Saturday, 8 December 2012

NEWS - Folking, Filming & a Busy December

It's been a pretty exciting week for me this week! I've done some more Dickens-related work with the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, offended some people with my bawdy poetry at a local folk night and - best of all - filmed a few poetry videos!

Well, in reality, it was local photographer Blazej Mikula who did the actual filming, I just stood around spouting nonsense in front some lights. So you know, it was just a normal Saturday afternoon for me really...

Blazej was kind enough to ask me to be the subject of two of his videos for his upcoming website. And who am I to refuse the chance to be in front of the camera?

It was actually pretty nerve-racking, as I've never been filmed before, but Blazej was a consummate professional and the whole thing was a lot of fun! All in all, we spent about four hours shooting short videos for 'Zombie Love Song' and 'Shaving Grace'. 

In order to achieve a good mix of shots, we filmed the same sequence over and over - and the repetition was actually really beneficial for me. I now know both those poems backwards and inside out! Keeping the speed, rhythm and intonation the same for each shot was quite tricky, but I don't think I did too badly for a first-timer!

I was also filmed 'eating a watermelon slice like a ravenous zombie' - which was pretty bizarre!

The draft edit looks fantastic, and I'm really excited about the release. I'll let you know as soon as the videos are on youtube: watch this space!

The night before my celluloid début, I went along to my very first Folk Open Mic Night - and enjoyed it so much that I'll be going again in the New Year!

The folk nights are held at Denver Mills, just south of Downham Market, and you couldn't ask for a better venue! The room itself is in a converted hayloft, with views of the mill buildings. Out there, in the middle of the Fens, you do feel very cut off from everything, even though there's a Tesco and a 24 hour garage just round the corner. Still, with the mist rolling off the marshes and the Christmasy chill in the air, it was all very atmospheric.

We began the night with a slap-up pie and mash dinner in the Windmill café, followed by some delicious puddings! Then, once we were all sufficiently stuffed with food, we made our way to the loft.

It was a great night; one of those evenings where everyone in the audience seemed to have a hidden talent, and everyone was encouraged to share and participate. Small, supportive venues like that are often the most rewarding. I went along with Elaine Ewart, the Fenland Poet Laureate, who read some fantastic poems about eels and lamas. Elaine and I were both invited to a poetry open mic night in Downham Market too, so we'll definitely be checking that out in the New Year! 

Then, on Wednesday, I was one of several poets on stage at the Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech, helping to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens. The local museum, the Wisbech and Fenland, is currently exhibiting the original manuscript of Great Expectations, and the event, funded by National Lottery money, was held to publicise the exhibition. I've probably talked about the manuscript before, but it's just so unfathomable to me to think that a document - in Charles Dickens' own handwriting - could be owned by such a small town museum. It's fantastic to think that such a piece of cultural history is available to see, so close to home!

Anyway, I read two of my Dickens themed poems (written for the Miriam Margolyes event which I hosted in Wisbech last month) and it was lovely to get such a good reaction from the crowd. I gave my details to a few of the audience members and the organiser, David Wright, said that people had been asking if I had any published work for them to buy. It's always lovely to hear that people like my stuff, so I'm really chuffed that I got the opportunity to go!

Next week is another busy week for me, with Hammer and Tongue on Wednesday night, the Christmas party at the Cornerhouse on Thursday night and some super special poetry stuff in that London on Saturday night! I can't wait!


  1. I love the fact you decided to unfollow me.

    1. Apologies anonymous, I don't think I have unfollowed anyone on purpose. Please do give me your blog details, and I will re-follow :)

    2. Can I e-mail you? I want to get something off my chest.

    3. Do feel free. You have my address, right? If not, you can send me a PM on twitter instead. My name on Twitter is @crimsonebolg

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

  2. You have a gig in London on a Saturday and you never told your London crew?! Does this mean we're not invited?

    Lots of Love,

    Your London crew.

    1. There's still every chance that I'll chicken out of the London gig! It's at the Poetry Cafe, which is a pretty big deal. I would, of course, let you all know as soon as I've worked up the courage to say that I'm definitely going! -x-

    2. We wait in anticipation.

      And I am totally free that day, some intellectual enlightenment is just what I need!


    3. Well you certainly won't get that from my poetry! You might get it for some of the other performers though. -x-