Orcas and Dinos and Bears, oh my!
A parliament of strange beasties crept and swooped and skittered across Covent Garden last night, as Sidekick ran wild with Birds, Tiger and Terrible Lizards: A Literary Bestiary!
We all scrambled down to the fancy Library members club
for a night of mask-making, quizzing, poetry and partying:
|A feathered raccoon, a many-eyed bear and a very stripey long-eared bat. Dr Moreau would be proud.
The event was a celebration of three of our snarliest titles:
came down from York for a fantastic set, which brought to life the prehistoric stars of Hell Creek Anthology
(not to mention his splendid tribute to his dog, who couldn’t make it along).
|Sarah Hesketh reads some merlin magic.
|Chris Jones describes the ring ouzel.
|Alison Brackenbury speaks of the fieldfare and redwing
|Christopher Reid on the carrion crow and corncrake.
|Dzifa Benson talks little owl and wood pigeon.
|Richard Osmond goes all golden eagle
|Chris Beckett takes on the woodlark and red grouse.
And Jon and K sprinkled some movie magic in there too with a couple of extracts from Lives Beyond Us.
|Photo courtesy of Ian McLachlan
|Photo courtesy of Ian McLachlan
The rightful quiz victor was Peter Daniels, whose poem addressed the rook.
Thank you to Library
for hosting us, Ana Sefer
for inviting us, all of the readers, the poets and artists of Birdbook III and the masquerading, dino-drawing, quizzical, wonderful audience. You!
I’ll leave you with the winner of the mask-making. Transforming a bear into an orca, indeed.
Our first big event of 2016, booked for 30th March, is Birds, Tigers & Terrible Lizards
, a late London launch for two of our recent titles: J.T Welsch and Dom & Ink’s Hell Creek Anthology
and the many-poeted Birdbook: Farmland, Heathland, Mountain, Moorland.
We’ll also be having a little ten-month celebration of Lives Beyond Us
, to round out the theme of the evening. There will be animal/dinosaur mask-making activities and a quiz, and readers on the night so far confirmed include:
The venue is LIBRARY
in Covent Garden, which looks like this:
The Facebook page for the event is here
, but if you don’t use Facebook, please RSVP to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we know you’re coming, as there will be a guest list system in operation and we don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold.
Head over to the Sidekick Play-Poem Archive
today for a walk on the wild side, as Samuel Prince
explores the ursine stars in Werner Herzog’s ‘Grizzly Man’.
This bear approves this message.
Tongueless sailors ahoy! It’s Anthony Adler’s Pirates of the Caribbean Bestiary
! Plus a short commentary by myself.
The Christmas links are getting more apparent, as Pirates
is surely by now a staple seasonal movie on terrestrial TV!
Day Two, and the next entry in the Sidekick Play Poem Archive
comes from cinematic bestiary Lives Beyond Us
, in the guise of Rebecca Wigmore
‘s ‘The Lion Handler’s Advice to a Young Melanie Griffith’
|Melanie and Neil at home
This interactive poem includes a commentary from LBU
‘s poetry editor Kirsten Irving.
We wouldn’t want to leave out those of you who couldn’t make the launch for Lives Beyond Us
, so here for your brain-tingling pleasure, we present Never Work With Animals or Children – the quiz!
Do you know your Lassie from your Lady? Bound right in and test your bow-wow know-how.*
*Failure may result in consumption by our resident quiz master.Lives Beyond Us: Essays and Poems on the Film Reality of Animals
(co-ed. Seb Manley and Kirsten Irving) is available to buy right here
for £12 plus p&p.
|Cliff Hammett with chronophotographic image of a falling cat.
A huge thanks to everyone who came last Tuesday to help up launch Lives Beyond Us: Essays and Poems on the Film Reality of Animals
For the uninitiated, Lives Beyond Us
is a cross-genre anthology with gorgeous colour illustrations throughout. Covering topics as diverse as voyeurism, comic pratfalls and bear interventions, it’s a fresh look at a beloved topic, curated by Kirsten Irving (poems) and Seb Manley (essays).
The anthology is a super-thick bundle of Sidekick-style guile and intrigue, and costs £12 plus postage. Click here to see more and buy.
|Cat watches humans watching bird.
We launched the book upstairs at the Genesis Cinema in Whitechapel. Since Sidekick started life in Whitechapel and was based there for five years – less than ten minutes’ walk from the Genesis, in fact – it seemed an oh-so appropriate place to unveil a book that dives face first into film history.
Here’s how the book in question fared under UV light as Jon was setting out the table:
|Before the hoard descended.
We piece this account together now from whirling fragments, as we spent much of the evening rushing between the projection room (well, the cupboard with the technical things in it), the book stall and various old friends – a little chaotically, since this was our first book launch in over a year and we’d forgotten just how much needs doing to keep things running semi-smoothly.
Lessons learned: always give five-minute warnings in a quiz show host voice; PCs can project to a second screen in one of four different ways; electric fans give poets a neat ‘windswept’ appearance when placed correctly.
Finally, evidence that a selection of readers, hosts, editors and audience members felt the animal magic and posed it out onstage. What a grrrrrand night.
|Post-launch cast and crew superhero pose
Sidekick’s 2015 titles are starting to make their way into shops. You can buy Laboratorio
and Lives Beyond Us
from the London Review Bookshop near Russell Square / Tottenham Court Road, and you can also buy Lives
from the Brick Lane Bookshop in Aldgate / Whitechapel.
You can buy Lives Beyond Us
right now, and take along a copy to be signed by the editors and writers. If you ask Kirsty to draw you Bandijcat, she may do.
Hallo one and all!
Hope your year is going mighty well. We’ve had our heads buried trying to make sense of what has already been a packed year of Stuff.
Brace yourself. We have a lot of exciting things to pack in here.
Firstly, those of a certain age might remember back, way back in the mists of time, talk of a lost edition of the fabled Fuselit
magazine. Thought by many to be a myth, Amazon
has now been unearthed! Featuring exquisite poetry, artwork and prose, this hand-sewn magazine comes with its own talismanic owl amulet and a set of six postcards detailing exchanges between the director Werner Herzog, fond of his Amazon-based films, and his best friend, the erratic, arrogant actor, Klaus Kinski.
Here is Werner Herzog drinking cough syrup out of his own slipper.
costs £10 and comes in its own card-and-plastic display case. Also, there is a gold monkey hiding inside for you to make friends with. She is called Rolo.
The best bit? This lovingly crafted relic is not available through Amazon! Muhaha!
OK, so onto the ACE news. That’s both ACE, as in 90s-excellent and ACE, as in Arts Council England. For many years, Jon and I resisted applying for funding, preferring to fund Sidekick ourselves from our day job. That was all well and good until we realised that me going freelance and Jon going part-time, while splendid for productivity, chafed the funds somewhat. So we took a deep breath and a jot of advice from very kind indie publishers and applied to part-fund our next five books.
And, um, they said YES.
This is the moment a rep from ACE came to Sidekick HQ to tell us the news:
We’re thrilled, mainly because it means we can pay contributors to these five books, many of whom have been collaborating with Sidekick for some time now. The five books we’re producing with the funding are:Lives Beyond Us
, an anthology co-curated by film scholar Seb Manley and yours truly, featuring essays and poems on animals in cinema.Birdbook III & IV
. So exciting to know we can complete this beautiful series without compromising on production. The final two titles will feature the birds of the mountains, moorlands & heaths and saltwater species. III is so very near to completion I might just pop.Surveyors’ Riddles
, our latest Team-Up, this time between poets Giles Goodland
and Alistair Noon
. In Alistair’s own words, the pamphlet is “A sequence in classical enigmenga form, consisting of exactly 87 triquatrainal poems of varying types, the 39th poem being by a member of the Kim family, the 59th poem by a Russian symbolist, and the final poem being not allowed to reference the moon, the formal requirements followed faithfully and perfectly.”
You hear that? NO MOON! The perfect collection for selenophobes everywhere.
And on the Team-Up train, we’re extremely excited about the forthcoming We Go Wandering at Night and Are Consumed by Fire
, a collaboration between illustrator Hetti McArthur
and poet Rowyda Amin
. We’re promised dark fairytales and plenty of getting lost in the woods of the imagination. More on that one later in the year.
Buuuut we got a little drunk on power.
On top of our ACE books, we are also very excited to be publishing the following titles:Laboratorio
, edited by Simon Barraclough
. Following on from his residency at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, and to complement his collection Sunspots, to be released through Penned in the Margins, Simon Barraclough presents an anthology of work written by scientists and poets on the trials and technology of space exploration, from satellites to silverfish. Contains dark matter.Finders Keepers
, a Team-Up exploring vanishing species, devised and created by artist Sophie “Moomintastic” Gainsley and poet Harry “Big in Macedonia” Man. You can see their work so far at this frankly BEAUTIFUL site
.Over the Line
, a comics-poetry anthology co-edited by comics editor and comics-poetry aficionado Chrissy Williams
and comics artist Tom Humberstone
, for which WE WANT YOUR SUBMISSIONS!
[Note to self: do not shorten ‘comics poetry’ to an acronym.]
And we have a whoooole bundle more plans lined up for 2016.
(Is that fox still jumping up and down? Righto.)
Thanks, as ever, for your love and support. We are always grateful for it, and keen to hear what you think. Can’t wait to show you the new books!