Mood Swings – Not quite the end of the good weather. Autumn is OK but I hate the winter, not least because I have a tendency towards SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But a low mood can often be lifted by such simple things as an interesting conversation on a bus. Last week an old gent told me about the joys of collecting chestnuts in a London park and on Monday another guy told me about his eventful life as a stallholder in Surrey Street Market in Croydon.
Food for thought and good company at the penultimate Pighog Poetry last Thursday with Paul Feldwick and Sarah Barnsley launching her new pamphlet. Paul worked in an advertising agency for over thirty years. He became well known as a writer on advertising and recently published an acclaimed book on the subject ‘The Anatomy of Humbug.’
During this time he also wrote poetry, some of which was published in magazines and occasionally won prizes. He has been fascinated by the parallels and connections between poetry and advertising. We had an inspired reading!
Sarah’s Pamphlet ‘The Fire Station’, was published in September 2015 by Telltale Press. She teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London and lives in Hove. Sarah shared some of the fascinating background to her poems as well as reading several of them to a packed house.
Not only all that excitement at the lovely Red Roaster Coffee House, the regular home for Pighog events, but one of the giant sized mega open mic specials with fourteen poets. All of which were warm and wonderful and made the evening sing! Michaela Ridgway hosted with her usual brand of good natured humour,
On Sunday I had tickets for the last day of the City Reads Festival that has featured the book ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig. Many of the people of Brighton had read and discussed the book which was a wonderful community initiative.
At an earlier event a whole range of authors had been invited to each respond for three minutes to what it means to be human. A few had written new material for the event, however most of them read from their own books which although interesting and varied was not quite what I had expected.
Jackie Kay and friends – Today we had what it said on the tin as it were, a brilliant poetry reading event with Jackie Kay.
Vanessa Kisuule is a powerful poet and performer. She is a daughter of Ugandans and her poems are at the heart of her identity. I know it should not matter when it comes to the spoken word but she is also truly beautiful as well as engaging and full of humour.
Dean Atta another interesting poet and Jackie’s protege I believe, tells hazy tales of Brighton beach, a knife attack in London and a dating app-arranged hook-up in Rome.
I love her poetry, the poems about her family touch the heart. I have heard these before but will never tire of them. She is an amazing woman.
I first heard the warmth of her voice and wonderful Scottish accent when she read from her collection ‘Cherry Red.’ I still listen to it, it has got me through some difficult times.
The last event of the festival had a full house for Matt Haig in conversation with the best interviewer I have heard for some time. Matt was refreshingly honest about his mental health issues. He talked about his new book and his autobiography and then responded to whole range of interesting questions from the floor.
Troubadour – Later that day I went up to the Troubadour in Brompton Road for the regular poetry night hosted by Anne-Marie Fyth. This is one of my favourite places. Tonight sixteen Faber Poets read one poem each, covering a spellbinding range of subjects and voices. The second half was given to a music and spoken word event which is a regular feature at Troubadour. Advertised as follows:
‘What we should have said: an entertaining, enlightening, innovative & unpredictable spoken-word shindig with glyn maxwell, jane draycott, richard douglas pennant, huw warren & stuart silver’ This more than lived up to my expectations and those of the full house!