And now it’s on amazon

27 Feb

Yes, indeed, my novel the Burning Chasuble is now on and on amazon.


The novel is published

15 Jan

And here is the link:


(for the book, of course)

The novel is near

23 Dec

Yes, this is to say that I’ve published my novel The Burning Chasuble.  At the moment, it’s available from the feed- a – read website, but they only deliver books directly to the UK, the US, Germany and Spain, so for my Polish readers they will have to wait for a few more weeks if they are interested in purchasing it, when it will become available on Amazon. I will of course make my second announcement when that happens. It’s a thriller set in Poland but it’s also a tragicomedy about human relationships. I will leave a link later.


The Burning Chasuble by Daniel James Villiers is available from feed a read


this is another poem I’ve put on video

16 Oct


juvenilia, pt.2

24 Jul

I remember my music teacher, a certain Mr. Langdon, used to force me to write notes out clearly and painstakingly, in other words, the opposite way I actually used to write music, which was all squiggles and scribbles, much in the way all composers do before they copy their works out neatly or -ahem – get somebody to copy them. I’m not a composer, though I still create the music to most of my videos, but more about that later. There are one or two teenage-early-mid- twenties pieces that I penned that survive to this day, rather to my surprise. I was, so to speak, helping clear out an attic when I came across them. What was this? Violin Sonata in B minor. Songs by Yours Truly.  The first thing I remembered when I looked at them, whether they were good or bad, was the painstaking labour that went into writing even the simplest piece or song.

The first reward of having written legible music was that a good professional Romanian violinist  played the top line of some of my pieces while I played the piano part at a soiree when I was living in London. The second interpretation I heard of my own music was when I asked a pianist who was studying at the Prague Conservatoire to play pieces I had written for piano. She practised them at the Conservatoire and then performed them at a piano playing party to which she was invited. (Since one of my Czech friends had a piano, my Czech friends were not averse to piano-playing parties.)  It was an education listening to your own music being interpreted by someone else, especially if they are in a different league to you in their musicianship. Finally, I can remember a fellow teacher in Poland who had an amazing voice and could read music. She and I went to a practice room in the Bydgoszcz Music Academy wangled for us by someone who used to study there. She sang three of my songs while I accompanied her on the piano. Again, an education.

Which brings me to my present about music and computers. I often wondered how I was going to put music to my videos without infringing copyright. For the lazy amateur (such as myself) music making programmes are a godsend. The principle of using sound loops and mixing them, matching them, tweaking them and putting different tracks above or below the other is an act of creation more like that of  a D.J. The whole process of creating music is really done with your ears. Here you don’t have to play or write music for the instruments and get someone to play them back (but you can, of course add your piano part, or whatever instrument you happen to play). And some of the results, though not highly original, are just what the doctor ordered when it comes to laying a soundtrack for videos.

Now the Polish summer is in full swing.

14 Jun

Though it’s only mid-June, all the charateristics of a Polish summer have started. At the moment, we’re enjoying lovely summery weather, and even lovelier strawberries, fresh from the fields. There have been walks in the centre of Bydgoszcz, past the old town square and on to Mill Island, and I had my first swim of the season, traditionally somewhere in the countryside in the Brda upstream. It was as delicious as those strawberries, though the water was cold. Back in Bydgoszcz, and I’ve had some afternoon-flavoured drinks with my wife and a few friends overlooking the same river in the marina.

We shot the breeze about subjects as far apart as the Greek crisis, to how Mill Island used to be in the days before they gentrified it. There was a patch of river in those days, according to one of my friends, where they used to compete to see who could spot the most condoms floating in the water. Now you wouldn’t even see half a condom, but you do see boats and great views.

I often mention Mill Island because it’s just one example of how this city is reinventing itself without losing the essential character of the place. People often don’t get the point of Bydgoszcz until they see it in the summer. The sunny weather highlights the cobbled central square and Dluga street, the Island and the river and various architectural gems, not to mention the parks, the flowers and the trees.

Juvenilia, part one

8 Feb

Reading through juvenilia is great fun (only for the writer, mind). There are all sorts of forgotten passages, one-liners, descriptions you could ‘lift’ from these old pieces, even pages of prose which you had once thought suited only that piece of writing, but now you can see could fit somewhere else, too. Another thing that looking through juvenilia can bring is a sense of the time and place when you were writing, even if what you were putting down on the page was apparently unrelated to your circumstances or your environment at the time.

For example, I wrote a lot of prose about summer holidays in those days, and a lot of poetry about the time when I lived in London. A lot of it is risible, but at least some of it is worth a re-read; and the little observations that date the juvenilia can give you memories that help if you wish to reproduce that time in your mature prose. For example, there’s a memorable description of my family waiting in a port for a ferry to arrive with someone crucial on it, which I am seriously thinking of using maybe in another context.

There’s a detective story I wrote when I was in my teens which I have mentioned before in this blog, I have not borrowed anything from it since it is preposterous, much in the way that so much of Midsomer Murders TV series is preposterous, but it’s good for me to see early versions of the two strands of writing prose that has started to dominate; the detective fiction/ crime novel with fantastical elements set abroad. No prizes for guessing that my latest attempt in that genre is set in Poland.