Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cathy Bryant - Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature (Review)

Cathy Bryant - Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Certainly since I went onto the Manchester Poetry Circuit back at the
beginning of 2008, I’ve met a lot of people – some of which have since
they started off have stuck around like me almost by magic.

Some of these of course were on the ever – expanding live
mike scene, others through magazines and others in the case of
Cathy Bryant through poetry groups.

When I first met Cathy, if my memory is correct (and I could be
wrong) I seem to recall she was more of a fiction writer more at a
writing group called ‘Animal Writes’ but was interested in writing
poetry somewhat and even then showed the sense of humour that
has been best described on the back of her book as a mixture
between ‘Carol Ann Duffy meets Spike Milligan’ 
before adding ‘Humorous, ingenious, charming, and punchy — 
in equal measure — there’s never a dull moment in 
Cathy’s world’

Not to labor the point about Carol Ann Duffy from another review 
who some people may know I am not the biggest fan in the
world off but Spike Milligan however is somebody who I
have admired for years now with his often daft but
very, very clever material. Certainly Cathy’s material for me
at it’s best does come close if anything to Spike Milligan’s stuff.
‘This is not a poem’ for example is a fine example where the
poem begins off with: 

‘My friend supports my poetry 100%.
He just does it from a distance,
Playing Xbox games at home.
But he’s here in spirit’

I really enjoyed this bit probably as it stung a bit too
close to home as a lot of good comedy needs to.

The piece gets better after a longer second stanza which she 
polity takes the mick out of another friend, before concluding 

‘I can take it though.
I can write for ages without a line break.
I have no need to share, create, perform.
Sure, I do the odd poem
But I’m not addicted.
I could give up any time
And I’ll never, ever, ever rhyme.

This bit is clearly designed to bring the poem back to the focus 
of the narrator, but it’s obvious from looking at the size of the book 
alone that there is some lies within the piece, and as for 
‘I could give up any time’ is another debatable point which also 
made me think I’ve said something similar, full well knowing I could 
never give up ever if I wanted to it now.

What is pleasing is among the less serious poems as a counter balance
there is some serious material for example ‘After the Argument’ which is
quite haunting piece which contains the soft movement of this:

‘Very – very – very slow
Lip brushes lip
Of a tiny warm point.
Eyelash feathers cheek.
Palm rests on soft armpit.
Fingers trace scalp map.
Cautious eye catches other
still slightly shaken –‘

What I love about this section is the lack of movement but which you just
know something has happened. Something bad but which is told
slow to raise the point which is only revealed at the beginning
that the time for slowness is now over.

The writer of me 3 or 4 years ago would have probably complained 
about serious, moody pieces like that and would have perhaps
highlighted ‘This is not a poem’ or pieces like
‘Women seeks / Personal Ad’ instead, but whether it’s
old age (lol) or a desire to read a constant variety of pieces
like ‘After the Argument’ or ‘BI’ add a very nice counter
balance to the less serious pieces.

Something I think really works and is suitable for most moods.


The book can be bought from... http://www.puppywolf.co.uk/news/?page_id=13

Monday, 25 July 2011

Charlotte Henson and Ghazal Choudhary – Straythoughts from the poetically minded (Book Review)

Unlike some writers I know, I’ve managed to pretty well keep every poem I’ve ever complete since I started at 10 or 11 and like to look back at some of the pieces at that stage even though I know at that stage my work was at best limited.

I can remember cheerful pieces I wrote about ‘Death’ when I was 16 and a miserable, unhappy Goth and pieces like My Bloody Valentine which the title almost certainly came from the now legendary noise band, the piece was about a violent murder (Probably aimed at a Ex girlfriend) – my pieces were literally all over the place sometimes but had the energy which is still with me today.

Times change of course, and I’ve got a lot older (now looking over my shoulder at 40 which amazes me) and as I keep performing, often I see younger poets come to the forefront and it never ceases to amaze how much better writers they are than I was back then.

One young poet who has really impressed me firstly at a reading I did alongside her at Bury Market and then as part of the Tyldesley festival recently who I believe is only 17 is Charlotte Henson who with another young poet, Ghazal Choudhary has recently bought out a booklet through lulu.com called ‘Straythoughts from the Poetically Minded’.

Reading some of Charlotte’s work for example ‘Something or nothing’ is amazing for a poet of any age where she proclaims:

‘And then the light wents out
And the fans.
And the computers.
And our minds and crumbled back from binary –
Just a mass of noughts and ones on the floor’

This small segment has impressed me by the sudden build up of language of somebody’s life to a mass of noughts and ones on the floor and is simply breath-taking no matter what age she is.

Charlotte describes herself on the book’s website - http://straythoughts.webs.com/ as influenced by Carol Ann Duffy and Henry Normal. My disliking of Carol Ann Duffy’s work on the whole is best not dwelled, but certainly Henry Normal’s poetry surprised me as his work for like ‘Is love like Science Fiction’ has a use of language that in places in close to Charlotte’s work like this segment from The Pragmatics of ‘Living for the Moment’ (which itself is a Henry Normal kind of title)

‘I have ravaged towns with all my god-awful love
Ripped up their fences and killed
Whisked away those in Kansas who
Dreamed of emerald cities and yellow brick roads’

Godawful love was the thing that perhaps was the most Henry Normal-ish to me, but the full piece was took further both of the influences by the humble ending

‘All I wanted was to love
Too much’.

I don’t know Ghazal Choudhary but reading the website it says they both met in an AS English Language class, and after discovering they both loved poetry decided to collaborate on an anthology.

Ghazal she says is a big fan of romantic literature, and it shows for example on ‘A Riddle’ her second piece in the collection which is probably my personal favourite ‘

‘Wandering around in the twilight
Watching a beautiful sight,
The snow begins to fall, an icy white.

In a sudden movement the storm breaks out,
There are shrieks and there are shouts,
Children in pyjamas and women in their night-gowns, all running about.

What went wrong?’

Although in this piece, the use of the children in pyjamas line
is somewhat too long for my tastes in the context of the piece,
I like the use of the use of the language in the way it is a lot
more cleverer than you may originally think.

Another clever example with’s use of reputation which builds up
a rhythm is ‘For you’ which contains the reputation of

‘For you
For you
And only you’

Which is a nice contrast to the stanzas and gives it a almost
song like quality in places, which like Charlotte’s suggest there
are two much older writers here than what you may believe.

Recommended. (and before you ask I am not going to blog my early poetry from those days – lol) 

Blog – Week Commencing 25/07/201

Sorry for the quietness folks as last week I was off and ended up chilling really, helped my other half Cathy celebrate her birthday a little, and did a little bit of writing while looking for a new job.

In relation to a new job, for the record, the place I work at during the day, the Co-operative announced the section I work is to close unless things change probably by the end of the year, which is very upsetting to be honest, and in this climate will prove somewhat hard to get a new job.

However, of course this will mean lots more time for writing which I am currently sorting out as I speak.

Gig wise, as I advised the week before last I did two gigs, one on Monday 11th July for W.O.L. Stockport re-titled for the night ‘Read Out Loud’ where I performed three poems ‘Ghosts of Manchester Victoria’, ‘Leaving Belfast’ and ‘Percy’. All of these should have had backing footage, but sadly we couldn’t get it to accept my files. Oh well – there will be other times but I was pleased with the gig on a whole.

Thursday of the same week –  My gang ‘A Means to an End’ did a short set at the Revolution night at Cord Bar in the Northern Quarter. Although the crowd was sparse and I wasn’t wild on the venue, I did enjoy performing at the gig where we did ‘Up on the Roof’, ‘Memories of Moss Side’ and ‘Genocide’ and felt we
Delivered quite a decent set.

Gig wise, as I advised before, there won’t be anything for a while now as I am taking a break from performing to concerate on my writing. As a writer who is constantly gigging, getting chance to sit down to write proper is sometimes quite in short supply, henceforth for the break.

New Project wise, First of all, I did a surprise poetry book for my other half; Cathy called ‘Love Songs for Cathy II’ which can be downloaded for free athttp://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/love-songs-for-cathy-ii/16225254 for her birthday.

This of course is not an official book, as it is a very personal book and not something I will be stocking but if anybody wishes to download the book for free (or buy it as it is at cost price through lulu.com), they are welcome.

New projects wise, part of the reason for the break is for me and my partner in a Means to an End, Jeffarama to write our joint book ‘A Means to an End’ together. The book I can announce is very, very nearly complete and will be around 60 pages and will market at lulu.com probably for a little over £5 (excluding P & P) (and through us a little cheaper with a bonus CD).

I am now also working with the American poet, Amanda Silbernagel on a project too which is currently untitled but her stuff can be read on  www.amandasilbernagel.com - her stuff is quite different to mine as it’s a lot more experimental but I’m having a lot of fun creating break-beats, little drops of noise etc to it. Brings back a lot of memories of my days in M.A.N. and B.A.N.

Also in the pipeline of possibles, which may or may not happen over the end of this year into the beginning of 2012 is doing a tribute book to a poet friend of mine, Gary Morris who sadly passed away last year. I worked with Gary for a good number of years with the writing workshops ’24 Hour Arty People’ and ‘Trio Writers’ and saw his writing grow and develop like mine in sometimes quite similar ways and I want to get sorted out a tribute book to him as I have access to a lot of material of his.

Cathy my other half is doing a charity book on her disabled charity work which will get called ‘Unique, Driven and Determined’ also from the beginning of August which I am going to help her design and publish. I forget all of the detail for this, but I will confirm shortly. 

Jeff, my guitarist is also talking about doing some kind of booklet too for W.O.L. Bolton in the Autumn which will feature poetry read out at Butterflies in Bolton over a certain period, which’ll I will help him publish and organise too.

Into 2012, I am also thinking about my second full length collection ‘Detective Novel’ which I will start to get together more once my split book is completed, but that’ll be more towards the end of 2012, maybe 2013.

When I know what is going on with my job, I would like to also return to my novel ‘The End’ and give this another draft, as I think I got to another 50,000 words (160 pages or so) on the first draft and would like to see how that develops with the second draft. Again – this’ll be 2013 I reckon.

I’ve also got some children’s poetry wrote, which I would love to go back to again and do some more on, but who knows what I would do with that yet.

As you can see, plenty in progress here.

See you all soon

Monday, 11 July 2011

Week Commencing 11th July 2011

After the franticness of the past few weeks, it was only natural
You would think it was only natural with it’s been the heart
Of the summertime, I would be quietening things down somewhat.

Last week wasn’t the case of course.

Tuesday first of all involved the latest in band rehearsals with Jeff.
Things are going great guns there at the moment as Jeff’s guitar playing
is really picking up at the moment I think and we are both producing
good lyrics. Touch wood on new members coming onboard
soon also too.

Wednesday, besides heading over to Cathy’s.. I also popped
into doing a gig at Manchester City Library called
‘Poetica: Bring your Knitting II’. Poetica is a well established
writing discussion group there since 2006 or 2007 or something
and the group meets there regularly and does the occasional reading.

In this case, in 2009 as part of the Not Part of Festival, they did a
reading where besides the regular poets, they openly encouraged
people to bring along their knitting to knit. Sounds crazy?
Well, the first one was a major success.

Two years later, they decided to do it again and it had quite a
good attendance if I am honest of certainly around 40 odd people.
Besides of time, I had to go on first and leave at half time, but it
was quite a enjoyable reading and I read out two poems,
One brand new called ‘Dying Slowly’ and the other one I
sometimes do with my band ‘Ghosts of Manchester Victoria’.

The following night, I was over at ‘Guitar and Verse’
@ Butterflies Bar, Bolton – the night I co-run with Jeffarama.
This attracted a similar-ish crowd I guess, but was a good deal
harder by certain acts shall we say be either stupid or arrogant
(I won’t name who) but the night went fine. I read out one very
short poem called ‘Incomplete Jigsaw’ which went down okay
I guess.

This week coming, I’m over at ‘Read Out Loud’
@ Stockport Art Gallery today from 7.15pm. Places are very
limited on this one so it’s best to book in advance on
0161 474 4453. Not sure what I am going to read yet, but it’ll
probably be ‘Ghosts of Manchester Victoria’ and ‘Leaving Belfast’
(Maybe more if I get time).

Tuesday will be band rehearsals again, where touch wood
we will be trying out a possible third member for the gang.

From Wednesday, I will on leave for a week and a half where I
intend resting as much as possible and for a last gig on
Thursday of this week before a summer break, me and
Jeff will be doing probably three pieces on ‘The Revolution’
cabaret night by Arthur Chappell  This is at Cord Bar, in the
Northern Quarter in Manchester and should be good fun

Have a good week all, folks.

Lots more news to follow next week when off.


Andy N

P.S. - The picture was close to where I was yesterday lunchtime
at Manchester Victoria where it really, really threw it down.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Week Commencing 04/07/2011

Week Commencing 04/07/2011

Phew – that was a hot week-end certainly… Ended up doing another gig with my band ‘A Means to an End’ last night at Kro Bar on Manchester Oxford Road, and phew it was hot – was melting in there afterwards I must admit.

However, I was really pleased with it as it was supporting a really good band called The Sentimentalists who was really good and well worth checking out. We did 8 your knitting @ Manchester City Library, Deansgate, Manchester (UK). I’m the second poet on here I believe and will be reading a few more established poems here with some at least one brand new one called ‘Dying Slowly’.

Thursday – it’s off as I stated before to Butterflies Bar in Bolton for Guitar and Verse where a good friend of mine, Avital is headlining supported by a very good poet called Steve Garside. I think my band will play ‘Leaving Belfast’ again as it’s still coming together a bit this piece, and as I hinted before – I will be reading somewhere new which I am still working on.

In other news, the book in mind also called ‘A Means to an End’ is now looking pretty good as I have got the poems in from Jeff, 19 of them I think which comes in at maybe 22 pages, while currently I have 11 completed and a 12th in mind which is a little longer which will be a little bit longer, maybe 24 pages or so. I believe we are going in the recording studio also in a few weeks time too to begin work on recording a EP or an album too, all in readiness for October where we will be doing a short tour also.

Songs or so supporting them and lasted for perhaps 30 – 35 minutes supporting them out (Did a set list off – 1) Memories of Moss Side, 2) Decades, 3) Ever Wondered?, 4) Ghosts of Manchester Victoria, 5) Leaving Belfast, 6) A Coin in the Fountain, 7) Genocide and 8) Percy).

This week is a quite a busy one again where tonight – I will be scribbling down a poem for reading out at Guitar and Verse on Thursday – no hints yet what folks yet – lol, but Tuesday – it’s band rehearsals time for me and Jeff – big news there next week too I hope, before on Wednesday I am doing a short poetry set at Poetica – bring your knitting