Tuesday, 23 October 2012

ShopGirl: The Second Coming

Do you remember that chandelier shop on
Tower Bridge Road?

For over 2 years we were closing our shop.
We were closing so long that it became funny.
Have you seen the Shopgirl blog trailer?
You know the bit at the end where Blake Harrison does his cameo:

Blake: Are you closing?
Shopgirl (Katy Wix): Yeah
Blake: Not closing down though?
Shopgirl: Uh, yeah
Blake: But you’ll keep the shop, yeah?


Yeah, well, that was supposed to be a joke.
You see, at the end of our closing down sale, we moved our remaining stock upstairs and a vintage furniture and flag shop moved in called ‘Lost & Found’.
I suppose I should’ve known that while there were chandeliers in the building, it was not over.
The other give-away was that our stock kept growing.
I was working one day a week to help dress chandeliers for wholesale but not all of those lights left the building.
Most offices are illuminated with grim low energy lights but ours is heaving with sparkling crystal chandeliers.  
In the back of my mind I always knew these lights would eventually need to find a home.
And now the time has come.
The furniture and flag shop has announced they are leaving.
That means that there will be an empty shop below us.
You can guess the next part.
Well, there’s no point in keeping 150 chandeliers hidden away in an office, is there?
FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY (I’ve heard that before!) from November, the chandelier shop on Tower Bridge will be making a second appearance.
I don’t think there’s much point changing the shop name.
‘Lost & Found’ couldn’t be any more appropriate.

Our Chandelier Showroom
         (and yes, that is me trying not to laugh at the end)                 

To view some of our lights visit www.crystalpluslighting.com 
Or call:  0207 357 7244
Be warned, they are far more beautiful in the flesh. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Launch of Serialised Novel: Spray Painted Bananas

My serialised novel Spray Painted Bananas launches today on Wattpad.com

It's a romantic comedy about Amber, a broke temp working in a catering firm in London, who after years of scrounging free wine from wacky art gallery openings with her best friend Farrell, decides there’s no reason she can’t become a conceptual artist herself. 

I'll be posting 2 chapters to begin with and then one chapter per week. 

Please come and find me on Wattpad and VOTE if you'd like me to continue the story!


Chapter 1

There comes a point in your life when you can’t go on being scared. For me that point comes regularly, most often after my third glass of free wine. I say ‘free’ because I do most of my drinking at posh gallery openings. I stand in the middle of them, look around me at all the glamorous individuals muttering appreciatively and I pretend I’m in my natural environment. I pretend I’m an art collector and select pieces for my many rooms in my many mansions, and then I get the bus home.
If Londoners complain that booze is too expensive it’s because they’re not making the effort to track down the free stuff. There must be a show opening every evening of the week in this city and as long as you can stomach a bit of pretentious chatter then you can succeed in having an entertaining and cheap night out.
My partner in crime tonight is my best friend Farrell. He works part-time in a book shop and is as broke as I am. Pretending to acknowledge the striking composition of a randomly placed chair or the depth of meaning of some paint-splattered socks suspended from the ceiling is a small sacrifice to pay for a few complimentary beverages. We’d volunteer our comments if it meant getting free nibbles, but unfortunately the art industry seems to survive on a liquid diet only. And also no one particularly wants our comments.
Tonight the artist’s chosen materials are thick paint and reclaimed plywood. Plywood which has been reclaimed from skips, though judging by the state of them I’d be more inclined to say reclaimed from war zones. It’s the most traditional exhibition we’ve seen in ages. There’s still a concept thrown in though; there’s always got to be a concept typed up and displayed on a wall to be mulled over for months to come. Farrell and I prefer to make them up as we walk around.
A lot of strange things make it into galleries. Frankly I don’t know what went wrong with creating something you might actually want to put in your living room. I like landscapes but a landscape in the world of conceptual art could be anything from a peanut on a stick to a video of a talking meringue.  
The show is called Life & Death of a Ghost and is made up of five paintings on rough sheets of plywood and a stuffed chicken. The artist, who goes by the name of ‘Ghost’ has only used two colours, grey and green. Contrary to what you’d expect, the greener the subject the more dead they are supposed to be. The chicken is a grey lump. This means the chicken is alive. And yet it is stuffed. 

Continue reading on Wattpad...

Friday, 5 October 2012

'SHOPGIRL BLOG' TASTER FOR SITCOM - Starring Katy Wix as ShopGirl


I'm so happy to be able to share with you the final edit of the Shopgirl Blog Film. It stars Katy Wix (Not Going Out) as Shopgirl and Annette Badland (Torchwood) as Mum. It also features a cameo by Blake Harrison (Inbetweeners).

For the background story you can read the blog post I wrote not long after we shot the film in my Mum's chandelier shop, 'ShopGirl: Take 1, Camera, Action!'

A massive thanks to all the crew and cast who made it possible. It was a great experience and I'm thrilled with the result. 

Signed copies of my book 'Shop Girl Diaries' are available to order from My Books. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How (Not) To Make a Book Trailer

Once I’d decided to take on the challenge to write a serialised novel I knew I needed a book trailer. Words aren’t enough anymore. Writers need to know how to use images, audio and special effects to promote their work.

The problem is I had no idea how to make a video.

I spent a whole Sunday fiddling about with Windows Movie Maker and had nothing to show for it at the end.

‘You’re not supposed to know how to make one,’ my husband said, trying to make me feel better about what I felt was a complete and utter waste of a day.

But I wanted to know! 

'I'm not aiming for an Oscar!' I said. 'Just a basic video with pictures moving to a bit of music...'

Do you often hear yourself saying, ‘I’m not technically-minded’? Do you say it when you secretly want to be technically- minded? Well, don’t say it anymore because the more you say it the harder it will be to change. Open up to the possibility and you might just surprise yourself!

Thanks to Paul Carroll’s article in Writing Magazine, I learnt about Kevin Macleod and FMA (Free Music Archive) where I could browse through thousands of tunes to use for my video.  

Great! I had music but no pictures.

I realised after that frustrating Sunday that I was never going to find free pictures to illustrate the idea I had in my head.  

Not willing to be defeated, I began to draw.

I only draw once a year usually and that’s in August just before my Dad’s birthday. He’s been collecting my homemade cards since I was little and they make him so happy that I can’t possibly stop now. 

Step 1 I drew

Step 2 I scanned the drawing into my computer
Step 3 I edited them in Paint (colouring in with a mouse can be very tedious so background music is essential, a glass of wine helps too).
Step 4 I added pictures to the easy-to-use timeline.

Paint is old-school I know, but I wasn’t going to wait around until I’d learned Photoshop. You've got to start somewhere.

I loved making it and although it’s not very polished or professional, I think it captures the mood I’ve been in since starting Spray Painting Bananas

Upbeat and happy!

My first chapter should be out on Monday 15th October on wattpad.com – so sign up and come find me!
Meanwhile I hope you enjoy my lovingly-made book trailer:


If you like it, share it!