Tag Archives: festival

From Spain to Swindon via Stockholm and Saskatchewan: protest and love are the themes of Festival Finale

19 May

At around the same time that a protest song by the Ukrainian singer Jamala was winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm on Saturday night, the Spanish duo La Heidi Bèlika were performing their own protest song on the stage of Swindon Town Hall. Continue reading

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Detective novelist returns to the scene of the crime

16 May

It all for started in Swindon’s Town Hall for Alison Bruce – then Lansdown – at a film-writing course.

“I like the idea, but you need to write a book first,” was the tutor’s instructions.

So Alison went away and wrote her third book; well, her first, but it was like Star Wars where the first turned into the third in the seven book series.

I knew Alison in the 1980s when she was a presenter on local radio, presenting a rock and roll show.

I have photographed her with her Ford Zodiac car as a mechanic, as a model, and recently I ventured into her now home town of Cambridge, to interview her about the first book in the Detective Goodhew series of crime novels. Continue reading

Swindon’s greatest intellects clash at Think Slam

15 May

Swindon’s greatest intellects clashed on Friday night, at the seventh annual Think Slam.

(Full disclosure: Chronicler Louisa was one of the competitors, and I am contractually obliged to describe her as one of Swindon’s greatest intellects.)

Over three gruelling rounds, seven competitors did mental battle in the Swindon Festival of Literature competition run in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society.

Swindon, by the way, is unique in having this kind of philosophical thrown-down. Until another town or city picks up the gauntlet, the competition winner is, by default, the UK’s – and possibly the planet’s – greatest living philosopher (just think the USA and the baseball World Series). Continue reading

Profanity and insanity – Swindon is Blessed by Brian

12 May
brian blessed_3394Swindon Festival of literatureBrian Blessed

©Calyx Picture Agency Brian Blessed

*** Warning: this report contains swearing, obviously: it’s about Brian Blessed. ***

Brian Blessed is going into Space. This is a good thing, as it is probably the only place large enough to accommodate his personality. Certainly the stage of Swindon Arts Centre cannot not hold him.

If Brian Blessed were an astrophysical phenomenon, I think he would be a supermassive black hole, because strange things happen in his field of gravity. And he’s massive. Continue reading

Red Ken is among friends at Swindon Festival of Literature

10 May
DSC_2783  Ken Livinsgtone at Swindon festival of Literature

©Calyx Ken Livingstone at the Swindon Festival of Literature

“The reason I keep getting into trouble is that I’m always saying what I believe.”

At the height of KenGate (are we calling it KenGate?) I saw a funny tweet, retweeted by Swindon Festival of Literature author and comedian Dom Joly. It imagines Ken Livingstone on Mastermind:

“Your name?”
“Ken Livingstone.”
“Your specialist subject?”
“Not bringing up Hitler.”
“Your time starts n––“
“Hitler.”

There was a time (last week) when it seemed that Ken couldn’t stop talking about Hitler. So how long would it be before he brought up Adolf again? Within the first minute? Not at all? Read on to find out! Continue reading

The hottest ticket in town – Family Day at the Literature Festival

8 May

On the hottest day of the year so far, we sent Chronicler Milo (9) to report from Swindon’s Festival of Literature’s Children & Families Day. Continue reading

There can be only one – Swindon Slam!

8 May

First off, a massive congratulations to all who took part in the Swindon Slam! this year (and every year). Everyone who took part wrote a credible piece of poetry and for some it was pouring their souls out on stage. In competitions if you win, or come in the top three, it’s the best feeling in the world, but if you lose it can be very demotivating. So I’m going to say, keep going! You are fantastic, want to hear more!

There were 15 amazing competitors this year, which equalled 29 diverse poems under three minutes or less – including those by comperes – mostly performed with aplomb.

Yes there were poems about beverages and love and references to dead famous poets, and poems about poems or not writing poems or taking part in competitions with poems (like this one).

There were also poems about war, bombings, addiction, the environment and Professor Brian Cox (of course). Continue reading