now incorporating the Sudbury Hill Times

Monday, September 27, 2010

Laughing my head off

Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado: Amazon.co.uk

"Coming at the same time as Tony Blair's fictive auto-hagiography, this much more factual journal covering the period of the Iraq war is very welcome. It is also extremely funny and I have translated the title of this review from a rather more amusing version noted in the text. The author has a way with description. When we learn that somebody on the Heath is munching on a knob the size of a rolled-up Willesden Herald, the scene is conjured instantly and characteristically. Against the background of the daily developments during the second Iraq war, a constant battle of wits with the Old Bill and business enterprises that involve a lot of night moves, there is also the human story of a typical family trying to carry on its daily life and loves against the backdrop of seemingly universal depravity. I'm not just puffing this up because Mikey is one of the lads from round this way and because I'm in fear of some of his mates - it really is an excellent read." (Ganache, Amazon Reviews)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project Natal: fiction, hype, fraud or karaoke?



If, like me, you love fiction but hate computer games, I think you should watch this. Personally, I think it's a fraud but it's fascinating. It does approach the experience of story somewhat and so we must take it into consideration. It is really another way of translating a story, not film, not stage, not other languages but into an interactive scenario that brings the story partly to life. The pre-planned scenarios that are inevitably programmed into it are the problem, reading a story gives us an infinitely variable visualisation, conjecture and response. This robotised interpretation is always on the verge of saying "Sorry, that does not compute." Don't swallow all that sales hype without a large pinch of salt. All that said, the demonstration is quite amusing. The nearest analogy would be that it is to fiction as karaoke is to music.

Ossian

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Here's $300 Lord, super size me



Tonight, a bunch of despicable frauds ripping people off in the UK and worldwide courtesy of cable TV. They are jibbering and jabbering ("speaking in tongues") in between telling people to go to their phones and donate money to go onto the virtual altar that they are then going to pray over and they will get "double portion" from God. You couldn't make this shit up. And of course, the offer is for one day only, bizarrely Yom Kippur is the pretext. Notice they can't even keep a straight face about 2 minutes in when the holy tart makes up a story that she has "just heard about a court case that was impossible ... I can't name names ... involving a child ... and it has just been won! ..." and the Brit twat or whatever he is "... has just been won? ... Praise the Lord." ... "And if you knew just how impossible this case was!" wibba-bibba-jibba-jabba-floba-lboba-lobo-abopalob-cooroocoocoo Go to your phones now, time is running out. "That's £200 in the UK. I don't know what it is in Euros."

There are a few disgusting things in the media and online but by crikey, if this isn't among the most disgusting and nauseating of the lot. (Ed.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last year's competition accounts

When we added an entry fee last year, having no sponsor for the prize money, I promised to publish the accounts for the competition.

OUT
Paypal commission: £93
Book setup and buy 36: Approx £200
Event booking (Charles Dickens museum): £206
Prizes: £600
Books for contributors, extra 10 mostly overseas through Amazon, approx: £100
Postage: £18
Wine: £60
Bank charges p.a. (£5 x 12): £60
Web hosting (Pipex Webfusion incl. database and PHP support): (£17.99 x 12): £215.88
Domain registry: £10 approx
Total: £1562.88 (approx.)

IN
Entries: 310 - 16 no pay - 4 test = 290 x 3 = £870
Sale of books at launch: 10 x £10 = £100
Wine fund contributions at launch: £34
Contribution from shared web hosting for WGwg: £25 approx
Amazon Associates commission on book links: £40 approx
Google Ads: £40 approx (not receivable till £60)
Total: £1109.00 (approx)

The inscribed mug is donated by Object Tree Ltd. gratis. Loss therefore in the region of £450 all picked up by Object Tree Ltd, for which I am of course extremely grateful. Thank you Object Tree. Don't mention it Willesden Herald. 

Where we miscalculated badly last year was in the cost of the results event. Thought that was sponsored but it wasn't after all. However friends did help a lot with the organising and running of it. Willesden Green Writers' Group has stepped in to sponsor next year's event, so hopes are high that ends will meet this time.

Of the 36 books bought at cost, most went gratis to contributors. 10 were sold at the launch. 7 authors came to the launch. Several of the contributors (overseas etc.) got their copies sent via Amazon.

I don't get any money from book sales, unless I buy the books at cost and sell them direct, which I could but I don't except for the launch event. Pretend Genius is part sponsoring this year by selling the anthologies and forwarding the entry fee for anyone who wants a free entry with each anthology. The accounts are part of Object Tree Ltd, all audited and submitted to the tax inspectors.

Pretend Genius, the publisher of the anthologies, is a registered not-for-profit organisation in the US.

Willesden Herald does not receive any public money. The organising and reading for the competition are on a voluntary basis. Sometimes if we have helpers they get a WH mug (not the priceless inscribed one). The links at the side of the blog to books on Amazon and Google Ads earn a little money (see above) towards running expenses.

There. I hope that's clear. If there are any questions I will try and answer them. I hope you can see that it's still for the love of the short story. (Ossian)

P.S. About the bank charges. The competition had its own bank account with Lloyds last year, which cost £5 per month. Having seen marvellous offer of free business banking from Alliance & Leicester (now Santander), thought that would be good for the competition account and duly switched over. Unfortunately the small print says that banking is only free if you deposit £1,000 per month. What it really costs is - have you guessed? - £5 per month. Doh! Have since moved it again, this time into main business account so it's "sort of free" now (some months!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Simon Armitage reading at Dodge poetry festival



1. The Shout. 2. The Christening

There is a moment after the end of The Shout when the audience laughs, a release of tension that is a little strange and the poet appears to be in pain. I haven't twigged why the last one is called "The Christening", it's an odd mixture of marvellously executed "jokes" and more portentous elements. (Ossian)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Wena Poon's new novel is BBC4 Book at Bedtime



BBC4 Book at Bedtime for the the week starting September 6, 2010 is "Alex y Robert" by Wena Poon. Earlier this year, "The Architects" by Wena Poon took the Willesden Herald 2009-10 prize for best short story of the year. For a lot more about Alex y Robert, please visit Salt Publishing. If you would like to read "The Architects", it is published in New Short Stories 4, which if you buy direct from the publisher between now and December 17th, includes free entry into this year's short story competition.

Ossian