Friday, 17 June 2011

Indian Summer

Free Event at Leicester's Phoenix Sqaure this weekend. Come and sample the sights, sounds and tastes of India.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Uniforms and Orgasms

What do you think 25-year-old Lucy does for a career? This seemingly sweet looking Derbyshire lass has a naughty side. Find out why…

If I said to you Lucy’s job involves firemen and police officers you might be fooled into thinking she worked in the emergency services. Or how about if I said her job involved multiple orgasms would you think she was in the porn industry?

Well combine the two and add a pen and paper and you’ve got yourself an erotic literature writer.

“It was a dare! Back when I was at Uni, I was chatting with some friends and one of them jokingly said I should write an erotic story. I laughed it off, but my friend pursued the conversation and eventually dared me. I couldn't back down then – so I gave it go! The result was received very well and I continued to write, with my first published story appearing in now-defunct magazine, Scarlet.
“That first publication gave me the confidence to continue and I've never looked back”,
said Lucy Felthouse.

Do you ever reference your own life in your stories?

Lucy said:
“I think every writer does to some extent, regardless of genre. There are themes that slip into my stories, for example my love of the outdoors and my appreciation for a man in uniform. Other than that, though, I keep my private life private – I'd never write something that was a word-for-word account of something that had happened to me.”

Do your family know what you do? If so, what do they think?

Lucy said: “Yes and no. They know I write, but as none of them have actually asked outright, I haven't enlightened them as to the genre. They see my job as being self-employed, "doing websites and stuff."

Do you have a partner? What do they think?

Lucy said: “I do, and he's fab. He doesn't really read my writing, he's much more into crime fiction and thrillers. But he's massively supportive and listens to me waffle on about various writerly things without complaint. I can't ask for any more than that!”

What’s the best atmosphere you find for writing?

Lucy said: “I have to be alone. Not necessarily in the house, but certainly in the room. I'm getting better at ignoring distractions, but I do find it difficult. I'm massively jealous of writers that go to cafes to write, it seems like such a cool thing to do. But the reality is, if I was sitting in a cafe with a notebook I'd be doodling on it and eavesdropping on people's conversations!

“I also can't have any music or anything. I find myself thinking about the lyrics and humming along, rather than writing. I tried music without lyrics for a while, like classical music, but it was still a no-go area. I just have to knuckle down and get on with it and try not to stare out of the window, or get distracted by the internet.”

Do you have any rituals or traditions you must do before starting a project?

Lucy said: “No, not at all. I guess I like to clear any other pressing jobs out of the way so when I sit down to write I'm not thinking "Oh, I really need to get such-and-such finished," but other than that, I just go for it.”

Do you keep a notebook at the side of your bed in case you get some inspiration?

Lucy said: “Absolutely! I have notebooks everywhere, and if all else fails I can email myself from my iPhone. The trouble is though; I tend to get ideas at the most ridiculous times, like when I'm in the shower or something.”

Do you have friends/colleagues whom you can share ideas with?

Lucy said: “Yes and no. The friends and family I see from day-to-day aren't creative, so I wouldn't bore them with writing stuff. However I have lots of writer friends that I chat to regularly via text, emails, Twitter and Facebook. To be honest, though, I don't tend to share my ideas that often, I just think about them myself, scribble some notes down and hope they develop into stories.”

Whose your best critic?

Lucy said: “Me! I don't have a beta reader or anything. I've toyed with the idea but I'm often so close to deadline with submissions that it's probably not a good idea! During my degree I was taught that it's not good to be too precious over your work – and I've always stuck to that. I'll edit and edit until something is right, even if it means cutting lots out.”

Do you have any idols?

Lucy said: “Oh yes, loads. I think many writers dream of being the next J.K. Rowling, but I don't, necessarily. Obviously having her millions would be fantastic, but I wouldn't want the fame that goes with it.

“Within the erotica/erotic romance genre, though, some of the writers I most admire are Portia Da Costa, Saskia Walker, Kay Jaybee, K D Grace, Justine Elyot and Charlotte Stein. They're all prolific and very talented writers and I'm so happy that I can call them my friends, too.”

Who has been your favourite character that you’ve created and why?

Lucy said: “This varies from time to time. But at the moment my favourite character is Sam, who appears in Just Couldn't Wait, a story in the erotic anthology Uniform Behaviour. He's my favourite because he bears an incredibly strong resemblance to one of my celebrity crushes and is totally gorgeous.”

What’s the best erotic phrase to describe a penis you’ve either created or read elsewhere?

Lucy said: “I literally can't answer that question. There are so many excellent writers out there that I definitely wouldn't class my own work as the best! Plus I've read so much that I couldn't pick out any phraseology. It's characters and storylines that tend to stick in my mind, rather than individual phrases.”

What are you working on right now?

Lucy said: “At the moment I'm weaving my writing in between all the freelance PR & Marketing stuff I'm doing. But I'm finishing up a couple of short stories to be submitted to various anthologies. I'm also trying to find some time to work on a novella I've been thinking about for a long time.”

Do you want to write in other styles/genres?

Lucy said: “I have toyed with the idea of writing chick-lit, but every plot that I've ever thought about has seemed ridiculously cheesy or unbelievable. I know that reading, for many people, is about escapism but if I read something too off the wall, I lose interest.

“I am trying to stretch myself with the erotic genre. The majority of what I've written has been contemporary stuff, but I've also written some paranormal and I'd definitely like to do more of this.

“I also do quite a bit of copywriting and journalistic stuff on top of my fiction, and I enjoy that immensely too. I'm very lucky that I'm getting to do what I enjoy, particularly as so many people don't.”

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a creative writer?

Lucy said: “I briefly touched on this in one the previous questions. I was taught the importance of not being too precious about your own work and editing to the best of your abilities. After all, what's the point of writing a story that you like if nobody else is going to like it?”

To find out more about Lucy or to read her work visit

Running for a cause

Finding out you’re diagnosed with a life-altering disease is difficult at whatever age but for 15-year-old Stuart Rose, it was an added strain to adolescent life. The Scotsman had to deal with the side-effects of medication whilst taking his exams.

But six years later and Stuart is living life to the full and using his plight as a motivation to help others. Not content with letting Multiple Sclerosis rule his life, Stuart will be taking on the Loch Ness Marathon this October.

How did your friends/family react during the time of diagnosis?
Stuart said: “When I was diagnosed my family and friends were understandably upset. I guess when I was diagnosed I didn’t know too much about MS apart from knowing that my auntie had been diagnosed with it. Many people were surprised as I was only 15 years old when I was diagnosed which is unusually young to have this disease. The support and kindness from my family and friends was very important to me and helped me to try and get on with my life as best that I could.”

Multiple Sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults, with diagnosis generally between the ages of 20 and 40.

MS is the result of damage to the myelin - a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system. When myelin is damaged this interferes with messages from the brain and other parts of the body. There is currently no cure for MS. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.

For everyone, it makes life unpredictable.

What type/form of MS do you have (if you know yet)?
Stuart said: “I was originally diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS but last year was told my MS was now highly active relapsing/remitting MS. I had several relapses in about a year and I was given another MRI scan and, unfortunately, the results showed evidence of new MS activity. As I now have ‘highly active’ MS I qualify for a treatment (‘Tysabri’) which I receive once a month, by infusion at the hospital.”

When was your last 'attack' and how does it make you feel?
Stuart said: “My last relapse was in August 2010. This resulted in numbness to the left side of my body – leg, arm, hand which also affected my balance and co-ordination. I spent the night in hospital and was given a course of a three day treatment of steroids which helped clear my symptoms up after about a week. My other relapses have mainly been numbness (particularly to my left side) with one of my first also being an attack which gave me double vision for about 10 days which was extremely worrying.”

When you run what spurs you on through bad weather conditions and knee injuries?
Stuart said: “I think what motivates me is the thought of helping others. Every training run I go on, no matter how hard, I try and remember why I am doing this and who I am doing this for.

“The feeling that I am doing something to try and improve peoples lives is a massive motivation for me.

“There have certainly been runs which are very tough and I have felt that I cannot do more but I just keep doing what I have been doing – trying my best to achieve my goal. Also, one of my main symptoms that I find with MS is that it affects my mood but I feel that getting out for a run can sometimes help to lift it.”

How often are you training? How many miles etc?
Stuart said: “I began training in January and it was very difficult with persistent interruption due to wintry weather and also after four weeks of training I had problems with my knees. I found that due to my knee injury I could only run once a week instead of the intended four.”

When Stuart signed up for the Marathon he was also registered for the Inverness Half Marathon in March. After seven weeks of training he took part in the half-marathon just three months ago.

He said: “It was a real challenge. The weather on the day was terrible; there was snow, freezing rain and strong winds throughout. This was not helped by my knee problem recurring before I was even three miles into the run. However, I persevered and completed the half marathon in a time of two hours 20 minutes.

“After the Half Marathon I decided to take a break for a few weeks (to give the knees a rest!) and have recently got out my running shoes again. My weekly mileage ranges from 15 miles to 39 miles.”

Are you currently working or a student? What are your ambitions?
Stuart said: “I am currently working as a Learning Support Auxiliary in a secondary school in Inverness. I have worked at the school for nearly two years now and I am finding it extremely enjoyable and rewarding. I am also studying an honours degree in Psychology with the Open University; however I am taking a break from this to concentrate on my running and fundraising. I will continue with my studies after the marathon in October. In the future I would like to go into teaching.”

What piece of advice would you offer to anyone whose newly diagnosed with MS?
Stuart said: “I would say the most important advice would simply be – do not worry. You are still you. You are still the same person you were before you were diagnosed. I would research the type of MS you have and also research the different options of treatments to help manage MS. In addition to this, I feel it is also very important to surround yourself with supportive family, friends or work colleagues. I know from experience you may feel like you just want to try and shut people out and ‘deal with it’ alone but try find a way to take care of yourself and just relax and know that you have many people in your life who care for you.”

21-year-old Stuart wants to raise as much money as possible for MS Society Scotland. He said: “The MS Society Scotland depends entirely on charitable fundraising and the support of the public and volunteers to be able to do their fantastic work.”

To support Stuart’s Marathon challenge visit

Review: Mr Stink

The world premiere of Mr Stink was a sensory treat for all the family at its opening show at Curve, Leicester last night.

The ‘stinkiest show in town’ came with its own scratch ‘n’ sniff book to truly let the audience become absorbed in the story.
Its creator, Little Britain star David Walliams, and his supermodel wife, Lara Stone, were seen enjoying the production from their mid row seats.
The co-production between KW & NB Ltd and Curve Theatre, Leicester with Hackney Empire and Nottingham Playhouse had its first public dress rehearsal last night (Weds, May 25).
The show has been adapted and directed by Matthew White (Director of the recent West End productions of Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors and the forthcoming production of Top Hat) with music composed by Matt Brind (Musical Director for Legally Blonde and Conductor and Orchestrator for John Barrowman’s latest album).
Chloe doesn’t like school very much. She isn’t as cool as the other kids, no iPhone, no DS and no friends. Then she meets Mr Stink – the local tramp. Yes, he smells a bit but he’s the only person who’s ever been nice to her, including her mother who wants to be the local MP and is trying to rid the streets of its homeless. About to lose her only friend, Chloe finds Mr Stink a secret hiding place…but is there more to him than meets the nose?
The simplistic yet easily moulded set was a great use of Curve’s studio space and allowed the audience to follow the story by establishing each scene with its props.
Three of the characters were played by puppets; Amber, The Duchess the dog and Elizabeth the cat.

Speaking to Mark Peachey, who works The Duchess, during rehearsals he said Toby OliƩ had taught them how to move with the puppets and bring them to life.

This was a fantastic element to the show which helped bring the original books characters to the stage.

Mr Stink’s (Pete Edbrook) larger-than-life personality lit up the stage throughout both acts. His loveable nature and charming quirks had the audience laughing with delight.
The on-set relationship between Mr Stink and Chloe (Lotte Gilmore) was heart-warming and in the final scenes you’ll see how much Mr Stink really cares for the 12-year-old girl.

The stereotypical corner shop owner, Raj (Irvine Iqbal) and Chloe’s mum, Mrs Crumb (Julia J Nagle), had some of the funniest scenes in the show.

Mrs Crumb’s ambitions to become a politician leads to some hilarious consequences on Question Time and whilst out campaigning.

When summarising the best bits from the show its hard to single just one thing because it was all outstanding.

But whilst typing up my review all I can seem to do is hum some of the wonderful songs which I heard last night including Mrs Crumb’s campaign song ‘Wake up and Smell the Coffee’ and The Duchess’ song which was a cue for the audience to use their scratch ‘n’ sniff books.

This is set to be a huge theatre hit across the country as it continues its tour until December 2011.
For a guaranteed giggle and a good night out, make sure you see Mr Stink live on stage.