Wednesday 2 September 2020

A Leap in the Dark 45

This Friday's Leap is another veritable smorgasbord, not that there's any other kind of smorgasbord . . . 

A Leap in the Dark 45   8pm  Friday 4th September 2020

An evening about/without David Rudkin

Following last Friday’s memorable reading of the complete Spring Journal, Jonathan Gibbs and Paula Cunningham discuss the legacy of Louis MacNeice,  with readings from the poet’s work by Michael Hughes. Then we’ll have the first of two readings by the poet Julian Stannard from his forthcoming collection Heat Wave, followed by some thoughts from Sam Jordison of Galley Beggar Press about challenges facing small presses in 2021.

After a short break a group of admirers will celebrate the life and work of the dramatist and screenwriter David Rudkin (born 1936), among the finest writers of his generation -  “a cussed, confrontational, highly original voice”. With music from our composer-in-residence Helen Ottaway and thoughts from Ross McFarlane, Kevin Davey and The Pale Usher

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 On Louis MacNeice: Jonathan Gibbs and Paula Cunningham in conversation  
  with readings by Michael Hughes

3 Julian Stannard reads from his new collection Heat Wave

4 Reflections on this week’s bookalanche with Sam Jordison of Galley Beggar Press

5 Julian Stannard - a second reading 


6 David Rudkin - a celebration

7 Ross McFarlane on David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen

  “What made these films so powerful to me as teenager was that you didn’t 
  know anything about them. They weren’t repeated. There was no internet 
  to help you crack them. They kept their mystery.”  - Jim Jump

8 Music by Helen Ottaway

9 Kevin Davey on David Rudkin’s impact and cultural legacy

10 Artemis 81 - The Pale Usher remembers the first and only screening of 
   Rudkin's controversial magnum opus

11 The Pale Usher signs off

The Company

Paula Cunningham’s Heimlich's Manoeuvre, from smithdoorstop, was shortlisted for the Fenton-Aldeburgh, Seamus Heaney Centre, & Strong Shine 1st Collection Prizes.  Poems have appeared in ‘Best British Poetry’ 2016, & have won national & international prizes. She has also written short fiction and placed 2nd in the 2014 Costa short story award. She is very slowly working on her second collection and attempting the odd essay.

Kevin Davey is the author of Playing Possum and the forthcoming Radio Joan, both published by Aaargh! Press. His non-fiction work includes English Imaginaries (1999).

Sam Jordison co-founded Galley Beggar Press. He writes for the Guardian, has written several works of non-fiction  the best-selling Crap Towns series and Enemies Of The People, a book that was tragically right about everything and the awful people who have been wrecking our lives since 2016. 

Ross McFarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library in London.

Helen Ottaway is a composer and sound artist. She is lead artist with Artmusic, creating and producing collaborative, site-specific art work. She has written for many forces from string quartet to choir and orchestra and recently has started to include found sound in her work. Her writing for hand-punched and hand-wound musical box began during an artist’s residency in Sri Lanka in 2017. Back in the UK she continues to compose for and perform on the instrument.

Julian Stannard lived and taught for many years in Genoa. His most recent poetry book – with artwork by Roma Tearne – is Average is the New Fantastico (Green Bottle Press). CBe publishes his What Were You Thinking? He co-edited a CBe book about Michael Hofmann, The Palm Beach Effect. A film of his poem ‘Sottoripa’ (about a district of Genoa) is on Vimeo:

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

Saturday’s Leap in the Dark (September 5th) is a fragrant potpourri

- author Ruby Cowling on her short story collection This Paradise

- Yoga with our resident mystic Guru Dave

- Ben Pester on his forthcoming book

- At home with Henningham Family Press

- Amy McCauley (as Malady Nelson) performs 24/7 Brexitland (part 4)

- a short story by David Holzer 

Stay well!

The Pale Usher

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