Story Cities – Foundation Myth


Story Cities is an Arachne Press project, bringing together 42 writers and 51 stories about the city – any city, every city, in flash of under 500 words.

The brief for the book was: no names, no recognisable landmarks, and to fit one of the themes – termini, transport, hotels, cafes, squares and parks, markets, main streets, side streets and crossroads.

When I started thinking about it, my reaction was, no, this isn’t what makes a city, it’s the people.

Here’s some video of my contribution to the book, Foundation Myth, read at Greenwich Book Festival, same story, slightly different take.

and at the book launch, at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, also in Greenwich.

Order your copy direct

Writing the Past: The Bog Mermaid


Video from the Arachne Press Writing the Past event for Hither Green Festival 2019 at Manor House Library.

An extract from the 1926 thread of this as yet unfinished novel(la) – first draft almost done.

 

Solstice Stories at Story Fridays & Greenlanders at Liars’ League

Video


Great fun at Bath’s Burdall’s Yard reading for Solstice  at Story Fridays. You can listen to my story, Midsummer Morris Marathon and the other stories here.

And here’s the video of Tim reading Greenlanders at Liars’ League. It’s been a busy week!

Kate Foley & Cherry Potts reading at Gay’s the Word – Video


Arachne Press

We had a great evening at Gay’s the Word – thank you to Uli & Jim – and despite Kate’s determination to walk out of shot, we have some video – where it got silly, with just a sleeve on show, there’s audio instead.

Here’s Cherry reading a bit about family from The Dowry Blade, chosen specially to link with Kate’s themes, and not read elsewhere.

and audio of the other section read

Here’s Kate reading a varied selection of poems from The Don’t Touch Garden

Blue Glass, Empty Pram:

Oral History:

My Father Counting Sheep:

The Elephant Aunts:

and here, reading an abridged version of the long title poem.

continued off camera…

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World Premier… my very first tune


Organising Longest Night kept me away from my own blog for a while, but it was completely worth it, not least because it gave me an opportunity to share my first ever musical composition with musicians who would do it justice. Here are Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd singing The Cold Time.

This is a Trobairitz song from the late 12th Century, written by Azalaïs de Porcairagues, in what is now Languedoc. It is written in a form of Provençal known now as Occitan. The tune is lost, and I came across it in Meg Bogin’s book The Women Troubadours, while researching my historical novel about Cathars and Trobairitz, The Cold Time, which I may eventually finish.

I actually wrote the melody a very long time ago, but coming up with harmonies has been a slower process. Ian & Sarah were incredibly patient with me!

I learnt Provençal, and tweaked Bogin’s translation for poetic rhythm and sense. The original song is a much longer work, but only this first section stands alone without understanding the social mores of the time and the geography and architecture of the city of Aurenga (Orange) – it was only when I went there and visited the museum that I understood a reference later in the song to the ‘Arch with the Triumphs’. A Roman triumphal arch, which for several centuries was built into the castle, effectively forming the front door. This was certainly the case when Azalaïs knew the then count,  Raimbaut d’Aurenga. These days the arch sits on a roundabout to the north of the city centre, and getting to it is a death defying race across, dodging massed lorries.

Roman triumphal arch, Orange, Provence

Raimbaut d’Aurenga’s Front Door

Notionally the section here is a typical Troubadour song of the seasons, although Spring was a more popular subject than Winter. However, the song is in fact an extended metaphor and a farewell to Raimbaut, Azalaïs’ ‘Nightingale’. She does not say so, but he had died.

Portrait of the Artist’s Model as a Young Woman at Liars’ League HK


Brad Powers and Saffron Chan reading Portrait… (rather well!) at Liars’ League Hong Kong for True & False.