Sunday, 27 July 2008

Being That Person

Last night was the launch of this little bugger, and I mean the book not the man. Mr Michael 'Fierce' Frearson released his first collection of poetry, Being That Person, to a packed house on a Saturday night in the city centre. Despite the crazy sub-tropical heat, Big Blue Coffee Co. was full to the brim with a fine assortment of party people. There were many fine poets and lovely musicians and funny funny bastards. Me and my fellow TTOs did our first collaborative piece, too, which was a new thing for us. We kept it short and sweet this time. The highlight of the evening had to be Fierce's rendition of Howl, accompanied by Poppa Fierce on double bass, both of them decked out in full Beatnik attire. With the lights dimmed and the aroma of freshly ground coffee in the air, it was easy to transpose the scene to '50's San Francisco. Everybody was definitely 'digging' it.

The book is our third TTO publication. You'll be able to buy it from here in the very near future. Biff likes to do the "organising" of that kind of stuff, so I'll leave it alone. It comes with a Mini Fierce, a badge and a very special ID card. And we figured out a much better method of binding for this one. It meant that sewing 100 books on the night before the launch was a piece of cake. (The previous method involved using a miniature clothes-peg to 'hold' the thread while the knot was being tied.) We are now bookbinding machines.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Messy Room is a Happy Room

If your living space is a reflection of your state of mind, then I am clothes draped on chairs, a menagerie of empty glasses, a confetti of shoes and a big blue furry cushion. I am also more books than I will ever read, a hundred and one pens, scraps of paper with “important” things scrawled across their surface, a flowery sleeping bag, and a desk heaped high with a landscape of paper, cotton reels, travel bags, more pens, shoeboxes of ephemera, more clothes and a blue bonnet-style sun hat that turns me into a Victorian lady explorer when placed on my head.

My best place for writing is bed. It is a gigantic expanse of crisp white cotton, and it loves me. I try and filter out the complete rest of the room, and focus on the whiteness and sometimes I wish all the other stuff wasn’t there at all, ever. My housemate has few things, and these things he keeps immaculate. His room is a shrine to tidiness. His room is a small point in the universe of this house that has an order to it. And his life is ordered, too. You can set your watch by him. You can map out exactly what he will do before he even does it.

I would like to have a little less of the tornado-stricken about the room. But unless I happen across a magic Narnia-style wardrobe whereby I can transfer all my “clutter” to this other place for storage and thus have a spotless room, then it isn’t going to happen. The most I can hope for is an empty desk or an empty floor. And I have already resigned myself to that fact that it’s probably never going to be both.

Friday, 18 July 2008

It was time for a photo

I took this picture on the way to an airport. I like how you can't tell if it's dawn or dusk. I am drawn to landscapes. I used a long exposure to try and capture the car headlights as just lines. It makes it feel emptier. I have been reading about myth today. About how myths have been interpreted and used in different ways from the Paleolithic to the modern day. I have spent the day lost in books and stories, and I have found it meditative and inspiring. I really love having the house to myself.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Knack

I have not done any internet writing lately. I have done shedloads of in-my-book-with-a-pen writing, though. It has been great. It has been a bit fantastic, actually. I thought I had lost the knack. I was worried the stories had all deserted me. But they were just waiting for me to get away from my computer. I will remember this next time.

Sh went quiet. In part, I think, to let people catch up. Fifty chapters is a lot to read. But two weeks is long enough and there’s a new installment, finally. You can read it here.

There’s been lots going on behind the scenes at TTO, too. Fierce’s book launch is a week on Saturday. The proofs are being printed on Monday, and we will be binding it hopefully that night.

Then on Tuesday it's a trip to Leicester for Drew Gummerson’s Me And Mickie James launch. I think that will be a fun evening. I think, also, that there will be free wine. Which is always good.

We are piecing HOME together, too. It’s still open for submissions till the end of July, so if you have a story/poem/collection of words loosely based on the theme 'Home', then send it to
home [at] You know you want to.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

A Strangle Is Different To A Choke

Today, somebody tried to strangle me. A strangle is different to a choke. They tried to choke me, as well. Many times. I tried to break their hands. And then punch them in the neck. It was a fun day. I wriggled myself out of headlocks and slid myself out of holds, all the time thinking: I could do some real damage if I was really in danger.

I just got home now and tried to get Biff to fight me. He is a wuss. He just said, “The internet is not working, can you reset it.” And then went back upstairs. No attack, no nothing. If only Jenn was here. She’d be up for a fight. Maybe I can get her to ‘surprise’ me with a stranglehold at the HOME launch? Though I’ll probably have forgotten all my moves by then. Maybe I will practise in the bathroom when I’m brushing my teeth. They say the best way to remember something is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Perhaps I should spend the minute after spitting out the toothpaste imagining hands on my throat, and twisting my body in accord, taking care to scrape the imaginary shin with my imaginary stilettos in the process.

I *heart* the Industrial Revolution

On Monday I got to go to Richard Arkwright’s mill in Matlock. The one he built in 1771. The one that helped kick off the Industrial Revolution and all that malarkey. I had a love affair with the Industrial Revolution. Maybe it was coming from Manchester, and being aware of the buildings around me and what they meant in the grand scheme of things. I passed Victoria Square, the world’s first tenement flats, every time I went into town. I spent art school afternoons sketching the old weavers cottages in Cheetham Hill, imagining the world they knew changing so much in just a short span of time.

I like to know the history of places. I like to be able to put my finger on changes and to understand how and why they happened. I’ve been past Arkwright’s Masson Mill many many times, without ever venturing inside. It is now part factory shop, part restaurant, part conference rooms, part museum. It is great inside. There are lots of old weaving things arranged on windowsills, and little rooms with old scales and mechanical bits and bobs inside. I definitely felt excited to be in a place so steeped in history, a place that played a huge part in moving the wheels of time forward for the entire world. It was nice to be there in a Time Travel Opportunists capacity, because it really did feel like we’d stepped back through time. It was also nice to nerd out on the history part of it.