Tag Archives: festival

Youth Slam!

7 May

Chronicler Milo (9) reports from Swindon’s teenage poetry competition, Youth Slam.

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‘I once saw one carrying a segment of Terry’s Chocolate Orange’

6 May

amy liptrot

Amy Liptrot has provided me with my favourite line from any book I have read this year as she recalled her wild life in London Fields and the wildlife of Orkney.

Using her return to the remote Scottish islands following a three-month spell in rehab as the segment of her life to tap and unwrap in a memoir, Liptrop was an engagingly awkward presence at the Arts Centre. Continue reading

Sitting in Kipling’s bath

6 May
©Calyx Picture Agency Swindon Festival of Literature

©Calyx Mary Hamer at Swindon festival of Literature

If you can keep a shocking story going
    when Kipling is as unfashionable as a punkhawalla in the drawing room,
If you can travel the world in pursuit of your story,
    But maintain a love for your subject;
If you can wait ten years for the novel to come to fruition,
    Or uncover inequality, parental abandonment,
Or light a feminist torch for Kipling’s forgotten sibling,
    And yet don’t moralise, nor impose twenty-first-century morals on the nineteenth:

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Meeting Isy’s mad mother and Dom’s one-eyed cat

6 May

Comedy night at Swindon Festival of Literature – the evening that gives your brain cells a chance to recover after events featuring deep thinkers and political heavyweights.

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Foxes are the champions

2 May

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On a night when the ‘Foxes’ of Leicester City won the Premier League at the expense of the cockerel crested Spurs, debating the fox and his many guises seemed appropriate, especially as the event took place at Lower Shaw Farm.

Chickens were conspicuous by their absence, perhaps taking the hint from the signage chalked across their usual pecking ground.

So, Fantastic Mr. Fox or ginger vermin?

Lucy Jones explores every side of this complex creature in her book Foxes Unearthed – A story of love and loathing in modern Britain.

Speaking in a former cowshed on an award-winning urban farm, Jones was in the perfect place to expand on the countryside vs. city paradox which sees foxes fed at back-doors by ‘townies’ but shot or hunted in the countryside.

Jones made it clear that Mr. Fox is both hero and the villain, and has been so since he slunk into mankind’s chicken cave centuries ago.

A keen audience of first-night festival-goers heard the wildly differing points of view of the hunting fraternity, angry saboteurs, curly haired pomp-rock guitarists and chicken-less farmers. Continue reading

Town with a city heart – Swindon Festival of Literature launch

22 Mar

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The Swindon Festival of Literature has a thing for bracing days, ya know – freezing brass monkeys. It kicks off at a cold dawn in May and Thursday, a biting March day you may have noticed, was the launch, outside in a windy Swindon Central Library atrium.

The Festival likes to stimulate ‘thinking parts’ so maybe all this chilly fresh air enables our brain to fully engage and not lie indolent in the sloth-like embrace of central heating.

So, back inside the warm library, I munched on the lovely homemade launch food and thought how good it is when politicians speak from the heart rather than generic politic speak. Matt Holland, Festival director, seemed to appreciate this too because he expressed his love for guest speaker, Teresa Page, the mayor of Swindon: for her, Swindon is the town with the heart of a city; she only had one book a year at Christmas (a present from her sister); and (a girl after my own heart) she also enjoyed comics Bunty and Judy. No tired ‘cultural desert’ metaphors for the Lady Mayor. Continue reading

Exciting poetry coming down a slip road – Swindon Festival of Poetry launch

5 Sep

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The great thing about being a chronicler is that on the one hand I can write whatever I like (as long as it isn’t defamatory and all the words are wrote proper) but on the other I feel part of the team.

So going to the Swindon Festival of Poetry launch today at Swindon Arts Centre was a chance to catch up with wordsmithing friends. Continue reading