We had a word with one of our team, who, in publishing his first book, has just added the novelist string to his bow…
Journalist and restaurant critic Dale Hurst has been with us at Humans of Bournemouth pretty much from the beginning, but he hasn’t told us his whole story. Even before he became busy running his blog, Expensive Tastes, and while he was studying his journalism degree, until March of this year, he was working on something much bigger.
His first novel.
We caught up with Dale in one of his rare non-busy moments to find out all about it.
FIRST, WHAT IS THE BOOK CALLED AND WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The book is called Lust & Liberty – it’s the first book in a series overall called The Berylford Scandals. Berylford is a fictitious market town in Hampshire, based in part on Bournemouth in terms of its layout and its history. The series of stories I have planned will cover the lives, loves and losses of a number of its residents, one or many of whom have a secret, a mystery or something scandalous they’re trying to hide.
Lust & Liberty mainly concerns a woman called Lady Oliviera Vyrrington. She’s suffered a lot over the years: a declining marriage, she’s buried a few children. She’s also got one or two secrets, the protection of which become more and more important over the course of the novel, with many threats along the way.
HOW LONG HAS IT TAKEN YOU TO WRITE?
I came up with the idea of The Berylford Scandals in 2008 – though it wasn’t called that then. It was just a story set in this little market town, which I finished and re-finished several times while still at school. Lust & Liberty is actually the prequel to that original book. I starting that in 2010, to answer some of the questions I had left open. Over time, I was working on Lust & Liberty more and more. I changed it around a lot – including the title. I also edited and tightened the characters and the plot to make it a full story in its own right.
It was only a couple of months back that I finally ended up with a finished product.
WHO INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
My main modern literary inspiration has to be J. K. Rowling. Hers is a tale of battling demons and overcoming the perceived failures in her life. A tale of self-belief and perseverance. She’s a real role model to a lot of people. If I could have tenth of her success in my lifetime, I’ll consider myself happy.
The novel itself is set in 1793-4, so in the Regency period. Jane Austen was the bestselling author of the time, but Lust & Liberty aims to have more of a Dickensian feel to it. There’s traces of Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford), Leo Tolstoy (War & Peace), Victor Hugo (Les Misérables, Hunchback of Notre Dame) and, of course, Shakespeare in there.
As a writer, I consider myself a humourist as much as a dramatist. I couldn’t help injecting some wit and humour into the dialogue and the prose. Otherwise it would end up a very heavy and depressing story.
FINALLY, WHO DESIGNED THE COVER?
The cover is actually just as important to the success of a book – especially a self-published one – as the prose. I had mine designed professionally by a friend in Southampton called Dan Lipski. I gave a very vague and undetailed specification when we first started work on the cover, so the fact that he’s done such an amazing job is testament to his skills, really.
The Berylford Scandals: Lust & Liberty by Dale Hurst is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. Follow the link here to view and purchase.
Bournemouth Repair Café Fighting Throwaway Culture
Ahead of the return of Bournemouth Repair Café on Saturday 20th July, I met project lead, Jennie Allen, to find out more about their mission.
Bournemouth repair café is a cog in an international movement of repair cafes striving to resist throwaway culture. Originating from Amsterdam, repair cafes are free meeting places with a base of skilled volunteers, encouraging members of the public to bring in damaged goods for repair. From electricals and textiles to jewellery and furniture, the repair café has you covered.
The Bournemouth repair café is a product of Transition Bournemouth – a local community initiative reducing the impacts of peak oil and climate change. The movement is founded on the belief that working together as communities is where real change takes place, as opposed to individual efforts or waiting for the government to act on issues of concern.
WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES?
Project lead Jennie Allen, said:
“The goal is to reduce landfill waste whilst encouraging communities to share at the same time…”
Sharing comes in a variety of forms, including skill sharing, tool sharing and idea sharing. A key objective of the repair café is to pass on knowledge. For instance, those coming in with broken iPhones should leave with the skills to fix them.
“It relates to the idea of a circular economy. People always say ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, but there is a fourth art as well. ‘Repair’ – one that people don’t do as they used to, because of throwaway culture”
A recent study found that one product successfully repaired at a repair café can prevent up to 24 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions. The study echoes the general message implicit in the repair café movement – that the significant barrier to repair is the general public’s lack of necessary skills, rather than irreparable damage to products.
A NON-PROFIT INITIATIVE
Repair cafés are entirely voluntary, although donations are always welcomed. Donations go towards hiring venues, acquiring new tools and components and covering travel expenses for volunteers. Plus providing refreshments, of course!
Jennie also emphasised that the project should not be viewed as a challenge to local businesses. Rather, they aim to help people become more conscious of sustainable repair practices.
BOURNEMOUTH REPAIR CAFÉ – WHERE AND WHEN?
The event will be held at Bournemouth Library on Saturday 20th July from 2-4pm, in the large meeting room on the second floor.
“We welcome the public to come in with broken items. We will carry out repairs and hopefully teach a thing or two!”
If you are interested, Jennie will welcome you at Bournemouth Library from 2pm tomorrow!
Find out more via the Bournemouth Repair Café Facebook page, or e-mail transitionbournemouth@
What’s On: Rosé & Fizz Festival
Following a successful gin celebration, Maison Sax hosts a festival dedicated to all things pink and bubbly…
August kicks off in style this year with Maison Sax in Ashley Cross. They’re hosting their own Rosé and Fizz Festival on the 10th.
The event was announced following the success of their artisan gin festival back in May. It will take place in their huge Provençal garden at the back of this bistro-style restaurant.
English Oak Vineyard are among the local brands showcasing their products, including an array of sparkling wines.
And rosé and bubbly lovers will be very pleased to learn that the event is free to enter. All you need to do is comment “Fizz o’clock” on the event’s Facebook page.
Stuart Goldsmith to Headline Coastal Comedy
As their season draws to a close, Coastal Comedy has one last high-profile act to share with you…
Award-winning monthly event Coastal Comedy welcomes Stuart Goldsmith this weekend in the last show of their season. The comedian and podcast host will headline the show, taking place on Saturday 13th July at Poole’s Lighthouse Theatre.
Goldsmith has a reputation for smart, accessible stand-up, a natural charm and a quick wit. All this was honed by his early years as a street performer. His act features many up-front revelations about love, sex and romance (among other things), offering plenty of surprises along the way.
Alongside Goldsmith and the event’s founder Adrienne Coles, two other acts will take the Coastal Comedy stage. Opening the show is Rick Kiesewetter, an observational comic with specialist subjects in national identities and stereotypes. And then there’s Johnny Wardlow, part of the BBC New Comedy Awards for three years running.
Coastal Comedy has earned high recognition as one of the best nights out in Bournemouth. This includes the Night Time Award at this year’s BH Stars, plus a finalist in for the Best Night Out Award at 2018’s BAPTAs. Each and every evening never disappoints.