Tag Archives: Rachel Rose Reid

Who’s Telling Me What? – All the action from the Festival Finale

14 May

Our extraordinary night kicked off with a crescendo. Dancing out from the wings, with high verbal drop-kicks and punchy music, the Tongue Fu Band lit the gig, lit the Swindon Festival of Literature Finale. I hadn’t noticed him last night at the Think Slam, yet Fu frontman Chris Redmond, must have heard my Think Slam three minutes as he threw out at us “There is only here. There is only now” Continue reading

Crick-Crack – whose streets are these? OUR STREETS!

8 May
Three Acres and a Cow

Three Acres and a Cow

The evolution of capitalism in England and resulting land grabs both here and abroad can be arguably simplified to sheep, slavery and fossil fuels… 

I’m in a barn, there’s a ukulele playing (‘like a waterfall,’ says Linda Lee). It’s a beautiful scene: magic piled high to the ceiling on shelves, on string and mesh, on top of chairs, on top of tables – birdcages, bottles, boxes, a microwave! This is the magic of Lower Shaw Farm. The lighting is warm, and people are gathering on the enclave of chairs set around a stage – the bunting is themed – three blank squares to every cow (clever). There’s a washing line.

“Singing together is good for your health – so you will have had at least five of your folk songs a day by the end of the evening,” explains Robin, one of our three performers of Three Acres and a Cow, this part TED talk, part history lecture, part folk club sing-a-long, part poetry slam, part storytelling session.

The washing line is explained – ‘This is the washing line of history’ – that makes sense, I’m now rather excited to see how history can unfurl on a washing line. The line will show the gaps in what they learned (or didn’t learn) in history at school. Continue reading

From cuneiform to graffiti – Swindon Festival of Literature has all writing bases covered

16 Mar

As Swindon Festival of Literature inches towards its quarter century, different methods of written communication – from the oldest to the very recent – will be celebrated this year.

Unveiling the 2017 programme at Swindon Library today (Thursday, March 16) festival director Matt Holland mused on how the way we use writing to communicate our thoughts is changing.

“In a digital world where the currency of topical commentary can be successfully and powerfully compressed into 140 characters – definitely a great method of instant communication – the book is still doing remarkably well,” he said. Continue reading

What I Bring

19 May

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Who are often spoken about but have rarely a chance to speak?

It sounds like a riddle but really it’s an observation, one that storyteller Rachel Rose Reid makes in Swindon Festival of Literature’s performance, What I Bring.

Beginning ‘as all good things do,’ said Festival director, Matt Holland, ‘as a conversation between two people’, the idea behind What I Bring grew into a collaboration between Swindon Library, Artwords, The Harbour Project, Swindon Dance and Swerve Dance Company, and woven together by Rachel Rose.

Armed with her own international heritage, Rachel told her collected stories before she introduced the dancers, who performed to a soundtrack of recorded tales of refugees and asylum seekers, newly arrived in Swindon. 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

Running and walking with writers at Swindon Festival of Literature

6 May

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Life’s all about choices, and on a warm bank holiday Monday afternoon I faced a dilemma – take a 5km run through Swindon’s Lydiard Park with some Lycra-clad literature lovers, or enjoy a gentle stroll around the ornamental lake of the Georgian stately home with storyteller Rachel Rose Reid.

Continue reading

Dawn Chorus, Swindon Festival of Literature

5 May

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Apparently there are plenty of morning people in Swindon. Or maybe, like me, they like the Dawn Chorus so much that they forgive the early rise. Or maybe, just once in a while, it’s great to make the effort and see the early May mist, hear the joy of the birds as they wake and see the day slowly easing in with a beautiful red, stretching across the line of artfully arranged clouds. And then think, wow, Swindon can be really quite picturesque. Continue reading