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Loved this post on The Guardian blog on losing your voice to another writer. It can happen so easily. You find a writer you admire, devour their work and then find that everything you write is tainted with their writing style. The blog’s author quite rightly points out that reading Hemingway can be very dangerous indeed!
Sometimes writers consciously try and copy another writer’s style. Hunter S. Thompson said that in the early stages of his writing career he typed out The Great Gatsby and A Farewell To Arms to examine the styles and become familiar with the rhythms of literary giants Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
I have never decided to ape a certain writer’s style as I would be far too scared of losing my own in the process. I reckon one’s writing style should be as individual as one’s fingerprint. It should be the result of all your life experiences, feelings, tastes, preferences and opinions; all the things that make you unique.
Sorry for the late posting today. I’m running a bit slow in general after two nights out to celebrate my birthday.
Came across this trailer recently for Rejoice and Shout, a history of Gospel music. It features interviews with such legends as Smokey Robinson, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Andrae Crouch, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and many more. The film is directed by Don McGlynn who has helmed more than a dozen music documentaries on subjects such as jazz saxophonist Art Pepper, Howlin’ Wolf, Glen Miller and songwriter Harold Arlen. The trailer looks brilliant and I hope it gets a release date in Ireland soon.
There will be no Multiverse posts today as per tradition!
OK so it’s the most subtle hint of all time right?! Yes readers, my birthday is tomorrow. I decided to while away fifteen minutes imagining what I would self-gift if I came into an obscene amount of money in the next twenty four hours. The below is what happened.
Starting with the frock and going clockwise, let’s see how much I managed to spend shall we?!
Acne Pink Dance Dress – €300 from my-wardrobe.com
Balenciaga Silver Motorcross Pants – $4275 from Net-A-Porter USA
Alexander Wang Dakota Boots – €670 from colette.fr
Pauric Sweeney Silver Snakeskin Bag – €1009 from farfetch.com (and that’s a bargain at 50% off!)
L.A.M.B. Chloe Shoes –$260 from Zappos.com (again a bargain at 25% off! I am frugality personified.)
Christopher Kane Neon Lace Biker Jacket – €1180 from Net-A-Porter
Hermes Kelly Dog Bracelet – $460 from Hermes USA.
Grand total (not including delivery but counting for exchange rates) = €6643
Some things never change no matter how old I get. Champagne tastes and a beer income my friends.
I was looking through my computer for an old file and I came across some reviews I did for (unfortunately now defunct) online magazine Sigla in 2005. I thought I’d share one of them with you today. Hope you enjoy.
Magical Thinking – Augusten Burroughs
Published by Atlantic Books
There are not many authors who can write three volumes of memoirs before their mid thirties but Augusten Burroughs has more than enough material to work with. In Running With Scissors he recounted his childhood and teen years, spent living with his mother’s psychiatrist after his mother gave him away, having correctly judged herself incapable of raising him. Unfortunately so too were the psychiatrist and his family. The follow up to this hair raising volume was Dry, which dealt with Burroughs’ move to New York, his successful career in advertising and his alcoholism, which came as no surprise given his chaotic childhood. In an age where rehab memoirs are ten a penny and everyone has had a dysfunctional family, Burroughs stood out due to the fact that his books were savagely funny and self deprecating.
I wondered what he now had to write about. Was this going to be a book about writing books? Surely he had not had time to cram more craziness into his life as it must by now be wholly taken up by writing and promoting his wares. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Burroughs had once again come up trumps. Magical Thinking is a collection of essays and anecdotes about small occurrences in Burroughs’ day to day life; his minor celebrity, his brief dalliance with steroids, telemarketers, killing a rat that breaks into his apartment, his experiences as a teen model, and towards the end of the book, his happy relationship with his current partner Dennis.
Unlike his other books, the tales related in this book are almost mundane. These are experiences that we’ve all had or can relate to. What takes them out of the realm of the mundane is their author. His take on the world is original, scathingly funny and very self-aware. He says about himself, “I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws stitched together with good intentions.”
There are several incredibly funny moments in the book, my favourites being “Beating Raoul”, which tells the story of Burroughs’ blind date with an arrogant investment banker who has a condition Burroughs christens “micropenis”, and “Debby’s Requirements” , a story about Burroughs’ crazy domineering housekeeper who is so small in stature that she can only clean the lower half of his apartment.
Burroughs acknowledges that he is a flawed human being, that he can be by turns selfish, shallow, insecure, honest, funny. Magical Thinking, like Augusten Burroughs, is free of pretension and is a consistently well written and hilarious collection of essays from a writer who consolidates his reputation with each new book.
Fifty People One Question is a series of films made around the world in cities including New York, London and New Orleans. The project is an ongoing social experiment and film series exploring human connections through people and place. I recently saw the piece that was filmed in Galway, Ireland, where the question they asked was “what is your greatest life regret”. The answers range from the funny to the heartbreaking. Have a look here:
What’s your greatest life regret? I think mine would be not learning how to play the drums when I was much younger. I guess I’m lucky that so far in my life I don’t have any major regrets. Let’s hope I can keep it that way.
My recent hip hop buzz was kicked off by discussions with Hannah about her night Provider and other hip hop nights in town. I’ve always loved hip hop but never played it for a whole gig and I started thinking about tunes that I would like to include in a purely hip hop set. I’ve been obsessing over mixing Missy Elliot’s “We Run This” with Switch’s “A Bit Patchy” as both sample “Apache” and it could be kinda cool. Of course I am the DJ with no decks of her own so I can’t see if it works, I’ll have to just do it on the fly.
Then the wonderful Morgan played the Prodigy’s remix of Jay Z’s “99 Bitches” when he DJed at The Kitchen last Saturday (It’s downloadable free from NME here) and I nearly lost my reason! It’s a killer tune over a big rig. Check it:
Since then I have been trawling for tunes and have found some new favourites. M.I.A.’s XR2 (“Whistle whistle, blow blow, here we, here we go, go”). It’s an old tune and I’ve always loved it but never played it out. Check out this genius video mash up:
And I’ll have to have a track from the new Beastie’s album in there too:
I have a lot of the classics already but am taking recommendations too! What’re your favourite hip hop tunes?
A couple of months ago I asked Whisty if she would be interested in going vintage shopping with me so I could pick up some tips. Both us girls lead chaotic and busy lives so we only just managed to meet up last week. I’m a fairly useless vintage shopper. I hate having to plough through rails of stuff and don’t seem to have any vision when it comes to customising garments. However I’d like to improve my skills in this area as I have seen so many other stylish women in vintage pieces and it’s an untapped market for me.
Whisty is my heroine when it comes to vintage shopping. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen her in some amazing outfit and queried the details only to be told that it’s a vintage bargain. Tailored white Celine trousers and a Chanel suit are two of her best scores of late, but she also picks up 80s dresses, leather handbags, fringed shawls and all manner of gorgeous clothes on a regular basis.
We met in town and decided to focus our search in Temple Bar, first going to Lucy’s Lounge and then onto Golly Gosh Boutique, which has only been open for a couple of months. I watched as Whisty painstakingly went through the rails, patiently sifting through to find gems. As she browsed I asked her for her top tips for vintage shopping:
1. Check the entire garment for stains and see if they are dry-cleanable or not. If not, then don’t buy it. (Whisty has had some success with carpet cleaner for particularly tough stains!)
2. Check the fabric. On the day we went shopping Whisty picked out a red wrap-around dress she liked. The label stated it was pure new wool, so she knew that once the garment was freshened up and ironed it would hang beautifully and last well. Plus it was only a tenner!
3. Check all zips work.
4. Check seams, lining and stitching. Full lining, weights in the hems, and strong stitching (not merely an overlock) are all indicative of a quality garment.
5. Try it on for proper size. Sizing has changed so much over the decades that the only way to be sure if it fits is to try it on.
5. Patience is key! Whisty goes through all rails methodically, keeping aside potential purchases. This is hugely important as vintage stores are not as obviously merchandised as high street shops so you can find beautiful bargains lurking in the oddest corners.
It was, I am pleased to report, a successful day. I found a cream sequinned cowl neck top for €15. Whisty looked at the label and realised it was 100% silk and from a French shop, so she encouraged me to try it on. It fitted me very well and all I had to do to was remove the shoulder pads to make it perfect. As I’m a sucker for white tops in the summer I couldn’t leave it behind.
Thanks to Miss Whisty for an educational and fun day out. Check out her blog for lots of inspiration and style. Some pics from our expedition below.
The Dublin Writers Festival returns this year across a variety of venues with some great speakers. I went to a couple of events last year and really enjoyed them. This year I think I’ll attend The Indie Scene – a series of talks on independent publishing, On Books – a discussion with novelist John Banville and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, and Mariella Frostrup from Sky Arts Book Show in conversation with Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright and John Boyne. I desperately wanted to see Michael Palin’s talk in the National Concert Hall but unfortunately it’s already sold out.
Go and check out the Festival’s beautifully designed website and see if anything from the programme takes your fancy. It’s such a great resource for Irish writers and readers alike that it would be a shame not to support it.