Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our readers and writers! Hope the season is filled with much Peace.

Unfortunately the office will be closed between now and New Year but we will be back in a week with some new articles…

Send us your work over the Christmas break and in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Yours creatively,

Joshua and the Foxtrot team

Cocos Lovers – A Review

On Saturday night the Deal-based band, Cocos Lovers, graced the stage at the Ramsgate Music Hall for their Christmas Shindig. The support act came in the form of The Selkies, a young female duo – it seems taking influence from the likes of Laura Marling and King Creosote. Singing mainly about animals and the unstable nature of our world make these girls even more interesting to listen to. With the added bonus of poetic lyrics and guitar/vocal harmonies which make this a duo to watch.

At 9:30pm the main event came in the form of a stellar selection of Cocos Lovers, saws and all. The folkedelich harmonies mixed against the poeticised lyrics and heavier drum beats, such as those of ‘Elephant Lands’, make the Cocos Lovers a great live band to see perform. Going way beyond the label of alt-folk, Cocos Lovers have evolved away from the pastoral style folk that they used to be known for and now play pieces, like ‘The Spirit That Swallowed You Whole’, that build from something calm to thumping squalls and bursts of guitar or violin against Will’s sometimes haunting, sometimes playful vocals. The evening finished on an interesting rendition of Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ with lyrics written on coffee filters and sung in true Cocos Lovers/Slade style.

This is a poem I wrote after watching Cocos Lovers on Saturday, its free and unhindered form does not come close to the beauty of their music but using mismatched lyrics and thoughts I had while watching the performance I have tried to capture the spirit of a night with Cocos Lovers:

Crooked Road – by Joshua Cialis
(for Cocos Lovers)

Christ leads me down the crooked road
and I sit in haze – choosing
where to go – but He leads me,
through hauntings and freedom
we land in old Elephant Lands

weary, go from here
through flashing lights
and riffs bending and stiff
but we end up in the land
where no one dies.

Burning guitar bass
thumps and questions
pass through lighted air –
“who’s that”

Melodies whisper in chimneys
blown on a breeze
to far off cosmic seas
crossing boundary lines
and shine – off into the rising sun.

The Uncanny Enigma of a Segmented Soul – a poem

Words and Picture by Holly Royle

Emily Brontë’s only novel Wuthering Heights, published in 1847 explores the restraints of society, distortion of identity and the significance of death – despite many labelling the novel simply as a love story. This is my favourite novel as it explores such dark themes, I find it both fascinating whether reading for pleasure or academic study. The following poem is based on the character Catherine Earnshaw.
The Uncanny Enigma of a Segmented Soul – by Holly Royle
Midnight arrives,
by the witching hour: expiration.
We are told you were unconscious, insensible, unresponsive,
but was that purely their perspective?
Those two voices that narrate your life, choose what will be heard
and what will not.
One of them knew you in your infancy,
The other in a childhood nightmare,
what audacity! He must claim to understand your mind
in vain attempts to obtain your future daughter.
A child of nature, a creature of freedom
not confined to supposed, beneficial rule.
Your heart yearned to return to your humble home, yet you lay in luxury sorrow.
Your mind was judged and treated accordingly, when will they learn
that what they think
is not always so.
How you haunted him.
Did you let him invade your grave?
Or maybe it was all a dream inside his head?
Oh dearest Catherine, what your life should have been
without interference.

Christmas Comes – a poem

Words and Picture by Joshua Cialis

We have now entered the season of advent. Christmas is coming, the shops are full, the bars are full and the roads are busy. However, is the meaning of Christmas being lost in this commercialisation? Joshua Cialis explores this in his poem ‘Christmas Comes’ but as a lover of Christmas there is no bitterness in his view, just hope.
Rhyming the first line with the last and the second with the penultimate, Joshua brings us in a full circle back to where we began. Hope you enjoy this poem and the Christmas Season:

Christmas Comes – Joshua Cialis

The day ends now
light reflects from wet ground
and children run and sing.
Families fight through
scores of crowds
and the lights blur
into rain.
but everyone passes
clinical shop displays –
white lit rooms
strewn with ribbon –
ushered in by a deal.
But its in this weather we begin to feel
that there’s something hidden
in the fumes
of poinsettia bouquets
and mulled wine spices:
maybe this year we’ll gain
what it is we sing for –
amongst this loud
world. But as the air turns blue
we might stagger towards it and bring
the means and sound
to ignore the rain and allow

Christmas to come

PSEUDONYM OR REAL NAME

Words by Jade Wolf

The logistics of using a pseudonym have always intrigued me. Currently using one myself, I have undergone an internal crises; should I use one? Or should I not? I have found recently that actually I might want the work I am doing to be labelled with my name, so that I can claim credit for it. I feel as though the work I have produced under my pseudonym (whilst some of it is admittedly awful), I am not taking credit for, and I want it to be labelled under my real name.

I have written this article in an attempt to straighten out my thoughts, as well as to help out anyone else considering, or using, a pen name.

Benefits:

• It conceals your identity. This can be an advantage if it could interfere with your other careers, or whether you want a name that reflects you on a deeper level.

• You dislike your real name. If you dislike your name, or have a long and complicated one, it might be more sensible to change it.

• If your name doesn’t fit the genre you are writing for. This can be helpful to aid the genre market; however, keeping it professional is most important.

• Branding. You can create a brand around your name, which can be useful when marketing.

Disadvantages:

• It conceals your identity. Whilst this can be an advantage, it can also be a problem. If you are writing under a pseudonym because your opinion is controversial, you need to have the guts to defend it under your real name. If you are using one because your work isn’t up to scratch, change the standard of your work rather than your name.

• If you have the same name as an existing author, you may be required to change it by a publishing house regardless of whether you want to.

• Your work will never be associated with the real you. Whilst this can be great if that is your intention, you must be comfortable knowing that it will never be accredited to your real name.

• Branding. Whilst yes, branding can be useful, it can also remove the author from the readers as they are no longer a person, just a marketing strategy.

Whilst there have been many reasons in the past, such as changing your name for gender associated reason, I do not believe they are as relevant now. And some use their pen names to avoid tax; I would not recommend that any of our readers do this. Ultimately, a pseudonym will not protect you from any legal action taken against you; that must be made clear. But it can be useful; it all depends on what you want and how you use it.

Please let me know of any thoughts you have about using a pseudonym, I have still yet to decide whether to continue to use my pseudonym or not.

Jade.

The November Review

Words and Picture by Joshua Cialis

Another month has passed and we now enter December. Everyone is darting around looking for presents for loved ones and colleagues. Well if you haven’t yet bought all your presents maybe our review of November’s books will help you:

Palm trees and rain
by Natasha Dubalia (Movement Publishing)

Dubalia’s journey through the seasons and emotions takes us through thought, poetry, prose and hidden dance. As Dubalia tells us in her synopsis:

‘the thing about emotions
is that they are unforeseeable
precisely like the seasons’

Palm trees and rain, although not technically perfectly literary poetry, is a complete and passionate exploration of the poet’s mind, an exploration of personal emotion, and it is these slight-imperfections that make the book quite so pure. The merging of the senses and emotion brings the reader closer to love, closer to what we’ve ‘never tasted before’.

Natasha Dubalia’s book is one that is deeply personal but with the ability to share, it’s simple poetry which although a seasoned poetry reader may find it difficult not shout ‘show don’t tell’; those new to poetry will love its simplicity and pureness.

Reviewed by Joshua Cialis

Artemis
By Andy Weir (Crown Publishing Group)

Jazz Bashara is a young Arab woman, living in the first city on the Moon, Artemis. She sees her chance to commit to perfect crime to fund her debts – but her crime throws her into something unexpected: a plot to take control of Artemis itself.

By the author of The Martian, there were high expectations in place when it came to reading this novel. However, something seems to fall short in this book. The character, a young Arab female (which is excellent representation), seems to lack something. It appears much like Weir is struggling to put himself in the perspective of a female, and transplants his own awkward sense of humour (which worked so well in The Martian) onto her – and it fails. It is still worth a read to make your opinion about it, but I am overall slightly disappointed.

Reviewed by Jade Wolf

‘Who Built the Moon?’
by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash)

Maybe it was a matter of time that, as the band name suggests, Noel felt the need to escape the two-dimensionality of Britpop and his brother, and fly off into a whole new realm of musical genre: ‘sonically advanced, electronic, space Jazz future man with shiny little booties on’, in his own words. However, it would be in Noels interests, when embarking on future endeavours, for him and his birds to stay firmly bound to earth, as it seems they cannot cope outside atmospheric confines.
Maybe with a tinge of irony, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is my favourite record on the album: a well-blended soul-pysch track that is able to convey the same message in 4 false-hope, children’s rollercoaster stanzas and 2 voices, with the ending refrain ‘the day will never come…’ haunting in conjunction with the ritualistic chanting of the female voice carrying us until the bitter end.
However, it’s where the praise must end. ‘Holy Mountain’ is a rattle full of cliché that fails to capture anyone ‘under [his] spell’; ‘She Taught Me How to Fly’ is painfully simplistic in both musical and lyrical composition, you wish that she taught him how to write like he used to; ‘Keep On Reaching’ is a sub-conscious reminder of what Noel should not be striving for, and when he asks ‘can you keep a secret?’, unfortunately this time Noel, you need to be told, this album is not full of ‘sunshine and flowers’. Instead, he needs to ‘dig [back] out [his] soul’ and craft songs we all know he’s capable of.

Reviewed by Reece David Merrifield

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
By Ruth Emmie Lang (St. Martin’s Press)
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of a boy called Weylyn Grey; it is told from the perspectives of people around him. Weylyn is not like other people for he was orphaned, raised by wolves and owns a horned pig named Merlin. Weylyn’s abilities are amazing but, they are also a risk to himself and Mary, the woman he loves.

This is Ruth Emmie Lang’s first novel and it is a wonderful debut. It is fairy-talesque with quirky characters and the exploration of nature. The narrative style of Weylyn’s life being told through other people’s perspectives adds a mysterious quality to his character as the reliability and interpretation of his personality may not be accurate. The story also explores the nature of human relationships particularly through Weylyn’s desire to help others. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance fabulously displays themes of magic and nature to create an enchanting story.

Reviewed by Holly Royle