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Sounds New week is underway — and what a week! Contemporary music from dawn til dusk. With some of the best, the VERY best players of contemporary music in the country. Right here in (River City) Canterbury. It really, really is such a top-drawer week. Check it out.

No, it doesn’t all sound like someone moving furniture around, as my mother used to say. Much of it is very, very beautiful. And intriguing. And makes you think. And moves you (not the furniture).

So check it out.

(nb: the Sounds New website is under construction, so doesn’t seem to have delineated pages I can point you to for info and programming — BUT if you go to the site, it’s all there nevertheless. Poke around.)

What this means for us is: R and E out every night (sniff!); M babysat three nights (lighter purse, gulp); me out for those three nights — tonight to Gulbenkian to hear LOTS of cellos and a piece by R, tomorrow night to Ensemble Intercontemporain (fabulous!) at the Cathedral, and Friday night…one of the best string quartets in the country. So there.

All a bit hectic.

More to the point, I have to go all shaggy-haired tonight, then show up tomorrow night with probably the very same people in attendance freshly shorn…gawd. That’s what I get for not thinking very far ahead. What do you wear to distract people from your hair? And don’t say a BAG.

Even more to the point — none of R’s cooking! Bereft already! And the bright kitchen so newly in. I could weep. Forced to snack on Toblerone.

Wow. Where to begin? Last night’s launch of Night Train 5 was a corker: a hundred people, great readings, splendid music, snazzy food and drink… and a shedload of books sold, apparently. Like, 150. Wow. Again.

Many thanks are due: to the contributors one and all, to the readers, to those who submitted. To the School of English at Uni Kent who support the venture with hard cold cash. To Vicky Wilson (Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year AND copy editor), Chris Lancaster at the Uni Print Unit for saving the day, Frances Knight (piano) and Paul Booth (saxophone). And of course to the editors, Susan Wicks and Andrew McGuinness, without whom, etc…

A particular thanks goes to the Gulbenkian staff, who just kept bringing out the chairs, adjusting the mic, and flogging those books! The theatre cafe also looked positively seasonal, red and tinselled — the end of term was in the air! Really fab.

And I’d also like to thank everyone who came up to me and said hello (along with so many nice things). Never one to shirk my social responsibilities (!), I took unadulterated pleasure in seeing so many familiar faces, so much energy, so much enjoyment, and so much success coming to so many of you.

As readers of this blog will know — and indeed, anyone who knows me knows!– I love a party. And what a party. What top notch work all around.

Finally, an appeal: if anyone took any pictures on the night, send ’em! I’ll stick them up….

Things are roaring along. One bit of good news is that M has moved from the sofa to school today. Second bit of good news is that NIGHT TRAIN 5 is coming down the tracks.

Night Train is an annual anthology of student work produced at the University of Kent, edited by creative writing staff. Having a seen a number of anthologies of student work at a number of conferences, I can hold my hand up and declare that Night Train is amongst the slickest on the circuit. It’s professionally designed — and the work inside is really cracking, of professional standard as well. But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what people said about last year’s NIGHT TRAIN 4.

The launch for NIGHT TRAIN 5 is coming up, co-MC-ed by editor Andrew McGuinness and yours truly. Details:

Night Train 5Day: Thursday 6 December

Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent Canterbury Campus, Canterbury UK

Tickets: £8/£7 concessions, includes a copy of the book,
glass of wine, and cabaret entertainment. (Mezze food available from the Cafe Bar from 6 pm.)

Okay, I want an honest answer. A book? Wine? Music? AND readings? Not sure it gets any better. See you there.


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.