I was lucky enough this weekend to get my hands on a copy of the Harmsworth Magazine, volume V (it covers August 1900-January 1901). It is absolutely amazing. There's fiction and reports, all illustrated with wonderful Black and white illustrations and photography, quite astonishing for the times!
Here's an in-depth article about the magazine.
In other news, The Book of Thoth typesetting is being delayed a bit but we hope to catch up soon! It looks like the official pub date might be postponed to early 2015, but I still hope to get the physical books here with me by December this year to take to one or two fairs...
Talking of fairs, Arcane Publishing have now announced our next event, it will be So Vintage London at Old Spitalfields Market, London, on July 5th 2014!
We are working on booking some more events, a few to confirm before we announce them... Autumn is going to be busy!
Yet another blog about our stay in Cantal!
Today, I have pictures of castles for you...
Apologies, the links are mainly in French...
This is the delightful Chateau du Chassan.
Here's the Chateau de Presteil, above the village of Polminhac. We couldn't really go nearer the castle without paying...
This is the lovely Chateau de Vixouze, which is set in a truly enchanting spot. It was bought in 1990 by a painter, Andre Leonard, who turned it into a venue where the arts flourished. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to hear that it had been bought by a rich business family in 2013... It doesn't appear as inspiring somehow...
And now: ruins! First up, it's Apchon... They are precariously perched on a basaltic rock and look about to collapse onto the village below... Refreshingly, there's no trace of Health and safety measures... You could easily throw yourself from the top or it could collapse on your head. Bad luck! It was brilliant up there, though!
Painter Auguste Bonheur saw the romantic potential of the ruins and produced his "Ruins of the Chateau d'Apchon" in 1852.
I've kept the best for the end... This is the astonishing Chateau d' Alleuze. This is a thrilling, incredibly inspiring and intriguing location with a palpable atmosphere. There, you'll find the ruins of a 13th century castle associated with the tale of a cruel, pillaging "friend of the English", Bernard de Garlan - it was during the Hundred Years War between France and England - as well as a chapel, St Illide, and a small cemetery full of rusted gates and worn out tombs.
Next blog will be one with a few pictures of animals! As you do...
All pictures (c) Matt ArtPix
Chaudes-Aigues is a pretty and rather sleepy Cantal town which comes alive during the holiday season - it is a spa town. Most people come to see this:
Imagine our surprise when we found a poster for a tattoo festival!
Actually, I have found an article covering the first edition of this event in the online version of INKED MAGAZINE (it's in French, sorry). Not surprisingly, English is the official language across the whole event. I can't help trying to conjure up the image of 10,000 tattoo enthusiasts converging to this rural location!
More than the hot spring though, it is Le Valdom which has caught my eye. I have struggled to find information about it, only that it is a private garden transformed into a natural heaven for fairies, dwarves, witches and other imaginary creatures. It's blooming lovely and probably the best thing about the town!
Read my interview with poet and indie publisher Steve Pottinger HERE. It's a great read, I promise!
People reading this blog regularly (if there's any?) know that one of my current musical obsessions is the unique cellist Jo Quail.
She has just released a bewitching new video, Adder Stone. This is what the soundtrack to my forthcoming novel The Book of Thoth would sound like, and it gives me goose bumps.
Jo is launching her new album, Caldera, with a very special evening at The Islington (in... Islington!) on June 28th. I will be there...
My first novel, I Am a Muse, features a dead painter and his muse. I will most certainly go and see Mike Leigh's Mr Turner when it is released in the UK in October, it looks fabulous. (lovely review HERE - I loved Topsy-Turvy, the Gilbert and Sullivan film mentioned in the article!).
See the trailer below!
I am absolutely thrilled to present to you the first in my interview series, "Book Talk".
And what a way to get started! an absolutely thrilling interview with the very talented Jordan Reyne, whose first novel, Remembering The Dead, is out now.
What began as a "Book talk" became something else altogether. Really, really interesting.
Subjectivity in the way we interpret history - very fitting with the current debate surrounding WW1 "celebrations" - as well as philosophy, music, the fluidity of language(s), writing, self-publishing, storytelling, surviving...
It's all in there and more.
Thank you Jordan for giving us such in-depth answers to my questions!
READ JORDAN REYNE: REMEMBERING THE DEAD
There is a review of I Am a Muse in issue 2 of V&OAK magazine, a new glossy independently put together in Colchester by a team of talented and hard-working people. V&OAK stands for "vintage and one of a kind".
I am very happy with the review, and it was a surprise to find out that the article took a whole page in the "Culture" section. The review does highlight the main topics in the book. It didn't start well, though, and I have a slight issue with the following sentence: [talking about Constance] "An elite events planner, her story begins along a similar vein to your typical chick-lit narrative of an independent woman stuck in a love triangle with two different yet disposable men."
WHAAAAT? "CHICK-LIT"? *Hits head on wall*.
Believe me, this is absolutely NOT chick-lit. I most certainly do not write for women but for everyone who loves reading. I do not tackle "women's issues", and at no point in my book do I say that the men are disposable! Constance is a single, working individual in London who has affairs, shares a house when she'd prefer not to, and tries to keep her head above water.
Constance is not an "elite events planner", but the manager of an arts and media centre inspired by the iconic Tea Building in Shoreditch where artists and start-ups hire space and units. She also runs a monthly club night inspired by the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
But I "forgive" the reviewer, because the rest of the article is beautifully written and rather spot on (and she corrects herself about the chick-lit tag too in some way!).
OK, and seeing my picture rather big on there was a bit of a shock... You can see you're no longer in the fashion section!
My partner in crime Matt ArtPix also had a little feature in the magazine about his design work.
And both Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix advertised in the mag!
This weekend, we went back to lovely Whitstable to attend an event at the first WhitLit, the Whitstable Literary Festival. It is a shame that we couldn't stay over for the whole weekend, as there were quite a few interesting events. Then on the day we decided to attend, we had to choose between two events that fatefully took place at the same time in two different places in town.
So I opted for the talk on British Gothic (one of my fave subjects) with one of my favourite contemporary writers, Christopher Fowler, over the one about two of my favourite classic authors (namely Charles Dickens and most of all Wilkie Collins, whose work has inspired my second novel, The Book of Thoth).
I have written about Whitstable before on this blog, HERE and HERE. My partner Matt ArtPix also posted a lovely blog about the place two years ago, you can read it HERE.
We adore the architecture around the town, and there definitely is an atmosphere...
So yes, we are big fans and we will most certainly go back. Yesterday, there seemed to be even more interesting shops than the last time we were there. This is what a high street should look like: all the shops (or very nearly) taken up, mostly by independent businesses which have kept the uniqueness of the interior of the buildings they now occupy.
We spent a while in the fabulous Oxford Street Books, a treasure trove that had me virtually drooling. Whilst in the basement, a young couple wandered in. I didn't pay attention to them at all until the girl said - with a very bored tone of voice "Why don't you just get your books off the Internet?" (i.e Amazon); I almost SCREAMED. She did look bored. They left. The poor guy didn't even have time to browse properly! Their loss. We on the other end took our time.
In the shop, there was a signed copy of the first and only edition of The Bois Saga written by local VIP resident Peter Cushing. It was £195.00, of course... and no, I didn't buy it! There is an ebay listing for it HERE with a lovely and rather poignant write-up.
We also paid a visit to Harbour Books, the local independent bookstore and associate of the WhitLit festival. I bought a Dorothy Parker poster in there... oops.
As part of the WhitLit festival, a second-hand books event had been organised at All Saint's Church Hall. You just have to say "second-hand books" for me to come running. And there was a tea room as well, which was perfect after so much walking around! I was amazed: people literally bought PILES of books! It was so wonderful to see!
I got my hands on a wonderful little book called Gobbolino, The Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams (written in 1942, this edition 1966). It's cute, and I am going to read it, because, hey, it's got witches and cats in it!
I also rescued the lady above from a charity shop. Isn't she just handsome? I can feel a book coming with her as the heroine.
In the evening, we attended a talk about British Gothic at the Horsebridge centre as part of the WhitLit festival.
The two speakers were Christopher Fowler, a favourite of mine - I encourage you to read his very entertaining and above all informative blog, which he updates daily. I try and read all his posts as I always learn so much about cinema and books! Chris was also one of the speakers at the week-long "Culture Lab: on Writing Fiction" I attended in Southend in October 2012. I have been reading his books since the late 90s, but I really struggle to catch up as he is so incredibly prolific (I am genuinely in awe of this, as I am such a slow writer...)
The second speaker was the very knowledgeable Barry Forshaw, writer and journalist and Vice Chair of the Crime Writers' association, who has a brand new book out about British Gothic cinema.
The discussion - introduced by David Sutton, editor of Fortean Times - was simply fascinating, and one hour wasn't long enough. We could have sat there until midnight without getting bored. The two entertaining speakers swapped ideas, opinions and anecdotes about Gothic cinema, literature and characters. It really was a delight to listen to these two experts describing encounters with the greats of British Gothic cinema (Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee), taking us on a journey from the beginning of the genre to the special effects-saturated movies of current times and Hammer's resurrection. At random, a few things that got mentioned: Dracula, Frankenstein, MR James, Mary Shelley, Ingrid Pitt, lesbians, The Innocents, Hammer Films, Bela Lugosi, sets being reused again and again for different films, Carry On Screaming, Mr Fowler's Bryant and May series... and so many other things!
We then had a few things signed... Of course, I had to get the latest in the Bryant and May series, I can't wait to start reading it!
Afterwards, we decided to hang around in the cafeteria for a bit with some nice hot drinks, whilst the venue was getting readied for the next talk of the evening.
Sitting by the floor to ceiling glass doors leading onto the terrace and looking down at the town outside, we admitted that we didn't really want to go home and that yes, we could see ourselves live in Whitstable...
There is a review of my debut novel, I Am a Muse, in issue 2 of the new biannual vintage fashion and culture glossy, V&OAK (VINTAGE AND ONE OF A KIND).
Independently produced in Colchester, this magazine is a must for all fans of vintage, vintage-inspired and retro.
I have to say that I was very surprised - and yes, very pleased - to find that the review took up a whole page in the "Culture" section! And it was a bit of a shock to see my picture so big too...After all, it's all about the book...
Overall, I am very, very pleased with the review, which describes the topics tackled in the book pretty well, with a good style.
It didn't start well, though.
There is only one bit of the article I have a slight issue with: talking about Constance, the reviewer says: "An elite events planner, her story begins along a similar vein to your typical chick-lit narrative..."
WHAAAAT? "CHICK-LIT"? *Hit head on the wall*. No bloody way, I say.
I did cringe when I saw it...
Believe me, this is no chick-lit, and I most certainly do not write for women but for everyone who likes reading!
Constance is just a single, rather flamboyant person who lives in London and works hard, has affairs, has housemates, doubts and hopes...
My character is not an "elite events planner" either. She manages an arts and media centre in Shoreditch inspired by the Tea Building - artists and start-ups rent units to work in - and runs a monthly club night inspired by the legendary Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
But I happily "forgive" the writer, because the rest of the review is rather spot on and beautifully written - and she changes her mind about the chick-lit tag!
Go to the "Review and press" section of this website toread a few more reviews from readers and some features and reviews from a few magazines and newspapers.
There is also a small article about my partner Matt ArtPix in the same issue of the magazine. He is a designer and has his own little venture. He also works on all the Arcane Publishing books and promo material!
I think therefore I write.
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