Dark Angels Note 91

Dearest Friends,

This week it’s a personal pleasure to welcome Sharon Young to our weekly newsletter. Sharon is a musician, singer, designer, business mentor and all round creative powerhouse. 


1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now.

Some weeks, I wear so many different hats that I think a career in millinery is my next big move.

But right now I’m working on a five year music strategy for Belfast. I was part of a team that worked on the UNESCO City of Music designation for Belfast that was awarded in November 2021. Now we have to deliver on all the promises we made during the application and that’s where the strategy comes in. It’s been a rewarding journey and one that I am happy to be part of.

Another favourite current project was set up during lockdown with Dark Angels stalwart, Gillian Colhoun. The Bright Fields is a visual adventure in hope, friendship and positivity and we’ve had lots of fun collaborating with 26, The Wildlife Trusts and illustrator Lydia Thornley. We have another exciting project coming in the autumn when we get to work with some female musicians and a charity to create something special.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

When I was at school, my English teacher used to read to us excerpts from The Rainbow by D.H.Lawrence or The Dubliners by James Joyce. He had a soft voice that caressed each word as he uttered it lovingly. Fast forward several years and he’s now a celebrated Irish writer himself whose books are often featured on Radio 4. I recommend A Run in the Park by David Park as a gentle introduction to his work. It’s a novella based on the shared experiences of an unlikely bunch of C25K runners. It’s the kind of book you can pick up and read in its entirety on a rainy Saturday afternoon. My privilege is that I get to imagine Mr Park reading it aloud to me in his hushed Northern Irish tones. You’ll just have to conjure that bit up yourself.


3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?

I worked for many years in a corporate job. I’ve had to unlearn so much bullshit talk. Especially in emails. Nick Parker’s workshop was the best antidote to the notion that you have to use fancy words to make you sound all clever and businessy. 


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.

If it’s for a work piece, I drink a strong coffee and dive in without overthinking. If it’s a songwriting piece, I usually get stuck at the part where I have to share it with the world. I’m about 3 years stuck on that one. Send help.

5. What’s your desert island book and why? 

A few weeks ago Andy Milligan said he would take Ulysses. I’m going to opt for Dubliners by Joyce. I’ll lie on my island, book in hand, drifting back to my teenage years. I’ll imagine Mr Park reading out the last few lines of The Dead as I slip off to sleep in the sun, dreaming of home. 

(Read aloud for best effect)
“Yes the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling softly on the Bog of Allen and, further westwards, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely churchyard where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted upon the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

And sleep.

Lovely responses, Sharon. Thank you. What a great shoutout for local ledge, David Park. Here’s a generous interview in the Irish Times for those who’d like to know more. 




Telling Stories – A One Day Workshop
There’s still a couple of places available on this one day course. Join  Neil Baker and John Simmons to explore new ways of using storytelling techniques in your business and personal writing. We’ll be working with a series of creative and playful exercises to help you make, shape and remake powerful stories. If you’re new to Dark Angels, the day will be a perfect introduction to our approach to business writing and creativity. And if you’ve worked with us before, it’s a chance to try new exercises and recharge your creative batteries.

Date: 27th April 10:30 – 16:30
Venue: October Gallery, Central London
Fee: £275
Reserve your place here.


Online Advanced Course
Jamie Jauncey & Richard Pelletier return in May to guide you deeper into the world of Dark Angels with exercises that build on the Foundation Course and bring a greater focus on developing your personal writing voice.

A mix of live online sessions, fast-paced writing exercises, and time spent on your own, we’ll help you find surprising new ways to explore language, as we draw on storytelling, business communications, fiction and poetry.
The Details
Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month.
Dates: each Tuesday & Thursday, May 2 – 26
UK 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm
US East Coast  12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
US West Coast 9.30 am – 11.30 am

Fee: £795 / E895 / $1095
Full course details are on the website. Contact Susanne to book your place.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
This is a lovely hour of reading, writing and communing. Everyone is welcome; in fact invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. 


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.. 

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.