Monday, December 11, 2006

This story must have a valid ticket and cannot travel before 9.30

It is with mixed feelings that I draw attention to Virgin Trains' Short story competition. I would suggest you avoid writing it on a weekend, before 9.30 in the morning, or, if in London, during rush hour. The subject is "time" with a certain amount of irony, I hope. I have lost more time on Virgin trains than I'd like to think about. However, although that lost time could be well used, (a) if you've got a pen and paper/laptop (b) you've actually got a seat. I actually wrote the first chapter of my short novel "The Badger Farm Report" longhand on a trip to London, and several poems; and I wrote a very dark short story called "Last Train from Euston". There is a prize for the winner, and since nobody actually has time to read these days, it's a 500 word maximum.


Perhaps because I spent a dozen years recording synthesizer-based music, people sometimes expect me to be listening to a non-stop diet of Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, and Kraftwerk, with a smattering of Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers for when I'm feeling a bit more modern. Yet, I've rarely done so - and those artists feature only marginally in my collection - but with it coming to the end of the 2006, what have I been listening to? This year it's been many things, but the artists I've kept coming back to are the Beach Boys (particular their 70s recordings), Elliot Smith, Mott the Hoople and Neil Young (his 90s stuff mainly.) All very melodic stuff, but with a bit of a rhythmic spine to it. That said, I've also a bit of a thing for synth/rock crossover at the moment - Tackhead, Fischerspooner, George Clinton and Armand Van Helden. Electronic rock often gets as bad a press as funk-rock; but when it's done well...


Tania Hershman said...

Just a quick note about the Guardian Virgin comp - the Terms and Conditions state that "Entrants acknowledge that it is not always possible for GNM to identify them as the author of the entries (although GNM will try to do so wherever possible). Entrants irrevocably and unconditionally waive their moral rights to be identified as the author of the entries and agree that GNM may adapt, add to, amend and or use the entry as it deems appropriate"

So, basically, if you win they don't have to identify you and they can mess with your story in an way they feel like.

Not my idea of a great competition, despite the £1000!

Adrian Slatcher said...

Thanks for pointing that out. That really is morally indefensible. The Guardian should be ashamed. Virgin is merely shameless.