Great stories, and a big announcement…

2014-02-13 19.26.29We packed out the Brunswick again for our first show of 2014, with 8 stories chosen from our biggest crop of submissions yet.

We kicked things off with a big announcement about the launch of our Brighton Prize.
This short story prize offers writers the chance to win cash, as well as a place on the bill at our Brighton Festival Fringe show, and all the kudos that comes with being a prizewinner.

First prize is ??400, with two runners up prizes of ??50. Head over to www.brightonprize.com for more details – and follow us on Twitter @brightonprize.

And on to the show….

Lucy Britner opened the night with her flash piece ‘It’s Your Funeral’ – a funny story of love gone more than slightly wrong, which raised a good few laughs.

2014-02-13 22.39.14Next up, Alice Cuninghame read ‘The Last Client’, a not so funny tale of a world where staying alive, means stealing dead flesh for scientific research.

Linda Baker took us into the desert and gave us her take on archaeology with ‘The Fake’.

Holly Dawson gave us ‘Everything Here Belongs in a Cage’ – a beautiful, thought-provoking story of art and deafness that will surely stick with the audience for a long time.

Pete Maguire read ‘Have the Schemes of Nature Succeeded in Dreaming You Pure?’, a very funny story featuring a talking sheep and its well-meaning would-be saviours.

Heather McKenzie gave us the evening’s second piece of flash. ‘Out of Time’ had the audience hooked with its tale of time-travel refugees.

Nicolas Ridley read ‘Always’ – an atmospheric story of life in the faded other-world of Britain’s old colonial outposts.

And finally, Bill Parslow (one of our very first readers back in 2011) gave us The Reversed Fish – a political story with fairytale roots.

More pictures in the gallery.


Our Best Show Yet

Our Autumn Rattle Tales took us bit by surprise this year. We???d had such a full and fantastic summer what with the Green Man and Brighton Digital Festivals, and supporting Lonny Pop as host at The Small Wonder Slam, we almost forgot about organising our regular show. By the time we did remember there weren???t many dates available and the whole thing was a bit rushed in terms of calling for submissions and publicising the show. The subs came in though, and the standard was exceptionally high.

Katherine DoggrellWe headed to our spiritual home, The Brunswick Pub in Hove, last Wednesday for a night of stories and, for the first time, music. There weren???t as many people in the audience as usual (probably due to the spontaneity of the show!) so the venue was a little less packed, people could sit comfortably around candle-lit tables and there were enough rattles for everyone.

Rattle Tales veteran, Katherine Doggrell started off proceedings with a funny flash fiction about a pre-9/11 airline pilot disturbed by a stream of visitors to the cockpit, arch and thought-provoking, ending with the line, ???he???d do anything for a sturdy door and a gun.??? The audience was on fine form from the off and asked Katherine several questions about her inspiration and intention.

Out-of-towner, David McGrath launched into a spirited reading of his prize-winning story The Elephant in David McGraththe Tower complete with French accent about an elephant in the king???s menagerie at the Tower of London several centuries ago. The tale was absurdly tragi-comic, narrated by the sophisticated beast, it spoke volumes about cultural difference, between us and the French and between us and our ancestors (though some would say we hadn???t changed that much.) At the end, we had tears in our eyes for le pauvre elephant and again the audience had many questions.

Mike Liardet finished off Part One with The Invention, a memoir from Sir Isaac Newton???s cat, Spit Head, about his involvement in the scientist???s greatest invention. Again, truth was revealed to be stranger than fiction when Mike revealed that Isaac Newton was indeed responsible for the feline-related invention and that the prototype can still be seen in his former home. The small dog in the front row particularly enjoyed Mike???s story.

With I Was There Watching, Edward Rowe gave us a harrowing first-person account of a terrorist watching the scene of devastation before and after her attack. In less than 400 words Ed managed to tap into the psyche of fundamentalism and its justification of atrocity.

Ruby Cowling followed with Give Over, a tale of child manipulation unfolding over the course of an interview between a teenage girl and her concerned teacher. Ruby gave us an authentic teenage voice with a story which stared with comic recognition of youthful folly and ended leaving us all feeling decidedly uncomfortable.

Sam Crawley & Sam IrelandMusician Sam Crawley, a friend of Rattle Tales approached us some time ago proposing a musical interlude during the show and this idea came to fruition this October. She and vocalist Sam Ireland performed two songs which provided an extra dimension to the stories we had just heard, beautiful, stirring and melancholy, a Lynchian pause in proceedings in which to float away and clean our minds.

After another short break Alice Cuninghame read The Washout, a dystopian tale about a world under-water, where the rich live in sky-scrapers in reverse, the most affluent residing the furthest from the surface. Expertly read, it told of class injustice and loss of liberty that seems only a natural disaster or two away from the present.

Jo Gatford made her Rattle Tales debut with Now Look What You Did, the story of cat death and psychotic Women???s Institute outrage that moved from laugh out loud to a horrifying approximation of the rise of Nazism. Jo???s story was extremely clever and prompted one audience member to ask if it was about the death of Princess Diana.

Erinna Mettler sent us home with an atmospheric ghost story, a lonely Devon pub, a blizzard at the door, wind rattling the windows and footprints with no owner. Truly terrifying.

The audience was fantastic, the readers brilliant and we at Rattle Tales think it may have been our best show yet. Thanks to everyone who came along, here???s to the next one.


Rattle Tales at Brighton Fringe

Another Brighton Festival, another Rattle Tales at the Fringe. This was to be our biggest show yet, with 80 tickets sold in advance. The Brunswick was packed out and buzzing as soon as we opened the doors.


We were joined for this one by the Brighton and Hove Camera Club. Each story was illustrated by one of their photos, with the person who took the photo speaking to the audience after each story. It was fascinating to see how each photographer interpreted each story ??? many thanks to everyone involved.

The Stories

We kicked off with Shirley Golden???s flash piece, Curtailed. This story of a girl growing up with a tail gave everyone something to think about. Should she have it removed…or not?


Craig Melvin???s Albion was a journey around Brighton and its characters. It mixed myth and reality perfectly, breaking plenty of rules and keeping everyone engaged.

DSC_9772Erinna Mettler???s Carbon in its Purest Form was an emotional walk through Britain???s forgotten former mining communities, in the light of the death of a certain ex-Prime Minister. That ex-PM wasn???t named in the story: she didn???t need to be.

Cahir McDaid gave us Recorded for Posterity, about a baby with a rather unusual diet. He very cleverly introduced the idea of a zombie child slowly, although perhaps the BHCC photograph gave the game away a little. Cahir told us he hadn???t done much writing before. We certainly hope he does more.

Alice Cuninghame read On the Beach, a dystopian tale of a girl fighting to survive in a world of slums, glass cities and refugees. She does survive, but not in the way she wants to.



Mike Liardet gave us his flash piece, The Collector, about a man who collects coincidences. This brilliantly funny tale got plenty of laughs…and a few sharp intakes of breath with its unexpectedly violent ending.

Amanda Welby-Everard read Restless Legs. This tells the story of a battle with the syndrome of the same name, and its relentless effects on both body and mind.

Paul McVeigh finished the show with his hilarious monologue An Honest Man, based on the confused thoughts of a self-justifying womaniser. We all know one of those…


DSC_9786Want more?

Take a look at these reviews from our writers:

Shirley Golden:??https://www.shirleygolden.net/site/Latest.html

Paul McVeigh:??https://paulmcveigh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/rattle-tales-at-brighton-fringe-launch.html

Laura Wilkinson:??https://lauracwilkinson.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/rattling-good-tales/








DSC_9754Coming up

Join Erinna Mettler and Amanda Welby-Everard on 22nd June for a beginners writing workshop. Find out more here.

Read stories from our newly published anthology out now on Kindle??and in paperback.


Rattle Tales: The First Show of 2013

It was a breezy, freezy night in Hove last Wednesday but the welcome was warm and the Brunswick Pub buzzed with punters taking advantage of the food and drink offers. Many of them came along to the first Rattle Tales of the season and they weren???t disappointed; the standard of the readings was among the best we???ve had.Image

Erinna Mettler started off the night with a flash fiction called Feathers telling how the world ends at the hands (or feathers) of depressed angels. Sky News was name-checked as the work of the devil.

Hannah Radcliffe unnerved us all with the tale of a vicar???s wife, vulnerable in a remote rectory with a new baby and an unwelcome guest. The baby monitor crackled and you could have heard a pin drop.

Back to heaven again (anyone would think the Pope had resigned or something) as Ashley Meggitt treated us to a comic tale of death by frozen meat (not horse) and Famous Last Words. Thanks to Ashley for coming all the way from Cambridge to read.

After a short interval, Rattle Tales regular Charlotte Feld enchanted with A Dress In Duck Egg Blue. A restrained and moving piece inspired by the photograph projected during her reading. Charlotte imagined a heart-breaking and ultimately up-lifting story of a mother and daughter stronger than they thought.

Keeping up the colour theme Jade Weighell made us laugh with Blue, a story of a Smartie addict. A spirited reading of a present tense monologue set at a SA meeting that left the audience wondering what happened next.

In part three, experienced rattler Katherine Doggrell took us to mars via travel agent innuendo and a sexless old man. As ever, hugely imaginative and jauntily read.

Tracy Fells re-imagined Little Red Riding Hood in Gretel and the Chocolate Wolf, leaving us with the urge for a hot chocolate.

Julie Taylor rounded off the night with the flash fiction Rhino, about a woman on the look-out for the perfect nose, first it belongs to Sophie Dahl, then an unwitting shop assistant. Aptly titled because everyone knows rhinos are the psychos of the animal kingdom.

There were lots of new faces in the audience and we hope that they enjoyed the show as much as we did. Rattle Tales had some great news earlier in the day; we have been picked by The Independent as one of the ???i-likes??? at Brighton Fringe. The show is on May 23rd back at The Brunswick and subs are now open.Image


Rattle Tales At The Brunswick

What a fantastic night! The first Rattle Tales event at The Brunswick Pub in Hove started in much the same way as all the others, slight worries about unhelpful projectors, hosts lost in the middle of nowhere (Hove), not many people in the bar. Every time we put on a show we worry that no-one is going to turn up and every time we end up with people standing because there aren???t enough chairs. Technical problems solved, our guest authors began to arrive along with our lost host Jo Warburton and then suddenly people were queuing to get in and the room was full.

The night got off to a great start with Joe Evans??? story Pencils. Joe has read at Rattle Tales before and treated us to a sad/sweet story with fairy-tale qualities and beautiful imagery. We normally ask our authors to provide an image to be projected during their story but this time we had collaborated with photographers from Brighton & Hove Camera Club to provide the illustrations. Pencils was interpreted to stunning effect by Heather Buckley.


Amanda Welby-Everard read next; Cri De Coeur, a story about the effect of a mother???s affair on a young girl???s life, tender, poignant and honest and expertly told from the child???s point of view.


Theft by Isabel Costello got them all talking. It was, we later found out, Isabel???s debut on the spoken word scene, but you couldn???t tell. Her story was the most puzzling of the night, and prompted many questions and interpretations from the audience, including one that none of us had thought of! A man tired with his life takes a late night phone call from himself and is persuaded to leave his life behind with himself as a replacement ??? see I told you it was puzzling!


Katherine Doggrell finished the first half with a comic flash piece, X Marks the Spot, about leaving words of wisdom behind in a sort of X-Factor epitaph competition! Do ask not for credit ??? very wise indeed, I???m sure you will agree. Thankfully at a Rattle Tales gig the ??4 ticket price means there is no need to. Our audience now well and truly warmed up, there was a clamour to win our anthology and then off to the bar for much needed refreshment.

Paul McVeigh kicked off the second half with Martin Campbell Is ??? The Incredible Invisible Boy, the very moving story of a young boy trying to escape a violent parental relationship. The audience were stunned by Paul???s heartfelt performance and it felt as if the whole room were taking a breath at once. The story was accompanied with a beautiful photograph by Paul Treadgold.


Erinna Mettler lightened the mood with Killing Stephen Hawking; the tragi-comic tale of a young chef meeting Stephen Hawking at the same time as realising his first love doesn???t want him anymore. Life, the universe and some very un-pc jokes.

Mike Liardet???s??Spike, complete with melancholy photograph by Penny Bailey, told of a brave and faithful dog during World War 2, suffice to say there wasn???t a dry eye in the house as Spike lay down by the fire to dream his last dream.


Brian Bell finished the proceedings with a rousing performance of his Belfast punk flash, No Future. Those Irish boys certainly know how to tell a tale.


Rattle Tales would like to thank The Brunswick for their hospitality and Brighton & Hove Camera Club for their wonderful photographic interpretations; we hope to work with you both again for our 2013 shows.

If you would like to be a part of the next Rattle Tales we have another show coming up in February, check out website and Facebook page in the New Year for submission details.


Rattle Tales on Tour

Last Saturday, we travelled the short distance along the coast to Shoreham-by-Sea. The lovely people at Shoreham Wordfest had asked us to be their penultimate night show, and who were we to say no? We sold out the Ropetackle Arts Centre, and had a fantastic evening with a friendly, lively crowd who were happy to get involved and shake their rattles, expertly encouraged by compere Amanda Welby-Everard.

Erinna Mettler kicked things off with her tale of a family day out and futuristic meat production – What Me and Pa Saw in the Meadow. Ed Rowe followed by going back in time with Spearhead, the story of a prehistoric family, and then Gina Challen read The Painted Lady,??a story of teenage friendships and dreams gone awry. The first half was finished off with a flash piece by Kate Allan – In Memoriam, about family life and relationships through the generations.

The second half started with another flash piece, Sara Crowley’s The Key, about the trials and tribulations of a bookshop owner. Next was Alice Cuninghame’s Tunnels, about an elderly jazz musician’s lost life and love. Then we had Rebecca Parfitt’s The Eyemaker, a fairytale about eyes, colour and dreams. Tom Glover closed the proceedings with??A Man’s Best Friend?, about a dog with a difference.

Next up, we take the Rattle Tales tour to France, where we’ll be putting on a show in the Picardy coastal town of Noyelles-sur-Mer, in the Relaie de la Baie gallery?? on 27th October. We’ll be back home in Brighton on 22nd November for a show at the Brunswick in Hove – submissions close 4th November, details here.







Festival Fringe Benefits

May 14th saw Rattle Tales take part in the Festival Fringe for the first time. Being part of such a huge event was fantastic, and meant lots of new faces turned up. A full house of 60 made their way to the Caroline of Brunswick on a gloomy Monday night to see some of our stalwarts and three first-timers read.?? Jo Warburton made her debut as host, and did great job of keeping things flowing.

Joe Joyce kicked off proceedings with ‘Ganglion’, a tale of gruesome insects and broken dreams. Amanda Welby-Everard changed the tone with ‘The Good School’, a story of over-protective parenting gone wrong. Linda Baker was next up with ‘The Pear Tree’,?? a poignant story of an argumentative couple, a tree and the triumph of love. Finishing off the first half was Charlotte Feld with ‘The Potential Energy of an Object’, about a man’s misguided curiosity. This was the first of two pieces of flash fiction that were included in the night, a new departure for us that rounded off each half nicely.

The second half began with Ryan Millar’s funny and fascinating story ‘Waking up a Bear’, about a man who wakes up in a zoo as a bear. Alice Cuninghame darkened the mood with ‘All Fall Down’, an apocalyptic tale of the return of bubonic plague to Brighton. Susanna Quinn lightened it again with ‘How to Make Friends and Manipulate People’, a funny story of salesmen and manipulation. Erinna Mettler ended the night with another piece of flash, ‘Elephant’, about a girl’s visit to an elephant.

There was plenty of discussion and questions for the writers, with everyone getting involved and sticking around after to mingle and chat more. Thanks to everyone at Brighton Festival Fringe and Laughing Horse for helping us make it happen.

The night also saw the launch of the Rattle Tales anthology, a collection of 25 stories from all the Rattle Tales nights. Buy it here.

See our facebook page for more photos.







Cold night, hot stories

Despite a Dickensian winter, the nine writers who bought their stories to our new venue in the Studio Bar at the Komedia were rewarded with a packed house. With standing room at the back and enthusiastic rattlers at the front, host Lonny Pop led an evening of chilling tales from the future, uplifting stories of home renovation and warnings about the dangers of miscounting your magpies.

Ed Rowe kicked the evening off with his moving story of a man finding a new lease of life as he faced his death, in DIY for the Terminally Ill. Lucy Britner???s cliff-hanger Glenda???s Heel reminded many in the audience of some unwise post-clubbing choices, and Chris Roche closed the first third with The Piano Tuner, which combined thoughts of synesthesia and Ireland???s dichotomies.

Joe Evans led the audience through a child???s efforts at escapism in the enchanting Monster, while Alex Maunder lured listeners into a bleak future tempered by a father???s love in And Just Like Stars They Silenced Us and Katherine Doggrell defied the laws of science and baked beans with The Iron Age.

Tamsin Bishton took the musings of a commuter into fantasy with her story of myths and feminism, Mermaid on the Train, followed by Linda Baker???s The Professor – a conundrum about one scientist???s triumph over time, clutter and colleagues. The night finished with Charlotte Feld???s darkly humorous The Seventh Magpie a tale about what happens when an isolated woman???s search for meaning is undone by her failure to account for a lone magpie.

Lonny Pop kept everyone enthused and engaged and contributed some of her own poems to the night, giving the audience something to ponder as they togged-up to brave the cold for the journey home.

Join us in more clement weather at the Caroline of Brunswick on 14th May at the Brighton Fringe. Check here, on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RattleTales for submissions details.


Standing Room Only

Eight writers lined up to play to a packed house at the Marlborough Theatre for the third Rattle Tales night. We sold out….and then we sold out a little bit more, with extra seats brought in to try and accommodate everyone who wanted to be there. This made for a slightly warm evening, but a lively one, with plenty of discussion, banter and humour. The evening was as eclectic as ever. We had John Keats brought into the modern world. Tales of suburban drama, and suburban horror. Death in Ireland and royal marriage in England.

Some pictures to give you a flavour of the night:

We’ll be back early in 2012. We’ll have dates and submission deadlines up here soon, so keep checking back.


Another great night at the Marlborough

Well, we turned up to the Marlborough Theatre on a rainy Sunday night for the second Rattle Tales. The nastiness of the weather and the fact that it was Sunday evening meant there were a few pre-show nerves among the organisers: would anyone acutally turn up? It was quickly obvious that fear was unfounded, as we had to put out extra chairs to accommodate everyone who turned up. A few faces were recognisable from the March night, but there were many new ones too.

Jo Dillon did a fantastic job as MC, encouraging rattling wherever possible and leading the discussion. Some writers were veterans of the first Rattle Tales, while others were new to the night. All the stories went down well – it’s obvious that there are some quality emerging writers out there in Brighton (not least our own Erinna Mettler, who deserves special mention ahead of the publication of her first novel, Starlings, next month).

We plan to be back in September, and once again we’ll be asking for submissions. Details of?? how, when and where will follow, so watch this space. If you’re on our mailing list, you’ll get an email too (and if you aren’t, just email [email protected] with mailing list in the subject line).

Pictures of the night: