High Street Tales is here!

It’s here! The story I wrote as part of Historic England’s High Street Tales project is out in the world, as part of an e-book. The podcast of the story will be released on 10 March, as HE is releasing one story a week, starting today (10 February). What a treat! I listened to the first one this morning, and was transported to North Shields in all its guises and time periods, very much thanks to author Celia Bryce (who, by the way, has a fantastic reading voice!).

It was a perfect start to the day, with a cup of tea and a nice, sort of snowy view of hills and trees. I can’t wait to hear them all and I am in two minds as to whether to read all the stories now or wait to hear them read aloud each week… I think I am converted now to podcasts!

And a big ‘wow’ to Philippa Geering at Sonderbug Productions, for her intro to the stories. She’s been our audio producer and what a fantastic job she is doing. So many hats to wear – sound engineer, voice coach, teaser out of details, interviewer, appreciator and compliment specialist – all these and more! It made my recording good fun and much more relaxed. Yiayia’s Studio in Hastings (St Leonards, actually) was also fab, and highly recommended – they offer the same throat lozenges that Beyonce uses, don’t you know!

So many great people helped me out with the story and the workshops – the Historical Hastings group on Facebook, New Writing South, Heart of Hastings, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, local traders in the Trinity Triangle area and all those who took part in interviews and email conversations and those who joined the workshops. Ed from the Holy Trinity Church gave me a fantastic tour of their church buildings, and I will not forget my tour of the derelict – and utterly wonderful – Hastings Observer Building, thanks to Jay. And of course, Mr Torrance, who I had to ring a few minutes before my recording, just to clarify the tune for a very rude song he used to sing! (And Derek for pointing me in the right direction). Still not sure my Canadian accent did it justice, but we had a go.

Alice Hepple has taken some gorgeous photos of the area for the project, which I hope to have splashed all over the place – great ones of the steps and the Observer Building and the streetscapes. All this in a fairly empty lockdown time, mind, so a truly impressive result. I do hope that you find time to read the stories, or listen to them, and I really hope you enjoy them – it might even inspire you to get back out in the high street some time soon!

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