Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Longlisted for the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition

A great start to this week with the news that one of my short stories has been longlisted in the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition. I have been invited to a day of workshops and talks in Dublin in September where I hope to meet some of the people whose names have become familiar to me as I research editors and agents for my novel.

The last writing workshop I attended was back in 2002 with Éilís Ní Dhuibhne in the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin. I got so much out of that ten-week course and always hoped to attend other writing courses at some stage. Three children and the fact that I then emigrated to rural France made that rather difficult.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I would attend some conferences or writing courses no matter how complicated the childcare/work arrangements were. In April I won the Writing West Midlands Short Fiction competition and travelled to Birmingham to read and collect my prize. I mingled with other emerging writers, sipped wine with the team at Writing West Midlands, and discussed writing and other things with author Tiffany Murray. A couple of hours in the company of like-minded people was a real pleasure.

But I still had my eye on workshops or 'events' where I could listen to editors, agents, publishers and fellow writers discussing the book industry. And so I began to plan a trip to the upcoming Cork Literary Festival (18th to 22nd September) and hope to attend some interesting events.

And now, another opportunity to visit Dublin arises and I begin a new flight search. How to make it to Dublin and drive kids to after-school activities simultaneously? I'm sure it'll all sort itself out. Looking forward to the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland day. May even be in with a chance of winning...

Hopefully the millions will start rolling in soon to pay for this expensive habit.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Jazz in Marciac (3) Joe Cocker and Todd Unctious

Joe Cocker was one of the big acts this year and he played to a packed marquee. Even better than I remember, when he came to Marciac in 2007.  At 69 years of age he can still belt them out.

Warm-up act was Canadian Kellylee Evans. She has a powerful voice, mixed a little hip hop with jazz to interesting results, and she managed to charm the audience by speaking excellent French.


And Joe. What to say about Joe? Able to send a thrill down your spine from the other end of a rugby pitch. He sang a good few songs from his new 'Fire it up' album, but loads of the oldies as well--You can leave your hat on, With a little help from my friends, Unchain my heart, and the heart-stopper, You are so beautiful. What a show.


First time I noticed the physical similarity with Todd Unctious from Father Ted, must have been the black clothes!

So I feel obliged to link to a clip from Father Ted. No disrespect Joe!

Here's Mrs Doyle's list (copied from this blog I found while searching the very subject.

Fr. Andy Riley,
Fr. Desmond Coyle,
Fr. George Byrne,
Fr. David Nicholson,
Fr. Declan Lynch,
Fr. Ken Sweeney,
Fr. Neil Hannon,
Fr. Keith Cullen,
Fr. Ciaran Donnelly,
Fr. Mick McEvoy,
Fr. Jack White,
Fr. Henry Bigbigging,
Fr. Hank Tree,
Fr. Hiroshima Twinkie
Fr. Stig Bubblecard,
Fr. Johnny Hellzapoppin’ ,
Fr. Luke Duke,
Fr. Billy Ferry,
Fr. Chewy Louie,
Fr. John Hoop,
Fr. Hairycake Linehan,
Fr. Rebulah Conundrum,
Fr. Peewee Stairmaster,
Fr. Jemima Racktool,
Fr. Jerry Twig,
Fr. Spodo Komodo,
Fr. Cannabranna Lammer.
Fr. Todd Unctious

And no, Kellylee is nothing like Mrs Doyle.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Jazz in Marciac (2) Wynton Marsalis and Mr Bean


At JIM (Jazz in Marciac) festival, we're so chilled out we're horizontal (of course, that may be the heat and the wine but one can't be sure.)

The godfather of the festival, the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, was pure class. Playing with his quintet: Walter Blanding (saxophone), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums) and Dan Nimmer (piano), this was the first of his two appearances at the festival.  He has played every year at JIM since 1991 and there's even a statue of him in the village. Here's his Marciac Suite album.

There's something very unassuming about him, but he's adored by the festival organisers, especially due to the work he puts into the teaching of jazz, passing on the tradition. I wish I had access to the masterclasses that my daughters have been attending.
We couldn't help thinking of Mr Bean at the Olympics when we watched Dan Nimmer on the piano (sorry Dan!)
So I have to add that clip which still makes me laugh.