Saturday, December 12, 2015

Have an Indie Christmas

I missed last week's "Independent's day" shopping, but there's still time to get some interesting Xmas presents. Yes, you can get that John Lewis coffee maker, that Surface Pro, that True Detective boxset, that hardback cookbook, but lets be honest, they'll all be half price from 26th December and all your friends will also have them. So here are a few "indie" solutions that can make any stocking bulge happily....

Confingo Magazine is now 4 issues into its life, and has a mix of photography, stories and poetry, as well as an artist/author interview, in a lovely perfect bound A5 format. Available from HOME and Magma in Manchester and online, a 2 issue subscription is now only £9.  Order issue 4 before Christmas and it will be specially wrapped.

Anyone who saw Lonelady on tour earlier this year might have remembered Julie Campbell's fetching "BEAT" t-shirt which she wore at a number of gigs, including the Manchester one. Now you can own your own, in various sizes for just £20. There are also some limited edition posters available. A great present for someone as you've surely already got the album (out on Warp) which has featured in most of the year-end "best of" charts.

I attended the last of the year's Other Room events on Wednesday and picked up the very hefty "Out of Everywhere 2" - an anthology of innovative poetry by women which is surely one of the year's most important releases. A follow up to a previous anthology, this one, edited by Emily Critchley features a large number of British innovative women poets, puncturing a scene that has sometimes been too hermetic for its own good. Reality Street have done us great a service with this one.

And a great bookend to this would be "Boooook" a biography of legendary concrete poet Bob Cobbing which came out earlier this year from Occasional Papers.  

Short story collections are great gifts to give as they can be dipped into whereas a novel can be more "Marmite" - two recent ones by Manchester writers are highly recommended. Elizabeth Baines' second collection from Salt, "Used to Be" and H.P. Tinker's "The Girl Who Ate New York" will both be popular gifts (if you can bear to part with them).  Some great anthologies and other books are available from Manchester's Comma Press as well in their Xmas Sale.  As for stocking fillers, Nicholas Royle's Nightjar Press has had a resurgence this year, and loose change will get you single stories in a handy format to keep you out of harm's way whilst the Queen's Speech is on.

Music fans who still have access to a cassette machine could do worse than investigate Sacred Tapes - which releases a fascinating number of "noise" and related releases, again for little more than the price of a latte.

I didn't have too much published myself this year but was pleased to see my poem "In Search of Dubnium" in the lovely "My Dear Watson: the very elements in poetry" which remarkably sees poets tackling science, with one poem for each element in the Periodic Table. Available online from Beautiful Dragons. 
And finally a limited edition that is perfect for those cold spooky nights in. Curious Tales are a collective of writers who like doing something different at this time of year and their latest book (limited edition, natch, once it's gone, it's gone!) is called "Congregaton of Innocents" and channels Shirley Jackson. 

Hopefully that will keep you - and Santa - busy until the New Year. 

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