A real Renaissance man and my dream library!!!
Great video HERE, just simply amazing... So, so inspiring! That's exactly the kind of person I wanted to be when I was thinking about becoming a lecturer and academic (Yes, I almost did become one... But that's another story).
And go and have a look at the article THE 30 BEST PLACES TO BE IF YOU LOVE BOOKS. I am drooling over it!
This is one of the reasons why I can't do e-books. e-books are so incredibly BORING.
Cartoon found HERE
So here we are... The typesetting has been done (thank you Mr Steve Pottinger!), the cover has been designed and formatted (thank you Matt ArtPix!).
I Am a Muse is going to the printer this weekend. Hopefully everything will be in order and I will be able to have a delivery date next week.
I will be keeping around 10 copies to give to people and then I will have to work on business cards, promo blurb and how to sell them - I will not be using Amazon.
I'd love to do an audio book too, but this might be a bit too ambitious... Maybe in a few years!
I have a lot of work at the moment and therefore the blogging and writing of the second book have been slowing down quite dramatically these days... I am trying to get as much money in before my holidays in Dorset, and hopefully I will be able to spend more time on The Book of Thoth in the spring!
We had a fabulous evening at the theatre yesterday.
I have seen the classic 1935 Hitchcock movie The 39 Steps two to three times,
(I cannot even remember!) and was looking forward to this.
I wasn't disappointed; it is a hoot!
4 actors, 139 characters... How on earth do they do it, you ask?
Well... A fabulous use of the stage and props, and an awful lot of energy.
The show is incredibly inventive and clever; references to several Hitchcock movies are inserted here and there - as well as the now famous personal appearance by the movie director himself! - and it is genuinely hilarious.
The 39 Steps, the play, has its own website... Catch the national tour if you can!
The Book of Thoth is now 117,000 words, and is YET not finished!
The writer's block has gone but of course, now I need to push the book aside for about 10 days as I now have to earn some money...
That's another year and a half worth of work on this one...
I am still hoping to send I Am a Muse to the printers next week, just waiting for the final corrections to the typeset content to come back, then Matt ArtPix needs to make a few tweaks to the cover (the book now stands at 252 pages, so the size of the spine needs to be reduced)...
In the meantime, when the paid job is finished, I will start preparing promo literature and make a list of independent bookshops to contact.
Yesterday, I found myself afflicted by a serious bout of writer's block whilst working on The Book of Thoth.
So I ended up doing a bit of research on Alchemy, which, I hoped, would get me started again, as I am in the middle of a scene in which two of the main characters discover the alchemist's secret lab.
The writer's block didn't leave me, but I did find quite an amazing website containing everything you've ever wanted to know about Alchemy.
I can't say I understand everything, but it's actually quite fascinating...
So maybe today, as I open my Word document again, I will find inspiration...
I will have the Alchemy Lab website at the ready!
Spirit Stories, Joolz Denby's 2008 release, saw the poet, author, artist and tattooist team up with her long-term collaborator, New Model Army's frontman Justin Sullivan. One track on this CD, the gorgeously apocalyptic Saddleworth, which evokes the end of the world beautifully, is one of my all-time favourite texts.
For The Black Dahlia, Joolz has collaborated with the dreamy Mik Davis, ex-frontman of New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack and now one half of the darkly psychedelic Utopian Love Revival.
I am not one for downloads, as for me, an album is an ensemble in which the music, the sleeve, the artwork all combine to make one unique entity. All together, the different elements tell a story; they chronicle the journey towards the ultimate achievement: the object you hold in your hand and the music you listen to. It records the emotions, the hours of work that have been poured into it.
The packaging of The Black Dahlia collector's CD is fantastic, with 12 lyric cards featuring Joolz's unique artworks on both sides. We are being spoilt!
This is an extremely interesting CD for it feels accomplished and experimental at the same time, with a multitude of sound effects and background noises that add to the atmosphere(s) of the poems. Mik Davis's music follows the themes of the texts and the lyrics, and adds texture, layering and atmosphere to them.
Some of the tracks wouldn't feel out of place on one of the early industrial albums.
The album starts with a trip to the outer Space, with Joolz's voice disembodied and the vibrating guitar in the background tearing through the silence of the "cold and deadly space"; this definitely possesses an otherworldly quality.
But we come back to earth and its earthy pleasures with track 2, Music I Could See, a sensual tribute to music with a Gypsy flavour, a veritable melee of senses
Like fragile tattered scarves the music
As often with Joolz's work - and as in life - there is darkness and there is light; the latter comes from Nature, its breathtaking beauty and its magical quality, as described in Geisha, in which Nature is describes as a beautiful woman - or rather a Goddess, perhaps? - coloured in with the most vivid colours of the changing seasons. And this wise and powerful entity is evoked again in the soothing Mother of Sorrows.
Somewhere else, in Desert Poem, we are seduced by the mysteries of a far away, exotic land. We are hypnonised by the tribal beat in the background and the occult tales of Native American legends.
Tribes are often mentioned in Joolz's work; humans don't seem to have shaken off their instincts after all those years of so-called evolution. Tribes are still present at the very core of our society, from urban gangs and sub-cultures to classes and sub-classes. Barbarians is a stupendous homage to that tribal instinct, mixing contemporary social imagery with magic and ancestral beliefs and a minimalist, distorted, metallic music that slowly creeps over you...
Very much like in Joolz's novel "The Curious Mystery of Miss Lydia Larkin and the Widow Marvel", there is magic in this CD. And like in the book, Magic hides in the dirty folds of our cities and makes our mundane lives bearable. In the bewitching Voodoo Voodoo, the author says:
Magic isn't casting spells,
And Tattoo Magic gives the ritual of tattooing some magical powers.
But the writer - as well as over 80% of this country's population - lives and works in an urban environment and excels at describing its savage, filthy, artificial and lifeblood-sucking quality.
Johnny has a biting, distorted electric guitar that reflects the death-wish and brutal life of an addicted young man; Gang Girl pays tribute to the heady lifestyle of the old biker gangs and The Black Dahlia is a stern, heartbreaking telling of the urban legend of The Black Dahlia. You can feel Joolz's anger and also some tenderness towards the "girls like the Black Dahlia" while the acoustic guitar softly plays in the background, as if to cradle the victims so they can sleep at last.
But then, An Angel appears in the unforgiving city, asking men to mend their ways... Much like in Saddleworth, an almost mythical event disturbs the frenetic pace and grim reality of our technology-obsessed lives to reveal to us our inadequacies.
An angel came to the city - you can see it on the internet,
This album is a real success, full of true beauty and emotions.
We had a lovely evening on Friday in the company of journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson, P. D. James, Jason Webster and Henry Sutton.
They had a lively discussion about crime fiction, told us about their favourite crime fiction books and read from their own works.
I love listening to authors talk about their work and reveal the ideas behind their stories, the way they work, their inspiration... The three authors had three very different personalities, styles, inspirations and ways of working...
I love Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Laurie R. King's Mary Russell Mysteries and Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series. I also would love to get my hands on some Mrs Bradley Mysteries by Gladys Mitchell and learn more about The Detection Club...
For me - and I was delighted when P. D. James mentioned this - the setting of the story and the characterisation are the important things: I like to get a sense of the era, a sense of the place - I am not very interested in contemporary detective works, apart from the Bryant and May series, but these have a lot of very original features you do not find in any other detective fiction.
The actual detection work is of very little importance to me at all.
I purchased P. D. James' latest book, Death Comes to Pemberley (very soon to become a BBC TV drama), and got it signed by the great Lady herself. I couldn't help being in awe of the lovely 92-year-old author; what a life she's had!
The exhibition Murder in the Library, an A to Z of Crime Fiction, is on at The British Library until 12 May 2013.
So yesterday afternoon we spent ages in Cecil Court.
My best find was this wonderful, huge book "50 years of movie posters" which was left on the tables outside Marchpane. At a mere £10 and full of wonderful reproductions, it is one of my best ever finds!
I have posted below a few pages of the book (they are all fantastic!)... I feel extremely lucky!
I think therefore I write.
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