This is what a writer’s room looks like… Post-it notes papering the walls, a map, files, open reference books, photos…
I imagine there are teettering towering piles of books just out of the picture too.
This is the room in which Will Self wrestles with and writes his stories.
He says he tries to break free from traditional constraints.
The man himself – Will Self – wondering has he written enough to justify pausing for a cup of tea.
My ideal writer’s room is full of light, with lots of desk space and a view over fields.
The real one was cramped with books written by other people, shaded and prone to interruption.
These days the kitchen is the place. I perch Continue reading
Robert Hughes died recently. I liked reading his work.
This is what he said about democracy and art – from an editorial in the Guardian newspaper:
The late Robert Hughes wrote his own epitaph in his 1993 polemic Culture of Complaint, where he inveighed against the banal politicisation of art and championed instead the importance of quality.
“Some things do strike us as better than others – more articulate, more radiant with consciousness,” Hughes insisted. “We may have difficulty saying why, but the experience remains.”
Democracy’s task, in the field of art, he believed, was to make the world safe for elitism, not to outlaw it. He believed passionately – in Hughes’s case the adverb is redundant – in an elitism that was not based on class, wealth or race, but on skill, imagination, high ability and intense vision Continue reading
These two faces of London are both trying their best to make the city and the people therein more grounded, more aware and more connected with each other – for which I salute both Christopher West and Emeka Egbuonu.
1. Christopher West brings London’ s history back to life in the persona of Charles Dickens – or perhaps it’s the great man’s ghost. I’ve seen this ghost in action and he’s a lively recreation. And topical given that it would have been Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday today (7th February). The Charles Dickens London blog is here. You can invite him to give a talk – in character and Dickensian outfit – at your gathering. For a sample – check out his appearance in this Voice of America news report by correspondent Dominic Laurie.
My favourite Dickens character? The villain Pecksniff from Martin Chuzzlewit. From Pecksniff we derive Pecksniffian – sanctimonious, hypocritical. (Do you have a favourite – good-hearted or malign?)
And what’s your Dickensian name? To find out take a first name from a great grandparent and add on the name or street name of your primary school (but leave out the “Saint” part to allow variety). Which makes me something along the lines of Charlie Derryvolgie – which has a good ring to it, I think.
2. Emeka Egbuonu arrived in east London from Nigeria aged seven, and survived the blows and temptations of teenage violence, to become an anti-gang intervention worker. He runs a scheme called Consequences – Breaking the Negative Cycle which aims to awaken young people to the alternative possibilities their lives can offer once they take responsibility for their actions. Continue reading
Just imagine, you finally get to meet your idol, only for it all to go terribly badly wrong?
Perhaps they disappoint you and disillusion sets in? Perhaps you throw up in their cumberbund? Or perhaps – like me – you manage to make an awful first impression.
I’ve received some great entries for this blog’s The Day I Met… competition. Some funny. Some poignant. All you need to do is email me your story – doesn’t have to be long – and I’ll publish it on this blog – a new one each Wednesday as long as it lasts. The competition details are here. But really, it’s as simple as emailing me at paulwaters99 @ hotmail.com (just remove the spaces in that email address). If it’s a funny story – all the better. And you’ll get a prize – the book of your choice from the list I’ll send you. But never mind that – just think of the prestige. Aaah.
Anyway – I need more entries – so please email.
And – just like junior army officers leading the charge on World War One trenches – I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself. So I’ll kick off with…
The Day I Met… Frederick Forsyth.
This was not how I had imagined things would go. Since internationally famous best-selling writer Frederick Forsyth popped up on the local scene, I’ve been secretly nurturing the hope that we’d have a chance meeting – over a pint in the local perhaps, followed by a quiet chat and erudite conversation about commonly held interests – the BBC, Africa, writing and local goings on.
Millinery maestro (huh!) Frederick Forsyth
Who knows where it might lead? Not to the disastrous encounter of the other day Continue reading