Captured Online …

Probably an age thing, but I’ve never been one to rummage around online, searching for references to myself or my work; I’ve never, for instance, looked up any reviews of my books on Amazon or similar, and when my publicist sent one of my novels out on a Blog Tour a couple of years back, I had to exert severe self-discipline before I could bring myself to read what the various and worthy bloggers had to say. No disrespect to them, the fault – if such it is – lies with me. [Pauses to consult Guardian Style and emerges still uncertain, except that now I think it should be ‘lays’, ‘lays with me’. More advice welcome.]

Anyway, what I was getting around to saying, was that until I was put in the know by one of my more dedicated readers [hi, Andrew], I had no idea that a goodly number of interviews and the like in which I’d taken part can be viewed online. Without too much searching, I found a dozen or so, dating back to the Bouchercon Mystery Convention which was held in Baltimore in 2008.

Here they are …

Book Talk with librarian Chris Jones, 2020
Inspire Culture/Nottingham Libraries
32m40

In Conversation with Alison Joseph at CrimeFest, Bristol, 2019
4m31

In Conversation with Daniel Pembrey at Bromley House Library, Nottingham, 2016
12m

In Conversation with Mark Billingham, Deptford, 2014
Cornerstone Publishing
5m46

[The above comes from a video recording session which took place in the cells of a disused police station in South London; the other sections from the same session follow.]

Saying goodbye to Charlie Resnick
3m24

Discussing Darkness, Darkness
3m09

Advice to would-be writers
4m16

Reading & inspiration
1m58

Talking about writing crime fiction, 2012
At home, in the garden, walking on Hampstead Heath
Open Road Media for Mysterious Press
2m03

Interviewed by Otto Penzler at the Baltimore Bouchercon, 2008
59m34

… and just for a taste of something different, here I am with the band, Blue Territory, at West Bridgford Library in Nottingham in 2014, reading two pieces about the tenor player, Lester Young; first, unaccompanied, an extract from the short story, ‘Minor Key’, and then a poem, ‘Ghost of a Chance.’
7m27

And now I’ve watched them all – all right, ‘fess up, I might have nodded off once or twice during the 59 minutes plus at Baltimore – I feel in a position to make recommendations. So if I were only going to catch one, and were – shall we say – a little pressed for time, I’d plump for the Open Road video from 2012, which is very professionally shot and edited, with the extra bonus of watching my whiteboard work – a skill that goes right back to my teaching days when I was once awarded a special commendation for my blackboard skills while on teaching practice.

 

The Jazz Steps Story

Jazz Steps is the name under which jazz has been promoted in Nottingham – city and county – for some 20 years, and now there’s a book, nicely produced and copiously illustrated – The Jazz Steps Story – which tells of the development of the organisation and the people behind it, as well as chronicling the many and varied gigs that have taken place under its guidance.

More than that, it also tells the story of live jazz in Nottingham from the Nottingham Rhythm Club, founded in the early 40s, and the Dancing Slipper – which featured a goodly number visiting American jazz players with top British bands throughout the 60s & 70s – to Limelight Club evenings in the Nottingham Playhouse bar, which was where I first read in a poetry & jazz session with the fine little band that were then called, rather cheekily, the MJQ, or Midlands Jazz Quartet. With just a few changes of personnel and several changes of name – from the MJQ to Second Nature to Blue Territory – that was the same group I would be happy to read with on occasion for another 20-plus years.

Jazz Steps 1

The book costs £15 and is available at Jazz Steps gigs and Notts libraries, or from the Jazz Steps web site

Here’s a little taster from my Foreword …

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the Charlie Resnick novels or, for that matter, the short stories, will know that the connection between Resnick, jazz and Nottingham is a strong one. Following, more or less, in my footsteps, Charlie would have had his first taste of local jazz Sunday lunchtimes in The Bell, closely followed by evenings at the Dancing Slipper in West Bridgford or at Bill Kinnell’s short-lived Gallery club in Mapperley.

Then there was the Old Vic and, on one night I particularly remember, Charlie Parker’s old sparring partner Red Rodney was up on stage with Pete King, the two of them, alto and trumpet, sailing through the fast and intricate lines of Bird’s bebop tunes as if they had been playing together half their lives.

Jazz Steps 2

Brilliant Corners

Corners 1
“Jazz Night at the Bedlam Bar” Thomas Van Stein, 2004

Brilliant Corners, a journal, as it says, of jazz and literature, is published by Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA 17701, USA, and edited by Sascha Feinstein. Poetry, prose, in-depth interviews.

The current issue includes poems by Billy Collins and Barry Wallenstein (whose gig at the Vortex with the Mike Hobart Band is still a vivid memory) and a lengthy – 20 pages – interview Sascha Feinstein conducted with me here in London  last October.

Starting with my early experiences of listening to jazz and the heady days in which I played tea chest bass in what might just have been the world’s worst skiffle band, Sascha goes on to explore the connections between Resnick and jazz, both as a character trait and as an influence on the books themselves. There’s some discussion about the fairly frequent occurrence of jazz in my short fiction – stories like Now’s the Time and Minor Key – and the importance of jazz in the work of other writers such as Bill Moody and Michael Connelly.

Around the time of the interview, I’d just come back from a short tour of Nottinghamshire Libraries, reading some of my more jazz-based poetry, plus a Resnick extract or two, with the band, Blue Territory, so, inevitably, we talked about Poetry and Jazz, its beginnings, and why it can be so rewarding to perform. (See Wallenstein & Hobart above.)

For any students out there searching for a research topic in the area of jazz and crime fiction, this interview, taken together with Age Hedley Peterson’s Jazz i crime literature – Resnick and all that jazz, published in the April/May/June 2016 issue of the Danish magazine Jazz Special, and reprinted in translation herewould be a pretty good place to start.

 

 

Jumpin’ with Jazz Steps: Blue Territory Returns!

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October looks as if it’s going to be a busy month, one way or another, with most of my activities – just for a change – centred around Nottingham. Darkness, Darkness is at  Nottingham Playhouse for the first two weeks of the month, and, during the second of those weeks, the band, Blue Territory, [that’s us in action, above] and I will be repeating out previously successful mini-tour of Nottinghamshire libraries [No band bus, no Smarties in the Green Room, and positively no groupies] following the estimable Dave O’Higgins to  Worksop, Southwell and West Bridgford.

Along with some of the familiar pieces about Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, we’ve been working on some new material, including a small tribute to Jack Kerouac, whose poetry and jazz readings with the likes of Al Cohn and Zoot Sims in the 1950s lay at the heart of much that we do.

jazz steps

 

 

Poetry on the Way

I’m pleased to be reading on the opening night of both the Bodmin Moor Poetry Festival (Friday, May 27th) and the Derby Book Festival (Friday, June 3rd).

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The Bodmin Moor Festival takes place (a tad confusingly?) in Liskeard, at Sterts Theatre, Upton Cross, and the opening reading, which I’m sharing with Welsh poet and Picador author, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, runs from 6.30 to 8.00pm.

Details and tickets from  www.bodminmoorpoetryfestival.co.uk or www.sterts.co.uk

The second Derby Book Festival runs from 3 – 11 June and to close out the first evening I shall be in the CUBE Café / Bar at Déda in the Cathedral Quarter, doing my poetry and jazz thing with the pretty marvellous Blue Territory. There’ll be bits and pieces from the Resnick novels and poems from the recent Smith/Doorstop collection, Out of Silence.

Harvey-Out of Silence

 

Derby 2Earlier that evening, in the same venue, 6.00 – 7.00pm, the fine poet Helen Mort will be reading from her new collection from Penguin, No Map Could Show Them, poems about mountains and the people who climb them.

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Tickets for both these shows from …http://www.deda.uk.com

And if you’re in or around Nottingham on Wednesday, May 18th you shouldn’t miss the chance to hear Matthew Caley reading from his fifth collection, Rake, together with Mark Waldron, reading from Meanwhile, Trees, both published by Bloodaxe Books.

http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/events/bloodaxe-books-present-rake-by-matthew-caley-meanwhile-trees-by-mark-waldron/

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Giggin’ Around …

With several events I’m due to take part in on the (near) horizon, time for a little gentle self-publicity …

This coming Friday, April 15th, I shall be at the Poetry Café in London’s Covent Garden as one of the guests in Hylda Sims’ long-running monthly poetry and music evenings, Fourth Friday. The other poet reading on this occasion is Danielle Hope and the music, as is quite frequently the case – and why not? – comes from singer-songwriter, Liz Simcock. It all kicks off at 8.00pm and there are floor spots for any poets wishing to try their hand. And this is Liz …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUDwAWQ1sEA&list=PLsTBkU5Nq459CiFEDCAzMayjqW30Cs_Uk&index=1

The following afternoon I shall be returning to Stevenage for just about the first time (other than for a visit to Broadhall Way by Notts County) since I taught there in the early 1970s.

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My plan is to talk about some forty years as a professional writer, a career which started in what some might call less than spectacular fashion with Avenging Angel, a tale of everyday Hells Angels published under the so-trying-to-be-trendy name of Thom Ryder and written – the first draft anyway – during my last year of teaching. Shows promise, but must work harder.

avenging

As you’ll have noticed from the poster, your admission money gets you tea and cake, added to which there should be a free book of mine – not including, I’m afraid, Avenging Angel – for the first 25 ticket holders to arrive.

http://websites.uk-plc.net/Hertfordshire_Libraries_ticket_sales_and_free_tickets/

And finally, a little further ahead, on Friday, June 3rd, as part of this year’s Derby Book Festival, along with the band, Blue Territory, I shall be reading in a Poetry & Jazz evening at the Cube Café/Bar in Déda on Chapel Street, beginning at 9.30pm.

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