Well that didn’t go to plan!

As 2020 draws to a close, I think we can all say that wasn’t quite how we envisaged it! The face to face activities in care homes, cafes, bars and theatres of this years first quarter all seem such distant memories. But looking back through this blog I am reminded of all the good things that did happen. World Jam had a reading at Five Leaves – still the top independent bookshop – of their anthology, Two Seda performed at Roots Takeover, I launched A Backpack on his Backpack along side Hazel Warren launching To See The Moon, Kevin Jackson launched his book Loves Burn, plus there were many ‘normal activities’. The recording of a series of poems with Nottingham Trent University alongside an esteemed set of poets was the very last live in-person activity I did before the pandemic hit and we in the UK went into our first National Lockdown. All in The Before Times.

Then things changed. Activities changed. I have learnt many new skills. I made a short film, worked on a ground-breaking zoom activities in care homes with Creative Paths, attended on-line events in places would struggle to access geographically in person, performed in front of crowds larger than ever. I hope many of the lessons learnt about accessibility will continue in The New Times ahead.

Excitingly since my last blog I have begun work on two new projects, with different artists. Both working in ways that are new to me. More skills to add to the quiver.

I have been reflecting on my MS during this period too. How it affects my life is not something I have spoken about much previously. Using this new (to me) technology has given me pause to consider how the ‘normal’ way of doing things affects me physically. Both positively and negatively.

This reflection was followed by an unexpected approach from a comedian I know to create a humorous podcast reflecting on our experiences of living with MS. Serendipity – it’s all in the timing!

So we have begun to share our fortnightly pilot episodes from 10th December. You can catch the trailer for Multiple Shenanigans below.

Meantime events with Poetry Aloud, DIY Poets, World Jam, & Social Model Writers all continue on-line and I hope to catch you at an event soon.

As they (almost) say on Strictly – Keep Writing!

Autumn is virtually here

Well, there is a real nip in the air – but performance life has and is continuing virtually. Aside from whizzing around the country to listen to poets far and wide, and throwing in the odd poem to the open mic slots, via the ether I have also been dabbling with radio and working remotely in care homes.

The latter project was with Creative Paths and I have to confess I think I found the tech more challenging than the people living with dementia on the other side of the screen! They thought nothing of singing, chatting an creating poems with the person in the ipad. I find it really interesting how different people react to new technologies. For example small children are learning all the time and just figure out how to work things, and my recent workshop participants weren’t in the least bit phased with the use of the new technology. It’s just those of us somewhere in the middle that remember enough to have forgotten how to learn new things that have any issues!

October is always a busy month supporting We Shall Overcome to raise funds for those facing homelessness, especially as the weather draws in. This year the circumstances are different, but the need for support is ever greater so we are having a virtual event on Saturday 10th October – including the best raffle I have ever put together! There are commissions to be won – locally based, though nationally renown songwriters, musicians and poets are offering bespoke songs / poems / performances to the lucky raffle winners – and the tickets are only £1! You could also win a pair of tickets to Deerstock Festival for 2021. Make sure you log into the facebook group to join in the fun and get all the details. Get your tickets here. Be quick, the draw is Sunday 11th Oct at 6.30pm. Funds raised go to Emmanuel House in Nottingham.

So, wrap up cosily as I think this will be a bit of a one this year, remember to check in with your friends on the phone if not in person, and settle in with a good book. I can recommend some poetry…

Bloody Amazing by Dragon Yaffle press

The World Outside by Nottingham Writers Studio

Purl by Jo Dixon

The Pretty Boys of Gangster Town by Martin Grey

Get Over Yourself by Leanne Moden

Loves Burn by Kevin Queaver Jackson

That is your Rule of Six for now – plenty more when you are ready to swap bubbles….