Me, Cheryl, Music and Art
A fragile and flickering little flame has been lighting my dark for the best part of ten weeks now. Ever since a real live editor asked to see the full script of ‘Fighting the Tide’ I’ve dared to hope that this time it was really going to happen. FTT’s got pretty close before, considering it hasn’t been spread very widely, so I know it’s got something going for it. And, indeed, the email that popped up on Friday seemed to confirm this; ‘…polished writing…wonderful characters…a talent for dialogue…very real location’ etc, and then ‘not the right time to take this book on.’ What?
What seemed to have tipped the balance was the length of the book and one subplot too many ie the additions suggested by an agent to turn a simple love story into something ‘bigger and darker’! Well, that’s what I could tell myself but I suppose the truth is that I’m aiming at an already overcrowded market where being polished isn’t sufficient – you need an ‘X’ factor. And that’s exactly what Girls Aloud singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has because she’s reportedly landed a multi-million pound deal to write a series of chick-lit novel for Harper Collins. I could chuck my toys around and moan that it isn’t fair but which of us is going to sell the most books here? Who’s going to be the most valuable asset to their publisher? Ah, well, I shall keep doing what I love, which is writing, and hope that one day, my fragile, flickering little flame will burn brightly.
After the bad news on Friday I was forced to lift my head off the Pillow of Despondency because it was time to deliver the second half of a present to Tom; a trip to Theatr Mwldan to see Bellowhead. I can’t think of a simple way to describe Bellowhead; they fill the stage with musicians, they fill the theatre with a hugely enthusiatic audience (I did note a terrible outbreak of male pony-tails, hairy jumpers, flowing crushed velvet and ethnic earrings) and then they blast you with all kinds of amazing interpretations of folk songs. I know it sounds like Hell On A Stick but they are such terrific performers, it works! Again, as with the Poozies, I’d never play this music to myself, but live music, especially when it’s played with such gusto, is always worth experiencing.
When you can download any track you like at the click of a mouse it’s easy to get desensitized to the magic of music. Going out, being part of something unique, feeling the sheer unpredictability of a live performance is something you’ll always remember. At the end of November I went to see John Martyn; it was unsettling, uncomfortable but spliced with moments that were intensely moving. And when his death was announced last Thursday, I was so glad that I’d had the chance to see him again.
And finally…For those of you who make such lovely comments about Tom’s work, he’s started exhibiting online at alltradeart. If any of you feel inclined to have a look, do please vote for your favourite – it doesn’t cost anything and it would just be interesting to see what you think. Thank you.
The painting is 'July Sunset - Mwnt' by Tom Tomos