A busy day at Chester’s Storyhouse, then.
It was the final full week of the Chester Literature Festival and I was running two events last week — a morning discussion [first two slides] and a lunchtime workshop [latter two slides].
The former was based around my book, Inside Fatherhood, and took the form of an audience-participation discussion about modern masculinity, fatherhood and male role models.
The latter was a writing workshop, serving as a taster for anyone trying to their idea into print, albeit fiction, journalism, blog or memoir.
Mark Chester, founder of the organisation Who Let The Dads Out, joined me.
He helped to lead the discussion and then bounce ideas in the workshop about more creative writing, while I focused on writing for magazines and websites.
Thanks to Mark and everyone who turned up on the day, including those we dragged up to join the discussion. We appreciate your support.
And we had some good feedback afterwards:
“I throughly enjoyed it and as usual, found some like-minded people to chat to. I’d enjoy any [future] event that makes me write something.”
So, here’s to the next one … watch this space.
It was 1994.
I was a student on a postgraduate magazine journalism course in London with a project deadline.
Step forward Heaven Up Here, a music fanzine I put together with two fellow students.
We dreamed of jobs on Select magazine and loved getting on the guestlist for gigs at venues like the Astoria and the Water Rats.
It was the Nineties and we didn’t have a care in the world.
The first issue, published in 1994, featured a lead interview with film-noir favourites The Tindersticks and went backstage with Britpop breakthroughs Sleeper at the now-defunct TV show The Beat.
Last week I took a couple of issues from 1994 and 1995 to the London College of Communication.
There they will join the likes of Sniffin’ Glue and Smiths Indeed at the University Library Zine Collection. It has over 200 zines from punk to fashion from the late Seventies onwards.
You can find out more from the collection Facebook page.
Or search the catalogue for the issues here and here.
It only lasted for three issues but our little fanzine helped to launch a career in the media for its founders. And it was lots of fun along the way.
As for the name? Heaven Up Here was the second album by Echo and the Bunnymen, my favourite band as a overcoat-wearing student in the early Nineties.
On the day that the NME sees its last ever print edition on the newsstands, my little bit of history is a reminder that, while we all now work multi-platform, print is still not dead.
The next issue of Tortoise magazine is out soon.
I’ve written an article for Chester’s new independent publication about Big Heritage, the not-for-profit organisation installing heritage attractions in historic buildings.
It’s based around an interview with Managing Director Dean Paton, who I met at Sick To Death [pictured above], the attraction about the history of medicine.
Here’s a sneak preview of the story:
“I always loved history and archaeology but, traditionally, it has been seen as a sport for the middle classes,” says Dean.
He is showing me around the Sick to Death exhibits, including a section dedicated to the first recorded incidents of The Plague in Chester in the early 17th century.
By 1603, we learn, 92% of deaths in Chester were due to plague.
“The problem with a lot of heritage attractions,” he adds. “is that there’s no excitement, no love.”
The organisation has also just completed a major project to reopen Western Approaches, the former secret WWII bunker under Liverpool. Dean is now working on a new project in Chester.
Read the full article in Tortoise magazine, available in independent shops, cafes and arts venues around Chester.
I’m normally the one who asks the questions.
But, this week, I did an interview with amble, the new online magazine for Chester.
It’s strange talking about myself when I’m used to being the interviewer, not the interviewee. It’s for a profile piece about the creative community around Chester.
So what did we talk about?
How to get into journalism. Is print dead? Chester as a place to live and work. Black magic in Cuba. Barbie cruises. Hosting a forthcoming event at the Chester Literature Festival.
Writing a review of the recent Nick Cave gig to mark a quarter century since my first ever published article.
And, finally, a sneak preview of my new book, Inside Fatherhood, coming out in March next year.
Read the full article, Inside the world of a professional writer.