Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Weirdness Of Your Own Voice

The E.P. launch for Grande Duke, whose song 'Lunacy By Sea Wind' I did a spoken word bit on, and blogged about here, is happening on Friday.

I already have my copy, and it was weird at first, hearing a voice that I knew was mine, right in the middle of ace instrumental music, but the more I listen to it, the less weird it is, and the more I can just listen without thinking too hard about it.

I looked up the science behind why your own voice sounds weird when you hear a recording of it. I'm glad I know.

I'm doing a reading in Nottingham, so I won't be able to make it till later on. Hopefully I won't miss too much. It's going to be ace.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Semaphore Stories

I've been keeping myself to myself a bit over the past few weeks. I've been doing lots of things with Post-it notes, working out the structure of my novel. It nearly drove me mad, but I think the worst of it is over. I haven't been writing many short stories lately, as all my focus has been on the novel, which is a good thing, but I have missed the immediacy of shorter things. So, I cheated and wrote this for the ever-brilliant pygmy giant. I seem to be obsessed with semaphore at the minute. Maybe it stems from my childhood survival-manual-reading, but I've always liked secret codes. I'm crap at decoding them, but I like the idea of them. A good one I've found recently is tap code. Used a lot by prisoners, apparently. I like the simplicity of tap code. I get it.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Pay It Forward

A while back, Annie Clarkson blogged about kindness and the gesture of Pay It Forward. She had been a recipient and was Paying It Forward to three people who would then Pay It Forward to another three people and so on...random kindness expanding out to (hopefully) infinity.

So, a few days ago, a parcel arrived in the post. It was addressed to me, but I was baffled by what it could be. When I opened it, still half-asleep, I pulled out all manner of amazing things. Beautiful Flax postcards, tasty chocolate lip balm, the Brace anthology(Woop!), a very pretty notecard and some gorgeous vintage buttons.

(my haul - thank you Annie!)

(the buttons and notecard 'artistically' arranged)

I'd forgotten all about Annie's offer, which made receiving the gifts even more wonderful. Presents are great at the best of times, but unexpected presents, totally out of the blue, well, you just can't beat 'em.

So now it's my turn to Pay It Forward. If, at some point in the future, when you least expect it, you'd like to receive a package from me, leave a "yes please" in the comments box. I'll send something to each of the first three people to say yes. Even if you live in Timbuktu. The only stipulation is, you must agree to then do the same for three other people at a later date and blog about it.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

When Godzilla Met Medusa

Medusa was standing at the bottom of the stairs, swigging from a flagon of wine, when Godzilla stomped into the hallway, looking for a quiet place to stand. She noticed his suit first; black, smart, with a crisp white shirt, and a black tie. His feet were big and green and scaly, and as he walked, a thick tail swung heavily behind him. Medusa smiled as he approached, and he took this to mean it would be okay to stand next to her.

“Nice costume,” Godzilla said.


“I like how you’re not just going for the one scare,” he continued, “like you’re going for the fear-of-snakes people, the fear-of-statues people, as well as those that are scared of being turned to stone. Good call.”

She hadn’t thought about it like that. But it summed her up completely to be multitasking even in her subconscious. One of the snakes came loose so she flicked it back over her shoulder, the way she’d seen models in commercials do. When they talked about their hair having a mind of its own, only being tamed by a certain shampoo, she sighed. They didn’t know the half of it.

Godzilla tapped his foot in time to the music. His tail remained perfectly still. He started to feel warm, so he loosened his tie. One of Medusa’s snakes found its way onto his shoulder. He turned to look at it more closely; it seemed to be an adder, native to this country and generally well-behaved. Whenever one of the snakes broke free, Medusa felt a lightness that took a few moments to register. After realising what had happened, she swooped the snake back with her hand.

“Sorry about that.”

“No worries. I don’t mind snakes. We’re kind of...kin.” Godzilla laughed as he said this. Medusa took it to mean he was thoroughly immersing himself in his character. She thought she should do the same. She tried to think of something witty to say about turning people into stone, but nothing came to her, so she did what she’d read to do in these situations, which was: turn the conversation back to the other person by asking them questions.

“So, have you destroyed any good bridges lately?”

Godzilla blushed. “Er, no. Not intentionally, anyway.” He let out a nervous laugh. Medusa took this as her cue and giggled. She worried that it sounded a bit forced, but Godzilla didn’t seem to notice.

“And you’re okay out of water?”

“Yeah. I’ve been using that KY-jelly. It’s such a great lubricator.”

She choked on her wine laughing at his repose, and he felt bad for taking the credit when all he’d done was tell the truth. It felt good to be honest, though, for once. Hallowe’en was the one time of the year when he could actually be himself. No having to hide his tail down his trouser leg, no painfully restrictive shoes, no problem discussing his skin problems with people. A good song came on and he started tapping his foot again. He suddenly felt brave.

“Would you like to dance?” he asked.

“Okay. Yeah. I hardly ever get the chance to let my hair down.”

Godzilla guffawed, clapping his hands. “Let your hair down. Brilliant.”

It took her a few moments to understand he was complimenting her on her apparent role-playing. She gave him a smile and followed him into the other room, past the Jenga tournament, to where the party was loudest. Facing each other, they began to dance. Timidly at first, and then, on deciding to make the most of their one night of utter freedom, they got lively. They threw lizard shapes and snake shapes and wriggled and slinked and cavorted around the dance-floor. They danced all night, not stopping when Godzilla accidentally knocked the Jenga blocks flying with his tail, oblivious to the fact that everybody else had been turned to stone.

(photo borrowed from here.)