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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Carr’

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Hot Taps.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

New poems on the Poets Trail.

LISTENING TO:

The Wall – Pink Floyd.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

It is THE FIZZ at Polesworth on Tuesday 27th with guest poet Barry Patterson plus open mic. At Polesworth Abbey, High St, Polesworth where I will be your host. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Last week was a remarkable week which saw me working on every evening either attending readings, meetings or running workshops.

Whilst this was hectic there were some wonderful outcomes.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of running a workshop with the Tamworth Writers Group in the Old Town hall, a wonderful building that was built by Christopher Wren and sees a statue of Sir Robert Peel watching over the town from his plinth at the end of the old market vault.

The workshop was part of the project to produce a performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which I have mentioned previously on this blog.

The workshop focussed on the song Comfortably Numb, which we discussed as a poem and then listened to it as a song and discussed it further. The writers group then wrote single line responses to the lines from the song.

There was one surreal moment when the room was silent as the writers crafted their lines, when drifting in from the outside came the busking sound of the same very song – The busker in the Market Vault giving us his version, I could not have planned this and it seemed to reaffirm what we are doing as if the busker was offering his support to this wonderful project.

The lines that were produced were numerous and different in context and style. When they were read out I could see some concerned looks as to how these lines would be put together to make a group poem as a response to the song.

I have seen these concerned looks many times before, in fact every time I do this exercise with groups, but I have never had this fail, when we start to consider the lines and group them together then the poem suddenly comes to life as the structure, themes and voices begin to meld into a story.

We did not have time to complete the poem and the group will continue with the exercise at their next meeting with a view to submitting it for consideration as part of the show.

Friday saw me attend a meeting at Pooley Country Park to discuss the installation of new poems on the Poets Trail. I arrived to find eight of the poems standing in line in the visitor’s centre, proud representatives of the poetic art patiently waiting to be given their permanent place.

A proud regiment of poems.

Four of the finished poems are to be installed along the canal, this involves wider consultation which is near completion but we are not quite there and as such we will be installing these in April.

The other four are to be installed in the country park which we can progress with; in fact the park rangers were just waiting for me to say where they should go.

I had already thought this through as you would expect, I am not making this up as I go along. However the site has changed significantly over the last 12 months, finding me face with a new car parking layout which meant that my original ideas would have seen the poems place in precarious positions with the risk of readers being mixed in with the passage of traffic entering and leaving the site.

This meant some rethinking but as we walked the site things fell into place and the four locations were identified and marked with a peg.

The four poems will be installed over a couple of days starting on Wednesday 28th March by the Parks team.

The poems to be installed this week are:

Barry Patterson’s – Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley
– This will be located near to the capped pit head.
Margaret Torr’s – Pooley Pit Ponies
– Which will be located close to the path by the wind turbine.
Gina Coates’ Living Echoes
– To be placed where the new paths from the car park to the Heritage centre meet.
Bernadette O’Dwyer’s – Jutt
– Which will be placed on the bank at the back of the heritage centre on the opposite side to the playground.

I will post some photographs of them in situ on my blog next week.

So by Friday evening I was already in the euphoric realms of delight as I headed to Spoken Worlds in Burton, for which I was a few minutes late having taken some time to notify the poets of the news from the trail.

Spoken Worlds was one of those special nights when there are several outstanding performances and pieces that are marked out as genius.

On Friday there were several great pieces of note, including; Gary Longden’s poem inspired by the quotes of footballers, which was sharp and funny and captured the nonsense that footballers quote in interviews on the TV and football programmes, this poem needs to be heard time and again and should be requested when ever Gary reads it is a signature piece.

A new voice to Spoken Worlds was Dwane Reads from Derby whose poem of the moment about the hopes for 2012 were mapped out as if we had got to October and they had really happened. The poem as Dwane agreed was very much of the moment, on that this time next year would no longer be relevant. It would however be interesting to see him write the after the event version.

Margaret Torr’s delivery of a Vikram Seth poem from memory brought out her expertise as a story teller, engaging the audience with her eyes and movement. Margaret is guest poet at the Fizz in May and I look forward to seeing her perform a full set.

Terri Jolland read a very new piece where she looked back at her time working in an area of Leicester, that she returned too the previous Saturday when she went along to the State of Independence, which I discussed in my blog last week. Terri’s piece was full of memory and comparison, brought about by the surprise of revisiting the area where she had once worked and had now changed so much with the development of De Montfort University. A day that provided her with a gateway to memories and new poetry.

Terri and her husband Ray also delivered a comic sketch, which has become a trademark for them; Spoken Worlds has grown to expect such a piece. This month they delivered a comic triumph that saw William Shakespeare trying to compare Anne Hathaway to a summer’s day only to be interrupted by Anne with her musings that had this happened then he would never have completed his famous sonnet. It was full of fresh quips and whimsy and delivered to perfect comic timing, a wonderful piece.

The whole evening was full of some great poetry with other notable performances from Steph Knipe who gave us some of her poetry as song, Janet Jenkins who mused on Sparrows, Tom Wyre reading poems he rarely reads from his excellent collection Soliloquy, Ian Ward in the Borderlands, where he called Polesworth a city, that would not go down well at The Fizz where the locals still consider the town as a village. Rob Stevens from Buxton gave us song and poetry along with limericks in tribute to Edward Lear, which is part of a project to cover the Buxton Dome with new limericks.

The host Gary Carr made this magical evening flow with his eloquent introductions and before we knew it, it was 10:30 and time to head home.

LEUKAEMIA AND LYMPHOMA RESEARCH – CHARITY SHOW.

Finally Yesterday afternoon saw me attend the penultimate rehearsal for a charity show that is taking place on Friday at the Progressive Club in Tamworth to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The show is a wonderful mix of dance, song, magic and comedy and few poems from me. It has been organised and produced by members of my extended family. This is the first rehearsal that I have been able to attend, but as my set is self contained this has not halted the progress of what promises to be a gem of a show.

There is so much laughter and enjoyment from all those involved it was a delight to be part of it, I only wish I had had more time to see it develop.

This should not mask the amount of time and effort that has gone into organising it, with performances to be choreographed, props and costumes to be made, comic sets to be written and rehearsed, songs to be learnt. I felt humbled by my small contribution, trucking up at the last minute to deliver some already written poetry. I will be reading some of my more comic poems but am working on my introductions and engagement with the audience as there is so much professionalism among the laughter of this show that I would not want to let them down.

Those who know me will also know that dancing is not something you would associate with me and my awkward out of step gyrations that make even “Dad Dancing” look good. So you will be pleased to know that I have even been convinced to dance in the finale. It took little coaxing, the spirit of those involved was so welcoming and fun that there was never any consideration that I would not do it.

There is a final rehearsal on Wednesday I am so much looking forward to it.

Congratulations to all of the Smith Family especially Emma, Clare, Dee, Chris, Ryan, Rachel and Mick and all of their friends for staging this show and bringing so much untapped talent to the stage.

The show is at 7:30pm at The Progressive Club, Halford St, Tamworth, Tickets are £4:00 and will be available on the door – all proceeds go to the charity.

There may be some photos next week, watch this space.

For more information on Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
http://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/

THE LOST POETS

Don’t forget you can hear my lost poets on Radio Wildfire – Banjo Patterson is now on the loop.

I am still researching a very interesting Chinese poet at the moment and will post another piece in the next couple of weeks.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in March.

March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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Review of Poetry Alight at the Spark Café Lichfield on 28th February 2012.

Last night saw the first of an occasional series of Poetry events in Lichfield. The Lichfield Poets who are regular readers at poetry events across the Midlands held their own event at the Spark Café in the centre of this ancient city.

It was triumph of poetic endeavour that saw 25 poets read, including six guest poets with six minutes spots at the start and finish of each of the three halves (shades of Spoken Worlds here, three parts is perhaps better), mixed in with readers with three minute spots which in the main was respected to ensure that the evening kept to time.

Set in the surroundings of a modern but everyday café that has the comfort and intimacy that the corporate coffee chains lack. We saw readers and performers from across the Midlands and one from south Yorkshire, meet to explore themes of love, relationships, to making soup, praising the roll of the goalkeeper and an observation that rock and roll deaths are not what they used to be.

Host - Gary Longden in action

The evening was hosted by Gary Longden, who did an excellent job, as a natural raconteur with his poetry and imaginative introductions that whilst often full of humour, showing his high respect for his fellow poets as they took to the stage.

PART 1

Jan Watts

The evenings performances featured three Birmingham Poet Laureates, including the current incumbent Jan Watts who started the evening with one of the six minute guest poet spots, with her take on pantomime, with a modern look at Sleeping Beauty which was delivered with a chorus of I am Sleeping Beauty in true Spartacus fashion from the audience. Her next poem was one of a memento from her Grandfather, through his Desert Spectacles and the wonder at what he saw through them, trying to capture an insight into a time of his life that he never discussed. She finished with a poem on the lure of reduced items in Sainsbury’s. She captured the audience with her mix of humour and thoughtfulness and set a high standard for the night.

Anthony Webster - Looking every bit the Poet that he is!

Jan was followed by the first of the Lichfield Poets, Anthony Webster, who looks like a poet should with his shoulder length hair and hint of a beard. His experience as an actor transferred to his delivery of a Love poem and appropriately for the surroundings a Cafeteria Encounter, these were delivered with a considered voice that resonated around our ears.

Next was one of the Polesworth Poets Trail poets, Penny Harper, who evoked the spirit of a dusty road in India as she travelled to a temple, capturing all the feelings and senses in her words that took you for short time to this sacred place. She followed this with a poem about the ritual and tranquillity of her husband making soup that showed an idyllic pace of life that we can all achieve if we just slow down and contemplate the pleasure of making something. Wonderful poems.

Val Thompson another of the Lichfield Poets, then explored a fascinating take on the poetry of creaks and bumps that permeate the house as pipes debate with radiators punctuated by the interjections of rafter creaks. She followed this with a piece on that time that is neither night nor day, 4:00 am as the dark shifts its curtain to introduce the dawn. Val finished with a poem called Gastric Tract that left the sufferer with pockets of pain to count the stars.

Last years Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy MacFarlane gave an excellent reading with an exploration of what freedom really is through the telling of the experience of Richard Prior at his first gig in Las Vegas where he literary took fright and ran away. He followed this with a tender Father and Daughter experience running through the rain, encouraging his daughter to keep going because they are nearly there, knowing that as a father this was a lesson for life, no matter what, you need to keep going because you are nearly there. This was a poignant piece and one of the readings of the night.
Roy finished with Poetry and Chocolate, how he needs both, with words that gave the listener the poetic experience of eating the finest, smoothest, richest delight.

Heather Fowler then explored an Organic Woman through her relationship with her mother and the experience of boxing up a lifetime of experience into the removal van with Job Spec. She finished with Perfect Sight that questioned what Her Majesty the Queen would think, should she visit one of her Prisons, all too good effect.

Charlie Jordan - Caring for Words

This section was finished with second guest poet and former Birmingham Poet Laureate Charlie Jordan whose well crafted clever poems delivered from memory captivated the audience as she explored through sonnets observing a lover shaving with all the tender expectation of young love. She followed this with a sonnet in praise Goalkeepers, empathising with their plight of being under appreciated when they save the shot and prevent the goal, to being the butt of criticism when the ball makes it into the back of the net. Her final poem delivered another of the performances of the night. The poem about words and taking care of our words, saw the audience hold its breath so as not to miss a single nuance of this skilfully crafted poem.

PART 2

THE SECOND part was opened by Gary who settled the audience back to the poetry with his poem that suggested that Rock and Roll death’s are not what they once were, more purple hearse than purple haze and that it was what you achieved before you die rather than an MTV funeral that defined true musical legends. This was well delivered and very well received.

Gary then introduced the next guest poet, also from Birmingham and a fine poet she is too. Marcia Calame defines herself through her poems; she is the ink on the page that needs to be read. Her second poem Bric-a-Brac described the little shop of everything, where the price of goods was valued by the customers. This clever poem about doing, believing and getting your hands dirty; Taking hopes and smiles and creating your own bliss by putting your own value on things and not expecting to be fed your entertainment and opinions. Another performance of the night. She finished with My Anthem another defining poem with a rhythm that describes what drives her. She is someone I have not heard read before and will certainly try and catch again.

Marcia was followed by a performance from Ian Ward, another of the Lichfield Poets who often reads on the poetry circuit. He made the most of his three minutes through delivering poetry without the preamble, letting the poems speak for themselves, as he gave us his take on 9/11, our dance and life at the Borderline. I often see poets give two or three minutes of explanation and then deliver a sixty second poem and I admire Ian’s approach last night as he maintained our poetry listening ears throughout his spot.

Claire Corfield - Fighting off Wasps

Next came Poet and Actor, Claire Corfield, whose stage experience showed through her presence in engaging and audience with an Ode to Speedo’s and the unattractive look that men of a certain age use to haunt Mediterranean beaches. She followed this with the first of three references on the night that played some sort of homage to Dylan Thomas. Her poem about the death of wasps in pints of summer beer was a triumph bringing in the thoughts of Thomas’ famous villanelle and ending with lyrics of Vera Lynn. She finished with a character piece, in the persona of a titled lady who liked killing animals. Great poems and an accomplished performance.

We were delighted further with the work of the leader of the Lichfield Poets, Janet Jenkins, whose imagery in her art inspired poems captured the flow and swirl of dance in Dancing for Degas; she followed this with Behind the Mask, as the painting of model Lily Cole wearing a mask berates the viewer as a voyeur. Janet finished by giving the awkward shaped figure in a Modigliani painting a voice that expressed her discomfort and dismay of being the muse, whose likeness would forever be seen as distorted effigy. Janet is to be commended for her expressive thoughts transferred into poetry using the art gallery as her muse.

Janet Jenkins - Inspired by Art

Following Janet came the first of the Runaway Writers’ from Burton, Terri Jolland, gave us a thoughtful piece on some of unconventional nature of her mother through dress making, which was finished with describing thunder as her late mother riding a Harley Davidson across the clouds. She further delighted us with a new take on Gilbert and Sullivan and the Modern High executioner. Both well received by the appreciative audience.

Janet Smith whose Poetry Trail Poem is about an Owl, continued with the theme of birds through magpies with two poems that gathered together the wild landscape, of moorlands and breezes into word images that occupied our minds, taking the natural world and rippling it into our thoughts. She continued this with her third poem on Cracker Butterflies and their associations with hamadryads. Janet is a voice that can hold a room, suspending the moment into which she fills with her words.

Janet Smith with fine words

To close the second part the fourth of the guest poets David Calcutt, who gave another excellent reading, even though it was briefly interrupted by the departure of the knitting group who had been… knitting – I guess, in the room upstairs.

David started with a poem inspired by Bronte Country, written in and around Howarth. His second poem that came from his work with people with dementia. Through fading memory come the shaking hands, which his observations led to him questioning “What are these Restless Creatures. This was a moving piece that provides and insight in to a condition that is shunned in the fear that we may end up that way and don’t want to face it. David’s work in the area of Dementia can only help to break down these barriers.

David finished with two nature poems, The enchanted forest, which described the wonder of the forest and its destruction, was followed by one of my favourite of David’s poems The Day of Leaving, inspired by a trip to Laugharne (second Dylan Thomas reference) in South Wales and is the observation of curlews and the significance of them moving on in the cycle of the year, another memorable performance of the night.

PART 3

I had the honour of being guest poet to open the THIRD part with a selection from my recent commissions. I was followed by a poet new to all of us, Sheffield Skinny Matt, who had, as his name suggests, travelled down from Sheffield. He is to be commended for travelling all that way to deliver just a single poem. His humorous take on Matching Cardigan Couples was witty and sharp in its observation. It would be good to hear more from Matt in the future and to give him a space to give more than this brief taste of his work.

Following Matt, came Ben McNair who gave use a thoughtful piece entitled – This is how if feels before the rain, followed by a cleverly crafted unapologetic poem A Warning, which was well delivered and much appreciated by the audience – it is one of those poems that you think – wow, why didn’t I think of doing that. Both are available on Ben’s recent Kindle E-book collection.

Our third homage to Dylan Thomas came from the hilarious poetic tales from Alan Wales, who read an instalment from his Under Deadwood, delivered in excited tones as if we were in Brown’s Hotel bar in Laugharne. Alan gave a voice to daily lives through double entendre and playful quip that left the audience rolling with laughter in the way that only Alan can.

Margaret Torr from the Burton Runaway Writers followed with a poem Swan –that she describes as a white warrior on the Trent. She continued with a poem on the closeness of a relationship that can still have its distances with Running Parallel. Margaret always captures the essence of a feeling in her work and then delivers it as an accomplished story teller who engages the audience with her words and accompanying movements as she brings the swan into the room and the breeze between the lovers.

Tom Wyre reading from Soliloquy

Tom Wyre read from his collection Soliloquy with his well crafted poems Joe Hamster about life on the treadmill and The Whalers Anthem, the latter he wrote as a young man, still has the freshness of his more recent work. Tom has a presence and voice to also hold an audience and last night was not exception. His collection is one that I would recommend, with all the proceeds going to charity.

The final guest poet was Gary Carr, fresh from his guest reading at the Fizz and hosting Spoken Worlds in Burton. Gary gave an assured performance of some of his best performance pieces. Starting with his take on performing in front of a Microphone and moving on to nature of a man as an octopus. His love letter to his daughter has all the tender, caring expression of a father’s joy in being a parent, which he admits took twenty years to write, but then he was being a dad and enjoying the moments that all dad’s should. His poem Fish captures the relationship between man and his landscape and sharing the world with all of nature. He finished with his wonderful poem Without you, where he finds his virginity hiding in a box under his bed and careful restores it safely so that he does not lose it again. Gary writes poems that work on many levels from the sometimes flippant outer level to deeper meanings that nestle in our thoughts of understanding the world. An excellent performance from a respected poet.

Gary Carr - finding his Virginity

With still a few minutes remaining there was time for three sixty second slots, which saw Marcus Taylor tell of how he is God’s gift to the women of Birmingham, Guy Jenkins give his vision of Industry and Brian Asbury read his poem using only words beginning with M with Mad Military Mishaps. All too great effect.

Poetry Alight was a terrific evening of poetry and long may it continue even as an occasional event. It is a welcome edition to the poetry calendar in a place where you would expect poetry events to happen. The Lichfield Poets are to be congratulated for organising and promoting this fabulous first event and especially Gary Longden whose hosting skills made the evening flow easily and provided for the relaxed enjoyment of poetry.

The next Poetry Alight will be on May 15th 2012 at the Spark Café, Tamworth St, Lichfield.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Aches

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Weather

LISTENING TO:

Clocks – Paul Brett.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

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.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

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 ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

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

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Breathing Spaces

LISTENING TO:

Hot Rocks – The Rolling Stones

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

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

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

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

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

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

THE FIZZ with guest poet – Gary Carr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in February

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

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The Drizzle

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

My Projects

LISTENING TO:

Jimi Trax

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

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

Jigs and Reels at the Goblin Folk and Poetry Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

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

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

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

TV Commercials

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

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

LISTENING TO:

Old Time Musical Hall music.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

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

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

(C) Maria Smith - 2012

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

From The London Theatre Museum Collection.

1875 The Oxford Music Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs such as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

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

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The size of the boot in my car.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

STILL – The Film shoot last Saturday

LISTENING TO:

Radio4 Comedy.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now to the Edit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings

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

Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.

Read Full Post »

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