I haven't been feeling very much like a writer recently... I have been unable to make any progress on The Book of Thoth (the end of the first draft is nigh, but I just cannot sit down and finish off the blooming thing... I just cannot afford to say "no" to any freelance work at the moment! I need to finance Arcane Publishing!
Anyway, I do not wish to rush it.
At least today, I can sit down with my publisher/author cap on and prepare for the Shorelines literary festival... I am preparing my reading whilst listening to PJ Harvey's Is This Desire? (and then probably a bit of all the others albums too!)
I will be listening to A LOT of PJ Harvey when I start writing The Right Thing next year. Her music is perfect for the themes I will be tackling in the book... And in many ways, the central character, a very serious teenager, shares quite a few characteristics with the singer.
I am also working with Matt ArtPix on the flyers I will give away at the festival - I will make sure I print enough of them to last me until the publication of The Book of Thoth!
Here's a picture of St Peter's church in Eype, Dorset, where PJ Harvey recorded her critically acclaimed Let's England Shake. It is now an arts centre!
I have been following her career since the mid-nineties, and it is really nice to be able to explore and write about the county that has spawned such an intriguing talent. I understand how she has been so intensely inspired by such an environment.
During my time in Dorset, I went back to Abbotsbury TWICE - after all, this is where my third novel The Right Place will be set!
I met the lovely owners of The Lazyhill gallery - who incidentally got married at St Catherine's chapel; now that's one hell of a setting!
Each time we go back to the chapel, there are some fresh prayers to St Catherine. One of the specialities of the Saint is to find husbands for unmarried women...
Well, let me tell you: she's going to have one hell of a job completing this one!
This made me smile and smile... The two resident doves were as baffled as I was!
More Dorset blogs to follow...
All pictures by Matt ArtPix
And so I am back from my fortnight in Dorset, more convinced than ever that it is the right place for me. My heart absolutely broke when I left, but made me all the more determined to work hard in order to finally be able to move there. If you want to know why, then go and have a look at Matt ArtPix's amazing PICTURE BLOG with some of the pictures he took during our fortnight in Dorset...
I have brought back with me some amazing treasures, not least a lot of energy and inspiration for the next few months, which will be all about developing Arcane Publishing and its publishing schedule, finishing the first draft of The Book of Thoth - and working on the follow-up drafts - preparing my appearance at the Shorelines Festival in November and planning ahead for 2014, the year in which Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix will be trading in London more often.
There will be a series of Dorset blogs in the next few days and weeks.
This one is a quick one showing some of the amazing things I have got my hands on during my time away... Some will be for sale, some I will keep...
1968 Fashion portfolio:
My wallet suffered a blow, but I just couldn't leave these behind.
This is the portfolio belonging to a fashion student who studied at the West Sussex College of Art in 1968 - there is a dated project brief included in the pile of sketches. I have googled the name of the student, but couldn't find anything, unfortunately... I would love to know whether she succeeded in her fashion career!
The portfolio covers evening wear, day wear, coats, pyjamas, suits... It is absolutely extraordinary in its detail: most pages feature a detailed description of the garments and some even have the sample material stapled to the paper.
If a fashion designer got it, they would be able to produce a whole - genuine! - 1968 collection... It is truly fascinating...
There are 120 pages of sketches! (Click on the pictures to enlarge).
Part of the pile was also a scrapbook - supposedly from the same fashion student - with fabulous fashion pictures taken from 60s/70s magazines.
And now onto books:
A fine first English edition (1977) of Rita Hayworth: The Time, The Place and The Woman by the legendary John Kobal. It is signed in the year of publication!
My personal favourite: a gorgeous 1920 sheet music... I didn't find a lot about it - just THIS.
A lovely 1979 illustrated biography of PG Wodehouse.
Some great film annuals (1958 and 1949 respectively!)
Edith Sitwell's autobiography (1965, I think I have a first edition!)
The promotional magazine for the ITV hit series Edward and Mrs Simpson (1978).
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.
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...
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
Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing will be back on the road over the next two weeks, with two great events!
Matt has been hard at work on some brand new designs - and they are all rather wonderful: check out his informative blogs about his glamorous 1930s Cinema, heady Topsy-turvy tens, iconic Beatles collage, and fascinating Classic Cinema Spanish posters.
Don't forget: all of Matt's work is made from his very own antique and vintage collection, nothing has been nicked off the internet! It's a real labour of love...
Arcane Publishing will be there with copies of I Am a Muse and great second-hand books! I have been hand-picking fabulous stuff over the past month, and I cannot wait to display them.
First up will be a 1940s family day at the Mill Race Garden Centre in Colchester next Sunday 8th September (weather permitting): a mixture of Military from the 1940’s along with swing dancing, French Resistance, a bombed out Café in Paris and also the Home Guard in a World War 2 Pill Box. BBQ, refreshments, Boating on River Colne.
Then on September 15th, it will be the big one - we are really excited!
Nelson events' Alexandra Palace Antiques Collectors, 20th Century & Art Deco Fair - now with a pop-up Vintage Fair!
See you there!
In a country whose new obsession seems to be covering as much of its surface as possible with ugly, badly built, poky, soul-destroying rabbit hutches, there is a surprising amount of perfectly good (some amazing) houses that have been abandoned to the elements.
I am quite taken with Langleigh cottage in Langleigh Lane, Ilfracombe. It would be the perfect writing retreat for me... It's on the way to the Torrs, in a lovely secluded location overlooking the small town. It's not for sale, nobody lives in it, and I WANT IT. I don't really have the money to buy it, but I'm sure we could come to an arrangement (I am being serious, here)... I could turn it into a cheap but comfy writers' retreat!
If anyone reads this and knows anything about it, please do contact me. I'd love to know if I could get my hands on it!
The White House, which I had spotted on the Woolacombe seafront earlier this year is still looking forlorn and abandoned, by the way...
Matt ArtPix has done a little blog about our stay in Ilfracombe, go and have a look, his pictures are wonderful... Beware, blog may contain seals!
Now here's Woolecombe beach at two different times of the year...
I think therefore I write.
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