Posts Tagged ‘Gary Longden’


What is ANNOYING me this week?

Pains – ooh ahhhhhhhhhh

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Good Conversation in Great company.


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.


What a week, the Fizz, poetry workshops and a trip on a boat.

Tuesday and Wednesday four introductory workshops with year 6 pupils attending the Summer School, the pupils engaged with the Archaeology and the artefacts from last years dig. Bones were the main cause of interest

There was a mix of abilities amongst the children, with some having the confidence to ask questions of the archaeologists as well as the facilitators. Every child produced at least one poem using a variety of poetic structures from Acrostics, Haiku’s to rhyming and free verse poems.


The dig and the artefacts inspired most of the themes for the poetry, but the children also brought imagery and smells in the sensory garden as a way of putting the dig into context of the modern day abbey.

I created magpie poems, (magpie poem was a term to children came up with, as the lines were taken from their work and reused.) I took a line or phrase from each of the children in the group to create another poem. This exercise proved a great driver for the children who want to see their best lines included in the magpie poem.

There was a lot of noise and great amount of fun.

Tuesday Evening saw THE FIZZ with guest poet Terri Jolland, which saw the refectory filled to capacity with fourteen readers for one of the best Fizz evenings ever.

Terri Jolland holds the audience.

You can read the reviews on Gary Longden’s blog at http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/fizz-polesworth-abbey-polesworth-2/  and Jayne Stanton’s blog at http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-fizz/

Last Friday saw ten poets gather at Polesworth Abbey for David Calcutt’s workshop – Spirit of the voice.

Poets gather to Dig the Poetry

The workshop looked at the way voices speak to us from the past- voices of people, places and objects – and what it is they may have to tell us about the present.

Looking at: voices from our own past, voices from the Abbey’s past, its legends and characters, its written texts, its unearthed objects.

In writing, the aim was to listen to these voices; let them speak through our words; let our words speak to them; let their words and our combined speak to the present and the future.

The workshop saw the development of some very promising poems which the poets are sending to me to form the legacy of Dig the Poetry and new poems being created in Polesworth.

Jayne Stanton gives you her view of the workshop at: http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/dig-the-poetry-spirit-of-voice/

After the workshop I had the pleasure of giving Jayne Stanton a guided tour of the poetry trail, something that I love to do, you can see Jayne’s thoughts on her blog http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/polesworth-poetry-trail/

Saturday and the sun was shining, I headed to the Canal to meet Jo Bell and Gary Longden. Jo is on an epic journey taking her boat from Macclesfield to Wiltshire, Gary and I had volunteered to be Jo’s crew for the day. We met Jo at Polesworth and travelled with her through Atherstone to her overnight stop at Hartshill.

I did tie up the front of the boat, didn’t I?

Our job was to open and close the eleven locks at Atherstone, whilst Jo steered the boat with great expertise.

I learnt about how locks work and to my great pain which I can still feel now, as I tried to open a lock a little too early and it whipped back to belt my coccyx, a common occurrence among boaters known as boaters bum.

In between locks we talked, three writers sharing ideas and we even bumped into a 4th writer on the tow path. It was the most brilliant, inspiring day that happens rarely and should in my opinion is something that writers should do more often.


My part in Jo’s epic Journey – with Jo Bell


As I said on facebook “who would NOT want to live at 3mph” – it is a wonderful speed that gives you time to contemplate, talk properly and it was pleasure for me to do this in such wonderful company.

Jo will be back in Polesworth on 1st September for her workshop on Dig the Poetry.

You can read Jo’s blog at: http://belljarblog.wordpress.com/


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

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

Friday 3rd Aug – “All too often we only see with our eyes” with JENNY HOPE

(Please note this is a non-digging day.)

Fri 10th Aug – EDGES with MATT MERRITT



Sat 1st Sept – STRATAS with JO BELL

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

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

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


Readings in August



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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Ear ache

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

A walk in the country


New York Bands



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

As I mentioned last week the Mars on the Rise is book launch is upon us, this is the first Steampunk novel by Rae Gee. The book explores dark themes, through the evil dealings of the company Veetu Industries, purveyors of SEX, DRUGS and STEAMPOWER. Not for the faint hearted but as
Jane Davitt said in her review for the US Launch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I will post photos and views on next weeks blog.


Last Tuesday saw Nightblue Fruit with a very accomplished reading from Sarah James and a bizarre reading from a student, Adele.
Gary Longen’s review can be found at http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices1.html#Blue_Fruit


As you are aware I recently started recording a series on the Lost Poets for Radio Wildfire, a few weeks ago I took the opportunity to interview the host and driving force behind this internet radio station, taking spoken word out to new listeners.

Dave Reeves at home behind the Mic.

MAL: Tell us a little bit about your background Dave, and how you came to be involved with Radio Wildfire?
DAVE: I’ve got a long history as a community publisher and writer and was editor/publisher of Raw Edge Magazine; the West Midlands based publication of new writing for 13 years until 2008. Radio Wildfire grew from a conversation between Vaughn Reeves and me late one evening when we were involved in the less sexy side of publishing (but a side crucial to the operation), stuffing envelopes with magazines. Basically we wondered why material that we were listening to at home was so hard to find on radio and, as with many projects, decided it was a case of – if no one else was doing it and we wanted to hear it, we’d have to do it ourselves.

MAL: Take us through how Radio Wildfire has developed?
DAVE: The original idea really began to take shape when Ali McK came onboard to help us make a pitch for some business help and at around the same time Ben Stanley got involved, taking charge of the technical side. It was Ali making us get the paperwork in order and Ben setting up the transmission side that moved us along.

MAL: Who do you have on your team to produce the programmes?
DAVE: The production is mainly done by Vaughn at the moment, with Ben working on programmes and projects when he is available. The setting up of The Loop is now Vaughn’s territory, as is the production side of the Live! show. Ali holds the back room together and deals with the production admin.

MAL: Tell us a bit about how you put the programmes together?
DAVE: The Radio Wildfire Live! show goes out on the first Monday of each month at 8.00pm, and is put together from tracks that people upload to the ‘Submit’ page of our website, tracks from cds that are posted to us, and interviews that are either conducted live in the studio or recorded the previous day. The Loop is then made up of tracks from the Live! show plus material from our ever-expanding archive of spoken word and music. All of the material that we use has to be the original copyright of the artist and not registered to any collecting body: so no cover versions.

MAL: Who do you see as your audience, where are they located and what are their interests?
DAVE: The audience is global, mainly in the English speaking world obviously, and predominantly from the UK. The longer that we are transmitting the further afield the material comes from. We have contributors in Canada and the US, but also get music tracks sent from Indonesia, for example.

As for their interests: I think an active interest in spoken word literature and literature with music is what they have in common – and we’ve got some great examples of extracts of novels read to live music as well as poetry and song. Plus short plays are becoming something of a feature at the moment, a development that we are really excited about. Although drama is a thread of material that we have been interested in from the very beginning the inclusion of it is audience led, by which I mean people have approached us with examples of their work rather than us going out to them.

MAL: Where do you get the material for the broadcasts?
DAVE: There are three main ways of collecting material: i) material that people upload to the ‘Submit’ page of our website; ii) work that is sent to us by post; iii) community projects that we undertake and which create content for transmission. Besides this there are of course the larger regular sections of our output which we create in-house.

MAL: How can people get new material to you?
DAVE: There are two ways of getting work to us, either through the ‘Submit’ page of the Radio Wildfire website, or through the post. The reason for the ‘Submit’ page is that it constructed so that you give us the right to transmit it by ticking a box and we don’t have to come back and ask if you own the work. This can be extremely important when people buy the rights to a piece of music and then include it in the track that they send to us, it let’s us know that we don’t have to get permission from elsewhere.

To send cds by post you just need to contact us through the website and we’ll send you a permissions form which has the postal address on. It’s crucial that people do it this way, please, as we need that permission form before we transmit anything.

MAL: Have there been any interesting incidents that you can tell us about, funny or otherwise?
DAVE: Interesting for us is probably the times there are three minutes to go before transmission of the Live! show and we find that we can’t get the software to transmit from the mics, but such things don’t make very interesting reading for anyone else. I guess the incidents that really stand out in the memory are novelist Jim Crace coming into the studio on a night that it was so cold that we all had our coats and gloves on and he and I started talking about Captain Beefheart rather than his writing; poet Julie Boden getting lost trying to find the studio and us hanging out of the window trying to guide her in with minutes to go before she was due to be on air; showing Jacqui Rowe’s etchings on Facebook at the same time she was reading the poems about them live from the studio; storyteller Clive Cole using models as props while he was telling a story live from the studio – just what you need as a listener, visual’s you can’t see (made me think of old radio shows with ventriloquists: anyone remember Educating Archie?); poet David Hart getting lost on the way to the studio (you’ll be getting the idea that the studio is well hidden); and us coming in to find the studio broken into and computer gear stolen just two weeks after we moved in to the new building: and this is why we now take care to ensure that we are so well hidden!

MAL: Where do you see Radio Wildfire heading in the future, are there any particular things you would like to be able to do?
DAVE: We are about to undertake our next live Outside Broadcast from Leamington Spa Heritage Festival. Two, two-hour transmissions from Gallery 150 on Saturday June 2nd will include a mix of new creative work and a series of vox pop interviews of people talking about things they have seen and done on that day. This is part of the work Radio Wildfire is undertaking in 2012 to celebrate 75 years of the Mass Observation movement. There’ll be opportunities to be included in the show and to interact with us as well, so do log on that day and join us. You can get more details by mailing us at listentoleam@gmail.com

The intention has always been to programme the station more but this takes time and money. We have been collecting material by doing field recordings at live events since we started operating and have hours of material that Vaughn is currently going back through as a preliminary to extending The Loop in the near future: an extension that has also seen your own The Lost Poets transmitted on a monthly basis.

What would we like to do? More. It’s as simple as that. We love working with recorded sound and to do more work with artists and communities is what Radio Wildfire is here for.

MAL: And for you personally what are your future projects?
DAVE: I’m currently performing a show based around my book and cd from Offa’s Press, Black Country Dialectics. I’m also rehearsing a new selection of spoken word and performance poetry with self-accompaniment on squeezebox and harmonica: something I last published on a cd titled poetryreeding. Another cd is being recorded under the title of The Devil Is In The Retail. The live shows use props as well as poetry and music: suitable for festivals, clubs, pubs and … well you get the picture. Thanks for asking.

Listen to Radio Wildfire at www.radiowildfire.com where The Loop plays 24 hours a day and the next LIVE SHOW is Monday 7th at 20:00.



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

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

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


Readings in May

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

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

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What is ANNOYING me this week?

Hot Taps.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

New poems on the Poets Trail.


The Wall – Pink Floyd.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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 COLD wind.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Edit.


Exile on Main St – Rolling Stones.



I have been awarded a KREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD by my friend and fellow writer Maria Smith, whose excellent blog First Draft Café describes her goals and thoughts as a dedicated writer practicing her craft. Maria also has written some really informative articles that are of interest to all writers. First Draft Café is a blog that I would recommend all writers follow.

You can access it here http://firstdraftcafe.blogspot.com/

So as part of the conditions of the award I have to reveal half a dozen random facts about myself that are not widely known.

1. My first published poem was “What Lurks in the Tunnel” – aged 11.

The Poet at the start of his career - it would be another 5 years before he is published

2. During the 1970’s I played rhythm guitar in the rock bands, Apollo, High Mileage and Strange Beings, I was not a good guitar player but I could write lyrics so my lack of technique was tolerated for my words.

The Poet on the right - tolerated for his words rather than his axe work.

3. I like to be beside the sea, but I am not a strong swimmer.

The Sea

4. The book that I have re-read more than any other is The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

My well read copy


5.   I once performed Irish Dancing in the Shenanigans Bar in Munich.

You would not want to see the poet dance!


6. I like to drink Newcastle Brown Ale.

The Poet's tipple

And now I must pass the award forward. So Sarah James, Bernadette O’Dwyer and Gary Longden, please take the award, and share your randomness with us. Apologies if you’ve received it before, or if you do not wish to take it forward, do not feel obliged to share again, or at all. Unless you want to of course (photos are optional). If you do take part, then please, do let me know when you have posted so I can catch up with you.

Last week saw me rushing around as seems to be the case these days.

Monday saw me listening in to the Radio Wildfire broadcast and what an excellent show it was with a mix of music, poetry, plays and a monologue. I was pleased with my interview which was far more relaxed than my previous experience on the show – the nervous broadcast of my first lost poet Michael Drayton was also included.

Tuesday saw the return of Night Blue Fruit in Coventry, which saw some excellent readings of new poems from Janet Smith, Antony Owen and Barry Patterson plus some new voices who brought some brilliant performances to the evening. The next Night Blue Fruit is on March 6th with Birmingham Poet Laureate Jan Watts as the guest poet.

Janet Smith – Barry Patterson – Antony Owen – Three great performances at Night Blue Fruit


Wednesday saw the Mad Hatters Writers meeting in Atherstone, which saw a mix of poems, from Charles, Gina and Myself, a short story from Janis and chapter from Alex Simpson’s excellent autobiography.

Thursday and I was out again this time in Hinckley for a meeting with Team Steampunk to discuss the plans and progress of the book launch of Mars on the Rise by Rae Gee, which will take place on May 12 at the Century Theatre in Snibston.

The Mars on the Rise 100 is growing but there is still time for you to sign up to sponsor the event, for the sum of £20 you will get a invite to the launch for you and guest, a signed copy of the book with a pack of steampunk related items plus the launch with two live bands – not to be missed contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  if you want to be included.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent on the edit of the film Double Booked, which has seen much improvement on my previous edits and I am now getting to feel that it is coming together – I only have a meeting of the Runaway Writers this week so I will be at my editing desk most evenings.

Yesterday, I had cause to head to Sutton Coldfield, to sort out my Iphone which seemed to have shut down; the cause was too many apps open in the background and was quickly fixed by the assistant in the phone shop.

Having resolved what could have been my annoyance of the week; I ventured to one of the chain coffee shops for a quick latte and was witness to what I can only describe as Reality Theatre. I have seen street theatre many times when performers deliver an act to a passing audience. But this was Reality Theatre, a performance like reality TV of an altercation between an elderly mother and her middle aged daughter.

The poor old lady had to take a stream of criticism from her daughter, whose life was apparently ruined because as a child she had to wear cheap clothes from C&A and never from Marks and Spencer’s. The daughter as a result only now bought chicken for her cat from Sainsbury’s as she would not buy cheap any more.

The more the mother tried to point out that money was tight, that she did her best, the louder her daughter got, not wanting to listen. The poor mother just sat and took it.

The daughter was playing to an audience of other customers in the coffee shop, neither of them had bought a drink, they just sat as the daughter berated her mother. The daughter was a nasty, vile, ungrateful person towards her mother. It was a sad little play that saw the daughter leave as her mother struggled to follow her.

If the daughter wanted to raise sympathy for herself, then she failed, all sympathies were with the mother who did not deserve this treatment but took it with a certain amount of dignity.

This was a short piece of Reality Theatre, which could not have been scripted any better to show the shortcomings of the daughter as she tried to lay the blame on to her mother’s shoulders. It showed all the drama of relationships that have soured because children do not appreciate what their parents did for them, that you have to understand the times and hardships when events occurred, that you cannot measure the opportunities of today with lack of them back then.

Sadly these two were not actors, who can exit the scene stage left and return to another life, for this mother and daughter, this is life.

More on my lost poets in a next week.


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.

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