‘It’s your friends that keep you afloat’ – A deep dive in to the brilliant new Josie Lloyd novel #LifeSavingForBeginners

Ahoy there! A quick post to tell you about fellow writer & mermaid @JosieLloydWriter’s brilliant novel #LifeSavingForBeginners which comes out this Thursday. These are a few of the reasons why I loved it, and why I think you should read it…

🌊 It’s a love letter to Brighton & Hove. A hymn to the power of the sea, and of friendship.

🌊It perfectly captures the way that the sea is our religion. The way we flock there for morning prayer every day we can, via the magic of whatsapp. (Only this morning I was on a snooze-marathon when the reply to my ‘shall we’ got me up and at ‘em like nothing else can, chucking on my ‘no-thinking’ suit & swim shoes and running down to the shore where Susie, Josie and Ziggy the four-legged coast-guard were waiting and we swam out to the second buoy, leaving us feeling charged up for the rest of the day!)

🌊 It’s a celebration of the strength of the sea, and how it really does make you feel super-powered (or, after a winter swim, invincible) against whatever the day throws at you. It’s amazing for dimming the din of the #ADHD brain too. It is absolutely our lifeline. The days I don’t swim, I really feel it. What’s so lovely in ‘Lifesaving for Beginners’ is that the more they swim, the more the sea slowly gives each character strength, (and not just in their muscles).

🌊 It has some lovely depictions of the moon-swim massives… only the other night we were bopping about to music in the waves under a salmon moon just like in the novel! (See fig B)

Pic – @Lunartidalcalendar
Pic – Ruby Moon Full Moon swim, courtesy of Splashers & Bobbers swimming whatsapp group & Lunar Tidal Calendars

🌊 It’s super skilfully plotted, with all the threads overlapping wonderfully – so much so that I yelped in glee on the beach yesterday at my friend when a plot twist happened that made me so relieved for one of the characters!

🌊 There is SO much wisdom in the book. Insights into ‘The Change’ that really made me think. And facts about the moon and how it affects the tides, that I’ve never quite understood but now do…just about!

🌊 It very cleverly weaves in the issue of the sewage crisis into the story in a non-preachy way… with some lovely plugs for our @southcoastsirens and @SASBrighton and the dangers of those @southernwatermedia ‘spills’.

🌊 Above all… it’s so visceral in its description of cold-water swimming, and of the warmth of friendship:) If you enjoyed the cameraderie in #BreakUpClub or if you love swimming, or if you’ve ever thought about running away to the seaside… you need to read this book! It made me laugh, it made me smile in recognition, it made me cry AT LEAST three times.

🌊 It made me so grateful to be part of the real life Sea-Gals (and guys!). I was given Josie’s first book #ComeTogether to work on in the Random House Marketing division when I was fresh out of uni. I was a fan girl then; I never dreamed 20 years later I’ve ended up in Hove as a sea-gal! Small world to say the least.

Congrats Josie, and good luck with the launch this Thursday! I’ve no doubt it will be a huge success for you… and for Brighton tourism! I reckon once people read this novel, new seagal recruits will flock here in their Dry-robes in droves, and our lovely beach will be even busier… luckily there’s plenty of sea to go around. See you on the pebbles:)

Pic – courtesy of Splashers & Bobbers swimming whatsapp group

PS Here are a few of my favourite extracts which sum up why I love this book… albeit badly snapped, sorry…

LifeSavingForBeginners is out this Thursday with Harper Collins @hqstories – Order your copy now!

I Am a Mermaid… HELP – Introducing ‘The Litter Mermaid” – my Comedy Short

My Comedy Short, ‘The Litter Mermaid’ is the story of the plastic crisis in our seas, and the impact it is having on the mermaid community and their King. You can watch the trailer here.

Thank you to everyone that helped make this – From the old friend I’d known since I was 21 who literally IS a mermaid, the beautiful Lisa, to the new friends that stepped straight off of Ramsay Street to produce and crew the thing up thanks to Brendan… to my genius housemate Michelle who dressed the set and the entire mythological population on nothing but a fin-string and made ‘spoofy condoms’ out of mayo.

I was blown away the next day when I was out walking with my adorable nephew in Brighton Beach, just a few shores down from Elwood where we’d wrapped 12 hours before…and we were playing the ‘hunt the lost flip-flop’ game that I often play as someone with ADHD who sunbathes on boardwalks – when we both looked down and saw this freakish message, carved into the rocks. ‘I AM A MERMAID. HELP.’ Of all the rocks in all the world… it really did seem like someone out there was ‘winking’ at us. or that the seas really have reached peak Plastic and they’re sending us a message… in  a plastic bottle.

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Alana speaks… Literally stumbled across this the day after shooting the film, in Elwood/Brighton Beach. Truly, the seas are trying to tell us something.

What’s it about? It’s about some mythical creatures who very much DO NOT want to be where the people are…

King Neptune and his team have been glorified maids of the sea for long enough, they’ve got zero job satisfaction and they are over it. Soon there’ll be more plastic than fish… but do the Human Resources department give a cr*p? Find out in The Litter Mermaid – a comedy about plastic, a tragedy about our world, and the melancholy fact that there’s now an island of plastic the size of France in our oceans.  Shot on location in Elwood Beach, Melbourne it’s the next film under fledgling channel Melon Comedy. 

It features shocking new footage of polluted oceans in Indonesia, from Rich Horner The Rubbish Diver,  and with a cast & crew from Melbourne, London & Bali’s Comedy scene, and a cameo from my aquatic alter ego, mermaid Loreley.

See the full film here: s https://www.chortle.co.uk/video/2019/04/22/42861/the-litter-mermaid

Full Cast & Credits:

Dave Callan as Neptune
Lisa Fineberg as Alana
Pam Rana as Human Resources 1
Jonathan Schuster as Human Resources 2
Urvi Majumder as Ariel
Lorelei Mathias as Loreley
and introducing Monty The Manta-ray, and the Balinese Jellyfish

Executive Producer Brendan Geaney
Associate Producer Emmy McMorrow
Editor Claire McGonagil
Sound Design Brendan Geaney
Director of Photography Oscar Beltran Cuba
First Assistant Director Julian Breheny
Assistant Producers Brendan Geany
Production Manager Andrew Keane
Art Direction & Wardrobe Michelle Harrington
Camera Assistant/B-Cam Samuel Wong
Sound Kristian Pilsko
Boom Operator/Runner Terry Shepherd
Post – Kyra Hendrix, Significant Other New York
Hair & Make-up Hannah Williams
First Assistant Director Julian Breany
Production Manager Andrew Keane
Driver Jeremy Densley
Catering Palmer & Pot

Written & Directed by Lorelei Mathias. Additional dialogue by the cast, Anthony Noack, and John Campbell.
Composer, musician & vocalist & original score ‘This Time That Is Mine – Alana’s Lament’ by Camilla Mathias.

FOR WHOM THE SAD BELL TOLLS: THIS WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, MEET MISTER BOB BRIAN.

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We dearly love the artist Rob Ryan. We really do. Truth be told, I find his stuff so moving and unabashedly sentimental that I’ve been known to weep when faced with too many of his paper-cut poems in one go. A friend once had to physically extract me from Ryantown because it was all so romantic I thought I was going to pop.

Some friends and I got to thinking what MisterRob’s work would look like if you sprinkled a bit of um, realism over it…for realism, read clinical depression. Something all too common, but that’s only just becoming ok to admit… thanks to initiatives like World Mental Health Day. These days the Sad bell rings for 1 in 4 of us. Which is how we ended up with this curmudgeonly old bastard, Mister Bob Brian.

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Dreamed up by my childhood BFF and I, Lauren Taylor, Danni Emery and illustrated by Graeme McGregor we bring you this loving, cutting pastiche. Paper-cuts from a world that’s glass half empty. More here at misterbobbrian.tumblr.com

We first made these a few years ago, and were lucky to get a lot of praise from the internet but in re-launching them for World Mental Health Day as part of our new cause-driven comedy page, I can see that looking back I can see that whilst they were funny AF to make, at least one of the artists behind it was struggling with an ‘inner Bob’ of our own. I certainly was. Perhaps a reaction to the perky, excessively whimsical perky Ryanny idealism of our twenties, and the Voice of Doom, pessimistic grumpelstiltskin Briannyness of our thirties. Perhaps the Rob Ryan bell of hope was being drowned out by the Bob Brian cacophony of doom. 

But now, 5 years on – wiser, wrinklier, we’ve found our way out – through the mediums of art, in its many guises. Much like the aims behind this brilliant new initiative MADE OF MILLIONS, launching tomorrow. We all walk a daily line between choosing to focus on the clouds or the suns rays. Or trying to be someone’s rainbow… I think Bob runs in my family a bit. Just this week, my siblings and I were teasing one of our family members about needing to invest in a ‘Doom Jar’ so that every time they felt the urge to utter something pessimistic, they’d have to put a coin in. (proceeds to CALM, or MIND). And what happened? We all laughed our heads off.  

Because that’s the one big thing we’ve learned – myself and my co-writer Em have both found that the only way out is through laughter. Every time something bad happens to us, we have a routine now. Ring each other and tell the story. Then there’s a 30 sec pause while we go ‘c’mon, let’s find the joke. Where’s the joke, Lol? Then. There it is! Next thing, we’re roaring with laughter. Feeling less alone. Crying happy tears again. For us, comedy is alchemy. The other side of a coin marked tragedy. Shit happens. Then, skit happens.

So in honour of Trevor Griffiths’ words, ‘Comedy is medicine. Not coloured sweeties to rot the teeth with’ we set up Melon Comedy. A cause-powered comedy collective, specialising in silly films about melancholy things. From Ghosting, to mental illness to Plastic pollution. Oh, and Mister Bob.

Follow/Subscribe/LOL at fb.com/meloncomedy