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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Barely a pinprick with the flu jab - how times have changed.  A couple of days with snuffles, mind.

Another goodly meeting of Southampton Writing Buddies.  I chaired it this time; 15 lively writers but I think everyone had the chance to say their bit, celebrate their successes, and get answers to queries.  Some really helpful info, too.  We seem to follow the same path: keen on writing as a child, developing interests about which to write, then some formal writing but a crisis of confidence - is it worth sending off?  What if they don't like it?  That seems to be the tipping point.  Do we lob it out anyway and keep writing, or leave it in a drawer.  Hopefully the former.  Many of us have become more confident after some success, and once it's our very best work, off it goes in hopes while the next masterpiece gets under way.  Talking of which, I've sent a pitch for a new feature to a national mag.

I've recently finished another script for the Eastleigh Talking News.  It seems we may be getting a third editor for this team, which is great - means I'll be 'on duty' for 2 weeks out of every 6, much better than every 4.  I've also been invited to be a mentor for The Vegetarian Society, available to advise and support anyone who's thinking of becoming vegetarian.  I have periodic 'vox pops' pieces in their quarterly mag, and may be in the next one due out in November.  Have now reached 50 articles on suite101, so revenue will have a 10% bonus - and as we all know, 10% of 20 cents is 2 cents.  I shall run an extra bit of water to celebrate.

Now my favourite bit - the food.  Have been eating my mushroom, chestnut and cranberry pate since I made and photographed it for suite101.  My best pate so far, I think.  We took a recently bereaved neighbour out to the South Garden Chinese Restaurant for dinner; he did really well, and sent us a thanks note to say it had really lifted his spirits.  It helped, I think, that we weren't part of their usual social circle so there wasn't any attached awkwardness.

Also ate at the King Rufus - battered halloumi, very rich, and the batter tasted of fish so I left it and complained to Greene King (no response as yet).  I assume it was fried along with scampi, cod etc, which means it shouldn't be marked vegetarian.  Also lunched at the Royal Wok in Southampton, Bella Italia, and La Cuccina, as well as regular dose of Pinot Grigio and onion rings at Wetherspoon's.

We use the local buses quite a bit. I get cheesed with the young 'uns who sit at the back and always put their shoes on the seat opposite.  Sometimes I glare or comment and they remove them (until I'm not looking).  Or their music players treat the entire bus to ching-ching-ching backing.  One day I shall get up and jive to it - that'll embarrass them into turning it down.

Hope everyone has enjoyed the late burst of decent weather.  Get ready for Hallowe'en - we have a large carton of Thornton's Moments for any trick-or-treaters, 'cause we're scared of them.

And finally ...  I gave her a wooden leg for Christmas.  It wasn't her main present, just a stocking filler.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

At the meeting of the So'ton Area Talking Echo editors, the inclusion of short stories in the magazine editions was again discussed.  They are keen to try this out, and I have asked Writing Buddies if they have any 500-800 stories they'd be willing to offer.  So far two have provided a story (one already broadcast), and I have given two of mine.  Really hope Buddies are able to help with this.

Since last time, we have eaten at the South Garden Chinese, Giddy Bridge, Coriander Lounge Indian, The Star at East Tytherley (highly recommended though not much for vegetarians), and the Moby Dick F&C restaurant in Shirley.  All really enjoyable.

Culture-wise, we saw The Song of the Goat's production of Macbeth at The Point, Eastleigh - a weird, 65-min presentation from this Polish company with a stringed-instrument player, modern dance moves, chanting, skilful choreography, and of course high drama.  Enjoyed very much, though the music sometimes drowned out the words, and some of the voices were very quiet.  Interesting interpretation. Two films - The Social Network (about creation of Facebook and surrounding aggro), good but sound quality uncertain, and Inception - high action crashes, huge explosions, death and destruction, but based on the premise that you can manipulate dreams on various levels.  Very weird, and long (2h22m), and not my usual kind of film, but engaging in its way and some interesting ideas to debate afterwards.  Looking forward to seeing Made in Dagenham, and also Rich Hall live in late November.  Living, or what?

Now have three articles pitched at different magazines, but thinking of entering more writing competitions.  Wake up in the night thinking about various writing projects.  Bug well and truly caught.

May get to the Gauguin exhibition in London, and hoping to meet the family soon for lunch at Zilli Green, Aldo Zilli's vegetarian restaurant in Soho.

Tip of the day: the only cashpoint I know of that dispenses fivers is the farthest machine in the dedicated foyer at Lloyds in Southampton High Street.