I’ve finally caught up with my own writing after the five day trip we had to the Isle of Man. That was a lot of fun - if a bit hectic. I spent the time there wearing my other ‘hat’ - that belonging to the Babe Magnet’s PA as he set about launching his new book of Yorkshire based short stories - Uncle Albert - and the ‘one man show’ that goes with it.
We started off at the Henry Bloom Library in Douglas where there was a warm and enthusiastic crowd in spite of the rather chilly and damp evening. As well as Uncle Albert stories there was selection of ‘good bad poetry’ as requested by the publisher of Uncle Albert, Linda Mann. The lovelorn black ‘widower’ spider’s lament reduced Linda to tears – of laughter.
The next day was spent doing radio interviews - after we had found the Manx Radio Broadcasting House high on Douglas Head above the town. It was still cool and blustery so this exposed headland was rather wild – I dread to think what it would be like getting up there in the depths of winter! During this trip was the only time we actually saw any cat – in spite of the reputation the island has for breeding the famed Manx(tailless) cat. This one had a fine fluffy tail so we missed out on the Manx breed.
On Saturday morning there was coffee and croissants at the Port Erin Arts Centre where Uncle Albert once again regaled his audience with tales of Yorkshire, carol-singing, betting . . . and the ‘good bad poetry ‘ again – with the Spider poem back
|'Uncle Albert' is introduced bt John Bethell,|
Director of the Port Erin Arts Centre
This performance was in the lovely Harry’s Bar in the Arts Centre as part of the Manannan Festival. The event had a special – and unexpected – extra zest to it with the discovery that two members of the audience had actually grown up in the village of Churwell where so many of the stories are set. So many of the references had a particular emphasis for them.
Port Erin was where the Babe Magnet and I - together with the Offspring when young – stayed back in 1987 so this was a nostalgic trip for us as well as a very successful launch for the book.
Finally, reluctantly, we had to leave the island – just as the weather was warming and the sun coming out - and all the new friends we made there and come back home. But we now know that Uncle Albert and his stories (and very possibly the bad poems too) will be appearing at some festivals here
|'Uncle Albert' spots some fellow 'Yorkies' |
from Churwell in the audience.
So far, the list of venues is : Morley Lit Festival (Morley in its fictional form being another of the places Albert’s stories are set ) on October 29th and Ilkley Festival Fringe on October 3rd. There’s also the possibility of Wakefield Festival - and the Babe Magnet is running two courses on the ‘Writing Local’ theme/Writing about Your Uncle Joe – at AlstonHall in September and at Swanwick with Relax And Write in October. ‘Uncle Albert’ won’t actually be there in person but there might be some bad poetry of some sort!
So now I’m taking off the PA’s hat and settling down to my own work - the ‘To Do’ list is l-o-n-g and needs tackling. There’s my own Complete Romance Writing Course for Writer’s Holidayat Fishguard in July and I’ll be joining Uncle Albert at Swanwick to run another of the popular Focus on Writing Romantic Fiction Writing Retreats.(If you’re interested you’ll need to make inquiries/book soon as the last I heard this was almost full already.)
Incidentally, if you are a writer yourself – specially if you write short stories - the Priory Press are looking for new stories to publish:
We are aiming to publish a new collection of short stories on the lines of our previous Manx collections, in particular 'A Tail for All Seasons volume 4'. The stories we are looking for should have their own 'voice' and evoke the spirit of a Yorkshire past or present. They should have a beginning, middle and end, be well written, easily readable and just plain memorable!
Further details are on the Priory Press web site. (Where you can also get your own copy of Uncle Albert.)
And that’s enough of the PA stuff – back to my own latest novel . . . . planning those courses . . .