Monday, 10 June 2013

Matters arising...

There are a few of these so I'm going to be brief.

First of all I've a new short story out in Philip Purser-Hallard's collection More Tales of the City.
Now, you may know a book with that title already, this is not that. Philip in an act of contrarian heroism has named both the short story collections in his constructed world, The City of the Saved, after Armistead Maupin books.
The world Philip has constructed is quite a thing- it's a heaven within our reality (as much as we can have one) jammed in somewhere near the zero point at the back end of our universe. Everyone who has ever lived is back (or at least believes themselves to be to a degree that makes it rude to argue) and there are quite a few people who've never lived there too.
The setting makes all sorts of unlikely things possible and absolutely refuses to allow a lot of the things that are usually quite likely in stories. Mine is a sort a detective story.  You'll see if you read it.
You can buy the book now in electronic form direct from the publisher, with the print edition following shortly (I expect Amazon will get 'round to fleecing the publisher later) or read more about it on Philip's site.

Secondly, I'm currently working with another writer on something that's a bit of a departure for me. It's comic, there's performance involved (it's been a while) and it's in a genre that seems to be a bit of a cult in the US but hasn't to my knowledge really taken off here in the UK yet and that's all the teasing you get 'til it's finished.

Thirdly, I've started running again (which may be the most overused phrase in this 'blog after "I've written", or "I'm sorry") and from a stupid, wheezing 'stop after 10 minutes' start I've managed to get back to 2 hour long runs remarkably quickly. I've found turning it into a game I play against myself really helps (partly because I get to win) and also found myself entering a really interesting creative space on certain parts of my circuit. I worked out an entire short radio play while zoning out last week crossing over a footbridge. Good old liminal spaces...

Fourthly, talking of playing games, liminal spaces, creativity and bridges makes it impossible not to mention the loss of Iain Banks here, an author whose writing and outlook on life I find it hard not to admire. I met him once, very briefly, while working on a TV show in Edinburgh and it goes without saying I found he was just as smashing as everyone else who encountered him is saying. A deeply sad loss. He had a lot more fun to share.

Fifthly, the organisation that helped put me in a position to work on that TV show, and even gave me a sabbatical to do so and welcomed me back afterwards, is under threat.
The National Media Museum, which was the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television when I worked there, is one of three museums in the North of England run by the Science Museum and under threat of closure due to government funding cuts.
All the museums under threat have their plus points, but the National Media Museum is a place I hold very dear. It has unique collections and incredible staff and has achieved national and international acclaim despite tiny resources for nearly 30 years.
It has battled on despite a series of ever deepening cuts over the last 5 years, losing key personnel and festivals, staff taking pay cuts, and being unable to fund redevelopment and renovation and the reward for this appears to be the possibility of disappearing completely. I really don't think that's on.
If you feel similarly, you can support all the Northern museums here and the National Media Museum in particular here. I hope you do.