Sunday, 9 March 2014

SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS - John Peel Centre and International Women's Day

Just a quick one from me this week, as I'm off out in few minutes to see some more live music. (My third gig in three days!)

This Friday I finally made it down to The Whole Shebang in Suffolk, a fantastic open mic night at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket.

It's always a pleasure to catch my fellow Fenland poet Elaine Ewart when she reads, and there were also some captivating performances from Tess Gardener, Fred Slatten and Aryn Clark from the Essex based collective Some Kind of Poetry Thing.

But Suffolk, it seems, is full to the brim with musicians, and there was huge range of talent on show during the evening, including Ipswich based folk favourites Elly Tree, and guitar-weilding indie kids Heartaker. (In fact, Heartaker's re-imagining of Katy Perry's Extraterrestrial was one of my highlights of the whole evening!)

Another high point in the show was the fantastic Native American Tribal Dancing courtesy of Hara Tribal Bellydance and the sun-soaked bluesy rhythms of Jim and Jimbo, two American Airforce visitors, stationed at Mildenhall.

I'm always a bit wary of performing at music gigs, because the crowds are less inclined to listen to the poetry, and sometimes you can feel like you're just filling up dead space while the technicians rearrange the kit and fiddle with the levels. But I'm really pleased to say that - though the crowd were a little more rowdy than I'm used to - I did manage to catch he attention of the room.

Reading poetry about pubic hair will do that, it would seem...

Then, on Saturday afternoon, I drove up to Peterborough to take part in the local celebrations for International Women's Day 2014.

The programme of events, featuring female artists, musicians, poets and dancers, was organised by the Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group to raise awareness for all the vital work they do in the city.

The weather was beautiful and in the brief time I was there, I saw some great performances from singer-songwriter Lexie Green and Faye & the Desert Dancers, as well as a great performance from the writer and poet JS Watts.

I wrote a new poem especially for the event, and it seemed to go down well. I'm actually really pleased with how the poems, called My Daughter, turned out, so I've uploaded a recording of it to my Soundcloud page. You can listen to it here, so why not check it out and let me know what you think?

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