Literature Long Read: The Parable Of Nehushtan, The Bronze Snake

A lot of the background research for my novel The Green Man has involved reading The Bible. That’s perhaps unsurprising given that the story is about a group of Benedictine, Franciscan, and Dominican monks from the 14th century. One of the Biblical stories that I ended up using as a reference point in TGM is generally known as the story of the Bronze Snake. It occurs someway into the Book of Numbers 21, after Moses has led the Hebrews from tyranny and into the desert, but before he converses with God upon Mount Sinai.

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Literature Long Read: Another Brick In The Dead-Wall: Pink Floyd and Melville’s ‘Bartleby’

Before the completion of Moby Dick in 1851, Melville suffered the traditional artists’ existential crisis: a lack of money coupled with being pulled this way and that by competing interests. Most of us who’ve chosen to pursue some degree of success in the arts have felt that Real Life frequently gets in the way. Melville wrote this in a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne at that time.

In a week or so, I go to New York, to bury myself in a third-story room, and work and slave on my “Whale” while it is driving through the press. That is the only way I can finish it now, — I am so pulled hither and thither by circumstances. The calm, the coolness, the silent grass-growing mood in which a man ought always to compose, — that, I fear, can seldom be mine. Dollars damn me; and the malicious Devil is forever grinning in upon me, holding the door ajar.”

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Man O’War Bookstream Delayed

I got word this week that the Man O’War Bookstream, which was due to begin streaming on Monday, is going to be postponed by at least a week after (drum roll…..) Covid has struck one of the actors in the production. Bravo, Covid, now you’re striking against the people who are innovating ways to get around you.

I’m in touch with Bookstreamz and will post any updates as they come.

It may be that there will have to be a recasting of a role or two depending on how circumstances play out, but for the moment, like so much else right now, we wait.

On another topic, I was going to start posting a series of “Long Reads” covering topics such as literature, books, a bit of culture and politics, from today. But given the MOW Bookstream will be delayed, I’ll post the first long read on Monday to fill the gap. The first one will be about walls – after listening to parts of Pink Floyd’s The Wall while out for a run, I bricked together a connection with Herman Melville’s novella Bartleby, The Scrivener. So that’s coming on Monday.

Enjoy the weekend!

Man O’War released on Monday 23rd November

I can’t really believe it’s happened so quickly, but Episode 1 of the Bookstreamz adaptation of Man O’War will be available to view on the Bookstreamz platform from Monday 23rd November.

Elaine Sturgess and her colleagues Leslie, Paul and Wendy have done a brilliant job in getting the production ready to fly in such a short amount of time, especially with all the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds so much of our lives these days.

Actually, the uncertainty and instability that has been handed to us thanks to the pandemic have actually necessitated a bit of invention, and these Bookstreamz adaptations are just that. It’s been keeping theatre actors and producers in work, it’s provided an outlet for this author in a much-slowed down publishing sector, and it provides people with some much needed entertainment, especially those who would otherwise look to the theatre, where most of the cast have cut their teeth.

It is a great cast, too. I’m very grateful to have such rising stars as Jessica Clark and Alessandro Babalola on board, and think it will be a great piece of work. We’re also looking into the option of creating a recording of the performance, which could then be transformed into a cast-read audiobook.

“Top Boy’s” Alessandro Babalola to star in Man O’War

Babalola in his breakout role as Haze in Netflix’s Top Boy

Alessandro Babalola will play Adem Johnson, the Machiavellian heir to the Johnson Petroleum Corporation who has chosen to develop his career in the English civil service in my 22nd century world. Alessandro gave a star-making turn as the terrifying hitman Haze in Netflix’s brilliant drama Top Boy, and won an Olivier for his performance in Flesh And Bone. I’m really looking forward to seeing him as Adem, which will be a change of pace from his other roles, and explore the dysfunctional family dynamics of the Johnsons.

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‘True Blood’ star Jessica Clark to star as Naomi in Man O’War

Ok, this is starting to feel quite real now. Jessica Clark, who played the vampire queen Lilith in HBO’s epic sexy horror show True Blood is going to be taking the star role of Naomi the kokeshi in the forthcoming dramatisation of Man O’War.

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Man O’War to be Adapted for Bookstreamz

Remember that Booksoffice vote thingummy where Man O’War was shortlisted back in January? Well, even though it didn’t win, the people at Booksoffice were suitably impressed with Man O’War to choose to adapt it for a new type of online dramatisation that has, serendipitously, found a useful niche in the age of lockdown.

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Essex Father Of Two Cures IT Meltdown With This One Weird Trick

I had a major IT hardware malfunction last week; the backlight on my Macbook Pro suddenly failed, with no options for repair. This was exacerbated by the sinking feeling I got when I realised that the most recent 40,000 words of my manuscript for the The Green Man had not synced properly with my online drives, and was only saved locally on my laptop.

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