17 July 2010

Condiments to the chef


Recessions really are shit. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, and, in the current global recession, no matter where you live, everyone is affected in one way or another. I'm not going to get all deep or anything, but here's something bad: Salt Publishing, which has been gracing the shelves of bookshops and libraries and people's own homes for ten years, is currently finding itself on the brink.

In the last few months, I've met some lovely local writers who have had work published by Salt. There's your Robert Graham, whose creative writing workshop I took part in at last year's inaugural Didsbury Arts Festival and whose novel Holy Joe I think about every time I cycle through Longford Park. There's your Elizabeth Baines, who I knew of via the Chorlton Book Festival and who I've since had the pleasure of chatting to, first at the Manchester Blogmeet, since at her Chorlton Arts Festival slot (with an extract from Too Many Magpies plus a short story called Educational Psychology) and latterly when both of us were audience members at an Oxfam Bookfest reading. Then there's your Nicholas Royle, whose first reading I attended was the aforementioned Oxfam one (with two short stories Pink and Maths Tower) and whose second I slightly scuppered on Thursday night at a Short Story Competition awards gala because he spotted me hiding on the back row (perhaps hiding is the wrong word with that bright red ribbon adornment I was proudly parading) and felt he couldn't read the same story again, even though only one person had already heard it. I wouldn't have minded.

Anyway, Salt is sinking, but if we all throw it a Danbuoy it'll float just fine. I'm a part-time mariner (fellow salty seadogs might have spotted that last reference), so salt runs through my veins (or something). You, my friends, are good readers of this blog and probably put salt on your chips, or in your pasta water (or something). Salt's part of all our lives: let's keep it that way, eh?

Right now, in that there London, there's a flashmob in praise of Salt Publishing at the Southbank Centre, where there will be a mass public recital of Pablo Neruda's poem Ode To Salt. This blog post forms part of a "virtual flashmob" (brainchild of poet lady Katy Evans-Bush), so if you can't make it to the Big Smoke, you can read the piece right here right now.

I've told you I'm a sailor, so here's my favourite part of the poem:
Salt...

Preserver
of the ancient
holds of ships,
discoverer
on
the high seas,
earliest
sailor
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.


(Salt Pig pic courtesy Crate & Barrel)

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