Thursday, 24 May 2012

For you, Tommy

On a recent trip to the British Film Institute, I recently came across this final scene, cut from every single British First World War film or television miniseries ever made.

(A cafe)

This Schnaps is really not very good at all sir. I don't know why we came all the way to Berlin for it.
Nor do I, Sherborne. But I promised, just before we went over the top that last time, that when the war was over we'd go for a Schnapps in Berlin, and I am a man of my word.
Ah yes, now I remember. Sorry if I seem a little distant, and I apologise in advance, in case I lose the thread and glaze over once or twice.

Understood. It's a pity none of the men made it.

God bless them. Braithwaite, with his "ee by gum". Atkins, charming the prostitutes with his pearly cap and his cheeky Lambeth Walk. Taffy and McTavish, making fun of each other in between saving each other's lives.

That's the wonderful thing about the Staffordshires. It's an equal opportunities regiment. We make sure we represent every identifiable regional character, and for a regiment nominally recruited from a single English county that's no easy trick.

It just got so wearing, watching them die one by one like that.

Although it did, ultimately, give me a rare chance to show my heart of gold. I'd been saving it up for just before the last one finally passed out.

That's true. Even by January 1915, you'd already been hardened and brutalised. Why was that?
I don't like to talk about it.
[after glazing over momentarily] Oh, one final thing sir: how did we win this war?

Pluck and general Britishness of course.

I appreciate that, sir, but we spent the whole time doing one of two things. Either we'd sit in the trench, sometimes go on patrol, and get picked off one by one. Or we'd all rush out of the trench blowing whistles, and get mown down like dandelions. I rather hoped that the Germans might rush out of their trench for a change, and give us a go at mowing them down, but it never happened. It didn't seem to be going our way at all.
Funny thing there. The two Germans we finally saw and captured at the end, because they'd run out of bullets...
Fritz and Kaiser Bill?
Yes, them. Well, they really were the only two Germans in the whole thing. Now, how about we get back to Blighty and marry each other's sisters?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Team Up & DIY: One Day Workshop

On Saturday 9th June, Kirsty and I will be running a one-off workshop at the Poetry School called Team Up & DIY. The double focus is on collaborative texts and then publishing and publicising the result of your efforts. This latter part will be drawing on our long and harrowing experience with amateur printing, binding, sourcing materials, building websites and fainting at the cost of posting parcels of literary goodness to Singapore. But the first part, the collaborative part, will be interesting too. We'll be looking at a wide variety of (in some cases, arguably) dual-authored texts, including the potential for collaborating with dead poets, and carrying out an exercise with participants on the day that will involve them teaming up together.

Hopefully see some of you there!

Booking and further info here.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Poetry Rodeos and Forged Antlers!

Two events you should know about, for they are exciting!

Nine Arches Press team up with Sidekick to bring you Poetry Rodeo on Thursday 17 May. Spellbook and Birdbook stars Edward McKay and Nia Davies join 9A's Alistair Noon and Andrew Frolish at the Big Green Bookshop, Wood Green (gorgeous shop - check it out) for a night of poetic fantastitude.

Click the image below for el event page:

Secondly, for those in London on 8 June, Sidekick's own Jon Stone is launching his PBS-recommended first collection (YEAH!) School of Forgery, alongside the magnificent John Clegg, whose first collection, Antler, is a source of great toe-tapping excitement in the Sidekick camp. Check out their wistful author shots!

Where? The New Moon, London EC3V 0DN, from 7pm. Click the image below for the event page!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Fuselit: Amazon submissions closed

Our initial Amazon deadline announcement was a smidge discreet, so harumph! harumph!

Fuselit Amazon closed submissions on 30 April. I'm currently working through the many emails and as ever, it's been great to see such a variety of takes on the spurword. If you've sent me a submission and I've not yet been in touch, that will happen within the next few weeks.

We're now taking a submissions break for about four months while we get cracking not just on putting Amazon together, but also on Sidekick Books projects (there are many and lo, they are exciting), teaching a course on collaboration and self publishing called Team Up and DIY at the Poetry School, London, and our first collections, out now (Jon) and soon (me) from Salt Publishing!

For non-submissions questions, the quickest way to get a response is by prodding me at Please don't send submissions here - it won't look good.

We'll announce the next word in September. Meanwhile, keep experimenting!