Hey, Barbecutie

Archive for October 2010

Hallowe’en is my favourite time of year. Granted, this year has been something of a washout, given that I have work in the morning and a distinct lack of invites out/horror movie supplies to entertain myself tonight, but I shall endure. I have been eating novelty pumpkin shaped mini chocolate balls for the past two weeks. Tragically, my magnificent unicorn costume went unworn last night, as I instead ventured out as “Person who hasn’t worn this dress in a while”, but fear not, next year I shall take my rightful place as the majestic horned beast swigging from a bottle of Marks and Spencer’s premixed mojito cocktail at the centre of someone’s slightly scummy party.

Anyway, to celebrate, enjoy this photograph of a ghostie sitting on someone’s head, and check out the rest of the spirit photography here.

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So long,
stalls.
Musical virgin, namesake cinema.

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As I have been single for a little while now, I have become a beacon for well-meaning acquaintances desperate to set me up with someone they know. I have politely resisted thus far, not feeling any particular need to unsingle myself for the sake of it, but I wish to make a public service announcement: I would be happily set up on a date with the model for this book cover:

The hat at a jaunty angle! The pristine, immaculately clean jeans! The tongue stuck out in a way that says, “I’m concentrating on rummaging here”! This is the man of my dreams. I’m assuming he’s not actually homeless, but if so, I’m sure we’d get through it together. Love is never having to say spare change, guv.


c. Kit Ryall 2010

One of the hardest things about being an aspiring writer is other writers. Specifically, the highly motivated, self-promoting kind, who know how they should be marketed and the sort of people who should know their name. Literary events are a breeding ground for it. They watch the crowd at literary events, scoping out the right people to crawl over on their way to the top. Facebook friends applaud as the promoters introduce their mates, or someone they went to uni with, or someone they high-fived after comparing identical opinions on late period David Foster Wallace (but they call him Dave). The audience then endures an evening of self-satisfied and mediocre performances because they have come to expect no better. I get it. It’s not how you write, it’s who you know. That’s how it works. That’s how everything works.

But as a reader who loves literature, I had given up on finding a literary evening of merit. I wanted emotion, I wanted art, I wanted to hear people who were passionate and fresh and TALENTED. I didn’t want the organiser’s mates, shared backgrounds and trite metaphors, yet this is the attitude permeating the spoken word scene. Familiarity over quality. “You can read your shitty poem at my event because you let me read at yours”. The snake eats its own tail.

Then, in happier times, I moved to Kilburn and discovered wordPLAY. wordPLAY wasn’t a forum for smug connections and insularity. wordPLAY wanted beautiful things. It attracted a wide range of writers, poets, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, who were talent spotted and had a diverse range of mediums, perspectives and attitudes. The atmosphere wasn’t one of wet-lipped schmoozing and behind-backed criticism but of enthusiasm and excitement for the written word carved and coiffed and spoken out loud. The organisers weren’t looking to promote themselves, the performers weren’t looking for an agent, and the audience weren’t looking to spot the next big thing. Everyone was there for the love of good writing, and that’s what they got.

When wordPLAY ended in May, everything looked a bit duller. Going out on a high, the team had attracted a varied and impressive range of headliners from Laura Dockrill, Kate Tempest, Bernadine Evaristo, Edinburgh award-winning comedian Tim Key, TS Eliot-winning Poet George Szirtes, author of ‘Return to The Hundred-Acre Wood’ David Benedictus, and an eclectic array of less established, unpublished and wonderful writers, from traditional poets to MCs, beatboxers and freestylers and prose writers and storytellers.

The good news is that wordPLAY returns on Tuesday 23rd November for a one off charity event in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I am very happy to say that I’ve been asked to help organise this glorious return to the literary scene. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that organising an event is shitting hard work. I have great found respect for anyone who manages to run any kind of evening, even the dire ones, and I now see the appeal of getting your friends in to fill out the bill. But the trick is not to give up. Amazing writing is out there, waiting to be discovered by an audience who wants to listen. Working on the new wordPLAY event has taught me not to give up and resort to favours or settle for someone reliable but dull. Once a month for over a year, wordPLAY met the challenge, and sought out the exciting, unusual and interesting voices to perform. They crafted one of the most accessible, entertaining and unpretentious spoken word events in London.

Keep 23rd November free. It’s going to be amazing.

follow wordPLAY on faceBOOK

Yeah, I flipped that heading round on you. See how you like it.

In fact, I have been busy, with a fine mix of writerly pursuits, drinking with friends and crying myself to sleep (must stop listening to Eleanor Rigby). All in all, it’s been a pretty busy time for the Bronasaurus, thank you very much, though of course I have missed you lovely people who slavishly subscribe to my occasional musings here and who I have also just made up. Hello.

“They Is Us”, the all-conquering Nest Gallery’s feminist/sci-fi art exhibition, hosted at the Sassoon Gallery by the Sisters Burn, was a wonder to behold. I am very proud, mostly to have been involved with such extremely talented artists, to see my story exhibited in such a wonderful space, that people have been so supportive of all our efforts, and that the presentation of my piece didn’t collapse over the course of the exhibition. Here’s hoping everyone who snagged a copy of my story, “Those Girls Called Jackie” enjoyed/tolerated/read it, and if anyone else would like a copy to read with their eyes and their faces can e-mail me. More images from the exhibition and private view reside at the Nest Gallery blog, as well as information about future Nest events.

The Storytails event, hosted as ever by the delightful Gabriella, went splendidly. A really interesting selection of writers, both performing and in the audience. Was extremely nice chatting to all in attendance, and absolutely made the two hour, TFL-thwarting journey to Stoke Newington worth it. Why do I live so far away? I don’t know. I just do. It’s a very nice area, and Storytails remains one of the few lit events in London not populated by absolute wankboxes (more on this later). I had a great time, reading two stories (making me two times as good as the last time I read, statistically at least, unless it actually means I was only half as good, but that’s getting into a hazy mathematical area and I promised myself I wouldn’t go back to that place) which are available for listenage or downloadiness in podcast form at the links below. Please enjoy my Northern Irish accent therein. It is a constant source of amusement to people, and I have been recently informed that I say the word “naughty” particularly well. Naughty. Naughty. (I don’t see it.)

Tick Yes Or No
Arthur Nobody
And I highly recommend any writers looking for a fun evening with a rapt atmosphere submit some stories to Storytails, it’s a really fun event.

In other news, I’ve been listening to this. IT’S SO TRUE.

Camera Obscura – “Honey in the Sun”