Finding my feet in Brighton.
I started this blog seven years ago when I moved to the South Coast.
Some kind people recommended me for an award.
There are posts about events, people, places, visits to galleries in London, the natural world, my garden, allotment, marionettes, lifestyle, mixed at times with mild humour and/or home-spun philosophy.
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. More destails the end of this page.
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.
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. But as a teenager, I gave up the idea of trying to become a nurse, the most sought after profession for girls in the 50s and toured in Cabaret and in Variety as a solo artist with marionettes.
Eventually I married and had two sons but later divorced. As a single parent I trained to be a teacher. My career went from teaching in a primary school, gypsies on a permanent site, art in a comprehensive school, responsibility for education for developing educational programmes in a secure unit. Finally I spent several years as a senior manager and also a tutor in Adult Education.
Later I retrained as an NLP therapist and worked for Primary Care Trusts, two different charities on a voluntary basis but also had a private practice. Somewhere along the way I wrote a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ which was performed at the Young Vic. I also had a piece published in the Sunday Times Magazine, a few short pieces on Radio 4 and did some freelance journalism. I was accepted as a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.
I moved to Brighton on the south coast with my long term partner soon after my mother died. I had looked after her on and off for ten years!
The wobbly route to writing poems and potential publication
Like many people I have written poetry for my own pleasure on and off for most of my life. Luckily during my first year in Brighton I meet John McCullough. Not only is John an established poet, but a tutor too. He was teaching on a part-time creative writing course at Sussex University. John was so encouraging I felt as though I had been given a new lease of life!
I knew nothing of what I now believe is the reality of the poetry world, overcrowded, highly competitive and ageist! But at that time I was more optimistic and started to illustrate some of my poems
When I thought I had enough I went ahead and self published ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’. I sold it in the Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean, where I was running an open mic night, City Books in Hove and on Amazon and Lulu.
In 2014 one of my new poems was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and I had another small collection shortlisted in a pamphlet competition. I also won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South with a poem called ‘Miss Lottie’s Last Chance.’ I felt suitably encouraged!
I attended quite a lot of poetry workshops including those run by John at New Writing South, two run by Jackie Wills and others at The Poetry School in London. For three years I also helped out taking the money on the door for the Pighog Poetry sessions at Red Roaster, meeting dozens of established poets and listening to their work!
In 2016 I managed to get the attention of a potential publisher myself. I sent him a small collection but then he asked for a further 30! I got some advice from poets I trust and another pile were duly sent off. But after 7 months he told me that I was still being considered but his list was full for two years! Whew! I was so disappointed as I’m getting on in years! I felt the only option was to withdraw and self publish again, hence ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter.’
Lucky for me both my books sell slowly but surely. 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, including Pighog in Brighton, the Troubadour Poetry Cafe and at Lumen both in London.
I have been one of the poets in residence for the Poetry School events for three years running, as part of the Open London Squares Weekend. I am still learning and hopefully improving and attend poetry workshops partly to brush shoulders and/or sit at the feet of poets I admire!
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’ 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. 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 puppets we have made and performed with 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