WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
Nottingham’s traffic system.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
The talk given by the ex-coal miners at the poets trail workshop.
Man from another time – Seasick Steve.
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
Saturday saw the third of the Poets Trail workshops, where eighteen poets gathered at Pooley Country Park in the reflective spring sunshine to discover the further delights of this enigmatic place. The day started with another walk into the park to look at some of the Oaks which form a line along side a ditch which is seen as a boundary.
A boundary between the coal and the arable – these Oaks are about a hundred years old and would have spent their first sixty or so years on the edge of the pit top. One in pure gothic splendour has its branches twisted and curled as if it did not want to spread these branches to command a glorious regality of a Royal Oak, but wanted to pull them in like a mother wrapping her arms around her children, pulling them in to stand protected at her feet.
This oak now has its own splendour, a remnant of its past, the children now all grown and fled, it stands in arthritic pose, you can almost hear the sighs as it tries to stretch. This was sculpted out of a sea of ash and spoil, its first breaths fighting against a polluted air and dust. It marked the boundary between the pit hell and the lost country. The lost country now prevails and the oak stands as memory that it was not always that way.
We were joined in the afternoon by four ex-coal miners, who talked of their experiences in the pit. There was a special comradeship between the miners, one that was superior to that of any other working environment. Most of them had worked the mines and then worked in factories and despite the heat and damp, the dark and danger; they much preferred the comradeship of the colliery.
Their skills and knowledge was honed over centuries passed on from one pitman to another, such as their preference for wooden pit props known as trees to the modern metal props, because the wood creaked when it took the weight and from the sound they could tell if the roof was likely to collapse.
Their ears tuned to splintered song, creak beats and whistled silences that moved the earth and in its wake brought a tallied fear, it wrapped them up in comradeship, each looking out for the other, each knowing without saying, each glad of the presence, where there were no “eaches” only a whole.
Their daily march to the pit head, then down in the cage to the pit bottom, the ride to the end of the line and then a further two mile walk to the face, then crouched and bent double they did their stint eking out the coal, breathing in the dust, lying in leaching water, this was coal and comradeship. As we sat by our crackle firesides watching the flame-birds dance, as the machines forged and stamped out our luxuries, did we ever really appreciate it?
Gary Carr’s excellent Spoken Worlds on Friday had a great crowd and I would like to thank Gary Longden for his kind review at Behind the Arras.
Sunday saw me heading to Nottingham to the Shindig at the Jam Café. Shindig is a monthly poetry event run by the Nine Arches Press, sometimes in Nottingham and others in Leicester. Its readers drawn from the very best of the East Midlands Poetry scene.
It, however, ended up being a wasted journey for me. I found the street but it was heaving with cars and I was forced to find somewhere else to park, which is when my problems started. The traffic system took me away from the area and I ended up touring the district of Sneinton, which for fans of the films of Shane Meadows, could be a delight, although Robert Carlisle was no longer walking the streets that made up Once Upon a Time in the Midlands.
By the time I had made my way back into town and found my way to somewhere I knew, I was on the A52 heading back toward the M1 – by this time Shindig was 40 minutes into the event, so I gave up and went home.
Which was a pity as I was hoping to have a chat with the Leicester poet Mark Goodwin, who is promoting his Sound Cloud site Air-to-Hear, and is looking for poets to submit Digitally Produced Audio Poetry (DPAP)?
This is not reading poetry to music; it allows poets to explore the use of sound and to give validity to all sound, not just the pleasant to the ear. Rhythms are everywhere but we sometimes filter them out looking for the pleasant pitches that sooth.
This led me to think more about the sound tracks for the films and the need to develop a different approach. The sound track for Yell! was developed after the images, the music produced by Jimi at Hydranoid Musia was excellent, it reflected well the images and changed the mood as it was adapted to fit the film. My vocal reading of the poem, however was poor, it was rushed and I think this showed.
The approaches that are used in Mark Goodwin’s sound cloud site stand in their own right as pieces that take spoken word into the next carefully considered place.
This in my opinion does not devalue the artistry of poetry, which the pop song did to song writing. It enhances the poetic experience as it asks the listener to consider the poem in differing soundscapes, pushing forward the sometimes awkward, jilted sounds. To filter in some of the pitches that we think will jar and annoy and to let them change our mood and explore our true relationship with them.
This is the approach that I will use with Jimi to develop our future sound tracks, storyboards and sound boards with the script of poetry.
You can hear the tracks on Mark’s sound cloud; I particularly like Mushroom and Court Case from what I have heard so far, check it out on the link below.
I also have my own Sound Cloud – The Soughing Wind where I will post our experiments in sound – I will discuss them further in future blogs.
It is the Fizz this week with the wonderful Lichfield poets my final reading of the month, look out for my future readings in April and for details for my trip to read in Cork and Limerick in August.
COMING SOON DOINGS
I will be reading at the following events during March.
The Fizz – 22nd March – Polesworth Abbey – Polesworth.