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30 December 1982
... How perfect they are without your help, these limited editions. How even in winter they seem to shine when you see them, marching ahead of you, dead set on something. Their breasts toss things to porters, who bow. Their knees touch as they get down into cars. They look so interesting in their savage furs you can’t imagine their parents or their homes or whether their beds have turn-downs. Do they ...

Four Poems

Hugo Williams

2 November 2006
... Introduction HugoWilliams sits looking somewhat cowed and apprehensive in the tea rooms of the Waldorf Hotel. His appearance, dark, formal suit and tie, silk handkerchief arranged for show in his breast pocket, makes him look ...


Hugo Williams

15 August 1991
... I was waiting outside my local 24hr Photoprint Services, all unsuspecting of the fate shuffling towards me on the mini-lab auto-printer. I was flicking through the usual haul of barely recognisable ‘Memories in Colour’, when I found myself face to face with something altogether nearer the truth and a wave of inexpressible sadness, or gladness, swept over me. I realised too late I was drifting helplessly ...


Hugo Williams

3 December 1992
... The lights come up, the stage is bare, the audience goes on sitting there, row upon row of gleaming teeth, set in expressions of dutiful mirth for something they have now forgotten. Someone has spilled an ice-cream cone from the balcony onto someone’s head. It trickles down over his forehead and from there down into his lap. We see the smile fade from his lips, the lips fade from his mouth, the mouth ...

Two Poems

Hugo Williams

8 December 1988
... Poetry Ten, no, five seconds after coming all over the place too soon, I was lying there wondering where to put the line-breaks in. Creative Writing Trying to persuade about fifteen Creative Writing students (Poetry) to put more images into their work, I was fiddling in my pocket with an old contraceptive packet, put there at the start of the course and long since forgotten about. If you don’t mind ...

Two Poems

Hugo Williams: At Home

21 March 2002
... My News Now that the sun has made it over the tops of the opposite houses, flaring through the wrecks of wallflowers and marguerites, the seeds from giant purple flowers spiral up over the graves of the chrysanthemums, one-winged sycamore planes revolve on their axes down through the air. A slight breeze knocks the bell heather. Sun wobbles in the bird mirror. The green shed is humming. The bare red ...


Hugo Williams

24 September 1992
... Sex’ seems to be a word that most people understand, so there is a fair chance that the woman will understand what the man is getting at when he mentions the subject. Perhaps he is finding difficulty getting into the passage and it may be necessary to ask why. Perhaps she is dry because there is no natural lubricant for the penis, or perhaps she is very tense and unable to accept him. It may be ...

No Chance of Sunday

Hugo Williams

26 January 2006
... I had an idea that would have made everything all right. I outlined a case that was ‘screamingly funny’. No chance of Sunday, I’m afraid. But wait, there may be. I’ll never forget my face when I came home unexpectedly. Little imitation things were spread out on the floor. I had an idea that would have made everything all right. Supposing something bad happened and I had to be unhappy? Old people ...

A New Country

Hugo Williams

19 October 2016
... Do you drop things? Do you trip and hurl cups of tea ahead of you, going upstairs? Do your possessions have a life of their own in which they dither idiotically on your fingertips, then make a sudden leap? In a flash they find their new home in a dark corner of your room, a distant country. Your face turns red and your head swells up like a balloon as you make yourself bow down. You see your own ...

TV Times

Hugo Williams

28 June 2017
... The gradual disappearance of one familiar face after another, to Manchester, or Ibiza, or the ominous-sounding ‘New Zealand’, fills the screen with ghosts, who seem to exist in happier times. The reason for their absence, on holiday, or honeymoon, or merely ‘steering clear of the Filth’ in Southend or the Algarve, seems fair enough at the time and the story carries on without them. But ...

After Midnight

Hugo Williams

6 May 2015
... It was an old book about crime detection, with pictures of murders and the places where they were committed, including street plans showing you how to get there. You were supposed to solve the murders then fill in the answers in boxes. It was like looking for the partner to a rhyme and not being able to find one. As I struggled with my deductions I kept losing my place in the narrative, or being ...

A Bed of Nails

Hugo Williams

4 April 2019
... Days move diagonally across town, meet other days travelling in the opposite direction. Let off the leash, I was roaming the streets after dark, looking for a thread among neon petals splashing in gutters, when the screech of brakes heralded my destruction. How kind of someone, I thought, to consider de-accelerating on my behalf, no matter that the gesture came too late to save my life. The moment ...

Three Poems

Hugo Williams

2 September 1999
... Bar Italia How beautiful it would be to wait for you again in the usual place, not looking at the door, keeping a look out in the long mirror, knowing that if you are late it will not be too late, knowing that all I have to do is wait a little longer and you will be pushing through the other customers, out of breath, apologetic. Where have you been, for God’s sake? I was starting to worry. How long ...

Dear Room

Hugo Williams

10 May 2001
... 1 Are you still Chinese yellow? Are your blinds still drawn against prying eyes on the tops of buses? How well I remember you, perched beside a traffic-light on the corner of Ladbroke Grove, our tree-house lookout post, shuddering and shaking all night to the jamming of gears, the headlights of cars kerb-crawling the platform where we slept. You held us suspended halfway between heaven and earth that ...

The Spring of Sheep

Hugo Williams

1 July 1982
... A tube of Pro-Plus Rapid Energy Tablets gave me Extra Vitality when I visited my girlfriend on her father’s stud. The double-backing local bus took two hours to travel twenty miles. When it passed our house I nearly got off by mistake. I noticed a roof I hadn’t been on and I wished I was up there with my gun. My hands were shaking as I thought of things to say: how the enlargements had gone astray ...

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