I am really looking forward to 2014: we already have loads of great gigs, a music festival and plays lined up.
I hope to publish my second novel, The Book of Thoth, in December - Matt ArtPix should take over the typesetting for this one, and he has already produced some awesome ideas to add some quirky bits all through the book... we'll see how this goes, but it is exciting!
I will also work on the promotion of Arcane Publishing and my second-hand book selling venture...
But I'll also be reading a lot - my "to read" shelf is an ever-expanding monster -and I am really looking forward to new books by two of my favourite authors: Sarah Waters and Michel Faber.
Sarah Waters's The Paying Guests will be published in the autumn, and is set during the era that fascinates me the most, the 20s!
I am still hoping that the movie of The Little Stranger, her previous novel, will be made - it was optioned for film a while ago but no news on that front yet...
The Paying Guests synopsis below:
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
Talking about books made into films, I really want to see Under The Skin, based on Michel Faber's novel. I love his books and writing style - and he seems to be a very interesting guy - and I am very intrigued as to what they've managed to do with it. And it's got Scarlett Johansson in it, and yes, I think she is a very interesting actress. Under The Skin is out in March but will probably be shown in two cinemas in London so I will have to pay attention so as not to miss it.
It was announced last week that Faber's next book, The Book of Strange New Things, his first novel for ten years, will be out in November next year. I have to say that the subject matter is not really my cup of tea - books about religious belief are a complete no-no for me - but I do trust Faber's writing talent to turn it into an incredible read.
Watch the trailer for Under The Skin below - cracking soundtrack, I'm sure music-obsessed Michel Faber would approve!
I do hope that both authors will be promoting their books (and film) in London and do talks, I'll be first in the queue!
A quick one today, after the long blog I wrote yesterday.
I am looking forward to the holiday so I can go out and walk in the countryside - I do hope the weather will be clement enough for it!
But I know there will be some days when I will just spend many hours on the sofa with my books...
I am absolutely thrilled to have at last acquired Louise Brooks' Lulu In Hollywood, a collection of essays the fascinating 20s actress and icon has written for various film publications over the years - including Sight and Sound and Film Culture. I have already started on the first chapter, a previously unpublished account of her childhood and her move from Kansas to New York to start her entertainment career. And what an absolutely fabulous read this is! Louise Brooks is an accomplished writer: witty, clever, funny, wildly honest and unsentimental, she writes a riveting, often hilarious account of her younger years. I cannot wait to pick it up again.
This edition is the Arena Edition, 1987.
The BFI have had a Gothic film season and I haven't been able to attend any of the events... So I will console myself with the superb Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film, a great book exploring all the aspects of the Gothic genre in films and its inspirations. There are fab pictures and essays written by, among others, (usual suspects) Matthew Sweet, Kim Newman, Mark Kermode, Roger Luckhurst, Mark Gatiss and Guillermo del Toro- apologies to the other ones, these are the names I know!
And whilst flicking through the book, I realised that I've seen quite a lot of them, but I still have a very long list of movies to watch...
Finally today, and still cinema related, a wonderful stash of 1920s actresses. I collect cards with pictures of actresses, but you are only able to find mainly Edwardian ones. I hadn't found any 1920s ones until the Alexandra Palace Antiques fair last September, where I managed to get my hands on a few.
My fabulous partner got his hands on over 100 of them at a market in London!
Now that's what I call glamour...
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a first draft to finish off before the end of the year...
During yet another fabulous outing in London last weekend, we were able to see some astonishing art on display and listen to some terrific tunes...
First to the imposing Somerset House, where Stanley Spencer's Heaven in a Hell of War is exhibited (free entrance!) as part of The First World War Centenary. All the paintings have made the journey from their permanent home of the Sandham Memorial Chapel - bar the gigantic The Resurrection of The Soldiers, which was displayed as a projection on the wall, as the original was painted on a canvas adhered to the wall of the high altar of the chapel.
Most of the scenes show everyday life during the war at the Beaufort Military Hospital in Bristol - where the injured soldiers shared the building with mental asylum patients - and are fascinating and often humorous vignettes; some others depict scenes from the Macedonian front. There is a lot to see here, loads of little details. I was also very taken with the richness of the colours in some of the scenes and by the lovely, quintessentially English Tea in the Hospital Ward and Bedmaking. The exhibition is on until 26th January 2014.
It was only a short walk to Trafalgar Square - for a little look at the Big Blue Cock there - no, I am not being rude - and I can tell you something: the two manky pigeons perched on the plinth were not impressed - nor was I, to be perfectly honest.
I went to Vienna when I was very, very young, and remember not liking its monumental architecture at all... I do not know a lot about Austrian history and culture, but I am a massive Klimt fan, and therefore was not going to miss this.
The exhibition is rather fascinating and is showing works from the Secession movement - concentrating on their portraits of members of the affluent, international and liberal middle-classes, who were often also their patrons.
The styles vary enormously, with some works genuinely surprising in their boldness and originality - some of them unsettling, even.
And I was so thrilled to see a few original Klimts at last!
I really liked Oskar Kokoschka's work and his unique use of colours, especially in Portrait of Hans and Erica Tietze-Conrat below - the online images and even the prints do not do justice to the original, I'm afraid.
Another favourite of mine: Erich Lederer by Egon Schiele. The young man looks like he is straight out of a silent movie.
Facing the Modern at the National Gallery continues until 12th January 2014.
A quick stop for refreshments in the fast-disappearing Soho, and we were on our way to the Islington O2 Academy to listen to some music!
Industrial band Ventenner were excellent, taking their influences from different genres and injecting a welcome uncompromising, misanthropic energy - think Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, Atari Teenage Riot among others... I will definitively keep an eye on them!
Die Kur's singer Ays Kura looked thrilled to be playing in front of a sold out Islington Academy and his enthusiasm was infectious, even though their music was slightly too metal for me.
It was good to see Inertia's Reza Udhin wear his Sophie Lancaster Foundation t-shirt and wrist band to play another energetic set from this hard-working electronic band - who were celebrating their 20th anniversary last year!
Time for yet another celebration: The Young Gods' 25th anniversary!
The pioneering post-industrial Swiss band played a fabulous set, with samplers as sharp and biting as ever - original member Cesare Pizzi is back and taking charge of them for this tour. I don't really know what kind of stuff singer Franz Treichler is taking to keep his youthful, dancer-like physique, but I'll have some of it, please. He just doesn't change, and still makes an engaging, charismatic frontman.
As for drummer Bernard Trontin, he was on impressive form...
I have just uploaded a short extract of The Book of Thoth (1st draft) to the Book of Thoth page.
I cannot wait to finish it over the Xmas holiday and start the editing! Writing it is really entertaining, I am enjoying it immensely...
I'm quite chuffed as the book I will be reading over the holiday has just landed in my letterbox! I talked about it recently in A PREVIOUS BLOG.
I will also get started on this one too - granted, not as entertaining...
I bought this one months ago and still haven't had the chance to actually get started on it... If I have the choice between reading fiction and non-fiction, I always go for fiction. But next year, I really want to give Arcane Publishing a bit of a push and I have to learn, learn and learn some more...
Over the past few days, I have added almost 3,000 words to The Book of Thoth, but I still haven't finished the first draft, and now it won't be completed before the end of December. I have completely messed up my scheduling!
Oh, to be a full-time writer...
Life's not fair, is it?
Whilst untalented idiots and social parasites earn millions and seemingly last forever, there are incredibly talented people who make this earth a better place and die far too young, and we are robbed of their visionary, thrilling work.
This young lady, named Zina Nicole Lahr, was unfortunately killed in a hiking accident a few weeks after this portfolio video was shot.
But oh, what an incredible person!
Very inspiring... This is what being human means...
I love art and believe creativity, imagination, etc. are the most important aspects of what it is to be a human being. I go to a lot of exhibitions and always keep an open mind. I almost went to art school myself, after all, before literature and English language won the day...
Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I do have a problem with most contemporary art, though.
You know, the Tracey Emins and Damien Hirsts of this Earth, whose only talent is a knack for self-publicity and "shocking" rubbish - the only shocking thing about their work is that it's being lauded as art worth millions. And it looks like that's the direction taken by Art schools, who seem to teach their students how to write a stupid statement to cover-up your complete lack of artistic skills.
By the way, if you are an artist and you want to create your own artistic statement, THIS WEBSITE does it for you; the texts sound so much like real artists statements I've read, recently... Actually, scrap that, the "real" ones were much, much worse...
Have you ever been to the Serpentine Gallery, where, a few years ago, I had the immense pleasure of admiring bits of clear plastic stuck to a white wall? The meaning was probably incredibly profound and deep, but it escaped me, somehow...
Anyway. So, the Turner Prize... Don't even get me started.
At least, one of the competitors could paint OK, but the fact that she was shortlisted might have had more to do about where she was from then her actual painting skills.
You know, art and culture are really having a hard time these days, when it is all about hardworking families (I really, really hate that expression) and cuts to the arts. It shouldn't happen, because art and culture are essential for a healthy, successful and prosperous society - just like education. It is not random chance that in dictatorships and countries ran by religious fundamentalists, the first things to go are the arts, music, cinema and academia.
But honestly, when the Turner Prize entries are the only kind of art that is shown in the mainstream media, when it gets repeated over and over that this is the only type of art that will get grants and prizes, that filming someone sneezing in slow motion and exhibiting their soiled tissue in a glass cabinet will get you rich and famous, then are we surprised if non-artistic minded people sneer and shrug and think it a waste of time?
It makes me incredibly angry.
But I have found the remedy for my anger...
The one good thing about the Turner Prize is that it is the reason the Turnip Prize exists. Conceived in 1999 in a pub in Somerset as a joke response to the Turner Prize, it has carried on and acquired a certain... shall we say, prestige...
HAVE A LOOK AT THIS YEAR'S TURNIP PRIZE ENTRIES
If you really want a laugh, go to the Turnip Prize Wikipedia page and read through the previous years's entries and their description.
It's pure genius.
I think therefore I write.
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