Saturday, September 29, 2012

Remembering Andy Williams


The Days of Wine and Roses - YouTube

Surely one of the best singers ever, no? He will be missed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

BlackBerry rocks



This video is amusing and reinforces a preference for BlackBerry over Apple and Google. However, what would be interesting would be to learn about conditions for factory workers who make the devices. BlackBerry can you step up and set a standard for others?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Berries and late flowers

Smooth white berries. Unknown

Red berries. Unknown

Blackberries

Haws

Red Clover? These are the only ones left,
& quite big flowers, so maybe a different type?
The tall things are ribwort plantain, gone to seed.

Field Scabious

Teasel et al. Not as tall as last year.
All in the fields behind Willesden sports centre

Autumnal equinox









Ash trees in front of Willesden sports centre
A couple of days after the equinox, trees are still keeping on their summer clothes.

Windy Monday evening




A windswept silver birch at Willesden sports centre

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saltwater - Lane Ashfeldt

This is a fundraising appeal for Saltwater - a collection of short stories by Lane Ashfeldt. It is up to about 80% of the target with just three days left.

Lane Ashfeldt by SissuPlease consider sponsoring this short story collection. There are various rewards for different amounts pledged. For a small contribution, it is like placing an advance order.

Lane Ashfeldt’s short stories are fine and Lane has helped a lot of other writers via Pulp.net, including co-sponsoring the Willesden Herald results event in Charles Dickens' house. Lane is an Irish writer living in Wales.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

St Andrew's wildflowers




The flowerbeds on the high street side of St Andrew's church, which were overgrown with weeds, look as if they have had some attention and turned themselves into pleasant wildflower displays. There is another smaller one, which has also improved and has some wild hollyhocks inter alia.

Tuesday evening






At Willesden Sports Centre



The Incredible String Band performed "Little Cloud" at Brent Town Hall in 1976. Thanks to reader Anne Onymous of Northolt for this information.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

If it's Friday it has to be £70k

Save Kensal Rise Library! | Campaign to Save Kensal Rise Library

£70,000 is needed to fund renovations and the first year of operation. It is important that this money be pledged by Friday in time for a decisive meeting with All Souls College, Oxford, owners of the building. The amount pledged has reached £64,199 as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday 5th.

That includes £1,000 from Willesden Green Writers' Group, which will now get its name on the wall of the library. How about it, local businesses and banks? Please step in and get your name on the wall of the library, and it will be good for business as well.

Brent Council has deliberately triggered the reversion clause in the covenant that gave the site for use as a library, which stated that if it ceased to be used as intended then ownership would revert to All Souls College. It was one of the most despicable acts imaginable, and perpetrated by a Labour council, would you believe, in a rush to close 6 of the 12 libraries it runs. They came like thieves in the night at 3 a.m, mob-handed, to strip the library when the protesters' presence was not able to stop them as it had before. They took everything, including the murals and the plaque commemorating the opening by Mark Twain in 1900.

Brent Council is also demolishing Willesden Library Centre, in return for some offices for themselves built gratis, after giving away the car park, worth about £10 million, to builders Galliford Try.

They even wanted to demolish the locally listed Victorian old library building, but that attack has been repulsed for now. It could be incorporated under a glass dome or suchlike, but more likely in a much more slapdash way, because this is all about money, not about culture or service.

And instead of a library centre, which has been a perfect name for the excellent existing building, which they are demolishing, they want to call it Willesden Green Cultural Centre, with their offices inside, to give us all that cold feeling of living in a Stalinist autocracy.

Labour! Treachery is now the norm in politics. It's not that they're "stealing other parties' clothes", they're stealing your bloody clothes, your birthright.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Bulaga

Dublin Jimmy from the basement is smoking dope outside the backdoor while his Jamaican girlfriend is helping Mimi from Olongapo with the cooking. Mimi starts singing as she gives the dishes a final stir, "By the rivers of Babylon, where we lay down…”



Husband Cézar comes into the kitchen to help with the serving and joins in the song,"Hey yeh we wept, when we remembered Zion." Now the three all sing together, not loudly, and start odd dancefloor steps on the way to peer into a cauldron or ladle food onto platters.

In the living room the guests are mostly sitting on chairs arranged around the walls. As Cézar carries the first dishes in some of them revive the song they heard from the kitchen. An old woman claps along, not knowing the words.

More dishes from the kitchen and another verse of the song from Mimi. A slight pause then Jimmy's Aunt Ida, over from County Wicklow, continues in a deep baritone, "Let the words of our hearts and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight here tonight." She repeats it, exhorting the others with a wave of her arms and they all chime in, "By the rivers of Babylon where we lay down…"

Some of the small children are running and dancing wild, whirling dances. Left out, the smallest toddler looks like he’s about to cry. Then ancient Fernando from La Coruna, who has been ancient forever, puts his hands on Mimi’s and Cézar's shoulders beside the table and adds his wheezing falsetto, obligado, "Eh, eh, we we-e-e-e-pt! ... Yeah, ye-e-ah. Yeah, ye-e-ah..." Mimi at last says, "Come on, let's eat!"

Steve Moran

First published in Slam Fiction

Short story competition now open

For a short story writer, inclusion in The New Yorker is the ultimate accolade. Forget prizes, book publication, fame, fortune—all you really want is to be listed together with Salinger, Cheever, Arthur Miller, Annie Proulx, E. L. Doctorow, Alice Monro, William Trevor, Edna O'Brien and the rest. Then if one of your stories is included, your only aim in writing short stories will be to have another chosen.

David Means, the judge for The Willesden Herald international hort story competition this year has had, at the latest count, no less than six of his short stories published in The New Yorker. He has also had three collections published by major publishing houses, including the august Faber & Faber, won the L.A. Times prize for his first book, Assorted Fire Events, and yes he teaches Creative Writing at Vassar. But all you need to know is that you have a chance to have a short story of yours short-listed to be read by David Means, by entering our seventh annual short story competition.

Previous recipients of the priceless mug and short-listed have gone on to high achievement and book deals. So start wrangling those literary mustangs or whisper in their ears, or teach them dressage, or give them apples and let them have a lie down. Closing date 21 December 2012.

Meanwhile you could do a lot worse than read our most popular anthology ever, New Short Stories 6, featuring new stories by Virginia Gilbert, Charles Lambert, Geraldine Mills and seven more great writers, the illustrious 2012 Willesden Herald best international stories. There is also a Kindle version. Previous years' anthologies are the perfect guide to the type of story likely to make it onto the short list.

People often complain that we don't say what sort of stories we want. Actually, we do, every year. Please read the anthologies, that's what the purpose of the competition is, to send new stories out to appreciative readers like your good self. Entries are in the hundreds but readers of the stories are in the tens. It would be great to improve on that this year.

Steve