Hey, Barbecutie

Archive for the ‘fact’ Category

small things ghosts

Having somehow managed to survive a hectic year that revolved mostly around a hospital stay and various other levels of madness, this blog has been neglected in a way that so many blogs have been before. Life and writing and existance in general have been put to one side as I tried to get myself back in one piece. But there are two achievements that make everything seem very lovely indeed. I’m very happy to have pieces published in two rather wonderful titles.

Firstly, I have a story featured in the fabulous charity collection All The Small Things, with an international group of writers presenting diverse tales of childhood in aid of Right To Play UK, an organisation which uses the transformative power of sport and play to teach valuable life lessons to children facing poverty, conflict and disease with the delightful aim of “bulldozing the world with a bit of love”. Many thanks to Pia Hansen, Obi Iheme and the rest of the team for involving me in this project. The book is a real treat, and it’s an honour to be included with such talented storytellers for such a great cause.

Secondly, after 2011’s wordPLAY presents A Flock Of Poets as part of the gorgeous Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition, Bloomsbury very wisely preserved the beautiful artwork by Ralph Steadman, Sir Peter Blake and Billy Childish among so many, many others in a wonderful coffee table book. I was thrilled to hear that some of the pieces written for the event would be published alongside the artwork, including my piece “The Last Free Bird In England”. In addition, there is a photograph of me mid-flow, looking like a goddamn human monster (beware of those plosive consonant, spoken worders…). I’m thrilled that our work could be included in the printed record of Ghost of Gone Birds’ fantastic project, and big thanks to the perfect Rebecca Fenton for too many things to list.

As a mere scribbler who chokes when referring to myself as a “writer”, it is a genuine, stomach-twirling delight to have my works not only published, but in books with ISBNs and available for purchase on Amazon. It probably seems like nothing to non-writers, and something totally minor to actual writers, but for someone in my position, I can barely express the excitement. I appreciate that luck often has more to do with such things then talent, and in that case, I’m the luckiest person in the world. Happy new year, team.

Our friends at wordPLAY have done it again. As part of the Poetry Parnassus, a week of international rhyming goodness, wordPLAY will be hosting 7 of the most exciting and unique poets and spoken word artists from the Pacific islands (all 10,000 of them). The diverse line-up features artists from the Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga and I shall be giddly swinging my legs in the audience to hear them all.

The magnificent featured performers are:

Tusiata Avia

Audrey Brown-Pereira

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Selina Tusitala Marsh

Karlo Mila

Craig Santos Perez

Teresia Teaiwa

wordPLAY London presents Pacifica
White Room, Southbank Centre
London
Thurs 28th June, 7pm
Hosted by Ms wordPLAY
Free Entry

Mauerbauertraurigkeit

dictionaryofobscuresorrows:

n. the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like—as if all your social tastebuds suddenly went numb, leaving you unable to distinguish cheap politeness from the taste of genuine affection, unable to recognize its subtle and ambiguous flavors, its long and delicate maturation, or the simple fact that each tasting is double-blind.

Well, I’ve finally got round to creating a seperate blog for stories, mostly because I’m ashamed of directing interested people to this hodgepodge of rambling nonsense as a means of “expanding” my “literary” “career”. So if you wish to read some story tales before you drift to sleep, please do visit bronaghfegan.wordpress.com, where all your dreams come true wait no I can’t promise that. Sorry.

The only resolution for 2011 that I managed to keep (and how) was to catalogue every film I watched throughout the year. I watch a lot of films. Some pretentious and in foreign speak, some pointless and centred around bodily fluids. And a couple of them were pretty good. I think I probably expected some kind of grand epiphany. More likely, it was a symptom of a nervous breakdown. Nonetheless, it was the one area of my life I had any control over.

In 2011, I watched 159 films, which is around 13 a month or 3 a week. This says that I either watch too many or not enough films, depending on your point of view. My most cineaste month was January, implying that my enthusiasm for the project crumbled fairly earlier on. My least filmy month was November, implying that I was incredibly socially popular that month, and also that my laptop broke so I was unable to watch any dvds.

My most watched film was Bridesmaids, which I saw 3 times, which I suppose kind of follows, given that it’s a phenomenon, what with women turning out to be funny and also being able to wear dresses in magazines and all that. It is a very good film, so I’m okay with how it turned out. My least watched film is all the films that didn’t make my list, because I didn’t watch them.

I can’t say I disliked any film this year. I tend to be fairly open minded, and if I suspect I won’t like a film, I won’t watch it, as I’m a big fan of autonomy. There are plenty I wouldn’t watch again, but that’s more to do with how I will at some point die and would rather spend my remaining days watching new films and rewatching films I like a lot. I think that’s reasonable.

Amongst my favourite films of the year (new, not re-watches) were True Grit (2010), Bridesmaids, Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Martha Marcy May Marlene, but my favourite was Submarine. Submarine I saw twice, after starting to read the novel and losing interest very early on, but the combination of Richard Ayoade and some of my favourite actors got me extremely interested. On the first watch, I was disappointed. Something about it left me cold, a bit upset, really. Not that I was expecting banana skins, but it was so melancholy. But it stuck with me. After a few months, and the dampening of my own mood, I felt a weird, intense yearning to see it again. Then, I saw its wry humour, the admirably self-involved protagonist, the delicate sketching of relationship dynamics, self-destruction, wrapped up in a visually beautiful and creative shell.

I can’t resign the exercise without saying one last thing: this was really difficult. It took some of the pleasure out of the film-watching experience. I found myself assessing the quality of each film before I watched it, knowing that at some point I wanted to put the final list online. Could I live with myself knowing that my friends and respected peers knowing I spent an evening watching The Devil Wears Prada? So I switched over halfway through. (Perhaps what was more harrowing was the realisation of my own snobbery.) Of course there’s plenty of crap that did make it onto the list. But this kind of regimented examination sucked the joy from one of the most valuable elements of the process – the freedom. Cinema is meant, at its heart, to take you away. They tell fantastical stories, introduce characters that intrigue us, show us a familiar world in a new way. It’s hard to take a voyage through the medium with the albatross of self-image around your neck. This year, I will be watching whatever I damn well please whenever I want.

Below the cut is the complete list of every film I watched in 2011:
Read the rest of this entry »

I never make new year’s resolutions, because I never keep new year’s resolutions. I am an extremely fickle person, and lose interest in things very quickly. However, in a state of what could generously be called “flux”, I decided to give it another try for the arsehole of a year that was 2011. Apparently we get to judge our worth as human beings according to how successfully we follow arbitrary rules we set for ourselves. This is the list I made:

1. Write a list of every film you watch
2. Moisturise your neck
3. Don’t fall in love
4. Write every day
5. No snacking
6. Don’t fall in love
7. Be smart
8. Read

I snacked. I can’t hide it from you. Sometimes I wasn’t hungry but felt like eating, so I had some bread with nutella, or an ice lolly, or whatever leftover sweets lying around my little monk’s room. I’m human, okay? I’m weak. Sometimes three meals a day isn’t enough. Sometimes I’m sleepy at work so I need a muffin from Cafe Nero. Do I wish things were different? Of course I do! But they’re not and that’s that. I snacked.

I also didn’t write every day. I barely wrote at all, in fact. There were a few deadlines, a few requests to write something for a specific day or date or performance. I was stymied by a broken laptop and an overwhelming sense of hubris. But I started some things. I didn’t finish them, I didn’t come close. But with writing, it’s probably okay so long as you try.

By fall in love (the resolution so nice I broke it twice), I meant of course those early days of watery-eyed obsession, where you think something might be happening in your life, when you’ve spent too long alone. It is a time when you are at your most stupid. You drift out of conversations because you can’t help but wish you were talking to them instead, or about them. You get angry when you receive a text and it’s not from them. Your life becomes a countdown to the next time you see them. It is a terrible way to live. The joy of an actual relationship is that this point passes very quickly. I broke this resolution, mostly on people who didn’t deserve it. But I’m learning.

I read less than I should have, but more than I could have. I read at lunchtime. It is a nice habit. I need to read more on trains and buses, and in bed at night. I am currently trying to read The Corrections, in an attempt to finish it before I fly back to London. I’m on page 277 of 653. Wish me luck.

I was not smart, but also sometimes I was smart.

I didn’t get as far as moisturising my neck, but I have started moisturising under my chin and jaw. It’s a start.

As for my list of films…this was a resounding success, which I will elaborate on in a seperate post…


The best part is Beau Brummell at the side there

Good night looters, and commuters,
and watchful nerds on your computers,
soon the embers start to fade
on your rambunctious cavalcade.
The crow bar man with balaclava,
the officer faced with the palaver,
Count you softly each cracked head
as you drift sweetly to your bed.
Think us all what we have proved,
how this has solved each fraying feud.
The sun is forced down by the night
but still this town will stay alight.

1. I have, through no one’s fault but my own, ended up with the theme to Animal Hospital in my head.

2. My life is going nowhere.

3. I am incredibly open to the possibility of someone massaging me vigorously on my back.

4. Animal Hospital.



And now, a look at the week that was:

Bitches be singing along to post-Franco era Spanish pop songs despite not speaking any Spanish.

Bitches be forgetting to buy Father’s Day cards.

Bitches be saying they’ll make you a mix CD and then not getting round to it, but also sometimes getting round to it, so bitches be not all bad.

Bitches be going to work despite being unwell.

Bitches be buying halloumi and not getting round to eating it, despite really really looking forward to eating the halloumi, but bitches have half a stir fry to finish before it goes out of date, and bitches also just made soup that bitches should either freeze or, I don’t know, something.

Bitches be registering for a GP after only 3 years in London, then subsequently making like eight appointments all the while apologising profusely.

Bitches be reading up on the “Paul McCartney died and was replaced” conspiracies until they sort of believe it, so bitches quickly stop and look up tortoise pictures instead.

Bitches be looking into career prospects by googling the phrase “teachng adult literacy” [sic] and then feeling that it may be a dead end.

Bitches be returning items to a shop then immediately going out and buying other items worth double the initial returned items because bitches be bad with their finances.

Bitches be writing verse form love poetry about boys who broke their heart and feeling slightly embarrassed about the fact.

Bitches be crazy…good at making salads.


image by Reena Makwana

This weekend sees the International Alternative Press Festival 2011 at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL, London Town, and Nest Gallery will be selling a number of zines and artworks tomorrow, Sunday 29th May, 10am-4pm.

I am very excited to be taking part with a sequel to my last zine (Wonderful Creatures And How To Kill Them) entitled More Amazing Creatures And Further Ways To Kill Them. The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that I forgot the name of my own zine when making the follow-up. Find out new ways to ensure the permanant annihilation of such critters as the Daddy Long Legs, the Hippopotamus and the Urban Fox. Get them before they get you.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

The Nest table will also feature the beauteous work of some incredibly talented artists such as Anna Lincoln, Emily and Anne, Siobhan O’Brien, Rebecca Strickson, Bella Szyszkowska, Alice Marwick, Emily Howells and Reena Makwana.

Nest is an all-female collective of exciting artists (and the odd munchkin such as myself) and always has something unique and beautiful to share, so be a mensch and get yourselves down to see Nest and all the other exciting artists.