Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Launching my book at events last week was an excellent excuse for a couple of mad musical parties. I met friends I have never seen before [online writers], family from far away, and friends I last saw when our kids were at primary school – now they’re grown up with children of their own.

I was exhilarated and surprised by the enthusiasm these essentially decent and nice people showed for my dark, depraved, at times, evil, work of fiction. As surprised as they were, I expect, to hear the extracts I read coming out of the mouth of a demure grandmotherly type person. A mad vicar saying ‘fuck’ is a small sample.

I calculate that everyone I know now has a copy. I’ve asked them, if they like it, to tell ten other people it’s worth reading, and to get their local libraries to order it.

Word of mouth is the best way of raising the profile. And with 2,000 books coming out every week, it sure needs raising!

So, if you happen to read and enjoy DOLLYWAGGLERS, please do the above.


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Here is a rather long link…


The resignation of three members of the creative team working for LIMERICK CITY OF CULTURE has shone an unpleasant spotlight on the chasm between artists and the present government, who is entrusted with millions to pay out to us, lucky and grateful as we are supposed to be for any crumbs that come our way.

This article hits the nail on the head about the present climate in Ireland, a state we who write, compose or make art have known for years is heavily weighted in favour of bureaucrats  – the very fact that ‘the arts’ are lumped in with Sport and Tourism shows government thinking.

Two of the resigned team – Karl Wallace and Jo Mangan –  are friends, and I have certain knowledge of their  outstanding administrative competence, their visionary imaginations, and their passion for the arts. So my view is not balanced.

As the article says, the wonder is that we go on creating at all.

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I’ve been digging into my memory lately to think of ‘dips’ – ways we used to choose someone to be ‘it’ in chasing games. London school playgrounds were unselfconsciously rich in culture – I used to know about twenty different dips. And if I was being chased and I needed some time out of the game, the cry of ‘Fainlights’ with simultaneous holding up both hands with crossed first and second fingers was universally respected.

Here are the words of a song from Scottish children, immortalised on film in the Scottish Screen Archive’s site.

Well I sent her for eggs, oh then, oh then
I sent her for eggs, oh then
Yes I sent her for eggs, and she fell and broke her legs
Oh the world must be coming tae an end, ach aye

Well I sent her for butter, oh then, oh then
I sent her for butter, oh then
Yes I sent her for butter, and she fell down in the gutter
Oh the world must be coming tae an end, ach aye

Well I sent her for bread, oh then, oh then
I sent her for bread, oh then
Yes I sent her for bread, and she dropit down dead
Oh the world must be coming tae an end, ach aye.

You can watch the film if you go to their website. http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=0799

But coming forward to the present, Bess, aged six, says the recognised shout for time out of a game of tag is ‘pause game’….

How about you? Did you play games with dips and fains? How about your kids now?

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Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I have just done a search on WordPress using ‘franceskaywriter’ and was told there was NO RESULT. This suggests to me that I am leaving far too long between blogposts. Sorry about this.

What have I done since my last one?

Been to the fabulous DINGLE FILM FESTIVAL ,  saw many fine films, two of which I urge you to catch next time they are showing:

THE PERVERT’S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY [must see for any media studies students]

LORE [wonderfully photographed with stunning performances by three children on a journey through a dystopian German landscape at the end of WW2]

And I declare an interest in the exciting premiere of a film directed by Maurice Galway, music by Nico Brown: PAULINE BEWICK: YELLOW MAN, GREY MAN is a frank and revelatory look at this extraordinary artist and her work….

Here is the full programme for you to gnash your teeth over if you missed it:

Next blog on my strange journey through the landscape and into the trousers of Thomas Hardy will follow soon!

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Sorry to be doing this, but there seems to be a theme emerging this summer. I’ve just read Brian’s obituary in today’s Guardian:


My memories of Brian are linked to summer 1976  in Newcastle on Tyne, when his theatre company ‘Road Gang’ joined forces with ours ‘Mad Bongo Theatre Group’ for a sparky, hard-hitting musical tribute to the 1926 General Strike, supported memorably by local NUM branches and some famous men of those days, including Will and Alf, the Lawther brothers, who praised our play for its truth and power in a short and passionate speech that moved us to tears.

We hit new heights of fame with the show, ‘Strike Alight’, when we performed in front of 700 people at the Durham Miners’ Gala [including the then head of the Labour Party, Michael Foot]  – but those celebrity gigs were not our style, and my memories are more of the rehearsals where we forged our script through impro and research, me with baby Rosie often in my arms, and a pub landlord supplying sandwiches.

Brian was terrific fun to work with, and his compelling singing voice could silence any rowdy pub or club. He was a kind friend, a great babysitter, a committed political theatre activist, and in those days that were overshadowed by illness in our family, he gave us unconditional support.

I wish I could say something appropriate in Welsh – but this will have to do: Thanks for all the memories and the theatre and the songs. May you live on in all of them

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As an English person, one takes a modest pride in the stiff upper lip and in Trying Not To Make a Fuss.  But yesterday, a short clip on this openculture link had me weeping like Niobe [whoever she was].

It’s the children’s faces, the adults gradually realising something randomly beautiful was going on, the kids taking their earbuds out to listen… and the music. Music  – especially violins – gets me every time.



Have a hanky ready. Oh, and subscribe to openculture. They are evidently a fine body of chaps.




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