March 20, 2009

Brand Literary Magazine Issue 04 Winter/Spring 09

The best things come in small, neat, well designed packages they say. All the better for slowly unwrapping. So this is how the latest Brand Literary Magazine Issue 4 appears. Nice to touch, with smooth glossy pages, very easy on the eyes, and full of edgy, provoking lines of poetry, short fiction and art work. It is the magazine of the Creative Writing Department at Greenwich. It contains my story String of Bright Moments which you can read a sample of here. The public launch and reading will be at Rix Mix, May 3rd.

Editor, Nina Rapi goes to the core of feelings in the introduction, talking of the battle that breaks out between erotic and higher forms of love, an overriding theme. Jeffar Khaldi's work appears in it. This artist, from Lebanon, also appeared at the Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East at the Saatchi Gallery, reported below.

Two copies have just arrived for me to look at, so will leaf through them at leisure and report back on the contents: thus far, thus good, I'm smelling a winner, it's a tasty literary morsel.

March 02, 2009

The Sound of Music Heals

Funny how you come across things just when you most need them. By chance. Happy chance. I have been raving about the elegaic and arcadian sound of the Fleet Foxes lately and even went to see them at the Roundhouse last week. They have a sublime sound. This got me talking to a friend who said 'Have you heard of Mari Boine?' I said I hadn't. She said 'Oh, you must listen'. She brought me the CDs Gula Gula and Idjagiedas. This music touches deep somehow if you are able to listen deeply and let it in. It harps back to ancient rhythms, and irregular resonances, with unusual instrumentation, blending jazz, folk, world, but mostly being Shamanistic. Mari Boine is of the Sami people that live across the Scandinavian countries, into Russia and even Siberia. She has a haunting, soulful voice. It seems to say 'don't forget nature', 'don't forget where you came from'. So the sound of music can come back to reconnect us. I imagine it's not for everyone, not really, but if it happens into your life at a crucial point in goes right to the solar plexus. If you are feeling down or fractured, broken up about something and this can happen more frequently than we care to admit, being handed Mari Boine could do worse than help you to soothe over any sore spots in your life. Listen hard, and learn.