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Interview with Klimat:ekot about By the Feet of Men

When I was at the We Don’t Have Time climate conference back in sunny April, I had an interview with the journalist Elin Leyonberg for Klimat:ekot, a podcast about climate change. We talked about how fiction can help to convey the fears surrounding global warming, how it differs from scientific communication and why dystopian fiction is important. I also gave a hot take on By the Feet of Men, incorrectly said that Walden was written in the 1700s, stitched up my parents and literally said the words “framework on which to hang ideas”. Then I disappeared up myself.

Check out nine minutes of a smiling guy in a polo neck below.

(PS: I’m sorry for slamming you, Berlin artists. My answer was off the cuff, arrogant and presumptive. In penance, I’ll attend all your exhibitions and look at all your photos of your friends with asymmetrical haircuts doing moody poses in your whitewashed bedroom.)

Chart / April

April was a productive month. I had a piece published by Wordrunner for its Spring 2019 eChapbook and another piece accepted by Lemon Theory magazine with its pretty visuals (it’ll be out on 2 June). Also received a few welcome advance reviews for By the Feet of Men - one from Future Fire magazine, one from Books in Blankets and one from Brittany the Book Guru. And I survived the climate conference and apparently managed to string a few coherent sentences together (I haven’t watched the video back; wincing gives you wrinkles).

May is for the manuscript. I hope.

Music to bid goodbye to hibernation to:

  1. Mannequin Pussy - Drunk II

  2. Diane Coffee - Not Ready To Go

  3. Sensible Soccers - Telas na areia

  4. Lizzo - Juice

  5. FKA Twigs - Cellophane

  6. Big Thief - Watering

  7. Tame Impala - Borderline

  8. Another Sky - Fighting Bulls

  9. Prins Thomas - Fra Miami til Chicago

  10. Haram - American Police

when a spider releases gossamer to fly through the air, it’s called ballooning. balloon silks have been collected at altitudes of up to 5 km above sea level. spiders are astronauts.

when a spider releases gossamer to fly through the air, it’s called ballooning. balloon silks have been collected at altitudes of up to 5 km above sea level. spiders are astronauts.

#WeDontHaveTime Climate Conference

So I’m going to a climate conference in Stockholm on Monday (22nd April) and joining a panel of artists talking about how they use their art to communicate climate change. I’ll be throwing out a few half-baked observations and wondering whether my inability to formulate complete sentences in English and my inevitable brain freeze halfway through a word is due to the fact that:

- I’ve been living in Germany for such a long time and automatically internationalise/dumb down anything I’m saying

- I only started taking vitamin B12 supplements six years after becoming a vegan and a lack of B12 causes memory loss

- I was always terrified of public speaking and this fear manifests itself as a kind of mental stammer

- All of the above.

Should be fun, anyway. Lots of time to read on those 18 trains to Sweden.

The conference will be broadcast live on YouTube (I think) and on the We Don’t Have Time website (again, I think). I’m on at 15:45.

Chart / March

Here’s a dilemma-but-not-really: I’m never sure whether to take my writing with me when I go on holiday. Poor me! On the one hand it feels as though being in a completely different environment should stir up the imagination soup in my brain bowl nicely, leaving me with the sole task of ladling it onto the page and giving it a bit of seasoning. On the other hand, when I’m out of this apartment - where I’ve spent approximately 75% of all the time available to me for the past four years - all I want to do is forget about the tiny wooden desk (that’s actually a bedside table) and the armchair that I’ve dug my feet into so much that the upholstery resembles a piece of gauze slapped over a war wound. What usually happens is that I stress out for the first few days of the holiday because I’m not writing anything, meaning that I’m unable to fully relax and give myself up to the new environment, and then, when I do finally find an hour or two to sit down to write, I ask myself what I think I’m doing. I didn’t fly 10 hours on a plane* to sit in a hotel room, hunched over an oil-tanker-slow laptop/tablet hybrid, and tap out a story about, I dunno, a Burmese monk who reads out fortune cookies to passers-by (I did this).

All this to say that at the beginning of March I went to Oman, a country of mountains and deserts and valleys and oases and beaches and nearly vacant highways that roll ever outward like bolts of grey cloth over a scrubland sea. Being there is like having one foot in a post-apocalyptic movie and the other in the Garden of Eden, its sense of emptiness tempered by an overwhelming natural beauty. It is a place of inspiration and desolation, supersonic winds, dirt tracks on mountains with hairpin bends and drop-offs into the void, abandoned villages, 4G in the desert, smugglers ferrying contraband to Iran, significant migrant populations and few tourists. It’s a good place to gain inspiration.

Also for those two weeks I only listened to 80s electronica, so the songs below were a good palate cleanser when I got back to hey-remember-the-rain-well-look-forward-to-twelve-days-of-it Berlin.

  1. Kieran Hebden - Only Human

  2. Octo Octa - I Need You

  3. Friendly Fires - Love Like Waves

  4. altopalo - Mono

  5. Solange - Stay Flo

  6. Shay Lia - The Cycle

  7. Jamila Woods - ZORA

  8. Big Thief - UFOF

  9. Weezer - Too Many Thoughts in My Head

  10. Stella Donnelly - U Owe Me

*Moaning all the time about climate change and yet I still fly to places on holiday. What a hypocrite.

A David Byrne special.

A David Byrne special.