... and another literary festival for Southend-on-Sea!
Is it C*******s already?
Back in February, I posted THIS BLOG about the press briefing I attended at Metal Southend's HQ at Chalkwell Hall about the 2014 edition of their annual Village Green festival.
Since then, Metal have been constantly adding more and more performers and artists. Head HERE if you want to know about the myriad of things happening across the festival.
I mean, there is so much going on, it's already quite an event as it is. But there is more...
And I know where all the Cool Cats will be on the day, no mistake...
There is going to be a festival-within-the-festival.
This year's Village Green will host the pilot for a new literary festival in Southend-on-Sea. Of course, we already have the fab Shorelines Festival (see here for my report of last year's edition). But it looks like in 2015, Southend's seafront might host a rather different beast of a literary festival: a Literary Noir Crime festival over a whole weekend... And what better place to try it out than Village Green?
This new exciting event is the brainchild of authors Cathi Unsworth, Travis Elborough and Syd Moore.
Travis Elborough says:
We really wanted to work within the genre of crime and mystery fiction and produce something intelligent, stylish, with a vintage vibe that reached out to new audiences who might not normally think of going to a literary festival.
This first edition promises to be a real treat. Here's a taste of the programme for the day (12pm to 8pm):
Pioneering psychogeographers Chris Petit and Iain Sinclair explore the life and work of the late great Derek Raymond (considered to be the founder of the British Noir genre) among other things.
Crime Writer's Assocation Gold Dagger Award winner, Lilian Pizzichini - reading Making a Killing at the Kursaal, about Southend’s famous landmark, from her family memoir, Music Night at the Apollo.
The Sohemian Society Players: A Drop of Tea With Acid is a murderous brew of mystery and satire inspired by the crimes of the infamous 1940s 'Acid Bath' killer and consummate spiv John George Haigh, written by Marc Glendening and starring Callum Coates, Duncan Bolt and Emma Brown.
Cathi Unsworth in conversation with Travis Elborough about the Dark Currents that run between the coast and crime fiction.
Max Décharné will trace the journey of classic pulp fiction from the dimestore to the big screen, with clips and live music performance.
Syd Moore and Mark Pilkington in discussion about local Fortean curiosities: witches, smugglers and highwaymen.
Paul Willetts talks about his book, North Soho 999, which traces a murder that took place on the streets of Soho in the 1940s and which prompted a nationwide manhunt that eventually focused on Southend.
Anna Whitwham, the author of acclaimed crime novel, Boxer Handsome, interviewed by writer Ann Scanlon about women working in the corrupt worlds of sport and popular music, where they are not always made welcome by men.
And there's going to be some music!
Sophie Loyer, a gypsy-blues-jazz violinist, and the fabulous The Cesarians (believe me, I've seen them but cannot find my live pictures to put on here!), a truly thrilling seven-piece band with incredible charisma and energy straight out of the best smoky 1920s-30s Berlin cabarets... They will probably be the best dressed band of the whole festival!
I am supposed to cover the Village Green festival for this blog and possibly for a French music website, but I know I will be tempted to spend the whole day inside the Dragnet tent...
I leave you with The Cesarians...
I have just realised that I've never posted that blog about animals! So here it is: just a few pictures of animals Matt ArtPix took in France...
Here's a cute donkey who lives near the Faillitoux waterfall and who likes Vichy mints. Crunch, crunch!
Here's the waterfall!
Also on the way to the waterfall, we met a graceful foal...
The Salers area of Cantal is well-known for its cows called "the Salers". They are impressive beasts. Most of them still wear the heavy-looking bells that ring all around the valleys of the region.
These are lucky cows... Look at the landscape!
I love that shot... Typical of the region!
Beautiful wild horses and their playful young.
And these two cats were having a lazy afternoon on some stairs...
All pictures (c) Matt ArtPix
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
I have just come back from a week in France.
We had a great time in Cantal, a remote and beautiful part of the country full of gorgeous natural beauty and amazing buildings. If you are one of those people who have always dreamt of having a second home in France (good luck) and who have enough cash to make that dream come true, then this is the place for you: there are loads of fantastic buildings available , and they are dirt cheap. Buildings like this one for instance:
Or this one below. Apparently, there is an heiress who has sold all the contents but cannot be bothered to do anything about the building and therefore is leaving it to rot... Some people are too rich...
Me, I would be quite happy to get that wonderful little writing shack (although I would have to go back to good old pen and paper as there is no electricity...) What about the view, though?
The landscape in Cantal is breathtaking!
More about Cantal tomorrow!
All pictures (c) Matt ArtPix
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!
Today, I am sorting our my study and preparing to get started on Book 3, The Right Place. I will probably start on research and planning around mid-June, after I've finished sorting out a few admin issues... I am still thinking about the ways I could fund this release... I cannot wait to get started as it is set in one of my favourite places, Dorset... An excuse to spend more time in that wonderful county!
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get permission to print the lyrics of PJ Harvey's The Wind in the book (nobody answers... probably not interested in a small imprint!) *sigh*.
Typesetting work on The Book of Thoth should start in June too...
I think therefore I write.
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