Tales of Britain

By Jem Roberts

The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

TALES OF BRITAIN COMING TO YOUR TOWN!

Merry Folklore Thursday! Families, places and communities is the theme? Nothing could more perfectly sum up TALES OF BRITAIN!

However, keen supporters of our campaign may be wondering where our big launch announcement is, as 17th January has been on the Amazon page for our book for a long time... but it looks like the release has been delayed a week. This is such an odd time to release a book, and we're so fogged as to what's going on, we'll be kept on our toes awaiting the book next week. Maybe we'll get a box on our doorstep before then, maybe it will take longer. When we know, so will you, but we're sincerely sorry for any delay. 


Keep an eye out for this at your local indie bookshop – and please do ASK FOR IT at Waterstones/WH Smiths so they can order some in!

As mentioned last week, we have a mighty challenge ahead to spread the word about the release of the first full British folktale collection to be released in over 30 years, with limited PR capability – though thank you to Folklore Thursday and others who have offered us articles and some assistance, PLEASE do get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or via jem@jemroberts.com if you can join the fight – radio, TV or print, there's so much to discuss about TALES OF BRITAIN, from the way stories are able to bring the people of this fractured island back together in the face of the Brexit poo-show, to how the old legends can be retold afresh without the old misogyny, racism etc. inherent in much of the old mythology, to of course, just SHARING THE FLIPPING STORIES, and having lots of fun. Because that's what this is all about, sharing our national lore!

It's getting on for 15 years since the birth of my first nephew (voice now broken), which inspired me to seek out a folktale collection which covered the whole of the British island... and then discovered that there literally isn't one in existence, just ruinously expensive leather-bound old collections, localised collections based on the borders drawn on maps by rich white men ca few centuries ago and so on. Nothing for Britain. NOTHING. Since then, there have of course been further folktale collections released, themed in the weirdest ways – plants, horses, you name it, folk have kept on bringing out themed folktale collections, as if there was a healthy array of British folktale collections already on offer, as opposed to NONE.

Well, here we are, so tantalisingly close to holding the real thing in our hands at last. And hopefully, as it's not a children's book, but for FAMILIES and FOLKIES of all kinds, my nephew will still find it entertaining when he gets to read it in the coming weeks!


Brother Bernard and Sister Sal ready to blow your lovely minds.

But of course it's not just about the book – nor the audio version which we're working on this year – but TALES OF BRITAIN LIVE, which journeyed all around Britain in 2018, from Edinburgh to Abergavenny to Tintagel, usually with Brother Bernard performing alone, but also with the wonderful Kate Harbour (Bob the Builder, Shaun the Sheep) as Sister Sal too. 

As you can see from our tour page, we don't have a lot lined up for this release year so far. Pledgers can attend a special London launch show, and we'll create another one for Bath, besides the Bladud walk for which some of you pledged. We're trying to arrange another Edinburgh Fringe outing, ditto the Ludlow Fringe, and even hopefully Glastonbury in its new guise come the summer. But we want to go further! PLEASE let us know of festivals, fetes and events where Tales of Britain shows will be welcome this year, be it spring, summer or autumn, now we have actual books to offer as well as oral tales, we just can't wait to fill up our diaries with shows, in all the places where our stories occur, and beyond:

This is a rough version of the story guide which you'll find in the books – the idea has always been to hopefully have at least one tale within 50 miles of everyone in Britain, so anyone can head out and explore the real places where the legends arguably took place. And we aim to travel all around the island to all these PLACES performing these stories, and more (we've written another several since the text was completed for Unbound, and there will be further volumes!), so if you can think of any way to offer us a gig, if we can break even, we'll be there! 

For all that this Unbound campaign has almost culminated in us having the book on our shelves, this collecting, updating, publishing and performing of ancient folktales is intended to now be a life-long occupation, and this early volume is just the very first step. So PLEASE give us a shout, and let us entertain your COMMUNITIES with these ancient stories, resounding afresh in the 21st century. You won't regret it.

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