Category Archives: Performance writing

CREDO – Creative Synergy – Credo by Liz Johnson

Standard

I am currently working on an exciting project. Earlier this month Liz Johnson, a composer, contacted me regarding a collaborative project taking place on the 29th September, Elmslie House, Malvern. elmslie-final-logo-large-darkblue-outlined_1_large

I felt it was meant to be as I am performing in London (at Free Verse) at the end of the month and originally travel plans meant I would not have been available on the 29th, they changed and I am.

You know how I love poetry beyond the page, I eagerly agreed and waited to discover more.


Creative Synergy – Credo

It started with Dora Williams (Artist) inviting Liz to three collaborative sessions, at the time they had no idea what the outcome would be.

Credo liz johnson co uk Liz Johnson © 2017

Liz’s award-winning Colwall Requiem for Aleppo became the central focus of the collaboration, with Dora creating new artworks inspired by Liz’s music. Now Liz has responded by composing a new work for solo viola Credo in which music from the Requiem is reworked and added to, inspired by Dora’s series of abstract paintings.

The violist Adam Römer, who performed at the premiere of the Requiem, has been working closely with Liz and Dora to create a major new work for solo viola

The performance will include discussions with Dora, Liz and Adam about the creation of the piece and the whole Creative Synergy project, and there will be opportunities for the audience to ask questions of the performer, composer and artist as part of the evening.

Source: http://www.elmsliehouse.co.uk/2017/08/31/creative-synergy-credo-by-liz-johnson/

elmslie house

Elmslie House © 2017

The collaborative works of artist Dora Williams and composer Liz Johnson explore themes of migration and displacement, through art, film and music with Credo performed by Adam Römer (viola leader of CBSO) on the opening night.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 30th (10 – 4 pm) and runs until the 8th October. Details (Free admission 2.30-4.30pm). 

This piece explores what we believe, with music from ‘Colwall Requiem for Aleppo’ inspired by the art work of Dora Williams, the plight of refugees, the Grenfell Tower disaster and what we consider to be ‘Home’. Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis will read her own poetry and Liz, Dora and Adam will also discuss the creation of ‘Credo’, which centres around ideas of seeking/finding refuge. Artist Dora Williams has created a stunning new series of abstract works on this theme, on display at the venue. 
To reserve your seat for the evening recital (29th September), please call Anna on 07789 470780

Tickets £10 on the door including a free interval drink


typewriter-801921_1280 I have spent the past week filled with excitement in anticipation of creating writing for this opening event. I have a busy schedule at the moment and was still working on a WW1 commission (which entailed a lot of research and redrafting), now completed as well as Poetry Workshops when I agreed to this new work. I knew I had to shift my brain for Credo and needed a clear mind.

I like head space, the days spent thinking about a project before you dive in – it helps gather thoughts and those which manifest the deepest will stay and become part of the work.

The themes of migration and displacement are areas I have written about before. I could use a body of existing work, but felt this was not in keeping with the spirit of the collaborative project. I promised new work and set about creating it.

The performance itself is split into three sections, three themes. I have completed writing on two of them. Time wise I have perhaps one or two more poems to write before my set is complete.

I asked Liz to send information about the background of the piece, how it has been created and then I used a mixture of audio clips (mainly Requiem music) and images, including an original abstract by Dora Williams. I also used news articles and mirrored some of the instructions given to the musician, writing for the first time improvised poetry. Although, you could argue all poetry is improvised. Intentionally improvised, let’s say. It has been a rewarding process and I am thankful that I managed to find a block of time (in the middle of the night) to complete this work.

Credo

Liz Johnson © 2017

Advertisements

I Never Expected Floor Covering – The World of Carpet NPD

Standard

Some time ago (in secret) I was asked to take part in a performance for National Poetry Day. This year’s Poet Laureate for Worcestershire is Heather Wastie and as runner up poets, she invited both myself and Suz Winspear to take part. WLF say that there are opportunities even if you don’t win and I think this is ours. I was delighted to accept.

nat1

Heather was the Poet in Residence at the Carpet Museum in Kidderminster (traditional trade in the town), an industry, like many that has left empty mills and legacy across the 21st century streets. Heather was also one of the three guest writers for last year’s INKSPILL (our very own online writing retreat).

Light and Shade is taking place in the carpet museum in conjunction with Worcester LITFEST.

light shade NPD

There was a poetry competition (closed 6th September), the 3 winners have been chosen and voting is open for a 4th poet. You can vote for free on a one click POLL here.

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/litfest-npd-competition-update-and-poll/

VOTING closes on the 1st October.

WLF Heather WPL

Saturday August 15th

In preparation for entering this competition there was a special open day at the Carpet Museum, which is an amazing place and so much more than I expected was discovered. It was a relaxing few hours walking around to the gentle hum of poet’s pens scribbling away.

I had a whole notebook of ideas.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Tuesday August 25th

A few weeks later Heather, Suz and I met to explore ideas for the writing and the performance space. I was able to use some of the audio resources to gather story. Heather also shared conversations she had had with weavers as part of her residency, these helped a lot with finding character.

Suz and I went away and wrote our poems.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

Monday September 21st

We all met again to rehearse the project, it was great fun and I think it is a unique project to be part of. The event is free, the performance space has limited capacity so you will still need to book tickets.

Nina Lewis © 2015

Nina Lewis © 2015

I love being busy on NPD (National Poetry Day) and I look forward to being involved in the world of carpet for this one.

WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap!

Standard

 

WLF&F logo concepts

Worcester Lit Fest 2015 has been an awesome 10 day festival! I loved it even more than last year, as last year was my first WLF I was boundless in energy and enthusiasm – so to say I have enjoyed this year even more is a BIG thing!

The programme had a great combination of events, some of which I was lucky enough to attend, others I participated in and a few I missed completely due to work and the fact that I live away from the city and don’t have unlimited funds!

 

DAY 1

As you know, as I was a finalist, the launch night was also a night of awards and celebration, for young writers, students of the university, Flash Fiction Competitors and the six poets brave enough to compete for the Poet Laureate position 2015/16.

This link takes you to my post:

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

WLF PL

The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 2

There was lots of activity on Day 2, most of which I missed as I was working for Writing West Midlands.

A wonderful workshop by Alison May – who has a new book out – details COMING SOON. We weren’t in the same library or I would have attempted to pop in.

Writing Workshop With Alison May
From Idea To Draft–
–Developing Character And Plot To Make Your Novel Work
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Saturday 13 June 13:45-15:45

Award-winning writer, Alison May, is a Worcester-based novelist and short
story writer. She ran a popular series of workshops for LitFest last year and returns this year for a workshop on Using Character and Plot to develop
your novel. The workshop is aimed at anyone who is working on a novel, or
has a strong idea for a novel they would like to write.
Alison’s debut novel, ‘Sweet Nothing’ was published by Choc Lit in
November 2013, followed by her first novella, ‘Holly’s Christmas Kiss’, in
December 2013 and a second novella ‘Cora’s Christmas Kiss’ in 2014. Her
short stories have appeared in Romantic Novelists’ Association, Harlequin,
Choc Lit and Black Pear Press anthologies, and she is former winner of the
RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. Her fourth book, ‘Midsummer Dreams’,
was released this spring.  www.alison-may.co.uk

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend the evening event at Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Here is the link to my blogpost Poetry Wrap 6 scroll to the end of the wrap to find out about my night at the museum.BP Royal Worc

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
 Ben Parker From Porcelein
This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-in
residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading
from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be
available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning
of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from
his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 3

Our Illustrious Crime Panel
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Sunday 14 June 18:00-20:00

Cally Taylor
“I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…” (‘The Lie’ C.L. Taylor)
Cally Taylor loves a dark, twisted tale. She lives in Bristol with her partner
and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at
the University of Northumbria then moved to London to work in medical
publishing.

Cally worked as a graphic designer, web developer and
instructional designer over the course of 13 years and now writes full time.
Her first psychological thriller ‘The Accident’ has sold over 150,000 copies
in the UK alone and was one of the top 10 debut bestsellers of 2014
according to The Bookseller. She credits Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the
Unexpected’ for her love of dark tales.
“Claustrophobic, tense and thrilling, a thrill-ride of a novel that keeps
you guessing.”
Elizabeth Haynes
“An enjoyable rollercoaster of a suspense novel with multiple twists.”

Daily  Mail
“This dark and creepy book is a must read.”
The Sun
Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her
debut novel, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ was the Observer’s Book of the Month
(“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has
been published worldwide. ‘No Other Darkness’, the second in the Marnie
Rome series, is out in 2015. The series is being developed for television by
the BBC.
“Impressive”
Times

“Stunning”
Mark Billingham

“An extraordinarily good debut”
Observer

Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of Serena Mackesy, a journalist who has
worked extensively across the British press. Her first book, ‘The Wicked
Girls’, was a word-of-mouth sensation, won the prestigious Edgar Award
for Best Paperback Original in 2014, and was nominated for an
International Thriller Writers Award in 2013. Alex lives in south London.

“A modern-day ‘Rebecca’, mixed with a suspense-filled Gothic novel and
served up with generous helping of wit – a real treat.”
Associated Press
“Fresh, sparky, funny and sadly poignant.”
The Big Issue

“Brilliantly observed … a gripping read.”
The Times

Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has
written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and many other
national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing
Magazine.

Clare spent 12 years in the police, including time on CID, in custody and as a public order commander. Her debut novel ‘I Let You Go’ is a tense, emotionally compelling psychological thriller perfect for readers of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’.
“A terrific, compelling read with an astonishing twist that floored me. I
loved it and did not want it to end” ‘
Peter James
“A hugely assured and gripping debut and a twist that made me green
with envy”
Mark Billingham
“Absorbing, authentic and deeply unsettling: a stellar achievement, and
so deliciously clever”
Elizabeth Haynes
Following the Romantic Novelists’ Panel last year, this year we go into a
world of darkness and psychological chills and thrills from four crime
writers who look like butter wouldn’t melt…

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

This event was well attended and received lots of rave reviews. It is one I would have liked to attend and a real bargain for a whole panel of experts. Shame I am human and had to pace myself!

Day 4

‘Sport and Spice’
Chris & Teresa Green    Anita Sharma-James
Bindles upper room, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Monday 15 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Get sporty and spice up your life! Award-winning author and broadcaster
Chris Green accompanies his wife and business partner Teresa – one of the
first women sports editors in the UK. Teresa’s roles have included sports
editor at the Bromsgrove Advertiser, assistant editor at the Kidderminster
Shuttle and sports reporter/sub editor at the Sunday Mercury. Chris is the
author of five highly acclaimed sports books, including ‘Every Boy’s Dream
– England’s Football Future on the Line’, which was nominated for the
2010 British Sports Book of the Year.
Anita will give a live Indian cookery demonstration. Our fabulous local
expert will invite you to enjoy a mouth-watering Indian finger buffet made
to her authentic recipes from her wonderful cookery book ‘A Life of Spice:
Raksha’s Story’.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I saw Anita Sharma-James at an event in my hometown a few years ago and only have interest in tennis and world cup football! This was a SELL OUT event though, they had to turn people away.

Meanwhile I was over the hills at another SELL OUT event with John Hegley and the Confab Cabaret team, who provided the FRINGE part of the Festival (Geographically) – definitely not with the billing or event – it was one of my festival highlights. CONFAB j2 Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 5

John Hegley did a workshop – which I missed because I was working and also because I am seeing him again in Ludlow and have booked the workshop there as it is on the same day as the event.

It would have been great fun – what I heard was all fabulous but I had asked people NOT TO TELL ME ANYTHING about it as he may repeat the same ideas in Ludlow.

I had Tuesday off from the festival, I was working and trying to write some new material and work on my editing too.

CONFAB J Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley – Workshop
Tuesday 16th June 10:00-12:00 (Doors Open 09:45)
Tickets £12.50 in advance online (address below)
After a night of ConFab Cabaret jollity, John will be up bright and early
delivering a 2 hour workshop.
This will be an opportunity to work closely with Mr Hegley using drawing,
poetry and gesture. John has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces,
two CD’s and one mug. An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his
exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and
the misery of human existence.
Places are limited. Please book now to avoid disappointment.
Both John Hegley events to be held at: The Harcourt Room, The Mount
Pleasant Hotel, Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern WR14 4PZ

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

In the evening – Worcester Writers’ Circle took over with a Rubber Swordplay Event – where Mogs was awarded the Rubber Sword for his performance.

Worcester Writers’ Circle And Friends Present: ‘Rubber Swordplay’
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Tuesday 16 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
The gifted and humble members of Worcester Writers’ Circle and Friends
present a selection of their humorous stories and poems in an evening that
is sure to leave your sides aching. Mein host, Tony Judge, has once more
successfully brought together performers who are out to give you a laugh.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Another event happening Tuesday evening was at The Commandery.

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Anita Seymour – Civil War Novelist
Anita Seymour
Tuesday 16 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
Anita’s first novels are ‘The Woulfes of Loxsbeare’, a 17th Century historical
family saga, the first two titles of which are, ‘The Rebel’s Daughter’ and ‘The
Goldsmith’s Wife’. Followed by ‘Royalist Rebel’, a biographical novel based
on the early life of Elizabeth Murray, Countess Dysart. Her latest release due in June 2015 is Murder On The Minneapolis, a Cozy Mystery set on an
Atlantic Steamship in 1900.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 6

I was back in it, to see Adam Millard at 42 WLF Special – read all about it here

WLF 42 Special with Adam Millard

WLF 42 me1WLF 42 Adam

WLF © 2015

42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Wednesday night also saw another event at The Commandery.

‘The Crimson Ribbon’
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
‘The Crimson Ribbon’ is a tale set during the English Civil War, exploring
the developing roles of women in an era of turmoil and change. The novel
deals with superstitious fear, injustice and persecution. Her central character,
Ruth Flowers, is torn between her desire for liberty and the need for utter
secrecy, for if people find out about the events of her past she is in mortal
danger.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 7 – One week in!

What better way to mark it than a performance at SpeakEasy.

Read all about it here WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

WLF Brenda2 WLF © 2015

There were other events again at The Commandery

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Chris Bryant MP – The Biography of Parliament

Following his election as Rhondda’s MP in June 2001 Chris Bryant has
served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of
Commons, as well as the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons on
Reform of the House of Lords. From November 2002 to May 2007 he was
Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe. He is an Associate of the
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and a member of the Coop Party,
Amnesty International, Amicus and the Fabians. Chris speaks fluent Spanish
and good French, lives in Porth in the Rhondda Fach, and famously
corresponded with James Blunt. His book ‘Parliament: The Biography
(Volume 1 – Ancestral Voices)’ was published in December 2014.
Thursday 18 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 8

On Friday I took a day off from work and WLF to go to a workshop with Candy Royalle in Birmingham, which was magic! Meanwhile back in WLF the events continued.
ThreezAcrowd
Bindles, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Friday 19 June 14:00-16:00
Jan and Campbell Perry and Mike Thomas’s band will entertain in the upper
room at Bindles…don’t miss it, or you won’t be there!!

WLF Programme © 2015

Another exciting event on offer, that received lots of positive feedback was this talk and Q& A

Covert Operations! Cameron Addicott
Friday 19 June 19:30 at St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s,
Worcester WR2 5AX

An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott
An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott is a former undercover officer with H.M. Customs and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency. In 2008 he left SOCA to travel the
world and write the first part of his memoirs. The Interceptor was published
by Penguin in July 2010 and went straight to number 1 in the Amazon True
Crime Bestseller list. The BBC purchased the rights to the book and has
been turned into a BBC1 crime drama series. Directed by BAFTA award
winning director Farren Blackburn. Starring OT Fagbenle, Robert Lonsdale,
Charlie de Melo and Anna Skellern star, with Trevor Eve playing the leading
‘Villain’. It is due to be broadcast on BBC1 in April 2015.
Cameron’s media work includes appearing as technical expert on Chris
Atkins’ C4 Dispatches documentary about the sale of personal data and
playing the ‘Spymaster’ who taught Jared Murillo on Strictly Come Dancing’s
‘It Takes Two’. His radio work includes Radio 4’s Midweek with Libby
Purves and Five Live with Richard Bacon. In addition Cameron has advised
on numerous other TV docs and has been interviewed on many local and
European Radio shows.
Fighting on the frontline of the war against crime, ‘Cammo’  was one of the
very few hard-boiled and highly-experienced surveillance operatives to get
called up to the secretive and elite Alpha Projects unit – a group of
dedicated undercover Customs officers who hunted the UK’s most
dangerous criminals by extraordinary means – starting with the interception
and decoding of their phone calls.
This talk will give an entertaining and informative insight into working
against organised crime. Topics covered include criminal motivation,
methods of intelligence gathering, cocaine production, plus smuggling and
money-laundering.
The talk will be followed by a lively Q&A session and a book signing.

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 9

Was my final day in the WLF and one I had been looking forward to – nothing to do with Jonny Fluffypunk! Oh, no! WLF – Jonny Fluffypunk & Offa Press Poets

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start

‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician

Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently
touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –
One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WLF Programme © 2015

WLF jonny WLF © 2015

My final event was to celebrate Summer Solstice/ Midsummer’s Eve – with poets, bugs and torchlight! WLF – Summer Solstice Walk

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.

WLF Programme © 2015

This was a fabulous, magical event, unique.

Day 10

The end of the Festival – marked with the traditional (now in it’s 5th year) Double Whammy Slammy

LitFest ‘Double Whammy Slammy’! and end of fest party
PLUS The BIG FAT RAFFLE Draw!
Sunday 21 June
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Flash Fiction Slam: 18:00-18:30
Poetry Slam: 19:00-21:30     
Come, watch and vote for flash fiction aficionados who will perform their
short, short stories. Last year’s winner Rod Griffiths may be competing
again! You could be the second Worcestershire Flash Fiction Slam
Champion. To take part in the flash fiction slam write your flash fiction (a
short, short story, up to 300 words) and turn up on the night to read it!
And…the grand finale! Come, watch and vote for competing poets in the
final event of the 2015 Worcestershire Literary Festival in the legendary
poetry slam championship.  Participants will vie for the chance to become
the fifth Worcestershire Poetry Slam Champion. Previous champions:
Fergus McGonigal, James Dolton, Alison Absolute and, last year Brenda
Read-Brown.

WLF Programme © 2015

The Poetry Slam winner this year is Peter Wyton, who will perform at next year’s Worcester Lit Fest SpeakEasy as a headliner, Math Jones came 2nd (for the 3rd year) and congratulations to Suz Winspear (runner up Poet Laureate) and 3rd in the Poetry Slam and Leena Bachelor who was trying out slamming for the first time!

Andrew Owens won the Flash Fiction Slam. Well done to everyone who was brave enough to take part and for those strong performers who did BOTH slams.

WLF Heather WPL WLF © 2015

Last but not least congratulations to the small and mighty WLF team! Superb festival WLF 2015 – thank you!

The First Day of 18

Standard

I have broken up from work for the Easter break and am looking forward to 18 glorious days in my writing skin. partytime

There is already a lot of news to share.

Firstly, Mouth & Music which was a fabulous night that I am still on a high from, sent exciting news today.

Slap Magazine slap magazine (supporting local arts and performers) want to publish the photo Mary Davis took of Tim and I performing and much as it makes me want to get an instant body wrap, attach myself to a zumba DVD and pray for instant weight loss, I am still stoked with this news.

Secondly, I attended my first meeting tonight as an Assistant Writer for WWM Writing West Midlands. It was a buzzing atmosphere and great to be in a room with so many writers, many of whom I have already met; William Gallagher, Stephen, Roz Goddard, Hayley Frances, Ian MacLeod, Brenda-Read Brown, & Garrie Fletcher.

My writing diary is packed and my ideas file grew this evening.

1) Write the 14 lost missing NaPoWriMo poems (file issues last Sunday)

2) Write the new 52 prompt poems and catch up on a few gaps I have

3) Write a poem for our WWM Creative Writing group tomorrow – requested by Ian MacLeod

4) email Jonathan/ Hayley/

5) Catch up with Camp NaNoWriMo – some major words lost already (non- existent) camp_11_postcard1_detail It is ironic that this year (my 3rd camp) I FINALLY get an active cabin and I am not there to see it.

6) Write Strong Women poems and as a result decide whether to do Najma Hush’s exhibition opening.female force I really want to go to this event but am due in a city more than 45 miles away at lunchtime. I would love to be able to stay until 1:30 when it finishes. I am in two minds, I have mentally checked all possible solutions.  Train, buses etc, need to check them properly tomorrow (later on today) but if I do go I will only have an hour there before I have to whizz back for my meeting.

 

I have a whole selection box of Spoken Word events over the next week too;

This evening – Poetry and Place – Ledbury Poetry Festival, to see poetryandplace

 

poetry and place It is the first of three events which see Ledbury Poetry Festival linking up with Worcester Literature Festival (WLF) with performance events at The Hive. I am involved in performing at Poetry and Pollination in May, organised by Ruth Stacey and headlined by Ruth and Sarah Leavesley (who have both performed at Ledbury in the past) – very much looking forward to this event. Tonight will also give me a chance to catch up with some poetry friends.

I have submissions to work on, including poems, on Thursday I have Poetry for Lunch (booked for the next 3), followed by the special ticket holders Hit the Ode and then on Friday I will be performing at The Ort – the first ‘Friday night’ one. On Saturday I hope to attend a camp Nano meet / write in, followed by a writing group run by Apples & Snakes, Poet’s Place. They started the most recent group meetings in January and I have been unable to attend any yet.

 

My Writing Day Part 1

Standard

inkspill just writeMy day of writing is going well – I am using my self disciplined invisible time-table! Today is a National Teacher Strike and my school is closed. I won’t get paid for supply, I havent had to do any – I welcome this day to write and catch up with my life (as a writer!), like I mentioned in a social media status – on one hand I don’t make any money today and on the other hand, well the other hand is the one I write with!

Mr G made sure I was up early – he forgot I wasn’t working today. After the post event adrenalin of last night – I went to Poetry Bites, an evening of fantastic poetry booked and hosted by Jacqui Rowe (Editor Flarestack Publishing) a group of us went to support Sarah James, who was one of the booked poets, I then found out you could book a floor spot and couldn’t resist sharing a couple of poems. It was a fantastic night and of course when I came home I found myself wide awake to begin with, it was about 1a.m when I rolled into bed, so I could have done with a bit of a lie in and my pink eyes tell that story!

I made a coffee, grabbed the 3 issues of my writing magazine that I am still attempting to find time to read and headed back off to bed to do my Admin.

3 hours later, I have emerged (still in PJs) but now online and upright. I had a diary full of writing tasks and now I have an A4 to do list in order and am about to hit the ground running with an edit and final re-write of the poems written especially for tonight’s 3rd Anniversary of Drummonds 42. The theme is Zombies and although I don’t do horror, I have enjoyed attending 42 each month since Halloween and sharing the darker thoughts of my mind which would never be shared in public without events like this. Tonight though – it is special (I feel I should be baking cakes, but I am definitely far too busy writing to do that or clean the kitchen (Mr G)…) in honour of the anniversary I am using the theme and have managed to write 2 post apocalyptic zombie poems… I enjoyed the challenge.

My writing diary, which has been littered with weekly post-it notes has now got extra pages paper-notestaped in and is looking fairly full until the summer. I have 8 writing tasks today – I think that is OVER AMBITIOUS to say in the least especially as I have to make it to the library before closing to collect my Art Network Poetry Display (which came down last week) and then get out to the 42 Gig…

My 1st writing task before editing the Zombie poems is to write a short Bio – for the Born Free Anthology – I struggle with these as I never know what to put and can feel my ego smugly pushing me out the way to get to the keyboard. Elaine needs it a.s.a.p so I promised her it would be my 1st online job of the day.

Better get some work done now then, the sun is shining – I am happy, have my 2nd coffee of the day – had I been working I would still be without a break and over 3 hours in! Bliss. I cannot wait for the flat sale to go through so I can afford at least a few of these writing days a month.

inkspill notebook

A Great Time Had By All At 42!

Standard
42 Worcester's photo. I accepted the great challenge of writing material which would be suitable for this event – as I am such a scaredy cat that my over active imagination struggles to keep any grasp on reality. Sometimes I challenge myself to read books from this genre but cannot read them after dark!
Anyway I knew I had written some poems this year that would be suitable and I set about writing a few new ones.
I know that often poet’s perform the same set or parts of it – I like the fact that signing up to a new event forces me to write new material.
1 month – 5 events in Leamington, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Birmingham and Worcester.
And my confidence is high – audiences are so kind and other poets are great at giving feedback.
42
*Mid spooky verse
Thanks to Andrew Owens for making me feel so welcome and using my blog tag line in the introduction!
I also saw a writer I met back in April at Keith Lindsay’s Writing Workshop. We got talking and he leant me a book – about writing – will help me through NaNoWriMo for sure!
1 42 So thanks for trusting me with it James.
I had a fabulous night, heard a mixture of stories and poems and had some great feedback on my set.
The adrenalin is surging!
The only sad thing – is about 20 minutes before I was due to leave for the city – I found out that it was optional fancy dress. In previous years I have loved dressing up for Halloween
  hall5  hell3
and this year we hadn’t made any plans to. The only party/ gig we have been invited to clashes with a gig we have already booked so until a few weeks ago I had no need for a costume. Unpacking my fancy dress wasn’t a priority and it is still buried somewhere in the 3rd bedroom (which we will tackle later this week!) … I did have skulls on my dress…. and at least I didn’t have to worry about my make up running!
A spoken word event was the perfect way for me to include Halloween into 2013.
The next one is a Flash Fiction event, so may need to work on some material for a while!

Spooky Spectacular

Standard

1 scottish poet
For the 2nd time this week I am back behind the mic. Tonight’s Spoken Word is Drummond 42 and it is a spooky spectacular.
I don’t tend to write scary stories or poems so I have found finding and writing my set challenging.

It is great to seek these challenges and new opportunities both as a poet and a performer.

The result is I have several poems that would never have been written.

I am feeling nervous – I usually post after the event.

Fingers crossed it will be as great as all the others!

Benjamin Zephaniah – Birmingham Literature Festival

Standard

blf logo

To Do Wid’ Me

Benjamin Zephaniah 

Film Screening – To Do Wid Me: A Film Portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah

October 9 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pmTo Do Wid Me is a film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. It shows him performing his poetry for different audiences and talking about his work, life, beliefs and much else. You see him live on stage at Ledbury Poetry Festival, Newcastle’s Live Theatre, Hexham’s Queen’s Hall and Brunel University, and engaging with school children at Keats House in London, where he was writer-in-residence. As well as the main film, the DVD also has a bonus feature: music videos made by Zephaniah with the Beta Brothers.blf Benjamin-Zephaniah1-for-website-300x225Introduced by Neil Astley, Editor & Managing Director for Bloodaxe Books, and followed by Questions & Answers with Pamela Robertson-Pearce.In Association with Bloodaxe logo

© Birmingham Literature Festival 2013

Wednesday the 9th October I was booked for a full day of work on the understanding that I had already booked events at the Literature Festival and had to finish in a timely manner to make my way into the City. Well two reasons I am good at what I do is I am committed and thorough – so I couldn’t leave before I had completed marking and then my car was blocked. Traffic into the city was mad and although I found parking- prayers answered… I was half an hour late! Which meant I missed Neil Astley’s introduction, gutted – especially after meeting Simon Thirsk at the network event in Oswestry, back in September.

Ironically I was booked the next day for more work at the same place & could have caught up with paperwork then!

The film made by about Benjamin Zephianiah was great. I use his poetry a lot in schools and when I was a performance poet on the Leicester circuit I met a good friend of his Oscar, who also wrote great poetry and made amazing Carribean dishes!

I wanted to see this film and am a bit gutted I missed the first hour, the seats were uncomfortable and plastic and I doubt I could have managed the whole 2 hours after a full days work!

It was inspiring and poignant and insightful. A very enjoyable show to watch.

Performing Poetry

Standard

I was very excited when I came home from work to discover my voicemail messages this evening.

I have been invited to read some poems tomorrow night. This is a fantastic surprise and I am very excited.

Last month I decided after attending writers’ network meetings and book launches that I was actively going to seek opportunities with poetry.

I joined Stanza (Poetry Society) group and look forward to the meeting this month. I also networked with other writers and poets and sought new opportunities – some of which I have unfortunately missed already.

I am looking forward to this exciting venture – it will be the first time back on stage after 15 years! Fingers crossed.

DSC02994

Research: Comedy Writing – Tips & Links

Standard

036331-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-transport-travel-transportation-airplane3I need my muse out of that AIRPORT lounge RIGHT NOW!

For the first time this month I am filled with the exhilarated excitement of a writer who is about to write. Finally! Yippeee! The only irk is I am now days off a deadline and have felt (up until now) empty of ideas.

I know you are supposed to leave your writing before proofreading but everything I do from here relies on speed. I am currently, hurriedly researching (which is where this blog post comes in), I hope to finish writing the first draft tonight, leave it a day, edit – print – proof – print and send… (2 days to achieve edit to polish!) dl

I believe in passing things forward – now I am researching comedy writing (I will add at this point that previous experience both as an actor and performance writer, in addition to the more recent theatre scriptwriting workshops with Alan Harris back in May/June and my workshop day with Keith Lindsay (in February) have all given me a great foundation to believe that I can have a stab at this challenge).

As you will know from reading my ‘About’ page I have been out of this writing game a long while and fashions change, it is essential to complete a little research before I dive off the high board into an audience of laughing faces!

I thought I would share my findings and some useful websites with you along the way. It also means I can access this message to continue my quest (saves sending numerous linked emails to myself) and it might help you!

PS If any of you are comedy writers please feel free to load the comment boxes with advice, tips, knowledge, success stories and website links you find useful.

____________________________________________________

script mugResearch: Comedy Writing – Tips & Links

Researching the Comedy Monologue:

Monologues are talky by nature. There probably won’t be a lot of action, and events may be told rather than shown. Avoid heading into talking head territory: make sure your characters have some attitude or emotion.

Monologues can be made more interesting if characters play a subtext, so what they’re saying is at odds with what they really think.

http://comedyu.com/20090828/the-sketch-comedy-monologue/ posted by  

Writing the Monologue – checklist

Steps I have Already Taken

  1. Think of the Topic.
  2. Make sure it matches the requirements of the brief.
  3. Make sure you know how to set out performance manuscript/ script.
  4. Mind-map some descriptive words – these will be used to make the performance writing interesting and ensure it makes sense.
  5. Make descriptive sentences – have a play around – helps develop character voice.
  6. Draw up a picture (literally if you want to) of your character.

* Who are they?

* What makes them tick?

* How do they feel about what they are telling the audience?

7. Think about how to make it funny. How will it appeal to the audience? Think about who your audience is.

8. Always give the character someone to talk to.

9. And of course the advice that all writers know READ, READ, READ!

I have a book of monologues from my audition days and in addition to devouring this small paperback, I have also searched the internet and read more comedy monologues. You can spot patterns of good writing by doing this – like a detective! (Which if I could stand the sight of blood, is a career I may have considered.)

There are many websites where you find well written monologues and enjoy a few hours reading – this is speed research, so I will leave you with one and encourage you to use a search engine to discover the wonderful world of performance writing.

http://www.icomedytv.com/Comedy-Scripts/Funny/ViewType/Humorous/31/Comedy-Monologues.aspx

After those 9 Steps of Mine –checklist

It really is all about the Character!

Note, I don’t say: “be funny”. Sure, chances are some lines will be hilarious,  but what’ll really make people laugh is an accurate character portrayal. The  more specific you are with speech patterns, physical embodiment, character arc –  the more people will connect. And laugh.
http://aiminglow.com/2011/10/how-to-write-a-comedic-character-monologue/#smqlIkULqXtHkO1J.99

My Tips – based on knowledge and experience from my past, treading the boards and writing for performance- ideas for making your character live, creating the monster!

  • Write a character who has a flaw.
  • Imagine (or write if you have time) your character into different situations. How do they react?
  • Become your character – act them out of the situations – rehearse/stage the monologue – some writers may find it useful to record – others (especially those with no acting experience would rather not risk being discovered as the next ‘You Tube’ sensation!
  • Develop some physical or verbal character traits – especially if they cleverly tie into the ‘reveal’ of your writing/monologue/character.

Another Staircase – checklist

Steps to take before the EDIT

Ask someone to read the script, get there opinion of it – don’t ask a close friend or relative and don’t expect to pester writer contacts without payment. It is important to get a point of view from another perspective. Next, consider how much criticism was constructive and useful and what, if anything you don’t agree with.

Read and proof your copy editing with your review in mind. bob Fix it!

I hope these ideas are helpful for some of you I am off to change into the character from the ankle up (Stanislavski would be proud!)