Trigger warning. The opinions expressed here will upset some readers. Read at your own risk.
No one wants to be told their baby is ugly.
And now Harry and Meghan have shown in their Netflix documentary that from their perspective the royal baby is ugly indeed. Heads up. I am Irish. We have anti-authority stamped into our DNA. I find the concept of royal patronage to be ghastly. Wasn't that the whole point of the French revolution? To ensure political systems treated all men and women equally. A sort of down-with-kings-and-queens moment?
But back to Harry & Meghan. You know how to curtsey, don't you, he says to his fiancé; you will have to curtsey when you meet my grandmother. And she provides straight to camera a deep Monty-Python curtesy almost kissing the ground. Tug the forelock, Meghan. We did it for 800 years. It sticks in the throat. At least you are an actor. Much easier to act subservient than really be subservient.
The best thing about the six part documentary is a couple so much at ease in their relationship in the Californian climate. Who wouldn’t want to swap the damp and cold of British repression for such joy. This is a couple who have emotional articulacy. Meghan’s mother is the star. A gentle loving mum who cares about her grown up kid. Harry also had a mother (albeit one he lost too young) who helped him learn to recognise his own feelings. To say how he felt. He had unconditional love and touch. That's all most of us need.
And then, poor Jeremy Clarkson was triggered. The troubled child in him shouting (and the Sun publishing). What hurts him by the actions of a woman who married one of the royals in the UK? Why does the woman (in this partnership) trigger him more than the man? For me, as a 61 year old woman, it is deeply disturbing to experience such misogyny being celebrated in a British newspaper. We witness a crime: a newspaper whips up hatred and incitement to violence against a female. Why can’t the laws do anything about this? And the Sun/Clarkson go on, gas lighting us all afterwards with the most patronising of non-apologies...oh dear, silly me, I've upset some people. I was clumsy. I'll ask the Sun to take the column down. I'll be more careful next time. Who on earth can swallow this horse***t?
For The Sun it is business as usual. The way a business operates can be compared to a psychopath — see this excellent documentary on YouTube called The Corporation. No empathy. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others. Incapacity to maintain relationships. Reckless disregard for the safety of others. Weighing up risks with a cold heart. Will click-bait sales outweigh legal compensations? What’s the budget? Hate sells. Sex sells. Disgust sells. The directors (and shareholders) know that the visual concept of a naked woman having excrement thrown at her will sell. Porn sells. Not a very complicated business model. The page 3 model was tame in comparison.
© Alison Hackett 27 December 2022
Everyone in the book trade rolls their eyes when you mention poetry. “Can’t sell it, not even in my own country” says the Canadian publisher we were meeting with at the Frankfurt Book Fair. We had decided to invest in taking a stand as part of the Irish delegation at the two big international book fairs this year, London and Frankfurt. These fairs are enormous beasts — best described as speed dating for publishers and all associated with publishing. Rights agents, printers, booksellers, distributers, marketers and publishers — all part of the churn. The best place to open the Twenty First Century Renaissance shop on the world stage of this gigantic industry....
....an industry dealing in IP, feeding the creative industries of the US, "the largest exporter of IP in the world; revenue from those industries is now estimated to generate 38% of US annual GDP (as compared with approx 5.5% of GDP in the UK.)" — Lynette Owen, Selling Rights (Routledge, 8th edition, p.18)
....hmmmm....wouldn't mind a bit of that...... 💰 💰 💰
My husband, as co-director of the business, was with me. And he proved to be a good draw. As soon as I mentioned that he was a liver transplant surgeon and was writing the next book in The Visual Time Traveller series — but this time based on Medicine — they all paid attention. The American rights buyer from a publishing company in North America was intrigued by the project. Leafing through, he’s saying he loves it, it’s fabulous, “This is exactly the book I need because I can’t remember anything.” At this point in our speed date I gently introduced Arnie Yasinski’s poetry books to him — after all he is American and had been in the Draft Lottery for Vietnam — surely interesting. His whole body pulls back. The date is turning sour. Poetry. Can’t sell it.
I quickly move on and put the children’s illustrated book 21CR published, Knot of Toads, in front of him. Conspiracies of lemurs. Caravans of camels. A flush of ducks (pictured in the toilet). "I love it," he says. "Sold 25,000 of a book like this last year." And I can’t help it, I have to tell him, a mother’s pride trumping everything, "it’s actually illustrated by our son, Nick Geoghegan."
Roaring with laughter he tells it as it is, "You are the Hillbilly Publishing company from Ireland!”. Quite so.
#publishing #rights #IP #books #Ireland #IrishDesigned #Irish #IrishArts #educational #gifts #FrankfurtBookFair
Myself and Arnie Yasinski will be experimenting with our readings next year as a sort of duelling banjos set, one on one. Here are the first lines of the poems we plan to read from our latest collections Sentient and It's Okay. He's American. The poems fall easily into pairs: Arnie at nineteen finding out his girlfriend is pregnant, me at nineteen being harassed by a man in Paris; Arnie and his worst teacher ever, me being a teacher; Arnie meeting an Irish mammy for the first time (later he finds out she flushed unhappiness with drink), me being driven home from school by a man who I later learn was a drunk; Arnie's father, my father.....
Here are the openings of the poems:
She’s nineteen and late. (Arnie)
In Paris. Au-pairing. (Alison)
We’re both just twenty in the photo (Arnie)
I can’t remember him collecting me from school (Alison)
First trip to Ireland (Arnie)
I have the worst teacher ever (Arnie)
Some had been child soldiers (Alison)
From a distance, it’s him (Arnie)
As soon as I am old enough (Alison)
I block out the Detroit years (Arnie)
Done Scandi noir to death (Alison)
Out of prison for the workshop (Arnie)
The ticket inspector dismisses my passport (Alison)
A Vermont village (Arnie)
Going home —after three years of plague (Arnie)
This watery view by the last loch (Alison)
Irish swimmers bring their togs in a bag (Arnie)
I’m at the age I want to believe (Arnie)
I’ve tried it all, yoga… (Alison)
Waking to the aching query of your absence (Alison)
God isn’t dead yet, but has gotten old (Arnie)
On a golf course in the Adirondacks (Arnie)
I long to hold the poetry editor's... by Francesca Bell (read by Alison)
In an upholstered chair the editor sits (Arnie)
Pictured below — at the launch (at my home in Dun Laoghaire) of Arnie's second collection, God Lives in Norway and goes by Christie, in the summer of 2021 when everything still had to be outside. Deirdre Conroy who reviewed Crabbing and The Visual Time Traveller in the Irish Independent is on the left.
#poetry #publishing #Irish #Ireland #21stCenturyRenaissance #ArnieYasinski
Sometimes the feedback from a client makes all the rejection disappear.... These are the wonderful words Arnie said as an introduction to me on Saturday 26 November at our soft-launch-at-home of both out poetry books — with family and friends — I was so touched. He has given me permission to share it. Thank you, Arnie 🙏
Alison Hackett — Director and founder of 21st Century Renaissance; author of The Visual Time Traveller 500 Years of History, Art and Science in 100 Unique Designs