Last Wednesday I drove over to Newcastle - the ‘upon Tyne’ one, rather than the ‘-under-Lyme’ one, and no, I have no idea why one is not hyphenated and the other is - for Noir At The Bar NorthEast.
This is now the third time a Noir At The Bar event has been staged in the UK. A US import, the first was organised by Jay Stringer north of the border, in Glasgow. The second - and the first in England - was at Carlisle back in March, and I was honoured to be one of the authors invited by organiser Graham Smith (of Crime & Publishment) to take part.
Wednesday night was the first time N@tB has taken place over in the northeast of the country. The lovely Vic Watson - known as Elementary V Watson, proof-reader, copy-editor and creative writer - and the equally wonderful Jacky Collins, brains behind Newcastle Noir, were the co-hosts this time around. Thank you SO much to those two for putting on such a great event, and allowing me to take part.
|Vic Watson and Jacky Collins|
The venue was the basement of The Town Wall pub in Newcastle, an atmospheric venue with cracking food and a charming barman who bore a startling resemblance to Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. They served very decent grub, too.
|Jon Snow, who appeared to be moonlighting as the barman at The Town Wall pub in Newcastle|
I wasn’t officially on the bill for Newcastle, but having gone to Carlisle it was such fun I decided to make the journey anyway, with a friend, Shell, along for a night out. Quite by co-incidence, I had an email on the morning of the event from Vic, saying an author had been forced to drop out at the last minute due to injury, and would I like to step in?
|NOT Tess Makovesky|
The injured author was Tess Makovesky, who apparently lost a battle with her furniture and knocked herself about quite a bit in the process. I swore I was nowhere near her at the time, but I’m not sure how much I was believed … Hope you recover soon, Tess!
For anyone unfamiliar with the N@tB format, it involves a group of authors being asked to come along to a bar (crime writers and a drinking establishment, who’d have thought a pairing like that would work …?) and read part of a current work. The names were put in a hat and drawn out at random for the running order.
|The miscreants: (left to right) Graham Smith, Gordon Brown, Danielle Ramsay, Jacky Collins, Zoë Sharp, Eileen Wharton, Vic Watson, Sheila Quigley, Janet O'Kane, Martyn Taylor, G.J. Brown|
It was a really fun evening, not only to hear some great stories, but also to mix with friends old and new, including finally getting to meet Noelle Holten of CrimeBookJunkie.
Vic Watson has covered the authors and the work from which they read so well in her own blog that I’m linking to it here. Well worth taking a look at! And the resemblance between us was spookily uncanny, especially when I put my reading glasses on ...
|Spooky or what? Me and Vic Watson.|
I am her Evil Twin
I read from a short story I recently finished, which is intended for The Strand magazine. It’s called ‘Risk Assessment’ and came about through an experience I had when I received my last car insurance renewal notice and decided to use an alternative provider.
|Reading from 'Risk Assessment' on the night.|
The events described in the story were entirely made up, by the way, but the possibilities are very real. And it is, after all, our job as crime authors to see the worst in any given situation …
This week’s Word of the Week is sesquipedalian, meaning to use a lot of long words that most people do not understand. As distinct from orotund, which means using extremely formal and complicated language intended to impress people, and also prolix, which is to use too many words, and therefore to be boring.
And with that, I’ll get me coat …