Update: Lane Ashfeldt's take on judging this year's competition: The Willesden Prize, Stories and Tunnels _______ This is the...
Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
If you missed Extras, the final episode/Christmas special, as I nearly did (the only thing I wanted to see over Christmas - well, that and the new Oliver Twist) you can still watch it for another 6 days on the new BBC iPlayer. It's absolutely brilliant. I even want to use an exclamation mark! There! That's how brilliant it is! Oliver Twist is on there as well: I watched it all in one go overnight, when that was repeated on sign zone.
Update: You can watch everything broadcast by the BBC in the last seven days on iPlayer. (I think it only works if you're in the UK. Can anybody confirm that?) In effect you don't need a television anymore, and you can do your own scheduling. However, there is something good in the feeling of watching a brilliant new production "as it goes out", and knowing that many others are too.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Postmarks spotted include (in no particular order) all parts of the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, Japan, China, Trinidad & Tobago, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Mauritius and The Philippines. Every single entry was a valiant effort, and the task of reading and judging is both daunting and wonderful. Cheers!
There was an erroneous press release early on, which gave December 24 as the closing date, which was quickly corrected to December 21. Therefore entries received up to and including December 24 have been admitted on the assumption that they got the erroneous press release. Qualification, as stated in the rules, is by date received not by date posted.
To the person who sent a bribe: it's on its way back to you in a Christmas card, so keep an eye out for it. Next year the rules will be changed to disqualify anyone who tries that. I suggest you give the money to charity, maybe this one.
* In the northern hemisphere only. Terms and conditions apply. Stocks and shares may go down as well as up. Fair words butter no parsnips.
Just when you're wondering if he can make that note, he does it and goes even higher. What strikes me about this rendition of "Danny Boy" is it's a real street singer's version, just like the gypsy (ok tinker - forgive me!) kid with a voice like a bell you can hear any day down Grafton Street in Dublin.
Here he is in his pomp: Good Lookin' Woman. Nobody could wear a brown suit better than this, and believe me I tried.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
 There are 12 London Underground lines. No longer true. There are now 11, and will be for the foreseeable future. When the East London line reopens in 2010 it'll be part of the London Overground, not the Underground network.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
"Former prime minister Tony Blair has left the Anglican Church to become a Roman Catholic." (BBC)
What a numbskull. "I paid the blood price" Blair and "Shackle mothers giving birth" Widdecombe. They'll be right at home in that gannet roost of maundering old drivel.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Is it me, or has anybody else noticed that Brent East MP Sarah Teather looks exactly like a character from a James Thurber cartoon?
Niall D., Edgware
Well spotted. We will consider that for a future Believe it or Not. We prefer rocks that look like Geronimo, but if we get really desperate... (Ridley)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"The long road to pension victory - Timeline" (Telegraph)
Campaigners had to fight all the way and only after multiple court rulings the government agrees to right this injustice, notorious to all except them, the sorry timeservers.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I like her idea to put them in the grounds of schools and hospitals. Not so crazy about putting them along the motorways. Ok if you have a chauffeur, maybe.
Friday, December 14, 2007
"BBC Newsnight has taken a holiday and decided to investigate some news - credit where it's due, they've come up with the goods. The story in question is the revelation that this year's Policy Exchange report on Islam in the UK was a dangerous fraud (----watch here----). It transpires that one of the key elements of the report - an alarmist claim that a quarter of UK mosques sell 'hate literature' (which is still well below the 100% rate at which UK newsagents sell hate literature) - was backed up by a bunch of phoney receipts, suggesting that the researchers had confected evidence for a pre-conceived thesis."
Fascinating BBC report exposes the recent claims that mosques were selling "hate literature", as based on falsified evidence. The forgeries are exposed by a forensic scientist engaged by the BBC, in the face of a 9-page legal letter from Policy Exchange threatening to sue. In the film, as the forensic scientist works you can see shadow writing (in the same hand) of different forged receipts, supposedly from different places, which were written on top of each other. Additionally the receipts investigated are poor-quality inkjet printed forgeries, completely unlike their real counterparts, and contain spelling and address errors.
Remember, the Policy Centre report caused quite a bit anxiety and probably stirred up hatred. Now it is revealed as a sham.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Ridley's Believe it or Not (No. 4)
By a fantastic coincidence two readers photographed exactly the same phenomenon at almost exactly the same time on Friday (December 7th.)
The sky over Harlesden Road at 4 p.m. this evening [Friday]. (Picture: Patsy, Willesden)
The same spectacle seen over Northolt at the same time. (Picture: A. Mullane)
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Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
"A badge commemorating the service of the Land Army and the Women's Timber Corps will be presented to surviving members."
An interview with Hilda Gibson, who was one of the Land Girls, and a poem by her. This is a somewhat horrifying at first, then funny and ultimately touching interview and poem, which has inspired a big reaction from Radio 4 listeners. Well worth a listen.
This is the company song here at Herald House. Star jumps to this every morning. This live (official) version is better than the record, I think. The divine Beverley is held back somewhat on the record, as if some nerd in the background has said, "Whoa! tone it down." Death to that nerd.
Here's an official Beatles release from the new DVD of "Help!", You've Got to Hide Your Love Away. I think you'll find that, like Wilfred Bramble [He's not in Help, duh. Ed], it's "very clean".
You don't get this with your other boring newspapers do you? All the official artist releases right here. Check my other favourites here.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Writers write. Actors read. Audience listens. Everybody wins. Liars’ League is a monthly night of new short stories by rising authors, read by professional actors. With 90 minutes of fiction for only £3, literature as entertainment has never been so good. (Liars' League)
Announcing the Willesden short story prize results event 2008 in association with Liars' League. [How strangely appropriate. Ed] The results event will take place from 8 pm on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at The Space, Willesden, with actors from the Liars' League line-up reading excerpts from the winning and short-listed entries. Details to follow.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Short Story Prize 2008
Judge: Zadie Smith
Closing date for receipt of entries: 21 December 2007.
The competition is open to all aged 18 or over, regardless of nationality or country of residence.
The prizes for 2008 are: 1st place £5000. For nine runners up, publication* of their short-listed stories in the anthology “New Short Stories 2” together with the winner. In addition, up to four commended entries may be announced, which will be eligible for inclusion* in the anthology.
Entry is free.
Entries must be in English, and accompanied by the official entry form.
There will be a prizegiving ceremony at The Space, London NW10 early in 2008.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, including Willesden Writers' Workshop, the London Borough of Brent Arts and Libraries Service, the Willesden Herald, and Pretend Genius Press, this competition is free to enter. All for love of the short story. This is the first literary entity since Shakespeare to offer both love and immortality.
There is no theme and no word limit other than the highly variable attention span of our short-listing team.
Full rules, entry form and address for entries: New Short Stories
* Update (29th of October): Inclusion in the anthology is optional for runners-up and commended. We understand that you may want to save your story's unpublished status. This is now the same as in previous years.
Advertisement by Gombeen™
Willesden Herald and pretend genius [press] present
The Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize
in conjunction with the anthology New Short Stories - 2
1st Prize: £5,000
Post to: Willesden Short Story Competition
PO Box 61437
I wish to include the following short story in the above competition:
I have read and I agree to abide by the rules of the competition:
Name* [block letters]:
* Name, Address, and E-mail are mandatory
We would like to send you emails or letters from time to time about this competition and other Pretend Genius Press and Willesden Herald events. We will not share your details with anyone outside of Pretend Genius Press and Willesden Herald, unless required to do so by law. Please add me to your mailing list: Yes (____) No (____).
Closing date for receipt of entries: 21 December 2007.
The competition is open to all aged 18 or over, regardless of nationality or country of residence.
Entries must be entirely your own work and never previously published or broadcast, online or offline.
Entries submitted on behalf of somebody else will not be eligible.
One entry per person only. Subsequent entries, including revisions, will be omitted from the competition and will not be read.
If you would like acknowledgement of receipt, please send a stamped, self-addressed postcard or sealed envelope. If you are outside the U.K. either forego acknowledgement of receipt, or send an "international reply coupon" obtainable from your local post office together with your postcard. We will not be responsible for any failure of posted items to arrive.
Entries must be in English, printed or typed, single sided, double-spaced, with pages numbered and securely fastened. Entries must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title of the story.
We cannot return any manuscripts, so please do not send your only copy.
The address for entries is:
Willesden Short Story Competition
PO Box 61437
Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but Willesden Herald will have the unrestricted right to publish the winning story in the anthology "New Short Stories - 2" and to include a reading of the story in a podcast by Willesden Herald and Pretend Genius . Inclusion in the anthology and podcasts is optional for runners-up and up to four commended. We understand that you may want to save your story's unpublished status.
We will not enter into any correspondence about the selections or results, and we cannot provide any feedback on individual entries.
Judging will be impartial and anonymous. The entries will be reduced to a long list by a number qualified readers, who are published and/or prize-winning authors and editors. The initial selectors will not know the identity of entrants, except that the chairman will be given the identities of short-listed authors, in order to confirm their details before forwarding to the final judge. The final judge will not know the identity of entrants until after the results are decided.
Members of Pretend Genius and Willesden Herald and this year's judges are excluded from the competition.
The prizes for 2008 are: 1st place £5000. For nine runners up, publication (optional) of their short-listed stories in the New Short Stories anthology together with the winner. In addition, up to four commended entries may be announced, which will be eligible for inclusion (optional) in the anthology. Short-listed and commended authors will receive 2 complimentary copies of the anthology.
As in previous years the winner also receives the legendary Willesden Herald mug inscribed "The Willesden Short Story Prize 2008" and for the first time this year, a bottle of Sloe Wine.
The short list and winner will be announced simultaneously on the Willesden Herald website and here, early in the new year. The prizewinners will be notified by email at the same time. Accordingly, it is essential to provide a working email address.
Upon notification of winning, short-listing or commendation, it is a requirement of these rules that you provide an electronic copy of the entry as an attachment, by email. This is essential for the preparation of the anthology. If we are unable to confirm details by email or phone, we reserve the right to disqualify the entry and select a substitute.
There will be a prizegiving event, scheduled tentatively for February 2008 in Willesden (details to be confirmed). We would certainly appreciate the attendance of the winner at this event, however we are unable to provide travel or other expenses.
We discourage simultaneous submissions. Please let us know if something is published after entry so it can be removed from the competition.
We reserve the right to withold the prizes and/or reduce the short list numbers if entries of a sufficient standard are not received. In the event of a tie, the first prize will be split equally between the winners.
Thanks to our generous sponsors (including Willesden Writers' Workshop, the London Borough of Brent Arts and Libraries Service, the Willesden Herald, and Pretend Genius ) this is a FREE competition, meaning free to enter. All for the love of the short story. This is the first literary entity since Shakespeare to offer you both love and immortality.
There is no theme and no word limit other than the highly variable attention span of our editorial team. Please bear in mind that this is a short story competition and entries that are obviously not short stories will be a waste of your time and ours.
Entry implies acceptance of all the rules.
Failure to comply with the entry requirements will result in disqualification..
Download the entry form (required), print, fill in and post.
Please do not send novels or novellas, just because there is no formal word limit. If you don't know what a short story is, you're not going to win, are you? For rough guidance, imagine you are submitting it to the New Yorker weekly magazine. They are not going to put a novel or a novella in a weekly magazine. They have a story every week, sometimes quite short or anything up to about 8,000 words.
It has to feel like a short story. No matter how short it is, if it reads like a mini-novel it's no good. It doesn't matter if it's a little over 8,000 as long as it feels like a short story, not a mini-novel or novella. There comes a point where the piece is so long that it cannot possibly feel like a short story. To date, we have had industrially bound novels with prologues and chapters, one with 221 pages etc. These people are wasting time, postage, money and trees.
The real heart of the definition of a short story is a tale that can be told in one session. Too long and you lose your audience. The longer you make it, the better it had be. [Grammar? Ed]
Excerpts, examples and links to some stories we like are available on the New Short Stories website.
Please do not send requests for entry forms or result notifications, we cannot supply them. The entry form, rules and results are and will be available online only (www.newshortstories.com).
...like a very expensive, but baggy, suit.
"Budding writers take note; the Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize 2008 is now accepting submissions." (Brent Brain)
"Entry remains free, as does the ethos of a competition, which is designed to encourage emerging talent in the literary short story." (Guardian Books)
Open call for submissions: Willesden Herald international short story prize: There's no shortage of of short story competitions out there but not many have Zadie Smith selecting the winner. (The Elegant Variation)
The Willesden Herald and Pretend Genius Press present the 2008 Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize. $10,000 [approx.] goes to the winner. (New York Centre for Independent Publishing)
lesson 1: reading fundamentalisms¹
as it pertains to reading, such as it is that it is important, it is important to use important terminology and cite important references deemed important by important people, in order to and not withstanding, understand and discuss those aspects of a work that are important to its understanding. although, as has been stated in one of this century's more aggrieved works on writing—the reader is expected to read on a basic level. that is what helps them buy products²—becoming or getting familiar with the important terminological countenance of a work's tangential references, allows the reader to read without cortexing nee oblongating the upper mammalary and if possible pappalary glands.
part 1 of lesson 1 highlights the importance of important terminology.
part 1: important terminology
etymology: origin unknown
date: 19th century
1 : a word, interchangeable with some other words, used to describe a piece of writing that can be described with no other word
2 : a tack that usually becomes or gets lodged in the cerebral cortex and causes much bleeding <the pain I feel is probably caused by that ang I rolled over the other day — Peter Poontwang>
etymology: danzini tribe, iron panties
date: 3000 b.c.
1 : the tangent of vicissimilitude delimited by the intellectual context of something that has no reproductive qualities other than its own circumspection re: an unknown collective. <the pain I feel is probably caused by that plutarch I rolled over the other day — Peter Poontwang>
etymology: old non-sumerian, from middle non-babylonian pistol, to read
date: 21st century
1 : the act of looking at characters or letters or letters that look like characters and deciphering them in such a way as to make them a function of mutable linear nodes. <Charlotte, what does vicissimilitude mean? -- Henrietta Mcgillacuty (sic)>
2 : the symbol for manganese.
armed with these terms we shall probe the pipe-work of itty worbles³ that will time and again forthwith, ergo...secure them ang-like to the mutable non-/linear nodes.
note: the controversial influence of 3 dots on a reader's vicissimilitude is touched on in the caustic and currently unwritten chapter 4.
I am lion. Watch me faint.
in as much as and although these two sentences lack plutarch and vicissimilitude, the experienced reader sees ang in them. a reader who identifies this, enhances his/her function of the non-/linear nodes to a degree that itty worbles get or become impactful.
analyze the following sentence vis-a-vis ang, plutarch, and vicissimilitude:
what is real is not as real as it was when it was real but it might accidentally be just as real as it was when it was real, although even then one can't be certain that that real was what was really real.
supplementary reading assignment:
masturbating in public by j. tyler blue©2001
coming soon: part 2 of lesson 1 - referencing for cocteau parties
¹this is lesson 1
²chi chi, fronting the passive reversal voice (2002)
³in my controversial experiments on aphasiacs, this term, widely unuttered, means itty worbles
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Bill Gates organized an enormous session to recruit a new CEO for Microsoft Europe.
Exactly 5,000 candidates assemble in a large room. One candidate is Mario Dimaculangan.
Bill Gates: Thank you for coming. Those who do not know JAVA may leave.
2,000 people leave the room.
Mario says to himself, 'I do not know JAVA but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I'll give it a try.'
Bill Gates: Candidates who never had experience in managing more than 500 people may leave.
2,000 people leave the room.
Mario says to himself, 'I never managed anybody myself, but I have nothing to lose if I stay. What can happen to me?' So he stays.
Bill Gates: Candidates who do not have management diplomas may leave.
500 people leave the room.
Mario says to himself, 'I left high school at 15 but what have I got to lose?' So he stays in the room.
Lastly, Bill Gates asked the candidates who do not speak Serbo-Croat to leave.
498 people leave the room.
Mario says to himself, 'I do not speak one word of Serbo-Croat but what do I have to lose?' So he stays and finds himself with one other candidate.
Everyone else has gone.
So Bill Gates says, 'Apparently you are the only two candidates who speak Serbo-Croat! Go on then, let's hear you have a conversation together in Serbo-Croat.'
Calmly, Mario turns to the other candidate and says, `Ano ba yan, Dong?'*
The other candidate answers, 'Ewan ko, Pare.' **
* "What is that?".
** "I don't know, mate."