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.
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.
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 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.’
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.