Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Martin Rowson - Comic Genius

Check out the following site for a hilarious look at Martin Rowson's comic genius:

Copy and paste the above into your search-engine.

Some cartoons may cause offence!

Monday, 6 July 2009

OK, here are all the installments of our story plus the latest addition!

1. Once upon a time there was a midshipman known by the name of Lancelot "Lucky" Liddleton who resided in Liverpool when he was not on his travels. The astute reader will have more than gathered by now that the letter L is significant to Lance (as his better half Mrs Lydia Liddleton liked to refer to him) and that contrary to his middle moniker, life presented numerous problems whose origins appeared to stem from the twelfth letter in the alphabet...

2. Little did "Lucky" Lance Liddleton know, that his lack of luck came largely from his licentious lust of all things lady-like. Poor Lydia Liddleton, who so dearly loved Lance, that when he left Liverpool on his longboat "The Leviathan", she would languidly lie in loneliness laughing lamely at his leaving. But, our lying Lothario Lance, was sacked from the longboat for being lazy, and spent his time in Leicester looking for loose ladies, the loser. Whilst in Leicester late one July, Lucky Lance found himself facing legal action linking him to libelous loquacity. Our lowly, unlikeable Lance wondered what it was he had let slip...

3. Had he lied to a Lord? Leered at a Lady? He lurched back to his lodgings, lolled through he door, and lo! Lying in the lobby was a letter, light but lethal. The libel-claiming loon was about to let on! Was it a litigious lord? A la-di-da lady? Little by little he leaned and he looked and he learned…

Many moons, moaned M,
Have I mooched below L,
Whereas I am, in point of fact, master!
Why all things malevolent
March forth with M,
I am monstrous, and madden much faster!

Why else maggots and malice,
Manure, mould and mumps,
Why else mad cows, mosquitoes and mud?
Too long you’ve allowed
Lance by ‘L’ to be cowed
When in fact, as a letter, he’s dud!

So make up your mind –
Who will be your main man?
Move maturely, be manful, pick well.
But a word in your ear
(though the matter is clear)
Only manifest madmen choose L!

A massive, maroon M concluded the missive, and Lance was much moved. This was the mysterious mugger of his peace of mind! He was motionless on the mat. What should he do? Avoid melons and motorcars and men for the rest of his miserable life? Or Lydia, ladies and lunch? He was still lying lethargically and moaning morosely when suddenly -

4. Well, the question;
how to continue....
..stretched Lance's every sinew
What could he say..
..could he there stay?

So Leicester was to be replaced
for he thought an island was the place
to recover his guile
in a far and lonely isle!

The internet was checked
and his suitcase bedecked
with things for hot sunny days
A ticket was booked
and his passage looked
assured, far, and away

So he got to the airport
without any more thought
He searched for his flight
and all went to delight
Check-in was done
Baggage under a tonne
Seat belt strapped in
Just about to begin.......when,
there on the flight! A fright!.....

5. But enough about Lance for the moment - wouldn't you like to know more about Mrs Lydia Liddleton? Fed-up to the eye-teeth with her husband's disregard for her feelings, she was discovering her love for husband "Lucky" Lance Liddleton was on the wane. No more did she wish to succumb to lying languidly in ‘loneliness laughing lamely at his leaving’! Not for her any longer the inertia of sorrow as her husband cavorted round the globe on the bosom of a loose lady.
Ire fermenting in her head, Lydia is oblivious to the streets of Leicester as she storms down the avenue of broken dreams, but with a sudden, some would say inevitable, bump, she finds herself flat on her pert posterior, skirts bunched in her lap, as in front of her the magnificent Malcolm Muniche proffers his hand…

6. All that she could learn of him at first sight, through her tear-induced lippitude, was a marvellously moliminous moustache, bristling endearingly through her miasma of grief. Mrs Lydia Liddleton lowered her eyes, and accepted the hand, a hand that was moist and meaty, her own hand lithe and slender held lightly in his grasp. Finally, the meaningful meeting of eyes, lasting lingeringly before Lydia turned away for a second time.

7. She had known that the Abecedarian-Zealots would send such mystagogue into the midst of her lonely, lexiphanic life, and came quietly. But that in her head, silently cursed her luckless matrimony “What has that ludicrously logoleptic, labrose, liliputimous, Lancelot Liddleton said now?!”

Later that evening, she was lead, a little more languorously but still cursing her idiot-husband, into the Grand Chamber of the awful A-Z zealots...

What could they want from Her??

8. Passion propelled her past the onerous O into a place of plenty,plumetting past pride into p...p...p..p, no my lady, not prostitution, but positions portrayed in more purple prose than this story permits. So we'll pause a while to leave the good lady to enjoy her passionate embraces in privacy.

9. Peace,save perhaps for the prophecy of the patter of tiny pedated protruberances sired by Malcolm Muniche. Oh Malcolm, is paternity what you had in mind?

10. We have lingered on Lydia long and left Lucky Lance. Does the reader recall his attempted flight from M, motherland and his much-martyred marital mate? Does the reader recall the fright awaiting him on his flight? Well…
Lance was a seaman, and as such used to more basic onboard facilities. He’d never been on a state-of-the-art Getaway Airlines flight, and didn’t realise that, along with free cashews, undersized beverages and hot towels, Getaway Airlines provided top speed in-flight broadband. Lance was tickled pink and flicked on the screen with great gusto – but oh! The person before him – an individual of quite unparalleled taste and intelligence – had been reading the Ways With Words Interns’ blog!
Lance glanced, then gazed, then gaped. Oh, Lydia, Lydia! Lance lowered his eyes in shame. He was leaving the loveliest lady in Liverpool – and leaving her, moreover, to the malicious, malodorous Malcolm Muniche!
He jumped up, scattering complementary nuts and miniature bottles of tonic water. He charged down the aisles – not even hesitating for his hand luggage – and out the terminal doors into the drizzling afternoon. But to him it seemed like the sweetest sunshine, blessed and beautiful, for in it dwelt his lady love!
He pounded the pavements, heart pumping, praying that his perfect partner would be where he left her (if you remember - lying languidly in loneliness laughing lamely at his leaving…). Once more he lurched back to his lodgings, lolled through the door, and lo!

WINNER of the Prize Draw!

All of the interns at Ways With Words are pleased to announce that the winner of a pair of Great Hall Day Tickets for Sunday 12th July is our Follower Anna Lewis!!

This prize entitles you, Anna, to two tickets which cover events #18-#23 inclusive.

This fantastic prize, worth over £70, is a wonderful opportunity for you to see and hear Michael Buerk, Christopher Potter, and Susie Boyt (amongst others) in action!

To organise collection please get in contact with Natalie at

Again, congratulations!

Thursday, 2 July 2009



This novel develops in strength as you become embroiled in the character of the main protagonist. The amount of research that Jane Borodale has done is vital to the plot of the novel and increasingly becomes apparent as the heroine's education in pyrotechny advances.
the present tense internal monologue of the heroine is difficult to navigate and it is not until the character develops further that one is pulled into the narrative. Yet it is well-worth your patience and the twists the plot takes are not as straight-forward as you may suppose. Though I was slightly confused by the timeline of the heroine's pregnancy, I geniunely wanted her to succeed. I found myself avidly reading the final chapters, delighting in the outcome of this strong, resourceful, and intelligent female.

Natalie Intern x



Spanning over forty years, Sarah Hall’s novel is a haunting puzzle that invites you to piece together the tangled lives’ of her four protagonists. Delving into art, humanity, loss, love and desire, Hall plays on the narrative style, illuminating each character’s life either through the medium of monologue, second person or third person, while also allowing a sense of omniscience to prevail.

The astute reader will swiftly perceive the connections as each “voice” reveals more and more, yet Hall will neither confirm nor deny your suspicions, especially towards the end, and one is left wanting confirmation, along with a sense of shock, even though redemption appears to be on the horizon.

Natalie Intern x

Wednesday, 1 July 2009



As a child of 1984 I cannot remember anything of the 1984 Miner's Strike but its legacy is something I have grown up with. The homeland I have lived my 25 years in has been largely bereft of the huge industries that dominated 20th century Britain. It is undeniable that the face of British industry has changed dramatically since the 1970/80's and now we are a country where services industries reign. The catalyst for this change appears to have been the Miner's Strike, a blow from which the trade union movement would never recover.

It's seems correct therefore, for Beckett and Hencke to approach their history of the 1984 strike with a nod to it's impact. Quite rightly though, they save this for the conclusion (bar a few hints) and they focus on narrating the strike. This was the main hook for me, learning about how and why the action progressed. How, whilst I was being born, men, women and children were practically starving in Great Britain (the same year as Band Aid).

Beckett and Hencke's research appears extensive and it seems they spoke to most of the major players in the saga as well as viewing government papers released under the Freedom of Information Act. However, the two major characters - or should I say caricatures - both declined to contribute their voice. This may have been an error - particularly on Scargill's part - as, while they both come across as determined, stubborn and seeking all out victory, it is Scargill who by not compromising essentially sped up the subsequent scheme of mine closures.

Whilst the narrative is intriguing and enlightening, it is in the conclusion where Beckett and Hencke get their message across best. During the narrative I was feeling seeing the stupidity of Scargill and the genius of the government, winning a battle that essentially irradicated the stress and strain nationalised industries and trade unions had brought to Britain over the previous generation, allowing Britain economy to move forward. But after the conclusion, in which Beckett and Hencke present the downsides to Thatcher's steadfastness, I was left lamenting a lost Britain. Where then; Mining communities were tight-knit and self-regulating; they are now desolated and drug addled. Where then, most of Britain's coal was domestically produced, providing jobs for Britons; now we still rely on coal to power our power stations but it is mostly imported.

This book is therefore a place for the uninitiated, like me, to learn about the ‘Civil War’ as they call it, that ended the way industry operated in Britain. But also it is a book for those who, despite knowing about the strike, want to know more.

by Charlie Intern x

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Inside View

It's really hotting up here in the Ways With Words office, with the sun returned and the festival only sixteen days away. I am the latest addition to the intern family, and as a keen attendee of WWW have been having great fun experiencing it all from the inside. I get positively star-struck when I pick up the phone and find an author on the other end, and am holding out for Andrew Motion.

Tickets are still selling nicely, and I often find myself advising people on the standby queue for sold-out events. (Let's see if we can get the line past the Barn this year!) Nonetheless, I have been thrilled at how nice all the festival-goers have been, even when disappointed - you are not preparing me for the cruel world of business at all!

With regard to the festival double acts, I am sure Harvey & Hart are a successful duo of stand-up comedians, or possibly children's television presenters.

Ahh, how many kisses to sign off with? The norm so far has been anything between one and three...

Francesca Intern

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Dear Reader,

Please note our special offer that automatically enters any Follower of INTERNal Thoughts into a prize draw.

The prize draw will take place on Monday 6th July and will entitle one Follower to a pair of Great Hall day tickets for Sunday 12th July, allowing them entry into events #18-#23 inclusive.

This fantastic prize, worth over £70, is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear Michael Buerk, Christopher Potter, and Susie Boyt (amongst others) in action!

To be in with a chance of winning, sign up as a Follower and participate in our blog. Why not add a paragraph to our running short story which will be performed at Ways With Words on Saturday 18th July by roving performers from the Voice Cafe.

Good Luck!

All the best from the team at Ways With Words

Don't forget, you can download the full festival programme at or ring the Box Office on 01803 867373 to request a free copy.

2for1 OFFERS

Sitting here in the office, while outside the wind harasses the trees and the clouds rush over our den of efficiency, I thought I'd take the time to explain our special offers in more detail. 2 for 1 is obviously self-explanatory, but the variety of events that are on offer deserve an introduction.

On our opening night, Friday 10th July, there is the opportunity for yourself and a friend to come along and enjoy the 'comedy-infused, musically-enhanced, interactive poetry' of the Wondermentalist Cabaret. Hosted by Radio 4 Saturday Live's Matt Harvey, it features Jerri Hart, Liv Torc, and Nomad Shuffle, along with an array of other Ways With Words festival writers.

For poet enthusiasts there is also the opportunity to join us the following morning as Terry Gifford recounts his survey on the life and work of Ted Hughes. Gifford will not just be examining the poet's reputation as a major literary figure, but also his role as a serious environmentalist, appealing to those of you that are interested in ecological issues.

For all you budding writers out there I definitely recommend Jane Borodale and Sarah Hall, newly accomplished authors themselves, who will be discussing the genesis of their fiction on Sunday 12th July. Borodale, writer and artist, will be focusing on her first novel, ‘The Book of Fires’, while Sarah Hall will be recounting the influences for her fourth novel, ‘How to Paint a Dead Man’.

The Desmond Elliott Prize for New Writers also holds an explanatory title, but it prompts me to stress the importance this event has to any budding writer. On Wednesday 15th a member of this year’s judging panel will be discussing emerging fiction, of which YOU may be a part in the near future, as well as exploring the actual dynamics behind a literary award worth £10,000 that ‘enriches the careers of new fiction writers’.

Later in the evening there is Shakespeare on Toast for those interested in a revelational snack. Ben Crystal will ‘sweep the cobwebs from the bard, bring colour to the words and reveal how exciting, relevant and thrilling the writings can be for a modern audience’ – essential for all you students of English Literature.

Thursday 16th sees Rob Perks and Jamie Andrews from the British Library, along with the author Graham Swift, reflect on 120 years of writers’ lives, illustrated by the British Library’s rich collection of writers’ personal papers, sound recordings and in-depth oral history interviews with living authors – of which Graham Swift is himself a part.

Last, but by no means least, there is the chance to observe the award-winning political cartoonist Martin Rowson give an illustrated account of how he works in ‘Doing Damage from a Distance’. Containing strong language, this will appeal to all those with an inner political activist waiting to break out!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Another day in the office...

With the blog running for well over a week now I thought perhaps I should take a turn at posting. Last week we were all making the most of Kay and Stephen's garden by basking in glorious sunshine. Today we were huddled around the fire trying to keep warm. Tomorrow I’m going to be traveling around Devon bringing our Ways With Words brochures to a bookshop near you! (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for dry weather).

The mayhem of the first two weeks seems a bit of a distant memory. The office feels very tranquil in comparison. We seem to be taking more tea and coffee breaks, and biscuits are leading the agenda. The addition of a pre-coffee-break coffee has also proven very popular.

The ticket sale count shows that we’re doing well with the sales, which is great news! And I’ve finally begun to read the book that I’ll be reviewing for you; Ben Crystal’s Shakespeare on Toast. It’s entertaining, light-hearted and interesting. There’s something to be said for being able to read a book about Shakespeare when you first wake up in the morning! It seems like a popular choice. A queue of people wanting to read it is forming behind me as I type.

I’ll be back with more soon, but right now it’s home time!

Bryony Intern xxx

Friday, 5 June 2009

Dartington Hall

I am new to the area, and so I’ve been taking advantage of the (surprising) weather to do some exploring. Obviously my first trip had to be Dartington Hall itself (well, by way of the sweet shack at the Cider Press Centre…). My sister and I wound our way up the hill, past the picturesque church filled with wildflowers, and some local cricketers resplendent in their whites against the green. We entered the grounds through the gardens, stopping off at Dorothy Elmhirst’s folly to admire the view (and have some sweets), and then made our way to the sunken garden. It really is a breathtaking sight, standing at the top – it’s a long way down to the lawns and flowerbeds. The Medieval Hall is simple but very atmospheric – you can almost imagine King Arthur holding court within the whitewashed walls and high ceiling. Now that would be surprising – but all our various writers will be just as amazing!
Rachel Intern xx

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sunny Lunch Times...

While the weather continues to be so fantastic we have all been making the most of it and having lunch outside. In our own private garden boudoir, we have a chance to relax while our skin soaks up the sun rays and nature joins in the festivities of our lunch. Relaxing on the grass, it also gives us an opportunity to delve into the books of our choice - mine transporting me to the 17th century of yesteryear as 'Agnes Trussel' journeys from rural Surrey to London. Don't worry though all you WWW festival goers, we have the phone handy and each take turns to answer your calls between munching our curds and whey.

Today I had to rescue Jimmy Cricket from a thirst-quenching glass of water! He jumped right into the glass and needed a little help to get out. We also have a regular visitor, Henry, the neighbour's dog, who weaves his way around us, nosing for tidbits and affection (he particularly likes Charlie's selection of sandwiches). One important aspect to look out for, however, is where one chooses to sit - yesterday I had the misfortune to sit in something that left a remarkable green pattern on my shorts, which unfortunately I did not notice until I was long gone from the office!

The bad news is this glorious English weather is not due to last to the weekend, yet I'm sure it will return in time for the Ways With Words festival!

Natalie Intern x

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Phones and Double Trouble

Here at Ways With Words over the last three weeks the phones have been ringing heavily. The lines opened for ticket bookings the day after we four interns started and they have only just quietened down this week.

Answering the phone has mostly been fun. A few disgruntled people who couldn’t get the tickets they wanted aside, most people have been happy and looking forward to the festival and been keen to indulge in a bit of banter that makes life all the more interesting.

One of my favourite points of banterage has been discussing the double acts at the festival. We have quite a few coming this year, particularly on Monday 13th July, and I’ve been fielding suggestions about what these people could do, together, if they wanted a career change.

I was put onto this by a frivolous conversation with a caller about how Lovelock & Gribbin (James Lovelock and John Gribbin) sound like a couple of Private Detectives from a 1930’s Hollywood film. So that got me thinking and then asking customers. Subsequently, I firmly believe Francis Beckett & David Hencke should setup an Accountancy firm, while Beckett & Hattersley are probably your local Solicitors.

Furthermore, Jane Borodale & Sarah Hall could quite easily lend their surnames to a demolition firm based near Sheffield, while I swear I have seen the names Perks, Andrews and Swift on an Estate Agents board out side someone’s house.

There are some double acts that we have not yet been able to place in new lines of employment however; Chisholm & Partridge, Harvey & Hart and the rather long but good sounding – Glendinning, Holroyd, Lively and O’Reilly. The latter one at least deserves a good suggestion, so I call on you readers to give us your suggestions.

Oh and one more thing. I’d like to congratulate everyone who has purchased Horatio Clare tickets. You boosted my chances of winning the office sweepstake no end. However, that spoilsport Ashdown went and sold out first, thus I am not £9 better off!

Charlie Intern xx

Monday, 1 June 2009


Hello all readers and welcome to the beginning of our blog.

We, by way of introduction, are four interns working at Ways With Words for the 2009 Dartington festival. The four of us; Natalie, Rachel, Bryony and Charlie, will contribute to this blog, letting you know what’s happening in the Ways With Words office and looking ahead to the festival.

Also each of us will be reviewing a book in the run up to the festival. We will be choosing books by people speaking at the festival and will relay our verdicts here.
Watch out as well for a short story we will start which you can all add to.

So, I hope you are going to follow us towards and during Ways With Words 2009.

The Interns xx