Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Proud Lion Recommends The Redundancy Of Flightless Birds

The easiest thing to do in life is sit on your arse, bitching and moaning about everything around you while contributing very little.

Don't getting me wrong, I get why we all do it. Apathy requires no risk on our part.

It does mean that when someone does something different, something off their own back, I tend to take notice. Start your own webcomic, produce a graphic novel, start a club night, open a comic shop...

See that's why I love it when people take the initiative. At the end of 2007 that's exactly what I did, leaving behind the cosy reliability of a regular pay cheque to open Proud Lion in Cheltenham. It's a terrifying prospect, going it alone, but it can be really fulfilling.

Over the past few years, I've met many talented and aspirational people. Bex and El at Stuffed Nonsense are one example and in the next few weeks, I'd like to talk about some others, starting with Martin S. Smith.

Martin is a local writer and the voice behind the entertainment media review blog, The Taste Of Rising Bile. He has also contributed to the Eighties animation magazine cereal:geek, which is on sale in the Proud Lion shop. I'll hopefully be catching up with James from cereal:geek in the next few weeks.

Martin's latest project is The Redundancy Of Flightless Birds, an anthology of short fiction that he has edited and contributed to.

The other authors are Lizzie Rogers, Max Sandall, Nina Allen, Natalie Allen, Olivia Plowman and Anton M Nelson. All of them are graduates of the University of Gloucestershire’s Creative Writing degree, a course I have a lot of respect for.

I recently spoke to Martin about his first foray into publishing.

Prowling The Savannah: Martin, can you tell us a little about the inception of The Redundancy Of Flightless Birds?

Martin S Smith: When I graduated Uni last summer the economy was royally screwed, the graduate job market pretty abysmal and most print media was slashing its staff numbers. So rather than try and get a job in the industry as I'd originally planned I figured I had two options; stay on and do a Masters degree or try and publish something myself.

I chose the latter (obviously) and the end result is The Redundancy of Flightless Birds, a short story anthology that brings together pieces from a number of different authors that cross genres, styles, formats and tones.

So does the book have a common motif? I'm assuming the stories within aren't about grounded avians?

I was keen to not restrict anyone's creativity, so didn't impose a theme on the pieces, just let everyone submit what they felt was their best work.

I took the easy option when looking for writers and just got in touch with a load of fellow Creative Writing graduates from the University of Gloucestershire and got material from about half of those I contacted.

This resulted in a rather eclectic anthology, which juxtaposes modern horror with deeper, emotional stories and poetry with comedy correspondence.

Thanks Martin.

There is launch event for The Redundancy Of Flightless Birds on Tuesday 11th May at The Frog & Fiddle. The evening runs from 8-10pm and will be held in the back bar.

Extracts from the book will be read during the night and of course copies of the book will be available to buy. There will also be a charity raffle with various prizes including comic packs form Proud Lion.

If you can't make it to the launch, there are a couple of copies on sale at Proud Lion or you can buy it directly from Lulu.

Ben Fardon is the owner, proprietor, manager and filing clerk for Proud Lion. Bascially, Ben is Proud Lion is Ben. He often uses the personal pronoun 'we', in an attempt to not feel like a man alone. In that context 'we' refers to Ben, the bricks and mortar, the stock and the branding that comprises Proud Lion. It also makes him sound kind of crazy. 'We' are OK with that.

Ben has been reading comics since he was five years old and his Dad bought him a Transformers comic at the local newsagent. In the same comic were reprints of Iron Man in the red and silver armour. To this day, Tony Stark is his favourite superhero.

He likes eating, swimming and science fiction Tv series. He recently became addicted to The West Wing.

One day, he'll finish a script for something.

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