror show. Please be considerate - here’s something I did this week for #artofsocialdistancing

Go to to get a template - and paint your own feet, and put them in the window with the rainbows. Share them with Cold Lips - and I’ll share onwards.

I’m going to be spreading podcasts into the world this with - with the great doctor John Cooper Clarke and a series from Berlin.

STAY SAFE. Love. And thank you a million to the subscribers. x

I haven’t shared a story because I’ve been working on something longer - and also, we’re mourning the first year anniversary of Mark Gilroy tomorrow, the poet - and a post will go up on Cold Lips about that then.

But here’s a short story, to get you through the night. It was the first post I put up here - after the Tricky podcast - but hardly any of you seem to have seen it - and I like it.

With love, Kirsty x


'It’s good to feel better than other people, that’s why they did it,’ said Sam, reaching for his beer as the beachfire burned like the Notre Dame cathedral back in Paris, where he’d met Mark, his boyfriend. The sea an infinite black paradise, stars too far away to judge or label.  Everywhere was a red zone now.

‘What was he like like?’ asked Jamil, pulling on the Lebanese joint, finding it difficult to gauge the duration of how long Sam’s face had been melting like ice cream, a puddle chased by ants down the sand, rolling into the ocean of tears.  Days dripped into nights, and the air rapped to the distant sound of a chaos matrix which had forced everyone to find out who they really could be, if they could be bothered to look up and find out. Capabilities flashed like unwanted dick pics. Some people were really godly at panicking, some were good at getting guns, others were better at using guns.

Jamil's skillset had to adapt.

The skies intermittently lit-up with air strikes coming from the border, or they said it was the border, like they said about all borders - they were all policed by one force now, in light of the bioweapons.

 'It's just so brutal,' weeped Sam. ‘How they could do such a thing?'

Jamil was a hugger, and he consoled Sam the best he could, as an employee for someone who needed revenge.  It was a black market - as everything was if you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all these times were worse than an out of sync drum machine.  

'I want to fuck those guys up!’

‘Then that is what we will do.'

Dawn was on its way, so they got in the truck, drove through the carved shelter of the desert tunnels, and didn't need to talk.  They played Motörhead’s Greatest Hits, Deep Purple, and John Mayall.

Getting to the border, Jamil paid his bedouin brothers to pass, and they entered the no-man’s land of agriculture which all this particular tranche of Universal Basic Income receivers had selected as their 3 month in internment - the Organisers called them Wellbeing Tournaments. There were all kinds of warehouses which couldn’t be fully automated. It hadn’t seemed a bad trade. Sam’s blue eyes dilated with the returning scent of wettened growing tomatoes.  It was an intoxicating memory of he and Mark’s time together in the solar pod here.  And the reason they’d chosen this place, and this climate.  They both loved that smell, and freshly watered geraniums. 

Jamil put his gun down his belt as Sam guided him through the sand, beyond the artificial growing territory to the sunset view over the water, and the Organisers pods.

Sam checked the names on the address plates outside the tents, and none of the guys who had Last Exit To Brooklyned  Mark were there any more.  And data protection stopped you finding anyone.

That was the problem with this flattened system, reliable on binary blockchain economy of goods, where no one took responsibility, the three month contracts of power, which shifted in a lottery between all self-employed to prevent Corruption - it always lead to more

Kirsty Allison, London 2020

Written on a Smith + CORONA typewriter , scanned into Google Lens, re-edited on a phone.