Category Archives: Events

Pure Fiction

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Tomorrow, I will be reading excerpts from Fix Me Up at Pure Fiction. Tickets are £3 and you can pay on the door.

I’m very nervous about the reading but previous ones have gone alright so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one is as successful.

Appearing alongside me is my old buddy, Rod Glenn, who will be reading new work too.

Hope to see you there!

Vic x

Billy Bootleggers – Newcastle’s dive bar opens its doors

Billy Bootleggers, the dive bar we didn’t know we needed, opened its doors on 31st March and if you haven’t sought out this place yet, I encourage you to do so immediately. On Nelson Street, directly beneath No28 bar, Billy Bootleggers is the antithesis to the commercialised chains it sits opposite.

Inspired by US dive bars and Americana, Billy Bootleggers is a unique live music venue. Director Elliot Towsey is hyped about ‘bringing some of London’s basement bar culture’ to the North East. The Boy Wonder and I attended opening night on Friday, 31st March and I have to say I loved it.

It’s intimate (it holds a maximum of 60 people) and the music – provided by the supremely talented King Bees – really added to the atmosphere. The decor is authentic, with graffiti adorning the stairwell and rustic furniture. The bar is well-stocked with bourbon, beer, prosecco and cocktails, not to mention freshly brewed Apple Pie Moonshine.

Oh, and the food? Supplied by Snappy’s: hot dogs, fries and wings – delicious. Again, following the dive bar theme, there’s nothing flash about the food but it’s tasty – what more could you want?! Open 7 days a week, 5pm to 2am, Billy Bootleggers is definitely the place to be.

What I loved about Billy Bootleggers is that there’s zero pretension – you can go there and be yourself. You don’t have to get dressed up to go but you will have an awesome night. Promising to give a space to local musician, Billy Bootleggers will announce forthcoming acts on its Facebook page.

Vic x

Tonight

Guest Post: Rob Walton on Challenging Yourself.

When I put a call out for performers to volunteer to write original ghost stories for ‘The Visitation‘ , I received a message from Rob Walton. Last year, our performance at The Cumberland Arms – ‘Blood from the Quill’ – featured three guests and they went down a storm so I was very keen to have more ‘guest performers’ (i.e. people who may not necessarily be regular attendees of Elementary Writers).


Rob’s taken time out today to talk to us about the challenge of writing – then reading – an original ghost story. Thanks, Rob! 

Vic x

 

So I’ve taken a year out of teaching commitments to do more writing and creative projects. So I see a tweet about the Old Low Light in North Shields, a great local venue I’ve recently visited.  So there’s a hint of some Hallowe’en writing/reading shenanigans.  So here I am, in the same month as the event and with my story almost finished.  So I need to work on some Sentence Openers  (‘SO’ for short).

I wanted to take part in the event for various reasons.  I’d never written a ghost story and had absolutely no idea if I could.  I really liked the venue and it’s very local (I’ve got a chance of running home if I get too scared).  I like being part of evenings with other writers, sharing work and experiences.  I hadn’t actually completed a short story for a long time, finding myself writing flash fictions as ever, and more and more poetry for both adults and children.

How to start?  Well, when I was teaching very small people I’d often bang on about listening and talking coming before reading coming before writing coming before rejection from your best friend’s poetry magazine.  I had copies of ‘Phantoms at the Phil’, Volumes 1,2 and 3 on the shelf, so I pulled out all the stops and took one down.  Then I read it.  Then I realised I could at least have a go, if only the dead bloke in the corner would give me my pen back.

I’d previously had an idea for something with a specific local setting using a specific song, so I tried it and got somewhere.  This was followed by a certain amount of research – some online and some walking the mean streets of Shields.  For the latter, what I actually did was collect my nine-year-old daughter from school in the car (I was trying to raise the spectre of global warming) and drive along, stopping every so often for her to write down details.  Apologies if you were driving behind us, but we’ve all got to suffer for my art.

As I wrote I discovered that my original idea for using a song wasn’t the right fit so it, along with much of the research, wasn’t used – but it was important in getting me to that stage.  The final choice of song made much more sense and helped me make progress, and the whole thing started to come together.

I’ve really enjoyed writing it, and now only need to fill my pen with the right blood group for the last few edits.

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Coming soon…

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Coming soon… 

Noir at the Bar: an event for readers and writers.

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I got an email a couple of weeks ago from a lady who had seen my posts about Noir at the Bar. Although the lady in question wasn’t a writer, she was interested in the event and wanted to know if it would suitable for ‘non-writers’ to attend.

It took me no time at all to respond to this question: it is more than suitable for people who don’t write! Noir at the Bar isn’t just about giving a forum to writers to read their work – it’s about introducing readers to writers they may not have encountered before.

For example, this Wednesday, you might come to listen to Jay Stringer or Russel D. McLean but you’ll hear work from writers you may not have heard of before and I guarantee you will leave with at least one new writer whose work you’ll want to track down.

There is no set order of speakers so we ask members of the audience to pick names out of a hat – if you pick a name, you’ll get a signed book from that author (or the promise of one in the future). Free book just for picking a name out of a hat – and the opportunity to read someone you either love now or will love in the future.

For me, one of the many brilliant aspects of Noir at the Bar is that you will hear from a range of writers, from big names to people who haven’t yet had work published. If you attend Wednesday night, you’ll be able to say that you saw LP Mennock and Jon Wigglesworth before they made it big!

The joy of Noir at the Bar is that not only do you get to listen to awesome writers, you also get to interact with them. It’s encouraged that, during the break or at the end of the evening, you tell someone if you enjoyed their reading. Chatting about books is absolutely encouraged at Noir at the Bar!

And if you do fancy having a go at reading something you’ve written, you could always put your name down for the wild card round.

Noir at the Bar is meant to encourage interaction between writers as a community but also readers so if you’re a member of a book club or a solo reader, pop along. Entry is free and, if this Noir at the Bar is half as fun as the last one, you’re in for a cracking night.

Vic x