Is this who I am?

“Don’t expect. Don’t pre-judge.

Read the sample below and if it appeals click here to see more.”

Del Brennan

Sample: Part of Chapter One.

Chapter One
It’s over. Her face sinks slowly into the black pool.
It’s the end.
But where did it all begin?

Llangennech, early 2000s. I look at Her and wonder what it is that has kept us together all this time. I wonder whether She thinks the same way.

“Is everything all right?” I ask.

“How do you mean?”

“You know, we haven’t had much chance to talk lately, what with your work taking it out of you, and most nights you’re too tired to talk and the television is on all the bloody time, and on the weekends I’m pretty useless.”

“Well, I’m here now, I’m talking now. What do you want to say?”

“I thought you said you wanted to talk to me?”

“OK then, tell me about Annie.”

“Annie’s dead,” I say.

“Yeah, but what about when she was alive? You haven’t been the same since she died. Was there more to your relationship?”


“You and Annie, was there more to it?” There is a distant chill in Her voice.

“Well no, not really, not at all.”

I feel myself flushing red. I look at Her and I think: Who is this person?

She looks determined, as passive as a statue, yet as unchallengeable as an angry gorilla. I stand up, it’s a natural reaction to threat I suppose, I’m bigger than Her, taller and fatter and heavier and I’m a man for fuck’s sake.

“Sit,” She says.

I sit.

“It’s obvious there was something going on – obvious.”

“She was just a friend, just another fucked-up human being who I met along the way, someone to share a coffee with now and again, that’s all.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“I never did anything; we were just friends.”

“You’ve always been the same, looking for someone else. I’ve never been enough for you.”

“What’s going on? Are you alright?”

“Never been better. All these years I’ve looked after us, looked after you, and now I realise you’re not worth it. You’ve never been worth it. I’ve given up my life for you. The things I’ve done for you, don’t you see? Can’t you see?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“It’s too late anyway – too late.”

Or does it begin here?

Cardiff, 1971. Somewhere in Canton, a side street off Cathedral Road. I’m not sure who’s living with me, not sure if I pay the rent. There’s something about Hendrix’s death, or an anniversary of Hendrix’s death. It could be 1970. I’ll have to work it out one day.

I’m 18, sharing a house with a few others. There’s one or two Cardiff boys and one or two Llanelli boys. Perhaps I’m crashing on the floor in Mike’s room.

Been here for a while, a few weeks at least, because I know I’m claiming the dole, ambling down to somewhere near Westgate Street once a week or whatever frequency it is now, popping into the chemist on the way back for cough medicine, or nicking a pint of milk off a doorstep.

Living on chips and cornflakes – chips, cornflakes, cough medicine and stolen milk.


No, it begins here, it really does. It must do, otherwise it will begin after it ends, and that’s not possible, not in the usual continuum of time and space.

Yes, here, in Cardiff, in late 2022 (mid-late 2023).

I don’t nick milk any more. I don’t buy it either, not cow’s milk anyway. Things change. Everything changes, it’s always the same. That’s the title of a song I wrote last year (the year before last) – ‘Everything Changes’ that is.

I don’t claim the dole any more either. I don’t need to because there’s my pension you see. It doesn’t buy a lot, I made a lot of mistakes you see, and didn’t do what I should have done. Oh, I had plenty of chances I did, I could have retired at least a decade ago on a bloody good pension, but I couldn’t hack it, all those years when I was young and all the chances that came to me. I made a right balls-up of all that, and now I’m broke and living in a small rented house in a back street in Cardiff, just about where I was in 1971 (or 1970?) but without the cow’s milk or the dole.

But hell, I’m still here, still trying to figure it out. I guess you are too, if you’re reading this. Well good luck, I really mean that you know – good luck.

See you later.


Tenby – 1971, maybe 1970 again. I’m sleeping on the beach in a beach hut that isn’t mine, or in a tent with Jackson. Good old Jackson. Trawling the streets at dawn, stealing milk from doorsteps, and/or pinching peaches from outside Woolworth’s. Begging when the tourists wake up. Begging with Jimmy, a scally from Birmingham.

Then, leaving Jackson behind, going to Torquay, the same year, soon after. Sleeping on top of a shed, eating chips for breakfast with Jimmy. In a café, paying with the cash earned from half a night of peeling/picking/stabbing the eyes out of potatoes.

Half a night was enough, enough time to earn enough to buy breakfast and then get out of that town too. Me and Jimmy went our separate ways after that, can’t remember how I got home, but I must have because the story continues from there and brings me right up to now – in 2022 (2023).

But what about Jackson? Why is Jackson so important? I mean, he’s still around, still doing his Jackson things and he’s still good old Jackson. What I mean is what about Jackson? Why is Jackson in this story? I mean, he moved halfway round the world and built a life there.

And what about Jimmy too? Why is he here, in this story? You know, these are questions I never asked myself two decades ago when the earlier version of this story was told. I never asked myself those questions, but do you know what, Jackson and Jimmy have to be in this story for some reason. Don’t they?

I mean, I have come across hundreds if not thousands more people who have played as big a part in my life as those two and I haven’t mentioned them. For example, Jude, and Vicky, and Ellen, and Keith, and Eric and . . . I could go on, and now that I have mentioned them does that mean they are an important part of this story as well?

I’m going to pass on that one. I will allow Jackson and Jimmy in, but first I have to figure out what they mean, what is their significance? That will have to be explored another day, for now, let’s get back to all the rest of it.


Now, this is important, this is significant. Glastonbury 1971. Definitely 71, definitely significant. Acid-Freaked. Seeking Release. Yep, there was (still might be?) an organisation called Release, supposed to help, I thought, but “Fuck off,” they say. “We’re having a good trip.”

Fair enough, it’s not a bad trip, just intense, spiritual, deeply mythic. Spiked with acid. A lost tribe. Coming together – smiling. Not hallucinating, apart from the bus coming over the hedge, and Melanie singing. Free vegetarian food and camp-fires, a glimpse – that’s all. But they, Release, weren’t interested.


That’s a thing, more than half a century ago now. Glastonbury 1971, a definite thing, fixed in time and space because it was such a big thing for such a lot of people that it’s become a proper thing on a global scale. There are books and films and music and memories, and it’s not just my thing. It’s a real thing, as real as a thing can be. If it never happened then I’m definitely lost in space and time and I will dissolve now.


1961: a recurring dream. The Three Bears playing touch, Big Daddy Bear’s teeth. Panting for breath. Release. “There’s no release in this game boy,” he says, Big Daddy Bear says, biting a chunk out of my arm, and I wake up with a pain in the right place.


2002: A new world all right – a global village on the Internet. Two black cats in the kitchen. Bed Time. Must go to bed. 1:08 am. 1:20 am – up again. Things to do. Things to think about. Cardiff–Tenby–Torquay–Llangennech, mostly Llangennech.


2022 – November 1st: Never mind global villages on the internet, it’s much more than that, we are all half virtual now, our physical realities are melting. Does it matter? Is it matter? Perhaps our physical realities have always been virtual, perhaps it’s all fake news, all just a mash up of light and colour, of energy and force. Well, you can take that train of thought a long way, all the way until you really do dissolve, but does that matter either? We are who we are, we have to deal with whatever we have to deal with – that’s real that is. Just breathe and get on with it.


Cardiff 1972. I’m with Her (and a child) in a small house in Butetown – Pomeroy Street. Old Sea Captains used to live here, they say. We’re sharing a house with a woman called Delilah and her children – Bilbo and Janet. Her boyfriend Ali Baba (his choice) – an Arab Prince out of place. We use a pressure cooker a lot and make lentil and vegetable soup.

It’s later – a few months, a year maybe, and we (and another child) are in Canton again. Conway Road, a leafy street, a nice garden, but too many mice.

Riverside 1974. A smelly flat and more mice – even more – mice, and prostitutes living upstairs, and drunks trying to break the door down, and useless one-eyed cats. and working in the steelworks, buying small tomatoes and wheeling them home in a pram.


Later in 1974. Manchester. 2 large semi-detached houses on 3 floors with attics and basements. This is the place. The Holy Place. 27 adults and 17 children.

And skip forward again, because the significance of this has never been explored properly – not in my timeline, not yet anyway. I’m not sure if this is the time or the place to explore it, I mean it is everything, but on the other hand it is nothing, just a small detail in a small life.

I’m not sure if it will ever be explored or even if it should be? I mean, let’s pop back a couple of thousand years and explore other small lives. Can we do that? I don’t think so, we’re not time travellers, are we? Are we? As far as I know so far, if we are time travellers then we can only travel in one direction and that is into the future, we can’t go back, can we? I guess we can remember, we can record and look back, but we can never go back and breathe that same air, feel that same sunlight on our face.

So we just have to accept it, we are fallible creatures and all we can do is love, that’s the thing, love is the thing, and we can only thank God for that. Oops, did I just write ‘Thank God’? That’s against the rules – stop all that now, you’ve got a book to write.