Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nicola's December Editorial...

This month’s issue is a celebratory one for 2 reasons. Not only is it exactly 7 years since RAW MEAT began life but this issue is the 75th. So I suppose it’s a sort of anniversary involving all the 7s; which is a magic number anyway, according to the Harry Potter books. It seems more amazing to me that it should be 7 years since I wrote the very first issue back in December 1999… I can’t really remember it in detail! I can’t even remember who was helping me on the computer - it must have been Andy!! It should be interesting to read the first 50 editorials once they are collected together for Bites… which should be ready for publication in about February. I’ve just been discussing with my Dad the idea for the cover design which should be another work of art!
If this December issue is going to be a celebration, then I suppose I’m missing out the most obvious birthday… that of JC, if I believed he was a real person!! I suppose much of Christmas has become a bit meaningless now… it’s all corrupted by money and consumerism. But still, there is something to be said for this time of year being special, almost magical; one of coloured lights reflecting on the snow, and jingling sleigh bells etc (you see, I’m not a total cynic after all!)
Jack wants a video camera for Christmas this year because he’s become obsessed by films and film making. He’s got ideas of becoming either a director or a script writer or something along those lines. He certainly has plenty of ideas anyway! Recently he was talking about making an animated film about a bunch of gerbils. I don’t know if he’s got anywhere with this idea yet. Talking of films, I wrote a letter a few weeks ago to Stephen Fry who I’ve been a great admirer of ever since seeing him in Wilde, the Brian Gilbert film. I think I mentioned in the last issue that I’d seen a photo of him in the entrance hall when I stayed at Meadow House; apparently he lives quite close… so I thought I’d drop him a line and share our enthusiasm for Mr Wilde! Don’t know if I’ll get any reply…
Jessica and I watched yet another one of our Beatles videos last week; it’s number 7 (another number 7!) in a series of 8, so we’re pretty near the end of the Beatles’ story. In this video it was 1967/68 and they’ve just opened the Apple Shop on Baker Street. They gave away free apples at the grand opening and painted the shop psychedelic colours, only the bloody council objected so they had to paint it white!! SIGH… some things never change. John has just met Yoko and the rest of the band are getting really pissed off with her always being around. I wonder how much she had to do with the Beatles’ decision to split up? It was in the air anyway… you can feel that each member of the band was pulling in their own direction so that the final split was inevitable really. Anyway, this video involved The Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, two of my favourites.

I had the weirdest feeling of déjà vu when I heard about the film of Magical Mystery Tour cause it was shown on black and white television – even though the main point of the film was its colourful psychedelic backgrounds and suchlike. I think I remember watching it on telly and feeling incredibly disappointed at what a boring film it was! Is this possible? I must have only been about four! I have another memory of The Magical Mystery Tour, which is a real one from times gone by. I once had a special book with stills from the film and the story which also included a single record with I Am The Walrus on it. I don’t know what became of this – I wish I’d kept it!
Another memory I have is of watching the moon landing at junior school. I don’t know if this is actually possible… Andy thinks I must be thinking of a different space program from the early 70s. But anyway, such details are irrelevant… for the thing that sticks in my memory is not the program itself but the actual telly the whole class watched it on, which was a brand new acquisition. Probably because I was a kid at the time, the TV assumes massive proportions in my memory. It was on huge stilts, which were then on wheels. There were doors across the screen which were made of rosewood or something with a beautiful smell… it’s very strange how smells always evoke memories more strongly than any other sense.
Going back to the subject of the psychedelic, I will share with you part of the dream I had last night!! It was especially significant for me because in my dream I was looking at some photos and the strength of the images outdid those seen by my eyes – that sense which is now lost, or pretty much so. I’m not sure that this makes much sense at all… but the thing was that the photos were of Australia, somewhere I’ve never been! My Aunt in Perth has described to me the white sandy beaches and all the amazing animals and birds there… this must have spurred on my dream. In it, the photo I was looking at came alive and the scarlet flamingos rose up out of the sea and flew away. It was a really psychedelic dream.
1890s COLOUR
I recently came across a dilemma when I was writing a bit of The Space Between… it was a bit involving Charles, the character based on Ricketts, the artist/ illustrator/ designer. It suddenly occurred to me that most of his illustrations I’ve seen have been in black and white. Does this mean that he never used colour, or are they just a black and white reproduction in my book? The thing is that Ricketts designed his own stuff and then got his designs printed, so he obviously would have had to keep an eye on the budget. Not like William Morris who could afford to get his fabrics printed in bright colours. I say this with confidence but I may be talking through my bottom… please do get in touch with me and correct me if I’m wrong. Don’t worry about doing this, I won’t be bitey! I’ve spent so long dithering about what to do; I’d welcome some advice. Apart from this, the novel is going really well. This next chapter will include the piece Arrested which you may remember from almost a year ago! Well, it’s finally found it’s place, though it will need a few additions.
As far as reading goes, Ruth and I are continuing with our crazy novel, My Dirty Little Book Of Stolen Time. Each chapter is incredibly long – about 100 pages – so we’re only on chapter 3. The main character, Charlotte, who is a nineteenth century prostitute from Copenhagen, travels forward in time to modern day London, where she meets and falls in love with some chap and takes him back to her own time. The book is quite wonderful; some of the ideas border on being slightly sentimental but are saved by their total craziness! It’s really exciting to read because virtually anything could happen…
Both Andy and I must have been feeling lucky yesterday because we both won prizes!! We went to a North west Ataxia Group (NAG) meeting in Liverpool, and I actually won the top prize on the raffle – amazing because I usually don’t win anything! My prize was a Famous Five style picnic hamper, complete with Christmas goodies like wine, Christmas pudding, cranberry sauce etc. Jack was especially made up with the luxury mince pies! Then when we arrived home, Andy discovered he’d won £10 on the lottery!! So we had a pretty good day, all in all!
However my luck wasn’t in when it came to getting some tickets to see a reunion of Genesis at Old Trafford Football Stadium. I was pretty excited when my mum told me about the concert – even though Peter Gabriel would not be with them, despite being in the original line up. Even so, I thought the concert would be well worth seeing… but then we discovered how much the tickets were going to cost: £125!!!! After I’d picked myself up off the floor, I started to rant (as did my mum)… “How can Phil Collins etc possibly justify charging such a price?? It’s not as if they need the money… who’s getting all that dosh anyway?” Needless to say, we didn’t take the matter any further, and are not going to the concert. I wonder if anyone will? One positive thing: I really admire Mr Gabriel now having nothing to do with the tour.
Thinking about plans for next year… as well as the appearance of Bites in February, I was thinking of publishing another of my novels. It won’t be The Turn of the Century Party as hoped, because this needs some more work on it which can’t be done at the moment because I’m so obsessed with The Space Between! So… perhaps Killing Time could be the next?! I haven’t discussed this yet with Andy, so I won’t say anymore about it! We’ll see what the new year brings.
We have realised that it's going to be difficult for existing readers to remember when to check this site, (writes Andy). So we have installed a mailing list form, for you to complete if you wish to recieve an e-mail each month, to let you know when we've updated the Newsletter.



URBAN SCRAWL !! (Rhymes with pub crawl)
Welcome to Andy's Column…
Welcome to RM#75. This is a special issue for us as it is a turning point in the way we do things at Rawprintz. We have been producing Raw Meat since 1999 as a paper Newsletter and since September 2006 we have also made it available as an Online Journal. This turning point issue will be the last
printed Raw Meat available.
Inevitably some people are going to be upset when they find they can no longer receive Nic’s Newsletter in the post. To those people I/we apologise. Other people have expressed fears that they won’t be able to read Raw Meat Online, they think we’re going to make it complicated for them by putting password controls and pdf style readers in place. To them I say, please take a look at the Online version and see how easy it is to read.
We have waited until nearly all of our current subscriptions have run out before taking this Internet step. We are of course aware of the few that don’t expire quite yet and we will be writing to them separately. With the Online Raw Meat there will be no subscription charge as we would like Nic’s Newsletter to reach a wider audience. However, we would like you to subscribe to our mailing list. It is completely free and will only take a minute or so of your time. (You can fill in the form in the sidebar at the top right hand of this page.) By doing so it will ensure that you recieve your copy of Raw Meat every month. It will also allow Nicola to know who her readers are. Thank you for your patience in this turning point time.
I have been monitoring the progress of the last three issues that have been uploaded to the internet and although the numbers of readers aren’t as high as I might have liked (yet!) I am pleased to report that we have picked up a number of readers in the United States, in fact around 20% of all of the hits come from the USA. Also, we have readers in Spain, France, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, Australia and Argentina. And that’s without mentioning our wonderful readership closer to home in England, Scotland, Wales, Eire and Northern Ireland.
What if I’ve not got a computer? Asks one of our readers in London.
Andy’s answer: Because you live in London there are many Libraries and Internet cafes where you can access Raw Meat Online.
What if I can’t access your Rawprintz site?
Andy's answer:Finding Raw Meat on the web is really easy, you just have to type in
rawprintz.blogspot.com If you still can’t find us try Nicola Batty’s website at: www.nicolabatty.co.uk and you can clink the link marked Raw Meat. Failing that simply send an e-mail to Nic at : nicbat3963@aol.com and she will send you a clink the link e-mail!
By the way, who was it that said, Andy's got an answer for everything and a solution for nothing!


Finally, you can read my really bad poetry blog at McFcuk.blogspot.com

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jack's Page RM#75

(we are now at Jamall’s brother’s house)

enter- Jamall and Jamall’s brother.

Jamall- I found this recording. Its really weird. You see this guy we know to be dead on it.
You see the same guy in this picture as well.

(he holds out the picture and the video camera.)

Jamall’s brother- well I can take a look at it and tell you if its fake or not.

Jamall- how.

Jamall’s bro- I can check the frequency of the sound.

Jamall- OK.

(we go back to Lunchbox and Rachel. They continue searching for a while and then stumble across the piece of paper.)

Rachel- shit. Its not Tony. we need to tell Jamall.

Lunchbox- why?

Rachel- because whatever it really is could be after Jamall next.

Lunchbox- alright.

(we go back to Jamall and his bro. They hear a noise in the corridor.)

Jamall’s bro- what was that?

Jamall- don’t know. You got a base-ball bat or somthin’?

Jamall’s bro- nah. But I got a hockey stick.

Jamall- that’ll do.

(he picks it up and walks out into the dark corridor with it. He looks around and sees something in the darkness. It looks at him with its bloody face. He can’t see it properly but works it out. it is a ski mask.)

Revenge- Growl!

(It runs at him. He swings at it with the hockey stick but it ducks and throws him into the room.)

Jamall’s bro- f***! Are you alright?

Jamall- look out.

Jamall’s bro- what?

(he looks behind him and gets smashed in the face with the hockey stick. He raises the hockey stick as if to kill Jamall too, but we hear the front door open downstairs and he flees. We see lunchbox and Rachel run up the stairs. Rachel screams when she sees Jamall’s brother. Lunchbox runs up to them.)

lunchbox- shit, he’s dead. Jamall, Jamall. Are you alright man?

Jamall- where’s my brother? Where is he?

Lunchbox- erm. Jamall. He’s, well.

(Jamall turns and sees his dead brother.)

Jamall- no! no!

Lunchbox- I’m sorry man.

Jamall- you don’t have to be sorry man. but I’ll tell you who is gonna be sorry. That mother f***** who killed my bro.

Lunchbox- don’t do anything rash man.

Jamall- I’m not I’m just gonna kill that sick f*** Tony.

Rachel- yeah, about that. We found out it’s not Tony.

(she hands him the piece of paper)

Ends in RM#76

Sunday, December 03, 2006


RAW MATERIALS. Copyright Nicola Batty (c) 2006
I’m still pretty much obsessed by The Space Between, continuing quite happily, beavering away! instantly I thought that perhaps I should start referring to the novel as To Be Suggestive… but Andy says I should leave it as it is, because it’s a work in progress novel and the title may well be changed again. So in this case, I’m going to do what he says…! The idea of To Be Suggestive as a complete novel is now one which I’m quite settled with though. It all hangs together being all set in or around London, linked directly or indirectly with Wilde. I’m pretty sure that in this way I can see that the next book will be located in France… maybe just Paris, I’m not quite sure. Then the third book will probably take place somewhere in America… I’m not sure exactly where yet. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself… I’ll stick to this first novel for now.

The idea for the piece I’ve just been writing came to me quite suddenly… in fact I can’t really remember where it came from! But I felt it was time for a change – I’d had enough of Harriet and Emma and thought Robbie should come in a bit more. I also wanted to introduce a completely new character – Constance Wilde. I always felt a little sorry for Constance and her kids, because they were inevitably overshadowed by Oscar and his cavorting… it seems so unfair. Particularly when you realise how devoted Oscar was to his family – and yet they suffered almost as much as he did. The whole story is totally tragic, so I wanted to give Constance a look in without Oscar… and Robbie also had to be there, because they were such good friends in reality. Then tying in the silk purse episode and also Harriet and Emma came easily; it was also exciting to confront historical characters (Robbie and Constance) with my own fictional ones… even though I had a little trouble remembering exactly what I had written in Killing Time 15 years ago!!

However, I found it so much easier to write about Constance and Robbie rather than Harriet and her lot. I’m not quite sure if this is because Harriet’s world is something I know next to nothing about so it inevitably involves lots of research. One piece of advice I was given by another writer of historical novels was to stick to what I know – which I thought was absolute rubbish!! If I did that then what would be the point in imagination? That would also really limit me to simply churning out autobiography – perish the thought. But anyway, I’m inevitably much more confident when writing about Wilde or his circle which includes Robbie of course. I adore Robbie almost as much as I respect Oscar and I wanted to bring him into my novel to give him his due.

I wasn’t sure about setting this piece in Cambridge instead of London – I hope it doesn’t stick out from the other bits like a sore thumb! Please tell me if you think it does! Obviously I used my memories of punting along the river Cam a few summers ago to back up my fiction… I can still feel the really hot sunshine on the back of my neck, even to this day.

December Postings...

Copyright Nicola Batty © 2006
PLEASE NOTE: The Space Between is a-work-in-progress-novel.
Ross nodded slowly, still watching the rippling waters catch the light as they were disturbed by a passing punt which was being pushed along by a brawny, red haired student with his shirt sleeves rolled up and his large bare feet.
“I know exactly what you mean… I too dislike Bosie. I wish Oscar would see sense!”
“Oh yes… but I think it’s too late for that now. We never see him anymore, Robbie. The boys are always asking: Where’s Papa? Will he come home tonight? And what am I supposed to say? I can’t keep on lying to them… they deserve better than that.” She broke off and bit her lip. “They want their old Papa back to play soldiers with, and make fairy tale castles in the sand. It’s so unfair for them! How can he do this to his own sons, especially to Cyril… he used to stand there in Cyril’s nursery and just watch him sleeping. He said the child sleeping was too perfect to last and the situation must be disturbed at some time. Well, Cyril has grown older but Oscar’s love for him is still there, I think.” She fell silent as she watched the eldest of her two boys. He was paddling in the river, his breeches rolled up to his knees and his shoes in his hands. The sunshine caused his head of curls to gleam with an almost white light, so that for a moment he resembled something angelic. Constance turned to Ross, sighing. “But still… I wish I could be sure. I don’t feel sure of anything anymore, Robbie.”
He could think of nothing to say, so he simply shrugged and moved along the river bank towards her, searching in the pocket of his jacket as he did so.
“You should not think about these bad things for too long, Constance… you know there is really nothing that can be done, I’m afraid. So let’s change the subject completely. You should take this gift… where is it? Ah!” He drew the ivory silk purse from his pocket and handed it to her. “It was intended to be a birthday present, but it is a little late I’m afraid. Happy birthday anyway!”
Constance took the small object and turned it over in her hand, examining the embroidered black rose carefully. She looked up slowly, drawing in her breath and smiling.
“It’s lovely Robbie, thank you. It doesn’t matter a bit that it’s late.” Ross gave a little laugh.
“I had to wait for it to be completed. It was made by a friend of mine, you see, or rather the friend of a friend. He paused, wondering why he felt such an urgency to tell Constance this. He couldn’t explain it to himself for a moment, so he went on regardless. “Oscar may have mentioned this friend… Harriet is her name. We both met her some years ago in Whitechapel, and I met her once again by chance a few weeks ago.”
Frowning slightly, Constance shook her head.
“Oscar has never mentioned Harriet… how did you meet her?”
“Ohhh… it was just a chance meeting, nothing more,” he explained quickly, not wishing to elaborate upon the subject of Harriet. For her profession had been clear to him even then, and he didn’t wish to elaborate upon such a thing to Constance. “I must say that I was surprised, but she recognised me at once,” he continued with a shrug of his shoulders, “I didn’t think that I had such a memorable face! Of course she would remember Oscar… but he’s different, isn’t he?”


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