Friday, 31 July 2009

'Tis Pity She's a Whore

Have recently revisited a few Jacobean tragedies. Being winter and cold and wet, it's the time of year for dark plots and stages littered with corpses. Enjoyed these when I first read them many years ago - all that incest, skulduggery and treachery - and thought it time I tapped back into those themes. I enjoy the twists and machinations in Cyril Tourneur's The Revenger's Tragedy and John Webster's The White Devil, but 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (great title) by John Ford was my favourite first time around and still is. Love it.

Also finally got round to reading Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

PS. The cover of 'Tis Pity puts me in mind of the tour I took round the new Globe theatre when in London. It's a stunning theatre and, given that there wasn't time to fit in a performance, made me determined to get tickets next time. Enjoyed the story about how the original Globe burnt down:

During the second performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII, it had been decided to mark the entrance of the king's character by firing a cannon (safely wadded with cloth rather than shot) to create a greater sense of pomp and ceremony than the usual trumpets allowed. Unfortunately some of the burning cloth from the cannon landed on the thatched roof and set the place ablaze. It's recorded that, out of the hundreds of people crammed into the auditorium, no one was hurt, although one man's breeches caught alight. These were fortuitously doused with a pitcher of beer. Cheers!

PPS. Have loaded the 'My Library Thing' widget to the side bar, to record some of these Recent Reads.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Writer's Almanac

A friend tuned me into The Writer's Almanac on American Public Radio. Each day, Garrison Keillor (in his rich, honeyed voice) reads a poem and provides a few literary anecdotes in response to a few literary anniversaries. For those of us who don't live in the States, the site can also be accessed online or subscribed to via email or podcast, and so I'm now enjoying a daily ration of this excellent show. While poetry can, I find, sometimes defeat itself by being too inaccessible, too obscure - too clever - I haven't come across a single selection from The Writer's Almanac that I haven't enjoyed immensely. I've also learned some interesting snippets about a few of the literary greats.

To view and/or subscribe, click here.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

London (Foyles, Waterstones, Books Etc)

It's time to upload a holiday snap or two. Had a particularly good day in London (see post below), signing books at the Trafalgar Square Waterstones and Broadgate Circle Books Etc, meeting Tom and Lucy at PaperBooks, and rejoicing over the front-of-shop positioning of The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore as one of Foyles' Recommended Reads. The photo against the backdrop of Big Ben says it all. (There was a time I applied for a job at Foyles, many years ago, when I thought selling books in the day and writing them at night would be an ideal existence, so it was particularly rewarding to see the book sitting proudly there.)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Posting at The View from Here

It's been a couple of months since I contributed to that wonderful literary ezine The View From Here. Thought I should do something about that, so have: a short piece about, appropriately enough, travel and writing and being home. You can find it here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

MAGAZYN lokalny

One of many highlights in recent weeks was visiting and catching up with Mike French, founding editor of The View From Here. Mike has become a dynamic presence in the literary world and is often involved in a number of exciting projects. Recently invited to write an English column for MAGAZYN lokalny, the magazine for the Polish community in Luton and Dunstable, he handed me a copy with a grin: his first article - produced at short notice - was his review of The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore. It's great to see the novel featured in this magazine and I wish MAGAZYN lokalny every success.

Download magazine pdf.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Home Sweet Home

The Most Excellent Adventure has come to an end and I'm home-sweet-home again. Back to a winter landscape, and time to catch up with paying bills, chopping wood, finding the garden and definitely time to get back into writing. Slowly though, because my head is a Snow Globe of impressions at the moment - people I've met, places explored, smells, tastes, ideas - and I don't want them to settle too soon... not until they've trickled through into a story or two.

From the ending of one Most Excellent Adventure to another: here's the ending from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.