Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pre-order 'The Intimates' on Amazon

After weeks of nipping and tucking, assisted by my tireless editor and late night cups of coffee The Intimates is ready for release. Its publisher Legend Press today released the following blurb for it on their website-

'The Intimates believe that they are the epitome of glamour. For this group of eclectic friends life is a playground as they sing, act and write their way to their dream lifestyles.

But all is not as it seems.

Invited to celebrate one evening together, there is a sinister undertone that threatens to expose each of these brilliantly talented failures. Dark secrets unravel, and ugly truths are revealed as each person desperately tries to hide what’s buried beneath the shimmering surface.

Each trapped in a pristine image their masks begin to slip and, for some, start to disintegrate in a way that will alter their lives forever.'

It can be pre-ordered from here-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Intimates-Guy-Mankowski/dp/1907756469
 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Enchanting and Tattered World Of Daniel Kitson



Daniel Kitson is a shambolic, hysterical and thrillingly creative comedian. I’ve been lucky enough to see him twice this year and both times his work has had a huge impact. He eschews large commercial shows in favour of gigs often held in small and intimate venues. I’ve never seen a comedian so able to draw waves of relentless laughter from an audience while simultaneously offering so many insights into the human condition. He's so deft at sharing his own memories, in a manner that makes them seem universal, that he even makes you laugh at your own memories.


The first show I saw of his was entitled ‘66a Church Road’, which he described as ‘a break up show for my flat’. In it he used images of poignant scenes from his past, projected onto suitcases, in order to recount the love affair he had with his first home. In so doing he almost literally invited the audience into his world. He recounted key moments of romance and heartbreak he had there, times spent cooking and eating with his friends, ongoing tussles he had with his landlord. A large motivation in my own writing is trying to transform the mundane into something enchanting, something Kitson manages to do by reliving often absurd events without ever being indulgent. He seems to have perfected the knack of making his self-disclosures seem generous, even nourishing, while never ceasing to entertain.



The second show was titled ‘It's Always Right Now, Until It’s Later’ and was held very early in the morning. In it he recalled the fictional lives of Caroline Carpenter and William Rivington, though he stressed that the show was ‘no more a love story than the Bible is a book about woodwork’. With the aid of a stepladder, and a series of illuminated light bulbs suspended at various heights, he retold key moments in his protagonists’ lives, which he weaved together until it felt as if we knew them intimately. More than ever his love of language came through, and with it the realisation of how easily it can be enjoyed. One particularly funny riff closed with the words ‘And who among us doesn't enjoy the word 'toboggan'?’, which drew one of the biggest laughs of the night.



That show illustrated to me just how fleeting, abstract and often unacknowledged some of the most meaningful moments of our lives can be. How often seemingly innocuous moments can grow to be of major personal importance. He showed that despite how haphazard, confusing and often contradictory life can be, we can find always meaning in small moments, and in how we uniquely relate to the world.


Part of Kitson's charm (perhaps paradoxically, given his great openness) is his sense of self-preservation. He does not engage with promotional tools such as Twitter and there are very few YouTube links of his work available. Even his own website is so sporadically maintained that it was hard to tell what night the shows were on. But all this somehow gives his work a greater value, as it requires investment to ever access it. With his mastery of words  and his stoic lack of compromise I couldn't help but think that his approach had quite a lot to teach many of us learning to disseminate creative work in the modern age.


Friday, 24 September 2010

When Can Fiction Overstep The Mark?


I’ve long been fascinated by Richey Edwards- the fiercely intelligent, glitter drenched guitarist from The Manic Street Preachers who disappeared at the age of 27 on the brink of an American tour. I was therefore intrigued to find out this week that a novel has been written describing Richey’s life from his own perspective. ‘Richard: A Novel’ is being released in October, and is already courting some controversy. Nicky Wire, the bass player from The Manic Street Preacher’s this week wrote in the NME that he found the book ‘too upsetting to finish’ and that ‘when you make fiction out of someone you forget that they’re a real human being’.

My gut instinct is to agree. Though I applaud Myer’s attempt to present Richey as not just a rock star, but as an academic and young man, will this novel not just contribute to the myths that already surround him, and therefore make it harder to have a clear idea of what Richey was really like? Paradoxically, it seems that the more that is written about people who are not around to give their own account, the more they seem to become shrouded in mystery.

Urban myths and popularly used images of them become our perception of what they were as people, more than being mere ‘press shots’ taken at brief moments in their life. Their very identity just becomes another part of the ether, and increasingly more difficult to define. I remember reading an extract from Richey’s diary in Select Magazine in the mid nineties, when he described how he’d ‘rather fall in love with a washing machine than a woman’. Reading an extract from Myer’s undeniably well written novel this morning I could not help but wish that Richey had written an account of his life from his own perspective, so that some of the countless questions about him could have been answered in his own inimitable voice…

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Intimates

I'm very excited that today Legend Press have announced the release of my first novel 'The Intimates'- which is due for publication in early 2011. They describe the novel as 'depicting an evening with a group of eclectic friends, gradually uncovering the ugly and brutally honest truths that can go unmentioned for so long. With Guy's unique writing style, the characters unravel before the reader with a sense of almost unsettling realism.'

Having worked with Lauren, Tom and Lucy on the collections 'Eight Rooms' and 'Ten Journeys' I'm very excited to be able to continue doing so in the future. They're a very dedicated, exciting and groundbreaking publishing house, and it's great to be on their books alongside such fantastic authors as Zoe Jenny, Bonnie Greer and Gary Murning.

For more information check out Legend Press at-

http://forward.legendpress.co.uk/mainsite/2010/09/announcing-the-intimates-by-guy-mankowski.html

Ps this Saturday I'll be joined by Andy Kirby for the final book signing of Ten Journeys at Waterstones, Darlington between 12 and 3pm.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Local Authors Sell Out


Last Saturday I joined the laconic and charming Dave Foxall at Waterstones in Darlington to promote Ten Journeys, the new Legend Press collection which we both feature in. Whether we simply had no shame pimping ourselves or whether the people of the North East were in a good mood I don't know, but we managed to sell out of copies during the signing. The Northern Echo came down to photograph the occassion - here you can see me standing up while Dave sits down.

On the 11th September I'll be returning for another signing with Andy Kirby, ebullient and provocative author of the excellent novels 'Bully' and 'The Magpie Trap'. And while we're on the subject on 7th August I'll be promoting Ten Journeys at Waterstones Newcastle with Matthew Crow, author of the novel 'Ashes'.

'This one's here, this one's here, this one's here and this one's here. And everything's for sale'
from Yes by the Manic Street Preachers.  

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Explosions of Glitter and Celebration - The Haunting World of Lonelady


On the rare occasions that I am inspired by a new band, it is often the atmosphere surrounding them that draws me in. I often use music as a three minute portal to the type of life I hanker for, or even as another stepping stone towards that life. The most generous music offers you that opportunity, and gives you space in which to invest in your own imagination. But when the world a piece of music offers is ill-defined, or overly stylized, the romance with it is inevitably short-lived. But if music stands up to scrutiny, after a period of digestion it soon becomes part of the furniture of your life.

Lonelady is the first artist for a long time to pass that test for me. In a recent interview she talked about how you when you finish a piece of work you ‘expect explosions of glitter and celebration’ but how ‘that doesn’t happen at all’. I’m starting to learn about that feeling of anti climax, when you put out a piece of work you have agonized over, only to see it inevitably caught up in the maelstrom of other new releases. She discussed how she feels dislocated from the things she sees on TV, and how her music stems from an era that in many ways is behind us. I really related to that tenuous quest for something difficult to define, that in many ways is beyond reach. Her music is evocative of Factory era Manchester, when guitars were brittle and textured, drums were spectral and the sounds of malfunctioning lifts and Manchester streets lingered behind the instruments. If there is a vein of something running through my writing I hope that it is that pursuit for vague worlds that briefly engaged in some tangential way. As someone who’s constantly looking for new links to forgotten worlds like these, I found it inspiring to read that in that respect I was not alone.