It has, hasn’t it?
Not just posting on here – which admittedly, I have slacked off doing for a long time – but for a great many things.
I moved from Manchester to London a year ago in March which means it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Bad Language event. The last time I got up on stage and read a story was in January this year. The last time I had a story published anywhere was in late 2014.
So what have I been doing? Writing, working – all of that. In the past month I’ve made an effort to get back on track with the things I’ve been missing out on.
I have two gigs this month, both of which are going to be fantastic.
The first performance for me this month, Unsung Live #1 is coincidentally the first event of its kind for Unsung Stories, who describe the night as, “we find writers with stories to tell, give them a stage and a microphone, and let them loose. All the stories are going to be a little bit Unsung, so expect sci-fi, fantasy, horror, speculative, strange, exciting, funny, sad, scary, wise – the lot.” Quite interesting isn’t it? I’ll be reading a ghost story, of sorts. Performing alongside me on the night are Unsung published authors Ian Hocking and Aliyah Whiteley, as well as Gary Bugden who was published in Boo Books’ excellent After the Fall anthology last year (which featured a short story by myself!). Best of all? The night is completely free. I can’t imagine what might be stopping you, unless you don’t live in London, or you don’t like genre fiction, or you’ve got plans or something that night, or you don’t like me.
Next up, my good friend Dominic Stevenson has asked me to host his book launch. The Northern Line, his book of poetry has just been published by Winter Goose Publishing, and is described as, “Dominic Stevenson takes you on a journey down The Northern Line with a rucksack of memories over his shoulder. Leaving breadcrumbs along the way, he reminds us that we must unite when experiencing our toughest of times. In the face of strife we must love more fiercely, with more intensity, and more often than in times of societal ease. Only by rising, roused by love for those who love beside you, can tyranny and misery be conquered.” He’s lined up a cracking night, with some fantastic performers, and me. It’s on the 29th of June at The Crown in Southwark, and you can buy the book on the night.
Finally, I have other, exciting news. I went back to Bad Language just the other week. I was up in Manchester and managed to catch a late train home, meaning I could stick around for the first hour at The Castle. It brought back a lot of memories of running the nights, and hosting, and more than anything, being able to see emerging talent grow and develop. I remembered why me, Nici and Joe set the whole thing up in the first place, and it was amazing to see just how successful it has become. At that point, we were shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards in the Best Regular Spoken Word Night category. Bad Language was up against some stiff competition, including Salford’s Evidently, and London’s Bang Said the Gun. We were never going to win, right?
Bad Language won. I’m still shocked. And proud. And amazed. When we started it up five years ago, I don’t think any of us thought we’d manage to achieve everything we’ve done so far. Sabotage Reviews put up some of the voter comments for Bad Language when they announced the winners, and they have genuinely brought a tear to my eye.
“Incredible open-micers for a free night, run with great friendliness & professionalism. Hugely encouraging to new performers, and fiercely promoting gender balance.”
“Literally changed my life. Their supportive open mics took me from a stage-fright wreck into a performer and semi-professional writer. I owe BL so much.”
“Truly egalitarian night. Encouraging people not just to watch but to engage and becomes an entry point into the entire ‘scene’. A friendly corner of the literary community entirely without snobbery or pretension.”
Thank you to whoever voted, and whoever said those nice things about us too. Thanks to everyone who has ever performed, and attended, and to Nici and Joe and Fats. It’s really quite brilliant.
I’m going to try and keep updating this blog more often now. Maybe twice a month? That’d be good.