Friday, October 29, 2010

Literary Pile-up

It's like a motorway out there; there's a literary traffic jam with events here there and everywhere as the festivals pile up in the short clear run between summer and Christmas. I hardly had a chance to go to what was, by all accounts, a well-attended literature festival, though I had a nice night last week at the Manchester Blog Awards at the Deaf Institute where, before hearing the winners, we had readings from shortlists past and present, and best of all a new story by Chris Killen which followed that teenage book tradition of offering alternate routes through the story, depending on the choice of the reader (or in this case, the volunteering onstage blogger.) Well worth a look at the shortlisted blogs, of course, as they're always the best of a remarkably good bunch. I missed the rest of the festival through other commitments, but managed to get back on the literary circuit trainer, for the first event I'd been to in years at the old Waterstones reading room, to hear Elizabeth Baines reading from her reissued "The Birth Machine." I don't think many books from 1983 would still stand up as well as this one appeared to. (In 1983 I was recording my "concept" cassette "The Cannibal City", of which, least listened to the better).

It's not just events that are piling up - as I've had a steady stream of books arrive through the post (Richard Price's The Island) picked up second hand (The Letters of Wyndham Lewis) or left on a friends kitchen table in Richmond, North Yorkshire (An Everyman edition Prose of John Donne). All remain unread at the moment, though I've found some time to look through the 2nd instalment of Nathan Hamilton's poets under 35 selection for the Rialto, more on which later.

Tomorrow I'm going to see avant rock classicists Swans at Manchester Academy. I need to build up my tolerance to obscure music between then and now.

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