Showing posts from November, 2009

Memoir: A History

There's a great review here in the Washington Post on Ben Yagoda's interesting new book, Memoir: A History, which includes the perceptive: "Those people in [Alcoholics Anonymous] in the late 40's and early 50's can be said to have reinvented American narrative style. All the terrible, terrible things that had ever happened to them just made for a great pitch." I'm ordering from Amazon today.

This week...

This week I wanted to go see Michael Haneke's new film, The White Ribbon, but arrived at the BFI only to be told the listings info was incorrect, so will schlep to the Curzon Mayfair at some point early next week, I hope. It's certainly had an interesting review in this week's TLS. Another gem in this week's issue was a new poem by Seamus Heaney, The Eel Works. There is also a review of a book, Sleepers Wake, by Alistair Morgan, that appeals because it has been likened to John Banville's 2005 Booker winning The Sea. Last weekend I nipped through Philip Roth's latest, The Humbling, a novella, not a novel. Great little story with the sort of ending I am particularly partial to. Roth's last few books, particularly this and Everyman demonstrate an author at the peak of his power. And news this week that Oxford is going to open a dedicated museum of story and storytelling.

Prostitution - without the Kant!

My blog piece on Guardian's CiF adding to the prostitution debate.

Ted Hughes - the letters

I'm not well acquainted with Ted Hughes' work, but I loved Horses so much that it moved me to want to know more about him, and what better way than starting with his letters, out since last week.

Manchester's Literary Renaissance?

Interesting and self-congratulatory blog in The Guardian on Manchester's burgeoning literary scene. No mention of Apple though :o(

Tate St. Ives and Barbara Hepworth

Today it was off to Tate St. Ives, the most picturesque gallery every - a circular art deco building situated on Porthmeor Beach. The current exhibition is The Dark Monarch - Magic and Modernity in Modern Art. As soon as you enter there stands a glass case of coloured water in which stands a dead animal. Damien Hirst, then. I wasn't as enamoured with the collection as much as I had expected to be, however, I was glad to see Gillian Carnegie's Black Square, bought by the Tate last year, and something I was struck by on a visit to Tate Britain a few months ago - seemed strange seeing it on Millbank and then all the way down here. I love it. Earthy, woody, pagan, mysterious. Anyway, after we had a spot of lunch in the top floor cafe, Tanya gave up and left me alone whilst she went to buy some Vivienne Westwood shoes in St. Ives, insisting that there was no way she would could be bothered with Barbara Hepworth, which is where I went next. I was interested in her, coming from Yorks…

Newlyn Arts Festival

Me and Tanya walked the couple of miles into Newlyn today to visit the gallery. Lovely building, quirky volunteer behind the reception desk, alongside which sat a few paper cups and a pot of coffee for visitors to help themselves. It just so happened that today was the start of the Newlyn Arts Festival, a rather brilliant annual event that exhibits the work of any person who wants to exhibit, as long as they either live or work in Newlyn. 'No-one is turned away', the volunteer emphasised. The open exhibition held 70 works, some fairly twee and rather good, yet amateur attempts, but the stars, for me, were Michael Tracey's Salome's Gift to Penzance (picture of a man with fish coming out of his head!) at £650, Sarah Williams' majestic Storm, at £800, Richard Cook's Partou, which had a look of despair about it (which wasn't for sale), Lincoln Kirby-Bell's The Lizards, a beautiful plate of two colours with lizards around the edge, Jason Walker's Self-Po…


The BBC report here on Cambridge securing £550,000 grant towards the £1.2m needed to purchase the papers of Word War 1 poet, and former student, Siegfried Sassoon.


My friend has joined me in Mousehole for a few days and so tomorrow we are off to Lamorna, although she insists that, whilst she will come with me to St. Ives, she is not particularly enthusiastic at the prospect of Tate St. Ives, all other Tates apart from THE Tate (Britain) being pale imitations. So much to do, so much to see, so little time...


French anthropologist whose theories gave rise to structuralism, Claude Levi-Strauss, has died, aged 100. Obit here.

Inspiring Mowzell

This week I've taken myself off to Mousehole (Mowzell), a couple of miles down from Newlyn and Penzance. What is it about writers and out-of-season seaside places? Although, to be fair, Mousehole could hardly be called 'seaside', for that conjures up images of sandy beaches. No, Mousehole is a harbour, and is full of craggy charm. It is where Dylan Thomas once stayed, amongst many others. I've managed to get a fair bit of editing done, but as yet, very little writing, but it's still only Monday, so I'm hoping that, my the time Saturday arrives, I will be going away with a fair bit! It's not all head down writing though, tomorrow morning I'll be off to Newlyn Art Gallery, once home of the Newlyn School of artists, who are now housed in Penzance's Penlee Art Gallery. Newlyn, I've just learned, was also home to Chartist leader, William Lovett, fortuitious/serendipitous as the Chartists feature in the background of the novel I've come here to wo…