Sunday, 18 November 2012

trailer, autumn days, wio 20th, fox, snowdrops, tunes

A mix of gloomy, leaden days, this week--like yesterday--and beautiful sunshine, like Wednesday and today. On the sunny days the autumn leaves have been glorious.

Yesterday we went to the Writers in Oxford (WiO) twentieth anniversary party, which was held in the room in Worcester College where the society was founded. It all came about when two Oxford-based writers were returning from a Society of Authors meeting in London and decided to see if there was any interest in a more local group. When they contacted fellow Oxford authors, far more than expected turned up to the inaugural meeting and WiO was born. It now has around 200 members. I edited the Oxford Writer, the society's newsletter, in the early Noughties and was chair from 2008-2010.

When we arrived at Worcester we met Brian Aldiss, who used to send me updates when I edited the newsletter, including news of the Steven Spielberg film AI, which was based on one of his stories (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long). As we wandered towards the building where the party was being held we saw first a fox, nonchalantly strolling across the lawn, and secondly, clumps of snowdrops out beneath one of the trees. A somewhat surreal experience!

It was lovely to see so many old friends. There were speeches from Brian, Philip Pullman, the current chair Denise Cullington and one of the two people who came up with the idea for a society on the train, Jenyth Worsley. (Sadly the other founder, William Horwood couldn't be at the party.) Philip remembered a memorable gathering at his house, when the whisky writer, the late Michael Jackson, gave a talk and cracked open many rare whiskies from his private collection. I remember that evening well--it was the greatest of fun.

Today, I got up early to work on A Conscious Englishman--the typesetting is nearly done. I also downloaded Daniel Merriweather's Red and Mad World by Gary Jules (loved the film in which the Tears for Fears cover featured, Donnie Darko). I bought T-Mobile versions of both tracks but they don't work on the Blackberry and I've been meaning to replace them for ages! Yesterday evening, after getting back from the party, listened to David Gray's Life in Slow Motion. Hadn't heard that for a while--still pretty great.

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