Skip to main content
Read the first two chapters

Buy the Book

Buy a signed first edition of flash Farce from Ian
Buy now £9.99
Buy Fish Farce on Amazon
Buy now £9.99

I have worked in the restaurant business as a chef for most of my working life. After training I worked in small restaurants and eventually opened my own. In the year 2000 circumstances conspired to lead me down the route of becoming a freelance chef, offering my services to anyone requiring my skills. This led to some interesting and unusual jobs. Best of all was teaching which I took to like a duck to sauce a l’orange.

Covid proved a hiccup in all the things I was doing and as I had reached the age of receiving a modest stipend from the government I thought it was time to hang up the apron – well not quite. Like actors, artists and writers I doubt whether chefs ever properly retire. After all, you have to cook your own supper.

However this still didn’t take up much of the time I still had on my hands. I expanded a few of my other interests . I had always dabbled in photography and painting was something I now had time for – not that this meant I was any good.

I had always secretly harboured a desire to write a novel. Secretly, because I could just hear in my imagination a chorus of ‘What is a chef doing writing a novel?’ Also, it is not a bad idea, before you open your mouth, to prove, if just to yourself, you can stay the course to string 100,000 words together regardless of whether they make any sense.

I am an early riser and I find the peace of being about at six in the morning perfect for sitting down with a cup tea and a brain fresh from sleeping to give your imagination a bit of freedom. I think it was Terry Pratchett who said that writing was the most fun you could have on your own. I know what he means; there are many positives about the act of writing and I am not talking about commercial success because when you start writing, that is about as likely as winning the lottery.
First is the fun of being able to create characters, plots and situations and be in control of them. Secondly is using any experience you have picked up over the years to weave into your narrative – some of them might have come from the things you remember, others are dragged up from your subconscious that make you think, in retrospect – where the hell did that come from? The third thing is research and that is not just looking things up on the Internet but sometimes doing something one of your characters has to do to know what it feels like – although I draw the line at sky-diving.

I finished my 100,000 words now knowing I, at least, had the staying power for that. I put it away for a while and a few months later read it through and started the tortuous process of re-writing, correcting errors and polishing the text. If you are still with me the book is called Fish Farce. There is very little cooking in it and it is not about the restaurant business.

The main plot is about a young man who discovers the father he grew up with was not his biological father. With very little evidence he sets out to try and find him. Along the way he meets characters and situations he would not normally come across. He suffers set-backs and disappointments, finds love and eventually the odd circumstances that led to his existence.

If you think that sleaze, scams, pyromania, sex, blackmail, Elvis Impersonators, art forgery, drugs, nudity, heavy metal rock music and fish are your thing you might enjoy this book. Even 8 out of ten might do it!

{ Chapter 01 }


The road up to the church, flanked by banks of wild flowers and grasses in the summer, this winter’s day was wet and muddy. What little traffic there was had splashed the grass at the verge making it drab and dirty. It spattered the wheel arches, back and sides of the white vehicle as it drove up the lane. The church at Tidwick was on a raised plateau and it looked down across the marshes. On a clear day you could see the sea.

A light dusting of snow had fallen in the night. The vehicle pulled up by the low wall left of the lych gate and a man got out. He put his collar up against the cold and pulled the knitted hat down over his ears. He held a flat, crudely wrapped parcel in his hand. There was no one about as he went through the gate. Old gravestones leant against the inside of the wall where the man had parked his vehicle. The grass was longish and matted, woven with weeds and studded with the remaining leaves of autumn. He took a path to the left that skirted the church on the seaward side. Snow decorated the tops of the gravestones in precarious little pillars and odd shapes. It lay on the ground in patches copying the rectangles that were a feature of some plots – as if they were blankets keeping the dead warm.

He left the path and wound his way between the graves as if making for the edge to look out over the view to the sea. But he wasn’t going to look out to sea. He reached a gravestone that was relatively new compared to the worn and pitted stones of the older graves. There was a small angel, cherubic looking, carved into the top and he wiped the snow from it with a gloved hand before removing the glove and touching the name on the inscription with his fingertips like a man reading Braille.

He knelt like that for a moment and then as if it was an afterthought he remembered the parcel. He folded back the edges of the white paper to reveal a small flat fish. The skin shone in the weak sunlight, the red spots evident against the dark skin. He lifted the fish away from the paper and placed it on the grave where the grey shape of it stood out against the starkness of the snow. After a while he stood, gathered up the paper and walked slowly back to the vehicle.

Two yellow eyes blinked in the shadows of a yew tree as the sound of the motor became fainter in the distance. A cat, its black fur, camouflaged by the cloak of the tree’s foliage, sniffed the air. With caution it moved out from the cove of the tree and moved towards the smell, high stepping like a show horse through the grass. It stood by the grave looking at the fish, sniffing it tentatively at first as if it too found the idea of a fish in a graveyard incongruous. The cat then touched it with a paw, inverting it to lift the head of the fish and sniffed again. Then, as if making up his mind of a sudden he took the head in his jaws, turned and made his way back to the cover of the tree, the fish jutting out of his mouth.

{ Chapter 02 }


Ben rolled off the sofa onto the rug landing on all fours. ‘Fuck,’ he said softly and waited until the hammer inside his skull calmed to a steadier beat.

He had woken up in the room he called his office. It was at the back of the studio come gallery and was many things as well as an office, in the same way the sofa was more than just a sofa. It was big enough to seat four people comfortably which meant that Ben could stretch out on it and sleep when that was more convenient than any alternative.

A large Victorian, mahogany, beast of a desk stood in the middle of the room, daring anyone who thought they were strong enough to budge it an inch in any direction. The wood and leather surface, once lovingly and often cared for by servants, and lavished with unguents to keep its surface agleam, was now home to a chaos of art books, sketch pads, unpaid bills, unwashed cups and plates, paintbrushes, catalogues, flyers and near empty tubes of paint.

A sink and draining board were fixed in a corner of the room and like the other facilities was multi-functional. It was spattered with the results of brush cleaning and used for the washing of cups and plates when Ben either had a fit of domesticity or he ran out of space on the desk. An electric kettle stood to one side for the making of tea and coffee and a small shelf held the accoutrements for carrying out this task. At the end was a tooth mug that held a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, kept far enough away from the dangerous confusion of other tubes in the room.

A bookcase held more art books – Cezanne, Monet, Hopper etc that Ben had either come across in charity shops or bought new when his finances were at a peak rather than in a trough. Two chairs in the room held the sum total of Ben’s wardrobe; jeans, t-shirts and various jumpers for the winter months, decorated with holes and spattered with paint.

A solitary window shed light into this space. A bush of valerian grew outside it, the pink flowers peeping over the sill in summer. Beyond it was the beach and the sea. Ben was lax about security and in summer it was more often open than closed, but as there was little of interest to thieves unless they were into art books it hardly mattered.

Ben stood up slowly, careful not to make any sudden movements, flicked the switch at the base of the kettle and lit a cigarette. The first light of morning was filtering through the window. He went through to the main part of the building, opened the back door and looked out over the shingle, down to the beach. The sea, mostly grey blue was waiting for the sun to improve its colour, but this being England there would always be a hint of battleship about it. The air was still damp and chill from the night but the clear sky promised another hot day. The tide that came up in the night had cleared the litter and oddments left on the beach; a jelly shoe, a child’s vest, and had demolished the sand castles where there was sand, tidied, rearranged and cleaned the shingle further up and left its signature wavy line of black weed at the limit of its reach.

Ben made coffee and took the cup outside with him. It was still early. Only the gulls were up, shrieking and swooping, looking for anything that might resemble food. Too early for the joggers, dog walkers and cyclists; even the fishermen had left with the receding tide, their boats smudges in the distance, the chug of their engines too far out to hear.

Several commercial enterprises, mostly converted net sheds, dotted this no-man’s-land between the petering out promenade and the coast road east of the main town. In the centre was a small car park, made of sand and shingle and deeply rutted. Between this and the sea was a boat repair shop, and next to that a fishmongers called Dean’s Plaice with a sign painted on a placard the shape of the eponymous fish. To the left of the car park a converted caravan stood. It sold burgers, hot dogs and bacon sandwiches along with soft drinks, tea, coffee and ice cream. A sign above the serving hatch announced ‘Toddy’s Bacon Crematorium’. The caravan had settled over the years and now sat as if embedded in the ground, a patch of rough grass and nettles at its back and behind it two tennis courts, run down, unloved and uncared for.

The Fish Works Art Gallery was a long, low, single storey building. The front part facing the road was the main gallery. The entrance at the side opened onto the reception area and the back part of it, close to the beach path and the sea, was the office, though bedsit might have been more accurate. This arrangement, though strictly illegal as far as the local council would be concerned if they were ever to find out, suited Ben. He liked living where he worked, he liked being close to the sea and it was cheap. Any conventional housing that looked out onto the beach would carry a price tag well out of Ben’s reach. The arrangement also afforded him a certain autonomy. His relationship with Wendy, the owner of a guest house a hundred yards along the seafront was unconventional by default. In summer when the guest house was full Wendy was always busy and they saw each other one or two nights a week. In winter Ben stayed over more often. They had both had conventional relationships previously that hadn’t worked out so this loose arrangement suited them both.

Ben had painted the rendered exterior of the building a Farrow and Ball colour named ‘Dead Salmon’ which he thought was fitting, with a logo painted by Ben of three fish heads. The fishy signs tended to confuse people looking for the fish shop and this often meant redirecting people who came into the gallery asking for two ounces of coley or a wing of skate.

Ben took a towel from the office and walked across the shingle to the edge of the water. The sun was now over the horizon, burning off the last wisps of mist remaining from the night and casting a honeyed glow over the beach and seafront. He hung the towel over a breakwater, took off his jeans and t-shirt and walked into the shallows. When the water was up to his knees he launched himself into the sea and started swimming away from the beach. It was a ritual he carried out most mornings with few exceptions. It was both invigorating and cleansing and never failed to shake off a hangover. He struck out till he reached the yellow buoy, and then turned on his back, floating and looking at the sky. When his breathing had slowed he rolled over on to his front again and started a lazy crawl back to the beach.

Buy the full book now


Ordering questions, delivery details and other helpful bits and bobs.


Delivery to the UK will be sent out via Royal Mail within 2 working days. You can choose from first or second class at checkout.

Postage options internationally will also be available at checkout. Considering books are heavy it may be more viable to purchase your copy of Fish Bananas through Amazon – see link above.

If you are looking to order several copies of Fish Bananas please contact us so we can arrange the best delivery option for you. Email us here:

Amazon Orders & Returns

The Fish Bananas Amazon paperback edition (not the signed first edition paperback) is printed on demand by Amazon. It is available internationally and on Amazon Prime. It is subject to Amazon’s printing T&Cs, please check on the Amazon webpage for their estimated delivery times.

If there are any problems with orders through Amazon you must contact them with regards to refunds as we are not responsible for these sales.

Order Issues & Returns

If you have any problems with your order, your book hasn’t arrived or you are not 100% happy with your book please email us: and we will see how we can resolve your issue.

Please notify us within 14 days of receiving the book of any problem and if a refund is due we will issue it upon receiving the book back in it’s original packaging and condition.


Payment is via Paypal although you do not need a Paypal account to complete the purchase. Paypal accepts all major debit and credit cards. If you dot not wish to use Paypal please contact me for alternative methods.

Bulk orders

Want to order more than one copy, or stock Fish Farce in your book shop? Get in contact so I can arrange the best shipping costs and discuss trade prices.