One Hothouse Project writing course closes, another one opens

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An utter triumph, dwahlinks. Another term of North London’s finest indie writing course comes to a close.

We laughed, we cried, we hurled, we learned stuff … well, apart from the ‘crying’ and ‘hurling’ bits.  The latest Hothouse Project course wrapped last Thursday night and, as ever, yr correspondent learned at least as much from the students as they learned from me. (Or, as I told them, if they enjoyed it half as much as I did, then I enjoyed it twice as much as them.)

The Hothouse Project, as those who’ve checked out the more recondite bits of my site will know, is my 8-week course in Journalism As Craft and Art (held at the Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead under the joint auspices of Aaaargh! Press and Storm Books), and we’re already gearing up for the next one, which kicks off on May 29.

Remember: unlike the myriad classes and courses running under the umbrellas of major publications and educational institutions, The Hothouse Project  is the guerilla-stylee, underground-press, 100% indie writing course … about as uncorporate as it gets.

So come sign up, awreddy … we’re ready for you, and I hope you’re ready for me …

CROSSTOWN LIGHTNIN’ RIDE AGAIN Sunday 6 April Oval Tavern, Croydon

… and this Sunday coming (April 6), Buffalo Bill Smith, Marc Jefferies, The Great Pete Miles and yr correspondent are bringing our own brand of funky rocking strickly-dread blues-an’-t’ing ancient and modern to The Oval Tavern 131 Oval Road Croydon CR0 6BR Tel: 020 8686 6023. We hit at 8:30pm. Come early and get ‘em in while we get it on …

Chalkie Davies Goes Click At Snap, bringing crackle to pop …

Best rock photograoher Charles Shaar Murray with best music journalist Charles Shaar Murray

Chalkie Davies Snap Gallery

To Piccadilly Arcade’s Snap Gallery (Jaysus, what a gallery queen I’m becoming in my old age) with the ever-delightful Anna Chen to enjoy an emotional and long-overdue reunion with dear friend and former NME colleague, ace photog Chalkie Davies, now long since resident in New York. We were there to check out his mini-exhibition Chalkie Davies Goes Click, a tantalising teaser/prequel for a way more grand and elaborate show to held next year at the National Museum of Wales and featuring 33 classic shots from his days (months, years …) at the NME, including unforgettable images of Blondie, The Clash, Bowie/Ronson, The ‘Oo (well, Pete Townshend’s smashed Rickenbacker), John Lydon, Elvis Costello, Phil Lynott, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Sid’n Nancy, David Byrne and many, many more.

We ended up not in a Soho doorway but in one of our favourite West End eateries, The Canton, for major catch-ups and anecdotage, much of which cannot enter the public domain as long as all three of us remain alive.

Chalkie’s exhibition runs until April 26, so ankle along … hey! Ya never know … Jah Chalk might even be there in person …

Chalkie Davies Anna Chen photograph Pete Townshend's smashed guitar

Having a Brainstorm! with Bryan Talbot


Pic above by Tim Pilcher: (l–r) Bryan Talbot, Lee Harris et moi.

To  The Muse Gallery on Portobello Road at the behest of my old friend Igor Goldkind for a long-overdue reunion with another old friend, master comic-book artist Bryan Talbot (creator of One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Alice In Sunderland and much much more), who was the centrepiece of a career-spanning exhibition of original art, including original 2000AD and Batman pages and loads of his later and more personal work. The event was introduced and curated by Lee Harris, a man with a dizzying CV which includes (amongst many other things) having been Our Bry’s first-ever publisher.

This culminated in a rather magnificent Thai feast, incorporating much reminiscing, laughter and imbibement. Culture, friendship and food: three of life’s better things. If you’re anywhere near Ladbroke Grove before Bryan’s Brainstorm! exhibition closes on April 13, stumble into The Muse and do the check-it-outy thang. Tell ’em CSM sent ya.

Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues on Madam Miaow, Resonance FM

Anna Chen is back with a bang! To be precise, her new eight-week radio series of Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge on Resonance 104.4FM on Tuesdays 5-6pm starting this week, 4th March.

To kick off, I’m giving my Guide to the Blues, Parts 1 and 2, Ancient and Modern: the 1920s to the early 1960s when the Blues was almost entirely African-American, and the mid-1960s to the present when the white kids got it and joined in (Part 2 follows on Tuesday 11th March).

In brief, pre- and post- Stones.

With guest Stephen Dale Petit. There will be a listen-again opportunity to hear it after broadcast on Soundcloud which we’ll post here.