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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

THIS WRITING WEEK

I love writing or trying to write. This week has been very productive, at least to me.

I have been focusing on flash fiction and, after hiring an acclaimed professional editor, I have 8 stories to play with.

6 of the 8 are already out there and these are their titles:

Lunch Interrupted

The Anniversary of a Done Deal

Betrayed

Brothers

Incident

The Girl Who had Nearly Everything

Who cares?

Stories yet to place:

Rumbled

Journal

I have poetry out there awaiting decisions, and a memoir that is dear to my heart (again, edited professionally by one of the very best.). It's all fun.

More submissions to follow.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

ABOUT CLASSICAL MUSIC, RACE & GENDER

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. 
CV of published material available on request.
joecushnan@aol.com & @JoeCushnan


We 'shouldn't apologise' for the race or gender of those who made the most celebrated classical music, Nicola Benedetti says.
I was attracted to this headline on a piece in the Daily Telegraph (17 August, 2019). I’ll pick one quote from it:
Nicola Benedetti said: “I believe in and support a strong movement for diversity and integration. I also believe in respecting past mastery, regardless of race or gender.”

You can read the whole piece here.


But, as I read it, something occurred to me.  As a frequent listener to Classic fm, most of the time when I tune in I have no idea who wrote or who is performing the pieces. Some of the music played is familiar, but mostly it is new to me.  Quite often I hear a wonderful symphony or whatever and I marvel at the beauty within.  But it never crosses my mind to consider the gender or race of the composer or musician. Never.  

Two questions: Should I care about identifying the race and gender, and why should I care about identifying the race and gender? My answer to the first question is I don’t care.  I enjoy the music without unnecessary modern-day box-ticking.  My answer to the second question is that I am open to intelligent persuasion on any responsibility I should employ to ‘fix’ or ‘re-balance’ the past.  If there are undiscovered, forgotten or unappreciated composers of any gender and race from the dim and distant who should be lauded, bring them on.  I’m in it for the music. 

If I hear a mind-blowing piece and someone tells me afterwards the race and gender of the composer/performer, is that supposed to affect how I rate my enjoyment of the piece?

For the record, I think Nicola Benedetti is spot on in the quotation above.  Of course, in this age of instant apoplexy and hysterical attacks, she will have critics of her opinion.

I will continue to listen to Classic fm as I have always done – to hear beautiful music. Full stop.


Friday, 16 August 2019

FREELANCE WRITING IDEAS FOR SEPTEMBER

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. 
CV of published material available on request.
joecushnan@aol.com & @JoeCushnan

I can write a piece on any or all of the following - joecushnan@aol.com

SEPTEMBER


12 - TV western Bonanza was first broadcast 60 years ago. 14 seasons; 431 episodes.
14 - TV cookery star Keith Floyd died at 65 10 years ago.
15 - TV western The Lone Ranger was first broadcast 70 years ago. 5 seasons; 221 episodes.
18 - Politician Mo Mowlam was born 70 years ago. Died at 55 in 2005.
19 - Model Twiggy will be 70.
20 - Actress Sophia Loren will be 85.
22 - Songwriter Irving Berlin died at 101 30 years ago
22 - TV sitcom Friends was first broadcast 25 years ago.
23 - Singer Bruce Springsteen will be 70.
25 - Comedian Ronnie Barker was born 90 years ago. Died at 76 in 2005.
26 - The Beatles album Abbey Road was released 50 years ago.
28 - Retailer Marks and Spencer was founded 125 years ago.
28 - Actress Brigitte Bardot will be 85.
29 - Pope John Paul II was the first Pope to visit Ireland 40 years ago.

WHEN ELVIS PRESLEY DIED, THEY DIDN’T EVEN TRY TO BREAK IT TO ME GENTLY (1977)



Huge capital letters on a newsagent’s board:
ELVIS DEAD – handwritten in black felt-tip –
And I gasped as I headed to Chadwell Heath railway station.
“What? WHAT!” I thought in my own capitals,
“How can this be true?” Beyond moody blue.

I felt like throwing a sickie, going back home,
Smashing an LP to pieces, finding a sharp end
And slitting my wrist, I was that pissed.
They didn’t even try to break it to me gently,
Just BAM!!  Right there for all to see. Heartbreak.

Later, after work, watching the news and pictures
Of scrawny Elvis, beautiful Elvis, fat Elvis,
I saw the beginnings of him, the wonder of him,
The decline of him, that rotten rock and roll thing,
A complete and utter waste of a king.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

ELVIS COSTELLO HAIKU

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too.
 
CV of published material available on request.

joecushnan@aol.com & @JoeCushnan



hire the detectives
man in specs is watching you
his aim my be true

Monday, 12 August 2019

PROCOL HARUM HAIKU

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too.
 
CV of published material available on request.

joecushnan@aol.com & @JoeCushnan




dancing salty dog
skipping a light fandango

wearing a homburg

Sunday, 11 August 2019

JETHRO TULL HAIKU

Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too.
 
CV of published material available on request.

joecushnan@aol.com & @JoeCushnan

A few years ago, I wrote a lot of haikus about musicians and singers. This was the very first one.





man with magic flute
playing earthy melodies
standing on one boot