May Fringe Podcasts

Got there at last. The podcasts for the May BristolCon Fringe meeting are finally available online.

First up was Sophie E Tallis who is an excellent illustrator as well as a great writer. If any fantasy writers out there are looking to have maps drawn for their books, I suggest getting in touch with Sophie. Her reading is from her latest novel, White Mountain, which is published by Grimbold, an imprint of Kristell Ink. That makes Sophie a stable mate of our Jo Hall. Sophie was very nervous before the event, but I’m sure you’ll agree that she did a fine job.

Next up was Ben Galley, who is very well known online as a self-publishing guru. Ben’s latest series is a fantasy western, and his reading is from the start of the first book, Bloodrush. One of the incentives to get the podcasts online now is that book 2 in the series, Bloodmoon, is being published on Friday. I figured Ben could do with something to use in the PR campaign.

By the way, if you are checking Ben out, do take a look at the graphic novel version of his book, The Written. The artist, Mike Shipley, turned up at Fringe to see Ben, and I think it was the first time the two of them had ever met in person. It’s a really nice-looking book, so well done both.

In the Q&A session I got both Sophie and Ben to talk about the inspirations for their work. Sophie, fairly obviously, talked about Tolkien, but also about Eastern mysticism and the legend of Shamballa. Ben talked about how the Scarlet Star trilogy is steampunk alternate history with fairies. It has trains in it, so I guess I should try Kevin on Bloodrush.

The we got onto a discussion of the pros and cons of being self-published, or published by a small press. There was quite a bit of talk about the problems of getting your books into Waterstones, and why it is so much harder now than it used to be. There was also much love for independent bookstores, as there should be. Sophie managed to earn us an explicit tag for that episode. Of course most of the things that were talked about in the announcements at the end are now over, but there is some interesting news about the Bristol Festival of Literature that isn’t until October. You’ll be hearing more about that in the months to come.

A special guest for the evening was Jo’s dog, Lyra, who was remarkably well behaved, all things considered. Author readings are not really good doggy entertainment.

Last night’s Fringe featured horror fiction from Nick Walters and Ken Shinn. I’m hoping to get those online a little bit more speedily than this lot. Just in case I don’t, those of you living in Edinburgh, or going there for their Fringe, should check out The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which features our good friend Tom Parker as Doctor Watson and Jasmine Atkins-Smart as Holmes. (Feòrag – hint, hint)

The August Fringe event will feature Gaie Sebold and David Gullen. If you got to meet Gaie and David at Archipelacon, you won’t want to miss the podcasts of that.

Posted in Podcasts, Readings | Leave a comment

Am I Transhuman?

Over the weekend I spotted an interesting article on a philosophy blog. In “Queering the Human: Is the Transhuman already here?” BP Morton argues that trans people, especially if medically modified in some way, can be defined as transhuman. Morton’s argument also touches on the cyborg nature of people with medical implants, and on groups such as Otherkin who openly reject human identity. A major inspiration for the article was the work of my philosopher friend, David Roden.

It is an interesting question, and one that is very much tied up with politics. As I explained to BP and David on Facebook, the struggle for trans rights is currently framed very much as one of human rights. Trans people spend a lot of time being treated as if we are sub-human; as if we don’t deserve the same rights that are accorded to supposedly “normal” people. Because of this, it is politically important for trans people to be seen as human. However, the philosophical argument is very different. From a science fiction point of view, it is obvious that the concept of “human rights” won’t survive contact with intelligent aliens. Furthermore, we don’t seem to be that far away from a point where we start granting rights to other Earth species on the grounds that they too are intelligent.

I note also that these issues are addressed in Pat Cadigan’s wonderful Hugo-winning novelette, “The Girl Thing Who Went Out For Sushi”.

Convention panel, anyone? It is a bit late for this year’s BristolCon, but maybe we can lure David along next year.

Posted in Gender, Philosophy, Science Fiction | 3 Comments

Fringe Tonight

For those of you in easy reach of Bristol, there is a BristolCon Fringe event tonight. The guest readers are Ken Shinn & Nick Walters, and they are promising us a night of horror. There will be Tales of Blood & Gore. There will be Blood, Terror, Hideous Death, and apparently Pudding. There may also be a spot of mild peril.

As usual we will be in the back room of the Shakespeare Tavern on Princes Street. The event starts at 7:30pm. I will be there, and I hope to see some of you.

I have almost finished editing the podcasts of the May Fringe. Hopefully they will be online tomorrow.

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National Diversity Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the UK’s 2015 National Diversity Awards have been announced, and I’m delighted to note that I know a few of the finalists.

In the Positive Role Models for LGBT category I spotted Kathy Caton who hosts the Out In Brighton radio show and who I have had the honour to interview a couple of times. I’ll be seeing her at the weekend when I am down in Brighton for Trans Pride.

There are two Trans groups in the Community Organisations for LGBT list. I don’t know much about Trans Men Support and Advice UK, but I am delighted to see Mermaids listed.

In the Community Organisations for Multi-Strand category we have BCfm, one of Bristol’s community radio stations where Shout Out is hosted.

And finally, in Community Organisations for Race, Religion & Faith we have Ujima Radio! Well done guys!

The winners will be announced on Friday, September 18th in a ceremony at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. I am keeping my fingers crossed for all of my friends.

Posted in Awards, Gender, Radio | Leave a comment

Tiptree Award Fellowship

The good folks who run the Tiptree Award have created a Fellowship Program designed to support speculative works during their creation. The Fellowships provide recognition for the new voices who are making visible the many forces that are changing our view of gender today, including those don’t fit within the traditional boundaries of genre fiction. Tiptree Fellows may be writers, artists, scholars, game designers, media producers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely.

The Tiptree Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Tiptree Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

Each Fellow will receive $500 and the resulting work will be recognized and promoted by the Tiptree Award. Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration.

Information as to how to apply for a Fellowship, and the requirements that Fellows will be expected to fulfill, can be found at the Tiptee Award website.

Posted in Gender, Writing | Leave a comment

Terrorize Your Catacombs

My friend Richard Jones of Tangent Publishing has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign for a horror novel set in Bath. Catacombs of Terror is, well, I really can’t be certain. I’m not sure that I believe a word of the blurb on the campaign page. I suspect that Richard and his friends may have imbibed rather too much of the fabled local Black Rat cider before writing it. I haven’t watched the video, just in case a sanity roll is required.

I shall leave it to you good folks as to whether you believe any of this, and if so whether to back the project.

Except for the cider, of course. That is real.

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Introducing Cat’s Whirld

Cat's Whirld - Rodolfo MartínezHere’s something that I wish I had known about for the translation panel at Archipelacon (and yes, I know I still owe you all a reading list).

Cat’s Whirld is a novel by Rodolfo Martínez, who is a major figure in Spanish science fiction. It is a fusion of cyberpunk and space opera, being centered on a conflict between several galactic powers, but set on a space station and featuring an AI as a major enemy. The book was published in 1995 and won the Ignotus Award for Best Novel the following year. Of course that was in Spanish. Now, at last, we have an English translation by Steve Redwood. The book is due for publication on August 3rd. I have an ARC and am looking forward to finding time to read it. (I have a Hugo deadline looming over me.)

It is great seeing so much Spanish SF&F being translated. This sort of thing makes Eurocons very worthwhile. And while I’m on the subject I should note that Barcelona has added Rosa Montero to their highly impressive guest list. Ms. Montero is a very successful mainstream author in Spain, and her science fiction novel, Tears in Rain, is also available in English.

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Brighton Transformed on the Cheap

It being Pride season, Brighton Trans*formed, the beautiful book telling the stories of a wide variety of trans people from Brighton, is on sale at only £6. That’s compared to a cover price of £15. Doubtless there’s postage on top of that, but it is an excellent opportunity to get the book at a bargain price. See the QueenSpark Books website for more details.

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Photos From Pride

Shout Out had an official photographer on hand at Pride, and Mary Milton has just posted a number of his pictures to Facebook. Two of them included me.

Me, Tommy & Jasmine

This is myself, Tommy Popcorn and Jasmine, the Ujima team that hosted the 6:00pm to 7:00pm slot.

Me, Tommy & Jasmine

This is the Bucks Fizz group shot, featuring (left to right) Steffi Barnett, Bobby McVay, Jay Ashton, Tommy Popcorn, me, Cheryl Baker, Steve Shepherd and Mitch, Mike Nolan and Andy Thomas.

(Great dress, Cheryl.)

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Today on Ujima – LGBT Rights

Today’s show was a Diversity Special put together for me by my friend Berkeley Wilde of Diversity Trust. With Berkeley in the studio were Sarah-Louise Minter of LGBT Bristol, Lesley Mansell of North Bristol NHS Trust, Mitch McMorrow of Bristol City Council (and Shout Out Radio), and John, a young, black gay man from Bristol.

We covered a lot of territory: legislation, hate crime, services for young people, the 20th birthday of Freedom Youth, services for old people, LGBT celebrities, the need for monitoring, Ireland finally getting legal recognition for trans people (today, well done, TENI!), the plight of LGBT asylum seekers and probably a whole lot more that I have forgotten.

You can find the first hour of the show here, and the second hour here. And by the way if you want to listen to my Pride coverage it is here — sorry about the Dr. Flex billing, the Listen Again system is automated and doesn’t cope well with unusual scheduling, and thanks to the good Doctor for the use of his slot.)

The playlist for today’s show was as follows:

  • Secret Love – The Vinyl Closet
  • Doubt – Kele Okereke
  • It Must Be Love – Labi Siffre
  • Feels Good – Rahsaan Patterson
  • Bleed Like Me – Garbage
  • Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monáe (feat. Erykah Badu)
  • Talking ‘Bout A Revolution – Tracy Chapman
  • I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

On next week’s show I’ll be having a chat with a teenage fashion designer, Kieran Mceleny; catching up with friend of the show, Christina Zaba; finding out from Sian Webb why Bristol lags behind in the gender pay gap stakes; and talking to Assistant Mayor Daniella Radice about the 50:50 campaign for female representation in the City Council that was launched today. There may be a bit of feminist ranting.

Posted in Current Affairs, Feminism, Gender, Music, Radio | Leave a comment

Coode Street at Archipelacon

While I was at Archipelacon I was invited to take part in a recording of the Coode Street Podcast. Gary Wolfe was a Guest of Honor at the convention, and he wanted to do a podcast with fellow GoH, Karin Tidbeck. I guess I was invited along as an expert on Nordic fandom or some such. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and the podcast is now available online. You can listen to it via the Coode Street website, or via I’m not sure whether the versions are exactly the same — I’ve only listened to the former.

So what did we talk about? Well, there was a lot of discussion of tranlsation, so I figured I should provide a reading list of books, etc. that I mentioned. Here you go:

In addition we talked about YA literature, dystopias, the Barcelona and Dortmund Eurocons, Nordic crime fiction, fiction in indigenous peoples, what Swedish people think of the Thor movies, Sense8, stereotyping of nerd culture, and of course Karin’s writing.


Posted in Books, Conventions, Podcasts, Translations | Leave a comment

A Little Trans History

Recently BBC4 showed a history documentary called “Spitfire Women”. It is all about the women pilots who flew for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during WWII. They were not allowed to fly combat missions, but equally men could not be spared to move planes about the country (specifically from factories to airfields). Women who could fly, including Amy Johnson, persuaded the government to let them help the war effort by getting this job done. Eventually they got to fly Hurricanes and Spitfires.

I was planning to watch this at some point because it sounded like an awesome piece of feminism. There’s no reason why women can’t fly fun aircraft. A Spitfire is even more fun than a pony. Also a bunch of 80-something women talking about being hell raiser pilots in WWII was guaranteed to be fun (and a perfect appetizer for episode 1 of Agent Carter). But then I got email from Juliet McKenna alerting me to the fact that one of these women was actually a man.

Jonathan Ferguson was born in Lurgan in Northern Ireland in 1915. He was assigned female at birth, and named “Irene Joy” by his parents. By the time he got into the ATA he was already open about his gender identity. Judging from the photos here, there were a few lesbians in the service as well as a few girls who enjoyed their sex symbol status. Jonathan apparently didn’t stand out too much, and the one woman who talked about him sounded very supportive.

Jonathan stayed in the RAF after the war, but must have eventually moved to a desk job because when he transitioned socially in 1958 he was described as a government scientist. I haven’t yet found much news about him online, but the story did make the Palm Beach Post, which wryly noted that Jonathan got a pay rise simply for announcing that he was a man, because men got paid more than women in the Civil Service.

When I get time I intend to follow the story up and see if I can find out more. According to the program, Jonathan has died. I’m wondering whether he got to meet Roberta Cowell, because she flew Spitfires in combat (and ended up a PoW). Not that it would be been much fun for him, if her treatment of Michael Dillon is anything to go by, but maybe their shared love of planes would have helped bridge the gap. If anyone out there knows anything about Ferguson, please get in touch.

Posted in Feminism, Gender, History | 2 Comments

Brief Pride Follow-Up

It occurs to me that I forgot to mention which songs I played during my hour covering Bristol Pride. They were:

  • I Am What I Am – Amanda Lear
  • Diva – Dana International
  • True Trans Soul Rebel – Against Me!

One of these days we’ll have trans artists on stage at the event (other than drag queens, which we have a-plenty).

Posted in Gender, Music | Leave a comment

Another Year, Another Pride

July is a very busy time of year. It is the usual time for Finncon; the last weekend of the month is reserved for Trans Pride in Brighton; but the second weekend is a bit crazy. It sounds like there was a really great little convention happening in Derby. Manchester’s Sparkle looks like it is turning into a really great trans event. My first priority, however, was Bristol Pride.

I must admit that the clash with Sparkle makes it a very difficult choice for me. Bristol Pride’s organizers are very supportive of trans folks. In particular Jayne Graham-Cummings has put together some great trans-themed programming for the Queer Vision film festival, and I’m seriously bummed not to have been able to see any of it. Trans presence at Pride itself is another matter. There are a couple of trans stalls, and a great number of people saying LGBT when they mean LG. Lots of trans people attend, not many actually do anything.

Part of this is due to the success of the event. I interviewed Daryn Carter on the radio during the afternoon and he said that at the time the venue was operating a strict one-in-one-out policy because it was near to capacity. By no means all of those people were LGBT-identified. Pride is, after all, a very good deal as far as a day out goes. If you keep it cheap so that underprivileged folk (like trans people) can attend then inevitably lots of other people will tale advantage. I confess that one of the reasons I spend my time in the Shout Out mobile studio is that if I’m behind a stall I would have to put up with being stared at all day, and occasionally “complimented” on how “convincing” I look. Being a zoo animal is no fun.

On the other hand, doing radio is great fun. I had a great day.

I’ve spent a lot of time with fairly famous writers, all of whom are lovely people. Pop stars are another breed entirely. Some of them have minders to protect them. Blue played Pride a couple of years ago, and were basically whisked in and whisked out again. This year’s lineup was much more friendly.

The star of the show was Heather Small (formerly of M People and also ex-wife of Welsh rugby’s defense coach, Shaun Edwards). She turned up to do a sound check early in the morning, noticed the radio studio, and did an impromptu live interview there and then. That’s pretty much unheard of. She did a post-gig interview as well.

Another star act was a group featuring Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Ashton, three of the original members of Bucks Fizz. There’s no space here to go into the complicated legal dispute over the name, but with the aid of new recruit Bobby McVay they do a remarkably convincing impression of themselves. You might almost think you were listening to the original band. Not only that, but they did a wonderful medley of 80s pop hits that had everyone up and dancing. And yes, they still do the skirt thing. Allegedly is it in the contract.

I was backstage during their gig, but wasn’t on air at the time so didn’t get to participate in the interview. Photos were taken, and at some point you may get to see the group one which includes me trying not to look too stupidly happy about being stood next to Cheryl Baker. That woman still has one of the best smiles in show business. Here’s hoping some of that glory make me look not too bad.

The band stayed around for ages, talking to fans and the show organizers. They seemed to be lovely people. As indeed were all of the acts I met.

The day’s coverage was organized by Shout Out (with sponsorship from the Queen’s Shilling nightclub). Many thanks to Mary Milton and the rest of the crew for doing such a great job and allowing me to be involved. Ujima took the live feed between 6:00pm and 8:00pm, and for the first hour the show was hosted by me, Tommy Popcorn and Jasmine.

Hosting the show is challenging. You can’t quite be sure in advance how much of a show you’ll need to do. Much of the time you simply take the live feed from the main stage. That’s especially the case with someone like former X-Factor star, Amelia Lily, who got through her set very efficiently. Sometimes, however, there is a break between acts, or you get an artist who feels the need to engage in banter with the audience between every song, and then you have to cover. Plus you get to interview people as they come off stage.

My interview ended up being with Tina Cousins, whom I knew very little about in advance. Thankfully I had Andy Thomas running the desk for me, and he happens to be a huge fan of Tina’s. Also I did my research, and we ended up conducting the interview partly in English, partly in Australian and partly in Finnish. Thanks for being so easy to interview, Tina, and best of luck with the acting debut.

From my point of view, the main attraction of the day was Helen Marnie, formerly of Ladytron, whose work I love dearly. Witching Hour is a favorite album of mine. The band is currently on hiatus and Helen has a new project called Marnie, which is actually a band because while Helen handles lead vocals and some keyboards there’s also a lead keyboard / back-up vocals performer, and an actual, non-electronic drummer. The new album, Crystal World, was produced in Reykjavik, and I wish I had been in on the interview as I would have asked if K.K. had been involved in any way (any excuse to mention Sense8).

Anyway, I’ve bought the album. It is less poppy than a Ladytron album, but that might mean I end up playing it more while I am working.

Running a live stage at Pride is clearly an interesting challenge. Most of the acts were vocalists who sang over backing tracks. The reason for that is that a real band needs to set up their instruments. Marnie were late starting because you can’t get a real band up and running as quickly as a vocalist. Personally I love hearing musicians play their instruments, but I quite understand the temptation to move people on and off quickly.

Anyway, it was a lovely, if very tiring day. My thanks to everyone, especially the Shout Out crew, and Tommy & Jasmine. Thanks also to Kym Mazelle, Tina Cousins, Amelia Lily, La Voix, Not Quite Bucks Fizz and Marnie who were all awesome. Special thanks to Brighton’s Boogaloo Stu for being a wonderful host for the stage. And of course to Daryn Carter and the Pride team for all of their hard work.

Posted in Gender, Music, Radio | Leave a comment

Bristol Pride Radio Coverage

A quick reminder that Bristol Pride is tomorrow, and you can follow the day live on radio thanks to my good friends at Shout Out. They will be broadcasting throughout the day on BCFM. I may be doing a few vox pops for them during the day. Between 6:00pm and 8:00pm the show will also be carried by Ujima, and the first hour of that will be hosted by myself, Tommy Popcorn and Jasmine. Both stations are available for streaming via their websites.

Most of the show will involve live broadcasting of the acts on the main stage. My job is to fill in if there are gaps in the show. Hopefully I will get to play a few trans musicians.

Posted in Music, Radio | Leave a comment

Hello Mozambique

Every so often my academic friends tweet about interesting books and papers. I got one this morning (thanks Olivette!). The book in question is Sexuality and Gender Politics in Mozambique: Rethinking Gender in Africa by Signe Arnfred, who I think is Danish. There is a review of the book at Feminist Review, and what caught my eye was this comment:

Arnfred argues that in the same way that race, a ‘social, political, economic relation of domination, is reinvented as a biological difference, thus naturalized, [w]hat happens to “gender” is very similar: a social relation of male domination/female subordination, brought along with the European colonial powers and supported by Christianity, is represented as a biological difference between men and women, with the “natural” implication, that women are subordinated in relation to men’ (pp. 185–186).

This is very similar to the argument I have made about the erasure of trans people from non-European cultures. Obviously with trans folk there may be some biology involved, but the simplistic and incorrect understanding of that science by Victorian-era Europeans is what caused the problem.

So, another book I need to read. I do wish that academic books were not so expensive.

Posted in Academic, Gender, History | 2 Comments

Women’s Outlook Pride Special

Today I did a Pride Special on Women’s Outlook. We began with Roz Kaveney who did a great reading at Hydra Books last night. On the show I asked Roz a few questions about Tiny Pieces of Skull, got her to read some poetry, and asked her a few things about the Rhapsody of Blood series.

Next on the show was Sister Ann Tici Pation of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters are looking to set up a chapter in Bristol which will be a very fine and wonderful thing. I’m looking forward to seeing them, especially my good friend Brother Bimbo, at Pride on Saturday. If you are in Bristol and fancy getting involved, do pop along to the Volunteer Tavern on Friday from 1:00pm. They will apparently be there all evening, though I suspect that a certain amount of beer may have been consumed by late in the day.

You can listen to the first hour of the show here.

The second hour begins with my talking to Daryn Carter, the Director of Bristol Pride. There is one heck of a lot going on in Bristol this week. Sadly the FGW train strike makes it very difficult for me to do anything before Saturday. I just got out in time today. Not that I’m going to complain, because the RMT guys are striking to defend the existence of food and drink services on London trains. Apparently the management want to make them driver-only.

Anyway, there’s theatre tonight, comedy tomorrow, a big party thing possibly involving fishnet-wearing transylvanians on Friday night, a massive all-day party in the park on Saturday, and some trans-themed film programming at Watershed on Sunday. Phew!

Finally I was joined by Jeff Evans of Schools Out who is in charge of the National Festival of LGBT History. We talked a bit about Jeff’s own academic interests, and then looked at some of the exciting things that will be happening in Bristol next February.

Hour two had a couple of little technical glitches. One was because I listed the songs in the wrong sequence on the running order, so my apologies to Eric and Isaac for that. The other was because the studio wifi went down briefly, causing us to have no access to the ads when we needed to play them. Thankfully it came back up in time for us to play the missing ads in the next segment.

You can listen to the second hour here.

The playlist for the day was a combination of LGBT-themed music and artists who will be appearing on the main stage at Pride.

  • Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
  • Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
  • M People – Moving on Up
  • Ladytron – Sugar
  • Little Richard – Good Golly Miss Molly
  • Vinyl Closet – Garbage Man
  • Tracy Chapman – Baby Can I Hold You?
  • Noah Stewart – I Have A Dream

By the way, Roz tells me that the woman on whom Natasha in Tiny Pieces of Skull was based knew Sylvester very well. Small world.

Posted in Books, Gender, History, Music, Poetry, Radio | Leave a comment

Jupiter Ascending – The Blu Ray

Jupiter Ascending

Last night I watched the Jupiter Ascending Blu Ray. Here are some thoughts.

I have quite a big television. It is not big enough for this film. Possibly nothing is big enough for this film.

There are several extras, but nothing like the thoughtful, in-depth discussion of choices that you get on Cloud Atlas. It is mostly just fun staff and a bunch of people saying how great the Wachowskis are to work with. Lana and Andy talk a bit about inspirations. They do not talk about a gender-swapped Matrix, but then such things can easily happen subconsciously, or simply because of narrative structures. They do talk about Cinderella, which I should have expected. They also talk about The Wizard of Oz, with Jupiter as Dorothy and Caine as Toto. I should have thought of that too, because mostly all Jupiter wants to do is go home.

The plot makes a lot more sense once you know who everyone is and you are not trying to figure things out as you go along. There’s a lot of world-building crammed into the film, and I suspect that stretched some viewers. Of course it is still space opera, and thus intrinsically silly, but at least you can follow what’s going on.

I want a TV series featuring Captain Tsing and her crew.

I enjoyed the movie even more second time through, despite the smallness of the screen. I want to see this film with Kevin. I am a hopeless romantic at times.

Posted in Movies | 5 Comments

Bristol Pride Week – Roz Kaveney & Radio

It is Pride Week in Bristol. I’m going to be busy.

Tomorrow evening we have the fabulous Roz Kaveney at Hydra Books from 6:00pm. Roz will primarily be talking about Tiny Pieces of Skull, but I’m sure that she can be persuaded to read poetry and/or talk about the Rhapsody of Blood series as well.

On Wednesday I will be hosting a Women’s Outlook Pride Special. Roz will guest on the show. We’ll also have a lot of information about other Pride events. And we’ll have some special guests talking about exciting things due to happen in Bristol next year.

And on Saturday we have Pride Day itself. Shout Out will be broadcasting live from Castle Park all day, and I’ll be helping out. For at least part of the day the show will be carried on Ujima and will feature Ujima presenters. The current plan is for me to co-host the show from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. Will I play Amanda Lear? You bet! Will I get to interview Cheryl Baker (why yes, we do have most of Bucks Fizz playing live on the day)? I have no idea. Actually I’d love to chat to Marnie from Ladytron who will also be performing. And we’ve got Heather Small, formerly of M People. It’s gonna be busy, that’s all I can say.

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Report from the Road

Yeah, I know, I have been a Very Bad Blogger recently. That’s partly because I have been traveling a lot, and partly due to what appears to have been a particularly bad allergic reaction to something that flowers in Finland in June (I’ve not had a problem in May or July). Those of you wondering what Zombie Cheryl looks like should have been at the Helsinki Mafia meeting in St. Urho’s (it’s a pub) on Thursday night. For those of you with an interest in Caribbean folklore, the way to making a living person seem like one of the walking dead is to feed them anti-histamines. Or at least it is in my case.

I am now in London, despite the best efforts of Frankfurt airport to do impressions of Chicago O’Hare. Today I will be doing a presentation skills training course at the Central School of Speech & Drama. Because it is all very well being confident enough to stand up and blather on in front of a few hundred friendly fannish folks at a convention, but if you want to keep the attention of a very large and potentially hostile audience then you need to learn about things like posture, intonation, pacing and so on. Thanks to the good folks at Gendered Intelligence I am getting this course for free, for which I am duly grateful.

Of course it is not exactly ideal to turn up at such a event with a head and throat full of phlegm. Thankfully I no longer sound like a bullfrog talking from the bottom of a pool of sludge. I kid you not. On Thursday I was actually gurgling when I tried to talk.

Then tonight I get to go home. I plan to spend tomorrow horizontal, and paying no more attention to the world than is necessary to cheer on Lewis and write a report on the race for Kevin who will still be asleep when it happens.

Posted in Personal, Where's Cheryl? | Comments Off on Report from the Road