Monday, 28 June 2010

Happiness is a chocolate covered waffle cone

So my friend said, seconds before she dropped said cone with a wet thud onto the concrete of the ice cream parlour terrace in Cardiff this weekend.

No such misfortunes for us today, with several things to be happy and excited about this Monday morning. The festival has been drawing closer for a while now, but now it has dawned on us that it starts next week! Kate and Flo are having a nice afternoon out in Totnes creating window displays with show cards for all the speakers. Jo has been awarding bursaries and has almost got that finished. Kate's stewarding schedule seems to have ironed itself out and everything feels like it's coming together. And, say it quietly, *the sun is still here*.

If you're a fan of us on Facebook, you may well have seen the event listing for Off The Page.
Off The Page is a quirky and relaxed live literature event for anyone who wants to share their creativity. It can be poetry, a play, monologue, short story, a song, many lines or one line, short or long...anything goes - it doesn't matter if you've been writing for a long time, or consider yourself a casual scribbler.

Come along on Sunday 18th July at 6.30pm to the Upper Gatehouse room to have a few drinks and share your work - or listen to others'. Please submit your ideas and entries to by 9th July. Soundart Radio online will be covering the event as well.

Everything is economics

Tim Harford, economist, Financial Times columnist and author of Dear Undercover Economist is once again sharing his analytical, logical wisdom and sets out to explain why seemingly irrational and chaotic decisions and patterns of behaviour actually do adhere to reasoned, logical economics.

Appearing at the festival on Sunday 11th July, he'll be applying his reasoning to those trivial matters of love and happiness, explaining why economic theory might hold the key to explaining these rocky roads. Given that although comforting, a tub of Ben & Jerry's provides nothing but extra inches, I'd say this talk is definitely worth a listen.

For tickets, call the box office on 01803 867 373 or check out Tim's website for more info.

Monday, 21 June 2010


As I sit at my desk I can hear, from many corners of the country, whoops of delight and chattered excitement at the prospect of an alternative sporting event. The strawberries are red and plump, Pimms is sparkling, the lawns of SW19 are gleaming, fresh and green and young Laura Robson is playing on Centre Court. Hurray for Wimbledon!

This year Ways with Words has an especial interest in the event. Matt Harvey is the first Wimbledon Poet, and has already been busy down at the All England Club. His contributions, focusing on everything at Wimbledon from the food, the weather, the grass, the umpires, crowds, ball boys and girls and the players will be up on his Wimbledon blog at Wimblewords. His first poem, Grandest of Slams, is up there right now.

I think this is a fantastic addition to Wimbledon. So many people, whether they play tennis or not, enjoy watching Wimbledon and Matt will bring out all their various different experiences, in poetry, blogging and random performances at the queue line. His quirky, humourous style should fit perfectly with this most quintessential of British summer experiences, enhancing the tournament's wider appeal and ensuring it stays the Greatest of Slams.

We're looking forward to having Matt at the festival on Sunday 18th July for what promises to be a fantastic evening of poetry and anecdotes from the tournament.

Going back to the crux of the issue, though - who to win? Will Federer claim a 7th title? Will Nadal's hunger prove greater? He certainly looks the most in-form player, and possibly the most raring to go. How will Laura Robson fare on Centre against Jankovic - what a match for her, btw. I don't think she's a no-hoper, she can play fantastically when she wants to so let's hope we see her fine, fighting form and that she enjoys every minute of it. And of course, the annual question on everyone's lips - Will Andy Murray Win This Year? Maybe it's time for another office sweep stake....

In other news, we are steaming head on with publicity for lots of events. A piece of Richard Long's work will be appearing at Torre Abbey's TAMED exhibition, running from July 5th to August 31st. Check out local newspapers for coverage of the festival in the next few weeks.

Ticket sales are on a bit of a boost - chaos reigned briefly on Thursday morning after announcements and ticket allocations got a bit out of sync but the good ship recovered and all is now back to normal! I've been making friends at Totcom printers and am very excited about the colour flyers they are printing for me for the Martin Creed and Richard Long events. Thanks to Mac Pages my designer talents have taken on a rare sheen and I'm optimistic about the finished product!

So off we go into another week. Three left before the festival! The sun is shining and the rat that has been scurrying around the office is nowhere to be seen. All is good. And with that, I must go and stop procrastinating under the guise of blogging...

A bientot!

Fi x

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Peace and quiet and celebrity-style nicknames.

Well, actually, a little less than four weeks now! The phone lines have quietened down and we now have a limited number of tickets newly available for previously sold-out events.

We are learning how hard it is to pin people down! Editors and publicists seem fairly hard to get hold of and there's a lot of pinging and ponging back and forth on the phone. (This should be unsurprising to me having spent three years working in publishing, but there we go.) We're busy trying to get features written in various publications, interviews arranged and flyers created for different groups of people.

A particularly exciting development was learning that the Turner prize winning artist Richard Long, who is coming to Ways with Words on Sunday July 18th is also having a piece of his work exhibited at Torre Abbey from July 5th to August 31st. What's especially good is that my boyfriend's mother, who I'm currently living with whilst down in Devon, is responsible for organising the exhibition, so I'm optimistic about some good reciprocal publicity opportunities there.

I am the sole intern in the office today...Florence and Jo are delivering programmes and Kate has gone off to France for a couple of days. It's very quiet. Although having just said that, Jo-Flo have pulled into the drive. Jo-Flo. Now there is a nickname that I am going to make stick!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Staff Excursion...

Yesterday the WWW staff were lucky enough to see the Miracle Theatre Company's take on Romeo and Juliet in the grounds of Fingals Hotel, Dittisham. Placed at the front and surrounded by our extensive picnic we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

It was a fun production and the simple costumes and set were used to great effect. The cast of six played all the vital parts, using items of costume, stance and facial expression to convey which character they were playing. The set echoed the stage of the globe theatre with a curtained portico and Juliet's bedroom and the famous balcony scene were played very effectively on top of the portico. The script struck a balance between being true to the original and being accessible, with well-known passages fluently laced together with modern dialogue.

The rain held off and the evening became even more magical when stage lights were gradually introduced with the fading of the natural light. This fitted beautifully with the nature of the play: the sky grew darker with the subject matter! Birds provided the underscore, bats flitted above the stage and it was altogether a wonderful evening.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010


Well, it feels like it's been quite some time since I wrote anything up here. We interns have, for the majority of the last couple of weeks, been ploughing through the treachorous seas of phone, postal and internet bookings and scaling the dizzy heights of Mount PDQ (card payment processing). And, I'm happy to report, we seem to be emerging out the other side, approaching the summit, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Time to turn our attention on to other things. We've all had days out of the office distributing programmes to grateful recipients around the area with an intern you may remember from last year, Charlie. I myself went off to Plymouth for a fun-filled sunny day out, notable for the University of Plymouth's astounding confusion over the whereabouts of its English department...!

We're now focusing more on marketing and publicity and I'm really enjoying thinking of creative ways to promote our speakers. This is where you realise how easy basic marketing is with things like Facebook and Twitter, but it's also good to get involved with other sites and think about where and why you're promoting certain people in certain areas.

We've had a bit of a change in the office, too. Gemma is sadly no longer with us but Florence has arrived, fresh from end of year university exams! We also have Ellie, Kate's daughter who has been roped into helping out and she has been great, picking everything up really quickly and getting stuck in.

Kay and Steve are in France for one of their writing courses and Chloe and Videl (and Theo!) will be here as of Thursday: they have promised to get stuck into box office stuff - something I'm sure we will all hold them to!

That's all for now folks, check back soon for more news from Ways with Words!


Friday, 4 June 2010

More Tickets Available!

Thought you'd missed out on Simon King, Shirley Williams and Melvyn Bragg? Think again!

We have a limited number of newly-available tickets for these events. Call the box office asap as they won't hang around for long - 01803 867 373.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Kiss Kiss!

Isn't kissing great?! Lana Citron, author of A Compendium of Kisses, has written a quirky and fascinating book all about the science, history, social etiquette, symbolism and varied behaviour behind this most simple, yet complex of acts.

And on that note, did you know...

1) The first recorded kiss was traced to 1500 BC in India. Vedic scriptures mention people ‘sniffing’ with mouths and describing lovers ‘setting mouth to mouth’.
2) Using X as a ‘kiss’ sign goes back to when people signed their names with an X, followed by a kiss upon the letter to show sincerity. X was the Paleo Hebrew letter Tav, symbol of the Seal of Hashem representing truth, completeness and perfection. Rabbi Brasch, in his work on the history of sex links it to the symbol for two mouths kissing >-<.
3) Kissing was a sign of rank in Roman and Hellenic times. Equals would kiss mouth to mouth, an inferior would kiss an superior’s cheek. If there was a great difference in rank, the inferior would kiss the ground.
4) Although chimpanzees are known to give pecks on the lips, only humans and bonobos engage in kissing with tongues.
5) Public displays of affection have been banned in many places, Britain amongst them. In early 2009 ‘no kissing’ signs were introduced in Warrington Bank Station – to help ease congestion.
6) The International Scientific Forum states that greeting someone with a kiss on the cheek is more hygienic than shaking hands.
7) Other health benefits include: brain stimulation, boosting self-esteem, helps decrease blood pressure and cholesterol and sharing bacteria can aid your immune system. People who kiss regularly are less likely to suffer from stomach, bladder and blood infections.
8) An orphanage study found that infants who were rarely kissed or held died of a disease known as infant marasmus, which literally means ‘wasting away’.
9) Some parental habits in certain tribes are unusual. The Yanomami of Venezuela have been known to kiss or suck their baby sons’ penises to improve their moods.
10) A human embryo has a mouth and set of lips at six weeks old, or half an inch long.
11) Kissing burns, on average 2-6 calories per minute.
12) According to Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex, “a good mouth kiss should leave it’s recipient breathless but not asphyxiated”.

Lana Citron will be at Ways with Words on Thursday 15th July at 9pm. Tickets £9 and available online or via the box office on 01803 867 373.