Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What I have been up to since I last blogged

Been busy in the real world

It has been a while since I have been on my blog. It has been a while since I have been doing a lot of writing online when it comes to that. But that is not to say that I have been twiddling my thumbs, not with a dozen deadlines to meet! Actually, my hiatus from the World Wide Web has seen much activity in Middlesbrough.

I read an excerpt from the forth-coming Cursed Shall Be Thy Kine at the Middlesbrough Literary Festival. That was my first time to take part in the Festival.

I was in Summer Loliday at the Arc in Stockton-on-Tees, where I played among other interesting characters, a zombie a named John. That was great fun, and I think we had a good review or two.


Straight after the last night of this performace, I was on the coach to London where I had promised an old school mate that I would talk to kids at his church about creative writing. That had not been organised well at all and I never got to address the children. I did spend several hours at a bus stop, trying to get a good Samaritan to let me use their phone. For some reason, the charger at my seat was not working so my Samsung 7's battery was flat by the time I got to Victoria station. Only one person let me use their phone. The unfrienldiness by so many people holding Bibles and coming from the more than fifteen churches I counted on my way from Victoria Station is something I had forgotten about since I moved up north.

Anyway, my stay at the bus stop in Lewisham inspired a story- not about the mean-spiritedness of the locals, but a blind old man I helped find his bus.

On the Dread Eye Detective Agency front, Fernanda and I came up with a new logo for the agency. The eye in the middle is a nod to the Pinkerton Agency, the first firm of private investigators to use the eye as a symbol of the trade and the first to use the term “private eye”. Of course, the lunatic fringe has its own interpretation. A short story called Lights, Camera, Murder! has made it to the pages of Jungle Jim, Africa’s premier pulp magazines.

Zimbabwean humanitarian, Betina Sibanda, approached me for a short-story for her new website, Letstalkallaboutwiththandi.org. I sent her what I had planned to be just a short-story, but people have written in asking if it can be expanded, so there is now a serialised Chishamiso, about a woman who has been wronged by every man in her life. Jamaican author, former Senator and Rastafarian matriarch, Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah gave the story and some of my other work publicity and Chishamiso caught the attention of the island’s main Sunday magazine. That I should have this impact in the year that Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary is special. This is the country which has contributed immensely to the assertion of a Pan-African outlook and culture and I wish it well. I would also like to thank Empress Makeda Barbara Blake Hannah. As many of you know, she is the pioneer of what I call Rastafarian Fiction and the main inspiration behind my writing The Man Who Turned Into a Rastafarian.

Former ZBC TV presenter and actress Happiness Pemiwah, who is now deejaying for Eric Knight and Ezra “Chisa” Sibanda’s Visions Radio called me up and suggested we do a radio play. So, every Sunday 1930 GMT, there is A Time for Everything. I did a reading from the forthcoming Cursed Shall Be Thy Kine at the Middlesbrough Literary Festival in the Reference Section of the Central Library.

On the film and TV front, a producer called me to say that he had finally gotten round to making a short film based on my screenplay. I can’t even recall the name of the screenplay but that obviously was not time wasted which is still more than can be said about everyone else I worked with this year and will not be working again.

There is a psychological movie being shot in Middlesbrough. I don’t want to say too much about it, even if we haven’t signed a confidentiality clause. But I did get a part as a mad preacher. The director allowed me enough creative freedom to create the mad preacher character and I based him on some the maddest preachers I have come across- the Hebrew Israelites. For those who don’t know, they are a bunch of foul-mouthed clowns who think that the Twelve Tribes of Israel are the African-Americans, the Native Americans, the Hispanics and the West Indians, essentially everyone in the Americas who does not fit the description of “Causasian”. They find proof in facts such as the Mexican penchant for siestas and that Issachar was blessed by Jacob as seeing that the “rest was good”, hence Mexicans are Issacharites. But it is their dressing, cast-offs from the wardrobe department for Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves and hiphop bling, that gave me ideas.

Last week I did a reading at Elliots, a restaurant on Linthorpe road run by a Londoner who has great taste in music. The place is set to be a hub for the artistic community, so I will be hanging out there a great deal. Artist Mai, who organised the event, had an exhibition there. Great work, Mai!

OK, that about summarises what I have been up to since I last blogged. None of it has hurt sales either, which have picked up as a result of Empress Makeda's work as a publicist. Not bad for a chap who still doesn’t have an agent and a major publisher behind him, eh?