Quiet Compere 2022 – Morecambe – Stop 3

Return to the bay

I went back to Morecambe, a place I fell hard for last year. One of the places I felt I could escape from the lockdown hangover and find pockets of normal, where I met such a supportive and friendly bunch of creatives. I return when I can. On arrival, I went for some drinks with my co-host, Matt Panesh and on my way home I found myself almost passing Popworld. I asked how much the entrance charge was and it was free so instead of seeing that as a reason not to go in, I decided to venture inside as I could leave when I was ready.

I made friends with a group who were out celebrating the birthday of their 23-year-old son and was dancing with son, sisters and their Dad. A good two-hour dance with a couple of Smirnoff Ice bottles. I was still up for a sea-swim by 10am and joined Matt in the cold bay. The hangover was banished!

Workshop at The Nib Crib

I ran a workshop at The Nib Crib with many of the creatives I had met on my previous visits and a couple of people new to the venue who were attending both workshop and reading at the open mic. The variety and quality of the pieces produced was impressive and some new poetry connections were made.  

West End Playhouse

We started with an excellent open mic section from LaGrif, Clodagh Delahunty-Forrest, Voirrey Wild, Jim Lupton, Louise Hart and Rebecca Mélusine Samuels.

Matt stormed the open mic hosting and treated us to a couple of his own poems from his book Tribe: Collective Monkey Poets.

Showcase poets: I loved the fact the event was so varied in style. I think, if I put a bid in for 2023 I will make the variety a part of it. 10-minute platform slots for storytellers, comedians, prose writers, short excerpts form one person shows, verse novellas, flash fiction, pretty much anything you can do with words in ten minutes. Zoe and JJ Journeyman’s sets in particular, had these bid-writing cogs seriously firing.

J J Journeyman

I enjoyed JJ’s props (a hi-vis poetry vest and eye pad – sigh! and a suitcase he took on his trip dowsing for poetry). I liked the playful rhyme of wiser and Trip Advisor. JJ stepped in at quite short notice when one of our other performers could not perform and he wrote the piece especially for The Quiet Compere Tour. At the end of JJ’s set Martin Palmer had one task to throw a Paddington bear into the suitcase…

I was amused by the fact Martin had to take to the stage immediately after failing to throw Paddington into a suitcase. I was impressed he remembered the name of The Quiet Compere mascot, Alex, the non-binary komodo dragon and greeted them as he took to the stage showing he has an affinity with some of the cuddly animal kingdom even if he was not able to throw them accurately. 

Martin Palmer

I love the music in Martin’s line ‘damp pet millipede on a doily’ a surprising contrast between doilies and insects and ‘the disused lidos of our dreams’.  Martin read poems about the sea air bringing ‘notions of childhood.’

I definitely feel more childlike when hanging around in Morecambe, scouring shores for sea-glass, taking brisk swims and swapping hats, which somehow became a thing during my two visits last year.  I did leave my hat behind at the B & B but the host sent it to me and said not to worry about the postage, so I sent some of my poetry books for his guest library. Bit of bartering.

Hat swapping – a new Morecambe tradition

Zoe Lambert

Zoe used props well – the coat, Awake! magazines and a Count Duckula diary. To me, as a teenager of the 90s there is a lot of charm in the references that date this piece (Duckula and Tammy Girl, to name two).  Zoe told us ‘at thirteen I know how to say no to boys’ but that resolve and confidence changes with age, which is telling and true.

Sarah Corbett

Sarah treated us to a poem stuffed with singing comparisons that was like a lullaby, ‘he was pulse to her beat’, ‘she was sky to his fall,’ and ‘a flower grown for a word dropped in soil’. There was a lot of detailed landscape in Sarah’s pieces and she told us of ‘closed in valleys, like gossip.’  

Peter Kalu

Such concise observation was apparent in Peter’s ‘this is how we say hello/this is how we say goodbye’ piece. The line ‘the sun rose on nothing new’ has stayed with me.  And the Ukranian refugees poem that tells us ‘you cannot erase a bird’s memory of flight’ was beautiful and fitting.

It amused me that after Peter’s money-throwing (he asked us to throw notes at him) and the universe gifted me a tenner on the prom the next day, blowing along with no-one chasing it, so I took it as tour income from the universe.  

Big Charlie Poet:

Big Charlie talks eloquently about depression and anxiety. ‘I don’t want to admit I am struggling at a time I should be happy.’ And ‘light will come if we just let it.’

And, from The Touch of you:

‘I know the touch of you

And how it makes me feel like I’m worth saving.’

And there was an after party, a hangover, a Sunday morning sea-swim and a long train ride home. Next up Bradford City Library on 11th June.

Oh! And I will be back in Morecambe for The Morecambe Poetry Festival in September.

Link to tickets here: Morecambe Poetry Festival 2022 Tickets | Morecambe Winter Gardens Morecambe | Fri 16th September 2022 Lineup (skiddle.com)

Bradford City Library Event Quiet Compere poets for 11th June 2022

Steve O’Connor

Steve O’Connor is a Mancunian living in West Yorkshire, where he teaches creative writing at colleges and libraries and runs bespoke distance learning courses. He devised and co-hosted Free Up, which revolutionised the Manchester poetry scene, worked with Write Out Loud and transformed their Trafford-based poetry open mic night, and co-edited all three volumes of Best of Manchester Poets. Steve’s Poetry collection, extraňo, was published by Flapjack Press in 2019. He wants more people to write; it’s his mission in life.

Showcase Poets

Trevor Alexander

Trevor Alexander is a retired Chemical Engineer living in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Since retirement in 2013, he has taken up writing, mainly poetry. To date he has had a number of poems published in anthologies and magazines in the UK and USA, in addition to his own book published in 2017. Trevor has also read his work at several Literary Festivals and is a regular contributor at poetry/spoken word groups.

David Driver

David Driver is an English writer, author, published poet, storyteller and broadcaster born and bred in Yorkshire.

He has written a novel, short stories and poetry for children and adults. David has performed with The World Storytelling Café, https://worldstorytellingcafe.com/ been involved with Settle Stories. His work has been published both in the UK and the USA.

In September 2020 three of his poems were published in `Viral Verses, Art in Exceptional Times`, https://www.viral-verses.com/ 

The ELI 24 project brought a successful bid to Silsden in October 2020 as part of Bradford`s, Culture Is Our Plan.

Sharena Lee Satti

Sharena Lee Satti, a poet and independent artist from Bradford whose inspiring words have been inscribed on park benches in Bradford to uplift local residents on their local park walks. Nominated for the National Diversity Awards in 2022 and as one of the ’21 of 2021′ creatives most likely to impact Bradford’s cultural scene, Sharena is a familiar voice on local and national radio. Her poetry collection She was published by Verve poetry press in 2020. Her work focuses on social and environmental issues.

Katheen Strafford

Kathleen Strafford is a graduate of Trinity University holding an MA in creative writing. She has been widely published on webzines and anthologies. Her first collection of poetry Her Own Language was published by Dempsey and Windle in 2017. Kathleen’s second collection Wilderness of Skin was published by Yaffle in 2019. She is the chief editor of Runcible Spoon Webzine and publishing. Her new collection Girl in the Woods and pamphlet Life Under Glass will be published this year

Nick Toczek

Nick Toczek is a Bradford writer and performer who has published more than fifty books, released dozens of recordings and done other stuff. For example, he’s a best-selling children’s poet, a professional magician and puppeteer, a journalist and radio presenter, and a bald bloke who has won prizes for his sudoku skills and for being able to eat hotter curries than is normal.

‘The most exciting and visual performer we have this side of Benjamin Zephaniah.’ – New Musical Express.

‘Toczek is bitter, disturbing and political.  His language gets harder and more effective with each publication.” – The Guardian.

FREE EVENT – Showcase and open mic tickets available here:

The Quiet Compere Bradford City Library Showcase and open mic Tickets, Sat 11 Jun 2022 at 17:30 | Eventbrite

Free 90 minute workshop (230-4pm) tickets here (limited to 10 attendees):

Quiet Compere Bradford City Library Prompts Workshop Tickets, Sat 11 Jun 2022 at 14:30 | Eventbrite

Chatham Quiet Compere (& Canterbury Stag)

On the way to Quiet Compere – Chatham, I called in to The Stag Café in Canterbury to perform my first live guest set since COVID started. It felt so good to be up there and engaging with an audience again. Brilliant sets from Tim Taylor, Christopher Horton, Gary Studley, Claudia Volpe, Kat Peddie, Sam Tate and Karen Smith. I loved it. Thanks for the invite and putting on a great event Gary and Christopher. I loved the sign as I feel a lot of us have been hungry for shared words, company and hugs in the past few months.

On arrival in Chatham I met up with my co-host and fellow ale drinker, Barry Fentiman-Hall. We had a beer or three and it was good to reconnect ahead of the gig. I bet Barry was quite relieved to see that I had arrived and he would not be hosting workshop and showcase himself 🙂

The Quiet Compere Live and Online Tour 2022 is supported using public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The workshop sold out and a dozen of us wrote to three exercises and shared our pieces. The attendees were all ages and there were such a variety of takes on the prompts.

Open Mic Section

We started with a stellar open mic section with poems from Sue Puddefoot, Timothy Green, Zack Davies, Maria McCarthy, Richard Cooper and Sarah Tait. Zack Davies pointed out it was Shakespeare Day. Richard Cooper read a poem of Rosemary McLeish’s from I am a field (Wordsmithery, 2019).

Barry Fentiman-Hall

Barry Fentiman- Hall and my feet

Demonstrating our 2-metre distancing from performers. I performed some poems too but never get photos of myself so you will have to make do with the shiny shiny very bitey shoes and my skirt in the audience.

Barry had a lesson for life about knowing ‘the proper way of caring for Lego.’ and said ‘we all get our sunshine how we can’. His theme seems to be things are dark but there is some hope and it might be in the small things, so look carefully. His exquisite eye for detail was evident in the line ‘ It keeps the tiny ones amused, so that restless feet don’t wander in the life-stained footsteps of afternoon casualties’.

I think a jaunt to Kent is the way I get some of my sunshine from catching up with good poetry friends and making new ones.

Nina Telegina

Nina took us from intro to poem with an ease that tricked us into already being in the verse and shared such music with us in lines like ‘the journey gives up to the angering deep’ and ‘venture again into mist’. A line from her meme poem, ‘sipped Lipton with Kermit the Frog’, made me smile and I can’t stop saying this line over and over, give it a go, it is so satisfying.

Setareh Ebrahimi

Setareh shared with us several insightful pieces. I loved her description of ‘the exact moment you are new enough and actually alive.’ And later ‘in this moment, we are survivors’.

Christopher Hopkins

Ooo! The idea of ‘insects rubbing on the altar of the night.’ and ‘a pale bird in the wildling high’. Christopher’s set and delivery was spell-binding. And ‘sky is a grounded spell’ is a line I am still unpacking now.

Clair Meyrick

Clair continues the spell theme, actually I would say, if there was a theme running through the event it was magic or spells. Clair shared her poem Thread and she ‘gathers spider webs in the contours of her dress.’ and this poem ends with the gentle finality of ‘night closes with a catch’. Clair, then, gifts us the weird, but totally right ‘memory turns a corner with your mouth.’

Katy Evans-Bush

The spell-like rhythm of incantation is continued by Katy in the line ‘No antidote. No amulet. No way to avoid being charmed.’ And I enjoyed Katy’s description of ‘the sun itself in which the skin and heart both harden.’ from her poem Croonerisms from Broken Cities (Smith/Doorstop 2017). Katy also read a poem in honour of Shakespeare Day.

Nathaniel Oguns

‘I pick up blue-sky lilies from the shores of Tsushima.”  (Great game!) I had to look this one up. Sounded like more weaving of magical places, and it is, a virtual magic, but still magic.

And Nathaniel ended the event with the line “I’m just playing and acting out fables of generations past.”

Thanks and Morecambe is next on the 14th May

Thanks to Barry and Chatham Library Hub, showcase and open mic poets and to all who attended the workshop or reading or shared the event for us. Thanks to the Arts Council for the funding.

It was so lovely to have some time with poets in The Command House beer garden after the event too. So often I spend the time after a Quiet Compere gig in my hotel room looking through feedback forms and drinking a small bottle of Prosecco.

I went for an affordable and really filling and tasty turkish meal at Taze. I would highly recommend it.

Bios of all poets are available on this site under the Chatham Bios blog post.