Blogging is brilliant – It’s loads of fun and I’ve made contact with people all over the world. It’s provided a focus, something to write on a regular basis as well as my other love, writing poetry!
I include news, reviews, events, things that I find interesting, photography, home spun philosophy, visits to interesting places around Brighton and also London. Gradually a readership came out of nowhere. I think I am moving up to 50,000 hits.
I am a Londoner, a puppeteer, teacher, artist, later re-training to become a therapist. A mother and grandmother, I moved to the South Coast eight years ago with my partner. This was soon after my mother, for whom I had been a carer, died in very sad circumstances, made more painful by the fact it was partly due to hospital mismanagement. We were all devastated.
Recovery was helped by the fact the landscape here is beautiful, there are walks on the beach and the Downs, theatres, cinemas, writing groups, courses in just about everything.
I helped in a charity shop, drifted into running puppet workshops in the local library. My partner took up playing musical instruments again. Later I tried singing jazz and then stand up comedy, signing up for a course with Jill Edwards, writing material on a weekly basis and finally auditioning and appearing at the New Act Night at the Komedia. But all in all at times I wondered just what I was doing with my life.
Luckily writing came to the rescue once again. I had always written things including plays for Pelham Puppets, (toys of the 50s and 60s), monologues for Radio 4, articles for teaching magazines and a play about travellers that was performed at the Young Vic when I was in my forties. Later I became a freelance journalist and a member of the Society of Woman Writers and Journalists.
I decided to change genre and re-awaken my love of poetry. I went to readings both in Brighton and London, attended courses at the Poetry School and took holidays at Arvon creative writing centres in the UK. But then I discovered John McCullough, a poet and tutor teaching creative writing at Sussex University. At the end of a year’s course, which included writing poetry, I found some older poems and realised I might have a collection.
Self Publishing – I knew that small presses were a bit of a lottery so self publishing seemed the obvious way forward at my age and stage in life. I was moderately confident about the poems, some in free verse and others that rhyme. John had mentored me for some of them and I also enlisted some professional help with the book edit.
‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ available online and in the Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean. £6.00 gift wrapped. This version has sold really well, In colour with illustrations to accompany poems on most pages it costs£17.50. Colour printing is expensive so any profit on this book is marginal.
Here is the title poem
Don’t Throw Away the Daisies
Thank you for passing the time with me.
It’s so lonely waiting to die.
Can’t tell you how angry I felt
when you first appeared
with fruit and flowers
wittering on about sun and the seasons.
I wanted to scream at you “I’m dying”
Have you got the colouring book?
One of your slightly better ideas.
Silly really but I love doing them,
reminds me of being little,
using every crayon in the box.
Mother and me at the kitchen table.
Now when you do the flowers
please don’t throw away the daisies
although I know they are past their best.
Could you do my nails?
I often had a manicure when I was working
it seems important that God should see
I’ve tried my hardest.
I love the oils, the scent of lavender
challenging that mournful medical smell?
Hold my hand, I’m feeling so very tired
Deep rhythms overwhelm me
creeping in on every side.
My eyelids are amazing rainbows
how very strange.
Let’s say goodbye now – softly
just in case I slip away.
John McCullough ‘Ann’s poetry covers the big topics of love and death with originality and satisfies the reader’s heart as well as their head. Take for instance the title poem which is full of surprises yet also wonderfully poignant. The energy of her work leaves you feeling revitalized and seeing the world afresh’.
Kiersty Boon says – ‘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’ – Kiersty Boon, poet and author.
Black and white edition
Illustrations – I decided to include illustrations because I had so many paintings around the place, some were oil paintings, prints or pastels I had done over the years, others were sketches in pen designed especially for the book.
Illustrations from colour version
The West Pier – pen and ink – Robin – oil on heavy paper.
Colour print done at a course at City Lit. ‘Weaving Spells’ in the colour edition
2012 Winner of a poetry competition judged by New Writing South at the Hatchery in Hove.
2013 One of my poems was listed in The Bridport Prize comp. The same year I was on the longlist for a poetry pamphlet with Cinnamon Press
2015 I was lucky enough to get a mini residency in Postman’s Park courtesy of the Poetry School and London Open Squares. I read some of my poems at The House of Vans for ‘Talking Peace Festival’ with the 16 other poets involved. Lovely to hear some of the very different poems from the other participants.
I’ve just completed a new poetry pamphlet ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ – I am fortunate to have been mentored by John McCullough and had encouragement from Tim Dooley. It’s currently being considered for publication by a small poetry press who have promised a time scale for their consideration.
Latest posts please click on this link at the top of this page,
The New Allotmemt
Another lucky break in retirement was getting a tiny allotment plot after three years on the waiting list. It was a muddy field and had an abandoned pond, but it was soon transformed!
Film making – for several years in London I had been a keen amateur film maker. Once I had settled in Brighton I made films here too – Burning the clocks, Virginia Woolf’s garden, my youngest son Paul’s performance of Punch and Judy, part of a programme that opened The Terraces in Rottingdean. Some films have thousands of hits others twenty, so take your pick.
One of the most popular films is Virginia Woolf’s garden.
‘The Hole in the Wall’ from the sublime to the ridiculous but I am rather fond of this film which is of a picture book for children I once made. It 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.
Films associated with our marionettes please click on.
https://www.youtube.com/user/puppethouseuk or see two of them here!
Alice in Wonderland – The following film was the first and hardest one to make. It is my favourite and was made a couple of years before my mother died She had climbed up into the loft of my house in South London to operate some of the characters in her late 70s. The boat scene in the garden was a labour of love and took forever.
Puppet circus on youtube
A reconstruction of our popular puppet circus (but without the famous clowns’ repartee which was never recorded) from the 50s and 60s is now on youtube. It was part of our show that we had the honour of performing for the Queen at her first children’s party after the war at Buckingham Palace in 1952.
Our puppet site – please click on http://www.puppethouse.co.uk/
A dedicated website for our marionette making and performance developed with my youngest son Paul 15 years ago. My parents (I pulled the curtains as a child) entertained the aristocracy, film stars at their private parties including Kenneth More, Peter Sellers etc. Later in life I worked during our Summer seasons, appeared on TV with Cliff Richards Saturday Spectacular, worked in Cabaret, toured in Variety, did 15 episodes of ‘The Telegoons.’ We all worked on the puppetry for the feature film ‘Oh What a lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier.
Our marionette collection has puppets from 1949 to the present day. The clowns, musicians, characters from ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Cabaret artists etc have had to go into storage!
Please click on https://annperrin.wordpress.com/puppethouse/ for a museum update
Our links with Brighton
Our marionettes’ performed in the film and were directed by Lord Attenborough.
In the 80s – my friend, now my partner had a flat in Hove and he managed to buy a beach hut. We still it and I have been known to call myself ‘The Beach Hut poet.’
In 2013 – 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’. We all went to the Duke of York’s Cinema for a special showing of the original film.
In 2015 – The marionettes will be on display at The Grange Art Gallery and Museum in the middle of November as part an exhibition called Cinema by the Sea associated with Brighton in the 50s The iconic anti-war film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ is included.
Our exhibit looks fantastic but there are artifacts and posters from the various films of the 50s and soon there will be even machines made by Emmett of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ fame! I know because I have been setting up our contribution with the dedicated and creative Marcus Bradshaw, the curator at the Grange, and had a quick preview of the wonderful things which will be on display.
My partner – I am lucky to have one and have to give him credit for his love and patience. It may not sound like it but we do have some joint interests! Visiting our favourite city Paris is one! But on more down to earth level we also put our names down for an allotment and three years later we got one! A muddy field with a pond but it was a start. We also redesigned out garden.
My partner’s other passion is music so he went back to playing his flute and violin and later extended his range of instruments to four!
Self-hypnosis for Positive Health –Something else dear to my heart has been a career as a therapist working in a private practice but mainly for Primary Care Trusts. The following film might be useful for relaxation and controlling pain. There are two options -you can close your eyes and just listen, or watch the images – which were added later.
Qualifications – All my qualifications were gained later in life! Teaching Certificate, BA with the OU, MSc in Life Course Development from Birkbeck, Counselling qualifications, Hypnotherapy and a Master Practitioner in NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming.
I was born with a cleft palate which caused speech problems and am discalculous. As I am the daughter of puppeteers formal schooling was also often disrupted, so grammar and can still be a bit of a struggle but I have a good proof reader!
Memoir – Currently writing it, although some might say this blog says it all, but they could be wrong.
IT and technical support Paul Perrin – email@example.com
Poetry Courses with tutors John McCullough, Ian Duhig, Jacob Polley, Jean Sprackland, Tim Dooley, Ann-Marie Fyfe, Jackie Wills and others. With lessons from all these talented I admit I should be a much better poet!
Encouragement with poetry and support – Kiersty Boon who also downloaded my first book from Lulu, Jane Maker, Janet Cameron, John Davies and Simon Wrigley.
Film making Orpington Film and Video Makers, Spring Park Film Makers, Tom Hardwick for lessons and support with film making.
General family support Alan my long suffering partner who often proof reads my posts (you can usually tell when he doesn’t) Robin my eldest son who has a sports massage practice in Biggin Hill, is a racquetball coach and regularly gives sensible advice. Paul my youngest son who has an IT company in Brighton and gives me all technical support I need for all my websites. I have two lovely daughters in law and three grandchildren. I seldom mention any of my family on blogs unless I ask them if it is OK so say something as I respect their need for privacy.