Saturday 11 April 2020

A Leap in the Dark 4

Last night's Leap in the Dark made Good Friday into Great Friday, if you'll allow an Alan Partridgeism.

Blazing performances by Tim Etchells and Aisha Aisha Orazbayeva; a hilarious encounter with Anakana Schofield, the very moving cantos III and IV of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, beautifully read by Michael Hughes, David Hayden's mesmerising short story 'Wonder Meadow' and a poem perpetrated by The Pale Usher, who never does that sort of thing in public. Eley Williams told us about her Flash Fiction Auction (more on that this evening) and we weren't cut off suddenly thanks to the Zoom upgrade.

And what an audience! Writers, poets, musicians, film-makers, performers, academics, indie publishers, creatives, literary hacks and multi-talented others dialling in from Ireland, Mexico, France, Canada and all parts of our dim little island. Thank you all.

Our fourth Leap (this evening at 8pm BST) features live music from regulars Melanie Pappenheim and Esme Herbert, a conversation with novelist Anna Vaught, the writers David Hayden and Jonathan Gibbs trading thoughts on literary recycling, Oscar Mardell’s Letter from Auckland, The Pale Usher navigating some Victorian backwaters with readings by Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and the writers David Hayden and Jonathan Gibbs trading thoughts on literary recycling. (see what I did there?). And author Eley Williams will be sharing further details of her brilliantly original Flash Fiction Auction, run by Influx Press in aid of a very good cause. 

And speaking of good causes. There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

Programme (may be subject to change)

Part 1

1 ‘Chilly winds’ performed by Melanie Pappenheim and Esme Herbert

I'm goin' where them chilly winds don't blow
Gonna find a true love. That is where I want to go
Out where them chilly winds don't blow

Sing your song, sing it soft and low
Sing it for your baby and then I'll have to go
Out where them chilly winds don't blow

        Written by: John Phillips and John Stewart
        Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

2 Anna Vaught on her forthcoming novel Saving Lucia

3 David Hayden and Jonathan Gibbs on literary recycling

4 Another song from Melanie

5 The Pale Usher’s best and worst poems of the 19th century 
  with Aea Varfis-van Warmelo


Part 2

6 Letter from Auckland by Oscar Mardell 

Eley Williams on flash fiction and fund-raising 

8 ‘John O’Dreams’ written by Bill Caddick; sung by Melanie and Esme

When midnight comes and people homeward tread
Seek now your blanket and your feather bed
Home comes the rover, his journey's over 
Yield up the night time to old John O'Dreams

9 The Pale Usher signs off (plus Chiara Ambrosio link)
The Company

Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar, and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press last year. He has written on books for various places including the TLS, Brixton Review of Books and The Guardian. He curates the online short story project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others are invited to 'dream-edit' an anthology of their favourite short fiction. Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal.

David Hayden was born in Ireland and lives in England. His writing has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Granta online, Zoetrope All-Story, The Dublin Review, AGNI and PN Review, in the Faber New Irish Writing anthology Being Various, edited by Lucy Caldwell, and on BBC and RTÉ radio. His first book was Darker With the Lights On.

Oscar Mardell is a teacher and writer - originally from South Wales, but currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a frequent contributor to 3:AM Magazine, and poet of the month at The Inquisitive Eater. He is the author of Rex Tremendae - a ghost story set in the rubble of the Blitz, and Housing Haunted Housing - a collection of poems about Brutalist architecture. 

Melanie Pappenheim and Esme Herbert are mother and daughter singers and musicians 

Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actor and writer. 

Anna Vaught is a novelist, poet, essayist, short fiction writer, reviewer and editor; she is also a secondary English teacher, tutor and mentor to young people, mental health advocate, volunteer and mum to a large brood. Anna's third novel Saving Lucia, about Violet Gibson, the Irish aristocrat who shot Mussolini, is published by Bluemoose in April 2020 and available here:

Her first short story collection, Famished, will be published by Influx in September 2020.

Eley Williams is a poet.  and author of the short story collection Attrib. (Influx Press). Her forthcoming novel A Liar’s Dictionary will be published later this year. 

The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gigs.

The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Our next Leap in the Dark is on Friday 17th April and features:  

- music from Will Grove-White of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, 

- a book launch to celebrate the completion of Simon Okotie’s acclaimed ‘Absalon’ trilogy with the publication of After Absalon,

- a conversation with Dr Ian Patterson, editor of Nemo’s Almanac, the fiendishly difficult literary quiz now in its 130th year. Ian will discuss the origins of this competition, its history, its obsessive competitors and the methods behind its compilation and marking.

- Michael Hughes will read Canto IV of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs

Further ahead we have incoming contributions from Paulette Jonguitid in Mexico City, Dan O'Brien in Los Angeles, Italian filmmaker Chiara Ambrosio, Susanna Crossman in Dinan, (France), Wendy Erskine in Ireland, Kevin Boniface in Huddersfield and many, many more.  

Get involved. And stay well!

The Pale Usher 

No comments:

Post a Comment