A few of our favourite things

Paul loves literary murder mystery, Douglas is enjoying music from Norway, Sam is inspired by Henry Moore, Mandy is exploring brain pickings and Niall is mad for Mad Max. Here are our recommendations for June.


every-contactEvery Contact Leaves A Trace by Elanor Dymott

A literary murder mystery set in an Oxford college is a remarkable debut novel. Dymott draws you into a tangled web where nothing is exactly as it seems. Truth is an elusive concept as love’s joy suffuses into loss and a longing for answers. A haunting read, reminiscent of The Magus by John Fowles.

Paul Murphy


All That Fall by Samuel Beckett

A marvellous production at the Barbican of Beckett’s 1957 radio play. Although it will be over by the time this Newsletter is out, the original version is available on YouTube and fully demonstrates the glory of Beckett’s amazing ear for spoken language.

Martin Lee


horneThe Horne Section

Go and watch The Horne Section at the Udderbelly, Southbank for 75 minutes of bizarre and oddly humorous entertainment. Watch out for the gawky moments when Alex Horne and the band are overshadowed by the guest comedians. If the term raw comedy existed – this would be it.

Jigna Umeria


Music from Norway

Listening right now to music from Norway, such as Royksopp, Susanne Sundfor, and Ane Brun. Also been rediscovering Vivaldi…there’s a liquid Venetian quality of light, grace, and sadness in his music. In books I’ve been enjoying Women of The Celts by Jean Markale, a grand tour of European pre-Roman mythology.

Douglas Thompson


Poetry, storytelling and ukulele lessons

My upcoming recommendation is an entirely selfish one: on June 28 I will be compering the Arts Café in the Fisherrow Centre, Musselburgh from 1-4pm, a family friendly open floor performance afternoon in which we hope, in addition to poetry, music and storytelling, to offer table football and ukulele lessons!!

This month I discovered two fine things:

(1) (courtesy of Radio 4) Napoleon Bonaparte was actually average height for a French man of his time and considerably taller than Admiral Lord Nelson

(2) (courtesy of my brother and You Tube) James Last did a remarkable version of Hawkwind’s Silver Machine

Stephen Barnaby


tateFrom the Tate Britain to Appleyard
The Tate Britain – Henry Moore’s giant, muscular, drop dead gorgeous sculptures. So inspiring I even bought a teach yourself sculpture book.

Appleyard Recording Studios – a bunch of talented teenagers singing their socks off, courtesy of tutor and studio manager Jeff Topp. Awesome stuff.

Samm Short


Patti Smith, Brain Pickings and Edinburgh Film Festival
I can highly recommend the poetic, personal and fascinating Patti
Smith DVD ‘Dream Of Life’. Exploring Brain Pickings for
inspiring life lessons. Excitable about Edinburgh’s International Film
Festival – for cramming in tons of films. And visiting ‘Lee Miller and
Picasso’ at the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

Mandy Lee

shoesRecommendations for London and New York

Being predictably female I can’t wait to see Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the V&A. Shoes can make me very happy, like my Prada wedges that give me that “I am woman hear me roar” feeling, or very sad, like those Jimmy Choo stilettos that I ogle from a distance wishing my feet were more cooperative. It should be an emotional show.

I was just in NYC and laughed a lot at “An Act of God” with Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory. With perfect comedic timing, Parsons plays a flawed God rewriting the Ten Commandments and a lot of other things that have been annoying him over the years. One pet peeve is how everyone is always “thanking God” for things. He’s sick of it. “Kanye, next time you win a Grammy award and you thank me for all your God-given talents, they’re going to get God-taken, understand?” The Broadway show lasts ninety minutes with no intermission and is worth booking if a trip to the Big Apple is in your summer itinerary.

I’m looking forward to seeing Canadian author Margaret Atwood speak about her latest book The Heart Goes Last at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster on September 29th. Book now.

Elena Bowes


mad-maxMad Max

I recommend a Fringe of Leaves by Patrick White. Never have I read a book which captures the nuances of human thought so well. It is also just really darn good. Aside from that GO SEE MAD MAX. That is all.

Niall Moorjani




Dead end jobs and chip shops

Vicki Jarrett The Way Out published by Freight Books, 2015.
Jarrett’s characters ‘play the game’ to cope with dead end jobs in call centres and chip shops. Her voice is rooted in the urban, in tune with the cadences of everyday speech, often dark, or darkly humorous. Features stories shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize and (twice) for the Bridport.

Carol McKay

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.