Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Raymond Dean

(For a report on the plays performed at the Little Theatre, see the next edition of Current Accounts.)

  In early December, the much loved Bolton polymath Raymond Dean died after a fall. He was 95, though most of us thought him to be much younger. Raymond was a regular attender of Bank Street Writers' meetings and a great poet. His verse was always witty, perfectly scanned, and often accompanied by song. He also wrote short stories. He was a truly accomplished performer.

  Raymond was a very able and gentle man, a scientist, linguist, musician and writer. A large number of people, including several members of BSW  attended the service at St Paul's in Bolton to say goodbye to him. We heard many humorous and lovingly related details of his life from his daughter and one of his poems was also read to us by his son. The vicar too spoke of him in sincere, glowing words.

  For me, it was an honour to have known him. He was undoubtedly the best rhyming poet I  ever met.   An interview I did with Raymond about his poetry can be found on You Tube under 'Bank Street Writers.' Our meetings won't be the same without him.

Should One Sing?

by Raymond Dean 


Glum-faced Joe, who never sings,
Wonders why he misses things,
Why the welkin never rings,
"Still small voice" for ever stings,
Wishes he, like birds, had wings,
Nothing worthwhile his way brings,
Misery to his being clings,
Happiness is just for kings,
If joy his way ever swings, 
Away, himself he straightway flings:
Music made with vocal strings?
Very thought, away he slings.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

And the judge said...


The Path
This was certainly the best piece submitted with good characters and nicely understated dialogue illustrating the shortcomings of blinkered bureaucracy when faced with age old wisdom and situations outside the range of the tick box culture. The twist of producing the technological blackberry when juxtaposed against the fruit was inspired. As with most of the submissions, the author occasionly uses stage directions to indicate what is clear or implied in the dialogue – mercifully not very often.

Act of Contrition
An intriguing study of a relationship which foundered on the rocks of convention but was deeper than the protagonists realised at the time. The setting of the funeral of one of them allows a candid examination by his shade without the need for the conventions of normal dialogue. This unusual treatment has given the piece good dramatic strength. The author should, however, have avoided trying to direct the whole piece, leaving that to the director and actors who are to perform it. Excessive direction of mood, emotion and movement is often a distraction rather than assistance to the performers who will develop their own interpretation.

The King has no Clothes
This piece has captured the atmosphere of backstage in tatty variety beautifully. The vanity of the principal character is well expressed, although the occasional stage direction indicating emotional state has crept in. This is always best left to the actors, who will provide their own interpretation in performance guided by the actual dialogue. The twist at the end is well thought out and logical. I found the piece somewhat nostalgic as I have worked briefly in variety myself.

Flash Flood
Interesting contrast brought out between town and country reactions to what at the moment is a topical disaster. The dialogue leads subtly to the realisation of one character’s complete tragedy very well although I suspect that many directors might want to strengthen the ending. Some unnecessary stage directions for action implied by the dialogue, but on the whole a well constructed piece. 

The Winners


BANK STREET WRITERS
INTERNATIONAL PLAY WRITING COMPETITION 2012 RESULTS

1ST PRIZE £75.00    JANE MCNULTY    THE PATH
2ND PRIZE £50.00   R I HILL    ACT OF CONTRITION
3RD PRIZE £25.00    P SMITH    THE KING HAS NO CLOTHES
COMMENDED   V DUNMORE-FRANCIS    FLASH FLOOD

The above four plays will be performed at The Little Theatre, Bolton on November 17th 2012.
Many thanks to all those who entered the competition and good luck with your future plays.
Please contact me in September for tickets to see these plays.
fjameshartnell@aol.com                                      

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bank Street Play Writing Competition Latest

 The last few entries for the Bank Street Writers Play Writing Competition have been coming in this week and  it is interesting to note that there was only one American entry though we had entries from several other countries. I suspect this was due to a) poor advertising stateside and b) the entry fee being in sterling. I will try to let more American sites know about future competitions and also persuade my venerable colleagues that we should accept payment in USD which may help. I will also ask some of my American contacts to suggest where we could advertise. In the U.K. we advertise our competitions  to two hundred writers' groups and in various writing magazines.

So over the weekend I will get all the scripts to our judge, Jolyon Coombs and he will then have the happy task of reading loads of one act plays and picking the best ones which will be staged at the Little Theatre in Bolton. . In August I will publish the results and the judge's comments which always make interesting reading.

Good luck to all those who have entered.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Antoninis or Antuninis, Dubrovnik

A tip for visitors to Dubrovnik: there is a street in the old town called Prijeko Street that runs parallel to the Stradun or main drag. On this street is one of the many restaurants which calls itself Antoninis but on the wall it's spelt Antunini. This place will sell you a big beer for half the price (i.e. 25 kuna) of the flash eateries at the far end of the Stradin and the waitress called Ana is a lovely person whose Mum is the chef. And once they know you, they don't charge for everything on the bill. Lovely people. Hvala, Ana!
 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

And some

Unfortunately, I have ignored Phil Crippen's advice that a blog is not just for Christmas and haven't posted for ages so here's the nooz.




1.The Bank Street Writers' latest competition is for one act plays. An easy 75 smackeroonies could be yours just by penning a winning one act play and entering the comp. Details on the Bank Street Writers Website.



2. My shortlived love affair with the Huff Post is over. I had got so used to the garbage on AOL that I thought the Huff had higher standards...as if. If anything it is even more celebritized (scilicet trivial) than AOL.



3. An excellent recent article on the Occupy movement by Naom Chomski in the Guardian. Important reading.



4. Bank Street Writers this week visited Bolton Museum and were regaled with resources provided by their untiring staff. Thank you so much for that.

Teaching an old blog new tricks

This why I hate IE

5. This has been the shortest April on record since records began. I don't know where it went, except that wherever it went, it went very wet.

6. Musically, things are a bit quiet around here at present gigwise, but I'm hoping Brad will come up with some monster hidden talent soon. For my sins, I am working on a transposition of Holdsworth's lyrical Sphere of Innocence at the moment though there have to be some compromises because a standard guitar won't do baritone. I may also resurrect my guitar version of Eric Whitaker's Sleep. Not that anyone would know wtf I was playing.


7. Film poets and put them on youtube and they get maybe 60 hits in a couple of years. Put on a basic intro to guitar chords for non standard tuning and you get thousands of hits in a short time. Clear there are more twangers than onthewordsofhangers.


8. I'm waiting for someone to put a handle on these post-realist times we live in. What we call reality TV is really surreality. Who would have thought that our present day redtops would survive by not containing any news at all except rumours of possible sightings of a nobrain nobody doing absolutely nothing of consequence?


Dormez bien, mes amis.