Dark Angels Note 99

Dearest Friends,

Welcome back to our weekly note. This week we hear from our veritable renaissance man, Craig Watson.


1. Tell us about something you’re working on right no

I moved house at the end of January so, for the past few months amid the upheaval, my personal writing has largely been confined to two 6-minute splurges of randomness on a weekly basis at our Dark Angels Tuesday night gatherings. I started a new job at the same time and, instead of tinkering with contracts, I now get to write pithy summaries of regulatory developments affecting the asset management industry. My video presentation of our global regulatory outlook for 2022 went up on the intranet this morning and, so far, it has attracted 5 views (one of which was me). 


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

Audition by Michael Shurtleff. It’s the best book I’ve read on writing that doesn’t purport to be a book on writing, and it’s better than most that do. I bought it after it was mentioned in a review for something else entirely. While reading the book, I was continually struck by how Dark Angelsy it was, both in its tone and philosophy. At its core is the notion that, if actors are to connect with audiences, they must first connect with themselves. It’s an easy, enlightening and fascinating read, peppered with anecdotes involving now-famous actors (including a particularly delightful one about Barbra Streisand).


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

Write the secret stuff you don’t want other folk to know about, because that’s what they want to read about. I’ve seen it expressed in various ways — most recently by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and it hasn’t done her career any harm.


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

Attend a Dark Angels course. There’s nothing to clear an impacted creative channel like a dose of the old DA laxative. (Of course, I use ‘impacted’ in its proper —and not business-speak – sense, and ‘laxative’ in both its archaic and obsolete senses, namely, ‘giving freedom’ and ‘speaking or expressing itself freely’.)


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

It depends on which version of the desert island fantasy we’re talking about: the new and exotic and otherwise out of my league, or the old friend you hadn’t really thought of in that way but there would be a lot of time to kill… If it’s the former, I might take UlyssesMy literary claim to fame is that I share a birthday with James Joyce (as do Ken Bruce and Shakira). I’d finally get around to reading it, and I could always amuse myself by singing the funky theme tune from the early 80s French-Japanese anime cartoon Ulysses 31 every time I picked it up. If it’s the latter, it might be something like Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes so I could continually marvel at his brazen use of the term ‘dirty slut’ in a children’s book.

Thank you, Craig. Ulysees 31 was a moment of real nostalgia ☄️.



Save the Date for Aracena: We are Nature
This September (23rd – 28th), Dark Angels will be making a long-awaited return to Finca El Tornero del Rebollar. Neil and Gillian will be hosting a lightly structured few days of writing, reading, making, walking, thinking and sharing. There’ll be lots of creative invitations as you would expect, many with a strong connection to nature and the Andalusian wilderness. Everyone is welcome – no need to have attended a Dark Angels course beforehand. There are more details to come soon, but registering your interest with Susanne now will help us plan accommodation and hospitality. 


Take a walk with Sarah Farley
Sarah has kicked off a fantastic newsletter that explores the places where writing and walking meet. There are stories, walking tips and writing prompts to explore. Sign up for The Writer’s Walk here. Lovely stuff.

Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. 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.