NCTJ-qualified journalist, writer and travel photographer. Part-time vagabond, full-time grumpy arse. Web: jamesgarside.net Substack: jamesgarside.substack.com

All writers are gaijin

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Photo by Krys Amon on Unsplash

As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a gaijin. Gangster, I meant Gangster. But, you see, I’m gaijin. I’ve always been gaijin. And I think it’s about time that all writers claimed the word gaijin as their own.

Gaijin is a Japanese word that literally means ‘outside person.’ According to my Japanese tutor Gaijin is the polite and proper way to refer to a foreigner. In truth the polite way is gaikokujin; which has the connotations of ‘welcome guest’ or ‘welcome foreigner’ — literally ‘polite form’ ‘outside person.’ And according to my Japanese speaking friends Gaijin is often used as a racist slur against non-Japanese and has many negative connotations. Don’t believe me? …


A love letter to music from a misanthrope

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Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Where is this relationship going?

Every love relationship that I’ve ever had has been outlived by the love of the music that I was introduced to through them.

Sometimes I feel like the only reason I got into relationships was so that I could go through their music collections and dig out the really good stuff.

Whether it’s Nick Drake, Hole, Skinny Puppy, Pavement, Type O Negative, PJ Harvey, Ben Harper, or Madrugada. I’m grateful to the lovers who got me into this great music — but I’m glad I’m no longer in a relationship with them.

Who says love is always a good thing? Anything that makes you appreciate the music of Chris de Burgh has got to be morally suspect. …


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Photo by Namphuong Van on Unsplash

“Allow. Allow whatever is in the moment to be there. It is what it is. Once you begin observing and allowing, you’ll notice how often you resist the moment you are in. That resistance keeps you in your head and out of the present.” — Claudette Rowley

Angels shout and laugh in all my dreams.

They watch as I sleep and say things
to wake me up at certain points.

Outside the sky is steel grey
and the clouds are laden with snow.

On top of a building a solitary
red light glares out like a beacon in the mist.

I wonder who it is trying to warn.

James Garside is an independent journalist and writer. Follow him on Medium, subscribe to his publication, and chat with him on Twitter.


The comprehensive cheat sheet that I’ve used to teach people, organizations, and companies on how to use Twitter effectively.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I can teach you everything you need to know about Twitter with a story about three witches. It gives you a framework for understanding which Twitter strategies are most effective. I’ve Twitter trained individual writers, journalists, and artists. I’ve provided internal staff training to charities and managed the Twitter accounts of businesses, third-sector organizations, and creative industries. I’ve also over 15,000 followers on my personal Twitter account so I must be doing something right. Here’s a guide to get you started, some tips and tricks, and that all-important story.

WHAT IS TWITTER?

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Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

Twitter is a Conversation

Imagine a party to which everyone in the world is invited. People talk to each other, some louder than others, and you’re more than welcome to join in. You can talk about anything with anyone — just try not to bore the other guests.

FIRST STEPS

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Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

Get Started

  • Sign up for an account: twitter.com/signup
  • Download the official Twitter apps for your computer, tablet or phone
  • The quickest way to learn how to use Twitter is by doing it so jump right in

@ Username

  • Your username is who you are on Twitter
  • People use it to tweet @ you, talk to you, and talk about you
  • Use your real name, company name or something sensible like…


Poetry Sunday

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Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Christianity is a finger pointing at the moon
Islam is a finger pointing at the moon
Hinduism is a finger pointing at the moon
Buddhism is a finger pointing at the moon
Sikhism is a finger pointing at the moon
Judaism is a finger pointing at the moon
Science is — ooh, look — a hand!

James Garside is an independent journalist and writer. You can follow him on Medium and chat with him on Twitter.


How to gain followers like a money-grabbing sociopath

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Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

I’m probably going to regret this.

People say the stupidest shit on Medium about how to do it right, make all sorts of assumptions about the people who do things differently, and basically crap on other writers at every opportunity. Especially when it comes to the Medium Partner Program. I’m sick to the back teeth of it.

Should I reply to them, write about it, or keep my trap shut? I ask for a friend. Actually, I asked on Twitter. They said I should write about it. So blame them. I also replied to one such post. Then I regretted it and wished I’d just written a post about it instead. …


Poetry Sunday

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Photo of Allen Ginsberg by Michiel Hendryckx

[For Allen Ginsberg]

As the light burned down, Allen Ginsberg died
In a time with no difference between
Heaven and Hell. Angels on his mouth cried
And gristle butterflies scratched out a scream.

In a time with no difference between
Genius/Madness, his chrysalis split
And gristle butterflies scratched out. A scream
Of life in junk-rattle ruins blessed it.

Genius/Madness: his chrysalis-split-
Words. Purged on down to his last pure moment
Of life. In junk-rattle ruins, blessed it
Rose to reverberate, made them consent.

Words purged on down to his last. Pure moment
Beat scaly wings. Waste spiralled down. …


Comment

It’s not satire when you mean it, stupid

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Photo by Tom Roberts on Unsplash

Sexism isn’t sexy or satirical

I want to talk about when everyday sexism gets passed off as satire on the internet. But I don’t want to get chewed out about it because life’s too short.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The names have also been changed to protect the guilty — most likely from themselves.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. About three months ago to be exact. Mr Butt Hurt wrote a nasty piece about women on an online publishing platform called Tedium.

The article’s title was: ‘How to make it on the female dominated Tedium.’ …


A poem by James Garside

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I didn’t realise
You were there until
I saw you snatch and
Snap your grubby claw.

Your shuffles invite
Me to look at you.
Others scuttle while
You sit, still moving,

Red wet glistening,
Listen awkward in
Your shell. Can you tell
I am watching?

I sit in my place.
The whisper is you choose
Something to your taste
From what’s on display.

Now you shy away,
Camouflaged by the
Rest. You crawl among
More dinner guests:

The crabby one,
The little shrimp,
The old trout,
The wet fish,

My mind is made up.
I think fish thoughts,
Aiming loud at your
Blood coloured head. …


From someone who worked in publishing

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

A Rough Guide to Literary Agents

How do you get published?

Write a good novel.

How do you get an agent?

Write a good novel.

But what about self-publishing?

Write. A. Good. Novel.

Write the best novel you can. Then make it better. Don’t even bother thinking about agents or publishers until you’re done.

Good to go? Ready to contact publishers? You need an agent.

  • An agent is a necessary go-between. They’re the spokesperson for the author in negotiations.
  • Don’t approach publishers directly, you’ll end up on the slushpile. Get yourself an agent.
  • When writing to them, to gain their interest, remember to say where you studied and your publication track record. If you have experience that’s relevant to the book you’re pitching, also mention that. …

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