Yes folks, it's one of those periodic updates where I plug some things I'm involved with. These tend not to be huge crowd-pleasers as blog entries go, but hell, I've got to let people know there are things out there they can buy, and hell, you'd do the same if you had to (you probably already do), and hell, I've got to celebrate this stuff when I can.
Firstly, issue two of "The Alarmist" is out now and features my short story "The Private Museum of Peter Gandalf" (all 5,000 words of it). The magazine/ journal/ whatever it should rightfully be called has been designed fantastically well with an enormous amount of colour, flash and attention to detail - far more than I've seen in most other publications of its ilk. To cap it all off it smells wonderful, a bit like the booklet that came with the "Nuggets II" box set or a brochure from Thomas Cook. The scent of fresh ink on high quality paper always entices me. But if the sights and smells weren't enough, then rest assured that Fran Lock, Richard Purnell, Rob Doyle, Rob McClure Smith, Joshua Seigal and many, many others are also featured, and it's well worth £6 of your money. You can buy it here, but it will also be given broader distribution in art galleries and independent bookstores across the UK in March, with copies also being available in some other global cities too.
I'll also be reading as a guest of Roddy Lumsden at "Broadcast" on 23rd February. I have to read new material about alter egos, material which - I must be honest - I haven't actually written yet. So this is going to be interesting, but even on the offchance that I fail to deliver anything worthwhile (and I promise I'll try my hardest), Raymond Antrobus, Alex Bell, Sophia Blackwell, Catherine Brogan, Wayne Holloway Smith, Holly Hopkins, Digby Howard, Mel Jones, Richard Tyrone Jones, Rowena Knight, Roddy Lumsden, Michelle Madsen, Kathy Pimlott, Paul Stephenson, Judi Sutherland, Rebecca Tamas, Sarah Wedderburn and Alan Wolfson are also on the bill, so you can't really go wrong. The Facebook invite page is here, but if you're too lazy to click on that, it's taking place at the Betsy Trotwood at 7:45pm, and the entrance fee is £5. Go here to read about Broadcast Poetry generally.
There are also plans for me to curate something quite unique and disturbing at a major poetry night on the London circuit in March, but some things are spoilt by revelation, so let's just keep quiet about that for now (and in any case, I don't have the full details yet... mystery seems to be something of a theme for this entry).
You may also have noticed that a recent article in "The Independent" talked about "The Death Of Poetry". I found myself more hacked off by the cliched sentiments behind the headline than the inaccurate article itself, and promptly wrote two spoof thought-pieces for my blog entitled "Poetry Is Alive" and "Poetry Is Dead", both contradicting each other and both delivered under the pretence that they had been commissioned by a newspaper editor. This is roughly what Nathan A Thompson did, writing an article praising slam poetry in The Guardian four months ago, then doing a sudden about-turn in The Independent this weekend. Most people got the joke.
Nathan A Thompson has since apologised for his original article in an interview with Poejazzi, and that's worth a read if only to see his point of view. I bear the man no particular ill will as he is just one in a long line of journalists to deliver the old "poetry death" headline - I don't have enough room in my little black book to keep a track record of the people who come up with these stories - but I do feel that literary and arts editors everywhere desperately need to come up with some different poetry stories besides "Poetry Is Dead" or "Poetry Is The New Rock & Roll/ Comedy". It can't be hard, but if any of them want to just sub me some money and run the bogus hack-pieces I've drafted from now until 2052, it should help me to pay the bills, and I'm sure their casual readers won't notice that anything is awry.
Anyway, that's it! See you soon.