Hidden Talents

I am reading a wonderful book at present: Hidden Talents by Erica James, an author whose work I was previously unfamiliar with.  The novel centres around the formation and development of a creative writing group, called Hidden Talents.

Its disparate characters may be fictitious, but inspirational nonetheless.  They find time to write, and find escapism in writing, despite difficult personal circumstances.  It just hammers home the message to procrastinating would-be authors like me that “There are no excuses!!”  I just have to buckle down and do it.  Procrastination is the thief of time, as they say.

Novel progress

Yesterday I had a good proofread/recap of the first four chapters I have now completed of The Four Matthews.  It proved a worthwhile exercise, and a good confidence booster.  It refreshed my memory of this story I have created thus far, and reminded me how far I have come and how I absolutely must not give up on it.  I got to know my characters all over again, as a first-time reader of this future epic (hey, I can dream) might.

I have another three chapters to go (each one details a day on the fictitious week-long walking trip).  It can be so easy to become disheartened with the whole writing process, but this rereading exercise has really spurred me on.

I have been uploading chapters on here, as you can, but do not intend adding any more just yet.  The ones I have done have been added to and amended so much, it seems pointless to inflict a half-finished work in progress on you.  Once I have completed the novel, I intend uploading the final version.

Better go and crack on with it then…

Lord of the Mince

Last night my good friend Ros and I went to see the fabulous Julian Clary at Birmingham Town Hall.

It’s hard to believe, but the camp comedian formerly known as The Joan Collins Fan Club is now 50.  His Lord of the Mince tour is in part a retrospective on his life and glittering career – with lashings of gay innuendo tossed in (see, I can’t even help using it myself when I’m just writing about him).

A few years ago, Julian was controversial and outrageous; nowadays he’s something of a national treasure, a bluer version of Larry Grayson.

He was really on form.  The first half was mainly anecdotal, with many references to his 2004 appearance on Strictly Come Dancing and also his life in the country, where he is settled down with a steady boyfriend in ‘a thatched cottage with a thatched swimming pool,’ where they keep chickens and fellow camp entertainer Paul O’Grady is their next door neighbour.

The second half was more of a return to Julian’s old self, evoking the early 90s days of his outrageous Sticky Moments game show.  Clad in a ringmaster’s outfit, he dragged up two chaps from the audience – one gay, one straight – and tested their ‘psychic’ powers via a series of very silly blindfolded taste tests.

Another feature of part two was his reading of a selection of stories in the local paper, in our case the Birmingham Post.  His deadpan delivery of such sagas as the theft of a wheelie bin in Redditch was hilarious.

He closed each half by performing one of his own risqué songs, in his unique, dry, speak-singing style.

Julian’s heart-meltingly cute dogs Valerie and Jism (not sure if the latter is his real name!) made an appearance in the encore, to a chorus of ‘Ahhh’ from the audience.  They were beautifully behaved and clearly adore their master.  A mention of his late, original canine sidekick Fanny the Wonderdog drew a huge cheer too.

And the revamped Birmingham Town Hall is beautiful.  I hadn’t been since I was 17, when I attended a torturously dull A-level English seminar.  The gorgeous Victorian building has been done out in more recent years, and is now beautifully modern inside.  There is a relaxed, ‘artsy’ atmosphere.  It is yet another entertainment venue of which Brum can be proud.