Archive for the ‘Films’ Category


What is ANNOYING me this week?

Temperamental Software

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The buzz of creativity


Solo – Edgar Froese


12th May – Century Theatre – Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville Leicestershire.

I have not mentioned this for a while and the event will soon be on us. Mars on the Rise is the first Steampunk novel by Rae Gee. The book explores dark themes, through the evil dealings of the company Veetu Industries, purveyors of SEX, DRUGS and STEAMPOWER. Not for the faint hearted but as
Jane Davitt said in her review for the US Launch:

“I was swept away by the story and brought into a world that’s brilliantly depicted in vivid detail.”

This novel is already number 54 on the German Gothic novel chart and number 38 on the German Gothic Romantic Novel chart, based on e-book downloads alone.

The run up to the launch has not been without its difficulties, with delays in the production and one of the bands having to pull out – but these have all been resolved in the main.

The Evening will feature the book launch with conversations with Rae, the showing of the Veetu Industries Commercial.

Plus performances from two great Steampunk bands and a Steampunk comedian.

The Cogkneys are a Derbyshire based Steampunk band and The Dark Design, who are coming all the way from Brighton to perform, describe themselves as Celtic, Steampunk, Victoriana band. They will be joined by the comic Count Rostov entertaining with his Steampunk wit.

I will reveal my alter-ego Sir Nigel Mallard as master of ceremonies.


Tickets are still available from Rae. – rae@glasscompletelyempty.co.uk

Links to websites
The Cogkneys – http://www.thecogkneys.co.uk/
The Dark Design – http://www.reverbnation.com/thedarkdesign
Count Rostov – http://www.countrostov.co.uk/


Tomorrow, 1st May sees Polesworth Poets Trail poet Sarah James headline at Nightblue Fruit in Coventry.

Taylor John’s House, The Canal Basin – Coventry – 8:00pm – Bar plus Open Mic.


THE WALL – TAMWORTH 2012 is an Arts Connects – Fired Up Theatre production that sees the arts team at Tamworth Borough Council working along side Staffordshire’s Premier Community theatre company.

This is a courageous project that brings together community artists and provides a platform for excellence in the delivery of the arts in the town. This to me is what Council Arts teams should be doing in regenerating artistic activities in towns, providing collaborative opportunities for artistic development and then showcasing the results.

This show will have the effect of waking people up not only to the issues that the show explores but also how much talent there is in town. It will be a show where those artists and performers who perhaps thought about being part of it, but then for what ever reason did not get involved, will take a step back and go WOW; I wish I had been part of that.

This production is only the second time the Wall has been performed as a show by anyone other than Pink Floyd. The first show was at The MAC in Birmingham about ten years ago and very much followed the original material. This show sees the original music performed by Floydian Slip but to a new, updated script written by Simon Quinn that brings in contemporary themes. Ami Radcliffe of Radcliffe Dance is bringing brand new choreography to the piece. The show also introduces new poetry delivered as film or sound pieces. The show is performed by a cast from the local community that brings together actors, dancers, singers, poets, film makers and artists as well as backstage technicians, wardrobe team and promotions. All collaborating on delivering the biggest show that Tamworth has ever produced.

Community Poems
Last week saw the final Community Café workshop with twenty community members of all ages taking part in creating new lines in response to the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb. I have planned out their sound poem on paper but have yet to compile it, a job for tonight. – I then have to take the lines of all three poems and create a final piece to be included in the show, but I need a day or so to think that one through.

Floydian Slip
Thursday evening saw the Director, Simon Quinn and myself travel up to Chesterfield to meet with the band Floydian Slip at their rehearsal room. Our purpose was to map out the first act to match the music to the action and dance. We also needed to make the spaces between the songs for the film and sound poems. The real delight was to have one of the original Floyd tribute bands provide a personal performance the whole of the first act. It was an absolute surreal experience and I look forward to going back in a couple of weeks to map out the second act and then working with them on the shows.

Poetry War Film
Saturday and a chance to get the camera out and record some poetry. The shoot took place at Tamworth Assembly Rooms and saw the first use of my backdrop to allow me to create a composite montage of poetry and war.

Antony Owen, the Coventry War poet came along to read the poems for the film, delivering some Wilfred Owen, August Stramm and his own poetry. Antony is great to work with and his performance was professional and accomplished. I much appreciated him changing the town in the original poem to be Tamworth so that the piece for the show is specific to the town. I think this has a real impact, it brings it home, makes people think about how close the war and conflict in distant lands can come into our lives.

Antony delivered excellent performances in a few takes that allowed time for us to experiment with some of his other poems and ways to express them on screen; I am really looking forward to working with these films in the future.

Yesterday saw my temperamental software give me a headache all day as it failed to render the finished result of Antony’s performance overlaid with footage from World War I. I finally managed to get it sorted at 10:00pm last night and rendered the first draft, and even if I do say so myself I really quite pleased with it.

THE WALL is being staged at THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS IN TAMWORTH – 6-8th June 2012 – Tickets are on sale from the box office or through the web, check THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS website for details.


15th May
Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – The second evening of this excellent event with several guest poets plus pre-booked open mic’ers. Gary Longden will no doubt be providing more details in the coming weeks.
15th May. I expect to see several of the poetry trail poets reading at this event.

18th May
Spoken Worlds – Burton’s premier Poetry event – it was excellent last Friday, where I played my sound poems as Poet as DJ – and got many positive comments. The next is on 18th May – 7:30 start Open mic plus real ale pub – The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St, Burton-on-Trent.

22nd May
THE FIZZ – Bringing all thinks poetic back to Polesworth – Guest poet is Margaret Torr – plus open mic, refreshments available 7:30pm start – Polesworth Abbey Refectory – High St, Polesworth, North Warwickshire.


Readings in May

1st May – Nightblue Fruit – with Guest Poet Sarah James
12th May – Mars on the Rise Book Launch – Century Theatre, Coalville, Leicestershire.
15th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield
18th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent
22nd May – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Margaret Torr.

June 6th, 7th and 8th – THE WALL – Tamworth Assembly Rooms.


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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


Old Time Musical Hall music.


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.



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 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


Radio4 Comedy.


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:

Helen Bolitho Website:

Kim Joyce at the casting network:

Maria Smith’s Blog – First Draft Café:

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.



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 is ANNOYING me this week?

Slow PC

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The film shoot on Saturday


Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal – Island Records Compilation.


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.



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 is ANNOYING me this week?

Drivers who get in the right hand lane then turn left.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

My new camera


Savoy Brown Live 1969-1972– Savoy Brown


The worry is over; I have my new video camera. I have been planning to buy a new camera for sometime, but with a massive amount of choice and limited budget, I had ended up confused as to what to buy. As is often the case with me, I put off buying one until I had more time. However my hand was forced by the opportunity to make a film early in the New Year, an opportunity to work with professional actors, with directing, filming and editing on a script that has been written by a local writer who is producing the film.

I sought advice from a fellow film maker on what I should buy and then searched the marketplace to locate one in time for me to familiarise myself with it before the shoot in early January. Panic set in as there were none to be found and a lead-time that saw the delivery at the end of January.

I finally found a firm in London, whose website said they had 4 in stock, a telephone conversation with their sales team confirmed that this was the case, that delivery would be 2 to 5 days and so I place my order.

Within minutes of the order being placed, I received a telephone call from the company, checking out who I was and whether I realised I had ordered a professional video camera (I would say it is a semi-pro camera) and was it to be used for professional purposes. What is to do with them, I thought and asked them for some credentials, which they gave me and I confirmed I knew what I was buying and that it was for professional film work.

Then the worry started, my thoughts turned to thinking they had not really got any stock in the warehouse in Gatwick, that they had taken my order and my cash and were now stalling until they could get one in from Japan, at the end of January (like all the others). A search on their website still showed four in stock – when I had ordered one – should that have not gone down to three.

Daily I viewed the order tracking webpage and day after day it said my order was processing, two days, five days, 6 days order processing but not despatched. Day 7 and I resolved to ring them, only to receive an email to say that due to the amount of Christmas orders, my order had been delayed but it would be despatched later that day and because they had promised me a 2-5 day delivery they were upgrading the delivery at no extra charge to me.

And true to their word it arrived the next day.

Christmas is upon us and I am not prepared yet again. Christmas never sneaks up upon me; after all it is fixed, if there is one thing I should be able to plan for it is Christmas. It never happens, though this year I have not worried about it and so my preparations and present buying, though late, have gone more smoothly than I could have wished for, with a couple of trips to the shops and most of it bought.

Work always seems to disrupt my planning and Christmas becomes another thing to worry about on top of the pressures I already face. This has, in the past had the effect of taking the shine off the festivities, leaving me shattered by the time the day comes and then worrying about the next tasks once the day is over.

It is no different this year as I have three main projects going on at the moment with the Poets Trail, the book launch and now the film that I mentioned above; plus plans are forming for three poetry residencies and some readings and workshops for next year.

Whilst I might fret about them, all of these projects are a delight and with Christmas just sort of happening – well not causing me stress, which to me is it happening, then this year may well find me in a better state of festive cheer, it has only taken me fifty years to achieve this. Better late than never as my Mother would say.

GIGS – there are only two gigs on my calendar for the rest of the year. One tonight at The Giggling Goblin Café in Ashby, the other is Word Wizards end of year “anything goes” evening on the 27th in Buxton.

Word Wizards is run by poet and singer/songwriter Rob Stevens and his wife Lesley, they regularly travel down to Burton for Spoken Worlds and I have promised to try and get to Word Wizards several times over the last twelve months and has always failed to get there. Buxton is quite away for me to travel on a Tuesday evening, but that has never been my excuse, I simply have just never made it.

So weather permitting I will get to the Word Wizards Event on 27th December.

Next week – I will do a review of my first year of blogging and will return to more lost poets in the New Year.


December Readings

13th Dec – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Giggling Goblin Café – Ashby de-la- Zouch.
27th Dec – Word Wizards – Buxton

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What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Web browsing for a Pro Camcorder


In Praise of Dreams – Jan Garbarek.


Following my nominations for the Liebster Award, I was delighted to see one of my nominees has used my words as a quote on her blog. Myfanwy Fox has included the quote in the About tab of her blog Fox Tales. I thought that this was such a good idea I have copied and done the same. I am sure Myfanwy won’t mind as she once borrowed my WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS and IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED, for which I felt flattered.

The Liebster Award has really opened up some new blogs to me, as my Nominees have gone on to nominate their five favourite blogs and as such I have found some more very worthy blogs to follow.

Myfanwy’s blog can be found at: http://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com/

Last week did not provide me with a single night to sit around and just watch the TV, with two spoken word evenings, two writers groups and a location meeting for a short film I am directing in the New Year.

Poetry Bites saw me catch up with the Cork Poet Joseph Hogan who was one of the guest poet’s along with Bobby Parker, Joe was part of the Coventry Cork Literature Exchange last year, so it was really good to see him again.

Joseph Horgan

Gary Longden and Ruth Stacey both published their thoughts and reviews on Poetry Bites.

Gary’s can be found at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#BitesMOV
and Ruth’s at: http://mermaidsdrown.blogspot.com/2011/11/poetry-bites-with-joseph-horgan-and.html

Gary also published a review of Spoken Worlds in Burton on Friday with the brilliant Ash Dickinson, it was a night of many different voices, some serious, some frivolous all topped of with a captivating performance from Ash.

Purple Ash - Image from his website

You can read Gary’s review at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worlds(nov)

Ash’s website can be found at: http://www.ashdickinson.com/

Further to the Coventry Cork Literature exchange, Paul Casey has put together the review of this years exchange with the thoughts of all those who had the honour of taking part.

You can find the details at: http://www.obheal.ie/blog/?page_id=1351

Paul always ends the year of readings at O’Bheal with a major poet as the guest and this year he has our very own Poet Laureate – Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson on 12th December. O’Bheal delivers the very best in poetry, every week, something that is no mean feat and all credit goes to Paul for his relentless dedication to promoting and developing poetry in Cork.

It is time to move on to the next level with my film making equipment. Up until now I have been using a small camcorder that is a general purpose camera that was bought so that I could hone my skills with something that was not over complicated. It was also a toe in the water purchase as at the time I was not sure that film making was for me. I was enthused and excited about the prospect on making films but not sure it I would be any good at it and so therefore decided to ease myself in to the art.

I have now outgrown this camera and want to upgrade to something that is a semi-pro / pro camera. My searches on the web were disheartening, there are so many options and so many out of my price range, but an email conversation with friend who has far more experience in the field soon put me right and onto a semi pro HD camera from Sony that is affordable and will take me to the next level. So I will be pursuing this purchase over the next couple of weeks.

My searches on the web also looked at the astronomical prices of film making accessories, some of which I quickly realised can be done so much more cheaply if you apply a little logical thinking and are prepared to do a bit of DIY.

For example a hand held microphone boom – the long pole which holds the microphone above the heads of the actors, just out of shot, can cost in the region of £150 for a professional one, but it is not really, any different from a decorators roller pole which can be bought for as little as £5 with a little modification to convert it to hold a mic clip, that will do just as good a job.

I also noticed that the price of monitor screens, which are used to view back footage at the time of the shoot, start at £300, when many portable DVD players for around £50 have the connection jack points that enable the device to serve the same purpose.

My next thought turns to lighting, which is an art in itself as any lighting artist will tell you. I have never used specific lighting for a scene as I have only ever really filmed using natural daylight. But I need to think about getting an understanding of controlling the lighting and will no doubt turn my mind as to how I can achieve this without a major budget investment.

I not only love the challenge of making a film, but also the opportunities it provides to become inventive and to get out into the shed, with a drill, hammer and screw driver to make equipment. There is not only a sense of achievement in making something; there is also the satisfaction in knowing that it did not cost the earth to achieve the result you want.

My adventures in steam punk continue with Ad’s for the media, there are still places for people to sign up to the MARS ON THE RISE 100, please contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk if you want to become a sponsor or if you want more information.

My LOST POET for this week is WILLEM KLOOS (1859-1938)

Willem Kloos

My only experience of this Dutch Poet’s work is a poor translation made by an on-line Dutch to English translation tool, which although awkward and sometimes failing to translate words did provide me with enough of an understanding to say that Kloos, whilst relatively unknown in Britain, deserved the recognition of one of the greatest Dutch writers.

It is his approach to poetry that interests me. He asserts, or even demands, individual expression and vocally insists on the rejection of the expression of shared experiences and emotions in the arts, commanding that poetry should always focus on the poets experiences and the individual expression of emotions.

Kloos (pronounced Close) was born in Amsterdam in 1859 and is best remembered as leading member of the Movement of 1880 of The Tachtigers. This group were formed following the death of the young poet Jacques Perk, who in his short life had produced only a few sonnets, it was Perk’s rejection on the formulaic approach the rhetoric poetry, breaking the convention of rhythmic verse that brought a new chorus into Dutch Poetry.

The group grew around such voices as Kloos and Marcellus Emants; they rejected the older forms of Dutch poetry and sought new influences from the British Romantic poets and the French Naturalists. They undertook a rebellion against the established authorities in the aesthetic arts and caused much scandal. Their voices were barred from publication in the journals of the time and they found an outlet through the creation of their own review De Nieuwe Gids (The New Guide) which was a direct challenge to the old guard and their periodical De Gids (The Guide).

The Tachtigers stipulated “that style must match content and that intimate and visceral emotions can only be expressed using an intimate and visceral writing style.”

Kloos was at his most prolific during the period of 1880 to 1885, when most of the work for which he is renowned was created. His mental condition deteriorated from 1888, when he first sought psychiatric help brought on partly through alcoholism. He was committed briefly to a sanatorium in 1895 and although he continued with his writings these were mainly rants and suggestions that his former friends had become traitors to the cause.

He died in The Hague in 1938 having seen his early works venerated into the canon of Dutch Literature.

Whether you believe in the philosophy of the Tachtigers or not with regard to the aesthetics of poetry, is not important to me, personally. What I most admire about Kloos and the Tachtigers is their challenge to the order of things, that they had a belief in poetic style that they felt was more valid for the times than the established order. Artistic thought only develops through not accepting that what is established is as far as you can go; Art should not be allowed to settle into a comfort zone, to become a defined medium. Art is often the only voice that can cut through the rhetoric to find truth.


December Readings

6th Dec – Nightblue Fruit – Taylor John’s House – Coventry.
13th Dec – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Giggling Goblin Café – Ashby de-la- Zouch.
27th Dec – Word Wizards – Buxton

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