In conversation with Shon Faye.

I went to the In Conversation event organised by Eastbourne Library this week. The author was Shon Faye- writer, broadcaster and activist. Shon presents the ‘Call Me Mother’ podcasts and wrote the critically acclaimed ‘Transgender Issue’ a landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life.

Faye talked about the Transgender Issue and the call for justice and solidarity between all marginalized people and minorities eloquently and with passion. An interesting hour spent on a Wednesday night in March.

Salena Gosden. Mrs Death Misses Death.

Went to this on Wednesday night. Salena Godden in conversation with Josephine Hall about her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death.

Death desperately wants to share her stories, and she selects as her scribe Wolf Willeford, a genderfluid east London poet.
Death is personified as a series of black women,because, as she points out, “there is no human more invisible, more easily talked over, ignored, betrayed and easy to walk past” than a black woman.
The effect is to produce a collage of speech and speechlessness, a story that sometimes slips away from you even while you are reading it. It reminded me of Max Porter’s ‘Lanny’.

Salena was a larger than life character- it was fascinating to hear her talk about the process of creating Mrs Death and in the almost gothic and very appropriate setting of The beautiful building that is Hastings Library.

Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts.

Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


‘The captain of the Newhaven to Dieppe steamer spots a small pleasure yacht lying motionless in the water, and on closer inspection, sees a body lying on the deck.’

First published in 1931 I liked the classic vintage feel to this story- it is certainly of its time- but I had a job following it and still not sure how the plot panned out. Having said that I’m a sucker for anything with a local theme and ‘Newhaven to Dieppe Steamer’ was enough to make me pick it up and plod through to the end.



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Four Lives- BBC.

Written by Neil McKay and based on extensive research and multiple sources, Starring Sheridan Smith and Stephen Merchant.

Told from the point of view of the families and friends of the four young men – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor – who were murdered by Stephen Port. Four Lives focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons, brothers and loved ones in the face of a now widely condemned police investigation.

Compulsive viewing. Horrifying on every level!

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler.

The Lucky Eight

The Lucky Eight by Sheila Bugler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The latest from my favourite Sussex crime writer- Sheila Bugler. The Lucky Eight- or not so lucky eight, depending on which way you look at it. Eight people survived a plane crash- the fault of a drink/ fly pilot. A crash which has long lasting consequences- as do the events leading up to that fatal flight. Had an initial problem sorting out the characters- who was with who and did what, but once I passed that I loved this thrilling crime thriller.



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Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Are We Having Fun Yet? by Lucy Mangan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I started this and was going to ditch it after the first chapter. I like books that relate to my life now, not something I left behind years ago- this was more suitable for my son with his young family. However the writing is sharp and witty. It made me laugh out loud and took me back to times past and feelings that, at the time, I tried to repress on more than one level. Now I know it was all just fine! I loved this book.



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Boxing Day Walk.

8 reasons the Boxing Day walk is the best walk of the year according to CountryLiving magazine… number 6 is my favourite:

6. You get to wear all your new winter woolies

The Boxing Day walk is just the occasion to showcase all the new gear you were given for Christmas – a new cashmere scarf, pair of angora gloves, wooly coat or Christmas jumper all make for excellent walking attire.

https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/a1131/boxing-day-walk-best/

Our Boxing Day walk was at Friston Forest in East Sussex: https://www.forestryengland.uk/friston-forest

Climb Only Mountain (Cheeky Walks in Brighton & Sussex).

Saturday night was spent searching through The Cheeky Book again, which meant that Sunday morning saw us climbing Sussex’s very own mountain, Mount Caburn- old Iron Age territory – near Lewes in East Sussex.

Starting at Lewes Golf Club we crossed fields and valleys before the ascent up Caburn, where according to local legend a Giant by the name of Gil is said to have walked the slopes, hurling his hammer from the summit. Happily fellow walkers we met on the climb were a lot more sociable!

This was followed by the descent into Glynde village for a packed lunch and flask of tea stop. We then began the climb up and back towards Lewes.

The skylarks flew above in clear blue skies, the air was crisp and cold and all was good with the world on the seven mile round trip.

Groovin in the Ghost Village. (Cheeky Walks in Brighton & Sussex).

Another walk today from the Cheeky Walks in Brighton and Sussex book- this time across rolling downland around Woodingdean, ‘crossing the abandoned ghost village of Balsdean, evacuated and destroyed by Canadian artillery training practice during World War Two’.

Abandoned farm buildings, sheep and the Amex Stadium (home of Brighton and Hove Albion FC) made up the landscape. It was a grey November day, but a good trek across the chalk land all the same. According to the book you needed to walk it to the sound track of Brighton musical duo Grasscut’s album 1 inch/ 1/2 mile- apparently a ‘musical romp through the Sussex landscape’. Incidentally Grasscut also designed the route.

Spencer.

Directed by Pablo Larraín. With Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Nielen, Freddie Spry. 

The Christmas holidays with the Royal Family at their Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. The Christmas when Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.

“A fable based on a true story”. The opening statement perfectly sums up this film- as does the closing reply by the princess, when the Kentucky Fried Chicken worker asks her name: “Spencer”.

Not about the Royal Family, nor is it an account of Diana’s life. It’s a film about traditions and the Sandringham staff.