Saturday, 14 May 2016

NEWS - Reasons to be cheerful

I had a really bad week last week. Everything I did went wrong and my To Do list was as tangled as a badly-coiled slinky. Then, this week happened, and suddenly everything feels like it’s back on track again.

I had an awesome time at Crosswords on Wednesday, and I’ve booked some tickets to go see some poetry shows as well. Plus, I’ve got a couple of cool gigs coming up, and a positive response for a new project too. So my mood, like the weather, is sunny again. It’s funny how life works sometimes, isn’t it?

This is the wildly unstable life of a poet. And I’m very fond of it.

Recent Gigs:
On Wednesday night, I popped down to the caves underneath the Malt Cross pub in Nottingham for another night of spoken word at Crosswords. This time – perhaps because we didn't have to contend with Kate Tempest performing just down the road – we ended up with a full house, and I had enormous fun hosting the show! The audience was a really good mix of new faces and more established open mic-ers, and they shared some great quality poetry and prose.

We also had a completely breath-taking performance from Leicester-based poet Shruti Chauhan, who mesmerised our audience with her beautiful words. Plus I got the chance to air my fairy lights too! (And that is not a euphemism!)

Photo Courtesy of Cullen Marshall. Thanks Cullen!

Thanks to TC, Phil, Andrew, Cullen, Ashley, David, Gwen, Martin, Jack, Hazel, Grace, Orla, Stephen, Frank, Jacob, Martin and Sam for stepping up to the metaphorical microphone and sharing their stuff. I’m really grateful that so many people are coming along to these events, because open mic nights are nothing without the creativity of the audience, and it feels like the poets of Nottingham have welcomed me with a generosity that it makes me want to do a little cry sometimes. A happy cry, obviously!

Anyway, the next Crosswords spoken word open mic will be happening on Wednesday 8th June, and our featured poet will be the marvellous Michelle Mother Hubbard. You can find all the details on our facebook events page here.

Upcoming Gigs:
Next Thursday, I’m going to be co-hosting the quarterly DIY Poets gig at the Maze on Mansfield Road. It’s going to be fantastic show, with lots of great poetry from the DIY Crew, plus performances from the Mouthy Poets, and a headline set from our very own Hazel Warren. Hazel is one of my favourite poets on the Nottingham scene at the moment, and I’m really excited about seeing her perform an extended set.

The show will also include music from Paul Carbuncle, and it’s going to be a pretty epic night. Doors open at 7:30pm for a 7:45pm start and it’s only £3 per person on the door. You can’t say fairer than that, can you? 

Then, on Wednesday 25th May, I’m venturing back down into deepest, darkest East Anglia to take part in Soapbox Presents… at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket. I’ll be performing alongside some fantastic local talent, in the shape of Dan Clark and Lee Turner, and the headline act for the show is Harry Baker – a completely massive star on the Spoken Word scene. Harry’s won tonnes of poetry slams, including the London Slam, the European Slam and he was World Slam Champion in 2012!

Harry Baker doing a TED Talk

So, that’s a bit nerve-racking! But I know it’s going to be a brilliant show, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of it! Tickets are £6 in advance (£4 for concessions) and £8 on the door.

Upcoming Projects:
I’m really pleased to be working with the Museum of Cambridge on a Summer Poetry Trail project. I’ll be writing a number of poems based on the artefacts in the museum, and these will be fashioned into a trail for younger visitors (And visitors who are young at heart!) to follow, with worksheets available to help identify the objects in the poems.

It’s a really cool idea, and a great way to look at the collection from a new perspective too. The Museum of Cambridge has a huge selection of artefacts relating to Cambridgeshire’s rural history of superstition and folklore, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in!


I’ll also be running a ‘drop in’ creative writing workshop on Wednesday 17th August, with plenty of games and activities for budding poets and writers of all ages. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so if you’re in the area, please do come and say hello! I’ll also pop up more details on to the blog as and when I receive them.

Also this week, I’ve also been organising meetings with all sorts of different agencies, looking for a little pot of money to help fund my poetical endeavours. It’s hard work trying to get paid in the arts, but luckily there are lots of great organisations about, and loads of people who are thoroughly committed to helping to support new ventures. So fingers crossed that we can get something sorted. I’ll certainly keep you posted!

As well as all that, I've also got a new poem on the go! I got the inspiration for it late last night, and I've just been trying to decipher my own notes and get it down on paper this morning. It's weird because it's the first time I've had some inspiration since the end of the #NaPoWriMo stuff, and to be honest, I wanted to give myself a bit of a rest in May. But my brain obviously didn't agree with that train of thought. Ho Hum.

Anyway, I've written the middle and the ending, but I've not quite finished the beginning. Give it a couple more days, and I might just be ready to pop it up on the blog! Exciting times!

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