Friday 22 February 2013

Acoustic Flash

I finally managed to attend an Acoustic Night Bristol event the other week (28th January). It happens every couple of weeks on a Monday night, up the road from me at Halo. As I'm often away — Mondays especially — the proximity has been more of a tease than an opportunity.

I read a couple of pieces of flash: "I Think I Get It" and "So You Think You Can Cook?". This picture captures a moment of hesitation — I'm either expressing something in an actorly way or doubting my choice of words and punctuation:

As well as the ambience of the place and the quality of the performances, a great feature of Acoustic Night Bristol is that performances are recorded and mixed. Here's mine:

Friday 15 February 2013

Flash Fiction: Measures

She drank beer in pints and wine in glasses (large not small) and underestimated both in units. She smoked in halved fractions of ounces but snorted in multiple grams. She aimed to lose in kilos not pounds because pounds lacked ambition, but switched to pounds then silence as weight lingered then rose. She miscounted Friday nights out while weeks should have been tracked. She lost count of tears when nine months passed and failed.

"Measures" was first published with Paragraph Planet. More background here.

Friday 8 February 2013

Competitive Flash

Following on from the hope expressed at the end of my January posting, my entry in the fourth quarter 2012 Flash 500 competition has reached the shortlist. It might be a bit much to hope it will reach placement in the top three, but I'm delighted it has got as far as it has.

And speaking of flash and competitions, the first National Flash-Fiction Day 2013 competition has been now been launched — and I'm one of the judges. Excluding the title, submissions should be no longer than 100 words. More details can be found here. The deadline is Friday 8th March.

Happy flashing!

Friday 1 February 2013

Flash Fiction: The Cambridge Arms

I find myself in need of a decision. Sunshine, cloudless sky, gentle breeze, late afternoon... and I seem to be standing outside the Cambridge Arms. It's not a hard decision. Let's call it early evening.

"What can I get you?"

Bitter would be my usual, but the association of warm sun and something amber and colder is difficult to shake off. It's a classic bar, but lifted out of the usual woody darkness by tall windows framing sunlit trees. Very picture book. Or advert.

"A Grolsch, please."

Just as imagined, the pouring of the pint, glistening and bubbling, satisfies expectation, an association honed by rose-tinted memories, cultural conditioning and no small amount of advertising.

Sarah says I suffer from too much imagination — a polite way of drawing attention to her patience. It's not just that I over-react to films. Yes, I avoid horror movies if I want a good night's sleep... if we want a good night's sleep — Sarah doesn't appreciate being woken in the real world by me calling out from a dream.

It's an interesting thought I only seem to ponder when I wake but, when I dream, am I still colour-blind? I certainly dream in colour, but I never notice whether I struggle to distinguish red and green in my dreams. I guess, by definition, the not noticing is itself a kind of blind-spot, isn't it?

No, it's not so much the nightmares as the daydreaming, non-sequiturs and tangents that Sarah says I — and she — suffer from. I like to think it makes conversation less predictable and keeps our relationship fresh. I think she likes that. I think.

"Lost between random and surreal. Sarah, you really pick them." Her sister's boyfriend-critique, delivered within earshot and a wine glass of first meeting me.

"I'm right here," I'd said, returning from the kitchen with more wine. Her sister had pulled a smile before starting on her next glass and judgement.

The landlord seems distracted as he finishes pouring. Turning, I can see why. We exchange money, pint and glances. The target of his — now our — distraction is a blonde. She's overdressed and waiting, but for someone, not something, not a drink.

My drink. The first sip is just as imagined. Pleasingly wet, satisfyingly cold.

Her red dress is almost theatrical, a little too movie star for the bar and the time of day. She's gazing into the middle distance, as if something might happen... but might not.

I notice the landlord. His eyes gesture, behind me.

"Andy, what are you doing?"

Ah. Sarah.

"Enjoying a pint?"

"Andy, I was trying to give you directions to the camera shop so you wouldn't get lost and wonder off."

"Yes, you said 'Imagine you're outside the Cambridge Arms'... so I did... fancy a pint?"

"The Cambridge Arms" was first published at Every Day Fiction. More background here.