Thursday, 28 October 2010

Poetry bits and pieces in October 2010

As a writer of poetry for a number of years now in the Manchester area (See my website –, it always pleases me to see lots of different poetry events all over the Manchester and surrounding areas which I can get to without too much trouble.

In contrast to last year where it seemed I would go to almost every one going, over the past few months it’s got to the stage when I have cut down for health reasons among other things.

This month and next month as a mad burst for the rest of this year, I have and will be going to a few more things than usual.

Diary wise, I’ve been to this month…

1) Saturday 2nd October 2010 – Ended up going down to Leeds with my other half, Cathy and a pal Big Mac Dave for the finale of my punk poet buddy Jeffarama’s ‘Jamming with Jeffarama’ night. Jeff had been doing this tour at a nice pace through-out the summer in various parts of England (Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Birmingham, Hepden Bridge) and for a finale did Leeds.

I’d been to Leeds on a number of occasions over the years, and had always had a good buzz down there (even though I felt nowadays like Manchester it was changing somewhat) and for a finale, this night at a pub called the Grove in Leeds had a great turn out and I had the chance to read out four of my shorter poems, two from my book and one from my forthcoming second book, and one from my forthcoming possible third book and also contained a number of other poets I knew and a number I didn’t know.

It was also headlined by a couple of singer songwriters who were brilliant and the very naughty Cayn White who had both Dave and Cathy giggling partly in shock with some of his naughtier pieces involving graveyards but was a very successful and popular night.

2) Thursday 7th October 2010 – I went down to Jeffarama’s ‘Guitars and Verse’ night at Butterflies, Bolton. I know Jeffarama on the live Poetry circuit and admire the guy hugely for his energy and his dedication to his work. ‘Guitars and Verse’ is a new-ish night he has set up trying to bring in a mixture of new and old, singers, entertainers and poets etc with a headline slot. This time it was a german act called the Alma Street Boys and a girl singer songwriter I know called Lina Paul, two totally different acts and I got to experiment on stage with Lina on a impro on one of my tracks which was great fun called ‘Wish’ and also gave the debut to my new band (name to be revealed shortly).

What I liked about the night was besides the fact it was very, very well run and organised with acts flowing nicely who on the whole kept to time which ensured the night didn’t run on too late (Note to all people setting up nights), it was varied enough to stop the night from becoming meandering with poets and musicians and other acts following each other in a nice balance.

3) Monday 11th October 2010 – Write Out Loud, Stockport Art Gallery..

Not everybody’s cup of tea this night certainly owning to the location I know (as I know a number of people who moan a little bit about this night) but I like it as it gives me chance to try out some of my really, really, really new pieces which nobody else sees.

In this case, I tried out a really, really brand new piece called Dear David mixed with a new piece on the Drakelow tunnels called ‘Tunnel 1’ which surprised people a little as the pieces were totally different in attitude and story from a history lesson to a bitter political slagging off and as the night finished early, it also gave me chance to read out a older poem called ‘Buxton to Manchester’ and something I wrote in a writing workshop earlier on that day.

The night was a little sparsely attended certainly (the weather wouldn’t have helped matters then) but it definitely felt like a night to me that felt supportive of the work I produced, even if it was a little quiet.

4) Cathy Bryant’s book launch, 21st October 2010

I know Cathy through the Manchester poetry circuit which I too infrequently attend nowadays (preferring to do a bit more travelling really) but decided to attend her book launch ‘scenes’ etc out of respect
To her as I always found her nice when I met her several years before.

The book launch in the new temporary library in Manchester, City Library had a nice attendance although I certainly wouldn’t have called
It wall to wall (I believe there was a number of other nights on – something like 5 or so) and considering if that is the case, it did pretty well then and Cathy delivered a nice balanced set which I think probably was summed up right at the back of her book ‘a mixture of Carol Ann Duffy and Spike Milligan’, which for me was at it’s best when she did
more serious based material.

5) I had to leave that a little early so missed most of the support acts (aside from Rod Tame doing a wonderful poem about Hallioween) and I ran over to Freed Up Poets at the Greenroom, 21st October 2010.

Freed Up is a poetry open mike night that used to be run by two guys Dominic Berry and Steve O’Connor and I would go as far as saying the pair of them have done incrediablly well to keep it going as long as they have for almost 5 years now. While it wasn’t my first poetry performance (I have been doing some since 2006 in one form or the other), this night has always held a soft spot in my heart certainly in 2008 for really getting me writing performance based poetry and I have a lot of memories of it in it’s old days in the little back room where the atmosphere frequently was excellent.

Nowadays, almost two years later, it’s in the bar area nowadays and while it’s nice, the atmosphere is definitely different and quieter and Steve O’Connor has moved on leaving Dominic Berry with a variety of guest hosts each month, this month a gent I know called Arthur Chappell.

When I first started going there in 2008, the night used to be electric in it’s atmosphere. Nowadays when it moved to the bar area in 2009, it can still get very, very full but the atmosphere was a lot quieter, but thankfully respectful which is always the vital thing in any kind of open mike night.

November of course is a different ball game and currently my diary for performance in November is:

1)     Guitars and Verse 4th November at Butterflies Bar, Bolton where I’ll be testing out a piece or two with my new band.

2)     Temporary Arts Association, 10th November – Location Unknown as of yet. I am going to appear at their poetry night (Am currently looking for people who may want to perform there).

3)     Stockport Write Out Loud – 15th November at Stockport Art Gallery

4)     New night at Stalybridge Wednesday 17th November 2010
(More details to follow)

     5)  Write Out Loud, Bolton, Howcroft Inn, 21st November 2010

In November also, I intend also cracking on with my new band (More details to follow) and may pop to Freed Up again to watch before the madness of Christmas starts and kills off most / all of these nights for me

In December. (I don’t expect time to get time to do much in December and will be too skint in January).