Finding my feet in Brighton
after spending most of my life
There are posts about events, people, places, visits to galleries in London, the natural world, my garden, allotment, marionettes, lifestyle, mild humour here and there and/or home-spun philosophy.
I used to be a freelance journalist so writing as always appealed to me. I still paint and write poetry so both are in here somewhere. I’m also a keen photographer so there are plenty of pics and even one or two films.
My poems have appeared in Writing Magazine, Compact and in various anthologies. In 2014 one of my poems was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and I had a collection shortlisted in a pamphlet competition and won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South. But finally decided that the time and tide were not on my side so went down the self publishing route.
One and only advertisement on this blog follows.
The Puppeteer’s Daughter
A second collection of poems published August 2016 – Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE and at the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean at £6.95. It is also available from Lulu and Amazon. Click on the link at the side of this page to purchase immediately.
Some of the poems explore the complexity of life as the daughter of marionette makers and performers. But there are also poems concerned with life, love and loss, also the seaside, artists, allotments and the eccentricities of life.
There is a section of poems written during my residency in Postman’s Park in the City of London. The Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust gave me this opportunity as part of ‘Mixed Borders’ and Open London Squares Weekend.
The endorsements are probably over generous but never mind!
‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ came out six years ago. Some of the poems had been published in Writing Magazine and in local anthologies.
Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE. TEL: 01273 725306 and the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean.
John McCullough ‘Ann’s poetry covers the big topics of love and death with originality. Take for instance the title poem which is full of surprises yet also wonderfully poignant.’
Kiersty Boon ‘This collection of poems, fully illustrated by the author, is a wonderful journey from a magical childhood of puppets and seaside towns. The delicacy of the difficult stages of life and memories experienced are offset with humorous anecdotes and magical tales for young and old alike.’
The colour version is lovely but unfortunately had to be priced at £18 due to the cost of colour printing so is only available on line from Lulu.
Above – The West Pier – pen and ink. Robin my eldest son as a child – oil on paper.
I was born in Central London in the blitz . I had a cleft palate and problems with speech as a child and this resulted in having a complex relationship with language.
After the war my parents became marionette makers and performers based in Highgate in London. The world of art, mime and stagecraft were all part of my life as well as an awareness of the insecurity of making a living in entertainment. However I followed in my parents footsteps, toured as a solo artiste in Variety and later became a puppeteer for the Telegoons on TV.
Eventually I married and had two sons but later divorced. In midlife I became a teacher, taught in a primary school, gypsies on a permanent site, art in a comprehensive school. Later in my career I had responsibility for developing education programmes in a secure unit and finally spent several years as a senior manager in Adult Education in London.
When Adult Education in Inner London finally collapsed I retrained as an NLP therapist and set up a private practice as well as running courses on various topics for Primary Care Trusts and for two charities.
Writing has had to be something I did in my spare time, but somewhere along the way I wrote a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ which was performed at the Young Vic. I had a piece published in the Sunday Times Magazine, a few short pieces on Radio 4 and did some freelance journalism. Later I became a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.
I cared for my mother for several years but when she passed away I moved to the South Coast with my long term partner.
The wobbly route to writing poetry.
Like many people I have written poetry on and off for most of my life. But during my first year in Brighton I attended a Creative Writing course at Sussex University where John McCullough an established poet, was also the tutor.
I wrote a lot and even started to illustrate some of my poems. When I thought I had enough I had some mentoring and decided to self published ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’. It sold in the Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean, where I was running regular open mic sessions, at City Books in Hove, on Amazon and with the online site Lulu.
I spread my wings a bit more and attended courses at New Writing South, two run by Jackie Wills, others at The Poetry School in London, Troubadour, three at Arvon. I also took the money on the door for Pighog at Red Roaster for two or three years which was a really good way to hear the work of plenty of poets.
In 2016 I had the attention of an established publisher for ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ but after 7 months he was still undecided so I withdraw and self published again.
Lucky for me both my books sell slowly. I guess this is partly due to the fact that I write a blog and have a modest following. I also run ‘Pop in and write Poetry Workshops’ here and there and have done a few open mics. I have read poems at Pighog in Brighton, Troubadour and Lumen in London.
Some of the more exciting ventures have been as a poet in residence with the Poetry School three years running. This was with several other poets each writing poetry in London as part of the Open London Squares Weekend.
I have another blog with just poetry. If you don’t promote yourself no one else will! Just click on the link below on. https://annperrinspoetry.wordpress.com/
Another of several passions in life is our Allotment on the Weald –
After three years on the waiting list we acquired a starter allotment plot, basically a small muddy field with an abandoned pond, naturally it became the subject of a blog!
Films – I have been amateur film maker for several years. When we lived in London I belonged to film clubs, one in Shirley in South London later another one, Orpington Film Club where I sometimes won minor awards
Now with easy access to the internet I have put several of my films on youtube. I am still making new ones.
some have 32,000 hits others just a few. Take your pick!
I loved making this one.
Virginia Woolf’s garden.
‘The Hole in the Wall’ I am rather fond of this film which is of a picture book for children I once made. The book jumped through several hoops with Oxford University Press years ago but in the end the editor who was interested left and the idea was dropped.
I had had a website for our marionettes for over fifteen years but more recently made remakes of our shows and put them on youtube.
Alice in Wonderland – was the first and hardest one to make. It is my favourite and was made a couple of years before my mother died In her late 70s she climbed up into the loft of my house in South London to operate some of the characters. The boat scene in the garden was a labour of love and took forever.
Our puppet circus.
A reconstruction based on our popular puppet circus in the 50s and 60s but sadly without the famous clowns’ repartee which I subsequently found on a reel to reel tape..
A circus was always part of our show which included a strong man and an acrobat on a horse. Unfortunately some of our marionettes were stolen from our garage in Highgate so I could not include them. Ironically the strong man turned up at an auction alone with some other favourites such as ‘Mademoiselle de Paris’ a few years ago. I hasten to say the seller was completely unaware they had once been ours.
A re-construction giving a taste of some of our circus, part of our show at Buckingham Palace for a children’s party given by Her Majesty the Queen – please click on the following link
Our dedicated website for our marionettes
please click on the link http://www.puppethouse.co.uk/
Our marionette collection has performed since 1949. It includes clowns, musicians and characters from extracts of plays we once performed including ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
This Alice appeared in an Ice Show in Morecambe in the 50s. My mother had to learn to skate to be part of it.
In 2014 – As part of their commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War BBC South East filmed the conservation of the marionettes and interviewed me about my family’s role in performing with them in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier in the 60’s. We all went to the Duke of York’s Cinema for a special showing of the original film.
In 2015 – There are artifacts and posters from the various films, a model of the car made by Emett for the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.’ I know because I helped to set up our contribution with the dedicated and creative Marcus Bagshaw, the curator at the Grange, and had a quick preview of the wonderful things which would be on display.
So please don’t miss an opportunity to see these amazing marionettes on display
at The Grange Art Gallery and Museum in Rottingdean. A free exhibition.
Please note I am still seeking to place over 200 marionettes that are currently in storage.
There is another blog for Seasonal Affective Disorder – please see header
Writing my blogs! Is a labour of love and I am glad to have had thousands of people from all over the world tuning in from time to time.
Please note I seldom if ever mention other members of my family still in the land of the living! I adore my grandson all doing interesting things but it is really a case of respecting everyone’s privacy!
If you have got this far thank you for your patience. Ann