“Do you know the king wants to marry his daughter? Her eyes flashed, for a second, with anger.
What? Put that in the dress too, she said. She dropped her voice to a whisper, every word sharp and clear. Anger, she said. Put anger in the dress.”
The title story of this collection is a clever prequel to a well-known fairy tale which gives you no inkling of where it is going until close to the end, dressed up as it is with fantastical touches such as invoices sent by pigeon, and so on. It has a bitter core for all its surface frivolity, entirely appropriate to its partner tale.
Another story steeped in the language and rhythms of traditional fairy tales is The Devourings, which take several tropes and stitches them together into an exhausting and…
Louisa Lumsden CBE (1840-1935), the first prominent female figure at the University of St Andrews.
Louisa was one of the original students of Girton College Cambridge. She taught classics there and later at Cheltenham. In 1877 she became Head of St Leonard’s school in St Andrews. In 1895 she was warden of a new university hall of residence, but resigned in 1900.
Although her initial energies were put into women’s education, she was a strong proponent of women’s suffrage In 1908 she was president of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association. She had a horse-drawn caravan, which was used for campaign tours. although never a militant herself, she admitted to fellow-feeling.
One has a mean feeling when one is quietly enjoying the good things of life and others are in prison for their convictions.
No Birthday today so looking forward a couple of days, let’s celebrate
Louise-Honorine Crozat Du Châtel, Duchesse de Choiseul, 28th March 1737-1801 ‘A charming little fairy born out of a magical egg’ Her husband was a chief minister to Louis XIV, eventually discredited. Louise-Honorine was arrested during the Terror but seems to have survived it as she died seven years later. She was great friends with Marie du Deffand, writing to her
You think I love you from Complaisance and ask you to visit me from politeness. I don’t. I love you because I love you… You know you love me, but you do not feel it.
This is about as local as you can get for me, the library is a twelve-minute walk from my house, so I was very pleased to be invited to read. A small audience but a generous one, they bought more books than the other LGBT history month events put together, and most of us ended up at Mr Lawrence’s for a drink after, so a lovely evening! Once again Alix joined in, reading the voice of Rowan in Rowan’s version, with me reading Maggie/Peggy; and the archivist in Arachne’s Daughters with me reading the spider – both from Mosaic of Air.
Arachne’s Daughters (the only duplicate so far this month – we enjoy reading it too much to only do it once)
I’m doing ONE more LGBT History event open to the public, Wednesday 26th February 7pm Rainbow Readings at The Cafe of Good Hope, Hither Green Lane SE13. This is a ticketed event £3 (proceeds to the Jimmy Mizzen Foundation).
And I’m doing a reading and workshop at Lewisham College (now known as LeSoCo) on Thursday 27th, but you can only come to that if you study or work there…
Come and watch/listen to English Pocket Opera Company‘s production of Gluck’s masterpiece, Orpheus & Eurydice. 21st – 26th January, at the Platform Theatre, Central St Martin’s, Handyside Street King’s Cross London N1C 4AA Short sharp and sweet, we’ll take you to hell and back, with the eccentric story of Orpheus I don’t think I will be accused of plot spoilers when I say that it is an opera that starts with a funeral and ends with a wedding. Love overcomes all. (Sigh).
We get to sing that immortal line Cerbrus the dog of Hell will crush your bones as well, (I keep wanting to sing crunch your bones, but will resist on the day, promise.) This is one of my top five favourite operas and has some of the best tunes in the history of the western world … how can you resist?
Weekday matinees it’s children in the chorus, Weekend, and the weekday evenings it’s amateur adults.
Each scene is designed by a different set designer, and its going to be innovative and entertaining. Come and enjoy.
Carol singing, my friends, the sound that cheers: loud, raucous and invigorating. We’ll be driving the cold winter away and getting our vocal chords around some songs going right back to the 15th Century at the Ivy House today at 3pm (ish- depends on how long the rehearsal overruns by). Come along, listen, drink and JOIN IN, with songs about getting cold and drunk and herding sheep. We will teach you the tunes, which you may never have heard before, to words you almost certainly have. There may be some incidental religion.
Being part of an opera plays havoc with your sleep (and eating) patterns. I’m a bit of a homebody normally (although running a publishing venture has changed that a bit – schlepping about with a suitcase full of books to readings of an evening has meant my normal bedtime is now nearer midnight than it used to be) but during the opera run I find myself eating lunch at 4pm, supper at midnight (or later) go to bed still zinging with excitement, with the music roaring round my brain … not asleep before 2am … but come what may I’m awake again at 6am, which means not a lot of work gets done, because I need a bit of a lie down by 2pm which usually means I crash for a couple of hours. Of course today its a matinée so we are planning brunch for about 11, then there’s food at the after-party, so that’s sorted, but sleep … when will that happen?
Macbeth doth Murder sleep.
I’m not complaining: I’d rather sing than sleep, but there will definitely be a period of readjustment required, a diet of folk music (or anything really just not Opera) to calm me down, a gradual return to more normal meal times, support group meetings with fellow opera withdrawal sufferers … I suppose the words can come off the kitchen walls now. And the poster out of the window, oh dear!