|Image: Crowborough Social Club|
A fantastic weekend. The Diners made the best of Durham and we had a great time, although we all suspected by Sunday, that it had yet to reveal the majority of its secrets.
It all started for me on Thursday when I headed through to Glasgow to spend time with my sister. It was her birthday a couple of days before so I had some gifts for her and then we went to the Odeon cinema at Springfield Quay, a venue I used to frequent on an almost weekly basis when I lived in Shawlands.
We went to see NEDS, a Glasgow-based film from the 70s in which there is more swearing than an hour with Billy Connolly. On the outside it is a film about what it says – Non-Educated Delinquents – and certainly, the showing attracted its fair share of that very type of person. However, this film worked on so many levels, going much deeper than either me or my sister had expected.
It was a fascinating look at 70s life in Glasgow and being a young lad moving up through the schooling system, and what made an essentially lovely boy with prospects turn into nothing more than a violent thug. As funny as it was violent, it came with a gorgeous soundtrack and every detail catered for, the carpet in the protagonist’s house was the one we had in ours growing up! Peter Mullan wrote, directed and appeared in the film and it is definitely a triumph for him. Go and see it – it’s a great film.
After the cinema my sister and I enjoyed a Chinese meal (chicken with oyster sauce and egg fried rice) before calling it a night. I had an early start; I had to be in Glasgow Queen Street for 8:30am.
Off to Durham
I met up with the Group Captain at the designated time and place and we boarded a train to Edinburgh. When we arrived in Waverly we had a couple of hours to spare so spent our time in the bar supping the first couple of pints of the day. The train left on time and by the time it arrived in Newcastle, the banter was flowing as readily as the lager.
Durham is a lovely little town, a sort of mini York or Edinburgh but with nicer people (the locals took to us splendidly and everywhere you went you could hear people opening doors or stepping out of the way of one another with a friendly “hello”). We were thankful that the pubs were all within a short distance of one another, although the hill that the town is built on seemed to get steeper as the weekend wore on.
The pubs came in two basic formats: old and traditional or modern and spanking new; there was no in-between. Regardless, we made our presence felt and discovered a few little gems on our quaffing travels.
I can’t tell you how much I laughed over the course of the weekend. Such is the energy generated when us lot get together (around 5 or 6 times a year), a mix of childish nonsense and brotherly love seems to swamp us and guide us on our merry way.
Back to Reality
Back home on Sunday evening I found myself out at Edinburgh’s Western hospital to visit a relative who isn’t too well at the moment. I spent a couple of hours there before heading home, grabbing some dinner, and going to bed with a book.
I was back at the day job yesterday, but as far as my GDRs go, I spent my lunch and last night wrapping up my monthly GDR for January and preparing my February one. There is still much work to be done, but one thing I realised is that I have met one of my resolutions for 2010/11. It was one of the personal ones I set myself and I never realised that I’d managed to achieve it, because since doing it I’ve kind of forgot about it. It is, however, a massive tick because it was no easy feat to do, let me tell you.
Speaking of GDRs, here’s January’s wrap-up.
* Savvy Author’s Course (One Story, Many Voices) – complete
* Begin next re-write of BACCARA BURNING – complete (as in, it has begun)
* Resubmit SLICK after return – not back out yet
* Keep on top of fiction submissions – complete
* Submit to all selected fiction competitions this month – complete
* Start work on new ideas for chapbook – not done (time; move to Feb)
* Publish RR issue 13 for December – complete
* Complete site overhaul for photography client – complete
* Keep all my websites updated and relevant – complete
* New gigs lined up for review – none in January
Reading & Learning
* SCAREDY CAT by Mark Billingham – IP
* ONE GOOD TURN by Kate Atkinson – IP
* THE FRY CHRONICLES by Stephen Fry – IP
* Use Podcasting ideas to publish first one – not complete!!!
* New Year book offers – complete
* Publish NY newsletter – complete
Things That Turned Up
* Resigned from positions as Associate Editor and Webmaster from the Scruffy Dog Review.
Submissions Activity Summary
Paint > Sent to Wheelhouse Magazine
Daffodils > Sent to Short Talk (Audio)
Regrets > Sent to Dublin Quarterly
Amanda and Joe > Sent to Ephemera
The English Teacher > Sent to Fleeting Magazine Short Writing Competition
Citizen’s Arrest > Sent to Words Magazine s/s Competition
A Point of View > Sent to New Writing Scotland
Samson the Great > Sent to Libbon
A Writer’s Hell > Sent to East of the Web
Whisky Snatching > Sent to Wheelhouse Magazine
Nothing currently under submission
Nothing currently under submission
* The big success of January was the Savvy Authors workshop I took, One Story, Many Voices. Led by the wonderful Devon Ellington, we each created a story then re-wrote it through several genres. It has opened up doors for me and forced me to analyse how I approach stories and what I can do with them. I miss being on it – the month format suited me very much – although in order to meet the objectives I had to put aside other work, though not entirely. As a result, it’s been a productive month.
* Not so much a success or a failure, but definitely a good thing, was my resignation from the Scruffy Dog Review. It was something that had been on my mind for a long time and the time seemed right for me to walk away from the magazine. I don’t regret it and I’ll always remember my time there fondly, but I have to move on, which in this case meant making a tough decision, ergo the success.
* I started to put stuff together for podcasts but it fell by the wayside. I need a direction (or a director??), or maybe I just need to sit down and batter out a format. Not quite sure why this is proving to be so difficult but it is.
* Should have read more this month than I have done. Disappointed in this and have made a move already to fit more essential reading time in.
Pictures from Durham
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