Just Sit Here For The Present...

Spent a day in Cardiff this weekend, fixing, sorting, arranging and finishing various day-job type things off. I like Cardiff - it's got a lot of soul about it.

Took a couple of hours out on Saturday afternoon to do a photo-shoot. Just one of those things on the list of things to get done that's haunted me for a year or so but now it is done and am very happy. I'm more than very happy actually but you need to be careful over saying how happy you really are when you're talking about things to do with the self, lest you find yourself looking like an arrogant dirtbag. How can I put it? My buddy Scott did an excellent job on positioning me around the store we hijacked and the results are technically top notch. As for the bloke in the middle of all the shots, you can keep those opinions to yourself - though my opinion of them is that I think I might need to catch up on some sleep.

Not entirely sure that the staff and public were quite as keen on my choice of soundtrack album (Pictures For Pleasure - Charlie Sexton) for the afternoon. People can be so uneducated. Regardless, special thanks to Kellys Records for putting up with us - but I did manage to sell somebody an Everly Brothers album, which is no mean feat...

Anyway, here's an out-take. The remainder will appear over time somewhere - there's one on the front page right now. I think I'm pretending that Scott didn't just tell me there were some Alvin Stardust albums in front of me. I would imagine they will be there for a very, very long time...

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During the darkness that was Saturday night, Wayne Simmons dropped by and we swept a table in the hotel of debris and ran up some material for another writing podcast. We were going to talk about noir fiction but talked for so long about other things that we figured the noir side of things might go on for quite some time - so instead, we talked about how we write. What works, what doesn't, how, where, why... those sorts of things. I'll hook it up again when he's done his thing with it but meantime he also found the time to say some nice things about The Eternity Ring. Here's the link so you can look at it over at his place (which is only right) but I'll also paste his review here because nobody ever says nice things about me and it made me feel good: 

One of my favourite reads from school was CIDER WITH ROSIE by Laurie Lee, a vivacious memoir of a young boy’s life. I was an incredibly imaginative lad, for better and for worse, and Lee’s magical account of  his War era childhood, and the characters that punctuated such, very much resonated with me.  Sion Smith’s THE ETERNITY RING has a lot in common with Lee’s memoir both in terms of tone and style.

The story follows its narrator, an average boy who becomes obsessed by crows after witnessing something quite fantastical, involving the birds, down by the lake close to where he lives. We follow the boy through to manhood and eventually old age, the birds never far from view. And just like with CIDER, the seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary when seen through the narrator’s eyes.

There’s a magical sway to this story, the crows taking on an almost shamanic quality after our protagonist has them tattooed onto his skin. The events that transpire thereafter could be interpreted as supernatural. And yet despite this fact, with an accessible writing style, and working class protagonist, Smith succeeds in keeping the story quite grounded.

I read THE ETERNITY RING in one sitting. It’s an enigmatic and engaging book that you’ll find hard-pushed to put down once you start. There’s a dark fairy tale quality about the novella that I really enjoyed. And just like all good fairy tales, its resolution proves both satisfying and mystifying all at once.

And there you have it - I didn't even pay him! I did buy him a coke, but he bought me one too so that doesn't count. Go read something. It won't take you long. I'm sure he would have pasted me to the wall if it sucked. He's from Belfast don't you know...

In other Eternity Ring news, I think I may have found who I was looking for when it comes to an illustrated edition. Pending - but not for long perhaps.

Finally, Nick Lord (mentioned a few posts ago) has finished up his portrait of Hilary Mantel and as of today, it hangs very nicely in the British Library. It looks like this:

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Nice work Sir - you can read about it here. Very intrigued to see what he will make of me. I'm sure there are lots of walls in the British Library just begging to be adorned with that face...