Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Friday, 26 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
the third 'there's no point in not being friends with someone if you want to be friends with them' reading night went really well. have a look at the 'official blog' -- Sally's written more about it, and there's also Tao Lin's video reading and some general photos posted.
i was interviewed by the What to Wear During an Orange Alert blog ('WTWDAOA').
then, just when i thought 'things can't get any better', this came in the post:
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Monday, 22 September 2008
i read at this book launch thing on Saturday night in Derby. i had a good time. the 'book' is actually two small books and a badge and a leaflet and an envelope made from an old map and a bit of string and a small key and a postcard. i feel like i'm forgetting something. my copy probably has a piece of my flatmate's hair in it too or something from the bottom of my bag, an old crumb from a marmite sandwich or the small torn-off corner before you eat a mars bar. i'm going to take a photo of it, to explain better, which will probably look 'ominous' because something bad has happened to the electrics in our living room recently. the lightbulbs don't work but the lightbulbs are fine. anyway, here is the photo:
yep, pretty ominous. it doesn't really look like a nice, self-produced, hand-made book that took three people a lot of time. sorry. the time travel opportunist people -- Emma, Nathan and Biff -- were very nice and put us up for the night. we went to a dancing club after the reading. i drank blue drinks. i took my camera with me for the trip. i think i was planning to do a 'photo journal' or something for the blog (i'm not exactly sure what a 'photo journal' is, just photos of things, i guess.) i only took a few photos on my trip.
i had tea at Jenn Ashworth's house in Preston before we drove to Derby. that teapot cost a lot of money apparently. you could buy lots of pairs of those glasses, i think, for how much the teapot cost:
[then lots of other stuff happened -- the reading, the dancing club, etc. -- and i didn't take photos of it]
then we went back to the time travel people's house and i looked at their record collection and hoped they had a copy of 'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen and found a copy of 'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen and put it on and tried to take a photo of it:
[that's the end of my photo journal.]
i'm listening to this band a lot at the moment. i think they have 'everything i require' in a band. they make me feel very sad and excited at the same time. they sound (to me) like a 'wildly talented' child drawing a gigantic intricate picture of something like a 'cityscape' or a 'series of cat faces' or a 'huge yaght' or something.
Friday, 19 September 2008
i'm reading something at the launch for the Time Travel Opportunists' new book 'HOME' tomorrow. i have a short story in it. the launch is in Derby, 8pm, at a place called the 'big blue coffee company'. click here for the poster. Jenn Ashworth is also reading, and lots of other people.
city life did a quite 'professional' little profile on the reading night i help organise, and the manchizzle blog also gave it a plug.
i added things to the bird room website, in the 'about' section.
i was going to link to something else i wrote online, last night, but now feel a bit 'ashamed' of it. i don't know.
i think if i had to live somewhere that was made out of songs, i would live in a small town made out of shins b-sides and 'unreleased/rarities'. some days it might be a bit bright to look at and give me a headache -- i'm imagining lots of lurid green grass and cartoon-y white clouds with faces and things -- but in general i think i'd have 'quite a nice time'. where is that in real life? Brighton? the Isle of Man? i want to move wherever it is, anyway.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
i'm really excited. i'm going to be reading at a thing called 'Crossing Border' in the Netherlands in November, which is a music and literature festival. i kept checking but they hadn't announced the bands.
i just found this, and looked at it, and said "holy shit" out loud when i saw the name Cass McCombs.
my name is in the third paragraph, about halfway down alphabetically, on 'Zaterdag'.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
i have a dating advert now online at This Zine Will Change Your Life. i'm expecting to be 'inundated' with offers.
my friend Jenn's novel recently appeared on Amazon.
Jenn is one of the people booked for the next No Point in Not Being Friends night -- 23rd of September. we have lots of people confirmed now: Jenn Ashworth, Joe Stretch, John McAuliffe, David Gaffney, Tao Lin (for the 'video reading'). i also asked someone in a dream early this morning, who turned into someone else with the same name shortly after they'd agreed to do it. that was awkward. more info nearer the time ...
i'm in charge of designing the poster this weekend. it needs to be done by monday. i was planning to try and use photoshop, after reading about photoshop for a bit on the internet. does anyone reading this use photoshop regularly? is there someone willing to give me their email address, so i could email them with questions or whatever if i got stuck?
Thursday, 11 September 2008
i got this in the post:
it's really good. Chelsea Martin writes really good, bizarre short things, Catherine Lacey writes really good, smart things, and Ellen Kennedy writes really good, depressed things. that's my review. 'really good.'
i also got an 'exciting' plain white envelope, which i was hoping was Wolf Parade tickets, but which turned out to be a notification that my rent hasn't gone through this month.
the next No Point In Not Being Friends reading night is booked for Tuesday 23rd of this month. we are booking some good things, and it's going to be upstairs in the big room at the Deaf Institute. check the 'official blog' for more info nearer the time.
my novel is now reduced to £6.59 on amazon. i think that's a good thing, i'm not sure.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Friday, 5 September 2008
i just finished reading Distortions by Ann Beattie. i had a lot of trouble finding a copy of it. it was maybe out of print or unable to be imported into the UK, but i was very kindly given a copy when i went to New York. it has taken me a long time to read, not because i didn't like it, but because i was trying to make it last as long as i could. i've just been looking at Ann Beattie's wikipedia page. she was 29 when Distortions was published. reading the stories, i felt like she had a 'complete' idea of humans, of lots of different humans, in different situations. i can't help but compare myself to people i read. reading Ann Beattie made me want to write stories and simultaneously give up writing altogether. it also made me wish i could have met Ann Beattie when she was 29, and just hang out with her. sometimes i've met people who wrote thing i've liked, and felt 'inferior' as a human being, and kind of short-circuited any possible conversation, by thinking, 'nothing you could say will be of interest to this person,' or, 'quick, try and think of something interesting to say,' making my mind go blank. i don't feel like that would happen with Ann Beattie, maybe because it doesn't seem like her 'pose' in Distortions is one of 'i am more interesting than you will ever be'. i don't think she has a 'pose', even. she just seems kind of sad and interested in people and finds them funny but not in a condescending way. i think in 1976 Ann Beattie would recognise my nervousness, and very subtly try and steer the conversation around to something we could both talk about equally. probably not about writing. i would not even know she was taking control of the conversation. i would still probably feel intense paranoia after the meeting with Ann Beattie, thinking things like, 'that was good, but a one-off; she probably thinks i'm an arse.' i would probably then fuck up any chance of me and Ann Beattie becoming friends, due to the paranoia that she wouldn't actually want to be friends with me. we would bump into each other, about half a year later, maybe, and have an awkward conversation, and that would be the end of my 'dalliance' with Ann Beattie.
imagined meeting with Ann Beattie in 1976:
we meet at a small diner. it's raining. Ann Beattie is already sat at a booth. she doesn't look like she got rained on. there are two cups of coffee in front of Ann Beattie. one is completely empty, the other is half-empty. i am on time for the meeting. 'Ann Beattie must have arrived quite a while ago,' i think. Ann Beattie doesn't notice me at first, because it is 1976 and i am minus-five-years-old. i am just a small, half-invisible thing, shaped like a kidney bean. i am floating around at eye-level, and don't have the power of speech.
Ann Beattie recognises me once i am fully floated up to the table. 'Hey!' she says. 'You made it.'
i move myself backwards and forwards in a kind of nod.
'Want something to drink?' Ann Beattie says.
i awkwardly nod again, almost. i don't have a mouth or a way of drinking things, but i don't want to offend Ann Beattie. she's smiling a lot, but looks tired too, as if the smile is more for my benefit -- to make me feel comfortable -- than because she is happy about anything. she has long curly hair, like on her book jacket, and is wearing a plaid shirt. she is in black and white, like on her book jacket.
Ann Beattie waves to a waitress and asks for a very small cup of coffee. 'For my friend here,' she says, 'maybe a thimble or something?' and the waitress smiles and says she'll see what they can do.
i hover in the opposite side of the booth from Ann Beattie.
Distortions and Chilly Scenes of Winter have both just been published. Ann Beattie must be in quite a whirl. she looks, outwardly, quite calm and a bit bored and sad. i want to ask her something about Distortions or Chilly Scenes of Winter but i panic and can't think of anything to say that she probably hasn't heard a million times already.
Ann Beattie looks out of the window and yawns.
i panic that she's bored. i wish i was older, with a fully functioning body and the ability to speak.
the waitress comes back with a saucer. it has a thin film of black coffee in it.
'It's the best we could do,' the waitress says, grinning sheepishly, and Ann Beattie smiles graciously back at her.
i have an idea: i could dip myself in the saucer and write a question on the table top, maybe. so i float down towards the saucer. i can feel Ann Beattie watching me. i dip the bottom end of myself carefully into the coffee. it's very hot, but feels quite nice too, and i tilt on my side and lie there, floating in the coffee for a moment. it feels good just lying there, Ann Beattie watching me float around in the saucer. i can tell i'm amusing her. she starts to laugh. then she stops laughing and looks out of the window at the rain.
'Let's get something to eat,' Ann Beattie says, suddenly, banging her palms loudly on the table top. it rattles me half out of the saucer. 'You like pizza?' she says.
i write YES on the table in coffee. Ann Beattie tilts her head to read the upside-down YES, and from this angle i can kind of see up her nose.
Thursday, 4 September 2008
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
the reading night last tuesday was really good. i don't know why i haven't written about it already. lots of people came. some had to stand in the doorway, there were that many people. a couple of people blogged about it, here, here and here. i felt less 'harried' this time, but still kind of harried. maybe in about a year's time (if it's still going on in a year; i hope so) i will only feel 1-2% harried, and be able to just stand there and get mildly drunk and enjoy watching people read things. i still felt a bit like a seventeen-year-old organizing a village fete or something.
chicken and pies is 'back in action'.
about a year ago, i was nominated for a 'manchester blog award'. i got to go and read at the night, and won something, and felt surprised. that was fun. i have nominated some blogs this year that i like. if you read any manchester blogs, you should nominate them, because then that person might get invited to come and read at the awards thing and have a nice time.