Tag Archives: poems

Taking in the 007 sites on our Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon

7 Oct

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If we’d not been so celebration-fatigued from the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Britain might have made more of this week’s twin anniversaries: two days in history which secured the nation’s place at the pinnacle of the entertainment industry.

October 5, 1962 saw licensed to kill secret agent James Bond blaze his way onto the silver screen in Dr No, while October 6 marked The Beatles’ first salvo in their bid to dominate the popular music scene with the release of Love Me Do.

Appropriate, then, that we should spend October 6, 2012 aboard a 1959 Leyland Tiger Cub – a bus that would have been a common site in Britain’s towns and cities in 1962 – enjoying a Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon and taking in, among other pleasures, some 007-related locations. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – poetry darrlin’ Pam Ayres

6 Oct

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It’s fair to say that last night Swindon Festival of Poetry hosted one of Britain’s most popular poets, at The Platform, Swindon.

As well as enjoying some of Pam Ayres’s poetry, we heard anecdotes about her life and the inspiration behind some of the audience’s favourite poems, documented in her 2011 autobiography ‘The Necessary Aptitude: a Memoir’.

Pam never had aspirations to write ‘deep’ poetry – ‘other people could do it so much better’. But it’s to poetry’s benefit that she developed her own style and wrote in a way that anyone could relate to and enjoy. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – psychogeography and sestinas

6 Oct

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Caught the aftermath of Michael Scott’s psychogeographical stroll around Swindon yesterday morning, in Swindon’s Central Library Poetry Space.

Psychogeography aims to make the everyday more interesting or to absorb and appreciate above and beyond the usual tourist attractions one would look for in an urban environment. Just the thing for Swindon, then.

Comments about the session included: “In context signs are really boring, but out of context they’re silly” and “I liked the skip” also “The Wyvern Theatre has stalactites.” Continue reading

Artwords Open Mic – You’re Meat, Book

5 Oct

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Yesterday evenings lively and well-attended Artwords Poetry Open Mic festival special opened with a story from festival organiser Hilda.

Donned in her Mabel Watson persona accompanied by Barry ‘the teeth’ Dicks she megaphoned poetry at Sascos’ Cafe in Swindon’s Brunel Shopping Centre that afternoon. Apparently this was too subversive for the security guards who refused to allow them out into the precinct: ‘No poetry outside the cafe. No permission for poets in the Brunel Centre.’ Or something. So, poetry okay with tea and cake, but not other retail therapy.

First poet Bethany Pope (who will be instructing me in the way of the Sestina poetry form later today) was inspired by a death of a rat for her piece. (This is the second rat death poem today. I must write my own.) She was accompanied by the rhythmic thunder of dancers’ feet from Swindon Dance above the Central Library’s poetry space. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – a starry start

4 Oct

So the first Swindon Festival of Poetry kicked off this morning with Poetry Aloud in the Central Library’s Cafe.

(I love cafes in libraries. So much better than of old when it was all about being quiet and grabbing a book and leaving.)

It was a quiet, friendly start to proceedings, with a muster of enthusiasts listening and contributing to the poetry readings, both own and famous contributions.

Then it was off to the library’s poetry space gearing up for the BlueGate poet’s slot.

Both events got in the spirit of National Poetry Day and its theme of ‘stars’, and – as always – some interesting stories.

Bob Johnson, who treated us to his political poems, told us that he’d only been writing for a little while. He’d got into it through writing rhymes in greetings cards for loved ones. From a Valentine’s message (‘you are my Mona Lisa’) to agitation of the Coalition Government in a few short years. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – exciting, exciting!

7 Sep

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Sitting on a chair after the launch speeches and fiddling (as usual) with my camera, co-organiser of the very first Swindon Festival of Poetry, Matt Holland, gave my back a friendly rub, cracked a massive grin and said: ‘It’s exciting, exciting!’

And so it is.

A year or so after announcing to about 5 people on Facebook that Swindon is the Poetry Capital of the World, Google – no less – has now got with the programme. So if you Google search for Poetry Capital of the World, Swindon is what comes up. I kid you not. Try it for yourself. Continue reading

That’s all folks: Swindon Festival Finale

20 May

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from Swindon Festival of Literature’s Finale, yesterday.

I’ve developed a suspicion of cabaret-style events, because often it’s a convenient word for a hotchpotch of mismatching acts that vary in quality from bad to mediocre.

But the capacity up-for-it crowd at Swindon Town Hall told me otherwise. No cost-cutting exercises in local amateur acts, but a mixture of the best of local and national poets and performers. Continue reading

Heated debate at Swindon Poetry Sunday

13 May

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 There are many sides to that thing we call ‘poetry’.

There’s the performance poetry of the Slam!. The poetry of the nursery rhyme. The poetry of hip hop and the singer-songwriter, the folk singer, the hymn. The limerick, the nonsense poem, the psalm, the sonnet and the haiku. Poetry of strict form and poetry of tradition. The poetry of the streets and the poetry of abstract concepts.

Some people don’t call themselves poets. They label themselves spoken word performers, slammers, MCs and lyricists. Continue reading

Chickens win the 16th Swindon Slam!

13 May

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Today I witnessed a poetry slam for the first time. I’ve been aware of them for about 13 years, so it was about time I got my finger out and went to one.

But what a great performance! Seasoned hosts Sarah-Jane Arbury and Marcus Moore have been doing this a long time – Swindon’s is the second longest running in the UK – but both are as fresh as a daisy, warming up the audience with an introductory clap along to Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff. Continue reading

Toothill Long Poem

13 May

Disappointed I didn’t get to see / hear this one.

I spoke to organiser Hilda Sheehan (as herself this time, not Domestic Cherry Mabel) in between FLIT 180 and Swindon Slam! and she was very pleased with how the world premiere of the Toothill Long Poem turned out. Continue reading