‘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.

47364279_1815906591865420_5378984640277118976_n
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.

Writing the Cricket Bat

This month there is another one of those long copy-writing competitions. Reading all the various manifestoes about the importance of long copy (and how it’s so not dead) it reminded me of an speech about the power of words, by the Godfather of Wordsmithery himself, Tom Stoppard. I’d temporarily forgotten this speech but seeing The Real Thing at The Old Vic a few months ago, the hair stood up on the back of my neck when it got to scene five.

Scene five is basically a discussion between Annie and her professional writer boyfriend Henry, about the power of good writing and the importance of authenticity in art.

I’ve cut up bits of the speech so you can hopefully get the idea… It’s enough to bowl you over when performed (forgive pun), but hopefully you can get a sense of that slightly on screen.

“HENRY: Shut up and listen. This thing here, which looks like a wooden club, is actually several pieces of particular wood cunningly put together in a certain way so that the whole thing is sprung, like a dance floor. It’s for hitting cricket balls with. If you get it right, the cricket ball will travel two hundred yards in four seconds, and all you’ve done is give it a knock like knocking the top off a bottle of stout, and it makes a noise like a trout taking a fly… [He clucks his tongue to make the noise.]

…What we’re trying to do is to write cricket bats, so that when we throw up an idea and give it a little knock, it might … travel[He clucks his tongue again and picks up the script.]

… Words… are innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos.

…I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are…. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little, or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.”

I
don’t think we’ll manage to enter the long copy competition this time – another much longer copy deadline (90,000 of novel to be precise) has got in the way. But it’s
a great competition and I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries. I was somehow shortlisted for the Underground Writer one a few years ago – which is where I fell in love with this ad for Aga by Alun Howell. Good luck to anyone that has entered this year – hopefully there will be some bats in there.