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Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Back at my desk after three days at the fourth Laugharne Festival. Friday I was first writer on the bill, reading from Sixteen Shades of Crazy
, despite Blackwell's, the festival bookshop, having failed to acquire any copies, (not as insulting as you'd imagine since they failed to order Roddy Doyle's new one too, allegedly because they didn't think Doyle was 'all that important.') Turned out I was sharing the venue with a funeral party, a situation that turned surreal when Dan Rhodes arrived to read from the brilliant Little Hands Clapping
, (set in a suicide museum). Also there's a rumour that an event at the Boathouse has been cut short for an impromptu ash-scattering ceremony. Death quickly becomes one of the themes of the festival. D and I order sea bass and a bottle of house white in the Green Room, then head to the Millennium Hall to watch Nick Kent interviewed by Lee Brackstone.
Saturday morning I mistakenly ask the barman at the Portreeve for a cold beer instead of a hot coffee, and then sit down to listen to the lovely Carys Eleri reading from Aeronwy Thomas' memoir, (published two weeks after her death), and Charlie Connelly reading a chapter from his latest travelogue. Niall Griffiths reads from his novel-in-progress, and Catrin Dafydd from the very funny Random Deaths and Custard
. No matter how many hair of the dog's I take, (I've moved onto gin by 3pm), I can't shake the numbness of the hangover and by 8pm I'm at The Fountain Inn watching Keith Allen's 'Laugharne's Got Talent.' Apparently Keith had a fight with the sound man earlier. A friend from the Rhondda is up doing a song but my tolerance for drink, and for drunks, is quickly waning. Somebody shouts very loudly across the crowded room something that sounds like 'RACHEL TREZISE! EAT A PACKET OF SALT & VINEGAR CRISPS AND GO TO BED!' at me, which I don't quite understand, but which I take as my cue to leave. We go back to the farmhouse to share a quiet bottle of red and listen to the barn owls in the derelict shed opposite.
Sunday seems to come all too quickly and determined to see Helen Griffin's one-woman play Caitlin
, having missed it last year, we make our way back to the Millennium Hall. The whole performance can be encapsulated with this line: 'The world forgives great artists, but not the fucking bad mother's, oh no,' which somehow makes me cry. Afterwards, we head straight for Dylan and Caitlin's grave in the cemetery across the road, wondering why we've never done so before. Someone has left a half bottle of Jameson's on the ground for them. Back to the hall then to see Nicky Wire. Loved the 'Be pure, be vigilant, behave', quote he stole from Torquemada. Not so keen on his interviewer, Phil Wilding, who seemed to think that constantly repeating the word 'Fuck,' for no obvious reason made him appear clever. And so we rounded the remainder of the day off with more drinks in the sun. Already I'm missing Yoda and Bagpuss, the energetic cats from the farmhouse, as well as the wonderful company of the other guests, and feeling bad for Faith, Hope and Charity, the pigs, who are to be slaughtered today.
And so, despite much opposition, it is true that there is always a laugh to be found in Laugharne. But now for the detox.
Posted at 09:22 |
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Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Late last month it was announced that Dial M for Merthyr
was the inaugural winner of The Max Boyce Prize. Fflur Dafydd won the Welsh language category with Y Llyfrgell
. Residents from Glynneath chose the winners by voting for their favourite English and Welsh language book from the past decade. We were presented with our prizes at Glynneath Library. It was great fun to read the first page from Dial M for Merthyr
, with Max Boyce sitting in the front row. If you've read it you'll know that Max is mentioned, right before the bit about my standing up in nursery class to sing 'Friggin' in the Riggin' to my classmates. (Photograph courtesy of John Fry.)
I've been busy the past few months working on my current novel but I'm being forced out of hibernation now to promote Sixteen Shades of Crazy
which is released on April 29th. I managed to get hold of a hard copy on a recent visit to my publisher's in Hammersmith, and I have to say, I LOVE it. Readings start at the Laugharne Festival on Friday April 9th. (3.30pm at the Portreeve with Tiffany Murray for me). Hopefully there'll be a few advance copies of the book available at the reading, although at this stage I can't confirm it. There are many more readings to come, including the official launch of the book at Hay. Hay haven't released their complete programme yet so keep checking the calendar. Looking forward to seeing you in the Wild West then. And if I don't see you, I'll definitely be seeing Nick Kent, Dan Rhodes, Martin Carthy and 'Laugharne's Got Talent' with Keith Allen! Gonna miss Willy Vlautin this year but I'm reading his latest novel Lean on Pete
at the moment, and that's a pretty good consolation.
Posted at 17:13 |
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