BADPOET; Arbitrary

BADPOET is a project I started playing around with about a year ago now, the basic idea is, that while I have the utmost respect for poetry as a medium and even more so for the practitioners that can use it to express themselves, I am and always have been a pretty bad poet. This then, is my way of embracing my undoubted and inescapable flaws as a writer. I generally use these as short detours when my mind is wondering away from Strangetown. After all, I am of the firm belief that if your mind wants to wander then you should always let it, you never know what it might bring back. Anyway, this is the first in my collection of bad poems.



In an attempt to write
bad poetry
Is it possible to
Stumble upon something
to be enjoyed?

Although I feel I have
A grasp of stanzas
I have sometimes suspected
in hands such as mine
that the customary
breaks in the line
are somewhat


Earnin’ and Learnin’

Every now and again you come across something on the web that makes you think;


Well, this was one of those moments. Y’see it won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that ‘knowledge is power’ is not just a cute quote that is vaguely connected to ol’ Franny Bacon, but is also an inescapable fact. Knowing more stuff than a given person will give you an advantage, personally, creatively, professionally. But we’re always hearing about cuts in education budgets and rising tuition fees and even for those of us in a position to commit to full time education its still a massive risk. I, for example, could regale you at length about Baudrillard‘s distinctly dim views about Disneyland but, and this is the clincher, no-one has ever expressed even the slightest inclination that they might want me to do that. The point I’m dancing around is that long-form vocational education is being made more and more impractical. So what’s the answer?

Well, at least part of it is provided by FutureLearn. This is an astonishing online service providing free, that’s free, short courses, most of the ones I’ve seen ask for around 16-20 hours of your time over four weeks, and you can do anything on there. I’ve signed up for two digital marketing courses that are starting in a few weeks and in the attached forum areas, one 40 year old mother of two has spent her summer learning Spanish and Forensic Psychology. For free. I really can’t say that bit enough. A few of the courses also offer official accreditation and certification to allow you to throw some paperwork around if the situation calls for it. This site is, I really and truly cannot stress enough, free of charge.

Elsewhere and a bit closer to home for the writers among us there are a few more sites that I’ve turned up that are more that a little bit useful.

-First up Aerogramme Writer’s Studio, a site dedicated to promoting news, writing tips and resources of all shapes and sizes, including fairly regular round-ups of magazines, journals and sites that are accepting submissions. If you’re looking to get your name around and gain a bit of exposure, make this one of your first ports of call!

Christopher Fielden, along the same lines, with a more personal touch, I have to admit to knowing very little about the man himself and have only used his site sparingly, but there has been a wealth of relevant information, his short story submission database in particular is a really breathtaking piece of work. I can only imagine the hours he may have put into something that complete. More power to him.

The Manchester Review, this, and the name may be a slight giveaway here, is a literary journal currently accepting submissions both fiction and non-fiction. The main thing to be said about it is that is very, very cool and in that respect getting your name seen by this crowd and furthermore their subscribers and followers will do you absolutely no harm.

Educate yourself citizens, it’s jungle out there.

In Conversation With; Isabelle Sudron

Moving forwards, to make sure that this isn’t just a blog full of me blathering about my own work and to provide a wider perspective on the weird and wonderful world of writing I will be pestering various literary types into answering some questions for the delight and betterment of all.

First up; Isabelle Sudron, a young lady that I met at University who, in an apparent contravention of the laws of physics, has a smile bigger than her whole head. Please take the time to check out her undeniably snazzy website HERE or indeed HERE before reading our hard-hitting expose on the life of an aspiring children’s author.


Writing Strange Give us a little background on yourself. What was the moment it clicked that you’re a writer and what are your ambitions moving forwards?

Isabelle Sudron I’ve always written stories and poems but I never really considered myself a writer. I felt silly calling myself a writer when I mostly just sit in a room alone, type some words, delete said words, and start again. Then, somewhere along the line, my definition of a ‘good day’ became measured by how much writing I got done. That’s when I thought, ‘I guess I’m a writer now!’
And, in terms of my ambitions, I’d just like to write for a living everyday – that’s the dream!

WS What are you working on at the moment, how far along are you?

IS I recently finished writing my first children’s book, Olive in the Heights, and it’s now in the hands of a number of lovely beta readers. So, right now, I’m waiting in fear for feedback. The next step is making a few final tweaks to my manuscript (I hope) and then harassing literary agents across the land!

WS What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your career and how did you do it?

IS A few years ago, I quit my job, moved back home and took an unpaid internship to get some experience in storytelling. My employer was a nightmare – think Miss Trunchbull meets administration – and at the end of two months of hard work, she assured me that I wouldn’t make it as a writer. So, I was unemployed, inexperienced and apparently talentless too. I felt pretty low and I spent a long time struggling to decide whether to prove ol’ Trunchbull wrong or throw in the towel. There was lots of soul searching, feeling sorry for myself and comfort eating. But, eventually, I decided I had nothing to lose. I got myself a part-time job and I focused all my spare time on writing a book.
Although that felt like a pretty rough milestone in my career, it’s probably also what kickstarted it. Thank goodness for the real-life Trunchbulls, eh?

WS When and how did you decide to produce work for a younger audience, do you have any particular influences?

IS As a reader, I don’t think I’ve ever really grown out of children’s books. I love the fact that anything and everything can happen, characters can be eccentric and plots can be so random. And as a writer, I love the fact that children are willing to suspend their disbelief for a great story. I feel like that creates so many more possibilities for writing. My main influence has to be Philip Ridley, he is my absolute writing Yoda! His books have eccentric characters and unusual plots, all while being set in average neighbourhoods that lots of kids actually live in. I still read his books when I need a bit of inspiration (and sometimes just for fun too).

WS Is there anything you’ve learned in the course of your efforts that you think of as being particularly useful to people in a similar position?

IS For me, planning is essential. Yes, it can be boring and frustrating, but it shaves so many hours off editing. The most useful resource I’ve found, in terms of story planning, is Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and his ‘beat sheets’. Although they’re intended for screenwriters, I’ve still found them really useful. Another important thing I’ve learnt is that you don’t necessarily need to be a good writer to be a good storyteller. In the words of Elmore Leonard, “Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.”

WS And just to be mean, what are your three favourite pieces of writing?

IS That is such a difficult question! I’d have to go for:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and
Mighty Fizz Chilla by Philip Ridley.
I like books where you really get to see the characters grow and these three books do just that!

the man who could not smile (iii)

The third and final installment of the man who could not smile, then, in which our hero listens to the news and unexpectedly meets a young lady.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks I’ll be trying to edit this and get it published, so stay tuned for news of any platforms accepting original short-form creative writing and my spirited attempts to badger them into submission.

I mulled these various pieces of information over in my mind as I read an essay about the rapid rise in popularity of courgette ribbons and its effect on various heartlands of the agricultural mediterranean meanwhile miles davis broke down musical barriers in the background and I indulged in a bottle of mencia that a local wineseller assured me was a fantastic expression of a little known grape and which, while I had learned that he spoke on these matters with some authority, tasted to me like a generic dry spanish white wine and was therefore hugely overpriced

at some point I suppose I fell asleep because my watch, which I can no longer enthuse about but which rather charmed me when I initially paid a swiss artisan to hand make it, told me that it was 9:30 am, about two and a half hours before my appointment

the morning news informed me that world was still an astonishingly violent and seemingly irredeemable place as I brushed my teeth.

The weatherman informed me that the weather was unseasonably something or other as I quietly reflected that if the weather was unseasonable all the year round then maybe it was time to sack the weatherman and polished my shoes

the sports report told me of fantastic achievement and of unfathomable heartbreak as I tousled my hair

the watch told me it was time to get into my stylishly understated german saloon car, it being well know that sports cars are the preserve of dickheads and footballers, and leave in order to arrive for my appointment an hour earlier, the better to make the receptionist feel extremely uncomfortable with unnecessarily intense eye contact, a technique that has served me well over the years

after filling in the relevant paperwork I was seated on a wine red leather couch and presented with a passable cortada

I sat forward in my chair, making myself appear as uncomfortable as possible, and tried to lock eyes with the receptionist only to find my view blocked by a woman who was herself filling in paperwork

anatomically correct,
stylistically astute,
personally aloof,
I disliked her instantly.

Moreso when she ordered a double macchiato, a much more on trend caffeinated beverage than my own choice

I said a crude word aloud to myself

She informed me that she hadn’t quite heard me, although I knew she had

I informed her that it wasn’t important

Her disdain was obvious, the same her boredom, she asked me why I was there

I informed her that I could feel no joy

She reminded me that she wasn’t the therapist

I protested that she had asked

She told me she was sick of yp’s bitching about their insecurities

I told her that my position in life allowed me to sample the best of everything and that I didn’t really like any of it

She laughingly informed me that the things I was told to want were made by people like me, whereas she was being sold things by people thought woman was a marketing demographic

I told her that making money to spend on things I didn’t want meant that I only needed more money to buy more things I didn’t want

She told me that, since I was in a position to afford things, I should shut the fuck up about material satisfaction

I told her that the proliferation of impossible ideals meant that I could no longer feel an attraction to a real woman and that pornography had ceased to arouse me years ago

She howled with laughter, and said that because of a lack of seating she had found herself on top of a washing machine as an adolescent and that no man had ever made her feel nearly the same way

at that point I was called into the therapist’s office, wherein I remember nothing other than developing a nosebleed.

The beluga sturgeon is a breed of fish that has existed, relatively unchanged, since dinosaurs inhabited the planet

the fish themselves don’t produce eggs until they have reached maturity, which can take up to twenty years

these eggs are then used to produce Almas Caviar and sold at an astonishing price

I was seated in my customary table in the corner of the restaurant and, having ordered Almas Caviar, asked to speak to the chef

His caviar, I told him, lacked a little flavour

He informed me that his food was so well regarded that he had recently been approached about being the subject of a feature length documentary

I told him that, if you looked for it, you could probably find a documentary about status quo

he asked me why I insisted on disparaging his culinary efforts

I explained to him that as his best friend, it fell upon me to be honest

He assured me that he was better acquainted with several people

Regardless, I said with the disdainful gaze of the woman from the waiting room on my mind, I’d like you to know that I think I may have met someone.

Julian, said the chef, I really don’t care.

Mo Money Less Problems

Sorry, Mr Smalls, but I think being honest with ourselves us creative types like to gets paid. Its taken around 6 years to get to a point where I can dedicate even half of my time to my craft, and the rest of the time I’m a barman. A lot of people have a lot to say about the service industry and I am no different but at my more lucid moments I am able to remind myself that it pays the bills, its a good way of meeting incredible people and its a good way of learning about all sorts of things.

If, like me, you need things like food and somewhere to live in order to crack on with whatever world changing ideas are floating around your cranium, then you’ll need to earn some moolah somehow. In that spirit, you may well have spent some time in some of the many, many freelancing databases online and if you haven’t allow me to save you some time. Don’t. Unless you’re able to survive on earning $8 a pop to write erotica novels.

No, allow me to direct you towards two services that may well be able to hook you up with some short form copy/content production jobs that probably won’t pay you amazingly, but they will allow you to say, without exaggeration, that you are a professional writer. It does wonders when you’re cleaning out ashtrays at one o’clock in the morning, believe me.

Upwork, I’ve only just come across this myself so I’m not sure how legit the service is but I’ve learned over time that when it comes to the web, you should absolutely judge a book by its cover. If a website is well designed, chances are higher that the links, info, etc on there will be more reliable.

Copify, I’ve actually failed in my application to join the team here in the past, my second attempt is being reviewed at the time of writing, but it looks an excellent opportunity and the application process is extensive enough to ensure quality but no so huge as to be daunting.

Anyway that’s me for today, good luck chasing that paper and remember, if you buy a bartender a drink, you’ll have a friend for life.

the man who could not smile (ii)

The second installment in the short finds our narrator discussing the merits of Vietnamese wine and annoying his boss

we had begun a discussion about the production of wine and the various factors that ensure high quality grapes

It a fact well known amongst people that have to entertain professionals at lunch that the quality of the soil in a vineyard is hugely impactful, and that if the soil is low quality then the vine will produce fewer grapes, meaning that those that do grow will be of a richer flavour.

ash and harmful minerals in the soil in a given place therefore ensure a more flavourful wine that is rarer and greater in value

this is why many vineyards are grown on mountainsides and other arid regions

thus began an examination of where, assuming that this was in fact true and not a marketing technique invented by bad winemakers, would be home to the hardest working vineyards and thereby the best wine

eventually the hills surrounding pompeii and the vast swathes of asia which had been burned and salted during the reign of genghis khan were discounted in favour of vietnam which had been so ravaged by the american armed forces in the 70’s

we decided there was something delightfully crass about vietnemese wine, that the violent excesses of capitalism that had so destroyed their brief flirtation with communism would now give rise to a cottage industry that we, unabashed capitalists, could take advantage of

a member of staff who had already twice been reminded of the sever ramifications of upsetting us by his maitre d’ was dispatched with the instruction to find us three bottles of vietnamese wine and told to return before coffee was served at the end of the tasting menu or we would refrain from paying our 15% service charge which would cost him roughly £300 and thus vastly change the tone of his weekend

the young man returned roughly half an hour later with three bottles of Vang Dalat which, he had been informed by an enterprising wine merchant, was the best expression of vietnam’s young wine industry

we congratulated on his arriving before the coffee was served and then soundly berated him for not having cleared our 9th course and then sent him to the kitchen to find some cheese that would suit the wine

after going through the standard tasting process the conversation made way for a pregnant silence, each of us waiting for another to venture an opinion

eventually I obliged,

this wine, I said, is showing signs of oxidization probably because the temperature isn’t controlled sufficiently during production, perhaps vietnam is too hot or humid?

It was only after our guest suggested that actually found it quite easy drinking and that, maybe, me being a snob reflected poorly on our company and that maybe he should take his business to one of our competitors that things began to go wrong

after our guest ignored my employers’ attempts to assure him that they weren’t snobs and that my opinion of vietnemese wine didn’t reflect upon their professionalism and aptitude he left

I was told the following things;

because of my lucrative contract, it was not financially prudent to sack me because of the severance package I was due and that this was the only reason I was still employed, meaning I had until the end of my twelve month contract to prove that I was still capable of doing my job

I was considered by all present to be a complete wanker

the bill was to be paid in full, including service, from my personal account and not the company card

an appointment would be made for me with a highly recommended corporate therapist and that the charges accrued by the treatment would be paid from my personal account…

Strange Songs

Now, as anyone involved in any kind of creative pursuit will tell you, getting yourself a soundtrack together can be one of the most important elements and you can spend hours and hours trying to find the right noise to work to. With that in mind, I’d like to present a playlist I’ve been putting together for a few months. There’s a little bit of pretty much everything, although I’ve tried to avoid the heavier side of things, this is basically an allweather kind of thing, at 22 hours or so, you’ll be needing your skip button for some of it, but it might save you a little time. I also update it three or four times a week so if you like anything you hear then check back every now and again…

Press here for noise!

NOTE; its a Spotify playlist, not trying to plug one service over another, I’m just much too lazy to shop around the competitors.


A useful contact or two…

As mentioned, I will occasionally be posting news of any agencies, contacts, organizations or competitions that may be of interest or use to fellow aspiring authors. This information will also be in permanent stasis on the ‘Resources’ page of the website to save people digging through the other content on the blog.

For the first installment I’d like to direct you to a few things that have helped me recently.

You’ve probably heard before how useful it can be to attend writers group meetings, to receive informed opinions from like minded people, try out new material, increase confidence and break what can be a monotonous and isolated cycle. As a proud member of Written Inc. I can tell you that I agree wholeheartedly. But obviously its hard to join a writer’s group if you can’t find one. That’s where the National Association of Writer’s Groups, or NAWG for short, comes in. As well a being a source of news and updates from the ever growing network of groups that make up its membership it also has a nifty little search function, here, that shows you where your nearest registered group is. Obviously the system isn’t infallible but it is a well appointed national database, so you could do much worse than having a look.

Aside from that I’ve reached a point now where I think I would benefit from professional literary advice, guidance or feedback which puts me in the realm of literary agencies. Two things to remember when approaching agencies is that they each have subtly different criteria dictating submissions that they will and won’t accept, and that most don’t accept work in progress which is reasonable enough, this isn’t a path that many people get to the end of so one way to weed out people that aren’t genuine about their efforts is to tell them to come back when they finish. Having said that, there are some altruistic souls out there who will, with absolutely no guarantees of a response of course, take a look at your unfinished magnum opuses (opusi?). I’ve  got in touch with the following three agencies in the last week

Conville and Walsh
Eve White
Andrew Lownie

I’ve yet to hear back, and of course its possible that I never will, but do take a look at their sites even if just to get an idea of the format they expect and what kind of genre they’re looking to take on.

Finally, this is quite a big one, United Artists a frankly huge agency are having an open house through a few dates in August.  The full page is here, but for a chance to get your work seen by some of the best in the business get on this!
The deadline is 6pm on each of the following three Mondays, including today, and on each day they will be accepting submission pertaining to the following genres

MONDAY 8TH (TODAY!)-Crime and Thriller
MONDAY 15TH-Commercial Fiction
MONDAY 22ND-Literary Fiction

If you’re not sure which date you need, the writing place website defines the difference between commercial and literary fiction thuslike;

Commercial fiction is the typical Hollywood film in Romance, Sci-fi, thriller genres. Whereas, literary fiction can be compared to independent or experimental film.

Which is a bit vague but if you consider your work to be a little more beguiling (basically a little harder to sell) then go for the 22nd. The site says that they’ll only accept one manuscript per person, so don’t split the difference and submit on both days.

Happy hunting people, and if anyone happens to be a successful applicant, then please do get in touch so I can grill you for details and share your story.


Author Interview; James Rice

One of my several guises is as an arts and culture critic based in Liverpool. It’s a really fascinating context to work in and has lead me into several very cool situations, not the least the opportunity, through the always awesome Double Negative magazine with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work quite a bit, to interview a local author whose debut novel had very recently been published. James Rice’s book, Alice and the Fly had been picked up by Hodder & Staughton and in the midst of a national publicity tour, we sat over a pint of Guinness and talked writing. The main thing I took from the conversation is the conviction that, contrary to what I’d previously thought, the things I’d always dreamed of doing were actually possible rather than some kind of compelling illusion. It may sound a little cheesy but its no exaggeration to say that the conversation we had that night has set me on the path to where I am now. The following is an excerpt of the article, written by yours truly, that was published as a result;

“Writers are just people, they’re not unicorns”: An Evening With James Rice

James Rice

Ahead of the Writing on the Wall launch tonight, Jack Roe meets their Pulp Idol 2010 winner and author James Rice: discussing his dark debut novel Alice and the Fly, new found success and how writers are certainly not unicorns…

Taking my seat in the crowded upstairs of LEAF, Bold Street, I find myself a little confused. I stumbled across the event I am currently attending, a book launch, whilst trawling through the cultural listings for Liverpool in January. What confuses me, for the initial launch of a local author’s debut novel, is the sheer volume of people in the room. Photographs cannot be framed comfortably, drink orders cannot be heard, chairs are at a premium and the trays of hors d’oeuvres being floated by the smiling wait staff are having a terrible time trying to make the rounds. I begin to wonder who exactly it is I’m dealing with. By the end of the evening representatives from Hodder and Stoughton publishing house and the Liverpool based literary organisation Writing on the Wall, as well as the author himself, have gone to some lengths to explain.

James Rice, 27, is a Creative Writing MA graduate from Liverpool John Moore’s University, born and raised in Maghull and currently employed at the Waterstone’s in Southport. This is what I am told. He is also the wide-eyed, humble and beamingly proud author of Alice and the Fly, a book that I will not tell you anything about, except to suggest that you seek it out and read it as a refreshingly dark and hugely entertaining antithesis to the rash of teen-narrated novels and films of the last few years.

“I completely failed to avoid being thoroughly charmed and impressed”

A planned attempt to talk to James on the night, to try and get a better sense of who he is and how the book came to be, was scuppered by a long line of people waiting for a signature and a potential photo, whatever his standing in the wider community, in this time and place James Rice is a bona-fide literary celebrity.

We agreed to meet up at another point where, dictaphone in hand and wearing my most pointedly professional expression, I completely failed to avoid being thoroughly charmed and impressed in my quest to gain some information on what exactly the process of writing and publishing a novel entails.

For the full article, either click the headline up there, or right here, and remember that aside from talent and conviction these things, as I’m learning more and more, take time.

the man who could not smile (i)

So, a few months ago I realized that since starting work on Strangetown in earnest I have been stockpiling ideas for other things I want to write and this one wouldn’t leave me alone. Inspired by George Saunders’ take on consumerism and the numbing effect of it when I read the In Persuasion Nation collection I wanted to see what my own take on that might look like and came up with the man who could not smile. As it’s a little longer, I’ve split it into three parts, the next two will be posted over the next week or so.


the man who could not smile.

the thymus gland is found in many species of mammals, including humans, and only functions until puberty.

its function is to prevent autoimmunity, meaning that the immune system will not attack or reject itself helping to ensure that the creature survives into adolescence and thus reach full maturity.

in lambs, the gland begins to regress once the lamb moves away from a full milk diet, anytime between 14 and 60 days old.

i ate three lambs’ thymus for lunch yesterday.

i thought they were a little overseasoned and i said so to the chef.

he informed that his sweetbreads recipe was award winning.

i informed him that since the president of the united states of america had, in the same calendar year that had seen a considerable surge in the number of targeted drone strikes, been awarded the nobel peace prize, the entire notion of an award, of some underlying notion of meritocracy, had been negated.

the chef replied that his sister was very ill and that his restaurant was full and that he did not have time to discuss politics.

i reaffirmed that his sweetbreads were overseasoned.

he asked me to leave.

suicide tuesday is a colloquial term given to the period of depression and anxiety that occurs midweek due to excessive drug use at the weekend.

the thinking espoused by people that have a rudimentary grasp of brain chemistry is that the finite amount of endorphines, the hormone responsible for the pleasure which floods the system upon the ingestion of, for example, ecstasy, that store of pleasure has been used up in response to repetitive loud music and aimless, rambling conversation.

i thought about this, reclining in my chair and listening to a miles davis album through a newly purchased Sonigasm stereo system with patented dynamic equalizer technology.

according to the salesman, the adverts and several celebrity endorsements the way in which the amplifier reacted to modulation in the frequency of the music in real time ensured that the emission of every phrase, bar and note was subtly altered so as to be absolutely perfect.

a Sonigasm sponsored listicle about which ten albums best showed off their new technology, that had recently been awarded a prestigious prize for journalism, had appeared in my e-mail inbox a day or so after i bought the most expensive system in the range and paid someone to install it for me.

it was suggested that Bitches Brew edged out Dark Side of the Moon because, musically it was more challenging and therefore best placed to show that their customers were in possession of impeccable and discerning taste.

i do not like jazz music, but part of my employment contract was to ensure the curation of an impeccable and discerning taste in music in case I was ever called on to venture and opinion on, say, whether I thought that krautrock was better defined by can or kraftwerk during a business lunch with an avid record collector.

the reason I was thinking about Suicide Tuesday was this; the results of thousands of years of the human wide-quest for pleasure had conspired to leave me cold.

like the roman aristocracy, ensconced in a orgy while a madman played a violin on the burning rooftops outside.

the reason I was thinking about suicide tuesday was this; my employers had begun to suggest that my malaise was affecting my work.

they were of the opinion that, in order to sell luxury life insurance to precocious entrepreneurs, i not only needed to have impeccable and discerning taste but also to have an optimistic and gently encouraging disposition.

existentialism, they pointed out, is bad for a business that mainly trades on mortality.

one of my employers is particularly fond of internal rhyming structures and, when asked about it, is able to espouse at length the popularization of such techniques within the mid-nineties hiphop scene on the east coast of america.

this knowledge, he is keen to point out, once helped him sell a massively overpriced policy to an american mogul who, every 4th of july, sends him a hamper full of nestle products for reasons best known to himself.

this is one example of success that has been used to inspire me during the previous quarter, it being in the belief of the company that encouragement is a far more useful workplace tool than reprimand.

about existentialism my employers, i think, have a point.

kierkegaard and his descendants probably would have suggested that, in a world in which people have shifted towards defining themselves by what they enjoy rather than what they do, someone that finds no enjoyment is, philosophically and psychologically speaking, fucked.

this, i felt, was historically unfair.

at any other period in recent history me being symmetrical, strong jawed, muscular, wealthy, white, young, male, heterosexual, healthy and employed would have ensured that my place in society was taken for granted, unchallenged.

at some point, someone had decided that being happy was important too, that unhappy people were somehow unusual and unnecessary, to be avoided.

things at work had come to a head over a business meeting.