Monday, November 28, 2011

How the Greek bailout will work, in very simple terms

Letters (email)

It is a slow day in a little Greek village.
On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.
The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.
The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks and food bill at the taverna.
The tavern owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.
The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.
The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works!!

Anon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Update on the Kickstarter project

Publish Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 6 » Backers

Thanks to everyone backing this project, we will now have the funding to publish the anthology more effectively. There is still time for more backers to pitch in and choose one of the four rewards. The more the merrier. :)

Update 18:30 GMT 27/11/2011 - good news!:
65 HOURS TO GO
31 BACKERS
$1000 PLEDGED OF $1,000 GOAL

Update 16:00 GMT 27/11/2011:
67 HOURS TO GO
27 BACKERS
$896 PLEDGED OF $1,000 GOAL

THIS PROJECT WILL ONLY BE FUNDED IF AT LEAST $1,000 IS PLEDGED BY WEDNESDAY NOV 30, 7:03AM EST.

Update 19:00 GMT 26/11/2011: We now have a taker for the $100 reward and we can add the most excellent writer Jill Widner to the list of supporters as well, taking us to $766.

25/11/2011: Thanks to everyone who has come forward so far to back this project. There are only four days left to reach the $1,000 goal and the total has now reached $666 [There should be a joke here. Ed]. Among the backers are New Short Stories contributors including Wena Poon, Margot Taylor, Arthur Allan, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Toby Litt (yes, the one and only - all the ones and onlys).

We have four different rewards on offer. Nobody has opted for the $100 one yet*, though somebody did on the last attempt, which failed. Unless the funding target is met by the end date, none of the funding comes through. In that event, nothing is debited and of course similarly with the rewards.

The objective is to help us publish the next anthology more effectively. You can read all the details by following the link.

Nightfall

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The real Irish presidential debate

...as seen by Steve Moran

A solar flare causes massive disruption to mobile phone networks, and widespread chaos. Among side effects that people have little time to worry about, the seven candidates in the Irish presidential election 2011 are stranded in a blacked out TV studio where they were preparing for a debate... (Continue)

More stories from Museum of Illusions:

Pain and the Stars: Robert Mitchum's expression says, I have a little pain but it's nothing I can't handle... (Continue)

Watching the Defectives - GOP foreign policy debate: "It's worth listening to the logic of people like Gingrich, absolute moral bankruptcy: covert operations 'all deniable'. Deniable - why? A big question..." (Continue)

This evening



The view from Herald House

Friday, November 25, 2011

November short story news

Continuing to report back good news about Willesden Herald finalists and prizewinners, but where to start? We have received word this month of no less than three Hawthornden Castle Fellowships winners for 2012 (Jill Widner, Vanessa Gebbie and Henrietta Rose-Innes), a debut short story collection, two novels, a poetry collection and more.

There is an embarrassment of riches really, looking back over the year. We have not even mentioned prodigiously successful author, Toby Litt, whose alphabetical novel series continued this year with the stylish, black-edged edition of King Death, and other publications and productions too numerous to mention.

The new short story collection is Somewhere Else, or Even Here (Salt Publishing) by AJ Ashworth, whose Overnight Miracles was a great hit in New Short Stories 5.

This month also saw the launch of Vanessa Gebbie's The Coward's Tale (Bloomsbury), which we have mentioned before, and it is set to be published in America next year too.

Prolific New Zealand author Laura Solomon has another novel Hilary and David (Proverse) which will no doubt continue her pageturner storytelling combined with a light humorous touch.

Late breaking news: Peggy Riley, another of the talented Americans we're holding hostage here in Britain has just been highly commended in the Bridport prize 2011. Peggy Riley's story Pearl, which mixed poetry and prose was one of the highlights of New Short Stories 4.

We're not monomaniacs, you'll be relieved to learn, (why do I keep saying "we", it's only me!) and we like poetry as much as the next man, so it is a delight to report another launch this month for a New Short Stories contributor. The Juno Charm (Salmon) is the latest collection of poetry from acclaimed Irish poet and novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir. So there.

Congratulations to all concerned. If I have missed any out, please let me know. (Steve)

Where are your bards, oh youth of 2011? (repost)



Your forefathers could describe a forest in one twig, could perform their deadly thunder feats without appearing to move a muscle, could split a metaphor head to crotch with the blow of a single phrase. Do ye lie abed pleasuring yourselves while armies of creeping mumblers invade our ancient fields? Rise and send forth your magic incantations before the whole world sinks under the dreary wave. www.willesdenherald.com

Ossian

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chalk another one up for the local writing group!

Antony Wootten’s debut novel, A Tiger Too Many, is a dramatic and powerful page-turner for the 9-12 age range. Set in London Zoo during World War II, it is a tense tale of a young girl’s desperate struggle to save her beloved tiger-cub. Despite the traumas of air-raids and evacuation, and her older brother going missing in action, Jill never gives up, even when the zoo itself is bombed and she finds herself amongst the burning debris...
TheBookbag.co.uk called it “real edge-of-the-seat-stuff”.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Outtake from first draft of The Da Vinci Code

My first is Balaam but not in ass
My second is in Noah but not in flood
My third is in Virgil but not Catullus
My fourth is in very but never in good
In my pelt to the desert I fly
Who the hairy hell am I?

Ganache

Carys Davies wins V.S. Pritchett Prize 2011

Short Story News | THRESHOLDS

"Congratulations to Carys Davies, winner of this year’s V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize. Davies was presented with a cheque for £1000 at last night’s awards ceremony at Somerset House in recognition of her story 'The Redemption of Galen Pike'."

Twice short-listed for the Willesden Herald short story prize, Carys Davies has also won the 2010 two-yearly Olive Cook prize from the Society of Authors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The GOP candidates introduce themselves

My name is Michele Bachmann. They call me the Tea Party candidate.

Hello, my name is Ron Paul. They call me the Libertarian candidate.

My name is Newt Gingrich. They call me Mr Speaker.

[Laughter. Applause.]

Hi, my name is Rick Perry, they call me, uh, Rick Perry.

Hi...Hi. Herman? Herman Cain right? Yeh, that's me, I think.

Hello, I'm Rick Sa--

[Presenter: I'm sorry we've got a system here.]

Hi, my name is mhhd Romney.

[Presenter: Sorry, did you say "Mid"?]

No, haha, mhd Romney.

[Second presenter: That's Mitt, right?]

[First Presenter: Haha, let's try and keep it serious now. Ok, moving along...]

Charlie bit my finger



Possibly the most popular YouTube video ever, with getting on for 380 million views. It's very funny. You might not think it's going to be but wait till Charlie gets going - brilliant.

Pencils, paper, eraser, sharpener: Action!

Hudson - Against The Grain from Dropbear on Vimeo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Libraries, grade II listed buildings? Bulldoze them all.

Fury as bulldozers move in for historic Brent home - Harrow Observer

The arsonists have won. Brent can't restore the house, so they've started to bulldoze it. If Mark Twain were to return to London he would be amazed to find that we can no longer afford to have a library in Kensal Rise and we cannot afford to maintain the house where he stayed, which he described as a little bit of paradise. His general impression therefore might be of this as a time of great poverty, compared to the year 1900.

Cycle Superhighway travesty

diamond geezer: "... the Bow Flyover roundabout is a bloody disgrace, both for pedestrians and cyclists, as was tragically proven yesterday morning."

Update 14/11/2011: BBC London News reports a woman cyclist was killed in a collision on the roundabout on Friday.

Sunday

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Experimento Comparte - Acción contra el Hambre



What will children do when they find that one has something on their plate and the other has nothing? (Donate)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance day



He will not come, and still I wait.
He whistles at another gate
Where angels listen. Ah I know
He will not come, yet if I go
How shall I know he did not pass
barefooted in the flowery grass?

The moon leans on one silver horn
Above the silhouettes of morn,
And from their nest-sills finches whistle
Or stooping pluck the downy thistle.
How is the morn so gay and fair
Without his whistling in its air?
The world is calling, I must go.
How shall I know he did not pass
Barefooted in the shining grass?

--A Little Boy in the Morning by Francis Ledwidge

'Francis Edward Ledwidge (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917) was an Irish war poet from County Meath. Sometimes known as the "poet of the blackbirds", he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I.' (Wikipedia). (I found this in "This is not a Novel" by Jennifer Johnston.)

Michael D Higgins making his last speech in the Dáil



One of the most trenchant sections is from about 11:30 in, when he decries the era of "radical individualism".

Irish television coverage of the presidential inauguration 11 November 2011 (available until 2 December 2011)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Willesden Reservoir development proposals

Leaflet distributed locally today
Willesden Depot

"Notting Hill Housing is bringing forward plans to redevelop the Willesden Depot site, next to Willesden Reservoir, to provide new affordable homes for the Borough."

"These proposals have changed as a result of feedback received during our consultation held in late 2010. Please come along to the exhibition to discuss the updated proposals for the site and to let us know your views on the changes to the design."

The revised plans will be available to view at Kings Hall community centre, 155 Harlesden Road, NW10 2BS, Thursday 10 November 2011, from 4:30pm to 8:00pm.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Call for submissions

It's time to bring those wild stories down from the high mountain passes, throw a bucket of water over them, and lead them into town for the annual gala. They don't have to be wild horses, they might be butterflies or bottles of moonshine - surprise us.

The judge for this year is the incomparable Roddy Doyle. So please let us have your finest new short stories. Thanks.

Closing date: 16 Dec. 2011