Category Archives: CREATIVE CORNER…

The M20 Collective X-mas no. 1 competition with ALL.fm, is back!

Winter is here and Christmas is coming. As the dark winter evenings set in, we all find ourselves looking for things to do with our time (don’t we?). The festive season can often be repetitive; the annoying same ol’ same ol’ especially when it comes to crimbo tunes. So, we’d like to spark some creativity again this year in the name of original music and community collaboration.

We’re going to push a local X-mas no.1! All you need to do is create an original X-mas song and submit it to us for the chance to sing LIVE on local radio station All.fm. This can be comedic, cynical, jolly or otherwise as long as its to do with christmas. The more unique the better, but we’re also looking to make connections with some really great local talent with this opportunity.

Submissions open 21st November 2016 – so get writing!

Terms and conditions do apply as follows: Continue reading The M20 Collective X-mas no. 1 competition with ALL.fm, is back!

Manchester Literature: David Hartley’s Spiderseed

Manchester is in need of more literature power houses and look-y here, a new one has sprung. This piece by Alex Webb describes the story of Sleep House Press’s latest release by David Hartley

Just over a year ago I sat down with David Hartley to talk about the Manchester writing scene and his first flash fiction collection Threshold. This February sees the release of Hartley’s third flash fiction collection, Spiderseed, and it is an incredible piece of work! This latest release is fully illustrated by the outstanding Emily Ingle, a local writer and illustrator. I was lucky enough to sit down with Hartley again to discuss the journey from Threshold to Spiderseed and the way his writing has changed since we last spoke.

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The collection is named after one of the stories, it came about after he saw a submission call out for Re:Imaginings where he saw an image of ‘branches of a tree that looked like spiders were emerging from them’. Hartley worked this image into a story about seeds that ‘grow trees that produce animals instead of fruit’ and it eventually became ‘Spiderseed’. For anyone who has read Threshold, this origin story will come as no surprise as Hartley has always been an expert at winding the unhinged and the uncanny into the worlds he creates. Whilst both Threshold and Spiderseed give an eerie sense of unease, the former did so by poking fun at superstition whilst the latter is more focused on nature.

What is creepy about nature? What is there to be afraid of? How can it take advantage of us? These are key questions to ask yourself before embarking on your journey into Spiderseed. When I asked Hartley about this transition, he stated ‘I’ve been writing a lot about animals in the past few years. Some of the shorter pieces that have come out of this impulse have ended up in the collection’ such as ‘Trails’ (a personal favourite of mine which sees slugs gather insects to make one unfortunate home-owner suffer). Some of these darker stories stem from his time as a volunteer with the Manchester & Salford RSPCA where Hartley got a clearer insight into how animals are treated. This ‘messy, complex and frustrating situation’ led Hartley to write more and more about the topic, culminating in Spiderseed.

The realm of Spiderseed is best described by Hartley who calls it ‘inherently weird, without being too weird. Of course “spiderseeds” don’t exist but they sound like they could’ve done, somehow, somewhere’. This sense of unreality is best seen in ‘The Librarian’ which sees the titular man turn his library into a time machine. Hartley’s unique narrative brings every aspect of the time machine to life, you can almost smell the old books as you follow the librarian on their next twisted adventure. When asked how he manages to breathe life into his work Hartley noted that the influence of Manchester in Spiderseed, whilst not as obvious as in Threshold, is undeniable. The difference comes about as in Spiderseed Manchester is not the backdrop for these tales and misfortunes, but their catalyst.

david hartley

     (Dave Hartley Above)

Manchester is a ‘curious, mercurial sort of place’ says Hartley. ‘In the guts of the city it can get labyrinthine, the cobbles are soaked in shadows and histories but that same ground is incredibly fertile, especially for the creative industries’. It is this rich bed of creativity that developed the ‘weird, nightmarish and urban’ world of Spiderseed, and the frequent intrusion of the natural world as backdrops that ‘somehow tie everything together and keep it all from collapsing’. However, the city was not the only ingredient in concocting the cast of twisted characters. The Manchester literature scene with all its characters was fundamental to writing Spiderseed. Hartley says that this collection was ‘tested out on spoken word stages, particularly Bad Language and First Draft’.

Discussing what he did differently with Spiderseed compared to Threshold Hartley says ‘it’s not an exact science, but I certainly get a better feel for a flash fiction piece when I’ve road-tested it on a spoken word stage a few times. I owe a heck of a lot to this city and its creatives’. This is testimony for Manchester’s literature scene. Hartley gave a huge thanks to his writing group for testing and developing his style. Some of the pieces in Spiderseed come with a more performative aspect which Hartley credits to Bad Language’s Fat Roland, ‘the master of prop usage and stage littering’. Another key influence is David Gaffney (one half of the hilariously unsettling Les Malheureux) and his flash fictions which have left Hartley eager to ‘emulate the precision and economy of the best Gaffney stories’.

david gaffney.jpg

 

Moving away from his influences, I spoke to Hartley about the actual process of writing Spiderseed and how this differed from Threshold. ‘The process is more fine-tuned and I’m not as precious as I used to be’, says Hartley, ‘if a story hasn’t worked I’m much happier to ditch it and move onto something new, I’m slightly less concerned about experimentation and more with story and truthfulness now I think’. In Spiderseed there is more a direct connection with the stories, giving a clearer message to be heard/read by the audience. Even the more ridiculous stories, such as ‘Most Haunted’, ‘have something to say about various evils, even if that’s not immediately obvious’. This is what is so strong about Hartley’s new collection. In the world he has constructed things are not always what they seem, your first visit to Spiderseed will be nothing like your next. However, you will keep coming back for more.

Spiderseed is out on 25th February, published by Sleepy House Press and fully illustrated by the outstanding Emily Ingle. Check out Sleepy House Press’ Facebook page for details.Like Sleepy House Press on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SleepyHousePress/?fref=ts

Follow David Hartley on twitter: https://twitter.com/DHartleyWriter

Check out the launch party for Spiderseed: https://www.facebook.com/events/1515540278750798/

Story told by Alex Webb

JOIN THE BBC THREE PLAYGROUND

BBC3 and Latimer are looking for you creative lot to get involved with this exciting collaborative project. M20 collective love this idea and are supporting the project by giving our followers the news. The team at Lorimer got in touch so we could spread the word on how to get involved, its your last chance with 48 HOURS TO GO. So read below to find out more and show them what Manchester have to offer!

It’s time to have fun and #JoinThePlayground.

Are you eager to have your voice heard, ideas seen and the chance to get your content commissioned? Then you need to #JoinThePlayground. The Playground is BBC Three and Latimer’s pioneering creative network, set up to help young creatives, all sorts of talents included, develop their work and put it out for the world to see.

In the Playground you’ll be set weekly live briefs based on content broadcast on BBC Three, to which you should respond with complete creative freedom. Upon receipt of your content, you will get weekly feedback from BBC Three and Latimer.

So, whatever your talent may be, we’re looking for it:

Film
Fashion
Comedy
Music
Tech
Design
Content creation
Writing

and everything in between!

If your application is successful, you will gain unprecedented access to a national youth network of brilliant young minds, have the chance to be mentored by industry professionals, and get your voice heard, all whilst co-creating the future of content for BBC Three.

We welcome applications from young people from all social and economic backgrounds, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation or religion we want to hear from you. So if you think you can rise to the challenge, the gates are now open for YOU to share your ideas and get the feedback and creative mentorship you deserve.

To apply, please send an email with the following:

Name

Age

Gender

Location

Main interests

Ethnicity 

Social media

Contact number

We also require a response to one simple but open-ended phrase:

“I am me because…”

You have creative control over how you respond to the statement above – we want to see videos, photos, print designs, the whole sha-bang. So think big, creative and surprise us!

Send applications to talent@latimergroup.org

You must be between the ages of 16-25 and based in the UK.
Application deadline: 18th December 2015

If you are successful you will be required to attend an exclusive launch event at the BBC in London on Monday 11th January.

M20 Christmas Song competition with all.fm

Every year we hear the same songs over and over again, so maybe it’s about time we started to get creative with Christmas. We’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit by trying to invoke come creativity in the local people…

…so we’re running a Christmas song competition in collaboration with all.fm!

This is your chance to write your very own Christmas song and have it played on local radio.

Song brief:

  • The song can be comical, cynical, melancholy or just pure joyful, but most of all original.
  • It could be drum and bass, folk or reggae…whatever you feel!
  • Song must be 2-3 minutes long
  • Recorded at an audible quality – not necessarily professional!

The rules:

  1. Write an original Christmas song
  2. Tweet the song link to all.fm and m20collective to ensure it gets seen by both organisations – soundcloud links preferable
  3. If you prefer email to m20collective@gmail.com
  4. Based on a combination of social media response by the public as well asall.fmand M20 HQ heads – the winner will be decided revealed 16th December

The winner will get the chance to perform their song at all.fm with Fiona Ledgard’s drive time show on 18th December 2015

T’s & C’s

  • You must be available between 5-7pm Friday 18th December for the live performance
  • Soloists, producers and groups welcome to enter (maximum 4 members for the live performance).

And that’s it so get writing your song, for the chance to play live on radio!

 

Local Literature: #HumanityWashedAshore

Inspired by the media outcry regarding the death of Aylan Kurdi and his family, this piece interrogates Britain’s response to the world’s immigration crisis. Specifically it questions why David Cameron only acknowledged the situation after it was too late

 Last night on the shore
harsh realities washed up with their sons,
some say they got lost on the way to Canada,
others say Cameron drove them there.
A Daily Mail poll reads “SHOULD BRITAIN AGREE TO TAKE MORE REFUGEES?”
YES:NO
1:3
ALIVE:DEAD,
three quarters of a family taken whilst
gasping for hope:

1:3
Father: Abdullah, servant of God;
forsaken by a godless nation
forced to suffer by politicians
who’d rather play god than help Him save them.

3:1 Mother: Rehan, a flower;
desperate for a chance to bloom in
safe nations,
safe havens.
Places to take refuge with those who condemn:
modern day colonialists not ready to pay their
overdue overdraft
with added interest.

Son: Galip, the winner;
maybe he was trying to win the race,
someone should have told him
in England, the only race worth winning is White.

And then there lies Aylan,
face down in the sand,
becoming a national symbol for change
because Cameron couldn’t stomach it.

3:1 NO:YES
David, the beloved,
beloved assailant of those who
made his Britain great.
How much more will he take
leaving innocents to pay the price?

He raises Aylan as a promise for change.
The Metro tells us
“as a father,
he felt deeply moved by the sight”
well David,
as a human, I felt disgusted by your Conservative resilience.

When will you let it wear down?

by Alex Webb

Do you have something to share about our current global situation? why not submit a literary piece and share your feelings to: them20press@gmail.com

Local Literature: ‘List of Lists’

Allegorical piece by Fandango Hack; a list of the weird, the beautiful and the atrocious things that make up the world

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The bath, the stainless shovel, the mask, the cat, the bastard and the brothel

The sloth, the slowly sinking, the dogman in the doghouse drunk and slowly drinking

The cot, the dripping tap, the cobra and the Bearn with cradle cap

The nag, the reigns of brass, the hands retracting from the chance to clasp

The mole, the focal point, the oil slick and dripped drawn to anoint.

The eldest, dead and dying, the trier God would love giving up trying

The prayer, the prongs of forks, the damsel in distress popping the cork

The window, the tubby fucker, the golden punishment for copper suckers.

The world, and all its raging wrong, the sorrow in the truth of every song.

The tape, the worm escaping, the lacerated shapes, the plates that Greeks be breaking

The sand, the flooded earth, the man, the battle and the bloody birth

The heart, the tumour clock, the startled pecker pecking and the strangled cock

The news, the bloated leader, the reader of bad blues, the filthy minded bleeder

The grass, the meadow strung with deaths own tinsel, the tooth, the biter of the bitten pencil

The fruit, the guardian of all unknown, the beauty bought and battered cloaks a clone

The worms, the worms that guide us to the core, the claws that burrow, the bully come a bore.

The gas, the flame, the poisoned budgies feather, the world that went to war over the weather.

The world and all its rarest rights, the joy found in the truth of every fight.

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read more at:www.fandangohack.tumblr.com

CREATIVE CORNER… Myles Bagnall

Protesters Manchester Center 2014

Who are you in Manchester’s Eden?
Longing for justice, protesting for freedom.

Tarpaulin shelter and tales of woe,
banners of facts of crimes we should know.

Holding vigil for those who are lost.
Discussions of politics, counting the cost.

Displaying disturbing photographs of terror.
Carefully laminated against English weather.

Displaying the flag of a proud & treasured past,
their fight for the hope that Palestine will last.

Myles Bagnall

myles_photo_protest

CREATIVE CORNER… Remembering Our Future and Our Origins

remembering our origins

‘From mother to child we carry ancient information in our DNA, we are inextricably linked to the planet in our past and in our future: we’d do well to remember this more often. Once we die we will return to that place of non-existence, whatever it is, but our legacy will live on, in our children and the world we leave for them. This painting is supposed to represent a foetus in the womb, which in it’s early development is difficult to tell apart from other species, the unborn life form is surrounded by organic patterns of nature. Many people I have spoken to have taken different meaning from it: a protective cocoon, the centre of the earth, the growth of a cell, roots and a seed, a breast, meditation and the eastern symbol of the OM – whatever you see I hope it inspires some thoughts of your own. Peace x’

Danny Smyth, MCR born London living artist and writer

Check out his poetry and illustration elsewhere in the creative corner…

Storm by Jonny Heath

The storm arrived in the middle of the night. Nothing and no one was prepared for its force.

They had said on TV that people should expect heavy wind and rain. Maybe the weatherman was new or asleep or drunk on the job, or maybe the weather itself had made the last minute decision to behave in a completely new and unexpected way, because no whisper of a warning ever came close to reflecting the savagery of that wind, that rain; that force.

First it arrived as an icy wind so powerful that as it swept through the city’s streets it tossed up cars, pulled down chimneys and ripped out road signs; obliterating with whistle, howl and moan the silence that hangs between dancing and dawn.

The first three victims of the storm were, in order:

A set of traffic lights,

The front window of St. Margaret’s Church,

And a papier mache elephant named David.

St Margaret’s was the church on Witherton High Street, and it had a window display that was updated every now and then with a new symbolic item. For a while there had been an elephant there, along with a sign that read:

 

‘ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET. DON’T FORGET GOD.’

 

When the storm hit, the traffic lights came off best, because they were mostly made of metal; the window of the church shattered into a million pieces, and poor David was caved in like a collapsed meringue.

The storm’s first lucky escapee was a man called Lou, who at the time was watching his feet.

When the wind tore the traffic lights from their moorings in the concrete, pulling up a big clump of it like the earth that comes up with the roots of a weed, Lou was pretending to be in the Bahamas. Lou had never been to the Bahamas, but he had the idea that it was warm there. He was watching his feet because when he brought his face up any higher he got scared that the wind would scrape it off.

The traffic lights missed him by three inches. He didn’t see them but he heard them go; the dreadful rumble as they were ripped from the ground, and immediately after that the dreadful crash of the window as it shattered.

Lou was saved by the same gust of wind that got the traffic lights. It picked him up too, taking him off his feet and throwing him into the opening of an alleyway running alongside the church. If it hadn’t been for that gust of wind, those traffic lights would have taken Lou’s head off. (Although actually they wouldn’t have done any such thing, as if it hadn’t been for that gust of wind, those traffic lights would have stayed just where they were meant to.)

Lou went into the alley on his hands and knees, not thinking anything at all. He held on tight to the bottom of a gate a little way inside. Still Lou had no thoughts, but he knew he should hold on tight to that gate. Sure enough, as soon as his gloved fingers closed around the bars another gust swept through the alleyway as if a giant was trying to blow the dust out, and lifted Lou’s feet clean into the air. Then Lou was upside-down, and his arms near torn from their sockets, but still he thought nothing.

Then he came down with a thump. Then, he had his first thought:

Bloody hell.

His second thought was for Deirdre. She was in the breast pocket of his fraying jacket. Deirdre was a rat.

You’re alright, Deirdre, Lou thought.

(Lou’s thoughts only came every so often, and when they did they were white on a black background with a white embellished border, like the narrative frames of old silent films.)

Maybe Lou felt a wriggling near his chest, as if Deirdre was letting him know she was alright and hadn’t been crushed. Before he had time to check, the spire of St. Margaret’s fell into the alleyway.

There was first a flash of blinding white, then there was a sudden tumbling around, and then there was darkness.

The darkness was total. The darkness was like velvet, blacker than black, and the darkness was deep, stretching out in front of Lou forever. An unmeasurable number of moments passed. Then a thought came:

Can’t feel my feet.

It was true. He couldn’t move them either. One peculiar thing was that Lou couldn’t tell which way up he was. There was pressure from all sides. Soon the parts of his body that he could feel began to complain about the weight of the stones or the ground or the sky or whatever it was that had fallen in on top of him.

Deirdre.

   One of his hands was trapped up against his chest, the arm bent at the elbow. He wriggled his fingers to discover a small cave of space to move around in. He cupped the bulge in his breast pocket; it was warm. Carefully he freed the button of the pocket. His wrist had just enough room to bend so that his hand could slip inside. His fingers met fur.

You’re alright, Deird. You’re alright.

And Lou felt a nibble on his index finger.

Must be terrified.

And he stroked her with one finger, up and down.

You’re alright, Deird.

In the dark with weight on all sides Lou lay, and with each thunderclap he felt the rat quiver in his hand. He heard another window shatter. Kebab King? Solomon Grundy? The One Stop Supermarket? Then came a noise like clashing titans’ horns, and the scream of tearing metal, and thunder erupting in cracks and booms; the wind was a chorus of tortured creatures; high-screeching banshees and low-groaning undersea giants, and car alarms, whistles and shrieks, howls and moans, and ever more breaking glass, breaking glass, and every so often the faraway rumble of a wounded roof.

Lodged in the black, Lou could have been a stone in the belly of a mountain. He remembered the time when playing hide and seek with Uncle Felix as a child he had found the perfect spot, a space behind the washing machine where there was barely even room to breathe.

Felix couldn’t find me as hard as he tried.

Then he noticed wetness seeping through the back of his jacket, and that made him notice the constant radio hiss of falling rain which before he had taken for silence.

The only clues given by time of its passing were each white clash of the storm and the spaces in between.

There were no thoughts for a while.

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CREATIVE CORNER… Danny Smyth

Silent Fruit

 

Goda is an Egg,

Goda is a Caterpillar,

And Goda is a Butterfly,

(all at the same time).

Goda is as patient as stone,

eroding into sand,

Which, for Goda is an instant.

Goda is the grains of sand in my shoe,

Goda is the water in my glass

(and the glass too).

Goda is the glug-glug,

As it comes from the jug.

He is a she,

She is a he,

He is hard and soft,

And she is soft and hard.

Goda is she,

Goda is me and you,

Goda is we and they, and poo.

 

Goga is an uncontrollable force.

Gofa is dead and growing –

Self-ingesting and recycling,

A bubbling stew of liveliness –

And everyone has their own tastes!

What a wonderful stew! – I say.

 

I recognise Goda;

I see it constantly,

I know it as I know myself – but I just can’t remember…

Cos we’re talking endlessly instead of listening.

I can’t speak his name, or tell you exactly what she looks like,

As much as I’ve tried.

And others have tried too,

In Art, Music, Science, Maths and useless words.

 

Goda is all the colours of infinity,

All the spectrums you can’t see, or haven’t thought of yet.

Gova is a fading dream,

Hidden behind a mirror –

That beautiful mysterious bastard.

 

Goda,

Me,

You,

They,

Us

The eggs, caterpillars and butterflies,

We are a jigsaw puzzle,

but with a piece of us destroyed by words.

So we’ll never see it finished.

 

Goda’s forgotten what it looks like anyhow,

Chuckling throughout the cosmos;

As silent, and as reverent, as sliced fruit,

Like a mother,

watching-over her baby

learning to walk.

 

Poem ‘Silent Fruit’ and artwork ‘I have a healthy obsession with avocadoes’ by Daniel Smyth