It’s back! Special guest compere for the night will be the wonderful Ann Wilson.
Remember you can reserve a seat by emailing Mollie. Doors open at 6pm and seats are reserved until 6.15. Show starts at 6.30pm.
This month we have….
Feedback about the format of this new spoken word night describes it as ‘a winner’ and ‘a stroke of genius!’
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
Thanks to the all who came to our first evening – details of the next dates coming soon…
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.
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.
Hope you enjoy them!
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!
I’m thrilled to have a flash included in the latest Flax anthology, ‘Flash Mob.’ And there’s to be a party!
Three Flax Launches in One Day
Saturday 11th June, 3pm
Music Room, The Storey, Lancaster LA1 1TH
This bright afternoon sees the launch of three new Flax publications from Litfest. Why not escape town for an hour or so to enjoy some quality entertainment?
Flash Mob, Flax026 is an electric collection of super short stories that will take you through the past to future, from domestic dramas to surreal visitations, and have you swinging between laughter and wistfulness. Featuring new work from Jane Eagland, Claire Massey, Kevin McCann, Norman Hadley, Carla Scarano D’Antonio, Carys Bray, Clare Kirwan, Mollie Baxter, David Hartley, Benjamin Judge and Steve Waling
We’re also launching A Book Tale, Flax027, an ebook of the wonderful contemporary fairy tale by Claire Massey, with another outing for that fabulous dress…
And throughout it all, Flax028 will be running in an inside out garden shed, a new commission from Maya Chowdhry, with help from a few other Flax026ers … a stop-motion haiku … come along to watch the weird wonderfulness of growth.
As usual there’ll be a warm welcome, drinks and nibbles to keep the energy of the afternoon flowing.
More information here
The very first issue of Back&Beyond is almost ready! It’s the culmination of a year’s work by the team (Mollie Baxter, Mick Murphy, Si Hawkesworth, Phil McMillan and Antony Mercer) On Wednesday night, we will not only be hosting readings from the fabulous and varied contributors below, but kicking off the Made in Lancaster showcase, the product of a year’s collaboration between a whole host of Lancaster artists from all disciplines.
This comes at a time when cuts in art funding are biting deep, but the passion is still strong in Lancaster!
Proofs of the magazine will be displayed around the room and we hope you like them as much as we do.
Readers include: Mike Barlow, Carole Coates, Sarah Fiske, Norman Hadley, Martyn Halsall, Kate Horsley, Cath Nichols, Rita Ray, Sarah Schofield, Ron Scowcroft, Iris Woodford, Rebecca Irvine Bilkau and Bryony Rogers.
Special Guest appearance by Trev Meaney from Improv Rejects.
Admission is FREE, but we do have a book stall for donated books – bring one if you can! Let’s make Back&Beyond a going concern!
It’s going to be a great night – hope to see you there!
Sofie Fowler writes, ‘Mollie Baxter’s Five Rooms is a beautiful comment on domestic life. Mollie skillfully utilises repetition to express tedium but also explores the theme of security in routine. The pace is fluid and the detail creates a very believable setting.’
To read the full review which looks at pieces from Jane Brunning, Tom Fletcher, Rachel McGladdery, Norman Hadley and many other great writers click here and scroll to October 26th.
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.
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.
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!
Word Soup goes all Pumpkin flavoured for a Special Halloween Edition -
at The Continental on Tuesday 19th October, 8pm.
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.
Peter Straub said about Conrad:
“This is horror literature unabashed and entire, at full imaginative stretch, beautiful and blazing. Williams possesses a fearless heart and an absolutely gorgeous soul.”
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
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!
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.)
‘I guess we should get the guitar.’
‘Where is the guitar?’
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.
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!
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.
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.
And check out Judith Coyle’s blog. Wednesday 15th September. It’s always nice to ‘talk writing’ with someone!
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.
The added music bit is me
Last night we convened at the Continental to celebrate Wordsoup’s first anniversary and the launch of the new anthology, presented in little bundles done up with string – can’t beat a bit of Julie Andrews wrapping! (Not to be confused with Julie Andrews rapping. ‘I say super calli fragilistic expialidosious (one time – uh!)’
It was a fantastic night and I got to try out some of my new pieces: ‘The Self Sufficient Opinion Grower’ and ‘Hen’.
There were a whole plethora of performances, I particularly enjoyed Rachel McGladdery’s final piece, which I think was called ‘My Dead Dad,’ – the subject matter was risky, but executed and performed with total assurance and integrity. And Johnny5thWheel’s music was fantastic: lyrical substance, a light touch on the strings and real energy. Wordy without being heavy! Yup – Instant fan.
Sarah Hymas treated us to a selection of poetry from a sequence in bedrock: really inspired to hear the narrative told through four generations; Socrates Adams did a fantastic piece about, well, shall we say, young parenthood; Norman Hadley not only performed but in a multi-tasking powerhouse recorded the whole night too – three cheers for Norm! Tom Fletcher read two extracts from The Leaping which I reckon is going to be the thing to read when summer is over and the winter starts to draw in like a Great Dark Thing.
And that’s not to mention the Open Mic! Max Wallis, Sarah Fiske, Kev McVeigh, Dave, James Diable and his performing orange, Ron Baker, Pascal the Rascal and Mark Mace Smith.
And I came home with a tray of chips and a short story in a little blue book! Who could ask for anything more! But apparently extracts from the anthology are going to bus-stopped around the North West too and this continues from earlier in the week when Jane and Ruth donned balaclavas and projected extracts from the anthology in Preston and Lancaster, at the Harris Museum and Lancaster library respectively. Thanks guys!
For more info about the night and for details on buying the anthology, goto the Lancashire Writing Hub.
And all Norman’s videos from the night are here.