Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Rattling Stories

From top left: Edward Rowe, Katherine Doggrell, Louise Halvardsson, Jo Dillon, Linda Baker, Lonny Pop, Alice Cunighame, Erinna Mettler, Mike Liardet.

There are several short story nights in Brighton, each with its own flavour. Or should I say noise? The audience at Rattle Tales were given rattles to make their voices heard. Because the unique thing with this event is that anyone can ask the authors questions after they've read or just give their opinion. I think this worked very well and I find myself remembering all stories this morning. For me it worked because it made me listen more carefully and it was also fascinating to find out where ideas came from or what the authors struggled with in their stories.

There were stories about spears, anorexics, pillow fights, facebook suicide, unopened letters, more death, cannibals, homelessness and winning the lottery. All in one evening ... For only £3.

Yes I am trying to sell this ... The next Rattle Tales is happening in June and they welcome submissions. More info at www.rattletales.org

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Rattle Tales - New Short Story Night in Brighton

I'm very honoured to be a special guest at Rattle Tales opening night! Come and hear me read my story Playing Horse.

Friday, 25 March 2011

I could've been a banker - Poetry Video by Alison Boston

It seems to get more and more popular to make poetry videos. Why not? Videos are not only for musicians.

Here's a great example of a video made by multi-disciplinary artist Alison Boston whom I worked with at the improv gig.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Minding Peas and Cucumbers in a Windmill

Kay Sexton is an amazing woman. I first got to know her as a person writing literary novels with an erotic touch. Little did I know that she's as passionate about words as she are about seeds. This passion resulted in a book called Minding my Peas and Cucumbers. The subtitle reads "Quirky tales of allotment life."

I'm only on chapter two, but I'd be happy to call it Quirky tales of Life. I have no interest in growing anything. In fact I'm very nervous about the courgette and sunflower seeds that came in the goodie flower pot that everybody at the launch received. Nevertheless I've laughed out loud already. You don't have to be a grower to enjoy Kay's writing and witty comments about the other allotment holders ...

The most quirky (a word I learnt late in life) thing about Kay's launch was that it was set in a windmill! (West Blatchington Windmill in Hove.) Apart from signing books and doing a short reading Kay invited the audience to write limericks on an allotment theme or if you preferred draw a portrait of a famous person based on a fruit or vegetable. There were also a chance to generously sample different homemade chutneys. A book launch in my taste!

And if you missed the launch you can buy your own copy of Minding my Peas and Cucumbers here.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


I woke up this morning and thought what the hell did I do last night? Don't worry I remember it all clearly, I wasn't very drunk or anything ... I was improvising! Something I'm not very used to. I've previously blogged about doing improvised workshops with the band 4thirtythree. But last night wasn't a workshop; it was a gig. People came to the Red Roaster and paid to watch and listen to us improvise.

Luckily the band 4thirtythree improvise all the time so they are used to it and they held the night together beautifully. And somewhere between the music there were words. Some of them fitted some of them didn't. I'm surprised how we managed to make the performance flow without any particular plan. Well some of us poets had brought material (either on paper or in our heads) so it wasn't totally improvised, but we did some collaborate pieces that were happening there and then and won't ever happen again.

Talking to a guy in the audience he said that he enjoyed some bits and found other bits painful. He thought our collaborate pieces worked best, when we only spoke for about 30 seconds each and then moved on to another person, creating a stream of words. Quite a fair comment I think.

I'm mostly happy what I did/said, but I also felt that I missed the "freshness" from the workshop where I felt more free as I had not brought any material at all. I'm still questioning what the hell I was doing last night, but I feel happy for the experience. A big thank you to Tom Cunliffe for putting it all together!

It has been great working with all those talented people: 4thirtythree, Annie, Yaz, Bernie, Alison and Tom.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

750 words a day

I first heard about 750 words from Chris Limb. 750 words is a website where you are encouraged to write 750 words about anything. (All privately). The advantage is that there's no spell- or grammar checker. Nothing to distract you. Just a screen where you type.

I'm not using this tool to write "just anything". I'm using it to write just anything that relates to my new novel idea/project/embyro. Could be anything from thoughts about the the theme or monologues written from the point of view of the different characters. I can't start writing about what I had for breakfast. If I find myself doing that I have to switch and write about what my characters had for breakfast ...

So far I've only done two days, but it has made me very happy. 750 words a day is so much better than 0 words a day. I'm aiming to keep it up for a month and by then I should have a big chunk of text to work with.

Monday, 14 March 2011


Wednesday 16th March

eg poetry presents.......’Rip/Cut/Torn’
The result of numerous workshops......a collaborative evening of poetry, improvised spoken word and improvised music

6 Brighton based poets meet ‘4.33’, Brighton’s most inventive music improvisation trio.
With Bernie Cremin, Lou Ice, Annie Kerr, Tom Cunliffe, Alison Boston and Yassin Zelestine

‘4.33’ (Stuart Revill, Tim Woods, Chris Parfitt).....”free of cliché... a fine enigma” Don Spicer. Jazz World/Guardian.

......sometimes you have to go to the edge.........and leap

Not to be missed.
Red Roaster Coffee House, St James St, Brighton. £5/£4 8pm Ko

Friday, 11 March 2011

Swedish Novel in English?

Every week I meet English people who want to read my Award-Winning Swedish Young Adult Novel, Punkindustriell Hårdrockare med Attityd ("Punk Industrial Hard Rocker with Attitude"). I hope the whole novel will be translated one day (by someone who's not me ...)! My agent has showed an interest and asked me to write a synopsis and translate a sample chapter, so that's what I've been working on this week.

First I re-read the novel. I've only read it once before ... A strange experience reading your own novel, especially now when I have a fair bit of distance to it. It felt like I was reading but not concentrating as I knew what was going to happen. Yet I surprised myself. There were so many paragraphs that seemed new to me, and I got confused by my own structure ... As the novel is set over the course of three years there are obviously big leaps and you kind of have to fill in those gaps yourself ... Or perhaps I just got confused because I was reading in a feverish state, being confined to my bed by a nasty flu ...

Anyway. I did manage to write a synopsis, but my playwright friend thought it sounded more like a travel itinerary! Synopsises are hard, and sometimes don't do the novel justice, but I'm happy with what I managed to write anyway. As for the sample chapter ... It was hard to find a chapter without Swedish slang or other typical Swedish references, but in the end I settled for a neutral chapter where the main character is in her bedroom, not knowing what to do with the sample condoms she got from a Youth Clinic person visiting her college. There's also a short dialogue with her Dad. I do hope this chapter is enough to give the agent a flavour of the novel ... The flavour is punk industrial hard rock with attitude!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Toxic Womb - New Flash Fiction Piece


grateful for any feedback ...

And I do feel a bit intoxicated after four days in Barcelona
where I went to celebrate my 29th birthday
at La Marsella - an absinthe bar where Hemingway used to drink (and write?)