2020 – here we go!

I know it’s virtually February and I haven’t told you all about the marvellous things that occurred in the rest of December, but I’ve just got back from a week away in the sun, after the 5 week horrid cold & cough bug that left me voiceless for 17 days. I know! I bet you are speechless too.

So, January. Lots happened, happening, about to happen. I’ve updated my events page with all the future dates that are inked in, and there is much to look forward to. However, one of my resolutions was to spend more time crafting my poetry and less gadding about. So, if you see a bit less of me sharing my individual poems out there, it’s because I’m busy scribbling here. With #DixieCatNottm on my knee. Also, Mina and I will be looking to do more Two Seda gigs, so do look out for us, or better yet – book us!

So that’s the plan. Fewer gigs, less chocolate, more gigs, more excercise, and more writing. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, and Two Seda will be at Sobar on Friar Lane this Friday, 31st Jan for the Refugee Roots take over. Good cake, good entertainments, good times, good excse to catch up. See you there before you go funking with Fat Digester?

That flew by!

Where is November’s blog you ask? A very good question. I have few excuses that would stand up to a good Paddington Bear Stare, so let’s go with I got so totally absorbed in accounts for my tax return that 17 days of December slipped by before I realised.

That said, I have been fairly busy. Now let’s see. We had been Hockley Hustled last time, so I need to tell you how marvellous Poetry Cocktail was over in Junkyard, South of the River. Gail Webb hosts this bi-annual event, and this time it was headlined marvellously by Leanne Moden and Sue Allen, both great Nottingham poets. Gail managed to encourage lots of open mic, including a couple of first timers. It’s always great to see new people getting up on stage and how supportive and encouraging poetry audiences are.

The end of October saw the launch of the latest NTU Anthology And, What Do They Call You? A fabulous collection I had the privilege of reading before it went to print. The authors tales, poems, and scripts all examine different aspects of Self. Well worth the read, and available from Five Leaves Bookshop now.

Aside from my new boiler – which although I think is very exciting, possibly less so for you, reader, the next most exciting thing at the start of November was But, I Know This City, organised by Excavate as part of the Being Human festival. 112 readers were in venues around Nottingham playing the part of Bryan, and treating audiences to intimate readings of BS Johnson’s unbound novel. We even had visits from BS Johnson’s immediate family.

November ended for me, after watching some great poetry at Derby Poetry Festival, organised by the lovely Trevor Wright and Jamie Thrasivoulou, with a visit to the Our Past, Our present, Our Future symposium, organised by the Unesco City Of Literature. A really useful event hearing from and networking with ‘ professionals from heritage, culture, the arts and education to hold a conversation about the challenges of reach, engagement and innovation. ‘

I’ll just leave you with a reminder that you can catch Mina and I performing dual-language poetry as Two Seda, as well as reading some Hafez, at Shab el Yalda, Winter Solstice event at Peggy’s Skylight on Saturday 21st December. Doors at 12, entertainment begins at 1pm, all ages welcome.

Hockley Hustled!

Well! After Sunday I feel well and truly Hustled – in the best possible way. The 2019 Hockley Hustle in the Hockley district of Nottingham is an annual event involving over 350 artists on 30+ stages in and around the clubs, bars, streets and other ‘venues’ in Hockley. Artists, musicians, poets, dancers and stage promoters come together to create an event that raises funds for charities and organisations supporting Nottingham’s most vulnerable.

I was involved in a couple of ways this year. I was delighted to perform with Two Seda, a multi-lingual trio who perform original poetry in Farsi and English, accompanied by Portugeuse music. We have had a short break from performing since Easter, but we have been busy writing and it was great to perform our new pieces, along with a couple of older favourites on the beautifully decorated Acoustickle stage, managed by the multitalented Parisa East.

Then it was over to Emmanuel House were I was hosting the We Shall Overcome stage for the Hockley Hustle. It was a fabulous line-up with many lovely. supportive and talented people – if I do say so myself! We had, aside from four brave open micers, The Rise singers with songs from Iceland to Africa, via The Flying Pickets’ song, Only You. We had top poetry from Katy Gearing and myself. We had the constantly fabulous King of Rome, including their new song Blind Eye written especially for the volunteers that go out and support the street homeless in Nottingham on a Sunday. We had Pixie Styx joined by the Bluesberry Jammers, Blue Vulture doing an acoustic set, the incomparable Marc Block leading us all in singalongs. Northern Monkey trekking over from NE Derbyshire especially to perform for us and rounding the day off leading everyone arm in arm in a great rendition of We Shall Overcome. A fabulous day’s entertainment, and all raising money and supporting the amazing work Emmanuel House do to support people suffering the effects of austerity.

After all that I barely had the energy to manage the three hours of festivalising I managed – though mostly sat rather than dancing like a lune. Nottingham, you are so good at pulling together for those in need. It’s one of the reasons those of us passing through stay. Nice one.

November is a quieter one – just the two gigs from me on the horizon –

Though you are likely to find me at Poetry Cocktail on the 15th November hosted by Gail Webb as it’ll be a good one, featuring Leanne Moden and Sue Allen – two of my favourites.

I am featured poet at Poetry Undercover on Tuesday 19th November at Ludorati. There are still a few spaces available for this, I believe.

DIY Poets quarterly showcase is Thursday 14th November and features the fine poet Kevin Jackson, you’ll find me listening to all the great diy voices.

Then on Saturday 23rd November I will be one of the chapters of But I Know This City. Find me at Nonsuch 4 – 10pm.

A book launch, a fundraiser and a reminder

Phew, I did warn you October was a busy one and we are not at the end yet!

I am delighted to report that my latest pamphlet was launched on Friday 11th October in a joint event with the fabulous poet Hazel Warren. The event, Backpack to the Moon, launched not only my A Backpack on his Backpack, but also Hazel’s To See The Moon which I can’t recommend highly enough. We were delighted that Frank McMahon, who has been instrumental in getting both of us to perform our poetry, was able to deliver a featured set, plus we had an amazing quality open mic to complement our readings. Kthtrnr has created the video below of my performance of Backbone from the event.

We began the month with Poetry Funfair at Nottingham Playhouse as part of the Quite Enormous Poetry Event hosted by the inimitable Ben Norris. Madame Poetica shared poetic truths with her customers, which was heaps of fun, plus the headliners provided an amazing poetry showcase.

Next up was We Shall Overcome awareness and fundraiser at Emmanuel House which I curated on Sunday 6th and a reminder we have an even bigger one as part of the Hockley Hustle on Sunday 27th. All proceeds and donations form this event go to Emmanuel House; and they are also one of the nominated recipients of the proceeds of the 2019 Hockley Hustle too. If you have never been you have been missing out the past 12 years! It is a one day festival in the Hockley area of Nottingham. Wristbands are purchased and allow entry to all the venues. There is music, poetry, art, street theatre and much more. You can hear orchestras, RnB, beatboxing, choirs, protest singers, balladeers, folk, rock, country and world music all right here on your doorstep. See you on Sunday 27th at the Hustle where I will also be performing with Two Seda, multilingual poetry with music!

October – a busy one!

October events:
It’s a busy month, after my late summer break.

Thursday 3rd October – National Poetry Day.
I will be at the Poetry Funfair which is part of The Quite Enormous Poetry Event at The Nottingham Playhouse from 6 to 8pm in the guise of Madame Poetica. So, if you’d like your poetry fortune foretold, look me up. https://www.facebook.com/events/467695464075639/

Sunday 6th October – We Shall Overcome at Emmanuel House
I’ll be hosting an amazing afternoon of poetry and music in, and for, Emmanuel House. Do come along, there will also be a raffle and cake Cake!
https://www.facebook.com/events/335468067329656/

Friday 11th October – Backpack to the Moon – book launch
This is a joint launch with the lovely and talented Hazel Warren who is launching her first collection To See The Moon, and I my latest collection, A Backpack on his Backpack.
https://www.facebook.com/events/2352814358171361/

Sat 26th October – Byronathon at Newstead Abbey
More details to follow.

Sunday 27th October – Hockley Hustle 2019!
Another busy one.

2.30 You can catch me with Two Seda performing on the Acoustickle stage at the Hockley Arts Club at 2.30
https://hockleyhustle.co.uk/…/hockley-arts-club-downstairs…/

3 – 5 We Shall Overcome will be hosting a free fringe event at Emmanuel House. All welcome, no wrist bands required.
https://hockleyhustle.co.uk/…/emmanuel-house-shall-overcome/

So that’s it, just the six events for me in October – when’s my next holiday?…

Snap Notts: River Trent feature

Issue 117 of Nottingham’s Art Magazine, Leftlion includes the River Trent as it’s Snap Notts: feature for September. To create the piece Lytisha was teamed with photographer Mike Kane and they spent a late afternoon along the banks by Trent Bridge, just after the Riverside Festival in August.

During their exploration they met and chatted to Pretty Amazing Grace narrow boat owners Nigel and Fay. They themselves were just back from a visit to the neighbouring boat, a large two bedroom, two bathroom cruiser, quite a world away from their traditional narrow boat. Part of the delight of this part of the Trent is that it is navigable for both canal boats and river cruisers, many of which had made their way and moored for the previous weekends Riverside Festival. Indeed Nigel mentioned they had been moored 5 abreast during the festival. Fay said they had just been passing by when they learnt of the festival from other boaters. Now they have experienced it, they say they will definitely be back next year.

The river was alive with rowers and their trainers cycling alongside, shouting instructions through megaphones when the Snap Notts team arrived. By the time Mike and Lytisha had completed their small circuit and returned to the Boathouse on the Bridgford bank most of the teams had returned to their base.

Take a look, either in the physical magazine or online here. I hope you enjoy the outcomes as much as I enjoyed working with Mike and Leftlion on Snap Notts.