News Monday

Hello everyone. I’ve just installed Google Analytics so I now know that this, News Monday, is read by almost nobody. So I’m free to say whatever I want. Bleugh! Aren’t the ravages of war brilliant? Rod Stewart is my favourite singer-songwriter.

Okay, I’ve acclimatised to my newfound giddy freedom. The blog has been running on its new schedule for three months now, and I’d like to say, in all seriousness, thank you to all of you who read and repost it. I really enjoy writing the various features and I’m glad it’s finding an audience. Hopefully, as time goes on, I’ll get a bit better at writing them too.

I’m going to assemble a (very short) survey thing in the next few days, to garner some actual, specific feedback – finding out what people do and don’t like, things you’d like more of, things you’re less bothered about, etc. I’d be almost pathetically grateful if you’d take the time to fill it in once I post it. It’d be good to hear what people think! I may well monkey around with the schedule after that, to provide more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t.

This week, I have gigs in Little Glenham.

On Saturday, I’m performing at the Folk East festival at Glenham Hall. If you’re there, come and say hello. (not during the set, obviously – that would be disruptive)

I was in Chester at the weekend. I led a pub crawl round various haunted pubs, and wrote a poem for each pub. I also did an installation on Saturday, in Chester amphitheatre, collecting people’s earliest memories. It was a lot of fun! I’ll be sharing some of the poems that came out of it in the upcoming weeks, on Wednesdays, my Poem O’ The Week day.

This Week, I Have Mostly Been Reading

To be honest, I started Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, Death In The Afternoon and Self-Editing For Fiction Writers more or less simultaneously, and this week, I finished all three. Quite a weird combination of books.

‘Enjoyed’ isn’t the right word for my experience of reading Death In The Afternoon. I think Hemingway might have been a bigot and an arsehole. I get the sense he thinks of himself as more edgy than he actually is. The book hasn’t changed my mind on bullfighting, but it has helped me to understand what’s going on a lot more, and, you know, there is a great deal of humanity in the writing. It’s just leavened with cruelty and partiality and smugness and self-justification and proto-hipster dilettantism. It is fun reading Hemingway take the piss out of Faulkner and Eliot, though. And he has some very entertaining stylistic riffs where he gets meta and enters into dialogues with himself. I think it’s probably fine to love the work while carrying the knowledge that the man was a dicksplat. Right?