Friday, 30 September 2011

More from The Leopard

An excellent session at The Leopard in Burslem on Tuesday last.

Paul Freeman took this photo of some of the assembled bards. You can read some of their work discussed on the evening or submitted since on The Leopard blog - another of my on-line creations.

John Williams (no relation) is the featured poet this month. He's had two collections published already and is preparing his third.

I was challenged about 'political correctness' for my poem Prescription. One of the folk there thought my reference to the low or almost unknown incidence of myopia among the Inuit and Eskimo was an example of bleeding-heart liberalism on my part. I'd accept a guilty as charged verdict there - I take The Guardian intravenously. However he subsequently looked it all up in a scholarly article and found that this was indeed the case. And he's written a suitably remorseful and recondite response in Grecian style hexameters which you can also see on The Leopard blog.

Good poems, good chat, good company, good pub, good beer ... what more could you ask for?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Gleision Colliery

'There are tears in my eyes now, as I send my love from one end of Wales to the other, from Llanystumdwy in the flank of Snowdonia down to Cilybebyll in the Swansea valley, from one old writer at her computer beside the Dwyfor river to those unknown friends of mine mourning their loss beside the Gleision colliery.'

Jan Morris, The Guardian. Sat 17 September 2011.

'Accuse me of sentiment too, mock me for mawkishness. I don't care.'

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

London Calling

I've been down to 't'Smoke' twice this summer. Most recently for a short family city-break which happened to coincide with the riots. Interesting. London looks spectacular from The London Eye in the early evening sunlight. Although I'm sure earth had plenty of other things to show more fair than the view from Westminster Bridge that Monday evening with police vans and ambulances streaming across.

We saw some of the damage the next day when we walked up Camden Market to Chalk Farm. We hadn't realised that area had been hit but I did want to get beyond the market and see the 'real Camden'. Joiners boarding up looted bike shops and other properties and The Guardian interviewing local residents was pretty real, alright.

By the Tuesday evening, of course, everything was quieter. Even the boys from The Met' seemed more relaxed.

A few weeks earlier, I'd been down for my old friend Bill's wedding celebration. Bill met Marlene from California when she was working in The City, until the 'credit crunch' put paid to that. Nevertheless, true love won through and they were married in California in May. They held a 'do' at St Ethelbreda's atmospheric crypt to celebrate. If you've not been, go. It's tucked away in a Dickensian corner and, like the nearby Sir John Soanes Museum, well worth a visit. One day, I'll tell the tale of how Bill and I renewed contact after losing touch for many years. Quite a yarn. For the moment, though, here are some pics from the evening.

Bill's Dad and myself
Me and Marlene (Marlene and I)
'You and the night and the music ...'
On a table with people I'd not seen for 30 years.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Poetry in Motion

I've created a blog (with some help from my eldest!) for the Stoke Stanza, one of the writers' groups I'm involved with. It meets monthly in The Leopard pub, a wonderful, historic and allegedly haunted inn down in Burslem, one of the towns that make up The Potteries. It features in the Arnold Bennett novels and was the place where Josiah Wedgwood and James Brindley agreed to create the Trent and Mersey Canal.

See The Leopard

In you're in the area, why not come along? We're affiliated to The Poetry Society but you don't have to be a member, nor do you have to be a poet. You can listen in or read a short story or a poem you've written yourself or one by somebody else. The beer's good too and the quality of the discussions and feedback is as good as you'll find anywhere.

We aim to make The Leopard a show-case for new writing around Staffordshire, Cheshire and the North West. Watch this space!

The Poetry Society