It’s beginning to hurt.

James Lasdun, winner of this year’s inaugural national short story prize wrote ‘It’s Beginning to Hurt’ in just 500 words.

we were set the challenge of borrowing one of his character’s and write their story within the same, or near to. time frame.

so this is Beginning to Hurt from Derrick’s view in 460 words.

It’s beginning to hurt

“Good lunch Mr Bryar?” she asked

“Excellent lunch” I heard him lie to Beth our office secretary

“Sorley’s?” I asked out of habit as my senior partner in our firm took his place at his polished walnut desk and I at my budget replica.

“No, some… Chinese place” he mumbled not even bothering to look at me.

“Your wife rang” I’d thrown that comment out into the air thoughtlessly. Inwardly I was cursing myself. She hadn’t just rung because I’d just had lunch with her secretly.

Panic at my stupidity caught the breath in my lungs and I gaged.

Bryar he was now on the phone to her. My heart beat guilty like a judge’s baton against my chest. I didn’t know how long it took for the taxi to take Penelope home from Metcalfe Hotel where we had been together.

Guilt had robbed me of the taste of the signature black and blue grill but not of Penelope’s lips on mine. Heat flushed my flesh at the thought of Bryar’s wife kissing me.

Would she be able to fool him once more?

This was a dangerous match neither Penelope nor I could afford for Bryar to divorce her. I needed his job and she needed his money.

My desk clock ticked as I went over tonight’s murder plan in my mind once more this had to go perfectly like a metronome if we were going to get away with it.

Tick,

7pm; He takes his brandy in the library. Pea will open the kitchen window and leave Tom’s car keys out on the phone stand.

Tock.

8pm I will hide behind the shed until the security lights turn off in the yard.

Tick.

8.20 get into the kitchen and hide in the pantry.

Tock.

9pm Bryar sets the alarm and goes to bed. Wait until I hear Pea call ‘Goodnight’ to Crème Custard.

Tick

Oh dam! I forgot 8.10 – feed Crème Custard AMITRIPTYLINE laced dog treats. That bloody Poodle would bark the place into an up roar if I don’t give him the sleeping pills.

Oh god, I’m going to end up in prison.

He’s not at his desk on the phone. Where has Bryar gone?

“Where are you heading Mr Bryar?” I called after him

“My wife needs a Salmon, see you tomorrow Derrick” came his distant reply

“Night sir? Hope you have a good evening.” I gave my best toadying voice. Did that sound too forced? Was it too obvious? Golly it’s so warm in this bloody office.

Maybe I should write the plan out in built points, then I can memorise it easier.

Hell no, stupid, stupid me.

-Bang!-

Ahrr! Oh the door, yes of course it is. Where was I?

By SB

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Birmingham Nature Centre visit

Located on Pershore Road, two miles south of Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park home to a variety of different animals.Some species they are working with are critically endangered in the wild such as the Yellow Breasted Capuchin Monkeys.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, four spectacular glasshouses span from tropical rainforest to arid desert climates. A lively birdhouse, wildlife trails and fifteen acres of flourishing gardens and foliage. An excellent spot for me to start my botanical illustration projects. I went for the butterfly house but that does not open until May 15th. but with easy access and a lovely tea rooms Daddy and I had a great time. He really enjoyed watching the giant koi carp in the rainforest pool.

The landscapes were designed by J. C. Loudon, one of the most successful garden planners of his time.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Westbourne Road
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 3TR

Meeting Hunt Emerson

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Currently Hunt is a freelance comic book illustrator and often works for the Beano on the characters Little Plum and Ratz. He lives and works in Birmingham so he really is a local success story.

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He has been acclaimed as one of the 75 European Masters of Cartooning of the 20th Century by the Centre Nationale de la Bande Dessinee et de l’Image, and has won many other international awards.

The Emerson graphic novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Casanova’s Last Stand and other adaptations of classic novels and tales have been successfully sold in numerous countries, and translated into several different languages.

Hunt Emerson’s strips and illustrations are regularly seen in the pages of Fortean Times, a magazine of occult and unexplained phenomena. Also his pornographically humorous Firkin The Cat (written by Tym Manley) has appeared in hundreds of Fiesta magazines.

Hunt was inspired to become a cartoonist by seeing the comics arriving from Chicago, “they were sort of Hippy comics, but I loved the stories and character” (Emerson, 2015) Hunt practised and practices drawing and developing bio’s for characters. He came to Birmingham as a fine art student and found work at Birmingham Arts Lab and Polytechnic running a small printing machine.  “In printing I saw a way that I could link earning a living with doing what I wanted to do; draw comics.  I spent six years working at the Birmingham Arts Lab, with the printing press there, doing design, layout, darkroom, and machine operating on a shoestring in hair-raising circumstances. It taught me a lot about production deadlines and the need to make quick design decisions.”(From Emerson’s web site: http://largecow.com/)

This lead to his first book ,Thunderdogs which had a unique twist at the time because it included 2D and 3D drawings. Followed by Calculus Cat and then City Mouth.

We asked Hunt for his top piece of advice for us about to start illustration at university. He smiles and says the key to being a comic book illustrator is to keep working. Take as many of the freelance job you can manage but don’t forget to develop your own style and work.

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Lee Bul @ the Ikon Gallery

Ikon presents the first UK solo show of works by Korean artist Lee Bul.

The college art group had a blast and commented on how detailed the sculptures were even thou they were on such a massive scale. there was something beautiful yet disjointed in the utopian project i thought. And was glad to find out that is exactly how Lee Bul wants you to feel. This was something i had to show my Dad.

College group:

Being able to get up really close and even interact with Her sculptures was a real treat. I adore artist who allow us to be within or to get in tough with the art; providing both visual and sensual creative information. these artist you know are think about communicating to everyone as much of their mind as possible. My Dad is the reason that I did well in art so when his eyesight was permanently damaged I wondered if the days of us wondering around Art galleries and historical sites with the camera were at and end. Thankfully all it did was open up a new way of looking and finding art, nature and beauty. “Having a different set of artistic eyes.” he says.

So thank you Lee Bul we really enjoyed the day at your exhibition

Born in 1964, under the military dictatorship of South Korea, Lee Bul graduated in sculpture from Hongik University during the late 1980s. Her works became preoccupied with politics, delving into the many forms of idealism that permeate our civilisations, and from the beginning she created works that crossed genres and disciplines in provocative ways.

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The sculptures reflect utopian architectural schemes of the early twentieth century as well as images of totalitarianism from Lee Bul’s early experiences.

“Cyborg display” drew upon art history, critical theory, science fiction and popular imagination to explore anxieties arising out of dysfunctional technological advances, whilst simultaneously harking back to icons of classical sculpture.

Teresa Albor

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24 sculptures in 24 hours

As part of the Longbridge Lighting Festival artist Teresa Albor wanted to make an artistic statement about production and labouring linked to this area of Birmingham (UK) she used items that were all factory produced and used the gallery space that had once been the site of a car factory.

We observed her mid-morning speedily working away. I like the idea and power of the statement. The sculptures were not overly planned out and that became obvious in the quality of the way the items were put together. I would have liked to see more of the items she chose fused together somehow maybe with industrial tools, bolts or even spot welded. Even with the time restraints I think it was still possible to have improved.