Date Archives September 2018

Look at meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I am now part of an Author’s Marketing Secret Supporting Society, which has been very kindly set up by Claire Trévien . I hope that my membership will enable me to understand the difference between endless boasting and effective marketing. It seems to me that some people share every minor triumph as if they had just written Kashmir. A neat sandwich is capable of attracting more than a hundred likes and Marco Tardelli-esque celebrations. Talking of which, have a look at him celebrating his goal in the 1982 World Cup final. It’s a wonderful few seconds that will be replayed forever. True immortality, the antithesis of that sandwich on facebook.

Let me know of any other euphoric displays of emotion in the immediate aftermath of success. Preferably there’ll be a YouTube clip involved, but it could be a written account of the pleasure you felt at writing a limerick at 2 in the morning. Or a description of a brilliant goal you scored at your local park or a table tennis shot on holiday.

You go laughing, yeah?

I went to a poetry gig in Birmingham a few days ago and it was great. Casey Bailey was hosting, apparently at short notice, though he made it look effortless, and his own poems were brilliant. More please, Casey! I loved Adrian Earle‘s hertz/hurts explanation for the title of his book, which will be out on Burning Eye Books next year. Mina Mekic was one of the headliners and I’m looking forward to hearing her read again. I felt slightly ashamed to be reading a poem about vegetable puns after she had read one about Srebrenica, but her Bosnian mother was in the audience and laughing, so all is well.

The Ramblers Ball – Evolve – Birmingham


Beer and Loathing

I went out a few nights ago. Did I really say ‘Do you know who I am?’ to someone not keen on my continued presence in their establishment? Sadly, I think I did, and sadly, I think I genuinely wanted to know the answer.

To think that people do this – reaching oblivion – most/all weekends? And I’d been in a poor mood anyway, worrying about our collective doom: the usual, although steady reminders that this summer has been the hottest on record have only made me more worried. I look outside and everyone else seems to be enjoying the sun. I mean this literally, but reading that sentence back, it captures what I feel when I’m truly depressed. Everyone else ticking along and me silently screaming at the sky.

So, once again, I started thinking about Michael Haneke, and specifically his film 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance. An old man goes to the bank to withdraw some money. The woman serving him is distracted and impatient. Halfway through the transaction she refers to the customer as ‘dad’. It’s a devastatingly simple way of showing the alienation of modern society that Haneke explores. At the start of the film, a boy climbs into what appears to be a small dark room. A sheet at the back of ‘the room’ is moved, revealing lines of traffic at night. Then the camera tracks the journey of the lorry into the city, flanked by the logos of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. This was in 1994. The boy is a refugee. Nothing seems to have changed.