My story, ‘Protect Yersel wi Fire’ features in PUSH 19 and includes an illustration by Alloa-based artist Karen Strang. Not only am I pleased to have a collaborative project published in a mag that’s becoming increasingly popular, I’m delighted that PUSH has taken a story written in Falkirk Scots, given that its audience (in the main) is London-based football and music fans.
I’ve seen little bits of Scots in PUSH – Michael Pederson’s ‘Limelight Bar, Meadowbank’, for example – but I believe ‘Protect Yersel wi Fire’ is the first story to feature that is Scots throughout. Also, it’s about the referendum and I – perhaps wrongly – felt that English people wouldn’t be particularly interested in reading about a Scot’s disappointment at still being part of the union.
So this got me thinking about a few things. First off, like it or lump it, we’re still a union. In my experience, most English people are either pleased Scotland is still part of the UK or they’re completely indifferent. If you excuse the generalisation, the latter are usually London-based as London is pretty much its own entity, to the extent that folk from Newcastle and ‘The North’ (as it’s inaccurately referred to in the media on a regular basis) often feel just as cut off as folk in Stornoway.
PUSH and its readers, however, are a different breed. The mag is underground poetry and fiction at its best – it celebrates the many voices the UK has to offer and is not scared to print material other publications may shun. I believe it’s this that has made it the powerhouse it has become, thanks to founder and editor Joe England’s open mind and general frustration with the mainstream press.
Most websites offering advice to authors looking to become published recommend manuscripts be written in ‘Standard English’ (whatever that means) as regional dialect narrows the audience thus impacting marketability and sales. James Kelman recently signed with Edinburgh-based Canongate, claiming that ‘London publishers are “elitist” and don’t get Scotland’. Whilst this is referring to the mainstream press, his comments and frustrations are understandable.
As far as my recent experience is concerned though, the underground and less mainstream press may have had a slight change of heart – between PUSH publishing ‘Protect Yersel wi Fire’ with Karen’s illustration and a recent email from a West London-based publisher saying they loved the first chapter of my novel (also written in Scots) and are keen on reading the full manuscript once it’s ready.
In my opinion, Scotland made the wrong decision in 2014, but in the lead up to the vote I found it excruciating that some folk thought Yes voters were either anti-English, SNP lovers or both. No political party is perfect – I think that’s obvious in contemporary times – so I tend to vote for the party I dislike the least these days. I would’ve been happier with a Labour-run indie Scotland than an SNP majority that’s part of a union run by the Tories – but anyway, it’s done . . . for now. ‘Protect Yersel wi Fire’ deals with some of these irritations, whilst showing compassion for our neighbours and highlighting how, regardless of nationality or political persuasion, music can unite us.
PUSH 19 will be available soon from the PUSH website.
Some of Karen’s other work can be viewed on her Facebook page, here.
‘Protect Yersel wi Fire’ first appeared in issue five of Falkirk litzine, [Untitled].
In November, I was longlisted in The Poised Pen’s ‘Another Place’ flash fiction competition. The results were announced on Dec 4th at The Fly in the Loaf in Liverpool There was no prize for my flash fiction entry, An Often Inconvenient Compulsion, but given there were 174 entries, it was nice to get that far – and to receive a certificate. The word limit was 350 words and the piece had to be inspired by or relate to Antony Gormley’s sculpture ‘Another Place’ (right). You can read my entry here: An Often Inconvenient Compulsion
I’ve got a couple of gigs coming up in the next wee while. On the afternoon of Saturday 10th October I’ll be performing in the old HMV plot in the Howgate Centre in Falkirk as part of the launch of local musician Will Treeby’s album, Hollow Cradle. The launch features a fine line-up of Falkirk talent, including writer Helen MacKinven, poet John Kennedy, musician Robbie Lesiuk and established band The Tonkerers. The event runs from 12noon-4pm and is free.
Then on Saturday 7th November, I’m heading down south to Waterloo for the Central London launch of PUSH 2 (East London Press, 2015), where I’ll be in the company of Football Factory author John King, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, ex-That Petrol Emotion (now The Everlasting Yeah) guitarist and vocalist Raymond Gorman, as well as the ever awe-inspiring PUSH editor Joe England, and many more. It kicks off at 7pm in the Function Room of The Horse & Stables, 122-124 Westminster Bridge Road, and is free.
Copies of my books (and other folks’ books) will be available. Come along, have a blether and a beer and listen to the musings of lit fiends and musicians.
The Barony in Bo’ness is a brilliant wee theatre run by locals who care about the arts in their local community. Wendy Turner and Sandy Queenan have been very good to me over the years. In 2012, they allowed me to put on a spoken word night to promote my self-published book, Killing a Spider. Later the same year, Barony regular Will Treeby and I were allowed weekly access to rehearse my one-man Fringe show, Secret Weapons, which Wendy and Sandy co-directed.
Two of the best theatre productions I’ve ever seen have been at The Barony, Lady Windermere’s Fan and Noises Off. Although The Barony Players are considered to be an amateur group, there was nothing amateur about either of these performances. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I’d paid £20 for my ticket. The team, both on-stage and behind the scenes, work tirelessly to bring high quality productions to the people of Bo’ness and surrounding communities twice a year.
However, as the building is now over 100 years old, the theatre is in need of major repair work. There are also plans for an extension in order to provide more space to help serve the community’s needs. Whether a single or regular donation, please donate if you can afford to, so The Barony Players can continue to stage quality productions.
To donate to The Barony Theatre Restoration Fund, click here.
The second PUSH anthology, which includes my story ‘Nose Art’, will be launched this Thursday 13th August from 6.30pm at Word Power Books in Edinburgh (43-45 West Nicolson Street). This is the second anthology within a year, released on East London Press, and contains new material from Human Punk and The Football Factory author, John King. It’s a free event and there will be readings from me, Joseph Ridgwell, Kevin Williamson, Dean Lilleyman and others, as well as the famous PUSH raffle. Hosted by the mag’s / anthologies’ editor, Joe England.
I also received word from [Untitled] magazine that a story of mine, ‘Shoap’, is going to be performed by Falkirk Folk Club at an event in Falkirk later this year. I’ll be really interested to see what they come up with!
I have recently had new work published in issue V of [Untitled] (‘Protect Yourself with Fire’ – a short story about being in London in September 2014), Alight Here: An Anthology of Falkirk Writing (‘One Nil’ – a short story about being a diehard fan of East Stirlingshire Football Club) and Octavius (‘Girlfriend’ and ‘I’m Walking Here’ – two pieces of flash fiction, which, according to Falkirk screenwriter, Gordon Robertson, you can read in under 10 seconds). I’ve also received word that ‘Nose Art’, which was published in issue 15 of PUSH, will feature in the second PUSH anthology, out on East London Press in August.
[Untitled] is free, both electronically and in print. Alight Here: An Anthology of Falkirk Writing is out now on Cargo Publishing, priced £8.99, available from the Cargo website, Waterstone’s, Amazon and all good bookshops (also available as an ebook). Octavius is free and available online.
Chuffed to announce that I’ll be playing the part of Darren in Alan Bissett’s compelling debut play, The Ching Room. A Theatre Revolution production. Directed by Iain McAleese. Performed by Dickson Telfer and Kal Sabir. Sound and lighting by Ali Jones.
Two short runs will be staged in Glasgow to coincide with the release of Alan Bissett’s Collected Plays (Freight Books) which, as well as The Ching Room, also features The Moira Monologues, The Red Hourglass, Turbo Folk and many more.
The first run is at The Griffin on Bath Street, February 24th-26th (Tues-Thurs), 7.20pm. Tickets available here.
The second is at Garnethill Multicultural Centre, March 5th & 6th (Thurs & Fri), 7.35pm. Tickets available here.
Tickets go on sale at 1pm on Wednesday February 4th and are only £5 (+ 97p booking fee). As The Griffin is a pub, over 18s only. As Garnethill Multicultural Centre isn’t, this has been reduced to over 16s. The production contains language that some may find offensive, as well as drug references and simulated drug use.
For ticket holders, Collected Plays will be available after each performance at 20% off the RRP.
On December 6th I’ll be heading down to Walthamstow (home of East 17 – Deep deep down, so rest upon ma chest . . .) for the PUSH anthology book launch and party. I’ll be reading a slightly longer version of ‘Ella 21:18’, which features in the book, as well as drinking beer, catching up with Joe England and hopefully meeting Football Factory author John King. If you’re in the East London area, why not come along?
My new short story collection, Refrigerator Cake, will be released on Fledgling Press on Monday 24th November 2014. The launch will take place on Thursday 27th November at 6.30pm at Behind the Wall (upstairs), Melville Street, Falkirk. The collection is illustrated by artist Amy Brownlee (pictured below).
Actor and musician Will Treeby will also feature on the night and Waterstone’s will be there to do that exchange money for books thing. FREE ENTRY.
“As refreshing a collection as you’re likely to come across.” – Gordon Legge.
“Dickson Telfer plays centre forward in a new wave of exciting young writers. Read this book and you’ll know why.” – Joe England, Editor of PUSH magazine.
The launch will be followed by HOME GAME, presented by Falkirk arts-zine [Untitled] and arts journal The Grind – featuring performances by local writers Samuel Best, Bethany Ruth Anderson and Paul Cowan (+more) and music by Adam Stafford, whose album Imaginary Walls Collapse was longlisted for Scottish Album of the Year 2014. Tickets are £5 on the door and all profits will be donated to Falkirk Foodbank. PLEASE NOTE – REFRIGERATOR CAKE BOOK LAUNCH IS FREE – HOME GAME IS £5.
I have joined creative forces with Falkirk-based artists Grant Thomson, Katie White and Craig Allan to create and run a multi-arts mini-festival in Falkirk over the last week of July (27th July – 2nd Aug).
Festivals are held regularly in Edinburgh and Glasgow, so we thought it would be nice to hold one in our home town to showcase the talents of the people who either live in Falkirk or are originally from the town.
There are a range of events, catering for all ages and tastes. The line up includes writers Alan Bissett and Janet Paisley, musician Bill Wells, BAFTA winning filmmaker Alan McLaughlin, kids’ author and entertainer Stuart Reid and local theatre company The Barony Players. For the full line up, visit the For Falkirk’s Sake website.
As part of the Bill Wells’ National Jazz Trio of Scotland gig, I’ll be performing a few stories from my new collection over an improvised score. Should be a laugh 🙂
Tickets are available from The Steeple Box Office – in person or by telephone: 01324 506850. Further details here
Please share the website with family and friends and support local talent.