A small addendum to my note about the Yorgos Loizos art/poetry collaboration launched earlier this month in the SSE Space gallery. The text accompanying the artist’s images – including work by me and Anna Kirk, amongst others – is now available to read as an Issuu .pdf hereabouts.
I managed to snaffle a hard-copy but the images are actually clearer on the online version. Some great submissions from the UCL Young Writers alongside the artwork — apart from a STRAY BASTARD APOSTROPHE that my editing eye didn’t notice at the time but now snags upon it like some kind of grapple-hook, on fire, the size of a house etc
If you’re in the Bloomsbury area, please do look the small gallery up and have a ponderwander.
Earlier I mentioned that composer Steven Jackson and I had collaborated for a new exhibition piece in Manchester, courtesy of the Royal Northern College of Music. The festival is this weekend at the Victoria Baths; details of our and others’ pieces may be found on the flyer here.
In the renovated surrounds of the old bathhouse our project slots in as part of the Second Class Males collective (named after the sign above the changing-room doorway) comprising of composer David Futers, saxophonist Kyran Matthews, composer Aaron Parker, poet Eileen Pun, poet Sam Quill and composer Laurence Tompkins. I have an appropriate back-up disguise just in case I need to saunter in casually.
These photos are stills taken from workshops and give a good impression of the sort of scenes and tone that’ll be involved. I can confirm that my phone and noble profile (below) will not require their individual winnebagi when Cannes rings.
Photographs courtesy of André Stefano
Last week I was invited by University College London’s Young Writers’ Society to host a prose writing workshop. Chaired by writer, activist and all-round good egg Marta Owczareki it featured a mix of exercises, discussion and encouraging thumb-uppery, and it felt good to be gristing those brainwheels again. I hope some of what I said was of use to the Society’s members; I (selfishly + particularly) enjoyed batting ideas around with the students who still seemed energised by the idea of creating prose as opposed to letting the talk become dominated by the familiar scribble-moot screeches of ‘HOW DO I PUBLISH, HOW DO I MARKET’ – when all’s said, I look forward to reading many of their works in the future.
Following the workshop I asked whether I could be involved in the society’s upcoming collaborative project based at nearby SSE Space. The gallery is showing artist Yorgos Loizos’ first solo exhibition Olympia throughout the summer and YWS members were submitting texts inspired by specific pieces in the show. My image of choice was ‘photographer’s gaze – castiglione legs 2009’, a work based on a ‘flash moment of 1/250 seconds crystalliz[ing] Castiglione’s Legs (from Pierson’s La Castiglione)’. Image below from the artist’s website.
Olympia runs from 21 June – 17 September 2011 and is free, with details of the (textless) exhibition available online here. Unspecified but worth noting: you can get a damn fine cup of coffee there too.
When I wuz but a wee scamp, I remember being knocked sideways by Michael Morpurgo’s The War of Jenkins’ Ear. Side-note: I have an uncomfortable feeling that it was this book and Brian Jacques’ Redwall series that set the idea of studying theology into my head — probably no bad thing that an interest in the writing side of things won out by the time I hit second year at University (turns out Kant, Kirkegaard and Hume have a disappointingly low number of sabre-wielding weasels). ANYWAY, this fact makes it just un petit peu smashing to have the very same Morpurgo comment on my piece ‘Platform’, placed 2nd in the Franco British Council’s short story competition (19-25 year category).
Congratulations to Iona Carmichael and Lucy Bingham for winning their categories, and thanks to the FBC for providing the opportunity. Stories were encouraged to engage with ‘some aspect of France or the French’ and to take a series of provided quotations from French literature as their inspiration: I plumped for ‘Art must take reality by surprise’ from Françoise Sagan. Please find the story below – needless to say, all glaring errors as per French, the French, crass stereotypes and Parisian geography are entirely my own, and embarrasing.
Text available on the Council’s website, and on Prospect magazine’s online repository.
In more mortarboardular news, the English department at Royal Holloway University of London has granted me a College Research Scholarship – this works out as a x3 year fee waiver that makes it possible to take up a PhD there in September.
Which is all rather chipper.
Composer Steven Jackson recently asked whether I could contribute my piece ‘Channel Light Vessel Automatic’ to his upcoming exhibition ‘Noise of Many Waters’ at Victoria Baths, Manchester. Having combined forces with Steven at the Opera Group earlier this year, I knew my short story’d be in good hands – I’ll be reading on the Saturday of the festival in this fantastic venue alongside a new piece of music inspired by the text. Come along if you’re free!
‘Channel Light Vessel Automatic’ is available to hear, somewhat snuffly, hereabouts on 4’33” sitting at number 25.
A new issue of Chemical Imbalances sees a new submission from me; this edition is split between Fiction and Art Writing and my entry ‘MARKS THE SPOT’ can be found nestling in the latter category, playing around with mirror-writing and the boss-eyetry of reading.
Amongst a great array of pieces there’s some particularly fine work from Will Barrett and Amos Micah Howe to be found here – now freshly available in the ICA bookshop, go swoop up a copy while they’re still on the shelves: as you can see, front cover features art by Catherine Williams (yes, that one again). It’s worth mentioning that editor Matt Lomas, whose work also features in this edition, takes his pen, personage and persiflage to Berlin this month: we wish him many happy bumbles in die Stadt and viele Teutonic adventures.