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….

2020: Part 1 Pre C-19

This was not the blog I thought I’d be writing. To be honest, I’ve put off updating you because I felt in a kind of suspended animation. But there have been so many good events I’ve been involved with this year it doesn’t feel fair to let the current situation to take anything away from them. So, here’s a round up of January to mid-March 2020.
So, the year began cheerfully enough on 8th January with a gig at The People’s Museum, Manchester. I read some poems at Meet We Shall Overcome event organised by Matt Hill, featuring the WSO work of Pauline Townsend, and celebrating all the WSO volunteers around the country.
Saturday 11th January saw poets from World Jam reading from their anthology at Five Leaves Bookshop. We had poems shared in several languages, and Sherry performed some verses from Rumi, the Persian poet.
January 31st Refugee Roots Take Over at Sobar. This great event featured the ever fabulous, and talented Jude Winwood playing her kora, soothing, energising and relaxing all in one set. This was followed by Two Seda performing a great set, if I do say so myself. The evening was rounded off by the enigmatic Obi Rudo who had us up on our feet dancing. Check out his music page, or you might catch him busking near the Market Square if you are lucky.
22nd Feb was a house gig collecting donations of food and clothing for WSO where we heard from Joe Solo, the motivating heart of WSO, Pixie Styx, Paul Carbuncle, and many others, including myself. Several boxes of goods and a wedge of money donated to local causes.
Then came scary Thursday! I joined Leanne Moden on the sofa at Ey Up Notts! Live magazine programme on Notts TV. It was my tv debut! Well, apart from crowd scenes and vox pops… Oh and that film.. Anyhow, we were there promoting Women Say Stuff 5, which was organised by some of the women of DIY Poets. The event itself, on International Women’s Day was fabulous. Three hours of women saying their stuff in poetic or short story format. Always great to hear new voices, and familiar ones. The featured acts were Maresa MacKeith, Sara Awayes, and myself.
I also attended and performed at two book launches, Genevieve Carver’s at Scarthins Bookshop and Kevin Jackson’s Loves Burn launch at City Arts. Both great books that I highly recommend.
From mid March my diary changed to a series of crossings out, cancelled events, and life became very home-based. Some of that has changed now with On-line events and festivals – lots of exciting news about them to come in the next blog. For upcoming events, don’t forget to check out my gig listings.

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.

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?…