Peter Salmon Web Site Introduction Welcome to my website, which has everything you need to know about me. That's right, everything.

Pensive Peter Salmon

Proof of Pudding

What discerning judges have said about The Coffee Story

'It's been a while since I read a first novel that felt as universally accomplished as Peter Salmon's The Coffee Story' - Toby Litt

'I was constantly intoxicated by a sense of desire & loss' - Jake Arnott

'Wild and raucous... an extraordinarily accomplished debut' - Niall Griffiths

'Reminiscent of Phillip Roth's Everyman. But it's much, much funnier' - Sydney Morning Herald

'An exceptional debut' - Martyn Bedford

Hard Sell

Now in sexy orange!

Peter Salmon is an Australian writer living in the UK. His first novel, The Coffee Story (Sceptre, 2011), was a New Statesman Book of the Year. He has written frequently for Australian TV and radio and for broadsheets including the Guardian and the Sydney Review of Books. The Blue News, his satirical column about books and publishing, was subsequently collected and published by Melbourne University Press as Uncorrected Proof  (2005).  He has received Writer’s Awards from the Arts Council of England and the Arts Council of Victoria, Australia.  Formerly Centre Director of the John Osborne/The Hurst Arvon Centre (2006-2012), he also teaches creative writing, most recently at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Liverpool John Moores University.

This Is A Pipe

‘Tom Collins’ aka Joseph Furphy

I’ve just finished reading Such is Life by Tom Collins and will have much to say about it – I had no idea that the great Australian novel had been written over 100 years ago, with everything since a footnote . But for now I just had to share this description of a pipe on the perhaps flimsiest pretext ever – that it is just SO GOOD. Actually, here’s a pretext of greater durability – this is, I believe, not just the best description of a pipe ever, but possibly the best description of ANYTHING ever. Over to Tom Collins…

“The pipe has already been referred to in these annals. It was probably the most artistic, the most opulent-looking, the most scholarly, the most imposing and, from a Darwinian point of view, the most highly specialised, meerschaum ever seen on earth. It was a pipe such as no smoker parts with during life, but bequeaths to his best-beloved son – a pipe that would make any man wish to have a Benjamin, but for the fear that the heir-presumptive might be exposed to unfair temptation, and the old man himself to grave peril.

This non-pareil lies before me now, on an old, cracked dinner plate, with my knife and tobacco. Its head, ideally perfect as that goddess who rose from similar material, carries, in spite of its vast size, no suggestion of the colossal, but rather of the majestic. Its aspect would be overpowering but for the soothing and reassuring effect of colour – as where, at the point of contact, the opaque snow of the upper half, with cirrhus-like edge, overlies rather than meets the indescribable wealth of lucent and fathomless umber, which soul-satisfying colour intensifies toward the rounded heel, softening to a paler tint in its serene re-ascent, till the meerschaum terminates in a heavy, cylindrical collar, of almost audacious simplicity. Then a thick, flexible, silk-chequered stem takes up the wondrous tale, in its turn extending, with a most magnanimous restraint, barely four inches ere transferring its glories to the worthy keeping of such a piece of Baltic amber as you shall not match in any democratic community. The slight silver mounting hints at a princely concession to the great pipe family; and two little red crackers, depending from the junction of mouthpiece and stem, whilst giving no encouragement to presumptuous rivalry, soften the austere, unapproachable, super-Phidian perfection of the whole ongsomble.”

How good is that?! I’ll go now.


Launch of Strange Bedfellows

Strange Bedfellows

Today sees the official launch of the Strange Bedfellows website, which ‘brings together academics, creative practitioners’, those who inhabit both spheres, and those who consume and enjoy their productions to discuss how creative and critical practices build upon and modify one another’, and I’m proud and excited to be one of the bloggers selected to contibute to the project.

It is the brain-child (one of my all time favourite phrases btw – best said in the voice of one of the Monty Python Gumbies) of the ridiculously talented author of Rites, Sophie Coulombeau, and three other people whom I only know by email, but are almost certainly ridiculously talented, Ryan Hanley, Ben Madden and Jason Edwards. The project is a response, in part, to government attacks – financial and ideological – on both creative practice and critical analysis, and seeks ‘to clarify and develop scholarly and public understanding of the ‘strange bedfellows’ of creative production and critical analysis’.

As part of the project I’ll be reflecting on my own artistic and critical practices, and writing down what I reckon. Like any writer, well some, this has always been a major part of the creative process for me anyway, but I’m very excited to do so in a more formal, if no less haphazard way. It was Rebecca West who said ‘I write books to find out about things’ – I hope that by writing about writing books I might find out even more.

The site is here. Come say hello.

ps- one of my fellow bloggers, Teresa Winter, is doing her research project on Delia Derbyshire, who composed electronic music for the BBC in the 1960s. Had a browse on you tube and found this asonishing piece – worth it for the picture of the falling buffaloes if nothing else…

Wheels of Cheese #18: Jacqueline du Pre plays Monn and Haydn

Quite possibly Georg Matthias Monn!

I like Georg Matthias Monn. We know very little about him, and when I say ‘we’ I mean me and the internet. Having looked all the way up to page seven of my google search I am very little the wiser. What I can say, with a fair deal of certainty, is that he was born, probably, in Vienna, in about, well, 1717, and that he may have also been the Georg Matthias Monn who died, also, it seems likely, in Vienna in 1750. He seems to have written a great many works, although most of them may have been written by his younger brother, Johann Christoph, if he had one.

In all he, this Monn of which we speak, may have written around about 20 symphonies, give or take, and one of them is regarded as the first ever synphony in four parts, unless it wasn’t. What we can state with confidence, and I’ll brook no disagreement on this, is that he was, almost certainly, the author of Theorie des Generalbasses in Beispielen ohne Erklärung a towering achievement which, alas, remains in manuscript*.

But begad sir, he writes a jaunty Cello Concerto! Not that he did, of course, Monn being Monn. Arnie Schoenberg, that other ambiguous figure in music history, did much of the work, transcribing a harpsichord concerto for the cello because, I dunno, revolutionising the entire history of music didn’t take up enough of his time. But what isn’t Schoenberg is pure Monn, Monn at his best, Monn taking the ball on the halfway line and running it all the way to the touch-line, popping it into the back of the net, a slam dunk, a cross court forehand to break serve, a new brand of chocolate ice cream which is better than the brands that came before by exactly one layer of chocolate, a nice piece of toast. He da Monn!

The rest of the cd is Haydn. It sounds like Haydn.

* ‘Theorie des Generalbasses in Beispielen ohne Erklärung’  translates, of course, as ”Theory of Continuo in Examples Without Explanation’. Which is SO Monn. Give ’em nothing Georgie boy!