The sign of a civilised society

Oct 6, 2014 by

Out and about, I’ve noticed more mini libraries in places one wouldn’t expect.

In Liverpool we have book trees, where people can take a book and leave one in its place:

Book trees in Liverpool ONE shopping centre

Book trees in Liverpool ONE shopping centre

 

In Liverpool’s Ship & Mitre pub on Dale Street, they have a similar set up:

A library in a pub!

A library in a pub!

 

In Birmingham this weekend I spied this cosy nook in the hotel we stayed in. Nite nite is a budget chain hotel but they still have a library.

Well done for Nite Nite for showing such initiaitive

Well done to Nite Nite for showing such initiative

 

Have you seen a library in an unconventional place?

 

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Happy to live on Twee Street

Sep 29, 2014 by

The things enjoyed at thirteen years old rarely prove satisfying when we grow older but I’ve always liked Glasgow band The Bluebells, strong melodies and the whisper of melancholy in the lyrics squeezed my heart then as they still do now, apparent to me even at such a tender age. Some people smile when I say I like The Bluebells, I can’t be certain why but can imagine. Pop isn’t a dirty word to me, it’s a joy. Pop is neither hip nor cool, but I myself never slotted in either category anyway so it suits me fine, we get on together well.

Fine pop music indie or commercial, is like a genre book to be loved as much as any high art. Who says what is high or lowbrow art anyway? I listen to no one’s opinion on that but I’ve been listening to The Bluebell’s first album, the flawed and messy “Sisters” (what might have been if only...) for the last thirty years or so and enjoy the songs still. “Sisters” was the only material available to me apart from a nice compilation album of the singles and b-sides, random Old Grey Whistle Test clips on YouTube, any other snippets leaked and released in Japan (everything gets released in Japan) never made it to me. So it’s just been “Sisters” and the compilation for me until this summer when “Exile On Twee Street”, the 20 song CD (or 10 song vinyl edition) of demos from 1980 – 82 landed on my doormat.

I was always going to love this album, of course I was, there’s a delicious inevitability to these things. Clever indie pop, yes pop goddammit, with tunes and everything, the sound of working class youth albeit from a generation ago. There’s a real thrill to it for me; the working class, non-Camden voice is silenced and mocked more now as ever was, told to get back in its box and know its place, I find that sad, it’s beautiful to be reminded things haven’t always been this way, and we can speak.

twee st1

We made the trip to Exile On Twee Street’s launch at Mono in Glasgow last weekend because we’ve never been to the city, just passed through, and I’ve never seen The Bluebells play, they split up by the time I was fifteen or thereabouts. Glasgow reminds me of Liverpool so much, its river and architecture, its people not afraid to express an opinion – and every record shop has Scott Walker albums in it; the ones with no remote trace of a single hit.

We ate at Mono, I asked if everything on the menu was vegetarian.

“Yes it is. Don’t worry,’ smiled the waiter. ‘You’re safe here.’

The Bluebells sound checked, I sipped wine as they sang, and ate the best veggie burger in the world ever, then had the best of nights afterwards, a gig I’ve waited thirty years for.  I have a vinyl copy of the album now (it’s blue vinyl, of course; I’d expect nothing less) to sit happily alongside “Sisters” and be played and loved, often.

I love Glasgow, me; and my home too. I live happily on Twee Street wherever I find myself.

 

@cathbore

 

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Who DO you think you are?

Sep 1, 2014 by

bey

Oh, Beyonce. Who DO you think you are? First, you win loads of critical acclaim as the member of a vocal group and solo artist, earning pots of money at both, then start acting in films and people like that too. I suppose you reckon you’re pretty bloody good, yeah?

The ego on the woman! What’s that? She’s done WHAT? Beyonce Knowles has written poetry? And someone’s published it? That can’t be right, surely? Beyonce has penned a poem and like Kristen Stewart and Pamela Anderson over the past year, got someone to publish it. Controversial, yeah?

Famous women write poetry and suddenly everyone has an opinion, it seems; here’s mine. Just because some poetry isn’t technically the finest written doesn’t mean it’s not valid; I don’t think we should silence women, no matter the form they choose to use to make themselves heard.

After all, you wouldn’t mock an “ordinary” woman who wrote about her feelings via clunky or awkward verse, because that’s rude and cruel. Or maybe you would?

 

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Bang-bang, loom bands.

Aug 27, 2014 by

loom

When I was eight years old, my sister shot me. Looking at those words back now in black and white on a page it sounds all rather dramatic and 999 numbers panic-punched into the phone, but the incident was nothing, not really. My sister was twelve and pissed off with me, as almost-teenagers often feel obliged to be if they have an eight year old sister annoying them. I think I was eight; I can’t really remember because what happened wasn’t a thing of great consequence at the time so I’ve no bothered recalling much detail.

Okay, my sister shot me with an air gun and that’s quite bad, the air pellet pinged off my belly leaving a small painful circle of cherry pink in its wake, but the mark vanished soon enough. Also, it happened in a 1970s summer during the long boring school holidays in a village in Lancashire on the urban/rural cusp, when and where holiday clubs and courses for children to keep them amused were seen as exotic and a bit weird, so what else were you supposed to do with your time except practice your shooting? WELL?

I don’t think any of the children up my street here on Merseyside shoot their siblings, they seem more into the loom band thing, plastic circles spillages scattering the pavement in front of the house like multi-coloured ringworm. Young people today; they don’t know how to live, clearly.

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The C-Word

Aug 26, 2014 by

Creative AND cultural; we've got a lanyard to prove it.

Creative AND cultural; we’ve got a lanyard to prove it.

When I first moved to Liverpool, it was all independent shops and food chains specific to the north, alt clothing outlets so alternative no contents within stretched to my hip size. Fast forward a couple of decades and every chain store you can imagine stands boxy and high, smooth pavements out front.

‘I preferred it when none of the big shops were here. Before all the changes,’ a native to the city throws the casual comment out there at me, a frown creasing sharp black lines into his brow. ‘It was so much more creative then!’

He left twenty years ago in search of work elsewhere; I fancy he rocketed out of the place at the precise time I stood at Leyland train station and bought my ticket to Lime Street.

The cause for shop independente is a strong one in Liverpool now, as it should be, and culture is the new black. But, Merseyside has always boasted culture, and we create it too, aren’t we clever? We have writers (erm, cough cough), and more musicians per head than other cities, the philosophy being you can never have enough of either.

Last week I went to the Steve Levine’s Assembly Point Sessions (creativity!) at St George’s Hall (culture!), part of Liverpool International Music Festival (creativity AND culture!). Levine talked about Liverpool’s culture and creativity, as did a chap from BBC Radio 6 Music laying it on marzipan thick. Natalie McCool sang on a mass recording of Ferry Across The Mersey, right there and then on the night, as did Hollie Cooke and Mary Epworth, and we the audience also, bless us. Mr BBC Radio 6 Music man went as far to say we can all now claim we’ve been produced by Steve Levine (that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’ll pop it on my CV anyway), wowed at how creative and cultural we all are.

Aw, shucks. Thanks. Kinda knew it already, though.

 

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WALKING IN THE FEMININE : STEPPING IN OUR SHOES

Aug 21, 2014 by

I have a piece of ceative non-fiction called MY SISTER in a forthcoming book, to be published in the US sometime in 2015.

More information including release date coming soon.

walking in the feminine a stepping into our shoes anthology

 

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The Cat Circus comes to town

Aug 19, 2014 by

featured

I have  a new short story out today, The Cat Circus,over at Flash Fiction Magazine. I wrote the snippy flash because last month a circus came to near where I live, one with live animals. Big cats and others who in an ideal world would live in the wild are transported around the country and made for perform for us, the public. I hate the idea of a live animal circus and I understand it will be outlawed in the UK soon, but the very idea upset me so I wrote a story about it.

The fictional big cats win out in The Cat Circus, I just hope the ones in real life will be ok too. You can read The Cat Circus here.

flash fiction

 

 

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A different type of shellac

Aug 17, 2014 by

I bought my first Elvis 78 RPM records from a jumble sale when I was about 11 or 12 years old for not very much. My father’s eyes developed pound signs when he saw them but his plans for millionairedom were soon thwarted; the records weren’t worth much because they’re made of shellac (not the fancy modern day nail polish, I may add) and played at 78 RPM, hardly anyone had a record player that played 78s even in 1980s (though I always have); so people didn’t want them.

I bought some more 78s from the junk shop up the road from where I live now about 15 yrs ago, the chap who ran the place thought he had a goldmine on his hands also, only to be disappointed too. I’ve now got a nice stack of Elvis 78s as a result, and I’m glad they’re not worth much money because that means they get to live in my house, with me.

Looking at this HMV one now, it’s got a Heritage Plaque look about it:

my baby


I often think how excited the original buyer of my 78s would have been, and reflect they’ve never been more loved than they are now.

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The loveliness of James Garner

Aug 10, 2014 by

Watching episodes of The Rockford Files over the weekend, I couldn’t help but think if it was made today James Garner would be seen as too old to be cast in the leading role – or they’d make him have a tummy tuck/force him into a stomach corset/wipe his face of its character with chemical peels of some sort. When all the time he was wonderful and talented and handsome all on his own.

Jim Rockford

I wrote a short story WE ALL HAVE STANDARDS from the women’s perspective of how we’re expected to make changes to our natural selves before we’re deemed respectable. It is published on Female First and you can read it here.

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We All Have Standards

Aug 8, 2014 by

I’ve got a new short story out today, published over on Female First.

I wrote it after I saw/heard/read repsonses to the Hairy Legs Club blog, where women are encouraged to post pictures of their unshaved legs.  My own philosophy on female body is hair is keep it or get shut, it’s your choice and no one else’s beeswax. The appalled/disgusted/OH MY GOD! responses to the Hairy legs Club way outweighed anything positive though and that annoyed me, hence my story WE ALL HAVE STANDARDS. Despite my irritation the story is lighter in tone than my usual writing,  I hope you enjoy it.

You can read WE ALL HAVE STANDARDS on Female First here.

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Shadows and Light

Aug 4, 2014 by

Paperback cover for SHADOWS & LIGHT

My short story LITTLE BROTHER is included in SHADOWS AND LIGHT, a charity anthology for Women’s Aid. Edited by Andrew Scorah, it is available as an ebook now and will be released shortly in paperback through Ansco Press.

 

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Paperback

 

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Big Society The Musical to be screened as part of Liverpool International Music Festival

Aug 4, 2014 by

The Liverpool film I co-wrote, BIG SOCIETY THE MUSICAL, is to get a hometown screening at the city’s FACT,  part of this month’s Liverpool International Music Festival.

I am co-writer...and an  extra in the film!

I co-wrote the film…and was an extra in it too!

Big Society The Musical at FACT, Wood St, Liverpool on 17th August 2014, 6.30pm. Ticket info here.

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Charity shop trauma

Aug 3, 2014 by

nun 1

 

I went on a charity shop trawl yesterday and have no book or record goodies to report, but Scope offered a doll for sale. Dressed as a nun she sat on a shelf, her legs akimbo. I’m happily atheist and was never a Catholic anyway but still felt the appropriate guilt and knew dolly judged me as I walked away and left her there.

@cathbore

 

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Twisted Tales 2014 anthology news

Jul 30, 2014 by

raging aad

I’m cock-a-hoop that my short story THE SHORT GOODBYE is to be included in the TWISTED TEALES 2014 anthology (Raging Aardvark Publishing), out later this year via ebook  and physically printed format. It’s been quite a long process getting to this point, initially the story was longlisted then shortlisted and now at last  the final stories are selected.

I’m very pleased, and congratulations to everyone else whose stories are included in the book,  listed on the Raging Aardvark website here.

 

@cathbore

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The First Night

Jul 29, 2014 by

dew leaves

I make two stories in the afternoon so get up in the early hours to play with them, too excited to sleep. The stories live and breathe on their own, branching out and stretching wide and I respect that, but I sing similes to each, sweet talk metaphors, thickening slender shoots with my words water, them with praise. We spend the hours getting to know each other over this night-morning, it’s a time of give and take, just me and them and the moon. Eventually the sun wakes up and stretches, throwing light into hidden corners. This is good; my stories hide things and I find them, like a game.

I’m starting to flag a little now, I need new air. I leave my stories inside; they’re not ready for people to meet them as yet. An early morning breeze sets up, leaves rustling like a lullaby, softened by the dew wetting my stories heads.

 

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