Friday 4 September 2020

Tonight's Leap in the Dark

So here's the new-look blog format and no, me neither. A Leap in the Dark 45 8pm Friday 4th September 2020 An evening about/without David Rudkin “I am afflicted by images, by things that are seen, pictures of things. They are extraordinary, momentary, but they stay with me.” — David Rudkin, 1964 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 we’ll 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 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 from Heat Wave Interval 6 David Rudkin - a celebration 7 Ross McFarlane on David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen The summer of 1973: Stephen Franklin, played by Spencer Banks, is an awkward, priggish 17-year-old, a vicar’s son, in love with an antiquated, delusory Englishness and its symbols – Elgar, the Church, the school cadet force. Over the course of a few weeks he discovers a new identity, new desires; his pomposity and prejudice are stripped away and he becomes maturer, gentler, more open to the world’s possibilities. ‘My race is mixed, my sex is mixed, I am woman and man ... I am mud and flame!’ 8 Kevin Davey on David Rudkin’s impact and cultural legacy 9 The Pale Usher remembers the first and only screening of Rudkin's controversial magnum opus From Radio Times (Tuesday 29 December 1981) Artemis 81 A film by DAVID RUDKIN with Hywel Bennett, Dinah Stabb, Dan O'Herlihy featuring Sting and Anthony Steel, Margaret Whiting, Roland Curram, Ingrid Pitt. A Danish museum case shattered, the pieces of a pagan statue hidden in cars on a North Sea ferry, the subsequent deaths of ferry passengers, an old musician terrified that a curse upon him will cause the devastation of the Earth. Gideon Harlax, a successful young novelist of ‘the paranormal and unexplained', thinks he has found the material for a new book. But as Gideon coldly exploits human tragedies, angry powers from Man's ancient past are gathering. Original music by DAVE GREENSLADE Passacaglia by GORDON CROSSE Film cameraman DAVID JACKSON Film editor MIKE HALL Designer GAVIN DAVIES Script editor ROGER GREGORY Producer DAVID ROSE Director ALASTAIR REID 10 The Pale Usher signs off The Company Paula Cunningham’s Heimlich's Manoeuvre, from smithdoorstop, 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). Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar Press and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press in 2019. He has written on books for various publications 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. His poem in 24 cantos Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal. 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. 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. 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 Tomorrow’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 Am I in the Right Place? - 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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