The Book of Thoth: a sneak preview!
Matt ArtPix has been hard at work on the style sheet for The Book of Thoth.
We still have a few things to sort out, but it is looking good... I love it!
More to come soon...
The Book of Thoth draft 2 update
I have now completed draft 2 of parts I and II of The Book of Thoth -yes, it rained constantly last week when I was abroad and editing was a most welcome activity!
I am quite pleased with it so far, although I know that these sections the easiest ones: things are getting slightly out of hand from Part III onwards, as the story gets weirder.
I aim at cutting the 151,000 words manuscript (already about 1,000 down from draft 1!) to 130,000 which still seems enormous. I guess the printing costs will go up for this one!
Matt ArtPix is still full of ideas for the typesetting and things are taking shape very nicely... If we can pull it off, The Book of Thoth will be really lovely to look at!
Paris, annees folles
Last week, I watched the most astonishing documentary about Paris in the 1920s: "Paris, années folles".
Les années folles" (The crazy years) is a French expression used to describe the 1920-1929 era in Paris.
Anyone interested in the 1920s should see it; the footage is literally jaw-dropping. This documentary is about history, culture, art, literature and social changes.
Paris was once the exciting place to be - mostly thanks to rich and not so rich foreign artists, intellectuals and entertainers who flocked to the French capital in the 20s in order to live their wildest dreams.
Ignited by a desire to put the unimaginable horrors of WWI behind, this incredible explosion of creativity, glamour and social change reached an intensity never equalled.
It didn't last long and never returned to the banks of the Seine.
This two-hour long documentary is a unique glimpse at life in Paris at the time (only for certain groups, though; as shown at some point in the documentary, the reality of French life on the outskirts of Paris and beyond was still steeped in peasant misery, in a world which struggled to evolve socially and economically and launch itself into the 20th century.
The film's director, Fabien Bezat, has taken the decision to show the film in colour to appeal to today's audiences who can barely cope with black and white - the documentary was shown at prime-time in France. He and his team have been through a gigantic amount of archive from the time and then worked on colourisation (done in India and in the US), then added the soundtrack and the score.
So what will you see in this film?
The bar terraces in Montparnasse which acted as HQ to the artists and their muses; the jazz clubs in Montmartre; Coco Chanel, Art Deco, the bob, Gertrude Stein and the «Lost Generation», the famous clubs «la Rotonde» and «la Coupole», Man Ray and his muse and lover Kiki de Montparnasse, «dirty french novels» and the beginning of porn, the Surrealists an Dadas… Josephine Baker, Scott Fitzgerald, Miller, Hemingway, Dali and more...
The Avant-Garde, women's emancipation, sexual freedom, but also the way a very conservative France tried to resist change - this led to the birth of fast-rising far-right and Fascist movements, The Olympics of 1924, poignant footage of disfigured ex-soldiers, the sumptuous orgies and finally, the boats who took the rich Americans back to the US after the 1929 crash.
There is no DVD of this film and it is a shame. The French commentary is succinct and would be easy to translate and add subtitles to - I can predict it would sell very well indeed.
Nevertheless, you can still enjoy it without being able to understand French; it is well organised in clearly separated sections, is fast -paced and crammed with rare footage.
Personally, I have always been much more fascinated by London - my spiritual home - and have never been much interested in Paris, a city I have come to know and dislike very much.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, Paris has never been a romantic city or an exciting metropolis. It feels like a big French provincial town at the best of times; it is grey and tired, people are grey and tired; it hasn't got any edge, is incredibly dirty, choked by an erratic traffic and a constant stream of demonstrations - I was there briefly yesterday and it has gone worse!
And at times, it feels like a third world city.
Paris is now nothing more than a former courtisan, old, diseased and tired, who cannot even bother to put her make-up or her showy gowns on anymore. When you glimpse at what it has been and what it could have been, as in this documentary, you wonder what on earth has gone wrong.
Then you shrug, French-like, and go to enjoy London, a city with many foibles but which feels like the capital of the world for all the right reasons...
I have actually found the documentary online, I think it's the whole thing ... Enjoy!
Watch "Paris, années folles" HERE!
Out and about
I am going abroad for a week to do a bit of market research for Arcane Publishing and also to (maybe) stock up on some great ephemera and second-hand books for Arcane Publishing's forthcoming vintage and antiques markets.
I will be taking draft 2 of The Book of Thoth with me as there is a hell of a lot of work to do on it...
In the meantime, my partner in crime Matt ArtPix will be trying out a few typesetting ideas for The Book of Thoth.
When I come back, things will get incredibly busy: draft 2 of The Book of Thoth, freelance work, preparations for our first markets, a book review to write, some gigs, art exhibitions and theatre...
I wouldn't have it any other way!
The Book of Thoth: characters
In The Book of Thoth, towards the beginning of the book, there will be a page with the "cast of characters".
The Book of Thoth, Draft 1: completed
Today, after a final push - I have typed over 3,300 words! - I am absolutely thrilled to say that about 30 minutes ago, I typed THE END on the last line of my manuscript.
I started working on The Book of Thoth, my second novel, in January 2011 - at least, the planning stage, which lasted around six months, began then.
The manuscript is bonkers, and wayyyyyy too long - it stands at 150,950 words at the moment.
My head is screaming CUT CUT CUT CUT!!!!!
It's been a challenge, as I have tried to write some kind of hybrid Gothic novel and have been adding things as I went along... But it's been - and still promises to be - FUN. Well, fun to write. Not sure what it will be like for readers.
I have no idea whether it works or not - well, I don't think it quite works as it stands at the moment, and that's why I know that finishing draft 1 is only the beginning...
I have edited the first 5,000 words, but there is a hell of a lot of work to do. And because it's taken so long to write, I actually cannot remember half of what I've written over the past three years!
First dates for 2014!
Hurray! Arcane Publishing now has new dates on their events page!
We are still in the process of looking at various events around London and the South-east!
We will of course keep you updated. Do check Arcane Publishing's events page regularly for more dates!
In the meantime, come and say hi - and maybe buy a book or two - at the following events:
We will be at the Southend Vintage Fair, Chase Sports Centre, Southend-on-Sea; I will be sharing a stall with my partner Matt ArtPix.
Then the following week, I will have my own stall at the Crook Log Antiques and collectables fair at the Crook Log leisure centre in Bexleyheath.
At those events, Arcane Publishing will be selling a great selection of second-hand and vintage books - some rare! - and of course, copies of I Am a Muse.
I am just about to finish the first draft of The Book of Thoth. I am beyond myself with excitement, as I cannot wait to work on the second draft and whip this monstrous manuscript into shape (I have been working on this first draft since the first half of 2011!
And some more books we've just acquired!
Following up on the topic of theatre actresses, here's Ellen Terry, probably the most famous of them all!
The next one is something quite special.
Letters from Cythera is written by Jaz Coleman, the frontman of cult post-punk band Killing Joke, but also a well-respected classical composer, and thinker. The hefty volume, which delves into the ideas, belief systems and inspiration behind all of Coleman's music, is accompanied by The Island, a CD of music Coleman himself describes as "romantic minimalism" and composed by him. It was recorded in 1996 in New Zealand with the Auckland Philarmonic Orchestra but was lost for over a decade.
Both the book and the music were inspired by and created in the remote South Pacific island Coleman owns - which is rather apt as I am still reading Jordan Reyne's Remembering the Dead, set mostly in a New Zealand forest.
Learn more about the project HERE.
The design on the project was done by Mike Coles, the design genius behind Killing Joke's most iconic visuals.
I think therefore I write.
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