Back to school

Had the opportunity in the last week or so to go into Downs School in Brighton to talk to read some of my children’s book Skelton Yawngrave in the Second Kind of Darkness to them, and show them paintings of the characters and so on.

As this was my first time in a school with my story, it was initially a slightly terrifying experience, but soon turned into some of the most useful time I have spent in ages. I talked to four separate classes about the story. I found the children to happy to ask questions, and were very engaged with what I was doing. I also got some written feedback from the children too.

I have another school lined up, who are going to have the year read the book in class. My working theory at present is that I don’t want to waste my time sending my story off speculatively in a risk averse publishing industry. I already have written testimony from children that they love the story and would buy it. But this is not enough I need to prove the concept further, and will take it online first. One thing is now certain. I’m not going to take no for an answer…

Being Brian Eno

A few years ago I read a book by Brian Eno called A Year with Swollen Appendices. This made a big impact on me. Not only do I think he is an interesting man, who makes amazing music, and has a thoughtful approach to culture. He also has fascinating friends, and I envy his ability to zoom about the world being involved in a variety of projects, in different media.

For me this book was a tremendously aspirational vision. And I wanted my life to be a tiny bit more Brian Enoish.

Lately I have been going around lately saying I have more projects than Brooklyn, few people laugh at this excellent joke. But that’s not the important thing. I think I’ve edged a fraction towards Brian Eno territory, and it makes me feel very happy. Here’s a snapshot of some of my current activities:

  • Working with London agencies. In the last six weeks I have worked with Gray Healthcare and RAPP London, and WalkdontWalk.
  • Pitching my children’s novel Skelton Yawngrave in the Second Kind of Darkness. Cart before the horseishly, this could morph into something that appears on Internet radio. A pilot has been made and pitched, and I await the outcome with interest. The children who have read it love it (as do many of the adults).
  • Creating an anthology of literature for Guernsey. I’m kicking this off as a website first, but has been hampered by absurd computer problems. Curse you Vista!
  • Working on a two man poetry collection with the excellent Guernsey poet Richard Fleming.
  • Embarking on a music and words project with composer Matthew Pollard. This very much a journey into the unknown for me, and so is very exciting. We will stage this as part of the Brighton Fringe in an event entitled This concert will fall in love with you.

Of course is there a long way to go. But the variety enlivens the creative work I undertake commercially. When nothing feels stale, and every day is brings something different to think about, who could ask for more?