Yesterday evening, at last, we watched the first episode of Peaky Blinders.
My reaction was: WOW.
It's sharp, clever, beautifully shot - some scenes are even poetically shot - the acting is excellent. The set is fabulous, with some kind of American Gothic vibe - it could be set in 19thC New Orleans!
You can feel the materials under your fingers and you can smell the scenes... The western angle is clever and the music is awesome - well, you can't really go wrong with Nick Cave. I love the anachronism of the music superimposed on a 1919 setting.
It's gritty and no character is weak - not even the women for a change - and yet, they are all human and have their weaknesses, a great change from most fiction nowadays which tends to be too ... how shall I say... "careful", "nice"?
Cillian Murphy is in it, which is brilliant for me as I have used him as a reference for the physical appearance of one of the main characters - tutor Adam Tuckfield - in my second novel, The Book of Thoth.
I cannot wait for the next episodes.
Great article about putting the sets together HERE.
So on Saturday, I am off to my favourite place, Dorset!
Two weeks away from the overcrowded South East...
I am going there to rest and recharge my batteries, but also to research my third novel, The Right Place.
I am trying to get a proper feel of the place, and I would like to find somewhere to stay and write next autumn, when I hope to start working in earnest on the book. The small cottage we always book might be a solution, but it is near Dorchester and I still haven't started driving again after all these years; I am therefore looking for something in Abbotsbury (or as near as possible!).
I am half way into The Game and I am enjoying it immensely, as I've enjoyed all the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes' mystery novels I've read so far. This series is absolutely fantastic, and I don't really understand why/how this hasn't been made into a TV series. It would be an absolute hit (if well made, of course)!
This book is about walking the sunken paths in south Dorset, so I cannot give it a miss...
Dorset's "literary celebrity". I've fallen in love with his county, I've been to his birthplace, now I have to read a bit more of his work!
The title says it all! A 1922 first edition just purchased last weekend!
New Model Army, one of my favourite bands. Not only for their music, but also for their poetic lyrics and their strong values, which I share.
A fabulous special edition put together by rock mag Vive Le Rock. Some great stuff in there, loads to read.
I have written somewhere else in this blog how I have always been fascinated - and felt an affinity with - witches.
Yesterday, we watched the (far too short) excellent documentary The Art of Witchcraft. There is not a lot of time left to watch it, so hurry!
Presenter Lachlan Goudie's father, Alexander Goudie, a renowned Scottish artist, was obsessed with a witch of the Scottish folklore, Nannie Dee.
Of course, the documentary takes us to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh which has an amazing exhibition on, Witches and Wicked Bodies. I have been aware of this exhibition for months and am dying to get there, although I know it won't happen. Could someone bring it down south, please?
Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing had a very busy weekend at the Alexandra Palace Antiques, Collectors, Art Deco and 20th century fair! It was absolutely amazing to trade at this truly iconic London building. A real privilege!
We set up on Saturday...
And Sunday, we were there before 8am on time for the trade opening hours! The weather was glorious early in the morning. Unfortunately, it didn't last and we packed up under the rain...
Our stall was absolutely packed (and very colourful!)
Unfortunately, these days, I am on a very tight budget and therefore couldn't buy a lot... But I couldn't resist these wonderful pictures of 20s actresses - well, one is more a 30s actress and there's also an actor! Four are of one of my favourites, the fabulous Miss Lillian Gish!
Here we have:
And I found a splendid book entitled "Thomas Hardy's Dorset", a first edition of 1922... This from the excellent Peter Moore Bookseller (and I also got a lovely PBFA book thrown in for good mesure!).
I will take the book with me on holiday as I am going back to Dorset!
It was very hard (but enjoyable) work...
The next Alexandra Palace fair is on 1st December, and this time we will visit as customers! And we might be back as traders at the Alexandra Palace fair next year...
By the way... Not good news...
"The UK’s antiques, collectors, vintage, craft and other types of fairs are under jeopardy by HMRC’s proposed enforcement of a draft EU regulation and a revised interpretation of the way current regulations have been applied, in a desperate attempt to scrape together a relatively small amount of VAT from organisers.
The bottom line is that organisers who are VAT registered should have been charging the full rate of VAT (currently 20%), from November 2012, which would directly increase stallholder costs to attend most of the fairs held in the UK."
Go HERE to learn more...
The first details about the fab literary festival that will take place in Leigh-on-Sea in November have been released! It is organised by arts organisation Metal and curated by artist and author Rachel Lichtenstein.
It is "a small, intelligent and thought-provoking festival. It takes place in various outdoor and indoor venues at the heart of the fishing community of Leigh-on-sea on the banks of Thames Estuary, at the point where it officially becomes ‘open sea’. This unique festival aims to provoke discussion, re-awaken senses, excite the adventurous spirit and explore new literature about the sea."
I will be involved in this event but cannot say anything until everything has been confirmed!
In the meantime, I will keep posting updates here, on the Arcane Publishing website and on Facebook.
For more details, go to THE SHORELINES PAGE ON METAL'S WEBSITE.
"Highlights in 2013 include: multi-award winning nature writer, Robert MacFarlane (current chair of the Booker Prize) on Britain’s most dangerous path, the Broomway; Mercury Award winning folk singer, Sam Lee bringing his own take on sea shanties; pop historian Travis Elborough (Wish You Were Here) on the British Seaside; Man Booker shortlisted author Deborah Levy with Swimming Home; a mixed-media installation by The SeaWomen of Korea by Greek artist Mikhail Karikis; award winning author and broadcaster Philip Hoare discussing the recently published The Sea Inside (BBC4 Book of the Week); noir crime fiction author Cathi Unsworth reading from her novel Weirdo set in a fictional seaside town, a multi-media film/performance of Swandown with cult writer Iain Sinclair, artist Andrew Kotting & musician Jem Finer; a special performance of Britten’s children’s opera Noye’s Fludde in the 100th anniversary year of his birth; French-Norwegian performance poet Caroline Bergvall (currently exhibited at Tate) with DRIFT her interpretation of Saxon sea poems; an afternoon of readings and talks by contemporary non-fiction writers exploring the unique landscape of the Thames Estuary, including Ken Worpole; Dr Jules Pretty (winner of Angel Prize) and Greek writer Julian Hoffman on the unique landscape of the Hoo Peninsula; The Fishwives Choir; local author Syd Moore (The Drowning Pool) set in the Essex coastline; an alternative audio walk exploring historical tales from the Estuary by US artist and writer Justin Hopper; films; writing workshops for both children and adults and much more."
So this weekend is the big Alexandra Palace Antiques, Collectors, Art Deco and 20th Century fair (now with a vintage market as well!). The fair is on Sunday so come along to this truly unique venue!
We are setting up on Saturday and will make sure our double stall stands out. Fingers crossed we have enough space for the shelves! Here are some of the books we'll be selling (for more info about some of the books, go to THE ARCANE PUBLISHING BLOG):
Matt ArtPix will have some pretty special vintage-inspired art there too, and a few antiques!
Oh, and I will have copies of I Am a Muse and will be giving out flyers/bookmarks!
We love walking in the autumn and winter - it's more atmospheric and inspiring than in the summer - and we would like to explore the county of Essex a bit more, so we've purchased two OS maps.
It's amazing the things you find whilst walking around in the countryside!
Here's a perfect writer's shack for sale in North Fambridge. It's lovely and quirky and you've got your own little island, but you'd need to be used to camping. No electricity, bathroom or "proper" loos - although you've got chemical toilets.
Standing on the veranda, you almost feel like you're somewhere in the bayous of New Orleans and not in Essex, England!
It's for sale, but it's not cheap...
Then it was off to Maylandsea - which has been completely ruined by a sprawling new estate, built on a flood plane of course, wonder how that one came about... If you walk far enough to the right, you can leave the houses behind you and enjoy the views beyond Lawling creek up to Osea Island.
All pictures © Matt ArtPix
This morning, I thought I would be getting another few free days this week, during which I was hoping to get even closer to the end of The Book of Thoth. I had put myself in the mood, ready to type...
But NO! Something's come up and now I have to forget about the book and focus on something else...
I just hope it's only a month or two until the end of the first draft... Only a few (very important) scenes to write now, but as the pace is supposed to increase to bring the story to its climax, it will not be easy. I might even need to act some scenes out in my lounge!
I am really looking forward to typing "THE END" and then go back to the very beginning to work on the second draft.
I started The Book of Thoth in January 2011; it feels like a century ago...
I think therefore I write.
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