I know that after having blogged quite a lot over the past few weeks, it's all gone quiet. This doesn't mean nothing is happening backstage!
I am working on one or two things to do with The Book of Thoth but won't put any detail on here - if I pull this off, then I'll blog about it, if not then I'll keep quiet...
In the meantime, as I have mentioned before, Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix are taking a break from fairs and markets. We need to think our promotional strategy through and decide what our next move is going to be!
My partner in crime (and everything else!) Matt ArtPix is working on a new series of images, Southend postcards... He regularly posts updates about the designs, so head to his blog to read more about it!
I have just finished draft 3 of The Book of Thoth, and I am quite happy with it now. The word count is still just under 139,000, and I don't think I will make any more substantial cuts.
In early April, I will be getting the final feedback from my reader, and draft 4 will therefore take her comments into account; I will also be preparing the manuscript for typesetting.
Now that the writing and editing of The Book of Thoth is almost complete, I need to put my publisher's hat back on and get on with several important tasks:
1. Prepare my Arts Council Grant documents to fund the research and publication of my third book, The Right Place. I need to do a budget for that... I foresee headaches.
2. Get the Arcane Publishing online shop up and running, which is not a minor task for a technophobe like myself!
3. Research events and markets where I could promote and sell books!
PS: The illustration is here in some kind of ironic way. I always say that if I had the opportunity to land an agent and a "traditional" publisher (with a nice contract!), I would give it a good go before I dismissed it as "not for me". I want to make a living out of my writing, and at the moment, the self-publishing path is not ideal. Also, I like the creative side of things, not the marketing/business one, which I tackle rather reluctantly.
WARNING: VERY LONG BLOG!
Well, this was a hell of a week! After a relatively quiet winter, things have picked up on the culture front.
Last Tuesday, we were off to the lovely Theatre Royal Stratford East to see the new version of Oh! What a Lovely War. I do hate musicals with a passion and would have to be dragged to one kicking and screaming, but I knew that this one would be different.
Highly satirical and poignant, it highlights the absurdity of the "war game(s)" and that of the military - not forgetting how naive the civilian population can sometimes be. The play has been visually freshened up and you have to admire the cast's energy and hard work. Note to Michael Gove: maybe you should have shut up before you criticised the play as you now appear at the beginning of it paired up with a donkey... Just sayin'...
For a more comprehensive review of the show, go to my partner's Matt ArtPix's BLOG - he has been studying WW1 for years and is better placed than me to give his opinion about the show.
On Wednesday, we were off to a venue we had never been to, Village Underground in Shoreditch, to see the infamous Laibach - whom we have seen before on numerous occasions! The Slovakian "avant-garde" art collective - whose main body of work concentrates on the links and interaction between ideology and culture - keep reinventing themselves with each project; their latest one, Spectre, is a brilliant, addictive collection of multi-layered tracks sung in English - a bit less industrial, a little bit more electro, with "quasi-pop" moments...
Laibach have always been exceptional live and tonight's sold out gig didn't disappoint: the background visuals were striking; the live drums added impact to each and every track; Milan's presence was as impressive and authoritative as ever, his deep-seated, sonorous voice counter-balanced by the mysterious and charismatic Mina Spiler's clear, pitch-perfect vocals. Mina's place within the band has really grown; she now fully shares vocal duties with Milan (she is also given writing credits in Spectre) and exudes the confidence and attitude necessary for such a performance (she fronts her own band, Melodrom).
The first 45 minutes saw the band play the whole of Spectre, revealing the genius of the new songs to their attentive audience. Then after a 15 mn interval, we got something completely different: a few tracks from their Iron Sky soundtrack with the movie's stunning visuals playing on the screens behind; we were also treated to everyone's favourite, "Tanz Mit Laibach", and of course to a few deconstructed covers, including Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" and Serge Gainsbourg's "Love On The Beat". As someone who absolutely loathe both individuals and their work, I was first taken aback by the choice of songs, but then I remembered that this is what Laibach do: they take the most absurd popular songs and give them the Laibach treatment: they redefine them entirely by reshaping and remodelling them through the industrial filter, injecting them with the harshness and the edge they never had and pumping a little bit of life into them. Fabulous.
Saturday, we were in London for the Classic car boot sale at Southbank, organised by Vintage By Hemingway. The weather was glorious and the place was packed with loads of cool and happy people, wonderful cars and jam-packed stalls; the atmosphere was lovely and the location iconic... What else is there to say?
Here are a few pictures!
We made a detour via The British Museum to get tickets for The Vikings exhibition... Yesss!
Then we ended up at The Barbican cinema to see Under The Skin...
I have been waiting to see this movie for MONTHS.
Michel Faber is my favourite author, and I really wondered how on earth his unforgettable novel could be turned into a movie.
I am still thinking about it; as my partner said when the lights went back up after the film: "I didn't want it to end".
And I felt the same: it is truly mesmerising and gripping. It's bleak and unforgiving. There is very little dialogue; the music is brooding, distorted, haunting, basically: perfect... (soundtrack by Mica Levi). Scarlett Johansson, whom I have always thought of as being interesting as well as stunning, is deeply touching; a naturally fatale femme... (I have always been interested in the Femme Fatale concept; they are always the most interesting ones, remember Louise Brooks's Lulu?).
Director Jonathan Glazer has removed a lot of the original story and changed quite a few things around; he has - dare I say it in the context of the novel? - removed the meat and kept only the skeleton of the story - but said skeleton is what keeps the body upright, isn't it? - Same here. Spared down to the minimum - namely, the alien and her reaction to the world around her, with a setting transported from the rural A9 road in the book to the decaying urban landscape of Glasgow.
I was fascinated by the sequences in which the alien observes the strange behaviour of the humans around her - how many times have I found myself in the streets, in a venue, or simply in the same room as other people and thought that I didn't belong to the same world or species? My strong misanthropic streak made me feel completely at ease watching Under The Skin. It looked like the landscape in my head...
I couldn't say whether Under The Skin is technically a good movie; I go for gut instinct, and I loved it.
Tonight, I'm off to see the bonkers The Grand Budapest Hotel. This should be a fun evening!
Pictures by Carya Gish and Matt ArtPix.
A lot of things are happening behind the scenes... Some good, some not so good.
I am currently working on Draft 3 of The Book of Thoth - today, musical accompaniment courtesy of Laibach; their new album, Spectre, is addictive.
I am hoping to post a longer blog on here by the end of the weekend, with theatre, cinema, music and vintage fun:
The Accrington Pals, Oh What a Lovely War, Laibach, Under The Skin and Classic Car Boot sale at Southbank!
I had a great day yesterday with Matt ArtPix at the first Southend Vintage and retro fair.
This Sunday 9th March, it's something different: The Crook Log Antiques and Collectable Fair in Bexleyheath!
The stock will be slightly different this time, as I will be bringing along some rarer books and oddities!
For ore details and pictures of the stock I will have on my stall this Sunday, head to the Arcane Publishing blog!
Yesterday evening, I finished Draft 2 of The Book of Thoth. I've been on a mission to cut the word count, and I have ended up with 139,790 words - down from over 151,000! Still, it looks a bit long... An editor probably would pitilessly tell me to cut whole scenes, but at the moment, I do think that everything that's left is important to the story in some way. I still have a lot of work to do on this - for example, PART VI is far too long and I need to find the right place where to stop it and insert a PART V title.
I am going to leave draft 3 in the drawer for a week and get back to it a bit refreshed. I need to read it first without stopping for corrections, to get a general sense of the flow of the narrative. Then it will be back to corrections.
It's funny how your brain works: now that I am on draft 3 of The Book of Thoth, it seems to have turned its attention to Book 3, The Right Place, without any prompting on my part.
This morning, I woke up with an idea for the story which I had to write down immediately, as it could end up being crucial to the structure of the book. I have to admit that I am getting slightly worried about Book 3; to write it, I will need to spend quite a bit of time in Dorset and at the moment, I do not have the funds to pay for accommodation there. My intention is to apply for an Arts Council Grant; therefore, this spring, I am going to start putting my statements and budget together and hopefully, I can send my application in the summer.
If I get the grant - which will not be very big, as I do not need that much money really, it will be game-changing and The Right Place could get published within two years. If I am not successful, then I would have to look at alternative ways of financing it, which I haven't really considered yet...
I think therefore I write.
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