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Archive for January, 2012

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The Fast is too slow and the Slow is too fast!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Breathing Spaces

LISTENING TO:

Hot Rocks – The Rolling Stones

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

Last week was exceptionally busy – with the film Double Booked still in the edit stage, I also managed to fit in a meeting on the Poets Trail, two Poetry evenings, a writers group and a meeting on a new project in Tamworth based around Pink Floyd’s Magnus opus The Wall.

I also found some time to add a page to this blog for THE FIZZ see the tab above – it gives a brief outline of The History of the event and some of the guest poets who have read at past events. There is more on the latest Fizz below.

The poets trail designs for the second phase are more or less signed off and being printed on to the aluminium sheets, ready to be fixed into the Oak lecterns which will be installed on site over the coming weeks.

In fact there are only three to be finalised and these are no taking the standard form of the lectern so require a little more work.

I was able to share some of the designs with the Poets at the Fizz on Tuesday and what a fine start to the poetry season with readings from Gary Carr and eleven readers from the floor.

THE FIZZ with guest poet – Gary Carr.

Gary split his set in two parts and read on themes from his life that were very personal to him. It was good to hear the range of Gary’s poetry in one place at one time brought together as a set rather than individual poems read out of context. Gary included many poems from his back catalogue, including Not having a ball and Octopus. He also did his children’s poem Marmite on Toast, which I use with Primary School Children to start off my Poetry Kite workshops, it always goes down well. His poetry ranges from serious to the whimsical and is delivered in tones suitable to the piece, exploring rhythms that demonstrate Gary’s love of music, sometimes verging on Rap.

Themes from the discomfort of facing a microphone, to a poetry gig where the audience was too loud or was he too fast, to the sadness of a family that play computer games and pile up dirty plates.

He also read the two poems he submitted for the poets trail, STOP and Them up there don’t know use down here exist, the latter being the selected poem for the trail.

Gary delivered them in a style that was easy to the ear and so you captured every word, the pace was right for the listener to reflect on every nuance and turn of phrase. Gary gives a fresh view of the world from a poet whose observations are sharp and sometimes off the wall that take you to look at some of the harsher things in life but in such a way you do not shy away from them.

A truly brilliant poet and performance, I look forward to Gary’s first collection brought together from this material.

I filmed Gary’s performance as I will with all the guest poets as a legacy of the Fizz, I am not sure as to yet how I will present these films, but I will let you know through this blog when Gary’s performance is available to view.

The Next Fizz is on 27th March when the Guest Poet will be Barry Patterson.

Gary’s own Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton on Trent on Friday was another excellent evening. With its now famous three halves with all readings from the floor, you never know what you are going to get. Friday’s readings were excellent with readers in fine form and delivering to the highest standards, engaging the audience into a range of thoughtful places. There were exceptional readings from Gary Longden, Tom Wyre, Margaret Torr and a great sketch from Terri and Ray Jolland.

The new blog and website for the Runaway Writers is attracting a lot of attention, with readers from beyond the group some from overseas who are enjoying the writing exercise – the first is on Food.

I seem to be posting things daily on the Runaway’s blog as information comes in on events, competitions and useful websites for writers. Hopefully interest will be sustained and the blog will become another useful resource for writers.

You can view the blog at http://runawaywriters.wordpress.com

My Lost Poet this week MARINA TSVETAEVA (1892-1941)

I came across Marina when I was researching another of my lost poets Osip Mandelstam, with whom she had a love affair. She is considered as being one of the finest Russian Modernist poets and has been compared with Sylvia Plath, Marina’s themes often transferring her emotions on to others, who she uses as her muse. Her prolific, highly original style, with its masculine monosyllabic eruptions does however give her a voice that is distinctly her own.

Belinda Cooke in her article on Marina describes her as “The Poet of the Extreme.” She certainly is passionate about her life and loves, in her time she has many affairs and writes of failed unrequited love, never quite finding the contentment of sharing her life with one person. Her passions taking her to the deepest of places, with idolatry and obsession driving her away from finding such contentment.

Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow, into a family of cultured academics, her father was a professor of fine art and her mother a concert pianist. Her life as child was a relatively comfortable, bourgeois one, although the disagreements between her and her siblings were often violent. Her mother discouraged her early leaning toward Poetry, describing it as a poor interest and wishing her daughter to become a pianist.

Marina was educated Lausanne and later studied at the Sorbonne. Following the death of her mother in 1906, Marina renewed her passion for poetry and made it the major focus of the rest of her life. It was at a time when Russian Poetry was in a major transformation with the rise of the Russian Symbolist Movement which was to influence her later work. Her first collection was self published in 1910 under the title Evening Album, it received much critical acclaim and marked her out as a poet of some substance, although in retrospect much of early work is seen as bland in comparison to her writing in later life.

She fell in love and married Sergei Efron an army cadet in 1912, the next few years were to see Russia go through Revolution which Marina and Sergei found them on the opposing side to the revolutionary Bolsheviks, both supporters of the White Russians.

Throughout her married life she was involved with many love affairs; much of the passion of her poetry is transferred on to her muse lovers.

By 1917 Marina had two daughters Alya and Irana. Whilst living in the poverty of the Moscow famine, Marina continued to write in support of the old regime, both poetry and plays, her works including “The Encampment of the White Swans” and the “Tsarist Maiden”. She was desperate to find a means of supporting her family; Sergei was away fighting with the White Army. She surrendered her children to the State orphanage in the mistaken belief that they would be better cared for. When Alya became ill, Marina removed her from the State care, Irana, succumbed to malnutrition in 1920 dying in the Orphanage. Marina was devastated, blamed her self and in a poem accuses herself of infanticide.

I stand accused of infanticide
unkind and weak.
And in hell I ask you,
‘My dear one what did I do to you?’

(from Marina Tsvetaeva Poet of the extreme. article by Belinda Cook)
By 1922 life in Moscow was unbearable and this led to their exile initially Berlin then to Prague and later to Paris, living within the émigrés of the White Russian community in exile. It was during this period that her son Georgy nicknamed Mur was born. Though she continued to write in support of the White Russian cause, her compatriots found her to be not White Russian enough and dismissed her work. She spent 14 unhappy years in Paris, finding comfort in correspondence with major writers, such as Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Sergei, began to feel homesick for Russia and started developing Soviet sympathies, but was unsure of the welcome he would receive in Soviet Russia; their daughter Alya also followed his views. He began spying for the NKVD the forerunner of the KGB although Marina seems never to have known of his spying activities.

On the return to Russia in 1938 Sergei is arrested and implicated in the murder of Bolsheviks for which he was found guilty and shot, his daughter Alya is also implicated and sent to prison for eight years.
Marina and Mur return to Russia in 1939 as the tensions in Europe are rising. She too is arrested and knowing nothing of the charges that were brought against her husband, proceeds to quote French Poetry to her interrogators. Who formed the conclusion that she was mad and not implicated in the charges brought against her husband and daughter.

Marina finds it hard; she cannot find work because of her past support of the White Russian regime. Established writers shun her. She does find the occasional translation work as she has become fluent in many European languages during her exile.

She is further exiled to Yelabuga away from the main literary influences where in 1941 she hangs herself, some believe it was her situation and a wish to release her son from her past, others believe that it was the death of Sergei. Pasternak felt that he had personally failed her.

Following the death of Stalin. Her work was finally published and studied in Russia in 1961, where she received the acknowledgement as one of the Great Russian Modernists.

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich set six of Tsvetaeva’s poems to music, there are recordings here.
Poem 1 http://youtu.be/Cy79p3u7-uo
Poem 2 http://youtu.be/cXh0h862cRo
Poem 3 http://youtu.be/L-Ri2wFl62A
Poem 4 http://youtu.be/6fC8TLR-DM8
Poem 5 http://youtu.be/bn7-VgrKg38
Poem 6 http://youtu.be/bFb2dOBGizI

These are all sung in Russian but some have the English Translations in the comments.

Her work has been translated into English by many poets and writers including Elaine Feinstein whose Marina Tsvetaeva – Selected poems was published by the Oxford University Press in 1993.
A newer translation is available see:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bride-Ice-New-Selected-Poems/dp/1847770606/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1327931270&sr=8-7

You can find Belinda Cooke’s article Poet of the Extreme here:
http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=15049

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in February

Feb 5th – Recording of The Lost Poets – Radio Wildfire.
Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.
Feb 21st – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Feb 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The Drizzle

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

My Projects

LISTENING TO:

Jimi Trax

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club last Tuesday provided a great start to my year of readings. I read my Skipton poems from the walk of Lady Anne Clifford’s Way, a couple of years ago. It was good to see some familiar faces who have now become regulars at this event and also some new faces who really enjoyed the mix of song and poetry. Brian Langtry led the way with a couple of songs starting with Streets of London; we also had The House of the Rising Sun from Pete followed by some of the blues of John Lee Hooker. The poetry was a mix of memories from family to working in the clay pits.

Jigs and Reels at the Goblin Folk and Poetry Club

Brian gave away copies of his CD – Some of my Songs (he may well have some copies left to give out at the Fizz), he also handed out a flyer for his next production Connie Francis Musical Memories which is touring the Midlands during the Spring. I will put more details on this show in my next blog.

You can check out Brian’s work and past productions on his website at
http://www.leglessproductions.co.uk/home.htm

I have recently taken over the role of Secretary for the Runaway Writers. It is a role that is not too arduous and mainly involves communicating with members and the wider world of opportunities and events that may be of interest in the pursuit of our individual literary careers.

As some one who finds blogging a pleasure, I have set up the Runaway Writers blog with various pages that explain what the group does and how to link to the members.

The blog is at: http://runawaywriters.wordpress.com

I chose this approach because it allows followers to manage their own subscription, rather than relying on an email distribution list, which gets out of date very easily. The blog also allows non members of the group to keep up to date with the groups activities, with a view that they might want to join and share their work with the group.

The blog will not only promote the Runaway Writers but also events that may be of interest to the members and the wider audience.

My early posts have included The Fizz and Spoken Worlds as events organised by members, but I have also included Poetry at the Spark Café in Lichfield and The Pure and The Good and The Right in Leamington as these are events that members may well be interested in attending.

Take a look at the Runaway’s blog as it will cover more events and promotions than I can cover on this blog.

Tomorrow sees THE FIZZ – as I said last week I will keep plugging the Fizz until the day – 24th January at 7:30pm at Polesworth Abbey with guest poet Gary Carr – plus Open Mic. – Admission is Free.

I am keen to create a permanent legacy of The Fizz and will be filming the guest poets (with their permission) – I am not sure how this will be accessed as an archive of yet, but that does not stop me filming it whilst I work out the details.

Followed on Friday 27th with Gary’s own evening – Spoken Worlds at The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St in Burton on Trent – Starts at 7:30pm – Sign up for reading slots in the Spoken Worlds famous 3 halves.

The Secret Writer blew her cover this weekend, though I am sure many people knew it was one of the Poetry Trail poets, Bernadette O’Dwyer. So how did she relinquish her anonymity – She published her short story – A Front Row Seat as a Kindle version.

The short story form is very much under rated and overlooked in my opinion, Magazines and Competitions offer more or less the only outlet for them and this often contrived through formulaic styles and themes. The freedom to write using the writers own styles and themes is often stifled by these contrivances.

Bernadette’s approach to use the latest technology to put an individual short story out into the readership at reasonable price is surely a good one – Her following will surely grow as she seeks a publisher for her novel “HER”, thus making her more attractive proposition to potential publishers.

She is an excellent writer, but without an outlet for her work how do people get to know her writing. Poets have the open mic events and poetry magazines as a way to get their work out and to attract potential publishers of a full collection – Novelists don’t have these options – The short story on Kindle is a great way for them to build their reputation.

Check out this story at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-front-row-seat-ebook/dp/B006ZP0QD0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327316962&sr=8-1

A Front Row Seat – By Bernadette O’Dwyer. The police van had been parked there all night. Likewise, I had been parked in my armchair, not daring to move, for fear of missing the proceedings.

Bernadette’s blog is at: http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/

My lost poet, I am researching a Russian Poet, whose life was very complex. I am therefore still researching the themes for my lost poet piece and will hopefully have it completed for next week.

I am also working on turning my lost poets into the radio broadcast material for Radio Wildfire, the first of which I will record in a couple of weeks. Dave Reeves is keen to make these a ten minute feature which will run as a stand alone piece. I will let you know how the recording goes in early February.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

Jan 24th – THE FIZZ – Polesworth – Guest Gary Carr.
Jan 27th – Spoken Worlds – Burton

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.
Feb 21st – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Feb 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

TV Commercials

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

BBC 4 Programme on The Story of Musical Halls with Michael Grade

LISTENING TO:

Old Time Musical Hall music.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

And so to the Edit – This has been the major activity of this last week and so it will continue for a while at least. The film Double Booked has moved into post production, which sees me sitting for hours in front on a computer screen.

In between the edits I have fitted in an interview with Maria Smith which she has published on her blog First Draft Café, along with some of the fantastic photograph collages that she put together from the stills she took on the night of the shoot.

(C) Maria Smith - 2012

You can read the interview and see more photographs here: http://t.co/ggoW8M4y

I have not written a poem for at least three months, but this is not worrying me as I have been busy on other things that have been discussed in this blog. I think it is good to take a break from writing in your normal medium. It is a chance to gain new experiences, a chance to consciously or sub consciously to take another view of the world that I write about. When I am ready to write again, which won’t be too long I am looking forward to see how my approach has changed.

So nothing new to read as I attend the first of this years readings tonight. The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club is at 7:30pm-ish at the Giggling Goblin Café in Ashby de la Zouch. This has turned out to be a wonderful mix of poetry, song and the occasional story telling. The host is Brian Langtry who has written many plays and musicals in his time, including one about the miners strike in the1980’s which tells the story of the 30 Leicestershire miners who held out in the strike action against the tide of East Midlands miners who returned to work. Brian often sings songs from these shows. The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club really good addition to the poetry calendar. Not to be missed.

Next week sees THE FIZZ – as said last week I will keep plugging the Fizz until the day – 24th January at 7:30pm at Polesworth Abbey with guest poet Gary Carr – plus Open Mic. – Admission is Free.

 

Followed on Friday 27th with Gary’s own evening – Spoken Worlds at The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St in Burton OnTrent – Starts at 7:30pm – Sign up for reading slots in the Spoken Worlds famous 3 halves.

Over the weekend I caught a programme on the Story of Music Halls with Michael Grade. http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/the_story_of_music_hall/

From The London Theatre Museum Collection.

1875 The Oxford Music Hall

It was wonderful to see how these fantastic palaces developed from bars into great architectural, sculptures. Palaces such as the Britannia Panopticon in Glasgow that had stars such as Stan Laurel perform on the stage. You can still visit following the work of activists such as Judith Bowers who realised the magical significance of the place and took it on to save and refurbish it. http://www.britanniapanopticon.org/1.html

Other Music halls such as Wilton’s in Stepney also survived due to forward thinking people who had an eye for the past. http://www.wiltons.org.uk/

It was my adventures into steampunk that drew my interest to the programme, my only previous experience of music hall was The Good Old Days, which I never really got as a teenager – but then this was the world of my parents – you don’t get that as a teenager.

But the musical hall stars were the rebel rock stars of their day. They we singing songs about sex before we thought it was invented. I never realised that songs such as Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow wow were crude. Then there was Marie Lloyd, who was the punk rocker of her day, her material being far too risqué for the first Royal Variety performance, despite her being at the height of her career.

Other artists, dressed as the Victorian equivalent of Glam rockers, such as Champagne Charlie who performed drinking Moet & Chandon, who it later turned out, sponsored him to be seen with their champagne. Corporate Sponsorship is nothing new.

I saw similarities between the old time music halls and today’s poetry events which are held in bars and cafes and I wonder if we will ever see these develop into Poetry Palaces or better still, we reclaim these wonderful old music hall like Judith Bowers did and hold poetry events on the same stages that hosted Harry Lauder, Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley, Stan Laurel, Charlie Chaplin and Arthur Lloyd.

I am returning to MY LOST POETS this week,
with a Music Hall singer and songwriter ARTHUR LLOYD (1839 – 1904)

Now before you raise the question of whether this is poetry, I would like to qualify why I have chosen a music hall song writer as a lost poet. I know that the lyrics with their comic metaphors and innuendo are not high poetic art, but they were popular with people, indeed I could sing along to many of the popular music hall songs, they were catchy tunes and lyrics, they passed the Tinpan Alley old grey whistle test. So they have a quality about them, a charm that I want to understand.

Arthur Lloyd was born in Edinburgh, the son of a music hall actor and comedian, Horatio Lloyd and his wife Eliza Horncastle an opera singer. He was the third child of what became a very large family with many of his siblings becoming music hall performers.

Arthur developed an interest in becoming a music hall performer at an early age but was discouraged by his father who declared he would succumb to the demon drink and end up a drunk. The music hall was synonymous with drink. Entry was often free to the public with prices of the drinks stumped up to cover the costs. The performers had their own private bars just beyond the stage door, known as green rooms where they would rest between their turns; the temptation of drink was ever present.

However when Arthur was 15 his father relented and sent him to Plymouth to learn the ropes with Arthur’s Uncle Fred. It was during this time that Arthur ventured into his first Music Hall performances, he was given due reverence on his first turn due to him being the son of the famous Horatio, but by his third turn, the audience was less forgiving of this inexperienced performer. But Arthur persevered; eventually returning to Scotland to become part of his Father’s touring company. This was fine during the touring season but Arthur soon became disenchanted by only earning £2 per week and started to get his own engagements eventually securing a contract with the Whitebait concert hall in Glasgow that paid him twice as much.

He began by singing existing songs, such as song called Married to a Mermaid which was sung to the tune of Rule Britannia and was first performed as part of an 18th century musical play. His break through came with a performance of a song written by Sam Cowell (I’ve heard that name somewhere before!), The Railway Porter was a hit for Arthur, Importantly Arthur always credited Sam who had given him permission to use it. Copyright was always an important issue to Arthur.

Arthur’s career as a performer developed from here with performances all over the country at the music halls in Birmingham, Manchester and London. By 1863 he had started writing his own songs and became the most prolific of the songwriter performers writing and publishing over 190 songs.

His songs were comic, written the lot of the working class man the woes of his daily lives and the obstacles of attracting girls.

Songs such as:

Cruel Mary Holder (1866)
Not for Joseph (1868)
Constantinople (1870)
Take it, Bob (1880)

Arthur married Katty King in 1871 and they had seven children several of who followed them into the music hall, including Harry and Annie who both performed with their father.

Arthur continued to tour the provinces throughout his life and often appeared in the London Music Halls, he performed at several command performances for the Prince of Wales.

Katty died in 1891 and Arthur died in 1904 at the home of his daughter in Edinburgh and is buried in the Newington Cemetery in the city.

Arthur’s songs though popular in their day are in the main no longer sung anymore. The Music Halls went into decline between the 1st and 2nd world wars, the rise of cinema, radio and then television saw entertainment for the masses change and many of the music halls fell into disrepair and many were pulled down.

Pantomime is a remnant of the great age of music hall. Arthur’s songs were said to have a pantomime quality about them.

Whether they are considered as good poetry or not, they certainly give an insight in to what entertained people in the last half of the 19th century and early into 20th.

There is a fantastic archive of Arthur Lloyd – compiled by his Great Grandson Matthew.
http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

Jan 17th – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Jan 24th – THE FIZZ – Polesworth – Guest Gary Carr.
Jan 27th – Spoken Worlds – Burton

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.

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These fantastic photo collages were created by Maria Smith from the stills she took on the film shoot on Saturday.

Helen Bolitho on the set of Double Booked - Photo (c) Maria Smith 2012

 
 

The Making of Double Booked - Photos (c) Maria Smith 2012

 
Thank you to Maria Smith and Keith Large for letting me use these on the blog.
 
You can see more of Maria’s work at:
You can also Tweet her: @mariaAsmith
 
You can see more on Keith’s work at:
You can also Tweet him: @KeithLarge3
 
 

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The size of the boot in my car.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

STILL – The Film shoot last Saturday

LISTENING TO:

Radio4 Comedy.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

It all went as well as I had hoped, well better if I am honest, the film shoot on Saturday that is. With a limited number of hours in which to set up and gather the footage it was a tight schedule for the cast and crew who all came together and made it happen.

The Film, Double Booked was developed from a script by Keith Large, who has also produced the film. It stars Kim Joyce as Bob Heap, the Night Porter at the Best Lodge Hotel who is determined not to let anything disturb his sleep and Helen Bolitho as Nina Cole, a guest who has a problem with a man in her room and expects Bob to sort it out, I won’t give anymore away about how it plays out than that other than it is very funny.

Both actors were true professionals who delivered their lines time and time again as we took the shots from various angles, face to face, close up on Kim, close up on Helen and over Helen’s shoulder.

Kim Joyce as Bob Heap - The Night Porter determined to get some sleep - Photo (C) Keith Large 2012

The day started with a crew meeting over brunch, going through the shots and the technical details, I was directing and operating the camera, Jimi was on sound and Jack was the production assistant doing all the running around and moving the equipment into position. With the team brief over and stomachs full we head to check and load the equipment into the car.

This included various props as well as the cameras, sound and lighting equipment it became apparent that a bigger car would have been in order and that maybe some of the equipment should have been take over to the location in Coalville earlier, but we managed to squeeze it all in and head over to meet with Keith and the two actors at the specified time of 3:00pm.

The shoot took place at Coalville Constitutional Club, an old building next to the railway line and set back a little from the road but not enough to remove all that noise of traffic which we were going to have to contend with. The Committee and Steward of the club had been exceptional in accommodating us; after all we would cause a certain amount of disruption. Putting up signs that created the hotel, moving things about, hiding objects that were not to be in shot and stopping people moving around the foyer area in their normal routine. Then upstairs in the function room, creating a hotel reception set. Nothing was too much trouble and they made us really welcome, certainly a place I would consider using again if a film called for such a building.

The shoot was in the evening as we could not access the rooms until 6:30pm, which was fine as the film takes place at just after midnight so it needed to be dark. We had allowed ourselves thirty minutes to dress the sets before Keith, Kim and Helen arrived to start the final run throughs. So we based ourselves in the Old hermitage Hotel who had kindly loaned us a conference room for a run through of the script. Initially around the table and then standing as Kim and Helen would be in the film. This was time well spent as it enabled Kim and Helen to get their lines right in terms of words and tone; it also developed expressions and interjections that worked well into the script. There were one or two slight wording changes that needed to be considered and with the adjustments made, we ensured we did not waste time in front of the camera. It also sorted out the practicalities of handling the props.

At 6:30pm, the crew headed to set up. The planning really paid off here, as the set dressing had been kept simple, in the main making use of what was already there and dressing it with ornaments. The main part of the set was to turn the DJ unit into a reception desk, which was done, using tow speakers, a shelf from B&Q, a poster created on PowerPoint and lots of gaffer tape and bluetac, even using bluetac to put a false light switch just inside the door – which caused some amusement at the end of the shoot when I removed it as it had been assumed that it was real and that it just did not operate the lights that we want to us. It took 20 minutes to turn a function room dance floor into a hotel reception, the art of deception may be a flimsy, taped together affair but it served our purposes.

The Crew review the footage - Photo (C) Keith Large 2012

We were joined by Maria Smith, a fellow Leicester writer who took stills of the production, some of which I will post here later when she has had time to sort them through. Harriet Warner, a performance poet and actress who supported as the second production assistant and was able to get the experience of working on a film shoot. Both were invaluable, Maria in creating a record of the shoot and Harriet through guarding doors and offering her thoughts on the footage.

The action started at around 7:15 with some establishing shots outside the building and then on to the shots in the foyer of the club so that we would be out of the way of the club users at the earliest opportunity. These in the can as they say, we move up to the function room for several hours and takes as we worked our way through the script and storyboard.

Lighting was the part I was least happy with and I need to spend far more time investigating this area of filming so that I can instinctively place a light and know what it is going to achieve in terms of coverage, warmth and shadow. It was very much trial and error, which to me delayed the process unnecessarily. With a small crew we have to double up in jobs, which is no excuse – the lighting was down to me and I think it could have been done better.

We filmed it over and again, over shooting as I felt it was better to have more footage to work with in the edit that less. Although we were viewing back the footage using a portable DVD player – one of the money saving tips I discussed on this blog before Christmas, I am sure that there will be something I will spot in the edit that will mean I need to use alternative shots, I am only too glad to have them.

Helen Bolitho as Nina Cole and Kim Joyce as Bob Heap - Discuss the situation - Photo (C) Keith Large 2012

Whilst I mention my money saving tips – the mic. boom made from a decorators pole was also excellent and in the end cost less that £20 to make.

Filming finished at around 11:30pm and we said our goodbyes shortly after that, with the crew of Jimi, Jack and I loading up the car and heading home.

This was my directing debut for a piece of comedy drama or any drama for that matter, those who know my previous films will know that I have never worked with actors, I am very grateful to Kim, Helen and Keith for their patience in working with me.

I am also very grateful to Jimi and Jack for their relentless work and to Maria and Harriet for support and effort on the evening.

Now to the Edit.

Here are some links to websites of those who were involved in this wonderful production.

Keith Large – Carrot Napper Productions:
http://www.carrotnapper.com/index.php

Helen Bolitho Website:
http://www.helenbolitho.com/

Kim Joyce at the casting network:
http://www.castingnetwork.co.uk/castactorcv.asp?actorid=-980278865&cdid=42949

Maria Smith’s Blog – First Draft Café:
http://firstdraftcafe.blogspot.com/

Harriet Warner features in the film KES MEETS MAURICE – as Gill in the radio play Talkers and Doers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfLgz_6kVms&feature=youtu.be

LOST POETS – I will return to my lost poets next week, as I am preparing to record some of last years lots poets as feature pieces for Radio Wildfire, which I will start recording with Dave Reeves in early February and will keep you informed of the broadcast dates through this blog.

THE FIZZ – I will keep plugging the Fizz until the day – 24th January at 7:30pm at Polesworth Abbey with guest poet Gary Carr – plus Open Mic. – Admission is Free.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

Jan 17th – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Jan 24th – THE FIZZ – Polesworth – Guest Gary Carr.
Jan 27th – Spoken Worlds – Burton

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Slow PC

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The film shoot on Saturday

LISTENING TO:

Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal – Island Records Compilation.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

Happy New Year to all my readers, with the Festivities enjoyed we now return to our writing ambitions and opportunities that the New Year brings.

THE LOST POETS ARE HEADING FOR RADIO, Radio Wildfire to be precise.

In early February I will start recording eleven articles on some of the lost poets I covered on this blog last year. These will be broadcast throughout the year.

Radio Wildfire is run by Dave Reeves, poet, writer, musician, broadcaster to name but a few of his skills. With a monthly live transmission followed by THE LOOP which runs through out the month and is updated from the live transmission.

This is Internet radio and so is available globally delivering not only interviews with Midland based Poets and writers but also an interesting mix of music and spoken word from around the world. Not forgetting Gary Longden’s monthly lists of Spoken Word events and The Birmingham Poet Laureates Monthly Review, this year with Jan Watts.

You can listen to Radio Wildfire using this link: http://radiowildfire.com/

I will be continuing with my lost poets throughout the year.

MY TASKS OVER THE HOLIDAY PERIOD SAW ME MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR THE FILM SHOOT which takes place this Saturday, The preparations are on schedule with the making of props and film equipment, I am really pleased with the Mic Boom that I made from a decorators pole.

The film Double Booked is a comedy short and has been commissioned by the writer Keith Large for his Carrot Napper Productions. It has enabled me to build my knowledge and skill set in film techniques through a real project and I very much welcome the opportunity for me to direct the small cast in the realisation of this excellent script.

With the main pre-production activities complete – I, of course, now, just want to get on with shooting and editing it.

I will blog about my experience next week.

You can get more information about Keith’s work and Carrot Napper Productions at http://www.carrotnapper.com/index.php

NEW TWITTER LIST – Maria Smith (@mariaAsmith) and Rosalind Adam (@RosalindAdam) have set up a twitter list at #UKwriters, which provides opportunities for UK Writers to connect with each other and share details of writing opportunities, conferences, competitions or anything that will be of interest to writers in the UK.

You can be added to the list by tweeting @mariaAsmith with “I’m in #UKwriters” and Maria will add you to the list.

You can always tweet me at @MalDewhirst – to talk about any writing or film projects.

THE POETS TRAIL DESIGNS ARE ARRIVING IN MY INBOX, following a real push at the end of last year to complete the design work and to complete the trail before the end of March. We had envisaged using a variety of materials to print the poems on too but we came to realise that some of these ideas were not sustainable and that the end result would fade to be a poor representation compared with the other poems printed on to aluminium. So we decided to stick with aluminium approach and to use photographic backgrounds to simulate leather, glass, and slate. Hence the designs have now been developed at a quickening pace.

POETS TRAIL PUBLICATION – With the new designs coming along we are discussing the way to promote the Trail along with the Pooley Country Park and The Gold Leaf Sculpture. I have been commissioned to write/compile and edit a publication that will bring all the elements and features of this wonderful landscape together.

We are not sure what form the publication will take as of yet, but it will include the new poems along with interpretations of the site, including its history and the regeneration of the natural landscape as the nature and the post industrial borders are constantly redefined.

I will let you know of progress as the ideas develop.

THE NEW FIZZ SEASON has started.

It is unfortunate that this year the dates for the Fizz and Poetry Bites clash, but I had to go with the dates that are available for the venue.

I am this year and on into next, going to be providing an opportunity for the Poets on the Poets Trail to have a guest spot. I am very proud of the group of poets that have poems on the trail and very much aware that we sometimes don’t get the opportunity to hear more from them beyond their Poets Trail poem.

The poets have much more than the single poem on the trail, many have published collections, and one or two have more than one collection. Whilst others are building their first collections – So I want to provide an opportunity for them to share their other work and may be sell a copy or ten of their books.

With this in mind the next Fizz is on 24th January at Polesworth Abbey Refectory at 7:30pm when the guest poet will be Gary Carr, who will no doubt share his poem from the Trail – “Them up there don’t know us down here exist” along with poems from his developing collection, which is wide and varied in subject matter, bringing a deep, thought provoking view of the world through sometimes wit and sometimes sorrow.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

Jan 17th – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Jan 24th – THE FIZZ – Polesworth – Guest Gary Carr.
Jan 27th – Spoken Worlds – Burton

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.

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