Posts Tagged ‘Double Booked’


What is ANNOYING me this week?
The tiredness

What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Poem – The Magic Box – Daniel Dewhurst.

Morrison Hotel – The Doors


PostersThe last few weeks has seen my spare time taken up with writing for Quadrophenia in Tamworth along with preparing the specifications for the projections, exploring the sources of film footage of London and Brighton in the 1960’s. I am amazed as to how much I was able to find, especially cine footage taken by amateur filmmakers. In the past much of this footage would have sat in dusty box, lost at the back of the loft. But with the advent of sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, many of these amateurs are sharing their films and in doing so are opening up a view of the world that we would not otherwise have.

Double Booked.
Whilst I am talking about film, I have completed the film I made with Keith Large, Double Booked. Using Keith’s script we originally shot this in January 2012, but due to issues with the performances we decided to re-cast and re-shoot last Summer. The film featuring Nic Adams as Bob Heap the Hotel Night Porter and Joanna Linford as Nina Cole the hotel guest with an unwelcome man in her room, plays out to show that this night porter is always going to be on top.

Bob Heap (Nic Adams) and Nina Cole (Joanna Linford) in Double Booked.

Bob Heap (Nic Adams) and Nina Cole (Joanna Linford) in Double Booked.

The final edits were made over a weekend and the completed film passed to Keith for him to promote and enter into film festivals. We uploaded it to the Withoutabox website and I left Keith trawling through what seemed an endless list of film festivals around the world. So let’s hope that Keith has some success, If I hear any more then you’ll be the first to know through this blog.

Making Doubling Booked Photo (c) Maria Smith

Making Doubling Booked Photo (c) Maria Smith

Back to Quadrophenia.
Meanwhile back to Quadrophenia, the rehearsals progress to bring this new piece to fruition. I say new piece because the script is completely new, following the themes of Mod sub-culture, exploring attitudes to mental health, fashion and identity and the frictions of intergenerational relationships.

This is going to be a great show; tickets are selling really well, so if you haven’t got yours yet you need to contact the box office at:

Email tic@tamworth.gov.uk Telephone 01827 709581/618

The show will be performed on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May at the Assembly Rooms in Tamworth. Tickets £8 (£6 Concessions)

You can see the real me in my interview with Gary Longden at GarysWordz http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/quadrophenia-at-tamworth-assembly-rooms-is-previewed-by-poet-and-contributor-mal-dewhirst/

And for those who missed here is the link to Gary’s interview with the Director Simon Quinn. http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/quadrophenia-at-tamworth-assembly-rooms-is-previewed-by-director-simon-quinn/

My workshop at the Landau Forte School in Derby introduced POETNAV to the pupils who gathered word lists based upon the themes we explored.

POETNAV is my SATNAV to help guide young poets to create interesting, engaging lines of poetry.

It was really fantastic to see them create poems with great turns of phrase and imagery. I am greatful Jo Henchley and the other teachers and pupils who made me so welcome. There is some great literary potential at the school and I suspect every school, if we can just nurture it.

Picture 107

Laureate Saturdays.
My Laureate Saturday in Lichfield saw a few people come along to talk to me about my poem, All around the Shire and particularly the verse for Lichfield, which the consensus seem to be that the verse I had written captured the essence of the City and therefore it did not need to change.

My verse for Lichfield will remain as follows:

In the City, Lichfield,
we find brooks that branch their
way to seek the Trent.
Cathedral raises spires to Saxon kings,
as the poet swan glides the minster pool.
Darwins and Johnsons refreshed
our thought as Garrick performed to entertain,
Bower days and festivals,
the tombolas, the writers, the Jazz.
Out among the wider fields
legions held walls on Watling St
and Earls gave halls to the Nations trust.

I much appreciated those who came along, it was good to talk to people about poetry and how it can capture their imagination and enhance their daily lives.

My next Laureate event is a reading at the Stafford Open Arts Forum at the Shire Hall Gallery on 17th May.
Followed by my Quadrophenia commission on 24th and 25th May. – I may have mentioned it.


A Wonderful Workshop. – Tamworth Library Saturday 8th June 2013 – 10:00am to 2:00pm

The 8th June sees my contribution to the 40th Birthday celebrations at Tamworth Library. The Library moved into its current building in 1973 and has seen many changes in the last 40 years which we will discover with this wonderful opportunity.

The library was built in a churchyard and architecturally is very much of its day.
This free poetry workshop will explore some unusual, quirky features of the library collections and its building as selected by the Library Staff.

It could be the least borrowed book, the oldest book, a feature of the building, something that is under appreciated or hard to like, I have left it for the staff to decide and to present to the participant the reasons for its selection.

Anything could be selected here and it will beg the question if Tamworth Library has these items then what do other libraries have that defines them.

Through exercises we will develop poems for a reading in the Library at the end of the workshop.
The workshop is sponsored by Poetry on Loan whose support and promotion of Poetry events in Libraries is much applauded and appreciated.

I am really looking forward to seeing the things that have chosen as defining Tamworth Library.
Please contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  or contact the library, if you want to reserve a place.

Finally – Thrasher.
Last night Thursday (25t April) saw the performance of Thrasher at the Brewhouse in Burton. Thrasher was conceived and written by Conor Mckee and saw six characters whose lives become mixed and intertwined on one night through deceit, betrayal, debt and lonliness. The play was directed by Wyllie Longmore and featured a cast of exceptional actors whose delivery and timing made the situations a reality. The cast was strong with all players giving this excellent script the justice it deserves.

Conor came and visited the Runaway writers group a few weeks ago and shared a brief video trailer for the show asking us to write a brief response which would be work shopped with two of the actors prior to the show. My piece just entitled Response to Thrasher, really only picked up on the backdrop of a drawing of a rubber plant and a standard lamp, playing out a scene of perceived external threat, feminine manipulation, frogs in pans of water and the word mysandry.

This was a fascinating opportunity to see professional actors work their way through the script looking for meanings and motivations, turns and tribulations in determining how best the stage the piece.

More theatre companies providing these opportunities to writers would be more than welcome.

Darren John Langford (Hollyoaks), Conor Mckee (Writer) Lauren Thomas (Waterloo Road) workshop my response to Thrasher.

Darren John Langford (Hollyoaks), Conor Mckee (Writer) Lauren Thomas (Waterloo Road) workshop my response to Thrasher.

You can find out more about Thrasher and Conor McKee at: http://www.conormckee.com/

Up and Coming Readings.

7th May – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry.
14th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield.
17th May – Open Arts – Shire Hall Gallery – Stafford.
8th June – Laureate Saturday – Tamworth Library.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The throb in the night.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The lengthening days.


St John Passion – J.S.Bach Performed by The English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten


I have been busy over the last few weeks and it was beginning to tell with my body giving me excruciating aches especially at night when I tried to sleep. So I was glad I only had a couple of things last week. Night Blue Fruit on Tuesday which saw the wonderful Jan Watts – the Birmingham Poet Laureate venture out to Coventry to read. Wednesday saw two evening meetings, the first to discuss some very interesting ideas on raising the artistic profile of Tamworth, followed by The Mad Hatters’ Writers in Atherstone.

So I think my body was glad to have a break from meetings and events and was more than happy for me to work on the edits to Double Booked. Over the last couple of weeks I have been spending nearly every spare moment reviewing all the available footage to improve the film; with more use of close ups and the different angles that were used in the filming. This has been a step back viewing exercise and not a jumping in and start cutting the film about task. However by Friday I was in a position to start making the changes which I did for the easy edits, following this with an all day session on Sunday starting to make the more difficult cuts and edits to make the film flow more easily.

All adding to my learning, all striving for the best result.

As I was based in my study for most of the time, I was able to reacquaint myself with the Radio. I listen in the car, but this is often dipping in and out between destinations. So with a prolonged period of edits to consider it was great to have plays and discussion on in the background only dipping out to listen to the film audio on the headphones. Sunday saw, the views of a Scottish Fisherman on the articles in the Days papers, The Archers Omnibus, Desert Island Disks and a repeat of Just a minute which completely filled the morning. I must admit that I put on a CD of Bach St John’s Passion in the early afternoon. Not that the radio was beginning to bore me, more that Desert Island Disks was where I first heard a snippet of this great piece and I remembered that I was given the CD as Christmas present and had not listened to it all the way through. So over all Sunday was a very productive day.

This week sees a follow up meeting tomorrow on the arts in Tamworth and a Runaway Writers’ group meeting on Thursday so my body should not moan too much at that and I might even get down to doing some writing.

Monday of last week did see me in stay in to tune into the latest Radio Wildfire broadcast and excellent it was too. With poems and music from all over the world, including some interesting sound poems, all in the safe hands of Dave Reeves and his son Vaughn. I am hoping to publish an interview with Dave on this blog in the near future, where he tells me about the history of Radio Wildfire and his hopes for the future.

You can listen to the loop of last month’s programme including my piece on Michael Drayton and on or around the 20th March this will be updated with last Mondays broadcast with my piece on Banjo Patterson. Follow this link to get to the show www.radiowildfire.com

As part of my study of film making, I have taken some time in my relaxation hours to watching films and television with a more critical eye. Looking not only at the shots and angles that the film and programme makers use to create the cinematic and tele-visual effects, but also at the storylines, plots and outcomes.

This has led to me occasionally watching documentary / reality TV shows. I have recently been watching Time Team, as show that I used to enjoy but over the last few years have not featured in my viewing as other projects took my mind away from the TV.

Many of you know I have a passion for Archaeology from my teenage years as a summer holiday digger on excavations such as the Mucking Hillside in Essex. Time team used to keep that interest burning but the latest episodes of the current season have been disappointing and I suspect it may have run its course as a programme. I read only the other week that Mick Aston has resigned from the programme and that there has been some friction over the presentation.

That, however is not the fuel of my disappointment, what concerns me is the lack of them finding anything. They seem to dig for the three days and not find what they set out to locate. Often finding nothing and so they end up with a lot of conjecture as to the whys and what fors of a site. I realise that you can’t expect to hit gold on every dig but they seem to do it week in and week out, ending up with no further information than was already known from documents and as such could come to their conclusions without actually disturbing the earth. Tony Robinson seems to have to fill in a lot more as the Archaeologists struggle to find anything to tell us. They are better than that and deserve a better programme, like the ones they used to produce.

Time team is not the only programme that fails to deliver. There are several programmes that seek to find properties for people, programmes such as Location, Location, Location, A Place in the Sun or A Place in the Country. All of which are most likely not to find a property that the participants actually end up buying and so you are left with the dissatisfaction of not having a conclusion to the story. Did they ever buy or was it just a speculative time wasting exercise. Again I know Phil and Kirstie can’t win every time but of late they never seem to win.

Having said that about the content of show, I am also disappointed by some of the film making and editing which I as a film maker would not accept in any of my work. Things such as poor camera angles, uninteresting shots of places are always annoying but what is worse for me is jerky pans and shots that are out of focus for a few seconds, all of which are avoidable with good camera work and editing.

It seems to me that the content of some programmes has dumbed down, there is far too much of the reality TV where the public is entertaining the public and not very well. This has led to cheap TV and the production values as such have taken the same line with a slap dash approach in some cases.

Despite all of that I still like the camera work on the opening titles of Time Team!

Next Saturday see States of Independence at De Montfort University in Leicester. This excellent event sees many of the small presses gathered together to sell and promote the works of their poets and authors. This is a free event and a great opportunity to network with the independent writing industry. I shall be going along to meet with some old friends and hopefully make some new. I would also like to get a view of who the new and up and coming voices are, which I will write about on this blog next week.

For more information on this event go to http://www.statesofindependence.co.uk/

A quick reminder that THE FIZZ will take place at Polesworth Abbey on the 27th March at 7:30pm with Special Guest Poet Barry Patterson plus open mic.

Finally for this week – I would like to point you to Bernadette O’Dwyer’s excellent blog post this week at the Secret Writer. Berni, like many writers including myself, holds down a day job whilst she looks for her break that will see her become a full time, established writer. This is not unusual for writers, many of whom have had alternative jobs that in some cases have provided the knowledge they need to enable them to write using themes and methods with some accuracy. They do say write what you know! Berni has listed several famous writers and their previous occupations – some you would expect others are more surprising. To see Berni’s list go to: http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/2012/03/previous-careers-synopsis-and-waiting.html


Readings in March.

March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?


What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Weather


Clocks – Paul Brett.


Last week saw a very successful meeting on a potential future project, which if the funding bid is successful could see a wonderful opportunity for poets to engage with the community both past and present. I am excited at the possibility of leading this project and exploring further the work I did last year using similar themes and poetic techniques to shine new light and interpretations on spirit of the place both now and in its ancient past. I will keep you notified through this blog once the details have been finalised and we can officially launch the project.

I have further meeting this Friday on another potential gem, which I started through discussions on this blog, which has also been received with a lot of positivity and enthusiasm. Largely due I am told because I offered a solution rather than just moaned that some one else was not doing anything. Again I will let you know more detail when it is appropriate to do so.

Folk Songs in Ashby

Last week also saw two readings, the first on Tuesday at the Goblin Poetry and Folk Club in Ashby, which is gathering in popularity and saw a mix of poets and singers delivering some excellent performances. There were eighteen in all who signed up to perform for their five minutes, exploring themes from Mining to Cotton Mills, this really is a great event for GRAFT poetry and folk song.

Friday saw Gary Carr’s Spoken Worlds in Burton on Trent, where I aired for the first time one of my Wall poems, which received a very kind review from Gary Longden on Behind the Arras. I am not sure I am setting out to re-write the words to Pink Floyd’s album, as Gary suggests, I think I am more taking the themes and writing my own interpretation. However I can see how the results could be seen as re-writing the lyrics and I was delighted that Gary felt I had done a good job on the poem The Thin Ice.

I was also interested in Gary’s take on lyricists as poets, as this is something that I have thought about myself. The obvious names come to mind, Dylan, Cohen, Lennon, Ray Davies and Morrissey in addition to the list that Gary includes in his review. For me Sid Barrett was the poet in Pink Floyd and there is a marked difference in the poetry of A Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which most Pink Floyd tribute bands avoid performing out of respect for Sid, to the later works of the Floyd including their major work Dark Side of the Moon. There is no doubt that Pink Floyd were/are some of the greatest musicians and innovators with their progressive sound and ambient lightshows, but when they decided not to pick Sid up for a gig, that was the day they lost the real poetic contribution to their work. It was a decision they took that saw them move forward to create all of the great music we know them for and craved to see when they re-emerged to perform at Live 8.

I love Pink Floyd, they take me into dreamscapes that no other band ever can, but I am always found wanting from the lyrical quality of their work post Sid Barrett and I do wonder if we would be talking about Dark Side of the Moon being the greatest album ever written if Sid had written the lyrics; and whether I would ever emerge from those dreamscapes if he had.

You can read Gary’s review at http://www.behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worldsfeb

My work on Double Booked, has continued over the weekend, with a review with producer, Keith Large, and a series of changes have been identified that need to be made to sharpen it up, I will be working on this in the coming week and I am really enjoying the challenges that are being thrown at me.

I also managed to overcome my annoyance of last week and to match the aspect ration of the video to a PowerPoint page layout – this I was able to create and manipulate JPEG files to be included in the film. My abilities as a Digital Compositor are limited to working on still images and whilst many professionals out there might snigger at my use of PowerPoint, rather than Photoshop (as a minimum surely) – I am using what I know and pushing it to its limits before moving into other software. I sometimes think we don’t get the most out of the tools that are available to us, that we don’t push them to their limits before making the step up to the next level. I would rather make a good job with a basic tool than a bad one with a complex one.

On Radio Wildfire the loop went live last week and includes my interview and the first of my lost poets along with the following listings that I received from Dave Reeves.

The Loop brings you a radio play with Talkers and Doers by Keith Large, which features BAFTA winning actor David ‘Dai’ Bradley (Billy Caper in Kes) in the lead role.

The Loop brings you an intriguing Memoir piece with Jill Tromans’ account of her family connection to Buffalo Bill’s Wollaston Visit.

The Loop brings you Poetry and spoken word with music and soundscape from Victoria Field, Alison Boston, Angela France and Paul Lester.

The Loop brings you Poetry from Julie Boden, Heather Wastie, Dave Reeves, the late Geoff Stevens.

There’s Song from Sally Crabtree and Michael W. Thomas …

…and The Loop brings you Ambient Music with Jimi Dewhirst.

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, in this month’s show Gary looks back at the year and lists some of his favorite events, venues and poets – check it out you might just be featured!

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

This week sees Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, this is the first for this poetry event in Lichfield, which may not become a regular event, but promises to bring together some of the best poetry from around the Midlands to a city that has thriving poetry community. It is hosted by The Lichfield Poets who are very active not only as individuals on the poetry scene but also as a group whose interpretations are performed for the festivals that keep the traditions of this ancient city alive.

I was honoured to host them at the Fizz last year when they read from their war anthology Battle Lines. The Lichfield Mystery plays and the Arts festivals would be lacking without their performances.

Poetry Alight brings the poetic voices from across the region into their hometown, something that is long over due as we see the Lichfield Poets travelling across the Midlands to our events.

Poetry Alight is at the Spark Cafe – Lichfield on Tuesday 28th Feb.

Another Lost Poet next week.


Readings in February

Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

Readings in March.

March 6th – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry – Guest Poet Jan Watts.
March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Not being able to match the widescreen aspect ratio of video with PowerPoint page sizes.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Someone’s Birthday last week.


Ma Vlast – Smetana.


Following my nominations for the Kreativ Blogger award last week, both Sarah James and Gary Longden have responded with randomness surrounding their lives which you can see on their blog posts using the links below.

Sarah James – http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?p=2476
Gary Longden – http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/kreativ-blogger-award/

I am now waiting for their nominees to post their own randomness and further nominees. I see this as a way to find some really interesting bloggers as the Kreativ Blogger Award baton gets passed on.

This last week has seen me complete the first draft version of the film Double Booked, which I will be showing to the Producer Keith Large next weekend. This has been a great project to raise my skills in film making and to learn how to get the best out of my editing software.

Something that I thought would be easier than it turned out, was pulling together some sound effects for the sound of a background party, that according to the script was “a group of undertakers raising the dead in room 25”. This line was added as we were filming in a social club on a Saturday evening and there was a good chance that we would pick up some sound from the bar downstairs. So it was easier to explain it away in the script rather than try to record around it.

As it happened on the night there was little or no sound to disrupt the filming and so I was left with a line in the script that needed to be explained with a sound effect.

Initially I had someone going WOOHOO followed by laughter, which Jimi had sourced from a SFX site on the week. This however did not work as the woohoo sounded like some lost bird flying around the hotel and took the viewers focus away from the main action and dialogue as they tried to figure out what on earth sound was.

The Woohoo has now been dropped to the cutting room floor and laughter and a little clapping has taken its place.

The problem with a background sound is putting it in the background, making it sound as if it is taking place in another part of the building, rather than being an immediate sound that is in the same room. It is not just a case of turning down the volume as this does not take it out of the room. Jimi has the knack of understanding sound and the way it is layered from distant to near sound, of how sound changes when heard from the space in which it occurs to being in a different space where there is a barrier in between the source of the sound and the listener.

In reality we filter out sound when we are listening, only taking in the necessary noise to enable our comprehension, so we don’t really listen, only taking on the immediacy of the sound of the situation.

With films it is all the sound we want to control and deliver for the listener to take in, we filter out un-required sound before we present it to the viewer/listener – but there is the art of understanding what they will further filter out from the soundtrack, which may mean they miss something that although in the background is significant to the piece and therefore impairs their understanding of the whole piece.

There will not doubt be more work to improve the piece once Keith has viewed it, but I do feel it is shaping up nicely.

I have a few meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks for three potential projects, which are exciting opportunities to work with different groups on the development of new poetry, through activities where poetry would not normally feature, bringing the experience of writing poems into new domains and to new audiences. I am really excited at the opportunities and the recognition that poetry can bring something new and dynamic to activities that have been well established and now want to find a new way of expressing themselves and to tap into the creativity of communities.

There are a few reading opportunities in the coming week:

The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club is tomorrow night (Tues 21st) hosted by Brian Langtry at the Giggling Goblin Café in Ashby De La Zouch starting at 8:00pm – A great mix of poetry and music from the floor; this has developed into a fantastic addition to the gig calendar in the Midlands. Licensed Bar and Free Entry.

Friday (24th) Sees the February Spoken Worlds in Burton on Trent at the Old Cottage Tavern in Bykerley St. Hosted by Gary Carr is starts at 7:30pm. The pub is a Real Ale pub and the event is free entry.

I will also mention that on Tuesday 28th Feb there is Poetry Alight at the Spark Café in Lichfield, I will put a reminder on next weeks blog.

My Lost Poet this week is a Canadian Modernist who was part of the Montreal Group. His poetry has been described as sometimes Metaphysical and at other times Imagist. It is his Nature poems that explore Canada’s landscape that interest me, his best known poem The Lonely Land was inspired by Frederick Varley’s painting Stormy Weather, at a Group of Seven exhibition in 1926, but I am getting ahead of myself.

My lost poet is A.J.M. Smith (1902 – 1980)

Arthur James Marshall Smith was born in Montreal and whilst I can find very little about his childhood, it is noted that he came to England to study from 1918-20 and it is during this period that he discovers the latest thinking in poetry that moves away from the Victorian poetic ideals and sees the rise of Modernism.

Modernism in Canada was virtually unknown at this time, the first Canadian Modernist collection was published by Arthur Stringer with his collection Open Water in 1914. This was hailed at the time as being the first free verse collection to come from a Canadian Poet, but was not linked to Modernism until much later.

When Smith returns to Montreal he enrolls at McGill University and by 1924 he is the co-editor and writer for the McGill Daily Literary Supplement, a year later he co-founds with F R Scott the McGill Fortnightly review. The Review attracts many young writers such as A M Klein, Leon Edel and Leo Kennedy, the group was to become the Montreal Group, who developed and promoted the ideals of modernism in a cultural background that was entrenched in Victorianism.

Smith’s poem the Lonely Land, written in 1929, was inspired by Varley’s painting. Varley was one of the Group of Seven Painters whose haunting landscapes with their distinctive visions capture the spirit of the place. The Canadian vast tracts of isolation, snow wastes and tortured forest. I had the pleasure of seeing these paintings at the Ottawa National Art Gallery in 2004 and have loved them ever since. They encapsulate as an artistic image, the genius loci, leaving you with the unnerving feelings of remoteness and disconnection.

Frederick Varley's Stormy Weather

Smith’s nature poems are most often described as being Imagist, taking the ethos of getting inside an object and sharing its uniqueness, internalizing to discover the spirit of the object, rather than the place in which it exists.
His poem – “To Hold a poem” is the first indication of this move towards internalizing his view point and much of his Nature poetry is concerned with experiencing the world through objects and the relationship to the other aspects of the landscape. This differs from the Metaphysical view which externalizes, making comparisons between the object in relation to other objects. Smith however wrote poetry that explored these different themes. He had studied the Metaphysical poets such as John Donne and his early work.

Smith in both his Imagist and Metaphysical poems seeks to put an order into things, whilst he describes the action, energies and forces at work in the landscapes, he is seeking to put the meaning and structure into these worlds. Smith to some extent goes beyond the theories of the Imagists, who see the role of the poet gaining an intellectual synergy with the object and describing what is found through the experience, but purely focusing the object. Smith goes beyond this and internalises thought.

Smith received his Doctorate from Edinburgh University in 1931. From 1936 he is promoting the poetry of other poets and is the co-editor of New Provinces an anthology of the Modernists.

It is at this time that he takes up the post of Professor at Michigan State College a position he held until his retirement in 1972. He became a naturalized American but spent his summers in Quebec. He was to become known as not just a poet but also a scholar who published many books and essays that brought Canadian Poetry to a wider audience.

He died in Michigan in November 1980. It was noted that he made a great contribution to the improvement of Canadian literacy.

Anne Compton’s Essays on A.J.M. Smith


Patterns for Poetry: Poetics in Seven Poems by A.J.M. Smith

Roderick Wilson Harvey Essay on A.J.M. Smith

“To Hold in a Poem”: Tension and Balance in A.J.M. Smith’s Verse

Michael Darlings Essay on A.J.M. Smith

A. J. M. Smith’s Revisions to His Poems

Ken Norris’ Essay on Canadian Modernism

The Beginnings of Canadian Modernism

The Group Of Seven – Links to websites on the Group of Seven Artists.




Readings in February

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

Readings in March.

March 6th – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry – Guest Poet Jan Watts.
March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

The sound of TV Ads

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Some New Poems


Walkin Man – The best of Seasick Steve.


This last week has produced some new poems and seen the first recordings of my Lost Poets for Radio Wildfire and the continued work on editing Double Booked.

The poems are for a new production of Pink Floyd’s – The Wall which is being staged in Tamworth in June. The production is being developed as a collaboration of community groups and local theatre groups and will use the original material from Pink Floyd with additional material including some poetry from myself.

The poems are in the very early stages of development and I have put the first drafts out to some of my fellow poets for critique which has been fed back to me over the weekend and I will work upon further during the coming week.

Yesterday saw me battle through the snow to get to the old gun quarter of Birmingham, where Radio Wildfire have their studio. This was for the first recordings of my Lost Poets series that will be broadcast on this popular internet radio station over the coming months.

Birmingham's Gun Quarter

Owing to the snow I set out early and as luck would have it the roads were pretty clear with not much traffic and so I arrived early and was able to catch up with Gary Longden who was recording his Longden’s listings, the monthly list of poetry and spoken word gigs in the English Midlands. Birmingham Poet Laureate, Jan Watts was also there, recording her monthly laureate’s diary.

Radio Wildfire broadcasts live, once per month and then the broadcast is put onto a loop (normally two weeks after the live broadcast) making it available on line throughout the rest of the month.

The next live broadcast is tonight 6th Feb at 8:00 – 10:00pm (UK Time). Dave Reeves who is the mastermind behind Radio Wildfire is assisted by his son Vaughn who produces the show and manages all the recordings.

Radio Wildfire Production Team in Action

The show consists of a variety of poetry and music from all over the world, plus interviews with poets and writers that Dave conducts mainly in the studio although more and more he is getting out on the road, catching people at gigs and recording material for inclusion in the show.

My piece started with an interview with Dave where we discussed the progress on the poets trail, the Fizz and the idea behind the lost poets’ series that I started on this blog last year and to date have covered 28 poets. It was a much better, more relaxed interview than the last one I did with Dave a few years ago, before the first phase of the poets trail was completed. That had been live and I felt I stumbled over my words and did not put on a good show. I later realised that wearing headphones and hearing the interview in such an unfamiliar way, especially my own voice had been off putting which had only added to my nerves.

This time we were not live and I chose not to wear the headset and so it just became a natural conversation between Dave and myself – Of course I have not heard it back yet so I will be listening in tonight to see how I can improve.

Recording Lost Poets without the headphones

I went on to record two lost poets Michael Drayton and Banjo Patterson, one of which will be added to the post show broadcast and then the loop of tonight’s broadcast.

I will be returning to the studio next month to record some more and will continue to develop the series over the coming months.

I am also really pleased that the theme music to my Lost Poets’ series is one of my son Jimi’s compositions. Dave will also be playing some of the music that Jimi composed for my films Pollysworda and Yell.

I am also hoping to do an interview with Dave on Radio Wildfire to publish on this blog in the coming weeks.

Radio Wildfire is promoting writers and poets from all over the world and is well worth a listen.

You can listen in tonight at 8pm at http://radiowildfire.com/ or to the loop at anytime outside the live broadcast.

Night Blue Fruit returns tomorrow at Taylor John’s in the Canal Basin in Coventry. This spoken word evening has been running for about seven years now and has seen many great poets read there. It was started by Jonathan Morley and the Heaventree Press and is the link to Cork for the Coventry Cork literature exchange. It is led by Antony Owen and Barry Patterson, two great poets from the city who both have had excellent collections published in recent years.

Antony was guest poet at the Fizz last September, when he delivered a very well received set accompanied by an ambient soundtrack. It was one of the best Fizz events that we have had at Polesworth and I look forward to having him back with new set in the future.

Barry is the guest poet at the next Fizz in March. Barry is one of the Poets Trail poets, who always delivers an engaging set with all the skills of the natural story teller, his words and voice resonate a lasting ambience of Natures Mystic.

Both will no doubt be at Night Blue Fruit tomorrow and look out for the posters for the Fizz on this blog in the coming weeks.

I am continuing with the edit on Double Booked which is probably the most time consuming aspect of film making. The opening, establishing shots are done as a rough edit, visually I want to tighten them up and the sound needs to be mastered to achieve a smooth transition between shot locations. At the moment it sounds like the change from the film to the TV Ads, I never understand why the sound levels increase when the broadcast goes into the transition between programme and TV ad, (well I do really, they want to make sure we are awake when the ads come on) – it annoys me and I more likely to hit the mute button until the programme returns.

That aside – my film at the moment has the same sound transition, pitch and roll between scenes, so this needs to be fixed.

I am currently working on the main dialogue scene, cutting in close ups to the main dialogue – this at the moment involves a lot of viewing, looking at the main film and deciding where and when to put in close ups – some of it easy – especially for the longer speeches other areas are more difficult. What I don’t want to do is have it flicking around too much that the visuals take away from the excellent dialogue that was written by Keith Large.

Keith’s excellent Radio play Talkers and Doers – which stars David (Dai) Bradley, who played Billy Casper in the film Kes, will also be broadcast on Radio Wildfire during tonight’s broadcast. So another great reason to listen in.

More on my lost poets in a couple of weeks.


Readings in February

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

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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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