The writing blog of James Christopher Sheppard. I am a 26 year old gay male from London, UK. Here I present my experiences, poems, thoughts and opinions...

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Monday, 28 February 2011


Life ruiner
Life dictator
Life taker

Life giver
Life enhancer
Life shaper

Class divider
Class creator
Class traveller

Power in quantity
Not quality

Sunday, 27 February 2011


An odd concept really. A sin in Christianity and other religions, yet widely celebrated in all walks of society. As a British gay man, I have had Pride shoved in my face since I was a teenager. Every summer, cities all over the UK celebrate ‘Gay Pride’ with street parades and other festival type celebrations. I’m often asked by straight friends ‘But why do gay people have gay pride? We don’t have straight pride.’ I answer that it’s because we have had a hard time and are coming out with our heads high, or something to that effect. In reality, I know Gay Pride is largely to do with equal rights, which I would never argue with. However, I find the whole ‘I’m proud to be gay’ and, as I heard repeatedly at the recent Brit awards, ‘I’m proud to be British’ a little… hypocritical. Why are we so proud of something we have had no part in?

None of us have any control over our true sexuality, just as we have no input into our nationality. It really bothers me that some people born in Britain make out that they are proud to be British because of the wars and other historical factors that they weren’t even alive for. Of course, we may well be glad to be British. I know I definitely am. In terms of equality, the health service, our freedom as individuals, our opportunities, you would be mad to not be glad you happened to be born in the UK to British parents. When you consider that where you are born on the planet and what nationality your parents are completely dictates your rights, it’s a little sad. Imagine if you were born in Egypt as a gay man. You could be hanged if caught acting on your sexuality. Are those gay men any different to me and other British gay men? No. They were simply born to Egyptian parents in a country 2000 miles away. They did nothing to be in their position, just as I did nothing to be in mine. Yet we are all so proud. I think relieved is more like it.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Half a Space

35 minutes
Soho to Waterloo
I can do that
On foot.
26th February,
No jacket,
Just a shirt over a t-shirt
flapping in the wind.
Cold stones of rain hitting,
I maneuver between the crowds
Weaving and streaming
Trickling through like water filling a valley.
I know the way I say,
Observing the road names and differing tribes.
China Town to Embankment,
The people swarm
Like the eye of a storm
Embraced by the loudness,
Creating the electricity,
Losing themselves in the smog.

The stars are restricted from view,
Their presence forgotten,
By the city
That uses and churns light.
Night after night the air is attacked
By noise and light,
Pollution, your screams, their cries.
On Hungerford Bridge my eyes gaze
Two sides of the city alive at 1am.
Bouts of shouting hurries through the air
Amplified but inaudible, coarse
Hastily bouncing over the river and meeting my ear.

Half a space,
knee wedged against the seat,
Prevent the natural limp
that will engage me with a stranger.
A woman in her 30s,
Bare foot and trilby wearing,
Staring blankly
Occasionally catching my eye
Before we turn away.
Her man plays billiards on his phone.
She looks unsatisfied.
He looks clueless.

The business man with his brief case,
The sleeping half cut masses sprawled in seats infested.
Standing, swaying, eyes shut,
Crucified in the centre,
mouths the words to his music.
I smile
as I watch him,
Care free,
happy in his place.
The business man looks curiously
at me smiling.
In this moment I continue
To have the freedom of the man miming his song.

That I Can Be

I am not the best writer
and never will be.
I am not the fittest or thinnest,
I make a shit cup of tea.

I am not the best kisser or lover,
I don’t read as much as I should.
I smoke even though I quit
My flirting is misunderstood.

I skip class because I can,
I don’t see myself as a 26 year old man,
I spend too much money on food,
I hate my body in the nude,
I drink until I can’t see straight,
I am held back by my problem with my weight,
I am tactless and often disliked,
If a guy smiles at me I think he’s been spiked.

But I am the best me that I can be,
As you are the best you.

I write with more than fingers,
I kiss with more than lips,
I see with more than eyes,
I am more than a body and hips.

I am happy that I am me,
For if I wasn’t the best me that I can be,
I would not have you.

As featured at One Shot Wednesday Week 35: http://onestoppoetry.com/2011/03/one-shot-wednesday-week-35.html

Follow me on twitter @version2point0

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Tales of a Teenage Stripper (Slightly sexually explicit)

When I was 17 I was 6 foot tall and weighed less than 12 stone. I had a shaved head, a lip piercing and thought I was pretty rock n roll. During my 18th year on this planet, I lived for several months in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia with a boy called Allan. It was intense. We were on other side of the world, both only 17 years old, and exploring these two huge cities on our own.

At the time (2002) it was incredibly difficult to see penetrative gay porn in the UK, so I found the openness nature of the gay and porn scene in Sydney fascinating. Most evenings we would hit The Brighton Bar which was located on the corner of Oxford Street and Darlinghurst, have a few schooners of Toheys New with a shot of lime and talk to the locals while playing on the gambling machines.

One evening we popped into a sex shop called Probe and had a nose around. We noticed a sign claiming there were male strippers upstairs and that they were seeking a new boy to strip for them. Allan asked about the position while I flicked through the explicit DVDs with my mouth permanently open. I had never seen anything like it! Unlike what 17 year olds have seen today. I am aware of how old I sound, but it is shocking, the vast difference of what teens particularly can easily get their hands on.

On leaving the shop I quizzed Allan if he was seriously interested in stripping, when he turned to me and said ‘I wasn’t asking for me! I was asking for you! You’d be great at it! We’re coming back to meet the manager tomorrow. Think of the money James!’

I was taken aback and stuck somewhere between flattered and insulted. Either way, we met the manager the next day. Allan acted as my pimp and handled the business side. By the time we left, I had played the punter and stood in a cubicle behind a dirty glass window and watched another guy dance naked, jerk off and shove a large dildo up his arse. I, at the time, had never had anything up my arse. While I watched I tried to relax and be turned on, but my dick failed to co-operate. It went cold and shrank, to what I believe to be the smallest it could possibly be, for the duration of the strip.

I was set to do a similar performance the next night at 11.30pm, and then every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from then.

I could choose my own music, so I chose Kylie’s recently released Fever album. By the end of the first track More, More,More I would be completely naked and desperately trying to get my dick hard. With a little help from Allan who sat behind the biggest window making jokes to make me laugh and put me at ease, I eventually got there. As I did it more and more it became easier and I earned more money.

It feels like someone else’s life when I recall it now. I don’t regret it, but I am astounded that I had balls to do it. I can’t imagine doing it now… I really can’t.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Rum Soaked Assistance

By James Christopher Sheppard and Joseph Hurst

Eleven hours to the other side of the world
What the fuck?
Who knew when he was twelve,
Plans and schemes would serve him well.
One sunken,
Drunken eye
Spilt thought and broken time
A friend with heart,
a strong back
My rock,
Keeps me on track.

Time zones stand no distance
Trains of thought,
A rum soaked assistance
Helps us through
Our decisions
I guess
We will
Think .
And drink
Till we know that
Another bar will keep us up.

Golden in colour
Jamaican in spirit
The satisfaction derives
From the textures in time.
Never been to the island in question
Places, spaces,
dictations of our paces.

Humour, spirit and affluence in sound
Difference in persuasion,
This discourse resounds
In both sober
And drunken thought
May it never
Fade and sink.
Fuck it.
Pour another drink.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Why I Write

Question, question, question. Am I good enough to write? Should I continue to fight my way through this over-populated path when I am not the best out there? Should I just stop? Night after night I sit alone and consider if I am travelling the wrong road, but then I remember, this is the only thing that has ever filled me with any kind of satisfaction. Does it matter that I am dyslexic, have limited vocabulary and am no better than you? If anything you would confidently stand up and shout that you are ten times as talented as me and that your novel has already been picked up by independent publishers and you’ve been nominated for another young author award. I’m already too old to be considered for your youth award. I have been where you are and I don’t envy it, as much as you can’t conceive not being the best in the room. Writing is an art form, a craft of self-expression, not a competition. We should support and encourage each other, not begrudge each other’s techniques and talent.

I will write, whether I have to get an unfulfilling job to buy my food, or not. I will write because I can only write. I was given this; the ability to find joy sitting alone tapping away trying to somehow create a coherence on the page that I am unable to create in my head or by mouth. Everyday is filled with moments of ideas of more to write. They swirl and distract and crash into each other like carnage from a tornado being violently thrown around. Being able to slow the tornado down and focus on that carnage is key. That is why I write, because if I didn’t, I would have a hurricane brain.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Self Harm

Years of standing alone,
Dependent only on my minor addictions.
Plenty of passionless no strings sex.
Licking, sucking, fucking.
Don’t kiss or hug me,
I am only an appendage of hard flesh and a whole for you to violate.

Filled with blood,
Ready to burst.

Why do you need me here?
Can’t you satisfy yourself?

I don’t need your fowl smelling foreign flesh on mine.
I could make up an elaborate story,
Claim I’ve been raped or abused or some other cliché.
I have been hurt,
I have been wronged,
Haven’t you?

Truth is, I’ve tried it all.
It filled me 
with emptiness.


I'm not sure just how much I can share of my recent writings on here at the moment as I don't know what I am going to use for my university portfolios yet. After writing 'Man', I seemed to channel a voice that is fresh for me, and even though it may sound far from my own voice, I actually think it may be the most authentic voice I have found to write in so far. I was listening to some hardcore music, the Gallows and Lower Than Atlantis, with my good friend Joe and he was singing the lyrics to me. Actually hearing the lyrics properly gave me time to digest them and realise that these are the most hard hitting  lyrics I have heard for quite some time. So I decided to to give writing more bluntly about real subject matter that you can touch and see, rather than just feel, a go and 'Man' was the outcome. I have written a few poems since, but I need to see if they fit the submission criteria at university before I can publish them online, or I'll be in trouble for plaigarising something that is already out there.

As this blog was intended to follow me on my journey from student to... something else, here is what is currently the plan. My final batch of assignments will be complete by the end of May. I shall then move all of my worldly possessions to my Mother's house in Hull. I know Hull has a lot less to offer than London, but I will be able to live very cheaply and pay off the debts I have incurred as a student (credit cards etc) for a year or so, and have the freedom to leave at the drop of a hat if a job comes up- anywhere. I plan to take a trip to the USA in June or July and write about my experience, which makes living back with my Mother for a year seem more than worth it. I would never be able to take such a trip if I was also paying out London rent and bills. I recently worked out that my monthly outgoings for rent, bills and food total around £800 per month. I know that living in Hull will be difficult but I am slightly looking forward to having little responsibility for a year; something I feel I will massively enjoy after the past four years!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


I drink a fuck load
 of water, I use my over-priced
gym membership and I use a bike and my own two feet
to get around this concrete
raped landscape.
And what? I waste days of life unlived sat alone
staring at a light filled screen of colour
supposedly embracing the wonders of 21st century
Man that made life
so fucking easy
that we began to eat ourselves to death.
I can’t help but question
why I should carry my aching awaiting remains to another session
of talking to an unlikable bore, employed by the man, paid to listen to my shit,
for the good of man.
Man that made
information, music and our favourite passive media available on tap.
Eat a fuck tonne
of meat, only a fiver, half price.
Watch some piss porn, a man and a girl, a man and four girls, a college orgy.
You’ll never watch it all
because there isn’t enough time.
I’ve eaten my steak and already had a wank over your tits. I’m out of this concrete box.
Pour some distilled down me.
“How strong can you make it mate? Alright, I’ll have two and down ‘em.”
A tenner and four shots, I go
for a smoke, I sniff a line, I sniff some fucking more, what is this shit? It doesn’t fucking matter ‘cos it’s better than the fucking water.