I’ve been caught out and given a good telling off by Ramana in India of the Loose Bloggers Consortium for not talking properly about epitaphs. Which was a bit silly of me given that I’ve written a book called The Obituarist.
I also used to make an obituary programme for radio called Brief Lives. It wasn’t musty and dusty. Dead people need not be boring. I had happy days whizzing around London trying to find the late Idi Amin’s widow or a couple who had conceived their child to the music of the late Barry White. It was enormous fun.
The problem with writing my own epitaph is that, like Robert Emmet, I’m not yet ready to dictate it. I hope that this will get me off the hook and appease Ramana instead –
It’s a link to a radio programme called Art Saves Lives that I took part in at the weekend. (I’ve mentioned Art Saves Live before – visual art and unexpected drama off stage.) This show was broadcast on London art radio station Resonance FM 104.4 – but you can also find it here. I recommend listening to it all – though I pop up near the end at 48’30-ish in.
But there are loads of other interesting people first – including playwright Mark Ravenhill, post-pop artist Duggie Fields, Gemma Peppe from the Hepatitis C Trust, singer songwriter Aletia Upstairs (video below) from Cape Town and Nepalese poet Yuyutsu Sharma (who also translates Donegal Gaelic poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh into Nepali).
The presenters were the irrepressible impressario and playwright Dean Stalham, and poet and film producer Kirsty Allison who “combines the cerebral with the carnival” according to the Sunday Times.
You can even see photos of it all by Stephanie Tesse/Correll here.
Am I forgiven Ramana?
Man shovelling. Shhh!
Aah… the weekend. Time to relax. Recharge. Rejuvenate.
Re… reach for a shovel. (Wasn’t that an S Club 7 song?)
Lift the sewer access hatch.
And start digging.
Through packed “sludge”.
There’s nothing like blocked drains to remind you of one of the essentials of civilisation – good plumbing Continue reading
In a shock development, The Obituarist has now been published as an ebook.
You can download it from Smashwords here or from Amazon here and the cover looks like this…
I fiddled around with various design packages until the incomparable Clem said: “Here, wait a minute. What if I just do this, and then this and then… Ta Dah!” See him? See computers? And guitars. And keyboards. Smashing.
At the moment The Obituarist can be downloaded (from here) for various devices, including kindles, or just your normal computer.
But it’s not on Amazon yet, though I’m working on it. It’s on Amazon here.
What I really want to do is just frolic around smiling away to myself and getting the next one ready.
But your feedback would be welcome Continue reading
Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff) thanking junior CIA agent Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) after he rescues her at school
As Natalie Connors (played by Hilary Duff) says to junior CIA Agent Cody Banks (played by Frankie Muniz): “You make a bad first impression, and a bad second impression too. But your third and fourth impressions are a lot better.”
So it was tonight at the Wandsworth regional finals of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge. The scheme styles itself as The World’s Biggest Youth Speaking Event. And who am I to disagree. Especially as I was one of the judges for the event at the Graveney School in Tooting.
For such a big event – visiting schools, families, supporters, local MP Sadiq Khan, contestants – it all went very smoothly and to schedule (thanks to the redoubtable organiser Kymberlie Andrew).
There were sixteen young speakers giving, on the whole, excellent impassioned performances. And then there was Joseph.
He looked a bit of a mess. Continue reading
Its been tumultuous in Blackwatertown Towers lately. Normal service will soon be resumed. Once we establish just what the new normality will look like. But in the meantime, I’ll share with you some of what I’ve learned lately.
Yes, it looks like a roof slate because that's what it is. (You get a shiny medal for Sport Relief.) The glamorous person holding the slate/trophy is presenter Rachael Hodges, flanked by "the prestigious" Richard Bacon, and me. I didn't think the beer bottle would be in the picture. Missing from the line-up are top guru Louise Birt, indefatigable Garth Brameld, podcaster Harri Ritchie and inspirational listeners Jon Hillier and the Digger. The award was for the Special Half Hour - SHH.
- I haven’t completely lost it, thank God. I’ve just left the BBC after many years, but can proudly brandish two new awards. The first one is the highly prestigious Most Innovative Programme Award from the admittedly slightly obscure annual Audio and Music Awards. I shared it for a radio show I produced up until Christmas. The award-winning bit was the Special Half Hour – SHH – of which it was an honour and a privilege to be part. (Rule No. 1 You don’t talk about the Special Half Hour. But it’s been axed, so I dare to speak of it.) The second is the also prestigious and much better known Sport Relief Mile. My running partner and I distinguished ourselves by completing the three mile (Count ’em! 3!) circuit before any of the six milers crossed the finish line. (Question: For which award did I contribute more to the sum of goodness in the world?)
- Whenever someone claims to be the first to ever do something, they’re wrong. Continue reading