This is a promotional video made by Unbound for the above. Thanks to Unbound for permission to use this. If any publishers like the idea of this collection, please get in touch! As you know I am now looking for another publisher as this project did not work with the excellent Unbound (see previous posts). The image here is of Alan Ross (on the left) and Ian Fleming at Fleming’s home in Jamaica in the early 1960s.
A few months ago I had an interesting meeting with Sarah Marsh from the Arts Council about the possibility of receiving a grant for a collection of stories from the London Magazine during the time Alan Ross was editor (1961-2001). The collection would also include new stories, selected through a competition. In this way, established writers would be shown alongside new voices.
The excellent Maura Dooley, Reader in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, has also been very helpful. I am still looking for the right kind of publisher….
It soon became clear that crowdfunding with the excellent Unbound was not the right path for this project.
I am now exploring other ways to publish this fantastic collection of London Magazine stories.
I am currently writing a few memoir pieces, set in late-1970s London, during the period of my life when I was involved with performance art. The artist was sculptor Paul Wright, who was also part of the design team for the Pink Floyd stage shows, and a QC, who was the ‘art object’, taken all over London in various disguises. The event was photographed and then recorded on a Rank Xerox colour copier, a new process at the time. I was the helper, sometimes writer of set pieces, and occasional performer. The QC, a good friend, is now dead, and the full story, which will reveal his identity, can be told for the first time. There will be a London exhibition of the work in September 2016.
Fragmented brings together short stories and sketches charting a personal journey from squatter and hippy in Seventies London to creative and stable middle age as husband, father, teacher and writer. Responding to and recording social change, often by seizing moments in the flux of city life, the stories are both self contained fragments and a cohesive narrative of a city as much as of an individual.
Many sketches are set in Hackney or Hornsey Rise – at one time the largest squat in Europe. Fragmented brings to life characters and places; examines the underside of London epitomised by outsiders, drugs, racial tension and crime, and explores deeper themes not only of childhood, family and relationships, but also of the nature of writing, political idealism, fear of oblivion and how we conjure and retain a sense of the past. The tone is variously reflective, nostalgic, critical, humorous and detached.
Read Mark Hannam’s review here. Also published in Dream Catcher
and The Short Review here
and Islington Tribune here
and Hackney Citizen here
and East London Lines (the online newspaper) review here
and Gwales review here
and Amazon readers’ review here
and Waterstones readers’ reviews here
and Nick Sweeney’s review here
and a review from The Frogmore Papers (Number 78, Autumn 2011) by Jeremy Page:
For anyone who has walked the streets of east and north London, where most of these often very personal pieces are set, this is a fascinating collection. Many of them are very short – some barely half a page – but these are texts which have been lovingly crafted from experience that was not always so sweet. The Great Wen is hauntingly evoked, and the character sketches are expertly drawn. Personal favourites here include ‘Hackney Sunday’ and the exquisitely titled ‘Myfanwy, China, Harry and a Goldfish’.