Tag Archives: P Cafe

Stirchley Speaks and my Kindle

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February Edition – 2/2/16

It was (as ever) a great night in Birmingham at the P Café. Jess Davies hosts a brilliant night ‘Stirchley Speaks’ – an open mic spoken word event hosting 3 feature acts. I was delighted to be asked to be one of the headliners this month, alongside Alisha Kadir who I’ve known on the circuit since 2014 and Mark Kilburn who I met through Stirchley Speaks a few months ago. His poetry is filled with wisdom, life, passion, pain, sometimes humour  and it was a joy to hear a full set of it. If you get a chance or see his name on the bill, GO!

Alisha Kadir

Alisha Kadir; guitarist, poet, activist, artivist… generally all round creative individual who is an active member of the Midlands arts scene. She’s performed at the NEC, TEDxBrum, Opus Club, in pubs, coffee shops and people’s kitchens. We look forward to sharing with you a combination of her music and poetry.

Mark Kilburn

Mark was born in Birmingham and lived in Denmark for a number of years before returning to the West Midlands in 2004. Between 1996-8 he was writer in residence at the City Open Theatre, Arhus, and in 2002 was a recipient of the Canongate prize for new fiction. Between 2004-5 Mark was on attachment at the Birmingham Rep and in 2012 his poem about the London riots, Milton Friedman Talks Disaster Capitalism in a Burning Hackney Diner, won the AbcTales.com poetry competition. Most recently, Ballad of a Claret and Blue Boy, a poem celebrating Aston Villa, was featured in the club’s compilation of fan memories prior to the 2015 FA Cup final. Mark’s novel, Hawk Island, is available from electronpress.com

Nina Lewis

Nina Lewis is a published poet, with a fresh and honest approach to her writing. Her writing focuses on honest recollections, retold with often beautiful imagery, as well as being able to touch on more lighthearted moments. She had previously stopped writing for fifteen years and now finds herself back on the literary scene – the journey of which can be followed on her blog awritersfountain.wordpress.com

© Copyright P Café

 

The Kindle Bit (rant)

It was great fun performing an entire set, as I used new material, I also took my Kindle out for its first bought-with-this-intention outing. I have fought against this particular tech since e-readers where invented. A pain in the heart for any bibliophile, and being gadgetry you can’t even safely spray it with old-book-scent. But then in 2015 I read an article in a writing magazine that assured us they were no longer thought to be replacing the book (I mean if Apple can stop making I-pods?!) … and I started to thaw a little. I took a plane to Poland and I was the only passenger with a paperback (and no, no-one had a hardback either) and finally on the circuit I have seen plenty of people using them. I occasionally use my mobile, but I have to enlarge it, which means a lot of scrolling. Also the fact they cost 50% less than they used to is another factor.

I know deep down I am still a little unsure as it was only released from the packaging this month (it was a Christmas present from Mr G). However, I LOVE IT! So much lighter than the laptop and more screen friendly than the phone, perfect at home. I still use the laptop for writing though but have the office packages to import documents onto it. I know the cloud and ever note and the rest of it all exists – but you’ll understand, if I don’t think about it – it’s not real!

Anyway, loved performing with it and it worked well to keep me on track although I did deliver a slightly different set to the one I had prepared.

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Lots of positive feedback and a definite emotional response to the more tear jerking poems. I love it when people come to talk to me afterwards, not for the ego boost or praise but to find out which words have lingered, what are the poll poems, what happens to the listener. More and more the feedback is detailed and I get what I need to hear as well as the compliments (which don’t get me wrong) are good for me to hear too. Knowing I am on the right track for my life is what really matters, the creative soul/spirit is in balance and I am a better, happier being for it.

The open mic-ers were amazing and included some real treasure and this evening Stirchley had music and dancing too. I know Jess started it with a spoken word concept and is willing to branch out and have performers open the night up with something different from time to time.

A fantastic night and a great way to start February!

 

Halloween Poetry Brothel with Caged Arts

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hallo4 This is the part of the year where I start to wind down the amount of performances and events I attend. I was hoping to go to Spoken Word at The Ort this evening (Fri 6th), but last night (5th Nov) we had a Bonfire and a few fireworks, although we saved some money on fireworks this year, they weren’t as spectacular as last year and the god-children couldn’t make it, so we are having a Guy Fawkes/Bonfire again Saturday night. I have just started back to work after a fortnight off too. Next week is a heavy schedule so I have started to listen to how I feel and if I am too tired to make a journey, there is a high probability that I won’t enjoy it as much as I should. Mr G and I ordered a take away instead, after I woke up from my two hour catnap! lanegan 009

On Saturday the 31st I was at the P Café, Stirchley to perform alongside 5 other chosen poets at a special Halloween event. p cafe brothel

Charley Barnes

Charley is a Worcestershire based poet who enjoys crime fiction, gender studies, and tea (but struggles to get all of these things into her poetry). She is a regular fixture at spoken word nights in the West Midlands and her work is renowned for its personal and soul touching nature.

Tom Crossland
Tom is a Birmingham based poet, and a regular fixture in many of Brum’s spoken word nights. He enjoys apiology, horology*, and physics. He even writes the occasional poem. Some of which he has even performed at the Roundhouse Slam final, and used to win the Pangaea Poetry Slam.
*These are subjects at Hogwarts**
** They’re not, they’re the study of time and bees. Think Dr. Who played by Alan Titchmarsh.

Tarik Ross Cameron
Tarik is a spoken word poet born and living in Birmingham. He has been performing since December 2014. He aims to take listeners on a journey through themes he cares about, whether with music-influenced rhyming, or reflective pieces in which he tells stories in more detail.

Luci Hammans
Luci does poetry. Sometimes. The other times she’s over analysing things and try hard not to crumple into anxiety but always she is wearin boots. Because boots are as close as she’s ever gonna get to stilts and stability.

Casey Bailey
Casey has performed at events like Birmingham REP’s Level UP and staple of the Birmingham calendar, Hit The Ode. His work fuses poetry and rap and blends personal pieces with social discussion. He was the first featured artist at the first ever Stirchley Speaks.

Nina Lewis
Nina is a published poet and freelance writer. On her writing she says that she is ‘in a more settled place, with patience and an understanding of ‘temporary setbacks’, this time I will not change path! I am just going to keep going.’

CAGED ARTS BALLOON Murdock Ramone © 2015


It was my first Poetry Brothel experience. The full immersive concept of these places – (popular in Europe) is that the poets take on a role/character too, we didn’t – we literally had masks in the form of Halloween fancy dress and masks. We also didn’t have 1 to 1 clients in private sections, instead we invited 3 – 5 participants at a time to come and find us in the decorated back room of the café, where they chose 3 poets to go and listen to for 15 minutes.

There have been poetry brothels around the world, from the USA to New Zealand via Columbia, and now the award winning movement is coming to Birmingham for the first time.

For one night only CAGED Arts presents The Poetry Brothel, a night of intimate poetry readings. On Halloween, as the veil between this world and the next begins to wane enter our gateway at The P Café. Enjoy your time in limbo with a variety of workshops and stalls, including lost soul making, caricatures and temporary tattoos fitting for such a spooky night. Peruse the menu for poets and book your own personal experience with them in the world beyond the veil.

Heidi Murphy (Caged Arts) CAGED ARTS HEIDI had spent the day working hard on decorating the venue. It looked amazing. The café has two main rooms and there were lots of activities happening in these areas including; CAGED ARTS HAIKU HUT Rory McGhie  Rory McGhie Haiku Hut, variety of workshops, stalls and poetry.

CAGED ART ROOM 3 CAGED ARTS TAT

Photography by Murdock Ramone Media © 2015

The backroom (which has been allocated as a space for Guest Artists) was our brothel space which had been decorated with fairy lights, candles, pumpkins and the walls caged arts 2 had been painted with quotations sent in by the commissioned poets. caged arts 3 CAGED ARTS ROOM I was delighted when I discovered ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – as my poem was written about the hotel from The Shining. CAGED ARTS JACK

CAGED ARTS CASEY 2 Casey Bailey – All photos by Murdock Ramone © 2015

Nina Lewis CAGED ARTS ME caged arts nina

CAGED ARTS LUCI2 Luci Hammans

Tarik Ross Cameron CAGED ARTS TARIK ROSS CAMERON

CAGED ARTS TOM Tom Crossland

Charley Barnes caged arts 4

caged arts 1

Each poet chose a performance area and then we had groups of 3 to 5 people visit us. There were drinks on a table for them to help themselves too and each poet had tips glasses which the public could use if they wished.

The room was distractingly noisy to start and I was aware that my voice may have been soft for my audience to hear, once I was used to this I started to enjoy it. It was energy zapping, but also entertaining and highly fun and I was glad my application for this event had been successful.

Murdock Ramone took photographs of the evening.

Photos by Murdock Ramone Media Murdock Ramone © 2015

CAGED ARTS ME MOB 1 CAGED ARTS ME MOB

More Poetry Events September Poets with Passion, PFL and Hit the Ode

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On Sunday 13th, I was back again at Café  1 birm ortin Birmingham, this time with Tessa Lowe and Poets With Passion. Once again it was lovely to reconnect with poets I hadn’t seen in a while and meet new people who love poetry. Tessa’s events are always relaxed and it was a lovely way to spend Sunday afternoon.

Before I left she asked Chris Fewings and I if we would be interested in leading the group as one off sessions. Depending on the weather, I have agreed for 2016.

I cannot wait to pick a theme and find poems.

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Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts at the P Café, Stirchley 17th

Last year you may remember that Jan Watts, former Birmingham Laureate, ran a series of weekly poetry events in the ‘bear pit’ at the Library of Birmingham. Due to funding cuts the library was unable to repeat this successful programme in 2015.

I was delighted when Jan decided to re-launch PFL at the P Café and gutted that I had work booked and couldn’t attend the first event a week before.

It was a great event, lots of poetry was shared and they are creating a Smorgasbord of poetry on the wall at P Café from PFL.

The P Café is an amazingly creative place with a fantastic menu of delicious food, drinks and treats. The truffles are to die for and the atmosphere of the place breeds instant relaxation and happy vibes. I only wish I lived a little nearer!

The best moment at PFL has to go to Elaine Christie –

PFL ELaine

What are the chances of this happening – A fly landing on the page of my poem, when the next line I was about to read was – “Or lost in the flurry of flashing fireflies”

pfl dave pfl jan pfl me pfl mike pfl mogspfl 1

Photography Elaine Christie © 2015

Hit the Ode with Bohdan Piasecki (Apples & Snakes), Birmingham 17th

It was a busy old day for poetry. In the evening Myfanwy Fox (thanks for the lift) and I were in Birmingham for Hit the Ode. They have 3 headliners – a local, national and international poet.

Leon Priestnall (who hosts HOWL) was headlining in the local slot and he was on fire for his set.

The National Poet was Jackie Hagan from Manchester and the International poet was Toni Stuart from South Africa.

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Hit the Ode brings the most exciting poets from the region, the country and the world to the heart of Birmingham.

Join us! We have poems. Poems you can spread on toast in the morning. Poems which sing embarrassing songs under the shower. Poems which will heal if you apply steady pressure. Good poems, Come and get them.

Featuring:

From Birmingham, Leon Priestnall
A stalwart of the Birmingham poetry Scene, Leon is a poet with a passionate performance style, betraying influecnes ranging from hip-hop artists to the Beats. Leon runs the popular Howl event series in Kings Heath, and has been a Hit the Ode supporter for years – we’re delighted to finally be able to offer him a full slot. He will be joined on stage by a special musical guest.

From Manchester, Jackie Hagan
Jackie Hagan was raised on broken biscuits, by hecklers, in a little town that’s now studied on the GCSE syllabus as a ‘failed social experiment’. She performs poetry and comedy, is a playwright for Graeae Theatre and runs Seymour Poets, a creativity project for isolated adults based at blueSCI Arts and Wellbeing centre in Manchester. Jackie is the winner of the 2015 Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show for Some People Have Too Many Legs.

From South Africa, Toni Stuart
Toni Stuart is a poetry writer, performer and developer from Cape Town, South Africa. Her work uses poetry to interrogate a range of social issues such as the stories of place and displacement, HIV/Aids, and gender-based violence. She was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Inspiring Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities.

Bohdan Piasecki © 2015

The whole night was electrifying as always and I thoroughly enjoyed being back at HTO – (they take the summer off).

J. H © 2015

Poetry Wrap 5 (A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion)

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A Brief Introduction on Exhaustion

June has started as busy as expected, both in terms of work and poetry. As I don’t work/earn over the summer I have to take on some extra work before the end of term – thus slipping the writing/working balance out of favour.

What I am trying to do, let me correct myself, what I was trying to do was maintain the writing schedule despite lacking ‘free’ time. For the past two days I have worked (yesterday was a 16 hour day) and then had a 2 hour sleep (starting with a few poems from Philip Larkin) when I have come home. Tonight this sadly means I am missing Mouth & Music as I feel my eyes are permanently glazed and driving would not be advisable. Instead I am sitting on the sofa writing this and will spend some time on the editing pile, possibly literally – asleep on top of a massive pile of paper!

lanegan 009 And an early night.

Poetry Wrap 5

Worcestershire Poet Laureate Competition

At the beginning of June the voting poll for Worcester Poet Laureate competition was closed. Our poems are still on the website, the shortlist has been revealed. This year the six competing finalists are (in no particular order);

Tony Shadforth
Heather Wastie
Suz Winspear
Damon Lord
Betti Moretti
Nina Lewis

WLF&F logo concepts

http://worcslitfest.co.uk/worcestershire-poet-laureate-competition-2015/

Caldmore Community Garden Workshop with David Calcutt

caldmore ccg_logoThis weekend sees Caldmore Carnival and the poets from the workshops are performing a collaborative poem, edited by David Calcutt and made from snippets of our workshop poems, lines we are most proud of/moved by. It is a strong piece and works well with various voices. I was lucky enough to have a part to read in rehearsals. Sadly I can’t make the event in the garden on the 13th as I will be working my last session, this academic year, for Writing West Midlands.

The workshop provided us with an opportunity for prose writing. I now have the scaffold of a short story/flash fiction about the garden or perhaps some raw material for a poem.

It was great seeing everyone again, I missed the last workshop as some man drove into my car and it was off the road getting fixed. I look forward to the next few, August will see the end of this project and David’s residency in the garden. It has been lovely being involved and has left me with happy memories and some decent poems. Always a plus point!

 

Stirchley Speaks – The P Café with Jess Davies

I met Jess through 52, a shy, retiring young poet, a fledging ready to spread her wings. Well she’s done that!

Stirchley Speaks was the first night of a monthly poetry event run by Jess at the P Café! What an amazing opening event she had, no less than 3 former Birmingham Poet Laureates; Spoz, Joanne Skelt and Jan Watts. She had people travelling from Swindon and Malvern to be there, she brought together poets from different genres, the Poetry Bites crowd was well presented as was the young, level up, beat poets of the now. Most importantly she brought poetry to the outer city, to Stirchley and was paid back loyally by a great local crowd of supporters and some NEW talent!

It was an incredible unfurling of a young poet’s vision and was an extremely adrenaline packed (and actually packed) gig!

I had lots of positive comments about the poem I shared (although it is my favourite poem) it is always good to hear how it touches others. To the point of getting them to feel like writing again (job done).

Here are some great photographs shot by Murdock Ramone Media, to try and bring a little Stirchley to the Blog.

The venue itself has been highly rated in reviews of Stirchley Speaks. The P Café boasts a fabulous drinks menu as well as truffles, muffins cakes and bakes.

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SS crowd

Behind the camera there was standing room only and some people listened from through the opening in the café!

I have written a longer review of this event in a separate blog post LINK TO FOLLOW.

 

Permission to Speak at The Scary Canary with Robert Francis

Robert Francis booked Brenda Read-Brown and Peter Williams to headline this month’s Permission to Speak. There were some new faces to the event, venue and the stage – which is always a bonus. Rob made the decision to make this event FREE and move it to Thursday evening – one step closer to the weekend. I hope the success of this event continues to grow. People of STOURBRIDGE – GO TO THE NEXT ONE!

permission junePeter treated us to sets in the 1st & 2nd half, Brenda delighted the audience with her wit – I thoroughly enjoyed watching audiences reactions. There were plenty of people there who hadn’t discovered Brenda Read-Brown, as with most people who have caught her set, they are now hooked!

Plenty of open mic talent and all round a great night on my favourite stage of them all, (it’s made from old school desks)!

 

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous

1 birm ortI was glad to be able to catch up with Tessa Lowe on Friday and miss the tennis for The Ort – the tennis was postponed for playing the next day. It was a great night of Spoken Word and Music. I saw lots of familiar faces and lots of new – a particular highlight for me was the improvisation set with David Rees-Jones. Plenty of open mic action, it all is, no headliners here.

I shall not make the next one as it is the 10th July and I am one of TEN poets performing on the QUIET COMPERE Tour! QC

 A Cluster of Poets at Cannon Hill Park MAC (Midlands Art Centre)

Before the weekend I was invited to take part in a poetry event at Cannon Hill Park, thanks go to Jasmine Gardosi and Tony Fox for organising it.

We performed in the Pop Up Storytellers Tent to a mixed crowd, some of the cutest kids. We were all fumbling through our poetry when we realised how young the audience was, we managed it though and had a great time in the process.

Here are some photos to give you a flavour.

MAC With Frankie Ryan, Tony Fox, Syrac Citam, Timothy Scotson, Callum Bate and Nina Lewis at Cannon Hill Park.

MAC T Scotson  MAC Carys Timothy Scotson & Carys Jones MAC Farhan Farhan MAC Graham Langley, Catriona Heatherington, Rich Scott, Cath Edwards and Jenna Catton at Cannon Hill Park. The Storytellers

This is how Storytellers fall ^^^^

and the poets? Well, they fall like this –

MAC Callum Bate, Frankie Ryan, Nina Lewis, Jasmine Gardosi and Timothy Scotson.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  ‘Jazz hands’!

Farhan, Callum Bate, Ryan Murray – now Frankie – now Frankie Ryan, Nina Lewis, Jasmine Gardosi & Timothy Scotson

 

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I loved the PINK Storytelling chair, it matched my new (worn for the 1st time) shoes! This pop up poetry event was a great way to end a full on week of poetry.