Tag Archives: Sarah Tamar

Thank you for the Music (and Mouth)

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Mouth & Music

My most local venue for a night of spoken word and music, always fun and entertaining, has come to a temporary close.

On the 12th January we all went to the BHG to celebrate 4 years of Mouth & Music with hosts Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar, it was also a goodbye to the current landlords. Mouth & Music itself is taking a six month break and then Sarah Tamar is hoping to start up again.

Heather Wastie (Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate) hosted the evening which was headlined by Humdrum Express (Ian Passey) and Sarah Tamar.

It was a lively evening of music and poetry celebrating the Boars Head and Mouth & Music.

Here are some photos taken by Peter Williams

MM heather

Heather Wastie

MM Mogs Mogs

MM Mike Mike Alma

Maggie Doyle MM Maggie

MM Kathy Kathy Gee

Nina Lewis & an absent Tim Scarborough MM Me2

MM Bert.JPG

Bert Flitcroft – Current Staffordshire Poet Laureate

Headliners ~ Ian Passey  MMIan Passey &

MM Sarah Sarah Tamar

© Peter Williams 2016

As a tribute to the years of Mouth & Music (my first visit came at the end of 2014) I have gathered together my favourite bits. From Collaboration to Clog Dancing – thank you for the poetry, song & music!

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2013

  • Dressing up as Aladdin for the Pantomime themed night and my first Mouth & Music.

mm Aladdin Humdrum Express headlined alongside Tim Cranmore (who was then Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate 2013)

Read all about it here MM 23

 

Sarah Tamar as Mrs Claus                              Christmas Laureates Present and Future

2014

  • Mouth & Music March 2014 in which I discovered the wonderfully talented Adrian Mealing, Headlining as half of The Very Grimm Brothersthe very grimm bros

Mouth & Music: Current Affairs

  • In April my first collaboration was born thanks to the Dualogue theme, Tim Scarborough and I worked together to enhance my poem Rainwatch – using a mood drum and wrote Social SatNav together. A turning point for me. A collaboration I would love to explore again sometime.

Mouth & Music – What a Great Night!

mnm tim

We collaborated on new material in May for a Gallery exhibit by Najma Hush, at this point we were potentially taking bookings.AE7

 

  • MUSICAL COLLABORATION M&M (May 2014)

Nina Lewis & Tim Scarborough

The amazing ‘Body Hair’ themed Mouth and Music and the Moustache poem was born,  moustache mm alongside a Hairy Toe poem.

Tim & I took the act on the road as far as Birmingham. Z Andrea Smith Tim

After this Tim and I don’t perform together until 2015 and although we are both open to collaboration, haven’t managed anything since. One day…

  • Captivating Clog Dancing accompanying Sirkel.
  • In the month I celebrated one year of Poetry – One Year A Poet M&M brought us Ben Norris.MMBenNorris MM Sept Ben MM me

This was around the time I got my first feature slot in Birmingham and was working on a commission for Birmingham Literature Festival 2014. 1 nl2NAKED_LUNGS_200x200px

  • October 2014 and Saffron Toms came and shot amazing photos. mouth-music-poster-oct14 This was also the month my Birmingham Poets came to support Jasmine and I saw my two geographical poetry worlds combine.
oct jas 2 © Saffron Toms 2014

2015

  • January Spark Off saw me captain a team and perform with Tim again. Which was all superb despite no rehearsals and was great fun even after I lost a laureate from my team (two, is too many) and generally lost to the other side, having not bribed the MC/Judge (who will remain nameless, ahem! Mr Passey) with pints of virtual alcohol.
What’s that? Bitter? Me? It was OVER a year ago! Tusch. (HA HA)
m&MMM3 tim and me  Minus our props
  • Mouth & Music KAF Special – Slightly Circus August 2015 – a definite highlight!

    Maggie Doyle, Nina Lewis, Heather Wastie & Dave Reeves

I think I have only missed about 3 or 4 M&M events over the years, there are more posts about Mouth & Music than those linked here, go and have a click about to find them.

RELATED LINKS:

A Great Night at Mouth & Music – 5th Event of the Month 

Mouth and Music – 3rd Event of the Month

Mouth & Music Tuesday 10th: New Material – Great Night!

M & M July

Fergus McGonigal & Humdrum Express

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Poetry Events – September Spoken Word @ The Ort, Mouth & Music & SpeakEasy

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As I am so far behind with the blog, with over 3 weeks worth of activities to post about I have decided to bulk post about poetry events this month.

Spoken Word at The Ort with Debbie Aldous – Birmingham 4th

I was delighted to make it back to this event as the last few have clashed with other things. There was a pop up return of Naked Lungs in the city the same evening over in Digbeth and my original plan was to try to get to both. The days of dual gigs are behind me I think, especially at the end of a busy week. I was still recovering from John Hegley and my night in Shropshire.

It was a great evening packed with fabulous performances and new audience and open mic-ers too! Thoroughly enjoyed sharing poetry.

 

Mouth & Music – Heart, with Heather Wastie – Kidderminster 8th

Headlining this month were MM sepSarah James & Angela Topping, reading from their pamphlet Hearth and Elena Thomas with Dan Whitehouse.

MM elena dan

It was a lovely evening of words and music, some great open mic-ers, I especially enjoyed Jan performing with her husband, they were the opening act and got the night off to a great start. mm jan

I usually find that writing to theme takes place a few days before the event, this month though because of the KAF special – Slightly Circus M & M event there were only a few weeks between the events. This was fine as with a theme like ‘Heart’ I was able to find an abundant amount of poems I had already written. The tough part was choosing which made the cut for my set.

I am glad that Sarah and Angela were mindful that a small percentage of the audience had seen them in Worcester and they chose different poems to read. It was a smashing performance.

MM Angela and Sarah

Here’s what Heather Wastie had to say about the event;

September’s Mouth and Music was as pleasing to organise is it always is. Towards the end of the evening, Dave Sutherland sang a song he had composed using lyrics I wrote after hearing Elena Thomas (one of our features) sing her own songs at the launch of her art exhibition. Sorry for the slightly convoluted sentence but “Carrying the evening home”, the title of the song, refers to what we take away in our heads, and bodies, after an event. Last night, not only did I take away Elena’s beautiful songs and Dan Whitehouse’s gently intricate guitar accompaniment; I also took away the fact that someone from the pub, who I suspect wouldn’t normally go to an event like ours, came in and listened to Elena because she found it provocative that Elena was singing about “the life of a middle-aged woman”. I love Sarah James and Angela Topping’s pamphlet of poetry duets, Hearth, and their reading stirred my own memories of home and family.

The main thing I took away was a feeling of connectedness. I was delighted to see a harmonium on the stage when Jan, a regular and popular performer, was joined by her husband to enhance her poems with musical backing. I enjoyed being teased by Mike Alma’s poem in response to mine about the gherkin which I wrote after seeing one on Angela Topping’s plate! In complete contrast, Mouth and Music’s own Sarah Tamar made a powerful connection with the plight of refugees and Tim Cranmore covered both ends of the … er … spectrum with 2 poems which were uncomfortable to hear, for different reasons: “Inappropriate physical contact” was very thought-provoking, and his final poem ….. ask someone who was there if you want to know.

So many connections were made last night, thanks to featured artists, open mic performers, audience and the lovely staff at the Boars Head. Elena commented on Facebook today, “It’s a special place, Mouth and Music”. I take that as a huge compliment and look forward to seeing some of you on 13th October for some new connections!

Heather Wastie

MM PeteMM Sarah Tamar

Next month Birmingham Poet Leon Priestnall takes centre stage, this month he headlined Hit The Ode and stormed it!

mmoct The month after Swingerella takes the Headline spot.

Photographs Peter Williams © 2015

 

Speakeasy, with Maggie Doyle & Fergus McGonigal – Worcester 10th

I have not been able to go to SpeakEasy since the Lit Fest and I was delighted to be back and to be able to take a 6 minute slot too. It was great performing poetry back in the glorious comfort of the Rectifying House. Despite not winning the raffle, I appreciated the new lamp, allowing more light to the page and it was great seeing it busy and catching up with poets I hadn’t seen for ages.

Ruth Stacey was headlining, reading from her latest book, ‘Queen, Jewel, Mistress’. I love the passion she has for this historical collection and that love came across in her set, full of enthusiasm and feeling. A very strong performance indeed. queen book

speakeasy sepIt was a superb evening of poetry and pleasure. FUN!

RELATED LINKS:

http://worcesterspeakeasy.weebly.com/thursday-10th-september.html

 

 

 

 

Word Up, KAF Mouth & Music & 42

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The end of August saw a flurry of open mic events in Birmingham, Kidderminster and Worcester.

WORD UP 21st August

Word Up, Coffee Lounge, Birmingham: hosted a special I Am Not a Silent Poet event with Reuben Woolley, Marcia Calame and Jess Davies headling. The nature of our poems fitted into serious, often unperformed pieces which tackled big issues, which is the voice of Reuben’s online publication I Am Not A Silent Poet, protest, exposure.

word up

My set consisted of the poems he published earlier this year https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/ and some others that I shy away from performing.

It was a great night hosted by Jasmine Gardosi.

All photographs © Reuben Woolley 2015 – there were more performers who I haven’t shared photos of, apologises to them.

word up andrew fellows reuben Word Up Jodie Rose McLoughlin Reuben word up louise hart reuben word up reuben 2 Word Up Reuben 3 word up bernard reuben word up jess reuben Word Up Marcia Calame reuben word up me reuben word up reuben word up vlad reuben

Word Up 1Reuben After the event we went to the pub for a catch up, which was great because there is never enough time to talk to people at events and Reuben lives in Spain and only comes back to the Midlands for August. He was a national tour this year too, gigs up and down the country. I hope he is now having a rest!

 

MOUTH & MUSIC KAF Special – Slightly Circus 23rd August

MOUTH & MUSIC, Boars Head Gallery, Kidderminster:

KAF 2015

This event was originally in the open air/marquee positioned close to the main stage and the closed street of the festival. However, the weather left us with no option but to retreat into the Boars Head Gallery – which is always a great space to perform in I think. The bands were on downstairs and it felt exciting and intimate. There was optional fancy dress and I am so glad other people entered into the spirit of it.

© PTR Art & Design 2015

© PTR Art & Design 2015

I had researched my clown make up but sadly on the day I was too hot getting ready and the white base wouldn’t cover my skin – in the end this was a godsend really as Maggie Doyle and I ran from the car park to venue – me losing half my wrapping paper patches which were all over my PJs/trousers and most of my make up ran too. So imagine the carnage of a white base face!

© Heather Wastie 2015

© Heather Wastie 2015

The event was as exciting as dressing up. Headlined by Amy Rainbow and her wonderfully talent son, Merlin – who in spite of the small performance area, wowed the audience with his amazing Hula Hoopla skills.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

Dave Reeves was also headlining and performed a fantastic, enthusiastic set with Heather Wastie.

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

© Peter Williams 2015

It was lovely to perform as part of KAF (Kidderminster Arts Festival) for the 2nd time and good that this event attracted performers who had not previously attended Mouth & Music.

It was a lovely afternoon. Photo credits to Peter Williams, who also performed, treating us to a couple of songs.

MM Holly pwMM mag pwMM me PWMM polly PWMM mike pwMM heather dave PW The event was hosted by the wonderful Ringmaster, Sarah Tamar.

MM Maggie sarah Tamar PW

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/13576317.Kidderminster_s_Mouth_and_Music_goes_circus_crazy_for_one_month_only/

https://mouthandmusic.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/august-review/

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42, Drummonds, Worcester: Hosted by Andrew Owens

I am delighted that 42 is pulling in such a wide audience and huge collective of poets and writers. It is always an exciting event and recently the list of performers has increased dramatically. The theme was ‘Altered States’ which was more open to interpretation than other themes and produced a varied feast of stories, storytelling and poems. It was a fantastic night, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

42

42 was my final event/open mic of the month.

Performers included;

Alison May
Myfanwy Fox
Suz Winspear
Sharon Carr
Andrew Owens
Polly Robinson
Dayna Norton
Nina Lewis
Kevin Brooke
Brian Comber
Timothy Stavert
David Harvard
Kieran Davis
Chardonnay Jade
Dan Hurrell
Liam Cortinias

 

Mouth & Music – 3rd Birthday ‘SPARK OFF’ Special!

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mm Last year Heather Wastie asked me to be a team captain for the New Year/3rd Birthday/ Anniversary Mouth & Music in January. Mike Alma was the other team captain, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it.

<Mike, sorry you couldn’t make it, if we had been head to head I think the room would have been full of SPARKS! Bright ones!>

m&M

Pete Williams kindly stepped up – although Pete and I discovered we are the least competitive people and far too ‘nice’ to Spark Off. However, that said Pete <I may not be competitive, I am certainly a sore loser though!> There were many reasons that our team was pipped to the post* in a very close and entertaining evening…

MM3 Pete Williams Mary Davis

Pete Williams -Team Leader

* promising the MC Ian Passey/Humdrum Express a pint, not wearing Humdrum t-shirts or promotional goods, not having John Langford or Pete Williams playing guitar, perhaps playing a joker without it being clear that it was and the odd occasion where a promised theme turned out to be something else! I had been pictured in the paper and they hadn’t – something Heather has balanced on Social Media.

kiddi shuttle PhotoGiraffe

It was all for fun, no actual winning trophy has been lost or anything and I wouldn’t have missed it or turned down my part in proceedings for anything – including a shiny trophy!

Heather Wastie worked hard organising us team leaders and we scouted the land for talented poets and regulars at M&M who would have poems suitable to fit the themes. The themes were 11 M&M themes from 2014. From these teams of 6 we were then allocated Open Mic-ers as they arrived. I had no idea how it would pan out and the first emails of rules I was sent caused mild panic, until Heather reminded me rules are there to be broken – and I think our team had more than a hint of anarchy about us! I thought Heather and Sarah Tamar were extremely brave to hand the whole evening over to us three, it was smashing!

By Tuesday evening I had worked 2 full days, survived on 4 hours sleep and curled up to watch teatime TV, unable to set an alarm as my phone stopped working. I woke up at 6:40ish with barely enough time to arrive! I managed with minutes to spare and gathered the team to figure out who had poems to fit what (leading) – Pete took the mickey that I had a list and had organised a set list order. Maybe we should have faked surprise, as he may have got extra excitement points for swinging by the edge…

MM3 Ian PasseyMary Davis

Ian Passey

Ian Passey did an amazing MC role – having seen him in action at Worcester Music Festival – I knew he would make the night memorable – not helped by Tim Scarborough and I hitting the stage first for ‘Dualogue’ theme and then needing to set up – I offered to pad, tell the crowd it had been over 6 months since Tim and I had performed together etc. I think we were worth the wait – it was great to perform together again. My team certainly provided the MUSIC element in the first half, although Pete wowed us with childhood TV themes on his harmonica in the 2nd half (maybe that is what swung it)!

In addition to two incredibly entertaining teams of performers we had sweets, chocolate cake (with sparklers on it), balloons and the RAFFLE. It was a great 3rd Birthday!

bday

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to all performers on my team, you’re all winners in my eyes! frugal cafe creative commons champers

Heather Wastie MM3 Heather

Fergus McGonigal MM3 Fergus

MM3 caution Poet Caution Poet

Paul Francis

MM3 tim and me Tim Scarborough

Nina Lewis

& Open Mic-ers Roy Sadler MM3 Roy and Martin Jones

^ What a team!

 

Pete’s team: Jan Ashton, Maggie Doyle, Rob Francis, Andrew Owens, Io Osborn, Sarah Tamar, John Langford, Ian Ward & Pete Williams (yes, they had an extra members)!

MM3 JanMM3 MaggieMM3 Rob FrancisMM3 Andrew and SarahMM3 IoMM3 John Langford Mary Davis

Thanks to Mary Davis for shooting the event in glorious colour (the venue is a difficult one due to lighting) & Heather & Sarah for arranging such a great night!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY M & M bday cups

Link to Heather’s blog where you will find a less biased post about SPARK OFF.

https://mouthandmusic.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/sparks-flew/

 

 

Spoken Word Events

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Last week I took part in two regular Spoken Word events I attend as often as I can, Mouth & Music and Worcester’s SpeakEasy.

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Tuesday 9th saw Ben Norris headlined Mouth & Music also headlining this month were Heather Wastie and Sarah Tamar.

MMBenNorris

It was funny seeing Ben again – last Thursday I saw him perform at Cherry Reds as part of the Naked Lungs event, then again on Saturday in his one man show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family at the MAC and then just a few days after at the BHG. This happens often with artists who will be booked for events within the same month, however, Ben Norris may have had other reasons for this last blow out in and around Birmingham… he has since moved to Cardiff (tissues passed around the Midlands), he is gained by Wales. Off on his next exciting adventure.

I finally managed to buy Ben’s pamphlet book, I hope he gets more published in the future, it is a great little press which publishes 6 poems and has several BIG name performance poets on there list, such as: Elvis McGonagall (who I see next Wednesday at The Hive, organised by Worcester Lit Fest) and Martin Newall, who I performed with in Essex about 15 years ago!

MM Sept Ben

I usually write to theme, this month has been busy & I didn’t have time. Instead I found suitable age poems to perform. It was a great night with fantastic and touching performances some poetry about war, others about Dementia. Heather Wastie also bravely attempted group poems, three of them! They can be seen on the Mouth & Music Blog here.

It was a great night. We also had 2 poet laureates, Tom Wyre – Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate and Fergus McGonigal Worcester’s Poet Laureate. They both performed War Poetry.

Photographs © Peter Williams 2014

MMChrissy VelveteenChrissy Velveteen

MM me Nina Lewis

MM Hinge & Bracket Hinge & Bracket

 

On Thursday 11th I went to SpeakEasy in Worcester. Headlined this month by Peter Wyton.

speakeasy

Peter Wyton is a ‘poet of page and performance’ who has published a number of books and who has appeared on BBC Radio. He is a widely published and prize-winning poet who has appeared at venues as diverse as Cheltenham Literature Festival, Glastonbury Festival and Ledbury Poetry Festival.

It was a good night and I was delighted to be performing just before the headline act.

Brenda Read-Brown also treated us to a set, she won the WLF (Worcester LitFest) POETRY SLAM and collected her poetry trophy.

Performers included Kevin Brooke, who’s new book is being launched on the 26th September at The Hive, Charley Hammond, Maggie Doyle, John Lawrence and Mike Alma as well as open mic spots.

I always enjoy a night at SpeakEasy and this week was no exception – and next month they are celebrating the first year of the event, what a success it has been, delightful to have started when the re-launch of Worcester Lit Festival spoken word event, I even remember voting on what it should be called on the website.

 

Review of August

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Can’t believe it is the end of August already! What a CRazY month it has been – especially when I consider last year (in my first year of writing before I had found my poetry feet) I practically took the whole month off! Although I think that had more to do with resigning from my job and enjoying the last summer off on full pay for a while!

August saw; a plethora of birthday celebrations, wedding outfit shopping, allotmenting, garden centre visits, new plants, harvesting vegetables, catching up with friends and family, as well as Arts/Music festivals, one off events, performances and Book Launches!

August is always busy because it is summer and I don’t work (or get paid) < before you get too jealous. This month I may not have gone on holiday but I did extend my birthday celebrations over several weeks and it wasn’t even a significant one! Who needs a holiday when the 6 weeks poeting took me all over the Midlands.

Zebra© 2014 Rangzeb Hussain

Blogs and Projects

52 continues – as it will all year – I am now planning a catch up though before I start back to work as I have missed some weeks.

Last month I wrote about Naked Lungs and a project/performance for Birmingham Literature Festival. I presumed they had picked other participants to collaborate as I hadn’t had an email. There was an email. It just didn’t get to me! Momentarily dancing around the lounge… My next exciting venture to work on, the performance is October 11th, a week after my brother’s wedding.

INKSPILL a free online writing retreat I run from this Blog at the end of October 25th/26th is in full swing (organisation), more on this soon – September will be full of tasters and teasers.

ONE YEAR A POET – I am also busy organising a celebration of my first year back in the world of poetry and it was also the point at which the 1st 9 months of a writing life bore fruition – in terms of work and being a writer. There are lots of poets/artists lined up and it should be a cracker!

BLOG The blog now has 781 follower just 3 people joined this month. The most popular post continues to be my articles about Short Story Writing

Title Views
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 438
Writing Short Stories – Tips on Narrative Structure & The Writing Process More stats 279

This may have to do with being linked on educational sites, or just they were dang good posts!

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Submission

I worked on lots of writing this month, I regret not spending more time on my pamphlet submission, I lost confidence with it and shelved it, only to dust it off again on the deadline day – when by the time the writing was finished I was half an hour late leaving for an event, speed reading is not to  proofreading, needless to say I came home and found 3 mistakes!

I sent poetry to Bombay Gin, Paragram, Barrelhouse and a portion of a pamphlet to VPress.

Publishing

I worked with proof copies of GBWO and Restless Bones Poetry Anthology.

HCE Here Comes Everyone Published my poem ‘Falling into Line’, written especially for the Boy/Girl Issue of the magazine, it is available online and as a print copy.

 

Performing Poetry

speak mic

Performing Poetry – the links will take you to blogposts about the events.

All over the Midlands this month, I have (as always) missed some events – because I am human mainly, once I find my superhero self I shall fly out to all gigs… Mr G also booked a fortnight off work.

The month started amazingly with A Night with Maya Angelou – organised by Jordan Garvey and Shakti Women. I watched a video of my performance for the 1st time, it was a little uncomfortable.

Maya Angelou

Mouth and MusicWar & Peace A great evening hosted by Sarah Tamar, I was expecting the subject matter to weigh heavy – but the evening was as vibrant and uplifting as always.

War and Peace

PFL Poetry For Lunch – The Funny One with Andrea Smith

Birthday Stanza – a normal Stanza meeting where I took CAKE! Great to be back with the Stanza crowd, first meeting in 2 months, due to clashing dates and performances.

Stanza

Bridge the Gap – an intergenerational tea party on a canal boat – the brainchild of Aysha Begum(Beetfreaks). My first time on a moving canal boat and therefore also the first time I have performed on one!

Poetry on a Boat

Restless Bones Poetry Anthology – Book Launch – Restless Bones raises money for Born Free Foundation, protecting animals against the fur trade. The book launch was at Akamba an African Heritage Centre in Solihull, a fitting environment. It was a great night and it is a great book. Details on how to buy your copy, coming soon.

Book Launch

42 Drummonds – An open mic/ off theme night at 42. A small and select crowd, a great night of story, poetry and theatre.

Worcester Music Festival Humdrum Express – Ian Passey organised a menu of bands and supporting poets for a great night at The Swan and Two Nicks.

Worcester Music Festival Word & Sound – Amanda Bonnick and Jenny Hope organise Word & Sound nights and this one was hosted by Amanda as part of the music festival. It was a cracking night with some stellar performances. Crème de la crème!

(Links to follow)

 

Performances and Events

52 shakespeare centre 3

I don’t always perform, sometimes I just enjoy the Arts and support friends and fellow poets.

Benches – Jan Watts Book Launch / Off the Page Event – starting on the canal and finishing in the Library of Birmingham.

Launch

I have since read and reviewed the book. This link is the blogpost and details on how to buy your own copy can be found here.

Review

SpeakEasy – a night of poetry hosted by Maggie Doyle.

SpeakEasy

Naked Lungs -They have booked me to perform next month so I thought I would go along and check it out. Glad I did, great night. Performers included Ian Bowkett and Ben Norris.

 

My writing life/ The Poet Within

August has been a funny month – action packed but also dippy in emotional stakes, belief in my writing, confidence drooping in my ability to perform, inner gremlins getting a look in. I suppose the more seriously I take myself the more this may happen or it could have been some of the subject matter covered by this month’s writing. Or the pressure I placed on myself to complete this month’s submissions and performances. It doesn’t look more than usual but considering I took about 10 days off completely, it is a LOT! August has produced many new poems and some still have slightly rough edges. My writing spirit is high!

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

August

Mouth & Music – War & Peace – 12th August

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MM aug Peter Williams

© Peter Williams 2014

 

Thank goodness for Classic Mode – it is unusual when tech is improved to leave an option to use the previous format, glad WordPress have – as I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on.

Let’s go back in time… before my birthday there were many events I didn’t blog about and since then I have been busy with events… I have taken the past 48 hours offline – it is a Bank Holiday weekend and we have had the allotment to sort out and friends visiting from London. I would recommend a offline break to anyone – I didn’t even use my mobile phone, the only tech ipods and TVs.

mm War & Peace – 12th August

Kidderminster have a brilliant Arts Festival kaf festthroughout the summer and this month’s Mouth and Music was a festival special. We were all expecting it to be a heavy evening – due to the theme – and the nature of the subject… it wasn’t – it was (as always) a brilliant night!

Jasmine Gardosi – a poet friend from Birmingham and runner up in the recent OXJAM Poetry Slam, is head lining there in a few months time and she came to M&M on the 12th, was great to have her company.

mouth and music

Matt Windle was the poetry headliner this month – love watching him perform – energy, talent and spirit. He is a boxer and is often billed as the Boxing Poet – I like the way he encourages others. Recently, at ‘A Night with Maya Angelou’ I saw Lauren Williams, a student at Birmingham Ormiston Academy & Birmingham Young Poet Laureate perform, having seen her get the acolade last year at the BLF (Birmingham Lit Fest) it was wonderful to see her perform. In conversation she told me that she was inspired by a poet who visited her school…. that poet? Matt Man Windle of course, who was himself a Young Poet Laureate a few years ago.

Matt doesn’t keep still during any performance and the lighting in the venue is a challenge for any photographer.

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

One of the reasons I like to blog about events in real time is because I still have the energy and enthusiasm for it in real time. Whereas at 9 (now 10) in the morning on Bank Holiday Monday trying to recall the night is somewhat harder.

I just remember uplifted feelings and some incredible poetry, music and dance. Sirkel – the music headliners brought DANCE to M&M for the first time.

SIRKEL
Scandinavian influenced folk duo – sax, flute, violin, accordion, guitar & mandola
plus guest appearance from clog dancer Ayliffe Edwards.

© Peter Williams 2014© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

 

All photographs © Peter Williams 2014

The clog dancing was captivating!

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Heather Wastie performing her War & Peace Poetry

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Me performing mine.

A moving night and a fantastic audience of festival goers. A good time was had by all!

The most magical night.

Hosted this month by Sarah Tamar, congratulations on such a successful evening!

 

 

 

 

 

Mouth & Music Tuesday 10th: New Material – Great Night!

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Another wonderful evening of spoken word and music. The theme this week was ‘adjectives’, I wrote my poems late on Monday night, using lists of adjectives for the initial stimuli.

They went down well, one serious one about mental health and a humorous one about form filling.

MM june I had seen Peter Wyton at Confab Cabaret earlier this year, a funny Gloucester poet, he has published a number of books and is a prize-winning poet who has appeared at Cheltenham Literature Festival, Glastonbury and Ledbury. He also reached the final of Radio 4’s first Poetry Slam.

Bethany Weimers was great, she is doing a tour of the area at the moment, Merlin her partner is a painter and Tim Scarborough and Suz Winspear are now the proud owners of personalised artwork, them performing. Sadly I was on before he picked up his paintbrush! I would have loved to buy one, that would have made my night.

This month we even had a write up on the Mouth and Music page, traditionally it has just been the headliners who feature in the review. Chuffed with this mention, so am pasting the review here;

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Every M&M has its own character because each one is a unique combination of people. Last night had a really special quality to it. At least half of the 14 open mic-ers performed something brand new and there was some cracking humorous stuff from Nina Lewis, Mike Alma and Fergus McGonigal in particular. Billy Spakemon drew us into his dark Black Country tale and Tim Scarborough brought his own recorded backing for a very moving, personal piece. Thanks to all open mic performers for adding to the mix and apologies to Suz who hadn’t been warned about the Cinderella chimes ….

Featured poet Peter Wyton gave us a splendid set which was hilarious throughout. He had us hanging on every word. Bethany Weimers drew us into her delicate guitar playing and expressive singing. Her songs are intensely powerful and intimate. Both she and Peter stood near the audience, foregoing stage and mic and this enhanced a feeling of ‘sharing’ rather than ‘performing’.

Bethany’s partner Merlin was busy secretly sketching throughout the evening. Suz and Tim are now proud owners of brilliantly evocative drawings of themselves in action on stage. Merlin also gave us the drawing below. Thanks Merlin! (Merlin Porter Arts)

As an experiment, we put Bethany on midway through the second half. It seemed to work. This meant that Peter Williams’ beautiful song somehow echoed the mood created by Bethany. Peter will be our featured musician in October. Sarah finished with a poem heralding next month’s theme – Summer! Thanks to everyone who was there last night. See you in July!

© Mouth & Music (Wastie/Tamar) June 2014

 

RELATED LINKS

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Bethany Weimer

© Peter Williams June 2014

 

Mouth & Music – What a Great Night!

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1441315_10151891604167737_769844637_n This month’s theme was all about encouraging collaboration, working in pairs, approaching someone you have never worked with before… the initial thought -after it was announced by Heather in March, was DREAD!

Finding the time was an issue…. would anyone agree to partner me…… all my insecurities came out to play and I buried my head in the sand for a few days…. then when I decided to grab the opportunity, I gave it a few more ‘be cool’ days, in case anyone emailed me – or so as not to pounce and appear too eager. In my mind I imagined everyone sending out frantic emails and pairing up and it would be like picking a team in PE*!

* Except this never happened to me as I played hockey, County Netball and was a top 8 long distance runner back in the day (when I was fit and danced) – I was usually picked around the middle of the team creations and so never felt too bad….

Thing was with Mouth & Music, when it was announced I knew exactly who I wanted to work with.

Tim Scarborough is a very talented Percussionist amongst other things – including a poet! A few months ago he treated us all to some music on his mood drum … it was beautiful he transported the whole room into a place of quiet, meditative thought and I for one wanted the sound to NEVER end! As soon as I heard it – I knew of the perfect poem and thought about asking him and then never gave it another thought – until in March this collaboration was mentioned.

Also as an aside for no reason other than force of habit the people I know all sit on the right and the others sit on the left – I wanted to bridge that gap!

I sent Tim an email, fully expecting him to not agree – to my surprise and delight he agreed.

Turns out not many people rose to the challenge of a duet. And we really did – organising 3 rehearsal/writing mornings. (1 of which I had to cancel to work)… 2 rehearsals and 2 hours typing is more prep than I have ever put in – and I got really nervous about performing again – as I didn’t want to let Tim down (which nearly happened when my phone screen blanked out on a cue line)!

Our rehearsals were great, I have not collaborated with other artists since my time involved in the performance circuit and theatre, back in the 90’s. It is something I miss…. especially with the solitude of writing – something I’ve had to get used to.

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Rehearsal 1: we tried the mood drum and my Rain Watch poem – played around with it, recorded, re-read and rehearsed. It was instantly fine and right and Tim commented tonight that he wished he’d come to it cold, having never heard the poem and improvised (maybe next time Tim)!

Tim also talked about his Social SATNAV idea and we both worked on and shared poems from our gender perspective.

The 2nd rehearsal was a fortnight later – I had managed to work and rewrite my poem a few times and needed some help with the 2nd voice, we worked on this re-reading and getting it right. Then we turned to Tim’s notebook and came up with the idea of the inner monologue – and the inner, inner monologue – the socially unacceptable bit that we switch off for his original SatNav poem.

It was great fun writing the voice and using words I wouldn’t normally feature, including some swearing. This collaboration gave me the opportunity to write pieces in a new voice.

We also practised Rain Watch. So by the end of our collaboration – we had 2 new dual speaking performance poems and a re-emergence of one of my poems.

People loved our set, rehearsing paid off. It was lovely to hear people had enjoyed it and I cannot begin to express how brilliant it felt to share the stage.

The other performers brave enough to collaborate and work on material were of course our delectable hosts – Sarah Tamar & Heather Wastie, they even introduced props and entertained us as always.

Andrew Owens (host of Drummonds 42) and Michelle Crosbie (headliner at Lichfield Poetry Alight) treated us to a dualogue, Cathy & Alex – a story Andrew wrote, told in 2 voices. They were very brave (they both sang) and were first up. It was great.

Despite Heather inviting people to perform solo, the theme had put many regulars off and we were all a little worried about being thin on the ground (it would have definitely been warmer with more bodies) – we needn’t have worried -Mike Alma and Mogs shared poetry in touching and funny solo performances and we were treated to some music and audience participation with the sandwich love song.  It was a great night with electrifying atmosphere and everyone enjoyed it!

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I was looking forward to the Headline poets, I have had the pleasure of hearing both David Calcutt (at Poetry Bites) and Nadia Kingsley (Shrewsbury Coffee House) before, never together. It was very enjoyable and they had books to sell ‘Road Kill’ was the one used for the performance, I shall look forward to an Easter Holiday read fest! AND this set inspired a seed of an idea between myself and fellow poet Claire Walker.

And as for Bleeding Hearts – what words can be used (I had better find some) richly political, rock meets folk at high speed and meshes as one and once again a chance for audience participation!

To top the whole night off … Mr Mike Alma, who has been entertained by Marie-Celeste epic journey tales since before the New Year gave me a SATNAV! Wow! Dreams came true. I may be able to find gigs in the future – no longer do I have to use AA Route finder (other route searches are available) – which I am sorry to say, lies a lot and leaves much of the important bits of the journey out – and gives journey durations 50% less than they are generally – causing me (if I find the gig at all) to be late! open road

Now I will have to come up with ever-more creative excuses like the battery went flat, I ignored the SATNAV or the dog ate my homework…. for being late or lost.

BIG THANKS Mike 🙂 thank-you-typewriter

 

And just to finish this post – here is a lovely review from Mouth and Music;

It has not been customary to mention individual open mic performers in post-gig write-ups, but here’s the exception: Huge thanks to Andrew Owens and Michelle Crosbie for collaborating on a story by Andrew and, even huger thanks to Nina Lewis and Tim Scarborough who not only collaborated but also wrote some great new material. Thanks also to the regular open mic-ers who came along to listen and/or perform solo.

Featured spoken word artists, David Calcutt and Nadia Kingsley showed how page poetry should be performed. Quality work delivered with clarity and humour. Featured musicians, Bleeding Hearts were big, bold, entertaining and political. We sang along and stamped our feet, which also helped us get warm! It was brass (as they say up north where it’s even colder) but regulars are getting used to coming prepared for any temperature. It’s got to be warmer in May! See you then, when we’ll be rebranding, thanks to Gel Newey (Bleeding Hearts bass player) as Gob and Racket 🙂

I am still buzzing nearly 24 hours later! 😉