Book Review: Live Show, Drink Included – Collected Stories – by Vicky Grut

Live Show, Drink Included – Collected Stories by Vicky Grut (published by Holland Park Press)

I was hooked instantly by this collection of stories. Each one, layered with dialogue, let me witness from the inside.

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Film Review: Cook Off (Zimbabwe) – on Netflix

Cook Off – a romantic comedy from Zimbabwe

I had no idea what to expect from this film other than what the title suggested, and its location.

What a treat! No politics, no bloodshed – just a happy reminder of Zimbabwe’s everyday decency.

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Podcast (1): Interview with Arthur Knaggs, author of Chasing Laces

Arthur Knaggs, author of Chasing Laces, photographed for this interview in February 2020

This, the first podcast on The Phraser, is an interview with Arthur Knaggs, author of Chasing Laces. The book, written in 2019, is in the words of the runners he interviewed last year, before COVID-19 reached the UK.

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Free writing: word doodles – writing for the fun of it (by others)

Bluebells in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground – London

Hi,

I thought I’d choose a calm image for this, as we settle in for another chunk of lockdown.

It feels strange to be so still while around us life bursts out in places we never noticed before – even in London. The photographs in this piece were taken yesterday in a peaceful spot called Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, which is the “final resting place for an estimated 120,000 bodies” amongst them William Blake, Daniel Defoe and John Bunyan.

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Free writing: here are the last of the word doodles from me

Sunlight on windows – St Dunstan in the East Church Garden, London

Hi,

Hope this finds you well.

I’m writing this in a sun-chequered room. It makes for a dozy warmth but I hope I can still get this done.

These are my responses to the free writing prompts that I published on the blog two days ago.

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Free writing: the final prompts – hope you’ll give them a go

Django

Hello,

It’s overcast and warm in London today – funny how we still notice even though we’re shut in fairly tight.

I’m at my desk. Outside is the most built up environment I’ve ever known, but there is little traffic now, and the air is fresh and full of birdsong. Even better, two little writing sketches have arrived from Denmark and they are making me laugh, as each is a reminder of a big charactered dog we once knew. The sketches are below, plus the new prompts from Saraswathi Sukumar. I hope her suggestions inspire a creative flurry, whatever the medium.

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Free writing: word doodles – mini escapes – writing for the fun of it

London – still as a picture – 16 April 2020

Hello,

I hope the days are being kind to you.

Today I’m really pleased to bring you some free writing by others. If you’ve never done free writing, you may be sceptical about the process, but I find it absorbing, in a good way. For me the best part about it is that nothing has to be perfect, and all you have to think about for small pockets of time, are a few words or ideas. Some days the ideas come more easily than others … like sketches in a notebook.

The first of the pieces below is by Saraswathi Sukumar, the writing friend who generously gives up her time to think of prompts and to lead our sessions, and the ones below that are by Leonie Bedford in Canada. Thanks to them, and to all who give it a go or perhaps just think about it, and a special thanks to Aunt Jean who first took up the challenge!

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