Tag Archives: Gill Sims

From XTC to FML – two DIY publishers turned professional writers share their stories

9 May
Gill Sims in conversation with Emma Smith of Mum's the Word

Gill Sims in conversation with Emma Smith of Mum’s the Word

As the creator and editor of several publications covering an array of subjects over several decades, from a photocopied magazine about 1990s indie and dance music, to a blog about arts festivals (this ‘un), and a grown-up business news publication with actual advertising on it, I was excited to hear how two authors had embraced the DIY ethos to carve a career in writing.

My first stop was the Reading Room at Swindon Library, where Mark Fisher was talking to an enthusiastic crowd of XTC fans.

For 10 years Mark and his friend Paul Badger wrote and published the band’s fanzine, Limelight.

Surprisingly, the idea for a fanzine came before the idea of writing about XTC.

“Fanzine culture was in the air,” said Mark. “Kids were speaking for themselves rather than relying on the inkies [Sounds / NME / Melody Maker] and you either formed a band, or formed a fanzine about one.

“So the idea of writing a fanzine came first. After that we asked ourselves: who about?” Continue reading

Programme launch defies convention with longevity and…fruit

22 Mar
Lit fest launch biscuits

The launch of the 2018 Swindon Festival of Literature in biscuits. ©Calyx Picture Agency

Fruity magic

Fruity magic ©Calyx Picture Agency

Wearing purple

Mayor Cllr. Maureen Penny wears purple © Calyx Picture Agency

Food has always been big with the Swindon Festival of Literature Festival launch. So alongside the festival’s name spelled in aromatic ginger biscuits and other home-made grub which hungry attendees decended upon, there was some magic with a banana.

Since its launch in 1994, over twenty-five years festival director Matt Holland has grown the festival’s pamphlet of ten events into a programme of fifty authors.

And those events have brought people together for the greater good, and sometimes just with books and no food involved. They built bridges and given the controversial a voice – and what better example than founder of the ill-fated Kids Company charity, Camila Batmanghelidjh (16th May). When she last came to the festival in 2012 she was well respected and loved. This time it’s to answer her critics and the effect of the charity’s demise on children’s services. Continue reading