Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Une femme des plus remarquables

Là où les oiseaux
chantent l’heure, et ailleurs
sous un ciel moins vaste;
partout où l’on connaît la joie.
Sache-le bien:
tout le monde pense à toi.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mirrorball, Zacc Rogers at The Thirsty Scholar 16th May 2007

This was a ‘Shambles Night’ with Eddy on the desk, four acousticky acts and two bands.

First up was a duo, John Lowndes and Daniel Clarke. Some promise here but one song was a waste of sound as they both played identical chords throughout. The others were better in that respect. Vocals could improve a little and an investment in new strings on the non-ovation type guitar would be good.

Second was Rondas. Slightly better on quality in both voice and tuning. Rhythmically very good. A bossa impressed me.

Third was the very popular Zacc Rogers. He started with a driving harp and guitar number that stopped the bar in its tracks. Awesome. We were then treated to some fast flatpicking in open D which clearly impressed the crowd. Zacc’s versatility showed in his switching to an open G tuned second guitar for some outstanding slide work. Not only can he do all this but he’s also into jazz. It’s good to see competent playing when there’s so much naff strumming and powerchording around. For the inevitable encore Zacc did a lovely gospel number, possibly called ‘Show me the light’.

Act 4, Andrew Deighton was apparently supposed to have a band with him but they didn’t show. Maybe unfair to judge him just on the solo performance, but if you get up there you must expect some comment and here the guitar was desperately out and the songs ended sort of nowhere.

The first of the two bands, Mirrorball, then played an excellent set. Talking to the other musicians present, it was clear that this is a highly respected outfit whose indie psychedelic big guitar sound has its own very distinctive route. I liked all of their stuff and in particular ‘I Am The Song’ and ‘Heavy Lemon’. You can hear these and other tracks on their myspace site (mirrorballfc). As with Zacc Rogers, there is no substitute for professionalism and musical ability which they had in abundance, turning dissonances around and throwing aural surprises at a delighted audience.

I didn’t see enough of the last band, Carbon Kinetic to do them justice. The opening number pointed up the odd sound problem, as is often the case – the bass was inaudible and the other guitars needed someone on the desk. However, in better ‘weather’ I think they would impress.

A great night with Zacc and Mirrorball totally mint.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dear Anonymous

Thank you very much for your comment about the poem. I can see how the ending might seem trite. I was trying to convey the fact that some ‘friends’ treated the situation as out of sight out of mind and also that we lead (and maybe waste) our humdrum existences without much reflexion on the fact that we are able-bodied.
I will consider an alternative ending. Thank you again for your kind and constructive remarks.

James

Monday, May 14, 2007

Poetry Night at The White Hart, Oldham Sun 13th May

An interesting mix of poetry on a very wet night.

Cayn White did three – one about chat shows and two about burgers – the first of these a mugging by a burger king and the second about the human contents of certain burgers. All three raised a laugh from the audience.
Harry Ogden did one called ‘Battlesong’ about ‘nations everywhere in tune with perfect harmony’ and some rhymes which he said were excruciatingly bad, though I’ve heard worse; another called ’Sunami’ – ‘it’s now a word we can’t forget’; also ‘A Walk in the Cemetery’ about friends who’ve died.
Carolina de la Cruz did two cathartic pieces: ‘Past, Present, Future’ about physical abuse which I’d heard before but still had impact, and ‘The White Lady’ about drug abuse. Both very powerful pieces.
Paul Broadhurst gave us ‘Election Near’, another about the environment and one about a stag do. Paul sells collections of his poems in aid of a local hospice, a very worthy cause.
Gregorio Rodrigo, a new face, read one on war – ‘this is a soul which is overflowing’ and another about English politics and Tony Blair’s smile. I hope we may hear some of his poems in Spanish in the future.
Paul Blackburn, the Poetry King, treated us to his shuffle poem ‘Dawn Walk Through Misty Moonlight’, ‘Change’ and ‘Joy’. All well received.
Melanie Ross read two – the first an erotic fruit market piece and the second an absolutely outstanding piece about the poet looking for inspiration called ‘Little Monsters’ I think.
I read ‘The David Miles Exhibition’, ‘Met’, ‘The Joy of Shopping’ and ‘Doty’s Mackerel’.
Tony Ryan read his well received poem about an MS sufferer ‘being in awe of courage so rare’ and the pensive ‘Dark Waters’ – ‘I was the plopped pebble whose ripples folded…’
Gordon Zola unleashed an entertaining standup routine about nursery rhyme characters and, for a change a song/poem ‘The Troubadour’s Lament’ which went down well.
Dave Morgan gave us two excellent efforts, one about football and the other a homage to Jack Kerouac.
Scott Devon did a splice of two poems about being high on poet-ry and also recited part of a Simon Armitage poem ‘Out of the Blue’ which was enjoyed. Julian did an anniversary elegy to his late father ‘go, proud Polish pilot, fly…’
and the lovely ‘If I could write like Neruda’ where we were told ‘forgetting is long / but love is eternal.’ He also finished his compering of the evening with his witty ode to the Rhubarb Triangle.

Maybe at times a little more serious or somber than usual tonight (I blame the rain) but still very enjoyable and the best poems were extremely good.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last week





Last week I saw Terre Haute, a play about an imaginary meeting between Gore Vidal and Timothy McVey; saw The Lives of Others, a German subtitled film about the Stasi; visited the David Miles Exhibition at The Lowri (see previous entry); I recited some poetry in Wigan; and went to an acoustic evening at The Howcroft in Bolton. Quite a mixed week. Here are some of the players from The Howcroft: Stewart Warburton, Ron Callow, The Rev Mick and Dennis Dodds.

The David Miles Exhibition

He says he has to fill more sketchbooks, these retro
diaries of his mind. Within the mobiles (are there 300?)


I hear the faint buzz of silhouette interaction, I sense him
at work, suspending these fleeting, imaginary folk

reduced to pure line, I feel them through their day.
They move, they cast their shadows. Melancholy slides

into the changing gaps between them. I’ve seen
this crowd before on the slope of the Arndale,

waiting for trams outside the Arena, checking in
at Terminal 2. Lowri’s people. David catches contours,

dines on dimension. He outlines these lives, contains
their presence in this cream-walled Salford space

too briefly. He’ll have to let them go home soon.