Friday, 27 October 2017

This week at Valley Press, #78: 'In all our finery'

Dear readers,

We won! At the top of this message (if your email is working properly), you should be able to see the VP team in all our finery, and the really very beautiful trophy we received for being the 'Culture/Arts Business of 2017' on the Yorkshire Coast. (I know hard work is its own reward, but trophies help too.) Thanks to the judges and all who contributed to a very memorable night in Bridlington last Friday, particularly Jo, Tess and Vanessa who imbued proceedings with some glamour (unlike me with my clip-on tie and £30 suit).

* * *

If you live in the Yorkshire coast area, and you'd like to be part of an award-winning team, we are actually looking for a new face at the moment. I'll tell it straight so you'll know if the job is for you: we need someone to come in for around six hours a week and keep our accounts spreadsheet up to date (so it matches the bank statement), keep track of incoming and outgoing invoices and remittance, and deal with author royalties twice a year.

You don't need to be an accountant, or have any qualifications in that area; it's more a question of attitude. If you enjoy the sight of a well-organised spreadsheet, and figures don't scare you in the way they do some people, this could be right up your street – you can keep a flexible schedule, and there will be a salary involved (to be negotiated, will depend on experience!)

If you think you could be the person we're looking for, just reply to this email (or write to me at with a paragraph or two explaining why you'd be perfect, and maybe pop a CV in the attachments. Let your friends know too – have a good look at them next time you meet up, do any of them look like they might enjoy spreadsheets? They may be too shy to admit it, but just murmur 'Excel' and see if their eyes light up.

* * *

By the time you hear from me next, the I Was Britpopped launches will be half-finished, so I'd better take this opportunity to remind you where and when they are. It's Waterstones Leeds on Thursday 2nd, from 6.30pm, and Waterstones Camden on Friday 3rd from 7pm. Please do tell any Britpoppy friends you might have about these events – have a good look at them next time you meet up, do any of them look like they might have been an enthusiastic part of the Britpop scene? They may be too shy to admit it, but just murmur the name of an obscure Shed Seven b-side and see if their eyes light up. (This is my all-purpose, foolproof plan for finding people's secret foibles.)

I'll leave you today with a poem from Wendy Pratt's Gifts the Mole Gave Me, as promised. This is one of the sweetest and most straightforward poems featured, but the poets among you will know how much blood, sweat and effort goes into writing something sweet and straightforward! I hope you enjoy it; have a great week, hope to see you at a launch.

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

In Search of the Perfect Purse

I want that purse you gave me
back when we were courting.
Even though I know it’s downstairs
in the junk drawer, its broken-zipped
mouth gaping, still holding
the train tickets and Metro pass
from Paris, I want to own it again.

I want to find in it that picture you took
as we pulled out of the station, in which
my face is doughy with youth
and I have not yet learned
how to tame my hair. I want your hand

as we run up the stairs to our hotel room
in the attic, Klimt’s The Kiss
over our bed like a blessing. I want
to put Paris back in my purse, that purse
I loved with its grown-up browns
and stitched gold and clasps and pockets.

I want to open that purse and find
the cardboard ticket from the Louvre
and the Pompidou and the receipt
from Le Refuge de Fondues where we
got drunk on red wine served
in baby’s bottles and forgot to save
our wits for art. I want that purse.

No other purse compares.
This one has only room for my debit card,
the pale-faced photo that the clinic took
of you, the Post-it note you left me
on the Mars Bar that said in shaky capitals

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