The Bright Lights of Barnstaple

My friend asked if I would write a poem for her lovely website. A mere eight months or so later, I did just that. An ode to my home town, the glorious Barnstaple!

https://thespaceoutsidecreative.network/2019/04/05/jade-fitton/

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If On A Winter’s Night A Computer ..

I wrote a piece for The Millions about how, in 1979, Italo Calvino predicted the AI author in one of his best-loved novels, and what the reality of that prediction now means for us writers, poets, journalists and translators.

Detailing how Calvino used an algorithm of his own to formulate the books plot, and how Game of Thrones writer George R R Martin is now competing with a bot-version of himself .

https://themillions.com/2019/02/if-on-a-winters-night-a-computer.html

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Motherisms feat: Sinatra’s Secret, Corruption, Moomin Butts and Lizzie Borden

It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve just returned to the room after wrapping mum’s presents. It seems mum is worried that I didn’t take long enough …

Mum: The thing is: to give and be giving

Me: Yes mum, don’t worry, I’m giving well this year.

 

As usual, mum has told me all about at least three of my presents within an hour of my arrival …

Mum: It will look great in the flat …

Me: Mum! Don’t tell me, it’s supposed to be a surprise – that’s half the point of presents!

Mum: I’ve been collecting this shit for months.

Apropos of nothing, and almost to herself, mum says ….

“Danny Dyer’s very funny.”

 

We’re watching University Challenge, there is a segment on Shakespeare quotes, which mum is usually very hot on …

Jeremy Paxman: “A calm and still conscience …”

Me: That’s unusual.

Mum: Exactly what I was thinking.

 

 

I am laughing and being young and happy, and evidently quite annoying because mum says …

“I think all young people should be made to wear fat suits so they understand what it’s like getting about when you’re old.”

 

There is a medieval style gold leaf painting of a monk-ish man on the table. I am observing his presence.

Me: Who is he?

Mum: St Nicholas … Do you like him?

Me: Yes he’s like that other dude over there (A minatutre medieval-esque illumination of St Jude rests on the windowsill)

Mum: Yeah, I’ve got dudes everywhere.

 

 

It’s Christmas Eve and the sparkling drinks have begun ..

Me: I’m feeling quite flushed after that!

Mum: Lightweight.

 

Mum left a chocolate walnut for me to eat, I didn’t get round to eating it. It’s later in the evening and she is studying the jar of them now.

Mum: We should do something with the chocolate walnuts.

I’m reminded to turn around and eat mine.

Me: Oh … someone’s eaten mine.

Mum: Yes well, they look like dog poos just lying about.

 

 

‘Would I Lie To You’ comes on , mum is not best pleased …

“Oh no, it’s just a load of people showing off.”

 

Monopoly North Devon edition began on Christmas eve. Mum, having been mightily bankrupted last year in a round of repairs to her many houses and hotels, is just playing the game to accrue as much cash as possible. There is a large, colourful pile of money on her side of the tablecloth.

“Millions! I’ve got millions! I’m the Philip Green of Barnstaple!”

 

I am being a normal girl, just walking around …

Mum: You look like Lizzie Borden.

Me: Who’s she?

Mum: A murderess.

Me: Thanks.

 

Mum is now complimenting me and wants due credit …

Mum: And me, for gestating this thing!

Me: Yes mum, thank you very much for giving birth to me.

Mum: You’re welcome.

 

We’re watching Guys and Dolls, or half-watching while lunch is being prepared saintily by me …

Me: I don’t get the Frank Sinatra thing

Mum: Big dick

Me: Jesus Christ mother.

I quickly cross myself in the hope it will prevent mum from saying anything like that ever again.

Mum: He did! Ava Gardner said it very plainly. Also charm, musical talent and wealth, of course …

 

 

We’re watching Kings College choir, one boy has done a maginificently high-pitch solo number for a while, and now the rest of the choir is joining in …

Me: All the out-of-tuners can come in now

Mum (horrified): Out of tuners, tut tut.

 

 

Mum has bought a decent-sized chicken for us to eat, currently raw she suggests we …

“Instagram it to my followers.”

 

Mum’s first boyfriend is in a film on Christmas Day …

Mum: I gambled with him under the stage for many hours during Julius Caesar.

Me: Gambled what? … Playing what?

Mum: Gambled … it’s an expression.

 

 

I hear things, tinkling things and spoon stirring …

Me: Are you having a brandy coffee?

Mum: Yes.

Me: I knew it!

Mum: You can smell it from 50ft. I’m not trying to get anything past you. There’s a pause. Want one?

Me: Yes please.

 

We’re all tiring a little of monopoly and a couple of brandies (sans coffee) have also been drunk. Mum is counting the spaces …

“Six, seven, eight, nine … I’ve got so bored I’ve forgotten what I was doing.”

 

Mum’s on a butt rant …

“These women! It’s just a succession of arses … ‘so and so “flaunts’ … And you think, “Jesus god, not another arse.” … Huge arses like moomins.”

 

 

Mum’s navigating slowly away from women with enormous arse implants towards sex robots, which seem to have inspired her imagination …

“The human race will die out … Soon they’ll sell sex robots in Argos.

Mum then attempts a teenage boy’s voice …

‘What would you like for Christmas dad? I got you a sex robot.’

Mum then attempts a robot voice …

‘Would you like to masturbate?’ ”

 

 

The Monopoly game-saga continues. We’re listening to some neglected Bob Dylan on Spotify, an ad comes on …

Ad woman: Sky Cinema so you ..

Mum: Go away this woman!

Ad woman: With Sky Cinema …

Mum: NO!! ‘Blood on the Tracks’, man!

 

We have a couple of peaceful rounds and now a new advert is on, the voice overs sound similar ..

Ad woman: Google home hub …

Mum (now shouting): WHO IS THIS WOMAN?

 

 

Mum is insisting we watch Kevin and Perry Go Large …

Mum: How old were you when this came out?

Me: I don’t know, about fourteen.

Mum: That must be why it left such a marked impression on me.

Me (in defence): These guys are a bit older.

Mum: Yes, but there’s and age range of between 14 and 40.

 

 

Mum has been raving about a sword scene in the old ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ since we watched the new one. Now the old one is on and so is the sword scene … I watch as a soldier shows off to his love interest by slashing a sword half an inch from her face, proceeding to run around a hilly outcrop screaming and then charging at her with the lethal blade …

Me: I don’t know, for me that’s a warning sign.

Mum: Yes … It’s not quite how I remember it.

 

We’re … you guessed it, playing Monopoly, the same game, on Boxing Day, three days after we started it, and, you guessed it, mum is still cash rich and land poor …

Me, to myself: Advance to go collect £200…

Mum: Won’t do you any good. The country has been corrupted by speculators, now I’m seeing if it will work for me.

 

 

Photo on 25-12-2018 at 13.35

Photo on 25-12-2018 at 13.33 #2

Pre and Post-Champagne Family Portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-Overdue Update

Dear little mice,

How are you? Is it sunny where you are? If not I hope you have felt its beams on your skin at least twice this year. (If you haven’t … where are you?? I’d love to hear from anyone living in a cave/centre of the earth.)

So, firstly: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for starting a blog and keeping it running for god knows how many years and gaining your trust and making you believe that there would always be mediocre content at least once a month and then all of a sudden … dropping off the face of the earth.

Secondly: I’m not sorry! Because I have some good things lined-up for all you excellent, strange creatures that follow this blog.

I’m still writing, and I’m writing a lot at the moment. The reason you haven’t seen any of this is because most of that writing is a book — a novel, a book-book. And it turns out writing a good book is actually very hard, even for very arrogant people like me. But I am very happy to tell you that earlier this year it was awarded an Arts Council ‘grant for the arts’. This not only provided some much needed money (for some much needed food), but has also given me confidence that I am hopefully dedicating a large portion of my life to something worthwhile.

Other than that, I am currently studying for my masters and have had the blessings of a couple of other writing contracts that have kept me busy, and quiet. But no longer!

As of Summer 2018, I can confirm more poetry is heading your way (yeah, let those fist bumps lose!), there will be a video with me talking about being a failure at poetry (at some point), there is an article about superstition and assigning meaning to nature in Breathe issue 12 for you to buy, and to the wonderful person who wrote in to tell me they’d dreamt I’d put up another Motherisms, you’ll be delighted to hear one of those is in the pipeline — as is a Fatherisms.

I’m also still wanting to do a collective Motherisms, so please write in with anything wonderful/hilarious or ridiculous your mother might have said and we can make something funny together. Isn’t that nice? ISN’T IT??

 

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Pics: Alexandra Waespi

 

Happy Thursday everyone, it’s going to be beautiful (whether you like it or not). x x x