Monday, 10 December 2012

Signs of life

Hmm, well it's been a thin year on the posting front. For various reasons, good, bad and indifferent. What's to say?

It's winter. Cold and most impressive (I'm still not used to it) dark. This is something I do find difficult after years under brighter skies. I mean, it isn't JUST the fact that between 4 pm and 8 am it is actually too dark to see without lights on - though it is certainly that - but even when it's light, it's dark. If you see what I mean. East Anglia is one of the sunnier parts of these Isles, and one of the less rainy locations, too, but most days have been dingy to say the least. On the other hand, you do get some good effects: a red sunrise the other morning and today, the thin sliver of bright gold moon low down in the eastern sky just before dawn.

So, today - not working at the moment - I made chocolate nut bon-bons with beech nuts and brandy, went to the allotment (I just went, I didn't do anything very useful there!), sketched out the story I'm going to tell tomorrow and did several other errands. At one point I was attached to a machine to have my heart monitored, just in case the chest pains and numb left arm I've been having were something nastier that just muscle problems. They aren't. I just seem to have a slightly dodgy neck bone which is making bits of me hurt elsewhere. It still hurts, but it's good to know it's no worse than that.

Tomorrow I take delivery of a pear tree, a cherry, two vines and 8 raspberry canes for the allotment. Yippee yiy yay!

I'm also doing a turn (singing and a story) tomorrow at a Victorian Christmas Evening, wearing a replica costume made for the 2012 Olympics. It is obviously based on the illustrations for Jane Eyre. So, to get an appropriate look for the night, I have for the first time ever bought myself a hair net and some hair pins.

Is there no end to the excitement in my life?

Watch this space...

Monday, 30 April 2012

Proof At Last!

Just a line to say that I finished the final proofs of Ghosts International: Troll and Other Stories today. Phewwee. Hurrah! It's expected to be out 20th July, barring conniptions.

The mountain quivered and brought forth a flea (half-remembered misquote from somewhere), meaning a lot of effort for a small (but perfectly formed) result.

In other news: B and I are working on a show in which I spin a web of tales connected with the sea, and B and I will sing some songs and shanties to explicate and illustrate the same. Tradition with a twist, something of that kind.

Taking a massive flight into imaginative brand development, we've come up with a name for the show which we think expresses something unique and marvellous about it.

Here it is: Stories and Songs of the Sea.

D'you like it?

We did consider Songs and Stories of the Sea, but the focus group decided it could be confusing.

All we've got to do now is come up with a name for ourselves. It's a bit of a short change to say Sarah Walker (with Barrie de Lara), as if he were a mere adjunct. So... maybe de Lara and Walker? With an ampersand: de Lara & Walker? Or de Lara/Walker? 

Now we know why I never went into marketing.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Gawain and the Green Knight

To Cambridge bouncing around in a very snug van (four in the back, no seats, some cushions, creaky bones) to the Cambridge Storytellers last week.

And what did we do there?

We saw the fabulous Sarah Rundle there

performing Gawain and the Green Knight: a medieval tale of fantasy, treachery, wild animals, noble deeds, beautiful ladies, indestructable monsters, a magic axe, complicated family relationships and much much more.

It was very good.

It was, as someone commented in the van on the way back, a performance. Elements of standup in it for example: when Gawain is faced with a decision, it appeared as a powerpoint presentation (bubble/diamond) across the stage.

When I say 'appeared', I mean, of course, 'didn't appear at all'.

Sarah told us about it and acted it out and made us imagine it in glorious technicolour. Well, largely green: there really was some glowing vivid green as a backdrop, but... we were also imagining all the other colours. Especially white (teeth) and red (blood), thanks to a terrifying sung passage about Mr Fox.

And this is the power of the spoken (sung, acted) word.

The pictures are better.