Leslie: What do you enjoy most about stand up and why?
Chris: The lifestyle’s good. I don’t mean the ‘showbiz lifestyle’ of parties, women and money because, I can assure you, there is none of that. I’m talking more about being your own boss, making people laugh and a lack of dreary Monday morning commutes. And I’ve done those, they are not fun. What is great about stand up is Continue reading THE PLAYFUL ART OF STAND UP→
Sherief Hassan is a multi-talented actor, scriptwriter and consultant who has co-ordinated film-based events for Channel 4, Sadlers Wells and the Royal Festival Hall. He is the inventor of the Sine Player ‘edutainment’ app which links film studios, producers and creative researchers in the digital field. He is also a committed environmentalist and chair of Dacorum Green Party. I asked Sherief to talk about what inspires him to be green both in his personal life and in the arts, media and politics.
Skyscrapers are not raised simply to conceal dead mice – Saul Bellow.
I find that the best writing comes out of the dark. Often it starts from a single word, a thought or an incident that sets off a search – which I’m experiencing now, writing this blog – involving lots of stops and false starts.
While I’m searching I try out phrases and listen to how the words sound, judging their effect on the reader. I’m also editing every sentence as I go, juggling the phrases to achieve the most elegant formulation and removing words that overburden it. At the same time I’m plugging gaps, enhancing effects and reading back to ensure continuity. In addition, and crucially, I’m writing for feel, mood and flow, visualising the incidents and riding the emotional waves as I go. Continue reading Not The Death of the Author→
Thirty years ago, when I taught in London, I came across a short story called Bud’s Luck. It was about a quiet, dreamy schoolboy who finds a magic coin that keeps coming back to him. He uses it to clear all the local slot machines of sweets and chewing gum – stockpiling more than he can ever eat. But when Bud shares his ‘winnings’ with his classmates, his luck becomes a curse. Word gets around that Bud has been spotted emptying machines and every evening a different gang show up to bully him and steal the coin. The next day he’s beaten up again because the coin disappeared into the machine and didn’t work. And when the boys find the magic coin resting snuggly in Bud’s pocket, it sets off another beating.
In desperation Bud drops the coin down a drain, leaves it on a railway line and flings it in a river, but every morning the coin returns and he has to set off, alone but quietly resigned, to face school and his angry classmates… Continue reading STORIES LEAD TO STORIES→
I interviewed Ruth F Hunt, disability advocate, journalist and novelist. Ruth is the author of a highly-successful first novel, The Single Feather, writes a column for The Morning Star and regularly exhibits her paintings.
Leslie: What has your life been like so far? How have your disabilities changed who you are?
Ruth: When I was 18 I was involved in a car accident, and even after the full extent of my injuries were revealed, I still didn’t comprehend just how much they were going to determine the rest of my life. My initial injuries were spinal cord damage, and below my waist, various broken bones, fractures, and crush injuries. Continue reading RUTH F HUNT – THE AUTHOR AS PHOENIX→
I remember reading Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazonsand imagining the book’s setting as a vaguely-defined territory inside me. I’d never heard of The Lake District so I invented the location as I read, ignoring the references to farmers and charcoal burners and other aspects of Lakeland life. I was entranced by the children’s freedom, so I set their adventures in the only place that felt the same – around sand dunes beside the sea. In my mind, the Walker children were desert island castaways and a lake the size of Windermere could only be equalled by the sea. Continue reading A BOOK IS AN ADVENTURE→