Fletchski has a new site!

Greetings all you wonderful Lobsterites.

I’ve a lovely new blog over at http://fletchski.wordpress.com Why don’t you pop over and have a look at all the stuff I’ve been up to lately?

Cheers.

Midsummer Poetry Picnic.

 

Blimey, I’ve been invited to read again this summer!

This time it will be at the gorgeous Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, for the launch of a Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen collaboration entitled,’Sea of Brightness,’ published by Cinnamon Press.

An oasis in the city.

An oasis in the city.

The Martineau Gardens really are wonderful, an oasis in the middle of the city and a fine venue to hear some great poetry.

There are some excellent poets on the bill,including the mighty fine Charles Wilkinson. I’m in the same writers group as Charlie and he’s an excellent orator as is Jacqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea. I don’t know Joan Poulson but I’m sure she must be good.

Below is the invitation.

 

 

Invitation

‘Screen of Brightness’ is a poetic collaboration by Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen, published by Cinnamon Press. It will be launched on Sunday 16th June at

A Midsummer Poetry Picnic

in the beautiful Martineau Gardens
27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7UG

2 – 6pm, with poetry readings from 3pm. Cakes & drinks provided – bring a picnic and listen to Fiona & Meredith
supported by guest readings from
Garrie Fletcher
Joan Poulson
Jacqui Rowe
Charles Wilkinson

All welcome – RSVP jan@cinnamonpress.com

To find out about Martineau Gardens and how to find them click here.

To read about ‘Screen of Brightness’ click here.

My take on the Martineau Gardens can be found here.

 

Naked Lungs

I was asked to read at the launch night of Naked Lungs a Birmingham based spoken word night in the heart of the city. This happened nearly two weeks ago and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect; spoken word nights can be a bit hit and miss and this was the first one. I’d met Chris Baker two weeks before and we’d chatted about what he was after, I was impressed with his enthusiasm and laid back approach to getting a project like this off the ground and promised him some stuff for the launch magazine. The magazine was the clincher really, not only would Naked Lungs be a spoken word night but it would also comprise a magazine that would feature work from all the writers on that night’s bill.

The Greenhouse Cafe is the venue for Naked Lungs and a mighty fine venue it is at that. Situated in the Custard Factory, the beating heart of Birmingham’s creativity, it is cool without having to try too hard, they do good green tea which was enough for me to give it a ringing endorsement.

The bill for that night was Seasick Fist, Annie-J, Garrie Fletcher (me,) Ben Jones and Keiran Goddard. I didn’t know any of them and I was that busy leading up to it that I didn’t even Google them, if I had of done I might have had an inkling of what a treat I was in store for.

Seasick Fist is young, vibrant and almost electric with words. He attacks the mic at such a rate that you’d be forgiven for thinking that someone had gone crazy with a diction machine gun, cutting down the rows of onlookers with nothing more than well aimed words. Annie-J is a wonderful poet that reflects upon her grandmothers courting rituals whilst extolling the virtues of playing Tomb Raider, both of these proved to be insightful and very funny. Both these performers had recounted their thoughts almost entirely from memory so I let the side down by having to read direct from my story, well, it is nearly 3000 words. I went down well and was really pleased with the crowd’s reaction to my story ‘Kowalski’ which is a tale of an elderly Polish man befriending a young Pakistani boy. Keiran Goddard was the last on and treated us to a fine selection of poems from his next collection, tales of rag-and-bone men, lost loves and city streets, which I shall definitely be checking out. However, for me, the evening was stolen by the marvellous Ben Jones and he wasn’t even in the room! Ben found himself double booked and unable to attend so he sent along a Powerpoint and audio track to stand in for him. Ben is a philosophy lecturer at Halesowen College and the flyer had promised ‘Free form philosophy, live on stage.’ Ben’s presentation, even though it wasn’t live, was enthralling to say the least. For twenty odd minutes he kept us all hooked upon his every word as he ruminated upon the philosophy of masturbation, yes, wanking. A few people I’ve mentioned this to have looked at me aghast to say the least but it wasn’t sordid or cheap; it was well constructed, painfully funny and penetrating (no pun intended.) Yes, it really made you think about wanking.

Anyway, those wonderful guys at Naked Lungs have posted a video of snippets from the first evening with a gorgeous soundtrack. Check it out, see what you missed and make sure you’re at the next one.

Naked Lungs

This Thursday at 7pm, in The Greenhouse Cafe, Custard Factory, Birmingham I shall be reading as part of Naked Lungs. Naked Lungs is described as a: ‘Birmingham based poetry collective looking to foster a community of like minded individuals for creative collaboration.’ Which sounds marvellous, only I’ll be reading a short story. However, I do have some poems in the magazine that compliments the evening so if you turn up you’ll be getting the best of both worlds.

Look out for this flyer around town!

Look out for this flyer around town!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening kicks off at 7pm but I’ll, hopefully, be there a little bit earlier so come and say high, hey, I’ll even let you buy me a beer.

10 to 1 Survival of the Lit(est)

Pigeon Park Press have set themselves a challenge: to produce a novel using ten authors over a year. Starting in May 2013 each of the ten authors will write a 1000 words on their character and each month a character will be voted off until only one is left.

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This sounds like a very interesting project indeed, Big Brother meets Pulp Fiction (the cheap fiction magazines of the early 20th century not the Tarantino movie,) something that could be great fun and quite manageable, at only a 1000 words a month, the trick will be not getting voted off. So its a popularity contest for writers? Maybe not writers but definitely for writing. I imagine who ever writes the most engaging prose, with the most intriguing character, will win, although organisers have said that ‘cliff-hanger’ endings, to get readers voting for the next instalment, will not be allowed.

pigeon Park Press tested the water with this idea when they produced Full Fathom Five another collaborative novel that should be out early this year.

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I think I’m going to throw my hat into the ring for this one, it sounds like fun and you never know I could be last writer standing?

Check out the Pigeon Park Press site for details and give it a go.

Free Writing Workshops in Birmingham

I’ve just booked myself a place on a series of free writing workshops based at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham. The workshops are to be run by Andrew Killeen a local author who writes historical fiction. Andrew has just had his second book published and you can find more information about that and him here.

I have it on good authority, from Karen, Andrew’s wife, that there are still a number of places left. This is an ideal opportunity to hone your writing skills with the help of a published author, to read your work, or have your work read, at the Birmingham Book Festival and to possibly have you work published in  a book linked to the project. I for one think those are three excellent reasons for signing up, oh, and its free! so there’s four.

The Barber Institute situated in the grounds of Birmingham University.

I attended a writing course at the Barber a few years ago when Jack Kerouac’s original manuscript for ‘On the Road’ was on display. It’s a wonderful venue, Birmingham’s finest Art Deco building that the Observer described as “one of the finest small art galleries in Europe.” I’m not going to argue with that. Here’s the info I received with my booking confirmation.

Calling All Writers!

Andrew Killeen. Writer in residence at the Barber Institute.


Would you like your story to be read at the Birmingham Book Festival? Or even published?

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts invites aspiring writers to join a series of free writing workshops exploring the theme of ‘The City in Art’. These 3 workshops will be led by novelist Andrew Killeen; this year’s Barber writer-in-residence.

Participants will write and develop stories inspired by the fascinating exhibition Cityscapes: Panoramic Views on European Coins and Medals as well as other city-themed works in the collection. A selection of stories will then be read out at a live event during the Birmingham Book Festival, on Thursday 11 October, at the Barber, and may be published in a book produced as part of the project.

Workshop dates (all workshops 1pm to 4pm):

Sunday 12 August Exploring exhibitions/collections and developing ideas

Sunday 2 September Sharing and discussing drafts

Sunday 16 September Reading and celebrating finished stories

Participants must commit to attending all three workshops.

For further information and to reserve your place, please contact the Learning and Access Team on: Tel. 0121 414 2261 / 7335 or Email education@barber.org.uk

Review: Being Dead

Being Dead
Being Dead by Jim Crace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Celice and Joseph are battered to death with a lump of granite in the dunes of Baritone Bay and that’s pretty much where they stay for the duration of the book. I struggled with this at first because it is just, as it says on the cover, about being dead. But as Crace slowly steps back from their brutal exit he shows us snatches of their relationship, that started thirty years ago back at Baritone Bay, I started to be dragged in. As the beach and its vast array of insects and wildlife start to slowly investigate the dead bodies we learn more and more about Celice and Joseph and I found myself unable to put it down. If you are expecting to read a crime procedural then don’t bother, but if you want to lose yourself totally in the tragic love of Celice and Joseph then read on. Crace’s impeccable use of language and faultless description will have this book stay with you long after you’ve put it down.

View all my reviews

City Voices (part 3)

This coming Tuesday, April 10th, I shall be reading at City Voices in Wolverhampton. This will be my third reading at City Voices and it will be the first time that I’ve read prose, in the past I’ve read poetry. I suppose I should point out that I will be reading my own work, I thought that was obvious but somebody recently asked me who’s work I read out, so there you go.

City Bar, Wolverhampton.

City Voices is run by Simon Fletcher and performances are through invitation only, there is no ‘open mic’ slot, so it’s an honour to be invited back again.

The venue is the City Bar on King Street, which is a very relaxed and understated place, and the audiences have always been friendly and enthusiastic. They are a discerning bunch and wont applaud any old crap, so fingers crossed for next Tuesday.

I have written a number of fine short stories recently as part of the Tindal Street Academy Masterclass. ( I attended the Masterclass from January to March and I promise I’ll write something about it soon. )

 

If you enjoy tales of loss and longing, despair and redemption, destructive youth and the naivety of old age then you really should get down there on the 10th of April.

 

City Bar, tucked away near Wolverhampton train and bus stations and very close to ample car parking.

 

If you’re in Wolverhampton, or striking distance, then come down to the City Bar for fine words and excellent company. See you there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Bar location.

The City Bar,
2-3 King Street,
Wolverhampton
WV1 1ST

The Secret Garden, Birmingham Rep.

The Secret Garden

Sorry to spoil it for everyone but the secret is, it’s shit. How anyone commissioned such a dire, damp cacophony of dross is beyond me, frankly I’m flummoxed as to how some of the cast made it in to drama school let alone out of it, especially James Gillan, who would’ve made even the most experienced ‘ham’ explode with shame. By the end of it I’d have quite happily of thrown myself into the orchestra pit just to escape yet another howling match in search of a tune.

Whenever the narrative started to sag they would leap into song with no regard for melody or lyric. I couldn’t work out if Tim Sutton ( the composer ) was desperately trying to make the dyslexic verse flow or if Garry Lyons (Co-lyricist with Tim ) had induced a tonal seizure in the composer having washed his words through Japanese translating software. It was awful.

The set was cleverly constructed and made full use of the revolving stage, yet managed to convey all the charm of Slade Prison’s exercise yard, even when we were in the ‘secret garden.’The only redeeming feature was that we hadn’t paid full price for the tickets, had we done so I would not have been responsible for the horrific violence that would have ensued. Saying that out kids enjoyed it, even though they were fighting to stay awake.

However the final word has to go to the gentleman sat in front of us who shot to his feet as the brief applause was slowly dying and announced “That was marvellous, I really enjoyed it.” I’d have just have thought he was insane, tone deaf or both if I hadn’t caught a glimpse of the horror stretched across his face as he desperately hurried his bemused children into their coats. He was terrified they’d realise how dire it was, luckily my kids were already asleep.

http://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/event/the-secret-garden