Tag Archives: books

Hurrah Edinburgh!

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I’m in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s largest arts festival or Glastonbury for culture vultures. It’s my first time here though I’ve visited vicariously through friends for decades. I’ve know people who’ve come here and bag a Fringe First Award and never look back, career wise – I’ve also had friends who have had their hearts broken here, lost their shirts and all other sorts of clichés. Some have partied for 25 days, others have honed their craft, been inspired, made contacts, others have been mistreated by slave driving ego monster directors. But everyone comes away with an Edinburgh story and everyone tells me I should go. So, I’ve heeded their advice at last, deciding I’ve definitely got to see the Fringe before I leave the UK for good. Moreover, I’m hoping to bring my own stage play here next year, so this is also a rekki of sorts.

I’ve only booked four shows in advance, preferring to wait to see what was buzzing when I got here. I’ll report on highlights and must-sees but please, please, please any suggestions on what to see (or avoid!) would be gratefully received. And, as I’m a first time Edinburgh visitor, any other tips regarding the Scottish capital are most welcome.

Good veggie restaurants? Hidden café gems? Cool bookstores? Meet ups, gatherings etc… You never know I might bump into one of you here.


RIP George Whitman

I’ve just read that George Whitman, the Paris-based American owner of Shakespeare and Co, has died aged 98.

I  met George when I was 18 and a recently arrived backpacker in the city in the late 80s. It was 10:30am, he gave me a glass of whiskey and told me about knowing Henry Miller back in the day, and Samuel Beckett – who was still alive. It was my first taste of the expat bohemian life – and I shall always be in his debt for this introduction.

The shop has been run by his daughter, Sylvia, for some years and still reflects George’s generous and bohemian spirit. If you are in Paris, be sure to call in.

Thanks for the moment, GW! Shine on above the Seine.


I’m a Rooster.

Gittin' ideas on a Croatian isle...

I’m finally a rooster,I’m a rooster – and no, that is not Chinese astrology (where I’m  dog, woof woof), it’s getting up at the crack of dawn type rooster person.

This morning, I got up at 6pm and I sat down and wrote uninterrupted for an hour before heading to work. You may now applaud.

I am not a morning person. Like Bart Simpson, I was blissfully unaware that there was a six o’clock in the morning too, at least the only times I’d ever stumbled upon it were at the end of long stumbling nights… And when people spoke of ‘morning pages’ I scoffed – not for me, I said, I’m rather more the Keith Richards close to the witching hour kind of artist, innit.

There was the occasional,well intentioned morning when I set my alarm clock – but nothing came of it. And all the better, I mused, as I’m awful before the first caffine injection of the day and still carry a warning sign up to two hours afterwards…

So.. what happened? Age, a job, life I guess – and mostly because these evenings I’ve been promising myself that I’d spend writing,  I’ve been too tired post work to do anything more than answer a few emails and edit a few stories (if I’m lucky). The result is that the first half of this year has been remarkably unproductive. And there i was, on my Croatian isle, kicking back on Krk for a few days with my Croatian buddy Marina when I started to think aobut how I was going to get the writing done… and it came to me in one fell divine flash swoop ‘Get thee up early” …

And so, a week on, I set my alarm for six this morning. Woke and sat at my laptop and wrote 1,000 words of a story – sketched out the plot of an idea that had been buzzing around my head for a couple of weeks. Now its on paper and I’ll visit it again tomorrow morning  at 6pm and expand.  And I’ll have it in some sort of shape so I can edit it at the weekend and then start on another idea I have next week.

Moreover, I was so pleased with my little achievement – I was buzzing for the rest of the day.

Lets hope I can keep this up!