Writer’s Retreat, Weird Reading And BBC Segment (AKA My Big Face)

Hello all! The week before last I was at a writer’s retreat at Metal Culture in Southend during the Essex Book Festival after winning a spot. Visit my YouTube channel for more joyous things, The Essex Book Festival and Metal Culture website.

Here’s my vlog:

The reading of the book I started whilst there:

And the BBC Look East segment. I don’t speak but I appear twice, the last time being an embarrassingly large close up of my mug.

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Southend Vlog And 1920s Horror Science Fiction Short Story Reading

I have returned!

I’ll just give a little personal update before looking up weird arty things to share. The first video is a vlog of my two weeks spent at home with Bill in Southend, Essex. The second is a reading (not live) of my occult science fiction horror short story.

If you ever wanted to learn how to make a Sidecar cocktail…ask Bill, not me. I’m also still reading my favourite stories each week here.

The Changing Face of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Today’s pretentious book picture is brought to you by The Mad Hatter’s Tea Room in Southend. May you also stare intellectually into space whilst sampling their seriously amazing cakes. Honestly, I mean it, go. DSC_0013-2

Alice in Wonderland has meant different things to me at different times, much like it has throughout history. When I first read it as a child I hated it, it ‘didn’t make any sense.’ Slowly I was drawn back in and I remember my excitement when I realised my imagination was free – cue many stories in Primary school where the teachers probably thought I’d had some sort of breakdown but were afraid to ask.

The first filmed version in 1903:

Then, of course, I re-read it as a student, this time aware of Carroll’s possible opium use (not unusual for the time, it was sold freely in shops) and the links to psychedelia owing to homages such as this:

Incidentally model/Warholite Edie Sedgwick was keen to make an underground film version in the mid sixties but sadly it was not to be. DSC_0011-1

Recently I entered Wonderland once again, this time with all kinds of knowledge (though not as much as I’ll have in the future). I’m aware now of the possibly disturbing relationship between Lewis Carroll and the real Alice (see the documentary below, also featuring writer Will Self among others).

However I’m also aware that it unlocked fantastical and unrestrained worlds in my own brain and doubtless did for many other creative types. The pace is quick, the dialogue fun and the characters iconic. I’d like to see a new film version of the original story done well, but for now I’m perfectly happy using my own imagination when reading the weird words of Carroll.

Documentary The Secret World of Lewis Carroll. Keep watching to see the eerie discovery towards the end: