Archive for the ‘Gigs’ Category

The First Night at the Forum!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
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It was standing room only at The Novel Cafe on 26th July 2011, with the very first Story Forum, raising money for Back&Beyond.

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Feedback about the format of this new spoken word night describes it as ‘a winner’ and ‘a stroke of genius!’

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I kicked off the evening with a little bit of information about what the event seeks to do and why. There are several excellent spoken  word nights in the local area, so there was no point reinventing the wheel. As a prose writer myself, I am aware that the performance opportunities for prose writers can be limited. By it’s very nature, the musicality and brevity of poetry makes for more accessible listening, so the question was how to create a format where prose would be equally as engaging.

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The obvious transition point is flash fiction – ultra short stories whose length requires a similar focus and punch to a poem. We had two brilliant performances: Katherine Jane Learmonth performed Angela Martin’s flash with passion and presence; Sarah Schofield read her own work including ‘Wine’ which can be read in Issue 1 of Back&Beyond.

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But I also really wanted to give longer fiction a chance, and so took what felt like a gamble in some ways – a complete 3000 word short story. However, Brindley Hallam Dennis’s ‘The Sweetest Sound’ was a highly crafted work with richly crafted characters and evocative setting and dry Highland humour and as such had the power to draw in the audience and keep them there for the duration. Of course, even good writing can fall flat if not read well, but we were treated to Steve Longstaffe’s performance, capturing the brewing tension and calculating deliberations within the protagonist seeking to rid his island of the piper.

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The third element of the night was yet another gamble: The Story Forum. I cannot thank the three respondants enough, first of all for being willing to take a punt on my crazy scheme, but also because of their fantastic responses. I asked them to prepare a five minute response to the question, ‘Is present tense over-used in modern fiction?’ Eliza Mood ‘s response weaved from fiction to critique in relation to her own experience and other published writers. Layers of narrative that showed how the past can be present and the present can be past. (Having had a sneak preview of her second novel ‘The Moth Quartet’ I know this is something she has explored greatly in her work.)

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Hendryk Korzeniowski came out of self-described writing ‘retirement’ with a bang with his dialogue between Philip Pullman and Doctor Who, which had people laughing and exhilerated by the rush of ideas.

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Finally Simon Baker ruined everyone’s feelings about marzipan for the rest of their lives. There aren’t many people who would dare to read a Choose Your Own Adventure book at a literary evening, but as a way to coax support for the present tense it was a masterstroke – when the final vote was put to the audience, they decided that the present tense was not over-used in modern fiction. Gauging the audience’s contributions I would say this was a call for tolerance, rather than a call for more present tense… necessarily!

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Thanks to the all who came to our first evening – details of the next dates coming soon…

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But finally, special thanks must go to Norman Hadley for filming the performers and posting the clips (courtesy of Lancashire Writing Hub) so speedily despite being at the wrong end of a really busy week, and to Rob for lugging furniture, taking photographs and for allowing his hat to be used to collect audience responses to the Penny Forum.

Spotlight 15th July 2011

Saturday, July 30th, 2011
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Thanks to Norm for posting these recordings from July’s Spotlight online: Moll and Rob playing two new songs. The next night we played these songs again, at the Golden Lion with Jo on vocals and fiddle, Cam Crook on Guitar and Simon Fletcher on bass. We’re hoping to do some recording before summer ends <pauses to look out the window at the downpour> so these vids are stripped-down tasters of what’s to come.

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Hope you enjoy them!


The Good Advice I Did Not Take The Bad Advice I Did

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The Heartbreaking

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The photo is courtesy of Peter Ford – couples dancing on the West End Pier in Morecambe in the fifties. The mood of ‘The Heartbreaking’ seemed a good excuse to post this picture!

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16th July: Moll Baxter Band, Pon)))ies, Jo Gillot and Cam Crook!

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

WHERE:  The Golden Lion, Lancaster.

WHEN: Saturday, 16th July, 9pm

WHAT: New material from all performers who will be helping out on each other’s material. Should be a little bit special!

(Photo: Pauline Clark)

Wordsoup Short Story Special: November 16th 2010

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
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Really looking forward to this: a night dedicated to the sometimes neglected short story! I’m going to be reading a selection of flash, including The Map, which was recently shortlisted by the Biscuit International Short Story Competition.

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WORDSOUP SHORT-STORY NIGHT:

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Our regular live lit night Word Soup will be a Short Story Night on
Tuesday 16th November, and we have a fantastic line-up of Short Story
performers.

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The headline act is short story writer Zoe Lambert, published by Comma
Press, a not-for-profit publishing initiative dedicated to promoting new
fiction and poetry, with an emphasis on the short story.

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Joining Zoe for Word Soup’s Short Story Night will be the short-story
talents of Philip Burton, Mollie Baxter, Stephen Jansen, and Catie
Smith.

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The regular Open Mic slot will of course be running – so don’t forget to
bring a 3-minute piece of your own!

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Rae Morris (likened to a young Alanis Morissette by Ark Magazine) will
be putting the cherry on the top with a fabulous music set.

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Word Soup Short Story Night at The Continental, South Meadow Lane,
Preston on Tuesday 16th November from 8pm, £3.00 on the door for an
evening of priceless entertainment.

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Pumpkin Soup!

Saturday, October 16th, 2010
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Found these lights on www.ubergizmo.com

This is actually about next Tuesday’s Wordsoup, which as you can see has been given a Halloween twist! But their calling it Pumpkin Soup has got me thinking of my valiant annual efforts to get creative with pumpkin carving, best respresentative quote being, ‘But what is that?’ (It was Gromit) and making a disappointing soup out of the leftovers.

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This year I think I’ll limit my pumpkin efforts to the fabulous Wordsoup Halloween special. I’ll be performing the collaborative monologue written by David Riley based on a short story of the same name by Norman Hadley, so I’ve donned my rehearsal socks to get into the character of a young postgrad astrophysicist (Norman will probably correct me shortly on the true nature of her specialism…) who makes an amazing discovery whilst shooting lazers into bits of Mica.

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But there’s all sorts going on that night (see the corking line-up below), including an open mike, so get your fangs in and join us!

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Word Soup goes all Pumpkin flavoured for a Special Halloween Edition -
at The Continental on Tuesday 19th October, 8pm.

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The Lancashire Writing Hub are more than a little excited to announce
that multiple Award-winning Horror Meister Conrad Williams will be
headlining the next Word Soup Live Lit night – Pumpkin Soup – at The
Continental in Preston.

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Peter Straub said about Conrad:

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“This is horror literature unabashed and entire, at full imaginative stretch, beautiful and blazing. Williams possesses a fearless heart and an absolutely gorgeous soul.”

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Joining Conrad for a fantastic literary set will be the fabulous talents
of Mollie Baxter, Rachel McGladdery, and Nick Garrard, plus there’ll be
an Open Mic session, of course, so feel free to bring along a 3 minute
set of your own, and it’ll be a magical evening – with Mark the Magician
offering delightful sleight-of-hand moments throughout the evening – and
music from Three Four. We’ll also be showcasing some suitably sinister
short films from the Version Film Festival to round off a fantastic
night.

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Word Soup’s Pumpkin Soup, Tuesday 19th October at The Continental, South
Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JP, £3.00 on the door – don’t miss it!

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Moll Baxter and Jo Gillot return to Chill-Out Tuesday!

Monday, October 11th, 2010
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That’s right, and this time we’ll be collaborating on a few songs too!

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You probably know this already, but Chill-Out Tuesdays take place at in the Bar of the Dukes Theatre on Moor Lane and Lancaster from 6-7pm – so it’s a shorty and you can be back in home for tea, or you might decide to stay on and see the evening movie.

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Jo and I had a practice yesterday afternoon and we’re really excited about the songs. We hope you can come and join us!

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The Whooping Dust Settles

Thursday, September 16th, 2010
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Just a couple of photos from last night’s launch of ‘A Whoop Above the Dust,’ by Norman Hadley. We got there early – to our surprise – and had the pleasure of standing smugly in Booths car park contemplating a Foo-Go sandwich. (The brand name clearly represents someone who is enjoying their sandwich so much that, in no uncertain terms, they tell everyone to ‘go away,’ whilst their mouth is full of rocket and multigrains.)

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‘I guess we should get the guitar.’

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‘Yep.’

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<pause>

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‘Where is the guitar?’

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The guitar was not in the car, but it’s funny how we both seemed to think that if we kept looking, by sheer force of will it would materialise.

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Anyway, Rob sped off back down the A6 to borrow a guitar. And thanks to Dom I was still able to play. It was Dom’s birthday yesterday and I’d say he deserves an extra slice of cake and at least two cans of beer. Happy birthday Dude!

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Rubbing shoulders with Pam Ayres.

Norman Hadley rubbing shoulders with Pam Ayres.

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The venue was The Corner Bookshop in Garstang – a great, independent bookshop well worth a visit if you’re ever in the ‘World’s First Fairtrade Town.’ Norman read with his usual gentle intensity and it was good to hear poems that I’ve previously seen at Monkeyrack sessions – it’s funny the different things you notice when the poem falls on the ear, rather than the eye. My particular favourite was Navigators, written as a wedding card dedication describing two walkers finding their paths colliding and then converging. Simple, subtle and tender without the tiniest squeak of sentimentality.

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I played a trio of songs – Alma Garrett, Passenger and She is Dragon. It was slightly strange to play solo again, but certainly not in a bad way. To continue the theme of Navigators, it’s as if I was heading out on a familiar same journey, but found myself taking a different route and ending up somewhere slightly different. But that usually happens when I’m navigating anyway.

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And check out Judith Coyle’s blog. Wednesday 15th September. It’s always nice to ‘talk writing’ with someone!

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Finally, I have to mention the fabulous Erin and Lucy, who I’m guessing are around 4 and 9 respectively. Lucy is so sweet, you wouldn’t need to put sugar in your tea if she’d just skipped past and Erin told me a secret about what has to be the best middle name in the world! A very smart, warm young lady.

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Cracking night!

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‘A Whoop Above the Dust,’ by Norman Hadley. Launch!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

normans-launch

The added music bit is me :)

Fundraiser for the Victims of the Pakistan Floods – 11th September!

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

pakistan
Things aren’t getting any better in Pakistan after the floods, in fact they’re getting a good deal worse. Not only is this a fantastic cause, but I get to play alongside my old sensai, Graham Mort, who was one of my MA lecturers. Eeh, what larks we used to have… You should read his collection of short stories ‘Touch’ published by Seren, including the Bridport winning ‘The Prince.’ Holy Cow. He really is very good.

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Because this gig is organised by the Abaseen Foundation charity, payment details are a little different to usual – please check the poster.

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Thanks, and I hope to see some of you there! A night of folk and blues all in aid of urgently needed aid.

Stop Press! Playfest IS going ahead…! SATURDAY 14th August 2010

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
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WHERE: A field in warton off Sands Lane (Carnforth end of Warton)

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WHO & WHEN: (bound to change)

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2pm – Total Opposites
2.30 pm – Moll Baxter
3.15 pm – Electric Freetime Machine
4pm – Orphans
4.45 pm – Johnny FifthWheel
5.30 pm – Village Jam
6.30 pm – New Hawks
7.15 pm – three dimensional tanx
8pm – Without Motive
9pm – Massive Wagons
10pm – Ottersgear