Yesterday, I finally returned to Abbotsbury to soak up the atmosphere ahead of (slowly) getting back to work on my third novel, The Right Place, set in and around this beautiful Dorset village. Over the past few months, we have driven through Abbotsbury on our way to West Bay, Bridport and Devon (nothing beats a drive along the B3157) but it is only yesterday that we actually found the time to stop for a while.
We made it to the top of Chapel Hill of course - and as we entered St Catherine's Chapel, I was pleased to see that yet more messages and prayers had been deposited into the niches - after all, I have written several pages devoted to the messages and prayers to St Catherine left in the Chapel (you can read these extracts HERE)
My intention is to regularly go and spend a few hours in Abbotsbury this spring and summer, pen and paper in hand. As things are not very stable at the moment workwise and my writing schedule can go out of the window overnight, I have decided not to have any schedule - I will just make sure I keep a few hours a week to finally attempt to get the first draft done before next September.
The countryside is just waking up here - the trees are still very wintry, but with good weather on the way (apparently), then things might change very quickly in the next week or so.
At the moment though, the fields are teeming with ewes and their tiny lambs - two per ewe. It is just a delight to walk around, then stop and spend ages looking at these minuscule balls of wool - all ears and legs.
The lambs are still very, very small, but in a few weeks, they will gather into gangs of ten to twenty individuals and race from one end of the field to the other and back - this is really one of the most entertaining spectacle!
The lambs and ewes below live next to the famous Abbotsbury swannery.
The little one in the last picture might never have seen a human before: even though its mum and brother/sister were walking away in the other direction, it just stood there, staring at us, fascinated by those funny looking things on two legs. It was incredibly small!
Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing are booking events for the Spring and summer, a few have already been announced! Go to the Arcane Publishing EVENTS PAGE to know more!
My house is full of books. My own, but also the second-hand books I sell at my unit in West Bay and at markets and fairs. I hope to develop this venture into an online shop (and maybe, hopefully, a brick-and-mortar shop. We would love to find a cheap but quirky building in the Weymouth area to turn our ideas into reality...)
At the moment, the house is so full of stick that I keep telling myself that I shouldn't buy any more book until I have sold quite a few of them.
But I have always been a book lover, and sometimes, I just cannot resist.
Last weekend, I purchased three quirky little books for my own collection:
Isn't he just cute?
Ernie was published by Cuban photographer Tony Mendoza back in 1985. Unfortunately, my copy is not the original 1985 first edition but a 2001 reprint. In 1985, the photographer moved in with a New York artist who had a cat full of personality, Ernie. His new feline flatmate became his favourite model for a while. The book is small but full of life - Ernie really is a star! And the text made me chuckle a lot. A real treat!
I will use some stories and details in Witches of Dorset by Olive Knott (with Rodney Legg and Amanda Allsop) in my fourth novel, the Rural Noir Hell Lane: A Barton Stacey Mystery. This one is the original 1974 edition. Really interesting to read as I start exploring the county again...
I saw this lovely illustrated Australian children's books in a shop and couldn't leave without it, and therefore I bought it there and then. 1943, third edition, written by Ethel John and illustrated by Geoff. W. Ridley
I llove the fact that there is a little sticker inside: "Franceska Bookshop, 596 Hay Street, Perth".
A real little treasure.
This Sunday 1st April, Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing will have an outside stall at The Customs House in West Bay, Dorset, where we already have a permanent unit. We will sell a selection of our goodies, vintage-inspired art, vintage items and books! There will be a farmer's market too, and there is a lovely cafe on site.
It is free entrance and it kicks off at 10am!
I will not lie: yes, I do miss going to gigs all the time. When we made the decision to move to Dorset, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to buy tickets on a whim for all the bands we wanted to see. When I was a music journalist and living in London, I could go to four/five gigs a week (hey, who could refuse a free entry to a metal/goth/industrial/cyberpunk/neofolk/other alternative genre gig?). Then I moved to Essex and any gig would entail an hour on a train, both ways. As I was a hardened commuter, it was fine for a few years.
But for my last year in the South East, though, the train journeys to and from London for gigs, exhibitions and the like became a pet-hate - and an expensive one at that.
So when our excellent local band The Dolmen (who happen to be big players on the UK and European alternative circuit) organise a gig in their hometown to celebrate a local historical event, we just had to be there.
And the bonus: they invited London band PerKelt to come and join us in Weymouth! Or rather, it seems, PerKelt volunteered their services for expenses only according to The Dolmen’s frontman Taloch Jameson. This was quite a brave move following the disruption to the road and transport networks caused by “the Beast from the East” and storm Emma!
Thankfully, everyone made it to the Weymouth Centenery Club – granted, not the most glamorous of venues, but anyone who’s been to a gig at the 02 Academy Islington in London knows that appearances can be deceptive and it’s what’s happening inside that counts!
The concert was part of an annual weekend of events organised around the theme of The Crabchurch Conspiracy, an aborted 1645 royalist plot to retake the ports of Weymouth and Melcombe for the King during the English Civil War. Every year, re-enactments and dramatizations of the conspiracy take place in Weymouth to celebrate the triumph of the local anti-royalists – and the free spirit of the local inhabitants, past and present.
Present of course was the author of the book which has inspired the whole weekend – Mark Vine, who wrote the book recounting the events, The Crabchurch Conspiracy.
The Dolmen started by playing songs from their album The Crabchurch Conspiracy, written to accompany the book. To add some drama to the proceedings, each track was introduced with gusto by an actor setting the scene for each song. The band's evocative, action and emotion-packed set took us to the heart of the story.
You could almost smell the sweat, the gunpowder and the blood and hear the screams of the slain and wounded.
PerKelt are based in London and are a young, multi-national and multi-instrumental (and incredibly energetic) outfit who will probably blow your mind if you see them live. Signed to Suriya Recordings, a new record label launched in the autumn of 2017 by no other than Youth (yes, Youth, you know, the legendary producer and founding member of one of our favourite bands, Killing Joke!), PerKelt play "Pagan Speed Folk". Recorders, tribal drums, acoustic guitar, harp, fiddle (courtesy of brand new member Duncan) - it is an explosive mix inspired by folk tales and legends and the writings of William Shakespeare! There is an energy here, and some mystery too... Paya's voice rises above the music like an enchanted entity and you cannot take your eyes off her as she switches recorders, then goes from harp to recorder and from recorder to voice. David, the "smiling drummer", provides the raw energy whilst Stepan's virtuoso classical guitar playing contributes the core thread for each song. Breathtaking (literally!)
It was time for Taloch to swap his acoustic guitar for an electric one and The Dolmen gave us an absolutely brilliant set; this is a band who play to huge crowds but always seem to put the same energy into their concert wherever they are and how small the venue (thankfully, the volume monitor in the corner behaved itself!).
This is "Medieval Celtic Folk Rock" for the 21st Century, at its best and most inspired, with rousing and solid melodies, spiritual and meaningful lyrics, oodles of charisma and a passion for freedom which is incredibly infectious.
As PerKelt joins The Dolmen for the last few minutes, we know we are in for a treat - and all musical hell breaks loose, and the evening ends with a huge, raucous Celtic bang.
It was an event of fantastic music and storytelling, of passion and enthusiasm for history, human endeavour, imagination and creativity. I feel privileged to have been there!
The "official" pictures of our event by the lovely SteveK photography are now up!
Go and have a look HERE, they show the great atmosphere of the evening!
And... We have done it!
And it was truly exceptional!
Well, what can I say? We had a wonderful evening yesterday at The Harrison in the company of our talented writers and musicians who were all captivating in their own unique way!
A lot of people have commented on the quality of the guests, the great venue, the fantastic atmosphere and on the look of the merch stall!
People have discovered new musicians and writers, which is exactly the aim of our evenings: to bring new audiences to authors and musicians and vice versa.
We think it is important for people to get out of their comfort zone and mix and match genres and scenes.
I wish to say a massive thank you to our writers and musicians Sarah Channing Wright, Syd Moore, Cathi Unsworth, Kirsten Morrison, Hi-Reciprocity, Kate Arnold.
Thank you to our sound man Rob for his help throughout the evening - we wouldn't have done it without him.
Thank you to Matt ArtPix for all the visuals and for being our man on the merch stall!
Thank you to photographer Stevek Photography - we will post a link to Steve's photographs of the event once they are online!
Thank you to Alan Pride for his professionalism and expertise!
Thank you to our wonderful audience who were so attentive!
It is becoming more and more difficult to find an audience like you who genuinely listens to the readers and musicians!
We were really chuffed to have in the audience members of some of the best bands around at the moment!
It was a real pleasure and honour to have with us Andy Heintz (front man of Flesh Tetris and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing) as well as Charlie Fink and Justine Armatage of the superb The Cesarians...
I personally cannot wait to see them all on stage soon.
We do hope it will not be another two years before the next London: Winter Tales event, and we already have a few ideas for the next one as well as for some "Out of London" events...
Watch this space!
You can see a few pictures of the evening on Matt ArtPix's blog HERE.
Simon Satori (aka Hi-Reciprocity) has already written a gem of a review about the evening... Read it below!
On Saturday, I went to ‘Winter Tales 2: The Witching Hour’. This was Carya Gish and Matt ArtPix and Alan Pride’s mini-festival of words and music. I love it. It’s a great and original concept to get darker styles of music together with smart and scary literature. This particular one had a theme of Witchcraft which I think all the artists kept to… or at least sneaked into their sets. :)
Three days to go until our event, and we are all getting very excited indeed, especially as we only have 8 tickets to sell to be SOLD OUT! Be quick!
It will truly be a unique event of dark words and beguiling music.
Alan of Oil54 will welcome you on the door and Matt ArtPix and I will be manning the fab merch stall!
Talking about merch stall...
We will have some special bundles of my two novels, I Am a Muse and The Book of Thoth at the incredible price of... £12! (usually £6 and £12 at events and RRP £7.99 and RRP £15 respectively!)
I hope to see you there!
All the details for our London event are now on the events page! Go HERE to know all there is to know about this fabulous evening of music and spoken word!
Or rather... the ArcanePixMobile - coming to a music festival/vintage/antiques market/fair near you!
A great little ex-fire brigade van perfect for developing our ventures, in the red colour we both use for our branding - it's the perfect match.
See you on the road soon!
Portland Bill is in the background...
The first teaser poster is out!
Do you remember London: Winter Tales back in February 2016?
Well, we are bringing you yet another evening of words and music...
More news soon!
I think therefore I write.
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