From disco-y wetlook to virgin Brazilian

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In homage to Americanah’, a spot more hair business.  There was actually a sign in a local hairdresser advertising Virgin Brazilian hair.  We weren’t sure if the adjective was being applied to the donator or the hair itself.  I’m afraid I was too much of a coward to ask.

Anyway, it makes the days of wetlook and gericurl seem so much more innocent.

 

Meeting my hero, Eileen Browne

20130709_174128 They say ‘don’t meet your heroes’.  I beg to disagree.

Last year, I was lucky enough to work with the illustrator and writer, Eileen Browne, on a project to promote literacy in prisons.  Even though my daughter is now 14, we still flushed out her old copy of ‘Handa’s Surprise’, to get it signed.  However, it was the books about Jo, a child with a black mother and white father, just like my daughter, that I am grateful for.  According to the vast majority of children’s picture books, families like ours didn’t exist.

 

Wait And See Tony Bradman & Eileen Browne

 

Eileen delivered a workshop on writing for children to young fathers in a London prison.  Many of these men were not accessing the prison education service and approached the workshop with great caution.  The impact was considerable and many saw the workshop and the stories it inspired in them as a way to link with their families and children.

Now Eileen, along with other writers, is challenging the publishers on gender.   There is is still a perception that while girls will follow protagonists of both genders, boys are only interested in boys.  Better get Katniss on to that.

‘The Lonely Londoners’ – Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

‘The Lonely Londoners’ – Radio 4 Book at Bedtime

Don Warrington is definitely doing justice to Sam Selvon’s book!  Sir Galahad, Tante and the journalist, Brixton…  Yes, it was a struggle for families coming from the Caribbean, but this book is very funny and Don Warrington’s accents and voices brings out the humour.

And with a spot of Lord Kitch bookending it too.  Great!

Should Jamie Oliver read Alice Walker?

Should Jamie Oliver read Alice Walker?

Jamie Oliver’s dyslexia is not a secret, but his recent comment about not reading books all the way through gained much comment.  My beloved Flavourwire compiled this list.  I was seriously underwhelmed.  I love Toni Morrison, but you need to be the right type of person in the right frame of mind to make it through ‘Beloved’.  It’s heavy.

To Olwen Wymark, – ‘A Thank You’

Why do I look at obituaries?  To admire people I will now never meet? To remind me to stop procrastinating?  To feel the glow of admiration at other people’s successes?

Occasionally, though, there is that stab of sadness when you turn the page and see someone who has helped you at a certain stage of your life.

In 1999, I was accepted on to a Masters in Creative Writing in Film and TV at Sheffield University.  So pregnant, I could hardly walk up the hill, I postponed my course for a year.  When  I resumed in 2000, I found the stars were coming out to teach us.  The late Jack Rosenthal was a tutor, likewise the master of TV adaptation, Andrew Davies.  Steve Attridge had written for children’s and adult TV.  The only woman and, perhaps, the least well-known, was Olwen, who died on Monday, aged 81.

Olwen was assigned as my tutor, and, as luck would have it, lived a mere thirty minute bus ride away.  I was juggling a job, a young baby and one of the best – and most expensive – opportunities to improve my writing I’d had.  She let me into her splendid haven up Parliament Hill and devoted time helping me, not only on my MA script, but with a radio script I was trying to write.  She kept urging me to watch the film ‘You Can Count On Me’, as she felt it would help me find ways to say the things I wanted to say.

With Olwen’s encouragement, I achieved a Distinction for my Masters.

I still haven’t seen the film.  Now, I must.