Wednesday, 2 December 2015

FACE VALUE: Northern Crime Short Story Winner/FRANK'S WILD YEARS: New Edition/TED LEWIS: Update

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Northern-Crime-One-stories-northern-ebook/dp/B018MZY7H6/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=00B3KZBP208NF77JVH8Z


"From rural noir to urban terror, high concept drama to blunt force trauma, Moth Publishing presents its first collection of prize-winning short stories."
 
2015 is about to end with a result. My story Face Value is a winner in the inaugural Northern Crime Short Story Competition. With the winners' anthology released on Monday 7 December in paperback and E-book, it's a great way to sign off after a hard-working but not always the most productive of writing years. I'm especially pleased Face Value made the grade.
 
This week also sees the publication of a new edition of Frank's Wild Years. I'm grateful to publisher, Caffeine Nights, for the opportunity to put right a few of the things which have bugged me since it was originally let loose on the world, and for continuing to show faith in the book. The altogether sharper Frank's Wild Years will be available online, in bookshops and at WH Smiths travel stores from 3 December.
 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Franks-Wild-Years-Nick-Triplow/dp/1907565140
 
 
This year I made a conscious decision to focus on finishing my longstanding and well-overdue book about Ted Lewis. Fiction writing, blogging and a lot more besides have gone by the wayside, but it's ready for that plunge into finding an agent who fancies it, and a publisher willing to back a book which tells the story of one of the most influential British crime authors of the 20th century. The research has taken me to some brilliant, sad, funny, enlightening and strange places, the writing process to some even stranger ones. Watch this space.
 
 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

James Varda: Chance And Time - One Year On


On his ABC (Australia) radio show The Inside Sleeve last week, Paul Gough introduced a couple of tracks from Chance And Time, the last album from James Varda who died in June this year. He introduced the section with a few words about how he came to know Varda's music in the late 80s through the John Leckie-produced LP, Hunger. He spoke about the strength of the songwriting and how the record had stayed with him over the years. He played Beside The Sea, the haunting penultimate track on Chance And Time, and Only Love, which, in a sense is the centrepiece, closing the Chance section of the album. For me -  and I've listened to the album many times - there was something different about hearing the songs on a radio programme broadcast from thousands of miles away. It lacked the static and hiss of an old time analogue radio show, but felt no less distant.
 
It's a year since Chance And Time was released and nearly five months since James died. He would, I'm sure, have been pleased to know his songs were being played and that there were people listening to his music. These songs are too beautiful and moving not to find a place in the world. A year on they have lost none of their life-affirming power. Varda's achievement in creating a lexicon for cancer in line with his own experience, and one that refuses to resort to cliché, is inspiring in itself. But listening now, what comes across is just how much this is an album about life and love of life. The writing is honest and true; the playing and performances exquisite. The sentiment seems only to deepen as it becomes weathered by time. I'm sure I won't be alone among those who knew him and think about him not just today, but every day, to raise a glass tonight. Chance And Time is a great record. Pass it on.
 
 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

JAMES VARDA



JAMES VARDA: PRESS RELEASE

Small Things Records are sad to announce the death of James Varda, one of the most distinctive singer songwriters of his generation, at his home in Sheringham, Norfolk on 12 June, 2015.

James had lived and worked with a rare form of cancer for some time. He had known this day would come and until a few weeks ago was reading and listening to music, as always inspired and inspiring in equal measure. On 2014’s astonishing album, Chance And Time,  James turned his songwriting talent to chronicling the experience of confronting illness and death, and in doing so, created a unique language and music of love and pain, family, landscape and loss. It is undoubtedly his best work.

 
James was the rarest of musicians, always and only making records on his own terms. His 1988 debut, Hunger, marked him out as the original indie acoustic outsider. His gigs in those days were an electric experience and led to invitations to appear on Channel 4’s Night Network, appearances at the Reading and Cambridge Folk Festivals, and a support slot on tour with Roy Harper.

His later work, the stripped down acoustic In The Valley (2004); and The River And The Stars (2013) showed a writer at peace with the landscape, and with an instinctive feel for nature. With his gifts as writer and guitar player to the fore, he aimed for perfection and, on Chance And Time (2014), he knew he had made a record which could not be bettered.


And let my place be a sound, the colour of a church
With windows lit in deep blue light, flooding sky and earth
And let my place be a rhythm, supple and assured
On which a melody can build and rise and words can find their worth
Let my place be a chord, that echoes through the years
Let my place be an affirmation, a handshake, a ‘Yes!’


                                      Let My PlaceJames Varda 2014

There will be fuller tributes in due course and, if there’s any justice, his work will find long-overdue wider recognition in the weeks, months and years to come. But for the moment our thoughts are with James’s wife and sons, family and friends. We will all miss him terribly.