Once again I find myself stunned by Paradise Lost, an elegant, atmospheric tale and a nuanced portrait full of ironies. It's still as deeply chilling, exciting and endlessly inventive as the first time I ever read it. Milton had done something extraordinary, set in the ethereal halfway between heaven and hell with Satan, Eve and as far distanced from the conformity at the time to confirm it's position as Britain's finest epic.
By the way, you must listen to this: a sketch by Will Franken where Milton turns up to do PL at a poetry slam ...hilarious. http://www.willfranken.com/soundclips/poetryslam2.mp3
The next book on my list of purchases, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall which of course won the Booker Prize and if I'm honest, it was a brutal realisation as if she had plunged a knife to my chest that continues to burn as it is remotely similar to the third short story of mine which I've almost completed. Of course, in itself it wouldn't be as richly written nor diligent in research however as this blog has previously noted whereby I too tried to convey the courts that I have read/imagined so much about. I even said last month: 'now I realise that this is what I wish to portray from the perspective of the main character and the disillusionment he felt not the increasing resentment towards the Monarchy for it's failings. Political and love and fierce rivalry seemed to be the very essence of the Tudor Courts, anxiety and intrigue beset the tone'.
Yet, this strange wild-looking woman whom spoke with a peculiar eloquence on the BBC earlier today about her win focused on Thomas Cromwell whereas mine on a self created knight, Sir Thomas Cobham set immediately after the death of Henry VIII's beloved wife Jane Seymour midst the rife criminality on the streets. So I may as well ditch that, much like my attempts of a iconic image into the insight of the disability plight within schools, Universities for my campaigning of more rights for the charity 'Skill' with the idea displayed at the Edinburgh Festival weeks after I thought of it:
The chairman of the Booker prize judges, James Naughtie, said the decision to give Wolf Hall the award was "based on the sheer bigness of the book. The boldness of its narrative, its scene setting ... The extraordinary way that Hilary Mantel has created what one of the judges has said was a contemporary novel, a modern novel, which happens to be set in the 16th century." Bollocks!
However my misery/anger ceased with a) pretty looking if not dim-witted Stacey Dooley on BBC Three, travelling around Nepal dressed stylishly for child labour victims to patronise and then b) the discovery of an online magazine linked from it's creator's blog: http://wereworthittoo.blogspot.com/.
It has not only given me ideas of layout designs coupled with outstanding photographic imagery for the Union newspaper (should I become editor) and for Strangeways writing pieces' (edited by a friend for the region's Arts Council) but it is the huge stylish collection of menswear for the autumn as I find myself back to the drawing board of a fresh idea to write/campaign about. Wish me luck, I'll need it....