Thursday, October 18, 2018

TWO HISTORICAL EXHIBITIONS IN BILLERICAY

Police presence and keen history participants
History, evidently, is fascinating for young and old and Billericay was lucky on Saturday when the Cater Museum joined with the Western Front Association and Tenth Essex Living History Group to present a World War One Centenary Exhibition in the Reading Rooms in our High Street.  For four years, since 2014, we have met some fascinating folk whose interest goes far beyond just reading about the Great War. They dress for the part and have much specialised knowledge, photographs and artefacts from one hundred years ago.  On the same day, our Billericay Archive Group met at Billericay Library further along the High Street and entertained many residents with talks, displays and general information about the history of the town - again, some precious rarely-seen images on display.   Shame that both events occurred simultaneously, but it gave visitors a little exercise,moving between the venues, and a chance to meet some other folk keen to learn about the history of their town via the different organisations.







Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SIR PATRICK MOORE - NEW PROJECT FOR THIS OLD "YOUNG TRAVELLER IN SPACE"


Writers are, sometimes seemingly, untidy creatures when it comes to controlling the excessive amount of paper that arrives by post, email or just through the ether. The discipline of keeping tabs on their own published work and images is sometimes difficult to control. At least that's how most of my author/journalist friends describe their work and paper-filled, untidy 'nests' devoted to writing. Filing the stuff is important, particularly for those who earn their daily bread by illustrating their books or features with their own pictures. I have a basic system going back almost thirty years, but it kinda works, so am pleased when I can find images appropriate for upcoming magazine features. Makes life so much easier. 

Just embarking on a small piece about astronomy and needed this nice little picture  of the late Sir Patrick whom I met at Chelsea a decade ago.  Lovely chap who presented The Sky at Night, one of the first TV programme about that exciting world so far above us. Sir Patrick took pity on me one year when we were both guests on Monday VIP day at Chelsea Flower Show in London. Even though so many people were jostling to talk to him, he called me over and allowed me to carry out a nice little interview where - it turned out - he interviewed 'me' about the books I had read and written, and my enjoyment of his television programmes made so very long ago. I mentioned my first Science book prize from Marley School (below) and he gave me his opinion about the work of Arthur C Clarke, one of my favourite authors at the time.


 Eventually Sir Patrick agreed to pose with this other chap whose name I can't recall. Can any of my readers identify this TV presenter? 

Friday, October 05, 2018

THE ARTS IN BASILDON ESSEX ENGLAND

Trustees Irene Butcher, Stephen Hurley with Liz Wallace from Denver
What a wonderfully warm welcome awaited Liz Wallace yesterday when she met Trustees of the Eastgate Art Gallery and presented her son Stuart Wallace's latest artwork for exhibition.  These paintings are now on front view at the Gallery over the next month.  Some of Essex-born Stuart's paintings have been exhibited in several American cities, including New York and his work is gaining prominence in his home city of Denver, Colorado.



Danny Lawrence BEM. chief at Gateway Radio 97.8 fm kindly invited Liz and the Gallery Trustees to be interviewed by presenter Aston Avery and thanks are extended to the whole team at Gateway for their interest in the very active Basildon Arts scene. Why not pay a visit? 

More of Stuart Wallace's collection of abstract and traditional artwork can be seen on his   websitehttp://stuartwallace.wixsite.com/artwork



Thursday, October 04, 2018

NATIONAL POETRY DAY CELEBRATIONS IN THE UK


John Agard Fleur Adcock Wendy Cope at House of Lords ALCS summer party
NATIONAL POETRY DAY is being celebrated in the UK today and hopefully, our SWWJ poets will find inspiration today to work on new ideas and verse that may have been fermenting in their minds for some time.  My humble pieces will never go anywhere, but I do love the work of many current well known poets. Here we have a trio who were kind enough to give me a little smile at a recent gathering in London.  Come on - pick up those pens or hit the keyboard!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

SPIES AND AUCTION HOUSES - FLOG IT!

Loved my visit to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamsure a while back. Today, the TV auction show Flog It also visited this famous building and I enjoyed recalling some of the amazing rooms, even (almost) sitting on the chair used by Alan Turing.  His typewriter is still there and it was similar to the one I used as one of my tools so many years ago. During my own visit, I was thrilled that so many people were around to help me in my quest for information about spies and spying - my resulting article has now been published. However, I really enjoyed working my way around the big house and the huts, particularly Hut 8 - the most memorable which really fired my imagination.   

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

PAST MEMBERS OF OUR SWWJ - TODAY, DAME JACQUELINE WILSON

So lovely to hear our former Council member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists - Dame Jacqueline Wilson, talking about her new best-selling book on Woman's Hour this morning.  It's linked to her first successful story about Tracy Beaker.  Jacqueline was a hard-working member of our Council when her writing career initially took off and we have some wonderful photographs of her in those early years, particularly during our famous 'weekend schools'. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

SIMON & GARFUNKEL - A NEW BOOK ABOUT FAVOURITE PAUL SIMON

Paul Simon in the '60s
Reading like crazy at the moment. Large pile of books arrived and can't wait to sit down and get down to some serious reading for my new project. First on the list is the autobiography of Paul Simon, that consummate song writer and one of my favourites from the 1960s onward. Discovered the fact that Paul arrived in our town of Brentwood, Essex, England in 1963. Our good friend, Dennis Rookard was very active in those days, working as he did for the local press. It was Dennis who recorded sessions at the Railway Hotel, King's Road, close to our station in the autumn of '63 and more so in 1964. Although it is such a long time ago, Paul will surely remember performances by The Thames-siders and other performers and the time he met a young Englishman Dave McCausland, who immediately liked Paul's musical style and invited him to play at his Brentwood Folk Club.  To be continued... 
 

THE NEW YORKER REFLECTS ON PAUL SIMON’S FINAL SHOW

The New Yorker highlights special moments during Paul Simon’s final show of the Homeward Bound Tour.
“His voice, boyish and clear, was something of a liability at the start of his career—he neither snarled nor whooped, like many of his peers, which led some critics to believe that his work was less urgent. Now it simply gives these songs an eternal youthfulness.”