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!
There is a small review of the Shorelines literary festival written by yours truly in issue 16 of Southend's cultural magazine, Level 4 (my long report from the festival can be found HERE).
This should have been a printed magazine, but unfortunately the editor didn't receive enough advertising revenue to pay for the printing. The magazine is available to read online HERE.
There are quite a few interesting articles in there so make sure you go and have a read!
Arrived in the post today: the "Crone" EP, which is the first release of Jordan Reyne's new project, the Maiden, Mother, [CRONE] trilogy, complete with personalised messages and signed too! Always nice!
I have raved about Jordan's music before on here (you can read a review of her latest album, The Annihilation Sequence HERE) and therefore I am thrilled that she is working on yet another new project.
Jordan is also a writer and I hope to be able to post an author interview with her soon on this very website, which will be gaining a new section in the forthcoming weeks. This has been delayed a bit, but I really want to build up a series of author/publisher interviews on my website over the forthcoming months...
I have just finished draft 3 of The Book of Thoth, and I am quite happy with it now. The word count is still just under 139,000, and I don't think I will make any more substantial cuts.
In early April, I will be getting the final feedback from my reader, and draft 4 will therefore take her comments into account; I will also be preparing the manuscript for typesetting.
Now that the writing and editing of The Book of Thoth is almost complete, I need to put my publisher's hat back on and get on with several important tasks:
1. Prepare my Arts Council Grant documents to fund the research and publication of my third book, The Right Place. I need to do a budget for that... I foresee headaches.
2. Get the Arcane Publishing online shop up and running, which is not a minor task for a technophobe like myself!
3. Research events and markets where I could promote and sell books!
PS: The illustration is here in some kind of ironic way. I always say that if I had the opportunity to land an agent and a "traditional" publisher (with a nice contract!), I would give it a good go before I dismissed it as "not for me". I want to make a living out of my writing, and at the moment, the self-publishing path is not ideal. Also, I like the creative side of things, not the marketing/business one, which I tackle rather reluctantly.
WARNING: VERY LONG BLOG!
Well, this was a hell of a week! After a relatively quiet winter, things have picked up on the culture front.
Last Tuesday, we were off to the lovely Theatre Royal Stratford East to see the new version of Oh! What a Lovely War. I do hate musicals with a passion and would have to be dragged to one kicking and screaming, but I knew that this one would be different.
Highly satirical and poignant, it highlights the absurdity of the "war game(s)" and that of the military - not forgetting how naive the civilian population can sometimes be. The play has been visually freshened up and you have to admire the cast's energy and hard work. Note to Michael Gove: maybe you should have shut up before you criticised the play as you now appear at the beginning of it paired up with a donkey... Just sayin'...
For a more comprehensive review of the show, go to my partner's Matt ArtPix's BLOG - he has been studying WW1 for years and is better placed than me to give his opinion about the show.
On Wednesday, we were off to a venue we had never been to, Village Underground in Shoreditch, to see the infamous Laibach - whom we have seen before on numerous occasions! The Slovakian "avant-garde" art collective - whose main body of work concentrates on the links and interaction between ideology and culture - keep reinventing themselves with each project; their latest one, Spectre, is a brilliant, addictive collection of multi-layered tracks sung in English - a bit less industrial, a little bit more electro, with "quasi-pop" moments...
Laibach have always been exceptional live and tonight's sold out gig didn't disappoint: the background visuals were striking; the live drums added impact to each and every track; Milan's presence was as impressive and authoritative as ever, his deep-seated, sonorous voice counter-balanced by the mysterious and charismatic Mina Spiler's clear, pitch-perfect vocals. Mina's place within the band has really grown; she now fully shares vocal duties with Milan (she is also given writing credits in Spectre) and exudes the confidence and attitude necessary for such a performance (she fronts her own band, Melodrom).
The first 45 minutes saw the band play the whole of Spectre, revealing the genius of the new songs to their attentive audience. Then after a 15 mn interval, we got something completely different: a few tracks from their Iron Sky soundtrack with the movie's stunning visuals playing on the screens behind; we were also treated to everyone's favourite, "Tanz Mit Laibach", and of course to a few deconstructed covers, including Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" and Serge Gainsbourg's "Love On The Beat". As someone who absolutely loathe both individuals and their work, I was first taken aback by the choice of songs, but then I remembered that this is what Laibach do: they take the most absurd popular songs and give them the Laibach treatment: they redefine them entirely by reshaping and remodelling them through the industrial filter, injecting them with the harshness and the edge they never had and pumping a little bit of life into them. Fabulous.
Saturday, we were in London for the Classic car boot sale at Southbank, organised by Vintage By Hemingway. The weather was glorious and the place was packed with loads of cool and happy people, wonderful cars and jam-packed stalls; the atmosphere was lovely and the location iconic... What else is there to say?
Here are a few pictures!
We made a detour via The British Museum to get tickets for The Vikings exhibition... Yesss!
Then we ended up at The Barbican cinema to see Under The Skin...
I have been waiting to see this movie for MONTHS.
Michel Faber is my favourite author, and I really wondered how on earth his unforgettable novel could be turned into a movie.
I am still thinking about it; as my partner said when the lights went back up after the film: "I didn't want it to end".
And I felt the same: it is truly mesmerising and gripping. It's bleak and unforgiving. There is very little dialogue; the music is brooding, distorted, haunting, basically: perfect... (soundtrack by Mica Levi). Scarlett Johansson, whom I have always thought of as being interesting as well as stunning, is deeply touching; a naturally fatale femme... (I have always been interested in the Femme Fatale concept; they are always the most interesting ones, remember Louise Brooks's Lulu?).
Director Jonathan Glazer has removed a lot of the original story and changed quite a few things around; he has - dare I say it in the context of the novel? - removed the meat and kept only the skeleton of the story - but said skeleton is what keeps the body upright, isn't it? - Same here. Spared down to the minimum - namely, the alien and her reaction to the world around her, with a setting transported from the rural A9 road in the book to the decaying urban landscape of Glasgow.
I was fascinated by the sequences in which the alien observes the strange behaviour of the humans around her - how many times have I found myself in the streets, in a venue, or simply in the same room as other people and thought that I didn't belong to the same world or species? My strong misanthropic streak made me feel completely at ease watching Under The Skin. It looked like the landscape in my head...
I couldn't say whether Under The Skin is technically a good movie; I go for gut instinct, and I loved it.
Tonight, I'm off to see the bonkers The Grand Budapest Hotel. This should be a fun evening!
Pictures by Carya Gish and Matt ArtPix.
Well, it's the end of the year, isn't it?
I need to find some time to finish that pesky first draft of The Book of Thoth...
But the aim is still to publish it next December...
Some further work on the Arcane Publishing publishing plan will involve planning for The Right Place, including applying for an Arts Council Grant - if I manage to understand the very complicated application form...
This book would be published in early 2016 at the latest, but only if I have managed to find the money to some quality researching and writing time in Dorset!
Also next year, I will be promoting I Am a Muse and Arcane Publishing in London and further afield (well, at least, that's the plan...) and expanding the second-hand books side of things.
I am hoping to have stalls at various and varied events next year, some of course will be in collaboration with Matt ArtPix, but I also would like to have a go at having my own stall in order to make the imprint a bit more visible.
I'd love to do some more readings as well; we'll see what we can find...
I am expecting to have a review of I Am a Muse in a swanky biannual magazine in March, all to be confirmed...
I will be working on a second-hand books listing and post it on the Arcane Publishing website at some point in the forthcoming weeks, but only when I have typed the infamous words THE END on the last page of The Book of Thoth. At the moment, I have a lot of freelance work, but it is possible that I might have a few days in between assignments to work on TBOT...
There was a lovely review of I Am a Muse in the Village Green special edition of the culture magazine Level 4.
I will post proper scans of the review in the Reviews and press section of this website later this week.
This Saturday is Village Green, the arts and music festival organised by Metal Southend.
The culture magazine Level 4 has produced a pocket edition of the mag, and in there, you should find a review of I Am a Muse, as well as an ad for Arcane Publishing and one for Matt ArtPix! :-)
I am really pleased to have my little book in there. I will post a scan of the article in the review section next week.
I've recently started writing music reviews after a four-year hiatus. I am not going to writing as much as I did between 2000 and 2009, as I need to concentrate on my books, but it is a nice writing challenge - although I am definitively rusty. I used to write everything from CD and gig reviews to label profiles and artist features and I even edited a music news page for about a year.
One day I might create a "music journalism" page on this website and put some of the articles I have written.
In the meantime, if you wanted to have a look at a few things, go to LA MAGICBOX ARCHIVES. Under the "Reportages" and "CD etranger" headings, you will find loads of my articles!
I have just done a live review of KLOQ at Chinnery's in Southend. There is an English and a French version. The picutres are not very good as my trusted "gig camera" is seriously playing up and I cannot use it anymore. I also think the resolution they've been saved at is a bit low.
I (email) interviewed Kloq for Alternative Magazine back in 2008 when their first album came out... I've done a scan of the page and magazine cover (below)!
I think therefore I write.
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