THIS is the beginning . . . Because somewhere between not knowing . . . and knowing . . . there lies imagination . . . THIS, THAT and THE OTHER . . . Book 1 . . . OUT NOW . . . THIS is the beginning . . . Because somewhere between not knowing . . . and knowing . . . there lies imagination . . . THIS, THAT and THE OTHER . . . Book 1 . . . CLICK HERE . . .
CURRENT : 'THIS' - new epic fantasy novel : Part One and Part Two : OUT NOW
IN-SIGHT 11 : mixed exhibition at Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno : until 28 May 2017

FUTURE : 'THIS' Part Three : Summer 2017
Appearing at WORD & IMAGE, The Second Modernist Network Cymru Conference : National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth : 12 - 13 September 2017
Writer in Residence : Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog : September 2017
Solo exhibition at Oriel Maenofferen, Blaenau Ffestiniog : Winter 2017


Thursday, 25 May 2017

This Must Be The Plas...


Helfa Gelf is now an annual event - an Arts Trail through North Wales during September that involves hundreds of artists, crafters - creatives of all kinds - in an exciting and varied festival of events. Many creatives open the doors of their studios to the public, presenting an opportunity to interact and share their creative practices. The open studios season is during September and is also preceded - and then followed by - a programme of exhibitions, workshops and courses for creative professionals, interested novices, and all those between. Helfa Gelf presents a unique opportunity to meet and chat with artists, makers and doers in their creative spaces, see them at work, perhaps have a go yourself, and see their finished work - which is often available to purchase at special 'trade prices' - ideal if you want to get some unique Yuletide shopping sorted ahead of the rush...

This year, I will be at Plas Tan y Bwlch for the Helfa Gelf festival, picking-up on the Residency that I began there last year...

There will be readings from my books, 'pop-up' exhibitions of photography and other visual responses, and plenty of chat about art and folklore. Work produced during my 2016 Residency will be on show and I will also host free 'drop-in' creative workshops, and 'taster sessions' from the forthcoming Creative Writing Course: A Sense of Space, to be hosted at Plas Tan y Bwlch in March 2018.

For more info, dates and times, see my Helfa Gelf Artist's Profile Page (click images below) and while you are there, have a good look around their website at all the many and varied artists that will be welcoming you into their work spaces throughout September 2017...




PICTURE THIS...

During the Helfa Gelf Festival, in September, I will also be appearing at Word and Image: The Second Modernist Network Cymru Conference, to present 'a paper' titled, A is for Cow: Formal and Conceptual Uses of Text in Modernism. This event will be held over two days, with events at the National Library of Wales and the The School of Art, Aberystwyth University.

Click HERE for more information and conference registration details.

Friday, 12 May 2017

all very IAWN


For the past month, I have been coordinating IAWN = Independent Authors of Wales Network.

Setting-up IAWN was a learning experience and I have gained much more insight into the mechanics of crowdfunding and also just how varied the literary scene in Wales is! I have had the good fortune to meet and interview a small 'handful' of the more interesting authors with cultural connections to Wales. You can read some of these short(ish) interviews on the IAWN Weblog now:


IAWN - a good idea waiting to happen... perhaps next time?

[click IAWN logo to find out more]

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 Looking Back and Looking Forward 2017


ALL the very BEST for the New Year 
...and hoping 2017 is better in every way!

WORKS ON SHOW...

2016 was ushered in by my solo exhibition Entropy/Extropy at Oriel Maenofferen Gallery, with other works simultaneously on show as part of the In-Sight 7 Exhibition, at Oriel Mostyn Gallery, and then Oriel Ynys Môn Museum and Gallery. The work was mainly lens-based, with a peppering of drawings and print-work. A couple of works were included in the 'Send Us A Postcard' open exhibition at Storiel Museum and Gallery, Bangor, including a charming cicorc named 'Charter'.

'Charter', the cicorc on exhibition at Storiel Museum and Gallery, Bangor
I enjoyed a Creative Residency at Plas Tan y Bwlch during September, in which I immersed myself in the locale and its myth-rich past, resulting in three, linked articles on the associated legends and folklore:

Welsh Folklore: Significance of the Maentwrog Standing Stone

Black Arts and Talismans: Huw Llwyd, the Real Welsh Wizard

Folk-Ore: The Magical Power of Blacksmiths and Their Enduring Stories

You can scroll down to read my blog posts from the Residency. I also hosted a few writing workshops and performed several preview readings from my new epic fairy-tale fantasy novel THIS (part one). Visual responses inspired by the research undertaken as part of the Residency are to be exhibited in the Stable Block Gallery this spring.

Bones of the Land (i) from the series, A Poetic Exploration of Cwmorthin
As 2016 drew to a close, some more cicorcs were on show at Galeri Betws y Coed as part of the Helfa Gelf Local Artists Selection, and remain on display in the boutique there. To ‘book-end’ the year, the In-Sight 10 Exhibition, at Oriel Mostyn Gallery, included seven of my drawings and prints (continues until the end of January).

oh, yes... and THIS happened:

Four-years-in-the-making and now we are excited to be sharing THIS journey with y'all... an epic fairy-tale fantasy adventure full of magic and intrigue and action and mystery... Well, you can share the first part of the journey, because my (fledgling) publisher, The Red Sparrow Press, have wisely decided to publish THIS as a part-work, leading up to its planned publication, later in 2017, as an illustrated print edition. Those of you savvy enough to jump on the unicorn from the outset, can ride for free! Part One of THIS came out Halloween 2016, at the very reasonable price of zero pounds and zero pence - yep, it was free! Part Two is to follow for Valentine's Day 2017 and will, no doubt be launched priced at nothing for the first few days, too!

You know, THIS is exactly what you need...


[ Please Note: The taster extract below is not the beginning. It is taken from later on in the book, about a quarter of the way through: a story within the story, told to Rietta and Carla, the two young girls whose story we follow, by Rietta’s Nanna, Ivy… and Scrufty is a dog. The extract appears here courtesy of The Red Sparrow Press. Please read and enjoy - it is ideal for a bedtime story... ]


You can start reading THIS by Remy Dean with Zel Cariad from the beginning at amazon with a free sample...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Bill Hicks - A Life of Danger


I recently realised that Bill Hicks and my father had some things in common. They shared much wit and wisdom. Both had keen intellects and deep feelings. They could see, more clearly than most, the wrongs in this world and wanted to do their parts in putting them to rights. From the archive, here is my 1992 interview with Bill Hicks and today seems like an ideal opportunity to share it again... Happy birthday Bill and Barrie.

THE DANGEROUS ZONE

Bill Hicks is, in the words of the New York Times, ''the most brilliant comic of his generation," and his recent tour of major UK theatre venues was a sell-out. Jeremy Dean risks a trip backstage to meet the Man with the Horns.

Integrity is not a word that immediately springs to mind when speaking of stand-up comedy. Bill Hicks is scathingly honest in his viewpoint, and directs his wit like a smoking magnum at many serious subjects and social problems: free will, drug abuse, the homeless, care for the infirm and elderly, world famine, war, bigotry, - hey, wake up! Read on! This may sound like a rather tedious right-on hit list - but these things are funny. Ha-ha and peculiar.

But, 'smoking magnum'? Well, witnessing Hicks' act is rather like playing Russian roulette with your prejudices and complacencies. Bill Hicks surfs the crest of a wave between laughter and discomforting personal revelation, which always (almost always) breaks onto the Bondai Beach of laughter. Just leave those taboos at home.

... and we'll dream, won't we? Of Bill Hicks ...in blue. All in blue.
Since I caught his act during his previous British tour, there has been one question burning in my mind... So, I took this opportunity to confront Bill an hour or so before he went on stage to face a Glasgow audience. There was no tactful way to approach the subject, so with no frills I just blurted, "Bill, what's all this 'Goat Boy' stuff about?"

He laughs, then chuckles like the Horned One himself, "The Goat Boy thing sort of emerged there and then - and it's gonna stay - it's a nod toward our darker desires. You can get people to nod, but they don't like to look too long."

And that's it? When pursued about his darker desires, he evades the subject, probably for the best, I imagine. After all, Bill thinks Playboy is a magazine for gay men! He is taking this meteoric rise to success and critical recognition, with modesty and he admits that he is, "flattered by all the attention."

As for the pressures of touring, he shrugs them off, "It can get a bit out of hand with driving half the day between shows, but no - I'm coping."

So, it's not up to the private jet yet...

"They got me a toy one to play with in the back of the car, to keep me quiet, 'Are we there yet? Shut up, Bill, play with your little plane! Aww gee... '"

But even with critical acclaim and a vast audience, I can't see how he gets the bulk of his material past the Americans, after the trouble that music stirs up among the fanatical right-wing minority, the moral majority and the Washington Wives brigade.

"Well, they haven't put me on prime time yet..." he admits with a demonic laugh. "Religious jokes go down stellar here [in the UK], whereas in America you can feel them draw back a little. The Great American Brow furrows: 'He can't say that, can he?' and political jokes - over here they seem to understand where I'm coming from. Across the board the British audiences give me a better reception."

Political jokes - is there a danger that by laughing at serious matters they become trivialised and that action gets diffused?

“That's a very good question. I don't know if I'm preaching to the already converted, just highlighting the problems. Making a joke about it is my way of grabbing them by the throat and shaking them - the people who legitimise all that kind of thing - the politicians, capitalists. The humour comes from initial anger."

Is Bill just a frustrated politician?

"No. I do a lot of political material. I also do a lot of drug material, and I'm not a frustrated drug user - I found drugs very satisfying… " He muses for a moment, perhaps a pang of nostalgia, “The War on Drugs - the President said, 'We're losing the War on Drugs'. Do you realise what this implies? There are people fighting a war, and they're on drugs, and they're winning! There's no war on drugs, it’s a war on free will.

"I don't do drugs ...any more ...not so far today! I'm talking to you now completely sober and chemical-free. And from this point of view, looking back, I can fully recommend experimenting with drugs!" He laughs insanely and thinks forward to the end of tonight's show: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Bill Hicks has now left his body."

One drug that is indelibly linked with Hicks is the cigarette in his hand for nearly every publicity shot. During his act the man-in-black was swathed with a cloud of tobacco smoke, when asked how many he got through in a day, his reply would be, "Just two." Cigarettes or packs? "No, lighters." But not any more. Hicks has dropped his partner from the act, on stage and off. The smokers in his audiences, who had seen him as some kind of champion messiah, have taken this badly. In Leeds, lighted cigarettes were thrown onto the stage during his act to tempt him.

"My Manager said, 'Bill - you're giving up smoking? What about the act?' Well, I guess I get to do it for seven years longer... And on stage there's the adrenaline. When something comes to you spontaneously on stage, in front of an audience and they share in that - then there's a real rush."

The clock is ticking. Is Bill nervous and psyched up?

"Well, before you disturbed me, I was just taking a nap, so that's how nervous and psyched up I am right now."

So, what does Bill dream of in his pre-show naps?

"I had a vision... Even though this is a world where good men are murdered in their prime and media hacks thrive and proliferate, I've gotta share this with you, because I love you, and you feel that... You know all the money we spend on nuclear weapons and defence every year - trillions of dollars, TRILL-I-ONS – instead… if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded - not ONE - we could, as one race, explore outer space in peace. Forever."

Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Hicks has now left his body…

This interview was first published in the
Winter Term edition of Student Outlook, 1992.

More info at the official Bill Hicks website

For a reminder of how scathingly funny he was, check-out the Bill Hicks YouTube channel 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Read THIS


THIS, the new novel from Remy Dean with Zel Cariad


The Epic Fantasy Adventure Begins...

They say, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” right? Well, of course that’s not really true. They also say, “Knowledge is power.” Well that’s not always true either… because, somewhere between not knowing and knowing, there lies imagination. That’s the key… the key that unlocks secrets.

It did, once upon a time, and it still does today…

This is the first in a new epic fairy-tale trilogy: This, That and the Other, and is published by The Red Sparrow Press.

The first book will be split into four and released as a part-work, with part one (of book one) set for a Halloween launch to coincide with The Book Trust's Children's Book Week (31 October - 4 November), and will be available FREE for those five days, as an exclusive amazon kindle edition (which can easily be read on PCs, tablets, smartphones, etc. Find out how to read Kindle books without a Kindle-reader HERE). Parts two, three and four of This will follow on a quarterly schedule.

GET This - HERE and be there from the beginning...

It began a long time ago, but for Rietta, it really began when she met Carla, another very special and extraordinary person, and realised that they shared the same dreams. Or perhaps it all started when Rietta and Carla found the severely injured dog in the woods, becoming firm friends as they tried to nurse it back to health and happiness. Then there was the thing that they glimpsed watching them from the shadows, and the mystery of the missing standing-stone… but when they find the key to another realm, well, then things really start happening!

This That and the Other is imaginative fantasy, on an epic scale. The story follows the special friendship between two girls who embark on a magical adventure together, across the three realms. It is a modern fable inspired by Welsh fairy tales and folklore, in the tradition of The Neverending Story, The Box of Delights, The Chronicles of Narnia

Here is a recent interview I did for The Scrawl (along side Zel Cariad and Kim Vertue) in which I mention This and talk about some of my all-time favourite books...

...and another interview about This for PJ Roscoe - The Story Lady website.

More info at The Red Sparrow Press website.

add THIS to your Goodreads shelf

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Stars, At Our Feet - The Plas Tan y Bwlch Journals (part 2)

Iron : made in the stars, gifted to the universe upon their deaths. More plentiful than any other metal. It is in our blood. It is in the land. The acid waters from the high, peated moorland carried the iron down to deposit it as pans of bog-iron in the extensive marshlands that once surrounded the village of Maentwrog. This iron was discovered and worked by the ancient smiths of the Bronze Age, ushering in a new Age of : Iron.

Left: bisected lump of 'bog-iron' displayed at Plas Tan y Bwlch (photograph by Remy Dean, 2016)
Right: galaxy Pictor A - when the light we see left this distant galaxy, 500 million years ago,
what is now the slate of the Cwmorthin quarries was still sediment and ashes...
(image courtesy of 
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NASA, 2016)
Nebulae of rust stain the starscapes of tiny pits and scratches left by the footsteps of quarriers. Slate, once above their head, now at their feet reflecting the infinite night above. Of the land, of the stars.

The Stars, At Our Feet (i) photograph by Remy Dean, 2016
In December 2015, the Snowdonia National Park was officially designated the world's tenth International Dark Sky Reserve. This news, and the poetic image of slate miners returning to their barracks on a rare, clear night, their heavy work-boots splashing in the puddles and mixing the reflection of the stars with their own, were the seeds for an on-going series of images I have titled, The Stars, At Our Feet...

The Stars, At Our Feet (ii) photograph by Remy Dean, 2016
I took the title for this series of photographs from a poem by an anonymous Cwmorthin miner, found written on the back of a shipping slip, dated 1889.
You can read the News Release about Snowdonia becoming a Dark Skies Reserve HERE.

Find more about the Cwmorthin Quarries HERE.

Read about Peter Crew's archaeological excavations at Bryn y Castell hillfort and subsequent findings related to bog iron and the Iron Age significance of the Maentwrog area HERE.

Work produced during this Residency will be on show in the Stable Block,
Plas Tan y Bwlch, over this Yuletide, and through Spring 2017...

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Plas People Past Present - The Plas Tan y Bwlch Journals (Part 1)

Approaching the house where it sits upon high, overlooking the perfected bend in the river Dwyryd, I walk a steep winding path sided by ancient trees. The leaves are beginning to tan. After this dull muggy summer, when it rained enough to drown cars and wash away the chrysalides from their sheltering soil into rampant rivers and the eternal seize, it cannot be the tanning of the sunshine but the brush of autumn that is bronzing the leaves with its subtle signal to fall. The branches and trunks record the sodden summer in new rings, hold a sample of our air within their grain, breathe in what we exhale.


So to the house. My hand upon handles turned by Lady Mary, whose skill also turned wood and carved church rails. My feet step on stairs ascended and descended daily by her maids and footmen. I touch the ever present past and walk the corridors of time that measures its steps with mine, second for second into a share of the future. The past remains mine as much as yours, though what we know of it is told in the coded marks they left us. Stone upon stone, word after word, the scratches left by rings on the age-polished door handles and the smooth stone of steps bowed by thousands of footfalls, to which I add my own.


For Helfa Gelf 2016, I am delighted to be Writer in Residence at Plas Tan y Bwlch, and have already started exploring the rich heritage of this great house and the land that surrounds it. I will be using combinations of text, artefact and images to document my findings and responses, which will be recorded here in this on-line journal.

I will be in residence at Plas Tan y Bwlch on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of September.
Those dates are 10th & 11th, 17th & 18th, 24th & 25th.

You will find me in the ground floor Bar, where you will be able to see some examples of my work, take part in creative workshops, listen to readings, and buy books.

I will host the Creative Writing workshops each morning from 11:00 to 12:00, and there will be readings and storytelling beginning at 14:00 each afternoon. Readings will include a special preview from my forthcoming fairy-tale-fantasy, This (recommended for age groups of 9+, though suitable for all). There will also be short-form creative writing activities at any time you 'drop-in'.


I am looking forward to lots of fascinating chats about art and writing, local history and folklore... Bring it!

Follow my twitter feed for up-dates.

more info about the Residency at my Helfa Gelf page
and find out more about Plas Tan y Bwlch at their website