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?
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.
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 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/
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.
The Clifton Storey’s project, which was such a joy and honour to work on with the Creative Paths team, has this lovely write up in their quarterly magazine. I really enjoyed capturing the stories which flowed from the first residents of Clifton. From their origins, through the waiting list, to their experiences of Clifton Estate then and now. The team at Creative Paths, with Karyn Stavert at the helm, and visual artist Rachel Scanlon, all worked to make this a project we can all be proud of.
Well, that was an experience! Performing as part of the DIY Poets collective in the show A DIY Poetry Fix at Banshee Labyrinth, at prime slot of 8.15pm between 10 – 16 August was exhilarating, exhausting, exciting and a first for me.
Having previously attended the festival, and flitted around trying to see as much as possible in a short space of time, I was aware how much there is to do and see during the festival season. Now, having now seen it from the other side, I see how much work it is for all involved; performers, promoters, flyerers, never stop. Kudos to those that survive a solo show!
My sets seemed to go down well, opening as I did with questions for the audience. ‘Will you dance with me? Will you swim with me? Will you hold me and laugh with me?’ it was encouraging to hear a YES! from the back row. I also had the privilege of compering the final performance to the packed crowd on the Friday night. Great fun.
I’ve posted a couple of photos from the performances on the images page. I also recommend checking out diypoets.com to see more about the Nottingham based collective.
DIY Poets have been instrumental in my poetry journey. They were the first to give me a platform to perform back in 2013, and I became a regular member later that year. A brilliant supportive group that arrange a variety of local events, and are thoroughly involved in the local literary scene. Not that we stop at the county lines! DIY Poets, as well as Edinburgh Festival, have performed at Buxton Fringe Festival, Off the Shelf festival in Sheffield and Splendour Festival, to name but a few.
Back to Edinburgh, what did I learn? 1) Don’t use Flybe if you need to be somewhere by a certain time. 2) Flyering is really important. Target your audiences and get your event details out there. 3) Teamwork is the key to success. Whether in terms of sharing the organising, of accommodation, publicity, knowledge, tips, or just mutual support for fellow artists. It’s a lot easier with a team. Thank you DIYers. Here’s to the next poetic adventure.