A gritty and authentic tale of life on the streets, ‘Not for Human Consumption’ by Craig Watson explores the lives of those experiencing the hardest of times. Touching on a variety of subjects from addiction to abuse, crime, poverty and debt, the life of Danny and his friends are authentically, heartbreakingly told. This isn’t a comfortable read, with few glimmers of hope shown in a predominantly desperate situation. Even those such as Danny who manages to find work and are offered a space in a hostel can struggle to acclimatise and end up back on the streets that they’re familiar with. The characterisation throughout is detailed, the writing is descriptive and powerful. I found myself frustrated at Danny throughout for not leaving, seeing a situation clearly and looking after himself properly but also recognising the never-diminishing need to try and help someone you care for anyway. ‘Not for Human Consumption’ is about a community of people, how they survive and sometimes what’s needed to get through the day, the upsetting realisation that you can’t love someone better, and what’s needed to get yourself into a better situation. Dealing with a grim reality of street life, this story is gritty and feels real throughout, to the point I wondered whether some of the narrative was actually true. The author doesn’t shy away from the pain in this story and that makes the story and the payoff that bit sweeter.
Haunted by Cocteau's version of the Orpheus myth since 1968, Craig Watson collected a palimpsest of renderings, fragments and images from the Orphic tradition for the next 40 years. In 2008, he returned to these materials in the wake of a near fatal stroke. The result is Sleepwalking with Orpheus, a constellation of voices that recount the legendary singer's continuous journey through the realms that compose a life.