It’s been rather quiet here recently, but that’s because I’ve been busy!
Since I last posted, there have been lots of changes: I’ve just moved down London, and this week started an exciting new job…
I’m still getting used to being here in London, especially during the current tropical-style heatwave, but I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the arts scene, and of course, I’ll be writing about my discoveries here.
However, I won’t be leaving Manchester behind me altogether. I’m still studying at Manchester University, and I’m expecting to spend lots of time up in the rainy city, especially given all the exciting things coming up in the next few months (and after all, I’ll need my regular chips and gravy fix): in fact I’ll be back there this very weekend to check out Jeremy Deller’s Procession as well as the launch of Trade City.
You may also have noticed that the blog has a new look, which I thought would be a good way to celebrate my new location! The sharp-eyed amongst you may also have noticed it’s not quite finished yet, but I’m getting there… so watch this space!
In the meantime: any London experts out there with suggestions of where to go and what to see? Exciting art and cultural happenings you know of? Survival tips for the big city? I’d love to hear them all…
I have not upheld my pledge to write here more in May. It’s already the 23rd (how did that happen, exactly?) and I have but two measly posts.
I’ve been wondering why it is that I don’t seem to be writing this blog quite as much as I once was. Perhaps it’s partly because, in the last couple of months, I’ve got back into writing a diary much more regularly. I have long been an avid writer of diaries: I started writing when I was twelve, and have continued ever since. But I do have ‘on’ and ‘off’ phases with it – and at the moment I’m definitely in an ‘on’ phase. I’ve got back into the habit of writing every day, and perhaps that has absorbed some of my need to write here.
But that in itself is interesting. I have always felt that a private, paper diary and a blog, however personal, were inherently different, separate spaces – one very much for yourself alone, and the other, whether you acknowledge it or not, by its very nature designed for an audience, for a very public readership. But maybe they aren’t really so very different: perhaps secretly our ‘public’ blogs are for ourselves before they are for anyone else, after all…
I’d be interested to know what others think. Do you keep a diary, or write a blog, or both? Which do you prefer and why? What do you think the real differences are between them as formats – and what is it that motivates you to keep going?
Meanwhile here’s a few other things:
Emily started a very interesting discussion about blogging and anonymity, writing and autobiography on her blog which Jenn and Max joined in here and here and here.
Ben unmasked himself as the author behind not only the Although I am not as delicious as I once was… blog by the mysterious ‘Rosetta Hampshire,’ but of a whole Patchwork Labyrinth of slowly-unravelling blog-based metafiction! I am looking forward to reading more…
Booooooom! and Design for Mankind’s Free Encouragement project (which I blogged about back here) has now launched its much-anticipated second stage. Take a look at their beautiful Free Encouragement postcards here.
I have another book review at Bookmunch – this time for Anne Michael’s second novel, The Winter Vault. You can read it here.
Manchester Writing is a new and most useful blog bringing together news and reviews of writing and readings around Manchester. Check it out here.
Main things I am doing at the moment: eating, sleeping, reading obscure 1920s prose poems for my dissertation, playing the piano (item number seven on this list), rock pool dabbling, baking cakes, watching the kittiwakes, contemplating whether or not to buy myself a bicycle with a basket, admiring bluebells and paddling in the sea.
[Pictures are via We Heart It here and here]
May is here, and skies are blue. I’ve been busy working on my MA dissertation, which focuses on the early poetry of William Carlos Williams (hence the title of this post) as well as the writing of the poet and visual artist Baroness Elsa Freytag-Loringhoven. Doing all this work for my dissertation perhaps also explains why I’ve not written much here recently – a paltry 4 posts in April! I hereby resolve I will do much better in May.
What else? I’ve been enjoying sunshine and sea views. Marvelling at the wonders of Scottish cuisine (blue cakes? white pudding? unidentified deep-fried objects?). And writing a review for Bookmunch for Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel White is for Witching which you can read here.
More to follow soon…
It has been a very busy week or two. It’s been one of those times when I suspect I might be a bit mad even attempting to have a full-time job at the same time as studying for an MA. On the other hand, though, it’s also been a really varied and interesting couple of weeks, so I can’t really complain too much.
Anyway, I will shortly be heading down to That London for a few days, but first, here are a few things I wanted to post – a quick round-up of news:
Apartment is closing its doors… The unique exhibition space in a council tower block flat, co-curated by Hilary Jack and Paul Harfleet will close its programme with a show by Giorgio Sadotti entitled ‘PAUL, PAUL IS THE ART’. The show runs until 2nd April and viewing is by appointment – check it out while you have the chance!
Throughout March, look out for the project If you read this, I’ll give it to you by artist Katya Sander throughout the public spaces of Manchester and Salford. Thousands of pin-badges bearing the statement “If you read this, I’ll give it to you (but then you must wear it too)” are moving through the cities, travelling from person to person. Badges will be available at sites within the city, and can be taken from anyone you see wearing them. The project is part of Whose Cosmopolitanism? a series of public events to launch the Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures (RICC) at the University of Manchester which has also included events with visiting speakers such as David Harvey and Jacqueline Rose.
The Other Xeno-epistemic is an interesting event coming up at A Foundation on Friday 20 March. The event is part of TAXED, A Foundation’s series of events designed by locally-based artists which explore the power of imitation, and “art’s capacity to import other people’s ideas, to shamelessly replicate successful existing models, to beggar belief with its flagrant piracy!” This event has been literally “taxed” from a workshop by Sarat Maharaj at Test Site, Rooseum, Malmö in 2002, and involves a “sideways” reading of a chapter from Deleuze & Guttari’s A Thousand Plateaus. Participants are each assigned a footnote to research in advance, and will come together to discuss their findings and ideas, resulting in what Maharaj describes as “the kind of crazy-paving reading that makes [artists] ‘dodgy’ from the ‘doctoral’ point of view”. You can read more here, including details of how you can participate and view the results!
Nominations for this year’s Best of Manchester Awards are now open. There are categories for art, music and fashion (though sadly not for writing) so get nominating all your talented friends and neighbours!
And coming soon… Artyarn will be artists in residence at Contact throughout April and May as part of the AIRprogramme. As well as workshops and yarn bombing, they plan to produce a new piece of work, the Knitting Orchestra – an experimental sound piece produced directly from the act of knitting.
Take a look at the new Preston Writing Network
which aims to “put Preston’s diverse and vibrant literary culture on the map,” promoting and developing new writing in Preston through on-line activity and a programme of workshops, live literature and more. The network is the writing strand of They Eat Culture, a new arts development company run from the Continental
Arts Space in Broadgate, and there’s more information about how to get involved or submit work to the blog here
Please find ZigZag!
is a storytelling project launched by Litfest
and writer David Gaffney
. If you should happen to be in Lancaster, look out for a series of mysterious lost cat posters appearing around the city centre. These stories form the first part of a three-part story of unrequited love set in and around the Storey Institute.
You can read more online by checking out both characters blogs – Fern
– though really, half the fun of this story is how it unravels in real time in the public spaces of Lancaster in a distinctly non-digital format.
Do check out Bewilderbliss, a new literary magazine dedicated to “new words from new writers” which showcases the poetry and prose of Manchester University and MMU postgraduate creative writing students. You can buy the brand new first issue (the theme is ‘The Guilty’) from the Cornerhouse foyer bookshop where I hear you can also get hold of Belle Vue, another new zine I’m hearing good things about from reliable sources (see here and here). I’m loving all this DIY publishing action going on at the moment!
Kate from The Manchizzle is organising a get-together for Manchester Bloggersat Centro on Tuesday (10 March). I plan to be there, and will be wearing my name-tag with pride!
On a similar blog-related note… I am astonished by the wealth of great new Manchester blogs I keep coming across at the moment – it feels like I discover one practically every day. If you want a good read, may I point you in the direction of Equine Obesity, Mithering Times and Blunt Fringe just for starters? And whatever you do, don’t miss Emily Powell’s My Shitty Twenties which is absolutely brilliant.
…I was reading somewhere recently that you should never write a blog post longer than a paragraph or two because people get bored and don’t bother reading it. That’s a rule I absolutely fail to observe on this blog, and I have certainly broken it very conclusively today. If you’re still with me, well done you. And you’ll probably be relieved to hear that I’ve now finished.