Silent Sunday

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Dance lovers – get moving!

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Sunday Slackers

A fine excuse to put the kettle on …

eclipseSpace: The final frontier – these images are little bit more spectacular than what I saw here in the south east on Friday. I’m not bitter. But I totally blame Dara and Brian for getting me all excited and then …nothing.

Nature: A tortoise, a croc and Sir David Attenborough. We may be being a little insensitive to the tortoise’s feelings – but it’s too funny not to share. I normally watch the GN Show so I must have been on a rare night out to have missed this.

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Happy Tunesday: Delta of the Damned

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Bands from across Medway, Kent and beyond are coming together to show that Medway is not a UKIP breeding ground.

Friday will see the beginning of a four day music festival supporting diversity, as the local branch of Rock Against UKIP brings together over 40 bands of mixed genre. The event is designed to raise awareness and prevent voter apathy, following the Rochester by election in November, when Tory defector Mark Reckless claimed the seat for Nigel Farage’s party.

Co-organisers Abi Zeiring and Aiden Hehir hope the festival will clear the misconception that Medway largely supports UKIP, and galvanize action for the forthcoming general election.

The event will take place in Poco Loco and the line up is as follows:

Friday, January 23rd from 7.30pm (not in running order):
Black Light Brigade; Bear vs Manero; Broken Banjo; Frau Pouch; KILL RPNZL; Punching Swans; The Shagmonroes; UpCDownC

Saturday, January 24th from 6pm:
3D; Allfather; Crybaby Special; DIYOA; Dusty Awe; Luna Lacuna; Mean n my Lady; Sleep Society; Sleight; Spinner; Tiny Ghost; Tim Holehouse; Unknown Report

Sunday, January 25th from 2pm
Anaelle Berlier; Deanos Hose; Dul Fin Wah!; Eleusia; Funky Mothers; Manic and the Madkats; The Objectors; Wolfe Sunday; more TBC

Friday, January 30th from 7pm:
Apothocary; Armour King; Black Plastic; Brittunculi; Eight Days from Sunday; Haeusser and the Errorists; Inverted Scrotum; Skat Injector; Vargr I Veum

Please note, musicians are a rowdy and liberal lot by and large, and the venue is a public house – the events taking place there in no way compromises their neutrality.

To contact the organisers, visit their Facebook event page.

Sunday Slackers

The Internet of Fascinating Things …

Being active online means coming across far too much good stuff than I can personally read during the week or can be shared on my Twitter and Facebook timelines without annoying the hell out of friends and followers. So I’ve decided to collect them all together in one handy blog post that I can enjoy at my leisure, along with the hope that you do too 🙂

Bike shed

Miscellaneous: Bikeshedding and Parkinson’s Law – In thirty odd years of employment, I’ve come across this a lot! I’ve been to meetings where the only decision made was – the date of the next meeting! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law

For writers: Two heads are better than one http://www.bang2write.com/2013/06/4-reasons-2-heads-are-better-than-1-by-gareth-meredith.html

Nature: An excerpt from Chasing Ice – the largest ice glacier calving filmed. Awe inspiring and yes, scary. http://uk.businessinsider.com/largest-ice-glacier-calving-filmed-2015-1 and some ice pictures to show up close how beautiful it cab be http://www.boredpanda.com/natural-winter-snow-ice-art/

Music: You know that joke about someone’s singing sounding like cats? http://www.reshareworthy.com/boys-choir-sing-funny-song/#xqUKpalS67mwzoZ5.01

Creativity: Cassy’s 100 ways to get creative. What are you waiting for? http://www.cassyfry.com/2015/01/100-ways-to-get-creative.html/

Humanity: Restore your faith in 4 minutes flat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btiDHCuWyBA

Animals: Literally shaking a tail feather https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bt9xBuGWgw

Festival: The first South Coast Jazz Festival, 23-25th January, support it if you can. http://www.southcoastjazzfestival.com/

Practical joking: I started laughing at the description, then got mildly hysterical as it went on, which became maniacal cackling. http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2015/01/09/limbo-stick-prank/

Quote of the Week:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Image: Pixabay

Rochester Literature Festival 2014: Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

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We’re delighted to be opening this year with an hilarious and heart-warming one woman show with actress Sunny Ormonde – the outrageous Lilian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, the world’s longest running soap.

Over the course of the next ten days, we’ll be joined by as-seen-on-tv-off-his-trolley comic genius Phil Kay, master of freeform performance and storytelling, and notorious Australian, Trenton Oldfield – who served six months at her Majesty’s Pleasure for disrupting the 2012 Boat Race in a protest against elitism.

We will be hosting two wonderful authors who’ll fascinate you with insights and anecdotes from their latest books: Angela Buckley introduces us to The Real Sherlock Holmes – Detective Jerome Caminada, whose methodologies mimicked Conan Doyle’s genius, and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, who will discuss the impact of reality on fiction. While No One Was Watching is set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the abduction of a young girl from the grassy knoll on that fateful day.

Sadly, we have to announce the postponement of one of our family events,Assassin, due to technical issues. Featuring the fantastic Joe Craig reading extracts from his Jimmy Coates series – part boy, part weapon, totally deadly – and music from Jacob Bride, Graham Sykes and Jamie Godfrey, this will hopefully take place early in the new year. However, we do still have the awesome Keeper of the Realms author, Marcus Alexander, who is Charlie’s Keeper, who will entertain and inspire you with his delightfully wicked fantasy adventure series – get your read on! Waterstones in Chatham have kindly agreed to sell books in the venue on the day, if you need to complete your collection.

Our interactive story game this year is Murder in the Crypt, in which you’ll be invited to solve mysteries and puzzles with Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes and Auguste Dupin. In addition, we’re holding a Cafe Crawl, where you can sample poetry and storytelling, while Bookmark’d is a chance to buy books, swap books or just listen to books, read aloud by their authors.

Our Night at the Theatre will this year be held in conjunction with Chatham Grammar School for Boys and be presented by award winning 17% playwrights,Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sarah Hehir and Maggie Drury. The Spirit of My Dream is inspired by Byron’s poem The Dream and features new plays with a fantastical theme.

An exhibition curated by ME4Writers especially for the festival, An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics, has channelled Byron to produce work inspiring madness, badness and dangerousness in the hearts of artists. A live reading will bring the visual carnage to life!

Byron’s Teapot will be our finale – a mad mix of unusual and quirky music, poetry and theatre, featuring The James Worse Public Address Method, JP Lovecraft,Dylan Oscar Rowe and Brides of Rain.

We look forward to welcoming you to our exciting – and only slightly scary – second full length festival!

To read full details, download a copy the 2014 programme and buy tickets, please visit rochesterlitfest.com.

If you have any enquiries regarding any of the events or festival in general, please email rochesterlitfest@gmail.com or telephone 07904 643770.

We look forward to seeing you 🙂

The Word Play Wagon lights the Fuse in Walderslade

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been selected by the Kent Baton to open their Sparks Fuse Festival project, One Day Works.

My short term residence in the Baton – a vintage silver airstream caravan converted to a mobile art centre – is on Wednesday, June 4th from 11am – 6pm. It will be located outside Permark Post Office in Walderslade Village and its activities will be suitable for all ages and all abilities. No previous experience is needed, just turn up and play around with some words.

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The overall title, The Word Play Wagon, reflects the diverse creative writing activities planned, including:

  • Turn over a new leaf: Add a poem, wish or favourite saying to a luggage label leaf you create and hang it on a Poetree.
  •  A Novel Experience: Bring your favourite book and write an original short piece based on its premise (see example ‘Triffidus Corpus’ here).
  • Hint: Writing micro fiction from as little as 10 words. (Examples)
  • Spoofing Medway: Write the local news as it didn’t happen! (Example)
  • Mystery Collective Poems: Add a line to the one before – it’ll be the only one you can see! (See examples here.)
  •  If and Then: A question and answer session with a difference. (Examples – scroll down to ‘Potlatch’)

I’m really looking forward to engaging lots of people in writing activities – who knows, I might find the next generation of Medway poets!

One Day Works will host a series of one day experiments throughout Medway during the Fuse Festival and its build up. From urban high streets to country villages, the project will showcase ten of Medway’s finest creative talents across a range of art forms. Along with the The Word Play Wagon, the works include an epic poem, sculptures made from found objects, archival collections, insect inspired costumes, drawings made from thread, an acoustic live music gig and a magic lantern performance. Click here for the full list of artists and their projects.

The Fuse Festival runs from Friday, June 13th – Sunday, June 15th, find out more at their website here.

It’s arts. It’s yours. It’s free.

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Triffidus Corpus

The day outside was sounding wrong. Feeling wrong. Even for a Sunday, the silence was disturbingly, mysteriously different. No rumbling wheels, no roaring buses, no tramping feet. Shuffling, hesitant feet, yes. But none with purpose. No birdsong, just unintelligible wailing and sobbing close by.

the gardener

He wasn’t able to see the light show played out in the skies last night. Bright green flashes; shooting stars; showering comets. A magnificent spectacle, they said. A unique phenomenon, they said. You should have seen it, they said. Rather insensitively.

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The feeling of the bogey man under the bed began to creep upon him. A lifetime of being deprived of his eyes did nothing to alleviate this. Was it that famed sixth sense, becoming more heightened?

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Was it his imagination? That fluttery feeling in his stomach, a prelude to something he dreaded. But what? Reaching out to touch … what? There was nothing there, nothing to feel and yet… still that persistent nagging.

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What was that? A waft of air passed by his face, light as a feather. He was reminded of a fly, caught in a spider’s web. Trapped by uncertainty; perplexed by inactivity. Stilled by fear. He became aware that something was waiting …

Lurching towards him, leathery leaves rustling.

A stem whipped back and forth.

A swish and a slap.

The sting whistle slashed.

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“A Triffid is in a damn sight better position to survive than a blind man. Take away our sight and our superiority to them is gone.” – John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids

I wrote this piece for The Skywatcher Investigation, our interactive alien game during the Rochester LitFest 2013 Other Worlds, Other Voices Festival. Using Wyndham’s descriptive language to capture the feel but creating a character of my own, it was performed by the multi talented Lance Philips of Physical Folk, playing a blind gardener, who succumbs to attack by a Triffid, played by the wonderful Sophie Williams. I read the piece aloud to the sound of Mozart’s requiem, Ave Verum Corpus, adjusting the text to fit the rhythm of the music.

It was a new experience for me but one I thoroughly enjoyed working on, and hope to do similar again in future.

Photo credit: Nikki Price Photography