Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Poetry Alight


Paranoid – Black Sabbath


I was hoping to get my review of The Lichfield Festival Fringe event Poetry Alight at the Spark Café last Tuesday posted on the blog earlier, but time caught up with me, with the Dig the Poetry workshops to promote and a workshop on Saturday afternoon at Coventry Memorial Park followed by the second film shoot of Double Booked on Saturday night. Oh and I fitted in the Bellowhead gig at Lichfield Cathedral on Wednesday and my submission for the Staffordshire Poet Laureate which closed on 14th July.

Still better late and considered and I have not had time to work on my lost poet, which I will endeavour to do for next week.

Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield 10th July.

I deliberately did not ask for a reading spot at this event as I wanted to make some space for someone whose voice I had not heard before. Gary Longden, whose wide travels in providing us with his fantastic reviews of the Midlands Poetry and Spoken Word events, brings him into contact with many great poets, who he brings to the Poetry Alight event to share their work with a full audience at this now established event.

Gary Longden kicks things off

This month saw the guests from two poetry presses who are both actively delivering excellence in new poetry to new audiences, with Crystal Clear Creators and Offa’s Press.

ACT 1.

Gary in his role of MC started the proceedings in his usual way as a natural raconteur with the first poet of the evening Bert Flitcroft.

Bert began with saying that he always felt his name Bert was unpoetic, until he was presented with a Chinese print with his name spelt out in Mandarin script which changed his mind. His next piece was the observation of a man stumbling, with the excellent poem What I Know, which ended with a silence in which he left us to reflect. Bert always performs his work well and can hold the audience; this was a very fitting start to the evening.

Bert Flitcroft sets the standard

Next came the first of the Lichfield poets, with a double act from Val Thompson and Heather Fowler, who delighted us with their thoughts on the state of the NHS which Lazarus Team, followed by a poem to Yoga with saluting the sun. Being a double act meant that they had twice the normal three minutes so they continued wit More Than which remembered a teacher Miss Hughes and continued with The Tray and the pains of sick dog. They finished with When the Talking is done. There approach to delivering poetry as two voices added another dimension. More poets should consider this, creating narrative from the poems.

Jayne Stanton – heading to Cork

They were followed by the first of the representatives of this year’s Coventry Cork Literature exchange which I had the honour of being part of last year. Jayne Stanton, Jayne who is based in Leicestershire gave us two poems, the first reflecting on the Garden of Remembrance at Loughborough University with fear of leaving memories; she followed this with Heat with legs dropping, melding and daring to dream. She will really enjoy her trip to Cork in August and O’Bheal is in for a treat of great poetry.
You can find out more on Jayne’s work at http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/

Next came a new voice to me and what a wonderful one, with Naomi Paul whose rhythmic poem proclaimed that Music is Female, with the truth about the goodness of rhythm. A wonderful piece that resonated around the gathered company. She followed this with a poem on the Icelandic Ash Cloud, blaming Bankers and Politicians. Her final piece Grey Rabbit told of a bus journey in the USA on the Hippy Bus which was basically converted into a bed where she mixed with women who had lovers and hung out on Haight Ashbury and how she was very English. A great set.

Peter Branson – all the way from Cheshire

Next came another new voice, who had travelled down from Cheshire, the well published Peter Branson whose next collection is to be published by the much acclaimed Salmon press. Peter remembered the Queens coronation with Jubilee which was dedicated to Brian Lithgow, a friend who had hidden in ditch behind the shed during the original coronation, which had made him a Republican. He finished with a song the Editha Massacre which was a tribute to the great American folk singer, Woody Guthrie who was born 100 years ago this week.
More of Peter’s poetry can be found here http://www.peterbranson.com/category/poetry/

Justina Hart came next with a poem about lovers, Nightingale which is never heard piercing the light and imagines a star passing down her throat. Another new voice to me and a very good one too.

Ian Ward another of the Lichfield Poets, reordered the words of D H Lawrence with his poem Kangaroo which he followed with a poem after Walter De La Mare’s The Listeners with a response to the traveller another accomplished reading.

Nottingham Poet Richard Young delivered one of his delightful funny poems from memory, a performance that has become accomplished since I first met Richard. His humorous poem saw him feeling sorry for those unfortunate heroes such as Michael Collins – the 3rd man who did not land on the moon on Apollo 11, to Frank Bruno who didn’t rumble in the jungle, Gareth Southgate who missed that penalty but despite all of this they Keep Trying. Strong material and a strong performance, I can listen and watch Richard at anytime.
More about Richard can be found here: http://www.richardyoungstoryteller.webspace.virginmedia.com/

Poetry Trail Poet, Penny Harper found objects that never fulfil their potential, like a second hand hoover, she followed this with a wonderful poem about the island of Skomer in Pembrokeshire, ancient, British stitching Island to the sea in flight.

The first half was finished by the first of the guest poets with Crystal Clear Creative’s Jonathan Taylor. Crystal Clear Creators have been organising day schools, radio performances, poetry events and publishing pamphlets and the magazine Hearing Voices since 2003. Based in Leicester they host the Shindig poetry events.

Crystal Clear Creator – Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan started with a poem, Mozart’s Clarinet Sextet with its counterpoint of gin and wee as a concert is interrupted by the musings of a drunken woman, well written and delivered from an accomplished pen. He followed this by one of the pieces of the evening Kontakte – a prose piece after Karl Heinz Stockhausen, which was a story built around the electronic minimalism of the music. The protagonist was Derick who sat in the dark listening to Stockhausen on a tape recorder, which perpetually rewound and replayed. When he tried to turn it off the stop button broke and we are left with the image of Derick sitting in the dark spending the rest of his life listening to Stockhausen. This was a triumph and I can well see why Jonathan would want to divert us away from poetry to explore the brilliance of this piece.

Melanchrini – Maria Taylor

Jonathan’s wife Maria finished the first half with a reading from her collection Melanchrini published by Nine Arches Press. Her poems built around her upbringing and memories from her childhood. At Her Grandmothers table tells of visits to Cypress, sitting at the table drinking Greek/Turkish coffee as a dark featured young woman, the Melanchrini, the table that her parents now have and where she now takes her children to sit. Delicado and Mr Hill remembered times when she lived in the upstairs flat to Patricia (Mrs Hill) who talked about her husband as if he were dead, but he had in fact left her many years ago, the irony was when he did die his ashes were sent to Patricia and not his lover. Soapsud Island told of her time in Acton, which was known as London’s laundry, now all demolished, she wants to take the iron and make it smooth. Felling a maiden explores her changing her Greek Cypriot name for an English one when she marries and Outside of being pregnant with her twins. Each poem building a narrative timeline from childhood to motherhood as she delivered this thoughtful set. She finished with Larkin and her obsession with the poet which becomes an addition. Melanchrini is a wonderful debut collection from a poet who has a lively turn of phrase and is sensitive to her roots; seek it out from Nine Arches Press. http://www.ninearchespress.com/melanchrini.html
You can read more about Crystal Clear Creators at their website http://www.crystalclearcreators.org.uk/

ACT 2.

The second half was headed by our two guest poets from Offa’s Press, Jane Seabourne and Nick Pearson.

Offa’s press are dedicated to publishing and promoting the best in contemporary poetry from the West Midlands, with the watch word good on the page, good on the stage.

Looking for Red Kites – Jane Seabourne

Jane read from her collection Bright Morning, her first poem Red Kites, where she had expected them to be redder than they actually were, but was transfixed by their flight to come to the conclusion that they we red enough. Her second poem Ornithoptor, talked of a man in an office learning to fly, observing the birds and building his wings and then escaping the drudge of his job to fly, something that resonates with me. Her third piece was to her hero, Dr Johnson who she described as a fleshquake of a man who kept his words safe in his book. She showed her respect for this literary hero in her well crafted poem. Jane finished with her Three Bears Poem, which explored the impact that an intruder can have on the lives of those who the intruded. A good place to finish with a thought provoking piece.
You can get Jane’s book at: http://www.offaspress.co.uk/shop/

Made in Captivity – Nick Pearson

Nick Pearson was the second guest from Offa’s Press, reading from his collection Mad in Captivity also available for the Offa’s press website. He delves into familiar worlds with known characters that sometimes are ourselves. His first poem Clothing Item covered a man’s obsession with a pair of M&S Chinos, he followed this with the very witty and recognisable Coming Clean, which brought the theme of an employee appraisal, again a familiar situation to many and I guess like me he saw the pointlessness of them. Nick continued with Silent Apple, among the noise of office lunchboxes, the silent apple has more dignity in the hands of someone who reads books; it contemplates its life on the tree, ripened by the sun and the stars. His poem Receivership, an observation on the plight of independent traders in the world of the corporate giants, in his case a coffee shop who went into administration before he could redeem his loyalty reward card. Referential upbringing took him back to his childhood and the confusion of words, playfully expanding meanings and connections that only a child can do. He finished with a poem about giving up smoking, Final Frame, where observations and conversations become focussed on smoke, ash and nicotine. These are all written from Nick’s unique perspective but are without doubt so familiar to some many people. A great reading from an excellent collection, both Jane’s and Nick’s collections are excellent reads, do check them out.
You can see more of their publications at their website http://www.offaspress.co.uk/

The evening continued with a reading from the second of the poets on the Coventry-Cork Literature exchange, who is also a Poetry Trail Poet. Janet Smith read A Cry her poem from the trail, a poem I will never tire of hearing her read. She holds the audience within the spell of the conversation between the human and the bird. She followed this with the Hood Children a poem about rain and finished with Brushwood drawn from her Yorkshire roots and the textile industry. Another excellent set which will see excellent readings in Cork and Limerick this summer from two very accomplished voices.

Also heading to Cork – Janet Smith

David Calcutt followed with a performance from memory, which I always admire. Here was a poet comfortable with his own work and performance. Reciting from the floor before heading to the stage create a piece of theatre which is always a welcome change. The poem described a rainy skyline, was another of the nights performances, from a master craftsman. You can read more about David at http://www.davidcalcutt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

Another of the Lichfield Poets, George Barbrook gave us a musical theme with Rhythm and Blues followed by Open Access which explored dementia. Followed by Penny Hewlett who gave us a poem of broken lives with going back all too great effect.

A new voice with Jemma Hogg who read three poems written at the Glastonbury with Pedestal Lover, The Fraud and the Darkness, she was followed by Mike Seaton from Northern Ireland whose poems on going home and the return of the snow were also a great introduction to their poems at this event.

Ben McNair gave his poem of student bands with Hallelujah Jones and his observations on Manchester streets at 2:00am with its Picasso spewing bouncers.

Burton based Poetry activist Gary Carr followed Ben with his I can’t get no information, with his takes on tweeting and social media, a piece he started as he walked through the audience to great effect. His second poem Red and Black explored the serious world of table tennis. Gary finished with a favourite of mine, two poems which took poetry readings both good and bad as its theme. Gary always delivers and his explorations into new ways to engage an audience are always of interest, they worked well here. Gary runs Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St Burton on Friday 20th July at 7:30pm.

Another new voice to me with Shawn Rolls, whose poem reflected on the frailty of the old as they become victims of conmen. Tom Wyre brought some of his new poems The Lucid Door, The Strength of Spirits, finishing with an environmental Mother Earth poem Terra Mater which were all full of imagery that is Tom’s forte.

Images from Tom Wyre

Gary Longden our host gave us a poem on his disgust at bands reforming in a frenzy of retromania. The evening was finished with two poems from the leader of the Lichfield Poets, Janet Jenkins, who mused on Tennis and her own love match with Forty Love and ending with a comic tale of the teeth.
Gary’s blog Garyswordz is at http://garylongden.wordpress.com/

The evening was again a wonderful evening of the best contemporary poetry from the region and beyond it will be interesting to see how this event develops along side the Literature Festival, which seems to pander to big names and is surely missing a trick by not including an event such as Poetry Alight as part of the festival programme.

The next Poetry Alight will be on 2nd October at the Spark Café, 7:30pm, Free Entry but you need to contact Gary Longden in advance if you want to read.


There has been much interest in Dig the Poetry with many poets signing up for the workshop, if you want to take part then either sign up at www.digtheabbey.co.uk  or email me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk

Polesworth a Place for Poetry – Dig the Poetry – 2012.
DIG THE POETRY WORKSHOPS – All from 10:00 – 14:00

1. Friday 27th July – with DAVID CALCUTT

2. Friday 3rd Aug – with JENNY HOPE

3. Sat 4th Aug – with MAL DEWHIRST.
(Please note this is a non-digging day.)

4. Fri 10th Aug – with MATT MERRITT

5. Fri 17th Aug – with JACQUI ROWE

6. Sat 25th Aug – with MAUVE CLARKE

7. Sat 1st Sept – with JO BELL

PLUS POETRY EXHIBITION ON THE HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 7th – 9th Sept – with Readings on Sat 8th Sept.

In addition to this Cat Weathrill will be running a workshop with students from the Polesworth School on the 18th July.

These workshops are an exciting unique opportunity to discover new themes in response to the Archaeology and I would encourage all writers, from beginners to published poets and authors to come along and find your muse.

There will be opportunities throughout the dig for writers to go along and observe making notes or creating new pieces in the peaceful haven of the Abbey grounds so even if you can’t make the workshops do find sometime to go along and soak it all up.

I will return to my lost poets next week and I think I will re-start with Leander Paes Great Grandfather.

THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.


Readings in July

24th July – The FIZZ with Terri Jolland at Polesworth Abbey.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?






As promised in last weeks blog as I am able to confirm the dates and poets for Dig the Poetry, which many of you have already shown an interest through clicking the red button on Dig the Abbey website www.digtheabbey.co.uk

Polesworth a Place for Poetry – Dig the Poetry – 2012.
DIG THE POETRY WORKSHOPS – All from 10:00 – 14:00

1. Friday 27th July – with DAVID CALCUTT

2. Friday 3rd Aug – with JENNY HOPE

3. Sat 4th Aug – with MAL DEWHIRST.
(Please note this is a non-digging day.)

4. Fri 10th Aug – with MATT MERRITT

5. Fri 17th Aug – with JACQUI ROWE

6. Sat 25th Aug – with MAEVE CLARKE

7. Sat 1st Sept – with JO BELL

PLUS POETRY EXHIBITION ON THE HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 7th – 9th Sept – with Readings on Sat 8th Sept.

In addition to this Cat Weathrill will be running a workshop with students from the Polesworth School on the 18th July.

These workshops are an exciting unique opportunity to discover new themes in response to the Archaeology and I would encourage all writers, from beginners to published poets and authors to come along and find your muse.

There will be opportunities throughout the dig for writers to go along and observe making notes or creating new pieces in the peaceful haven of the Abbey grounds so even if you can’t make the workshops do find sometime to go along and soak it all up.


Last year it was lunch at the Ritz that was the event that I thought I would never do, this year it was Wimbledon.

Wimbledon, the Championships that kept our interest alive to the very end, where British hopes were raised as we held our breaths on Sunday afternoon.

Our day at Wimbledon was on Saturday, tickets for number 1 court, the mixed doubles semi-finals being the main event. The trip was an organised weekend that saw us travel down to London on Friday for an afternoon in the sunshine as we road the London Eye. Sunshine, I hear you whisper, I have heard of it but never seen it. London looked magnificent from the capsule at the top of the wheel, Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Battersea Power station without the flying pigs. The latest piece of this busy landscape rises like an arrowhead and points to a space in the sky where the clouds bow. The Shard, its glass fragility hidden beneath its confident stance.

The Shard in Confident Stance

We wended our way through the tube to Covent Garden, with its street theatre and market stores, surrounded by designer brands that were not there last time I looked. A beer at a street bar, listening to the world of languages passing through.

So Saturday arrived to bring the main event. We left our hotel in Croydon by coach and headed across to Wimbledon arriving just after 10am. The gates opened at 10:30, but that was no matter we were about six feet from Gate no 1 and would make the most of the day. We were queuing because that is what we do in England.

As the gates opened we entered and made our way to Murray Mound where the large screen displayed to days events. Our matches on Court No 1 were not until the afternoon, so when we saw that on court no 3 at 11:30 there was an invitation match with McEnroe and Nystrom vs Bahrami and LeConte then this was the place to go.

All seating was unreserved and we took over the front row of the Press seating and waited for the match to begin. Surrounded by ladies with Welshcakes and Champagne, young couples and elderly ladies who were old hands at Wimbledon.

The first thing that struck me was the regiment of the proceedings. Everyone had there position, their uniform defined their role; everyone knew what was expected of them. No one would be asked to do anything that was not defined as part of their duties. Boys and Girls in dark blue were ball boys and girls; they did not put up the net or manage the covers that was the ground staff dressed in dark green. Umpires and line judges wore smart purple blazers. It all felt right that there was order here, that tradition and ceremony was delivered as a delight.

Then the rain came, first a passing shower and brollies covered the stands as if an installation had been created, hiding faces but not the spirit of the participants whose calls and laughter, said this is OK, we can handle this.

An installation of Brollies

The shower passed and an army of green, swept on to the court, raising the net, bringing on chairs, laying out those familiar towels. Then the blue clad youngsters marched in through set routes, choreographed to perfection. They opened the tubes of balls and rolled them with precision to the service ends. The Umpire arrived in his pale trousers and purple blazer with its cream piping. He inspected the court and measured the net, adjusted his seat at the top of the ladder and only when he was satisfied could our players enter.

Patrick McEnroe

McEnroe the tall American, it was Patrick and not John, alongside Joakim Nystrom the quiet Swede. Then the whirlwind that is Mansour Bahrami, the court jester whose tricks and jokes thrilled but hid the trauma of his upbringing in Persia, where he could be a ball boy but not a player. When he was caught playing his racket was smashed and so he had to learn his craft with a frying pan. His partner the famous joker Henri LeConte whose impersonations of players both passed and present created enthralled laughter.

Henri LeConte

Bahrami was by far the star of the game. He really is a truly great player, even at the age of 56 he has a sharp eye and movement that saw his opponents fooled into think he had missed the short only to hit it with a swift turn of the racket.

We saw him hit a ball thirty feet into the air and then catch it in his trouser pocket. Hit shots whilst talking to the audience or through is legs with such power and speed. He was boundless with his jokes, impersonating Patrick McEnroe’s more famous brother, selling bottled water to the crowd and at one point taking on all three of the players.

The Genius that is Mansour Bahrami

This was not a serious game; it was showmanship at its very best.

The game was interrupted by a heavy shower, the Umpire suspended play and the covers were drawn across. This was theatre in its own right. We have all seen the ground staff grab the hoops and run across dragging the cover into place, but I for one had never seen them drag it back and put it away.

The storm was heavy as the clouds heaved themselves over the court, our brollies raised we settled in until it passed we were not going to miss the rest of this game.

As the shower passed the ground staff lifted a rope to the centre of the court and attached it to the sheet and hooked it over pulleys at either end of the court. They then raised the columns that held the pulleys so that the cover lift in the middle to create a ridged tent as the water ran down to the sides and drained away.

Covers Raised

The cover was lowered and folded away as the sun broke through and the game recommenced, Bahrami/LeConte took first set, McEnroe/Nystom the second, the game was decided on a tie break which McEnroe/Nystom won. But it was Bahrami/LeConte who delighted and brought so much laughter.

It was time to head to Court No 1, for the first of the mixed doubles. This had all the tradition and ceremony but with the seriousness of the challenge. Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond executed the game with short shrift to beat Zimomjic and Srebotnik in two straight sets. This was followed by Mike’s brother Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber being beaten by Leander Paes and Elana Vesnina over three sets. This was determined tennis where in both matches the most clinical of finishing won the day. Taking the chances as they came and not releasing hold of the game once you had the upper hand.

The view from Court No 1

The Mixed Doubles final which followed the Mens Singles final proved to be a thriller when it was played out on Sunday evening and in some ways it meant so much more to me as I had witnessed the semi-finals first hand, I some how had a part in the outcome. Something you can only get from being there, creating the atmosphere rather than watching it in the isolation of your front room.

If you get the chance to go to Wimbledon, or if not create the chance yourself, it is a wonderful experience one I shall pursue next year.

I will return to my lost poets next week and I think I will re-start with Leander Paes Great Grandfather.

THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.


Readings in July

10th July – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, Lichfield
20th July – Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern, Burton On Trent.
24th July – The FIZZ with Terri Jolland at Polesworth Abbey.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Ditherers in shops.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Olympic Flames


The Occasional Music Recorder Group



Watch out for next weeks blog as I should be able to confirm the dates and poets for Dig the Poetry, which many of you have already shown an interest through clicking the red button on Dig the Abbey website www.digtheabbey.co.uk

These workshops are an exciting unique opportunity to discover new themes in response to the Archaeology and I would encourage all writers, from beginners to published poets and authors to come along and find your muse.

There will be opportunities throughout the dig for writers to go along and observe making notes or creating new pieces in the peaceful haven of the Abbey grounds so even if you can’t make the workshops do find sometime to go along and soak it all up.


Waiting for the Flame

Talking of unique opportunities, even once in a lifetime one’s, I saw the Olympic flame pass the end of my street yesterday as it continues its journey on route to London in about three weeks time.

It entered Tamworth at just after 10am carried by the local Catholic Priest along the closed road that was lined with people, bedecked in Union Jacks, cheering as it past.

It was preceded by the corporate sponsors which is the norm these days in their large trucks dishing out their wares to the gathered crowd, each with their own sound systems to whip up the crowd to cheer the forthcoming event of the sacred flames passage through Britain.

Having said that the truck with the Bank sponsor was fairly quiet, perhaps under our austere circumstances it was probably for the best, the event itself took our minds off our economic worries for a few moments and so it were did not need them to remind us of how these worries all started.

This was followed by a wonderful afternoon in the grounds of Tamworth Castle watching the talent of all ages perform on the stage in an Olympic festival of song and dance. It was great to see so many members of the Wall cast showcasing their talents in other areas. I was particularly impressed by the Tamworth Youth Dance performance in the rain, Barry and Chloe Hunt did a great set, the drummers from St Gabriel’s school were excellent and Tamworth Voices stole the show. A great day, congratulations should go to all involved and especially to the Arts and Events team at Tamworth Borough Council, you did the town proud on Saturday, these are not just my words but the words of so many people as we headed home.

You can see images and videos of the day http://tamwortholympics2012.wordpress.com/photos-and-videos/


Photo (c) Hinckley Choral Union

The evening saw a trip down to Polesworth to see Hinckley Choral Union with their Elizabethan Serenade, taking the poetry of 16th Century set to the music of the 20th Century bringing the two Elizabethan ages together.

It was really well done and showed another way to bring poetry to new audiences. Rupert Herd read Michael Drayton’s Clear Anker as one of the few pieces that were delivered as readings rather than song, and very well he did it too as the words originally written at Polesworth Abbey were once again to echo around the eaves of church.

I was also enthralled to hear the pieces of The Occasional Music Recorder Group, whose instruments ranged from bass to treble some looking like plumbing accessories rather than musical instruments, but what a wonderful sound they made. It made me realise that this is a much maligned instrument, partly because it is given to seven year olds who have a tendency to throttle it.

You can see more on the Hinckley Choral Union on their website at http://www.hinckleychoralunion.co.uk/index.html

Another great experience in my search for new ways to deliver poetry.


Congratulations to Dave and Vaughn at Radio Wildfire. – I receive this note from Dave.

It’s the 50th edition of The Loop and there’s a brand new 2 hour mix of material now playing on Radio Wildfire – Now playing 24/7 a completely new selection of stories, satires, poetry, spoken word, music and interview @ http://www.radiowildfire.com – another two hours of live literature and chat.

In this edition …
The Loop brings you interviews with poet in residence at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall Julie Boden about her new poetry and photography exhibition at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, 110 Metre Hurdles, and with storyteller Maria Whatton about her work in progress The Lunar Men.

The Loop brings you a plays from Keith Large, with his look at domestic violence Fists and Chips, and from Douglas Mackin with a powerful tale of a cheating husband Signal To Noise.

The Loop brings you poetry from Sarah James with Scarred, based on her experience of diabetes
… and poetry with soundscape and music from Stephen Mead, Andrew Barnes and Mark Goodwin.

The Loop brings you a review by Mal Dewhirst of Being Human the Midlands Creative Projects production of the anthology from Bloodaxe Books.

The Loop brings you satire from Joe Grimwade who asks you to Blow Your Nose for Britain.

The Loop brings you song from Carol Widenbar.

The Loop brings you the latest part of Mal Dewhirst’s series The Lost Poets: Alfred Williams, The Hammerman Poet

PLUS: Irons In The Fire: Jan Watts’ Laureate’s Diary – the monthly diary from Birmingham’s Poet Laureate

AND there’s Gary Longden’s Listings – check it out you might just be featured!

So join us and listen by going to www.radiowildfire.com  and clicking on The Loop

(And don’t forget, you can upload soundfiles of your own work to the ‘Submit’ page of the Radio Wildfire website. Mp3s are our preferred format. You can also ensure you always get reminders of upcoming shows on Radio Wildfire by following us on Twitter.)

The Loop is curated by Vaughn Reeves and will play online continuously for the next month, except during our live broadcast on Monday 2nd July starting at 8.00pm UK time with a full programme of pre-recorded tracks, live studio guests and conversation.
We hope you enjoy it.

THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.


Readings in July

10th July – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, Lichfield
20th July – Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern, Burton On Trent.
24th July – The FIZZ with Terri Jolland at Polesworth Abbey.

Read Full Post »


What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?





A review of Being Human at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry.

(c) Graeme Braidwood

Most Playwrights write in the knowledge that they are hopefully going to hand over their work to a director and a group of actors who will bring the realisation of the piece to new audiences.

Poets on the other hand tend toward delivering their pieces in performance and readings themselves, so the production of Being Human that debuted at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry on the 22nd July was a brilliantly conceived natural progression taking poetry in to theatre with a ground breaking approach to making poetry accessible to wider audiences.

Being Human used poems from the third of the Staying Alive Poetry Anthology Trilogy edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe books. Bloodaxe headed by Simon Thirsk and Neil, set out to bring poetry to new readers, taking the very best defining poems from around the world often from poets whose work was little known outside of their own circles and languages.

Theatre is always a risk, a theatre production that is delivered solely through contemporary poetry makes that risk even greater so Jonathan Davidson’s vision to produce this show was not one for the faint hearted.

This needed a considered approach and a clear view from the whole of the team as to how it should be brought to fruition.

Under the directorship of Steve Byrne from Interplay Theatre the poems selected created a narrative of stories told around a table, by characters gathered to share bread, cheese, wine and pomegranates with their experiences as fathers, mothers and tortured souls.

(c) Graeme Braidwood

The interplay between the actors Benedict Hastings, Elinor Middleton and Barrett Robertson created a thought provoking mood through the delivery of the poems, where the potency of the words were left to stand on their own with out the drawn out preamble that poets often feel is necessary to justify their poems when reading them at open mics.

This was a breath of fresh air as you were taken along with the characters who emerged from the first lines of the poem then developed into a glorious sound and visual sculptures of the human condition.

To add to this were the subtle projections on the table cloth and the use of light or lack of it to create atmospheres, sometimes unnerving such as when pitch darkness was punctuated with sounds of a stick being run across railings or gunshots from Vietnam.

Barrett’s delight as a Father seeing the ultra-scan picture of his unborn child, standing on stool, drawing himself tall as if he were on a mountain top proclaiming to the world his joy.

Elinor morphing from an angel to a Muslim woman as the table cloth floated on some unfelt breeze and wrapped itself around her as the words spilt from her expressive tongue.

Benedict as a man loading the table with everything that was him, his possessions, his fears and anxieties, a piece that was to be a central core, as it was reprieved by Barrett at the start of the second half and then by all three actors at the end as echoes of each other, not quite in time, different lives all loaded on to their own tables.

(c) Graeme Braidwood

This production was not merely the reading of poetry, but the consideration of meaning, drawing out the values that Neil Astley had seen in the poems when he first selected them for inclusion in the anthology.

Poetry as I have never seen it delivered before, poetry receiving its due respect with its ability to soothe, delight, attack and permeate our senses to leave a splendid sense of fulfilment in a greater understanding as a result of experiencing it.

You left with a feeling of being affected, somewhere and some how you had been drawn in from being a bystander, a mere audience member, to being an active stakeholder in the events.

That is poetry at its very best and this was the sharing of poetry, given as the most precious gift.

There is a new vibrant thinking in the arts where theatre can explore poetry, where traditional audiences from one art form can be exposed and delighted to engage with other art forms that they other wise would not.

Being Human was one of the first productions to demonstrate this. A risk that Jonathan took and got it right, this is the platform from which to build, the potential for this to be developed for bigger stages and on to television is ours.

But even with bigger productions, the smaller production in an intimate space will always work just as well if they are done with the care and sensitivity to the poems that was seen with Being Human.

Everyone who was involved with this production is to be congratulated; you have started something that as poets we can engage with, now lets nurture it.

(c) Graeme Braidwood

This production is touring so watch out performances, Being Human will be at Ledbury on 1st July and then at Bury St Edmunds on the 9th July and will return to Midlands in October; this is not to be missed.

The Anthology Being Human, edited by Neil Astley was published in 2011 by Bloodaxe Books and is available from bookshops and the usual webstore.

I woke up the day after the performance with a mind full of ideas on what I want to do as a poet to take poetry to new audiences using the inspiration that Being Human has instilled into me.

For more information go to www.livepoetry.org

Polesworth a Place for Poetry – Dig the Poetry – 2012.

Polesworth has a long association with poets and poetry, including the names of Michael Drayton, Ben Jonson and John Donne and some make a claim for William Shakespeare. Later came Edward Farmer and more recently poets from all over the country with the development of the award winning Polesworth Poets Trail.

Following the development of poetry in response to Dig the Abbey 2011, Polesworth Abbey has secured funding from the Arts Council England to explore the interpretation of the Archaeology through poetry and creative writing as part of Dig the Abbey 2012.

A series of workshops with some of the regions leading poets and writers will take place during July and August. The workshops will held at Polesworth Abbey with poets and writers working along side the Archaeologists on site to engage with the finds as they occur. Giving a real opportunity to look at the artefacts in-situ, exploring the layers of occupation of this very important place.

Poets and writers will seek to interpret the meaning and value of the finds putting them into the context of the lives of the community to which they belonged, as well as what they mean to us today.

The Archaeological themes will explore the methods and techniques of the excavation, including geophysics, layers, trenches, artefacts, documents and the archaeology of the landscape.

This is a unique exciting opportunity for both new and experienced writers to use their experience of being part of the Dig to put their thoughts on to paper and in doing so create a new legacy for future generations.

The poems and prose created will be presented at The Heritage Open days when readings will be staged as a FIZZ Poetry and Spoken word event.

Following the Dig there will be a publication of the poetry and prose that best reflect the dig and its findings.

To register your interest in participating in the Poetry Workshops, go to the www.digtheabbey.co.uk  web page and click on the Red Button.

Also check out the blog at http://digthepoetry.wordpress.com

THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.


Readings in June / July

My diary is all over the place I am not sure where I am meant to be and where I will be reading.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Empty Spaces

What is DELIGHTING me this week?






Silence and Darkness fell upon the stage
Where kindred souls had danced and played
The story was told of the Desolate “Pink”
To leave the outside world to Think !
Mark Peterson
Lead Singer Floydian Slip

Mark Peterson

Mark’s words capture the real essence of what we did last week and now find ourselves trying to navigate those Empty Spaces that now surround us.

The Wall at Tamworth Assembly Rooms ran for three performances last week to sell out audiences, audiences that were taken by surprise and left with a lasting memory of a performance that captured the spirit of the times and made people think. One of the placards in the show read OCCUPY YOUR MIND; I think we have occupied many people’s minds not only with the themes, but also with what a small group of enthusiastic, committed talents in our communities can achieve.

Several quotes from the people who saw the show left us realising that we had done something special, something that had made a difference.

“Wow, I did not expect that, a cracking night”


“This should be playing to bigger audiences, on bigger stages”

“I have seen shows in the West End, that were not as good as that”

“beaming with pride and respect for your accomplishment of the Pink Floyd show what a visceral experience. Luke as Pink began so oppressed and ended up like a Shakespearean tragedy. The transformation was affecting”

“.if Orwell was at the Pink Floyd show in Tamworth Assembly Rooms he would have shook the organisers hands and said good job”

“Roger Waters would be proud of what was performed tonight”

“This was a brave thing to attempt and how well it worked”

“I want to be part of the next show you do, I wish I had been in this one”

“You have set the bar for community arts projects; people are going to have to up their game”

Simon Quinn’s version of THE WALL differs from Roger Waters original as Simon explores both the Darkside and the Lightside of lives in today’s communities.

Set on a fictitious housing estate somewhere in the West Midlands, The opening sees The Tramp (Played by Steve Jones), as the drunken wise man who tells it as it is, but then gets lost in his own demons that means no one listens to him.
We find Pink (played by Luke Comley and his gang The Dark Side terrorising the estate with antisocial behaviour racism and violence. The first act explains why Pink) has taken this path. He lost his Father in the War in Afghanistan, he has two Mothers in his head, and either would have caused him to lose his way. The first is the over-protective mother, lost in her own mourning and keeping her husbands heroism alive. The Second with her string of boyfriends who sees Pink as blighting her life. Then there is the Education System, represented by the teacher (Played by Gareth Pugh), a system that failed him, tied up with League tables that leave no place for teachers to deal with individual needs and creativity. We see Pink in dysfunctional relationships which the community, the gang and his lovers. All these become the metaphoric bricks from which Pink builds the wall.

Pink with Two Gates Primary School


The second act starts with a tableau of voices that haunt Pink’s head, picking up the themes of the first act. The story then proceeds with the Gangs attempts to bring Pink back, they bring him gifts that are important to him, they show their respect, but they get no response. They then inspect him like the media pulling apart a celebrity finding nothing in the darkness; they try to explore his mind with flashlights only to have them reflected back as Pink tries to defend his self imposed isolation. The gang finally see they have lost him and call for the doctor who tranquilises him. Pink slumped in an almost comatic state as the Band play Comfortably Numb which saw a seminal moment at the Friday performance when Mark Peterson came forward to rest his arms over Luke’s shoulders as the voice and body of Pink melded in an empathetic show of subdued pain. As Pink revives he finds a final revitalisation leading to the uprising of the Darkside, underpinned by the footage of the riots of last year, followed by the challenge of the residents as Pink becomes not just a disaffected youth, but represents bankers and financers whose actions ruined the world economy. As Pink realises the vile error of his ways and is found guilty as charged when put on trial. So the Wall is torn down.

Pink the Voice and Pink the body meld in an empathy of subdued pain

Themes of feigned disability, corrupt practices, failure of governments and the obsession with Celebrity culture interspersed with the Cult of Me are all explored to show how society disintegrates and our young people create their own futures as disaffected individuals with cracked values and no ambition, find their way into the world.


The scenes are built through physical theatre at its very best. Choreographed by Ami Radcliffe, who drove the dancers from the stunningly brilliant Tamworth Youth Dance Company and The Wall Contemporary Dance Group along with the cast from the community, to push themselves, to create uncompromising action sculptures in her relentless dedication to achieving perfection. Her toughness and constant assertion that they could achieve the highest standards paid off as the cast took ownership of the piece. This was matched by the equal toughness of Simon’s direction of the actors in the hours of rehearsals and workshops. Simon had the vision in the first place, he knew what this represented and how it should be delivered. No excuses were acceptable, both Ami and Simon could deliver the parts themselves and so raised the level of expectation. I have much respect for them as masters of their individual crafts and in the process of developing this production I have gained so much knowledge and experience from working along side them.

Mixed in with the theatre and the music was my contribution of poems and films, often expressing the lightside, with the good Mums of Tamworth, or reinforcing the messages with the poems of Antony Owen and my own Thin Ice.


Floydian Slip

Floydian Slip delivered the Pink Floyd sound, nailing every riff, melody and vocal with accomplished precision. Very tight and accurate in their performance, that saw fantastic drive rhythm section of Simon Hall on Bass and Wayne Bolland on Drums providing the foundation for the brilliance of Gaz Bedford on Keys and the Guitars of Andy Ashley and Phil Wright. Mark Peterson’s wonderful vocal performance telling this austere tale with all the expression of a true storyteller.

Floydian Slip are not only the UK’s no 1 Pink Floyd tribute act they are in my eyes the best anywhere, sure there are others out there, some who play arena’s, they can all I am sure create the authentic sound of the Floyd. But would any of the others have taken six months out from gigging to focus on delivering the excellence of THE WALL that they did. Would any of the others have become a cohesive part of a team of creative people who invested sweat and graft, physical effort and creative thought and a total belief in what we were doing, that this meant something special and would make people think, this really would make a difference. I am not sure they would. Floydian Slip did, they are now part of the Tamworth Community, part of its history.

I should mention also the contributions of Two Gates Primary School who delivered Brick in the Wall pt2 with a natural talent to charm. Luke, Steve and Gareth all of whom had never acted before took to their roles with an enthusiasm to challenge themselves to deliver performances that would have been the pride of professional actors with many years experience.

It is true that Luke has lived the role of Pink since he got it in March, often being seen around town in his signature great coat.

Also Tamworth Voices, ten of whom joined the production for the Thursday and Friday performances adding an extra dimension to the sound filling the Assembly rooms with a rich blend of melodic beauty.

Tamworth Voices

Full credit must also be given to the tech crew of Jem McCauley, Jock Ross, Ron Pyle and Andy Palmer whose control of sound and light was perfect and to Rachel and Emma Smith who managed the props and costumes ensuring everything was in the right place at the right time.

The other film maker Sean Miller produced some stunning footage of the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield Day Care Centres as the jury at the trial.

South Staffordshire College made the giant puppet of the Teacher and the large hypodermic needle along with the two backdrops of the graffitied wall, all too fantastic effect.

I will finish with praise for the Arts Team as Tamworth Borough Council, Elanor Thompson, Laura Hastilow and Hannah McKenzie who produced the production. Firstly for sharing the vision and being brave enough to take up Simon’s idea. Secondly for trusting us to deliver even though at time I am not sure they saw how all of the parts would come together. Finally for their support and encouragement.

This was an uncompromised, gritty piece of real theatre, although it did have a good outcome, it did not suggest a happy ending. The plight of the characters remains unexplained as does Roger Waters characters. Lives were portrayed within a framework of real and relevant themes. The audience were not left with a feel good factor, but with something to think about, which is where I came in with Mark’s quote.

I tweeted on Wednesday night that Tamworth had rocked like no town ever had before, that something really special had happened and that the world was a better place for it, I genuinely believe that that is true.

PHOTOCREDITS – Floydian Slip and Andy Palmer.

If you missed the show then you can get a flavour here

For reviews and interview on the Production use the following links.
Interview with Simon
Interview with Mal

First Night Review from Gary Longden
First Night Review from James Longden
Last Night Review from Rae Gee

Floydian Slip can be found at:


Dance Sculpture

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What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

THE FIZZ with Margaret Torr




Gary Longden is reviewing the Wall and started by catching up with Simon for an Interview which I have re published below.

Simon Quinn, Director of the Fired Up Theatre Company, with the help of local poet and film maker Mal Dewhirst as associate artistic director, has embarked on producing a stage version of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” which will play at Tamworth Assembly Rooms in early June. Revisiting and re-imagining classic album material from past decades appeals to me and is something I suspect we will be hearing more of from various artistic quarters.

I managed to steal some time from Simon’s busy schedule to secure an exclusive interview with the man responsible for bringing this epic show to the Tamworth stage, as well as securing all the vital production information:

Q. What attracted you to “The Wall” in the first place?

Total self indulgence to be honest, or at least years ago that was the main reason, since then a recognition of how The Wall can resonate individual and group social issues has become more important . I used to deliver drama sessions for disabled learners at The Mac in Birmingham and we would get a half hour coffee break, so I used that time to go wandering around the foyer looking at the publicity flyers dotted around. I was a bit shocked to spot a programme for The Wall which had been, I think, a production encompassing all youth theatre’s across the city. This was about 2004/5, but the production was either early 90′s or late 80′s. I vowed that one day I was going to somehow produce a version of the show, what I didn’t know at the time was how to go about it. I started to experiment with other youth theatre shows that I had written and deliberately slotted in Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 as part of that particular narrative
within the performance.

Q. “The Wall” was released as an album in 1979. Three decades later how well do you think it has worn?

I think it is more relevant now then back in ’79. There are some simple clues as to why. I think the Floyd reunion for Live 8 captured a new audience and therefore created a clamour for their recorded work, in addition the fact that Roger Waters is still touring it , albeit a more political version and has been since 2010, has identified that new and older audiences still demand Floyd/Waters live performance. The crucial aspect however is that the album, film, live performance can so easily be reconstructed to something that can be recognised within each and everyone of us-where back in ’79 it was about the break up of The Floyd, Syd’s break down, the division between band and audience, loss of a loved one and greed- because that is what it was. Without sounding too pompous, it’s exactly the same remit as Shakespeare being designed in a contemporary vein for new audiences.

Q. Is there any new material in the production? How rigid were the demands of the Rights Holders?

This is the interesting one. The script is brand new-it is designed to be more localised ,in other words to fit the identity of the people of Tamworth. That is not mean’t in a derogatory way, it merely means this is a show by the people of Tamworth for Tamworth. It is very dance orientated and contains a lot of symbolism and metaphor’s, but crucially it also pays respect and testimony to Roger Waters work, so it is a bit of a balancing act. Strangely enough the demands regarding copyright have not been too rigid. I went through all the correct channels. Since last July I have been e-mailing ‘Matt’ at the fanzine web site Brain Damage asking questions of how , why and what, and he has been very helpful and courteous in passing on my requests to Mark Fenwick who is Roger’s manager, and eventually I received a very short e-mail granting permission-it was all a bit surreal. Brain Damage have also publicised the event which was terrific of them to do. The one thing I had to do was send a synopsis of ‘our’ creation so that we had a original slant on the existing work.

Q. What influence did the film version of 1982 have on this production?

To begin with it probably had more influence on certain cast members than myself. We used it as a template-certainly on the launch day, but to be honest I wanted to move away from the film-because we have our original script and we were more than keen in creating new practical and textual works-within the work-if that sounds ok.

Q. Who is performing the music and what challenges did recreating Pink Floyd’s sound create?

The music is being provided by Floydian Slip-a Pink Floyd tribute band from Chesterfield. They are the oldest or second oldest Floyd tribute act-so creating the Floyd sound is their ‘bag’. That was crucial to the project. If I am going to be honest, in an ideal world we would have wanted a group of musicians that we could have put together ourselves, but time and funding prohibited this course of action and in any case Floydian Slip are pretty accurate to the Floyd sound.

Q. Pink Floyd have a fan base dawn from their heyday in the 1970’s, how did the younger members of
the cast respond to the material?

This was very curious. We had primary schoolchildren belting out We don’t need no educshun!!! like second nature, and their parents would then play the album or the film to them at home. The cast is very mixed-our actor who plays Pink has morphed into Pink…..I mean worryingly so!.. but he is fab….other cast members had no idea about The Wall but rock n’ roll and performance drew them in. The real cool aspect is the mixture of ages taking part, or who have contributed in some other way to the project. I could get into grumpy old git mode and say can’t imagine this happening with artists today, but it is the longevity and kudos of certain works that draws ‘em in!

Q. What does “The Wall” have to say to a 21st Century audience?

The Wall , I think resonates more as a political and social vehicle today. We have added the themes of ageism, religion, anti-social behaviour, disability, domestic violence, contemporary war fare, greed, lack of respect , intergenerational apathy to the tried and tested formula. They are kind of little photographic snippets pocketed throughout the show-blink and you’ll miss them. This was the appeal to our backers, they could see that a work over 30 odd years old could be adapted to and involve people and groups into a piece of musical theatre that had contemporary ideologies running throughout.

Q.“The Wall” is one of the great popular music shows, what were the challenges of producing it for theatre rather than rock arena/amphitheatre?

It’s not just about the show. We are trying to use The Wall to encourage arts development for minority groups who can interact with Tamworth Arts development in order to improve the well being of all participants; so the show is only one aspect of The Wall. However as you asked about the challenges of the live show…how long have you got.? Rehearsing peripatetically, in other words visiting different, groups making sure they are on the ball with what they are doing. Liaising with the band, the real difficulty has been this. We made a point that we would all rehearse to the live album, Is There Anybody Out There? and not the studio album so the authenticity of the live performance could be felt by all parties, throughout. Also the synchronicity and cohesion is a major problem, because musically, the tracks generally segue from one into another. Our version is different because at different moments, the piece is broken up by poetry or acting or both then by dance and acting-so it is a headache-but that is the originality of the work. I don’t think it matters whether it is a theatre or a amphitheatre-it is still a performance arena-in fact I think the intimacy of our space makes the atmosphere a lot closer, alot more intensified, plus in true Floydian spirit we’ve maintained the lasers, lights, the back projection and the dry ice!

Q. What audience are you aiming for, is this a nostalgia show?

No it is not a nostalgia show! If it was intended that way we might just as well delivered it as a tribute act. This is one of the largest intergenerational community arts events that Tamworth has ever staged. We are aiming to enhance our arts development programme for people and places through this project. This is about increasing arts awareness for groups and individuals who otherwise are unaware of what is happening in the borough. This is our offering for the Cultural Olympiad. If on the other hand people just want to come and enjoy an evening of Pink Floyd-that is fine-but hopefully they will gain a greater insight into other artistic strategies and techniques also.

Q. Are there any other classic concept albums which you would like to bring to the stage?

In my view -and it is only my view-there are only three classic rock theatre concepts that ever demonstrate originality. One is The Wall, the other two are both by The Who, namely Tommy and Quadrophenia. I have actually enquired about performing Quadrophenia with a spoken narrative-as it did actually tour a couple of years ago with dialogue-but to date I have heard nothing. Two other concepts that would interest me would be staging a play by Patrick Jones, which I saw in Cardiff a few years ago, Everything Must Go, which has various songs by the Manic Street Preachers running throughout ( Jones is the brother of Nicky Wire), and on a more localised angle , I would like to do an original musical based on the life and work of Julian Cope from Tamworth, who of course fronted Teardrop Explodes.

The huge demand for tickets for one of the biggest community arts projects ever staged in Tamworth has prompted organisers to encourage prospective audience members to snap up tickets quickly – before they sell out.

The Wall is a contemporary re-imagining of the Pink Floyd rock opus. It is being staged at Tamworth Assembly Rooms on June 6, 7 and 8 by Arts Connects and Fired Up Theatre, by kind permission of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Mark Fenwick Management.

Using Pink Floyd’s classic music, with a new narrative brought bang up to date by Simon Quinn, The Wall is set on a fictitious housing estate somewhere in the West Midlands and explores contemporary themes including anti-social behaviour, poverty, unemployment, social deprivation, peer pressure and racism.

The project is Tamworth’s Cultural Olympiad offering for 2012 and is already bringing together and involving people from all ages and communities across Tamworth, including groups of people who would not normally work together.

People from all across Tamworth with skills including acting, mime, storytelling, dance, poetry, rapping, graffiti art, puppetry, music, stage fighting, film, projection, costumes, set design and props are already hard at work putting the production together.

They will be joined by top professional Pink Floyd tribute band Floydian Slip who will be performing throughout the production to create a polished performance, not only for Pink Floyd fans but for anyone with an interest in music and theatre.

Tickets for The Wall are available from the Tourist Information Centre in Corporation Street or by calling the box office on 01827 709618.

A short video explaining more about The Wall project can be viewed on Tamworth Borough Council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YPtPGKcxLU

The project is being funded and supported by Fired Up Theatre, Arts Connects, Staffordshire Community Wellbeing Fund, Tamworth Arts Grants Scheme, Tamworth Community Safety Partnership, Staffordshire Local Community Fund and Staffordshire County Council’s Arts Grants Scheme.

Gary Longden – from http://garylongden.wordpress.com/



Gary also reviewed THE FIZZ last week where Margaret Torr gave us a wonderful reading you can see Gary’s review here.



There’s a brand new 2 hour mix of material in The Loop on Radio Wildfire – AND DON’T FORGET to join us for Listening to Leamington on Saturday 2nd June 10am – 4pm (see website for details).

Now playing 24/7 a completely new selection of stories, satires, poetry, spoken word, music and interview @ www.radiowildfire.com  – another two hours of live literature and chat.

In this edition …
The Loop brings you – A Tribute to the late Geoff Stevens by fellow poet and collaborator Brendan Hawthorne.

The Loop brings you Jonathan Davidson talking about Being Human the stage show he is producing in collaboration with Bloodaxe Books and Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, ahead of its national tour.

The Loop brings you new work from cds: Bananas From The Heart by Heather Wastie; From The Bunny ‘ill t’ Puddin’ Rock by Billy & Lozz; and Larry Stanley’s The Rain, from …Like A Diamond In The Sky.

The Loop brings you tracks uploaded to the Radio Wildfire ‘Submit’ page: the story of The Ghost of Charnes Hall from Stephen Harvey; Michael W.Thomas goes country with Cheryl’s Been A Mess (since you went away); Matthew Clegg’s field recording of his poem Chalk; and Mark Goodwin with the sound poem Growls and Miaows, and the wonderfully titled Open Mic as Cellar Door.

The Loop brings you the latest part of Mal Dewhirst’s series The Lost Poets. Episode 4: John Taylor, the water poet.

PLUS: Irons In The Fire: Jan Watts’ Laureate’s Diary – the monthly diary from Birmingham’s Poet Laureate

AND there’s Gary Longden’s Listings – check it out your gig might just be featured!

So join us and listen by going to www.radiowildfire.com  and clicking on The Loop

(And don’t forget, you can upload soundfiles of your own work to the ‘Submit’ page of the Radio Wildfire website. Mp3s are our preferred format. You can also ensure you always get reminders of upcoming shows on Radio Wildfire by following us on Twitter.)

The Loop is curated by Vaughn Reeves and will play online continuously for the next month, except during our Outside Broadcast Listening To Leamington on Saturday 2nd June from 10.00am and duringour live broadcast on Monday 4th June starting at 8.00pm UK time with a full programme of pre-recorded tracks, live studio guests and conversation.
We hope you enjoy it.
Best wishes from the folk at Radio Wildfire.

Radio Wildfire is an independent online radio station which blends spoken word, poetry, performance literature, comedy, storytelling, short stories and more with a novel selection of word/music fusion and an eclectic mix of musical styles. http://www.radiowildfire.com currently broadcasts live 8.00-10.00pm (UK time) on the first Monday of every month.


Readings in June

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

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Not enough time.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?






Following the discussions started on this blog last October and the subsequent discussions held with Staffordshire County Council, I am pleased to inform you that Staffordshire Library Services today have started their search for their first Staffordshire Poet Laureate, to be crowned on the 4th October 2012, National Poetry Day. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the debate.

To get more details on the terms and conditions and an entry form, check local Staffordshire Libraries or follow the link below.

Applications are now being called for at: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries  with a closing date of 14th July 2012. – The links will be available later today if they are not there now.

I will be working on my application over the coming weeks, good luck to all those who apply.


Congratulations to Keith Large on his success at the Buxton Film Festival. Keith has two short films for which he wrote the scripts, selected in the final 9 films of a film festival last week. He was the only writer to have more than one film selected.

The Films are ‘Summer Ice’ and ‘Everyones A Lunatic’ and details can be found here http://www.buxtonfilm.org.uk/

It is great to see Keith’s progression as a writer and producer to achieve the success he deserves for the work he puts into creating opportunities for film makers and actors in the region. I am looking forward to working with him again in June and July.

Keith’s website is at http://www.carrotnapper.com/


There were two great nights of Poetry last week, Tuesday saw Poetry Alight, which I reviewed on this blog and Friday saw Spoken Worlds which was reviewed by Gary Longden on Behind the Arras http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices1.html#Worldsmay


This week sees the Fizz tomorrow evening 22nd May. Bringing all thinks poetic back to Polesworth – with the wonderful guest poet is Margaret Torr, who will bring her unique brand of poetry and story telling to this established event – plus open mic, refreshments available and me as MC. 7:30pm start – Polesworth Abbey Refectory – High St, Polesworth, North Warwickshire. Not to be missed.

I will be videoing Margaret’s performance as part of my ongoing commitment to create a legacy of the event. I am intrigued as to what Drayton and Donne would have looked and sound like as they wrote and read before the wonderful fireplace at Polesworth that is now the backdrop to our performances. By recording them, future generations will have an opportunity to share in the readings of the great poets who are coming to Polesworth to read here today.


Last Thursday evening saw Simon and I travel up to Chesterfield to meet with Floydian Slip at their rehearsal for the performance of the WALL. What an honour it was to hear them perform the second act from start to finish. Sorting out where the poems and films will come in. The show is shaping up into something that will be really special.

Gary Longden has also come on board to write some articles in the run up to the show and then a review of the show, which will go out to the local press and various blogs including Gary’s own blog and of course this one so watch out for the extra blog posts over the coming weeks.

Keep an eye on Gary’s blog http://garylongden.wordpress.com/

The development of the footage continues and I think I now have enough archive material to edit together the pieces that are required to bring together the experience of war, rallies and the hypocrisy of Governments in their attempts to try and fool the public that things are done for the common good.

This week sees further rehearsals, a meeting with the technical team and the attendance at a rehearsal of the Shoebox Theatre who will be performing a short piece at the start of the show as a way of introducing the main performance.

Plus there is the gathering of the props and costumes that are coming together, we now have the bed, but we are short of an accordion or squeeze box – so if you have either of these that you don’t mind us using then please contact me. maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk

Shows are on the 6th – 7th – 8th June at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. Tickets are selling well so don’t leave it too late to get your ticket.
Tickets are available from the Box Office.


Readings in May

22nd May – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Margaret Torr.

June 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th – THE WALL – Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

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