Wednesday 19 August 2020

A Leap in the Dark 41

This Friday's Leap is, by any objective measure, the cat's miaow. What a line-up!

A Leap in the Dark 41   8pm  Friday 21st August 2020

         Settling the world

Featuring M. John Harrison, Jen Hodgson, Vlatka Horvat, Tim Etchells, Melanie Pappenheim and Giles Perring with Amy McCauley, Jonathan Gibbs, Michael Hughes and Guru Dave.

The penultimate canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes, yoga with the cryptic mystic Guru Dave, 24/7 Brexitland by Amy McCauley (appearing as Malady Nelson), a reading by Vlatka Horvat and collaborative performance by Tim Etchells, Melanie Pappenheim and Giles Perring. Then we mark the publication of Settling the World: Selected Stories 1969-2019 with the author M. John Harrison in conversation with Jen Hodgson, who provides the forward to this benchmark anthology.  

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.

The Programme

1 The Pale Usher welcomes you

2 Spring Journal canto XXIII by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

3 Yoga with David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer 

4 Malady Nelson (Amy McCauley) reads the 4th part of 24/7 Brexitland

5 Vlatka Horvat reads 

6 A performance by Tim Etchells (words), Melanie Pappenheim (voice) and 
  Giles Perring (music)


  M. John Harrison in conversation with Jen Hodgson

8 The Settee Salon with Mike, Jen, Tim and Vlatka

9 The Pale Usher signs off

The Company

Tim Etchells is an artist, writer and performance maker, author of Endland (published by And Other Stories) and a founder member and artistic director of the performance ensemble Forced Entertainment.

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.

M.John Harrison tweets @mjohnharrison, blogs at & lives in Shropshire. He is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), as well as four previous short story collections, two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). His latest novel, The Sunken Land Begins To Rise Again was published by Gollancz in July; Settling the World: selected short stories 1969-2019, introduced by Jennifer Hodgson, is published this week by Comma Press.

David Holzer is a dedicated yogi, author, blogger and journalist. He founded YogaWriters and has taught workshops in yoga for writers in Mallorca, where he lives. Hundreds of people have taken his Yoga for Writers course on the DailyOm platform ( His writing appears regularly in Om yoga and lifestyle magazine. David will be explaining why yoga is so beneficial for writers and taking us through a simple yoga sequence that can be done by anyone of any age in the comfort of a favourite chair.


Please take care when practicing yoga. Should a pose feel that it could be harmful to you, do not attempt it or come gently out of the pose.

Breathing is a key part of yoga. Please breathe comfortably and naturally through your nose at all times. If your breath becomes forced, slow down the speed of your practice.
If you feel any kind of sharp, sudden pain anywhere in your body stop practicing right away. Be especially aware of your joints, particularly your knees.

Jen Hodgson is a writer and critic appearing in the Guardian, The New Statesman, The White Review, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Music and Literature and others. And I’ve talked about them for BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Brighton Film Festival, the BBC College of Production and at many other festivals and events.Jen was previously researcher-in-residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, a research fellow with the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University and UK Editor at Dalkey Archive Press. Awards include the Everett Helm Fellowship and the Lilly Library Fellowship.

Vlatka Horvat is an artist working across a range of forms, including sculpture, installation, drawing, performance, photography and writing. She teaches in the Fine Art department at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Michael Hughes is the author of two novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl.

Giles Perring is a musician, record producer and artist who has been working professionally in diverse areas of music and the Arts since 1980. He lives and works on the Scottish island of Jura.

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

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

A Leap in the Dark tomorrow (Saturday 22nd August) will celebrate the singer/songwriter Pete Shelly and his band Buzzcocks. Curated by C. D. Rose, ‘What’s the Buzz, Cock?’ will feature music, archive film and contributions from Emma Bolland, Sarah-Claire Conlon, Kathleen Davies, Sharon Duggal, Maeve Haughey, Richard Hirst, Tom Jenks and Jonathan Kemp

Stay well!

The Pale Usher

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