Monday, 7 April 2014

Remember Me to the Bees book launch

Last Monday night I went to my friend Judy Darley’s book launch. (Judy blogs at Skylightrain.) Her first collection of short stories, Remember Me to the Bees, is now out, published by Tangent Books, so she threw a launch party. It was typically Judy – simultaneously businesslike and creative, with readings and music and the opportunity to purchase books. (If that sounds harsh, I don't mean it to: I really admire how hard she works to make her writing, which she is passionate about, a success, and it makes me realise just how dedicated a person has to be in order to be a writer. I couldn't do it!) The venue was The Birdcage on Clare Street in Bristol, which is a café, an events space and a vintage clothing store all in one.



I’ve got a few friends who write, and the work of most falls within the crime, fantasy or science fiction genres; I think Judy is the only person writing ‘straight’ fiction. We always have really interesting chats about the process of writing, so of course I bought a copy of the book and am greatly looking forward to reading it. There seemed a bittersweet quality to the exerpts she read, with relationships breaking apart or already broken, but quietly, without melodrama.

The Birdcage’s vintage stock wasn’t my preferred era – there was a lot of 70s and 80s. That said, they did have a couple of really splendid 70s statement pieces, and even though I'd never wear them, I certainly admired them. The stock is used to decorate the venue too, so there are statement outfits on mannequins around the place. There was, however, an excellent stuffed macaw wearing a pearl necklace, and they sold really nice food and drink. The ladies is papered with old magazine pages, including some of Bowie and Jagger in their prime. Mr Robot says the gents is similar, but with old Playboy pinups. I don’t really approve of magazine vandalism but, well, Bowie*…

Photos by PP Gettins
 *You can get really good scanners nowadays. Why not scan the old mags and use the scans for wallpaper? Then you only need an A4 printer, and you get the look of using real pages but can keep your magazines.

6 comments :

  1. Many congrats to your friend, how thrilling to have her stories published. I'm an amateur writer myself and have won a few prizes in contests, but no book is being written at the moment - plans for the future perhaps!
    Sounds like the shop wouldn't have anything old enough to appeal to me either, but probably worth a browse none the less.
    i love your idea of scanning old magazines, that's a brilliant compromise between preservation and actually putting things to use.
    P x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's important to remember that publishers are businesses, and so they look at things from a commercial point of view - what's being published is going to sell, there's probably loads of good stuff around that is not commercial enough for a mainstream publisher. That's what makes the rise of the e-book so exciting. Another of my friends self-publishes, and is doing pretty well with it. But good luck with your quest to be published!

      Delete
  2. Well done for your friend, that's fab! I have tried to write 'straight' fiction, but every time I do something fantastical or criminal always seems to worm its way in!

    The notion of being dedicated to be a writer is kinda ironic, for me at least, given how generally rubbish and easily distracted I am most of the time. I think it's about momentum sometimes, and repetition, being able to write every day where possible, even if it's just a snippet. Lawrence Block wrote a book on writing that I first read, ooh decades ago, and I still own a copy, and one thing he said was that if all you did was write 400 words a day you'd potentially have a novel in about six months. Of course there's still a lot of work to do proof reading, editing, working on the different drafts etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's interesting seeing what my pal Tim (Weaver, a crime writer) has to do - there's the writing, then the editing, then the submitting, then the revisions requested by agent/publisher, then checking the final proofs... there's a whole lot of work to do once a book is 'finished' - and all the time he's working on the next one!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like a fun event in an interesting space. Well done to your friend. The macaw sounds fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every parrot should have a pearl necklace. It should be the law!

      Delete