Thanks to Lesley Simpson, acting editor of the Bottle Street Gazette (Journal of the Margery Allingham Society) for allowing me to reprint Roger Johnson's review of Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory ahead of the Journal's publication. She obviously knows that it's full of many other good things.
Mixed Moss 2012 (journal of the Arthur Ransome Society) has a new editor and more concentrated focus on the Life and Work of the Great Man. Luckily the Strong Winds trilogy appears to blown some small hole in the editorial net and there's a generous review from Elizabeth Jolley in Oregon, for which I am really most grateful (read it here)
Last night was one of those bad ones when I lie awake thinking of the boxes of books in the Golden Duck caravan and wondering how I ever had the temerity to think that it was okay for me to ring messrs Biddles, printers, and order these books to be printed that so many 'proper' publishers had rejected. So I turn for support and inspiration to my friends at Authors Electric and find a storming defence of self publishing by novelist Mark Chisnell. As a practical person (Mark is a rigging specialist) and someone used to risk (he also races yachts and climbs mountains) he simply asks the question why is is 'vanity' to start your own business and invest your own time and money when the business is writing, and not when it is, say, developing your own vacuum cleaner? A recommended read. http://www.authorselectric.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/gatekeepers-and-validators-by-mark.html
In this Herbert Allingham story the artist commiserates with the crossing sweeper 'It's hard to earn a living' said the artist. The crossing sweeper is determined to stick at it until he has made 6d. He's been there since the early hours and now it's getting dark.
One of the many things I love about Margery Allingham is her tendency towards phonetic spelling. She almost invariably refers to the Regent Street Polytechnic which she attended in the early 1920s as the 'Polly' - and that's how I will (privately) always think of it. It was however the retitled University of Westminster who hosted a rather splendid launch event for Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory this week. Herbert Allingham's archive will move there sometime during 2013 and meanwhile a few pages found themselves proudly displayed in illuminated glass cases for the evening. Suddenly they looked tremendously precious - which of course they are. Many thanks for Jean Seaton (professor of media history) and Lynda Knill (cinema restoratin project) and Paula Cadenhead who really made the evenng happen.
This photo belongs to the Margery Allingham Society and shows Marge as Dido. Queen of Carthage, at the Polly in 1922
Cally Phillips ran a week of articles and reflections on mental illness in one of her charactistically admirable awareness raising campaigns. Some contributors had suffered from illnesses such as depression and wrote about this with honesty and authority. I have only experienced mental ill-health at second hand so simply contributed some thoughts on A Ravelled Flag, the novel where I use some of the experience that I wish I hadn't had. Click here for the IEBR piece