A Shrinking of shrugs, mermaids and carbon monoxide poisoning – Worcester blog

On arriving at the Hive I met Steve Wilson (after so many phone calls and emails in planning stages) who was taller and didn’t have the right colour hair for my phone vision. The Hive and Steve were brilliant hosts. I discovered the venue was unlicenced and decided to grab a pub lunch with a pint before the event, low on time my cheap B and B/pub agreed to bring it up to me at no charge. Height of sophistication fish and chips on my bed in pyjamas with Porridge on the TV. Catherine Crosswell: Catherine’s lively style that jumped between weird and dark and funny made her a perfect person to start the evening. Her tape measure that measures arms lengths is genius. She warns that ‘we will continue to auto-correct those who do not suspect/or believe.’ www.catherinecrosswell.co.uk Mike Alma: put beautiful postcards of war on chairs to accompany his devastating poems, particularly striking the line ‘before insanity ploughed the earth and devoured souls’. He enlisted audience member, Moira, for the second voice in Letters to a soldier at the front both poems are in Mike’s book, Fragments of the Great War. No link available. Nina Lewis: I loved her matching ears poem about her nephew ‘I am your auntie – the one with the matching ears.’ Your poem about music was glorious ‘Our emotions are carried on F sharps and B flats. I let you carry me on melody alone. Cello notes absorb the darkness.’ Nina Lewis You Tube www.awritersfountain.wordpress.com Jasmine Gardosi: Jasmine brought more weird and unsettling pieces (darker than Catherine). She performed a poem about writing in a night-club at the side of dance floor and broke up the sentences as if sound disturbance was doing this. I loved the idea of her beginning to ‘leave blueprints all over her left limb’ and the fact ‘she ignores the men as sticky as the floor – they would like to leave their digits on her wrist.’ – love the double use of digits here. I can safely say her take on the space theme to produce a piece about a family dying carbon-monoxide poisoning will probably be the only one. https://www.facebook.com/JasmineGardosiPoet and @jasminegardosi on twitter Neil Laurenson: Loved the way Neil came on after the strange storm that is Jasmine and kicked off with a gentle intro poem where ‘he was so softly spoken that they thought he was miming’ and he was going to ‘perfect his talent of being unheard’. The tone of Shrinking of Shrugs was delicious. It listed the small things a partner has done wrong and ends ‘the purpose of this lecture is to save our marriage.’ Henry Reed’s poem Naming of Parts is one of Neil’s favourites, he said it was a joy to mimic it in some way! http://herecomeseveryone.me/hce-meets-neil-laurenson-wenlock-2014-poet/ Adrian Mealing: I loved Adrian’s Number Ten zero hours cat and the rhythmic style that meant ‘you think by now I’d have a contract’ and the fact the cat playfully leaves a ‘message’. Adrian’s line in his Mum poem about having ‘nice neighbours and cheese omelettes’ amused me. What more could anyone want? He had left-handed version of a hedge-trimmer poem (after an accident). Genius. Link for Adrian & The Very Grimm Brothers is https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Grimm-Brothers/193869703992330 Myfanwy Fox: In Myfanwy’s poem about her grandma: “Dolly Windmill won’t eat margarine/It tastes of despair in its greasy slide -/ there she blows! A slick of death/spreading on an oily tide.’ https://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com Claire Walker: Claire came in tough and told us we had to ‘Make me believe it/I want to see words on your lips’. Her mermaid poem was constructed of so many quotable lines I couldn’t record them all. ‘Don’t be fooled by my soft curves,/this tail carves the ocean with thoughts/that won’t be confined to land,’ and the line in Teaching your daughter to crack eggs ‘Tell her to remember not all broken things are wrong’ is going to remain with me for months. Beautiful and brief and knowing. Claire’s pamphlet The girl who grew into a crocodile is available in Autumn 2015 here; http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/our-poets.html   www.clairewalkerpoetry.com Carl Sealeaf: I love ‘we won’t need scratched graffitti to know that we are here.’ Genius to capture the quietness in a ‘restaurant crowded with separate silences.’ and the fact you could ‘use silence against each other.’ Advice: ‘Find a good mirror, or still water or a good dance track’. http://www.pangaeapoetry.com/ Clive Dee: read us a trees and death poem ‘a wood is made of death and through that death we live.’ In Unfolding Wings these lines sang ‘Mountains and valleys crease the paper/to fold a base to make a bird/neck and beak tail and wings/sunken paper muscled back/a thousand folds for luck’. I continued my poetry weekend with a full day and night in Stratford for Jo Bell’s 52 group poetry picnic – the whole weekend felt like one massive poetry hug. Feedback I don’t usually include feedback in the blogs, but this was so glowing I had to: ‘Thanks for constructing a beautiful listening post, a room for hearts & ears where we enjoyed a rainbow of styles & subjects from Botany Bay to Chemistry Kevin. You set a little powder keg under the palm tree and encourage the evening’s castaways to light the fuse. It’s perfect. You’re terrific. You do a lovely job. My but you work so hard and affectionately at this game of the imagination.’ Adrian Mealing, The Very Grimm Brothers. Keep track of Quiet Compere Tour here https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Quiet-Compere/523455994408580 https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/the-quiet-compere or on twitter @quietcomperemcr The Quiet Compere Tour is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

The night we left as wolves, slightly scumbled and with smudged hearts – Ulverston Quiet Compere blog

I could get used to having a committee of six (?) to plan for me. Caroline swapped a workshop (I came out with two strong pieces I have already performed) for a Quiet Compere t-shirt and drove me to get ale and to the venue. We arrived there ten minutes before doors to find the PA being set up and Antony on a book stall and a dozen people happy to help us set out tables and chairs (there was a detailed chair stacking diagram and 8 part instruction list that made me smile). Kim co-hosted beautifully and Mark morphed into the tenth poet at very short notice. As soon as we started there were complaints that the Quiet Compere was too loud. The mic was too loud, it was turned down and normal service was resumed. David Borrott: In his poem Wolf Fell, mountains were ‘air-fuddled in the distance’ and in Pigeons ‘pulling together to become a spun set of dancers…each giving way to the general pattern to become something more than themselves.’ we are treated to a pigeon dance. http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/shop/901/porthole Antony Christie: took us to a mythical house, Applegarth where we met ‘a threatening blackbird, stiff as a dowager’ and ‘last Autumn’s windfall sheds pale worms.’ His comment on the work that needed doing: ‘It is whole. That is all we can say.’ And in his Ontario poem: ‘the new ice sings to itself.’ www.antony-christie.com Neil Curry: I feel a gig has been a success if I go away having learnt something. Now I know Ulverston had foundry and rope makers. Sir John Barrow “wanted to be known/ as the man who filled in / those last little gaps in the Atlas” and I passed his Hoad monument both before and after the poem. From his poem Touch Wood : ‘Trees don’t even burn the same. / Some are generous with their heat / but give it out slowly…Nothing else on earth can be said to still look beautiful when it’s dead’ : www.neilcurry.com Kerry Darbishire: From Army Blanket which won first prize in Grey Hen poetry competition the concentration and affection in the line ‘fold it like a lover’s jumper’. There were a number of painting inspired poems and here was one about life-drawing called Posing for Andrew: ‘bearing stillness in failing sunlight’. Kerry’s collection is called A Lift of Wings and is available here: http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/kerry-darbishire/4586916905 Caroline Gilfillan: The line about her mother being ‘protractor angles of elbows and knees’ struck me as this is often what children feel like too. All edges and corners and awkward. In her poem Things he loved the line ‘eyes limpid with chalky loss’ shone out. Her two most recent collections are Yes (2010) and Pepys (2012) both published by Hawthorn Press. www.carolinegilfillan.co.uk Barbara Hickson: I enjoyed the contrast of ‘heather and bracken, smoke and song.’ in Traveller. At Loughrigg Tarn we are ‘like a reflection on a lake, one cloud and we’re gone.’ No link available. Maggie How: dedicated her set to her father and it was a beautiful and moving tribute ‘I am the sunlight on the bar-tops of trees… I weave thoughts with the evening mist’ The heart-breaking phrase ‘You smudge my heart with your art of dying.’ I also found out a lonning is a small country lane. No link available. Ayelet McKenzie: From BLACK MAGIC: The ‘night/creeps in like a black widow spider,/devouring the daylight /as she goes…to form a rainbow…/arcing over the wilderness of the earth,/this planet that will not stay for ever.’ Ayelet’s set was punchy and there were a lot of short pieces. No link available. Sue Millard: Wow! Lines from Driver’s Girl: ‘I will let you go, trusting/ the otherness that swallows you.’ ‘the road, the day/ and all its business claims you.’ http://www.suemillard.f9.co.uk/ Mark Carson: I loved poem Synaestheticae (first published in Brittle Star 2014). ‘This poem is written in oils, I have been adding layers since May.’ And in Canafy, lighten up! we get ‘the tapered ignition of the dawn’. Beautiful. No Link Available. Kim Moore’s wolf poem was one of my highlights of the evening. ‘No sound I make will still be made of words’ is a stunning line, much stronger than the phrase ‘speechless’! ‘the sound of their slow breathing fills her house.’ Kim lifted me up and carried me into the story. https://kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com/ A Poem and a Pint page is here: http://www.apoemandapint.co.uk/ Quiet Compere Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Quiet-Compere/523455994408580 ENTS24 page here for future Quiet Compere gigs: https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/the-quiet-compere

A backdrop of books, fingerprints and late butterflies or Blog of Oxford event – Stop 4 Quiet Compere National Tour 2015

I had checked out the location earlier and bobbed in to say Hi to Dennis at the Albion Beatnik Bookshop. I gave myself plenty of time to get there. Then my phone maps app took me on a scenic route by changing my destination to The Pitt Rivers Museum. This meant I arrived back at the point I had started out from twenty minutes later and set back off in the opposite direction arriving at the Albion Beatnik a few minutes before doors. I bought a glass of wine and started meeting poets and audience and settled after ten minutes of this. Sarah Bryson: Sarah’s take on the space theme, as the space left by an Aunt’s dementia and subsequent death, was powerful. Her mirror poem was well-executed. ‘Outside, under a dull sky/fat white feathers accumulate/covering the tarmac’s black gaps as I watch.’ which was mirrored at the end with ‘Covering the tarmac’s black gaps as I watch/fat white feathers accumulate/outside, under a dull sky.’ Samir Guglani: In the poem Fireworks – a striking space-themed stanza ‘a constellation of freckles/as if you were the sky/or an inversion of it, reached for,/ lived in but always just gone.’ captures a lot. Then in Fingerprints (a recurring theme of the night), ‘Look at how we start, like fortune-tellers, at the hands. Here by the window, where ward meets world, I examine this man’s, turn them over like found leaves.” Samir Guglani is the curator of the incredible and stunning conference: Medicine Unboxed: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/medicine-unboxed-mortality-tickets-16304418956 Jennifer McGowan: Jennifer treated us to a full space-themed set. From her poem Lightyears: ‘So we could prove we tried./We shone and consumed like suns/ but by the time your light reached me,/you was gone.’ Jennifer’s observation time flowing differently inside with the Italian frescos rang true: In the poem Snapshot – Yesterday: ‘I smudge/my fingerprint under Eve’s foot, here./You will see it, and know’. The idea of leaving a fingerprint for someone to find makes me smile. www.jenniferamcgowan.com Alan Buckley: I could taste the ‘peat and iodine burn of a single malt drunk from an antique flask’ and I think the first place I appreciated single malt was at the Arvon week Alan and I met at seven years ago. ‘All that/ matters is the recognising touch,/one skin finding its home/ in the other.’ https://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/poets-in-oxford/alan-buckley/ Hilda Sheehan: The line ‘wealth hopes us into a corner.’ says so much about the election outcome in five words. ‘I have washing-up to finish and a front page to believe in.’ Hilda’s pamphlet Frances and Martine is available through Dancing Girl Press: http://www.dancinggirlpress.com/ http://www.poetryswindon1.blogspot.co.uk/p/news.html Penelope Kease: I enjoyed this take on the theme as personal space. I love the vision in Water Meadows of the old willows ‘at the ramshackle edges/ of the water and the land’. My Dad’s a balloon, my mother’s the string started with the lines ‘She’ll fray and break and on that day he’ll float/into new adventurous skies’. Claire Trévien: The space a person has inhabited take on the theme captivated me. ‘The house is dragged apart by the absence of your smiles.’    ‘I still sing lyrics to the wrong tune/and imagine you, furiously rescuing/each damaged chorus in your hands/like a small snail.’ The idea of skin that is ‘littered with deaths’ and the menace or promise of the line ‘only the young know my tune./and it swallows their hearts.’ http://www.clairetrevien.co.uk/ http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2013/02/the-shipwrecked-house/ Sarah Watkinson: Her poem about ‘Birds being made of light.’ came second in the 2014 Battered Moons competition. ‘Time still comes in lines, life in boxes of dates.’ we don’t know what time is, so we talk of it in terms of space. ‘My father’s bear‘ lives on my desk now. But back then, as part of a memory of her father; ‘Home from the army, you took Bear from your pocket, placed him on the pub table like a small portable comrade . . .’ – the poem came out at the end of May in Pennine Platform, issue 77. https://sarahcwatkinson.wordpress.com/ Ben Parker: Ben introduced his set with a preamble about Van Gogh sketching views from windows ‘faithful to the ordinary’ I enjoyed his randomly numbered titles – after the first that was tied to a real flat number. The magical poem about ‘fashioning your searching hand into an approximation of the lost object’ and ‘the way to hold your hands for love’ was potent. http://www.benparkerpoetry.co.uk/ Sarah Maitland-Parks: ‘If I were to make a promise, it would be to somehow make separation beautiful.’ Wow! Also, the idea in At the Checkout of the people you share all with at bus-stops or school-gates (when you need to) being ‘emergency services’. This latter poem is here in The Stare’s Nest: http://thestaresnest.com/2015/01/14/sarah-maitland-parks-two-poems/comment-page-1/ http://shinynewcomputer.blogspot.co.uk/ Sarah Bryson brought me a small glass vase with wild flowers as a gift. As I was travelling back by train I decided to leave flowers around Oxford on the way home the next day. So I left a rose on a bike, some cow parsley in a phone box and weaved cornflowers through the railings of a disused toilet. Look out for a poem soon called Leaving flowers in Oxford. Also, more than half of the people in the Albion Beatnik decamped to a local curry house and we had wine and food. Love an end to the evening when I can let go of the being in charge and I am always keen to share the post-gig poetry buzz.

The kindness of strangers, hospital happenings and a patchouli poem – Chesterfield blog – Stop 3

Poems about hospital and kindness swamped this night and this was not surprising a week after an election shock and in a Labour Club. More poems about the good and the kind, I say. More poems about the good and the kind, I say. Yey! for nourishers and everyday heroes and random acts of kindness. Ailsa Holland: In her poem about the uncelebrated heroes and things not in the news specifics add to the news report feel along with formal language. The roads and names of those involved make it feel possible, not just an imagined utopia. Someone stole into a garden on Paradise Street/discreet as an assassin/ took down the clean washing/folded it with cold-blooded precision/ and left it in a basket under the back porch/just before the rain started./ (from ‘Fixer’ Strikes at Heart of Community) Find Ailsa here: www.moormaidpress.co.uk https://about.me/ailsaholland Midnight Shelley: In her poem Come scream with me she spoke of “words dedicated to those whose mouths never allow them to share their story.” “Come scream with me!/Clockwork the hand/heartbeat the rhyme.” In her love poem to a best friend Alex Park in the Early Hours: The Forever Space: ‘A piece of me will always be in the forever space with you.” is an interpretation of space intertwined with memory. https://www.youtube.com/user/MidnightVerses Charlotte Ansell: addressed the post-election malaise with: “This is why we can’t have nice things. It took just weeks to demolish the Bohemia… They will smash up what even in the first place wasn’t much…” then a line about the management “preferring to announce the problem than mend the broken glass. Maybe it is also an epitaph to hope.” I do so hope not. Charlotte’s two collections available here: https://www.flippedeye.net/ John Mills: John introduced Parkinson’s Disease at the outset and the fact he might ‘vibrate gently’. Little Louis, a poem about a brain-damaged child was tough on the audience and performer. The sing-song rhythm of it made the truth even more shocking. The damage happened because his Dad hit his head against a wall when he was 12 days old. I have written in my notes BASTARD!!!!! John and Liz are in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5QCnZ2ASAA Sarah Thomasin: I loved “The Quiet Woman’ and the story about the bus-stop being labelled the The Quite Woman and the reason she was Quiet is because her head chopped off. One way of stopping a compere going on, I suppose. In her space-themed poem, Horoscope, we are instructed to “look up at the sky/past the sequins in velvet./Just try it.” Her poem about misogynists wasting away because they can’t make sandwiches without women brought some levity the room. https://wordgeekery.wordpress.com/ Mavis Moog: While listening to her poem Plum Sunday I could smell the mint at my feet and the feel the weight of the plums as I reached up to test their ripeness. I also like to learn things and the Araucaria Monkey Puzzle tree cross-words poem captivated me. No Link Available. Ruth Aylett: Ooo! The scale of space here: “The long exhale of the universe/always moving apart/never coming back together.” And more space in Ruth’s Turing poem : “Write space and space and space. Where logic is not decidable. Death is.” http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~ruth/writing.html Joy France: In Joy’s set we received broken biscuits and patchouli soaked poems. The poem is in my notebook and I can still smell it now. I loved the fact Joy had done a haiku for both themes – Volume and Space. I had included both 2014 and 2015 theme in the email (Oops). See Joy here: https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=joy%20france%20home%20truths Chris Woods: Chris read two poems about not being there. Firstly, a space-themed one On not seeing Halley’s Comet and later on in his set about turning up the wrong week for a poetry event ‘enjoying the wrong time again’ Spontaneous nights are often the best. In Black Holes he described people who are “taking everything from everything.” No link available. Claire-Jane Carter could not make the event due to a last minute emergency. I read a few more poems to fill this time. The audience enjoyed the mix of styles and themes. After the event and a pint with poets and punters I started looking through 100 photos of Mid Shelley for one where she is still. I bought an extra half while I laughed to myself in the corner of the Labour Club about how blurry she could be.

Recurring Lancelot with a washing machine backdrop or Durham Quiet Compere review

The Laundrette was a unique venue. The venue runs as a Laundrette until 6pm and then sets up chairs to become a gig space. They have a variety of ales and sweet snacks and were very welcoming. These photos will not be like any others on the tour, unless a venue cancels on the last minute and we end up performing in someone’s kitchen in front of their washer, always a possibility I suppose. Jane Burn: performed ‘Worm’, the first poem in middle English to appear at a Quiet Compere event. Hear Jane perform ‘Worm’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RElc3K3l5FA Michael Brown: In ‘From Hungerford Bridge, Looking East.’ ‘To touch the cache in the dark of you’ is a line that grabbed me and keeps returning. My favourite line was ‘half-way between the words we speak and the middle of this street is where we kiss, where we meet.’ Michael straddles the rhythm of performance poetry and the careful redrafting of the seasoned page poet. Find his pamphlet here: http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/products-page/books/undersong-2/ Jessica Wortley: wrote about ‘hair that fingered outwards like patterns of ice’ in poem ‘Immersion’. And in a later poem the lines: ‘for her, the width of the sky would never quite be big enough’ and ‘the wind would steal her breath,/ but it would not matter,/ for she would not need words’ Find her pamphlet ‘As if we were the trees’ by Ruby Wolf Press here: http://rubywolfpress.com/ Blog: http://www.dancingbeepoetry.wordpress.com Catherine Graham: kept coming out of the poems with asides from her mother. These made me smile Catherine’s honesty about agoraphobia was refreshing and telling us about sending out the other Catherine. Catherine’s set sang in parts and her delivery sings throughout. Her collection ‘Things I Will Put In My Mother’s Pocket’ is available through Indigo Dreams Publishing through Catherine’s author page here: http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/catherine-graham/4574225826 Ira Lightman: His intro made me smile (the ghost of Asa Maddison – future). This time Lancelot was on a date and the poem had the line ‘How could this work? The commute was a fortnight by horse and you’re married.’ We were treated to a full new set. See Ira here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auNAbGJ5irI Catherine Ayres: She promised to bring us from a pit of despair to a place of vague hope. I think this was achieved. Quite a few date poems in the evening. She performed a quite terrifying date poem. Then she introduced me to the word: Hiraeth. It means a longing for the past culture of a place. No link available Asa J. Maddison: Asa described a Manc attacker as someone who had ‘his waistline weakened by pastry’. Asa is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ebaWD6zy5k Judi Sutherland: The line in ‘Work Gypsy’. ‘every time – all that was left behind was love and settlement.’ is so sad. Judi described UKIP as ‘the stag night with more beer and fewer hats’. Judi co-edits Stare’e Nest as, a site for ‘poems for a more hopeful world’. http://thestaresnest.com/ Arwen Webb: This Arwen’s first performance ever. Her first poem ‘The Gob’ as touching and there was a sadness that the heart consistently stayed silent while the gob and other body parts did their thing, which eventually meant “Brain was silent, Gob shut up. Heart broke.” I also enjoyed ‘Inspired’, a McGough inspired poem. No link available. Sheree Mack: I am assuming Sheree chose her poem purposefully with the line ‘making suds on the surface of the water. All the time singing her song, lost in her own world.’ Because we were performing in a Laundrette. In here poem ‘The Arsonist’ the protagonist says: ‘ I love the way they dance. It’s slow at first. Tantalisingly slow’. http://www.shereemack.com/Poetry.html Judi Sutherland invited me to stay with her and was a wonderful host. Making a massive cheese sandwich when we got back in after the gig. On Saturday, before I left, her husband, Frank made a delicious Bolognese served with chilled wine that was an unexpected treat and much appreciated before the train ride back.

An orange raincoat, shared Prosecco and two space-themed sets – Halifax blog

The first gig on the tour has to be a bit special and I made it local, but not as comfortably local as last time. I had met all but two of the performers and knew three well enough to count them as friends (they might disagree). A complacent place to be. I had a performer pull out with about 18 hours’ notice and managed to replace her three hours before the gig. The closest I’ve been to running a ten poets ten minutes with nine performers yet. I got to Halifax four hours early and the general response to this was, you go here too early, why did you do that? I meant to explore a bit, but mainly found pubs and takeaways. I had a slow pint in The Railway Tavern thanks to William Thirnk-Gaskell for that direction and they had my favourite pint Copper Dragon’s Golden Pippin J. Simon Zonenblick: I love the fact both Simon and Freda kicked off the tour superbly with fully space-themed sets (I set an optional prompt of SPACE). Simon is also the second person who has mentioned Vasco Popa to me in the last week. On my look into list now 🙂 Sun ‘I am tangled emotions into one. Soils vibrate with slugs alive with hunger.’ Love the fact his tree-house dens were Jedi Houses. – ‘grottoes holed out of the tangles’ https://sites.google.com/site/ryburnramblings/home Nasser Hussain: Nasser stood in at two hours’ notice and was amazing. In ‘Outside the Box’ I love the fact he is a teacher,  but ‘the student is still in me.. In ‘How to be brown now.’ The perfect creepiness of the line: ‘What if I could imitate your voice perfectly?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmZgVtNzKvI https://burningeyebooks.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/new-title-out-now-boldface-by-nasser-hussain/ Geneviéve L Walsh: I always love ‘You sometimes fall off chairs’ poem, the fact ‘women who are walking contradictions are endearing.’ Ah!  and her ‘Lass Grenade’ poem – less of a woman and more of a lass grenade’. I’ve only met Mid once and her energy and her poetry are legendary for a reason. Midnight Shelley is due to be a guest at Chesterfield Quiet Compere on Friday 15th May 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t-Of-yrRXc Gaia Holmes: Loved the orange raincoat ‘Loud and kistch as a Warhol tangerine.’ and the idea of going up to the wind-farm to scream. ‘We stopped trying to talk and raised our arms and screamed…….’ https://gaiaholmes.wordpress.com/   Drew Lawson: ‘When we were hipsters.’ Amuses me, mostly because I live in Chorlton  The idea of ‘making your feelings out of plasticine’ is so Chorlton! ‘Trying hard not to end up in Stretford, but ending up their anyway’ I love the mention of the local places, especially when they are more local to me than the audience  ‘ We laughed in the face of the Apocalypse and hid in blanket forts until it went away “kids that didn’t know when to quit/ who laughed in the face of the apocalypse/ (then hid under blanket forts until it went away)” www.andrewlawsonpoet.wordpress.com Steve Nash: Steve warned us there would be ‘no filthy songs’. He told us he wanted to have books with folded pages and to look like they’ve been read. ‘Show me a book with scars’. He told us a story about a soldier who spent 22yrs in the army and his one scar was from a penguin. ‘You thought twice before waking up a feral dog to see your reflection in its eyes’ http://starlighttocasualmoths.blogspot.co.uk/ John Darwin: In ‘Cuckoo’ there were some stirking lines: ‘They name bars after illness around here’ and ‘a town full of strangers who self-medicate’ is so bleak. He performed show-pleaser ‘I just like art galleries and getting pissed.’ Give it a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLZxTgl6r8I Freda Mary Davis: I was amazed and impressed that both Freda and Simon did full Space-themed sets. Freda tackled inner space and the space between people, taking the optional space prompt in interesting directions. In her poem Alice I loved the line ‘swooping close to human’. No Link. Keith Hutson: Told us a poem about a ‘dame-shaped crater’ – ‘ the sea sneaks into everything, takes shape as dawn begins another morning’. Keith has recently won third place in The Yorkshire Prize of the Poetry Business Competition. Keith is in Kim Moore’s blog here: https://kimmoorepoet.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/sunday-poem-keith-hutson-2/ Char March: I was fascinated by the detail in Char March’s pieces, like the fact that Hitler used green ink (especially as I bought a green pen last week). After noticing purple and green in her set, I want to go back in my head and discover a full rainbow hidden in poems. She used the word purple 35 times in the poem rant below about colours a presiding officer can and cannot wear: http://thestaresnest.com/2015/03/09/char-march-the-presiding-officers-choice-of-clothing-narrows/ http://www.charmarch.co.uk/ Firm of Poets video here, featuring Genevieve L. Walsh and John Darwin: https://vimeo.com/114012604 Facebook page for them here: https://www.facebook.com/AFirmofPoets Most of the audience stayed for a beer or two and there was excellent post-gig banter. John Darwin is hosting Write Out Loud Sale on Tuesday 17th March and Steve Nash is a guest. Don’t miss this if you live nearby. I will be there with my ale goggles and non-compering hat on. Say Hi! The other special guest is Anna Percy. https://www.facebook.com/events/1406049146369735/ I stayed at Steve’s house and revelled in sharing the Prosecco and the post-gig buzz, rather than sipping the Prosecco alone, turning off Eastenders in a scruffy B+B and reading through the feedback forms until 1am. The Quiet Compere Tour is ‘Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’

The Quiet Compere Tour 2014 – End of year blog (Part 3/3) – York/Leeds/Sheffield/Stockport/Special Mentions

York – dislocation of poets One of the parts of the tour I was looking forward to was savouring local accents and slang, in this respect York was a disappointment, but in terms of poetry, poets, audience friendliness of locals for a first gig away from home this was a cracking first away date. The venue was both large and intimate and we happily filled the area and even needed to source more chairs when the turnout more  than doubled on the night. Hmm! This is a difficult one as I decided my blogs were too waffly after the Manchester one and didn’t put as much detail here! Oops! Rookie error! Poetry Highlights for me: Will Kemp’s poem about a family falling into water and keeping tally was touching and spare. Chris Singleton’s T’was the night before pay day received a lively response. Amina Rose’s set was gentle and musical. Non-poetry highlights: Oz Hardwick buying me a cheese scone (at the bakery that opened until midnight and where they had York accents!) and taking me the circuitous route home to avoid stag dos.   Leeds – a warmth of poets Poetry Highlights for me: Emma Decent’s poem Advice from a Stone on traveling alone has stayed with me. The line that has stuck, even now, is: “Your centre will hold you.” Martin Vosper: performed his Leeds Prayer which gets better on every listen and as I learn more areas of Leeds. “Superman writes poetry” was playful as Superman was “allowing himself a little laugh”, “lingering over his lycra” and there was a “frisson of a fetish shared”. Ian Duhig: “The Lammas Hireling” was an excellent poem to take us to the break and I love the line “in a sack that grew lighter with every step.” Steve O’Connor: took us with him and got us lost in the sounds of speech and landscape in “an embrace that sustains like the ocean’s roar.” and “the noise of clouds at sunset”. John Siddique: His “End of the mango season poem” was powerful and moving and he ended with a lighter piece, which was an ideal to finish the evening, though it is the mangos that remain with me. Non-poetry highlights: The surprise addition of Laura Cole on keyboard to accompany Rommi Smith as “Gloria Silver” washed over us. Lines that stayed with me: Caleb Parkin: “Let us honour the Hangover Pig Angel”. Sheffield – an amusement of poets Poetry Highlights for me: Sarah Hymas: brought paper boats and exquisite artworks of poetry volumes. Helen Mort: The poem about walking the Swiss Alps in a crinoline “An easy day for a lady” amused me. Anne Caldwell: She “longed for a starless sky/short circuited everything/a cliff-top house where she sang to herself”. Genevieve L Walsh: rhymed “breasts” and “BBC North West”. I don’t need to say more!   Non-Quiet Compere event Highlights: Picture the Poet exhibition at Graves Gallery – half an hour of looking at still poets in print. Sheffield Poetry Business Writer’s Day: I was talked into buying a new train ticket to stay long enough to stay for the writing session run by Ann and Peter Sansom – it had been too long and was lovely to share more time and words with Lindsey Holland, Carole Bromley and Martin Collins here. Sheffield: I love your space and street art, your compactness and charm. It is so compact I feel I know it well, from the back streets of Vicar Lane and Campo Lane to West Bar roundabout in rush hour and the Graves Gallery.   Lines that have stayed with me: “Always give hope back in the same shape it was given, but bigger”. Gav Roberts “Most of all we wanted song/its tide in our ribs.” River Wolton Stockport – a questioning of poets. Poetry Highlights for me: Jane Rogerson’s Watching Jaws with Louis  poem. Genius. All questions Sarah Maxwell brought us daftness interspersed with medical terminology in What kind of bug would you be?. Helen Clare: I want the “gentle-pedal” Helen mentioned and the delicacy of “Blackberrying without stains on your fingers”. Philip Davenport: Without love we are no thing was harrowing as was the repeated line “wolf in drag”.  Dominic Berry: The refrain “men in suits, boys in school uniform” says so much in few words. He finished the tour with a Dragon in our homework.   Non-Poetry highlights: The Blue Cat Café in Heaton Moor was one of the best venues on the tour. My Mum and Dad came along to see what the tour was all about. The venue was buzzing from before doors at half seven.   Lines that stayed with me: In Ambush Street “the ghosts of hope will meet”. Steph Portersmith   Special Mentions: Co-hosts: Jenni Pascoe and Ann Wilson. xxx Joy France: for attending 5 events out of 12 this year. Plus for her excellent promoting throughout the tour   Sarah James: For advising me so expertly on the Worcester and Birmingham poets   Colin Davies and Big Charlie Poet for helping set up Lancaster without me asking. Stars!   Jo Bell: For the inspiration through 52 for a lot of the poems performed and I met 27 poets whose work I knew better through the 52 group before I met them, which helped me balance the line-ups better than I would have been able to without this knowledge! And for letting me promote the tour here and there. Sheffield, Leeds and Blackpool: Highest number of poets stayed behind after to share the poetry buzz. Top Venues: Midland Arts Centre (Birmingham), Three Minute Theatre (Manchester), Blue Cat Café (Heaton Moor), The Imperial Hotel (Blackpool) and CityScreen (York), Alexanders Bar (Chester) and Brewery Arts Centre (Kendal) and Seven Arts (Leeds) for being more than just venues. Steve Nash, Steph Pike and Write Out Loud for making my first experiences of interviews and radio so enjoyable. Reuben Woolley, Susan Deer Cloud, Erfan Daliri for traveling from Spain, America and Australia to be part of the tour. Colin Davies, Tony Walsh, Reuben Woolley and Jo Bell for sharing and retweets.   Apologies that I could not mention everyone. Thanks to all performers, sharers and supporters and for all the positive feedback. Thanks to anyone from the audiences or who sent encouraging messages the day before. The Quiet Compere Tour is ‘Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’ Look out for the national tour next year. Find dates below: Quiet Compere National Tour 2015 – Confirmed Schedule  Date                                        City                 Venue Thursday 5th March               Halifax                        Bar Up – (co-host Spoken Weird) Friday 27th March                  Durham           The Old Cinema Laundrette  Friday 15th May                     Chesterfield    Chesterfield Labour Club Saturday 16th May                 Oxford                        Albion Beatnik Bookshop Friday 26th June                     Ulverston        Bardsea Malt Kiln (Co-host Kim Moore) Friday 10th July                      Worcester       The Hive Friday 4th September              Hull                 Union Mash-up Saturday 12th September      Exeter             The Phoenix Voodoo Lounge (co-host – Alasdair Paterson) Tuesday 13th October             London 1         Phoenix Artist Club, Camden Wednesday 14th October        London 2         Hackney Attic Thursday 15th October                       Norwich          The Bird Cage(Co-host Live Lit Lounge) Friday 20th November                        Cheltenham     The Strand Hotel      

The Quiet Compere End of Year Blog 2014 – Part 2 (of 3) – Featuring Manchester/Liverpool/Lancaster and Chester

Manchester – a familiarity of poets Gina Frost and John Topliff let us hire Three Minute Theatre, a venue I knew well and loved. Narrowing down the hundreds of poets in the area was my hardest task here and I ended up choosing poets I felt most encouraged other poets within the scene and had encouraged and supported me along the way. The tour would not have taken place unless Tony Walsh had planted a seed about applying for funding.   The Poetry highlights for me were: Jackie Hagan: Performed material from her one-woman show “Some people have too many legs”. Ben Willems: Stood in at a couple of days’ notice and he fitted into the line-up beautifully. His poem “Is your accent strong?” to the tune of “ Do you ears hang low?” was genius. Becca Audra Smith: Becca asked us “to tell me something real” about being a man. She took a risk and performed this piece she was unsure was ready. It stunned all. Tony Walsh: Tony treated us to a journey through the history of Manchester music. I love “Eyes the size of Timperley” and “passion underlined” and the list of Manchester things including: “rainbow flags/gladiolis/sewn on badges”.   Non-poetry highlights: Drinks with old school-friends who has come along to support and surprised themselves by enjoying the night immensely. SOLD OUT gig: Playing stock market games in the back of a cab on the way to the event – cancellations coming in via Twitter and requests for spaces from Facebook!   The lines that stayed with me: Charlotte Henson (now Felix Henson): “I am the thing you never asked for, but ended up with anyway”.   Liverpool – a friendship of poets The poetry highlights for me were: Andrew McMillan: Andrew was one of the poets in the Liverpool line-up I had not seen perform before and his poetry was subtly stunning and we were the “we” in the poem: “dressed like kids who have forgotten their games kits. Crying in the toilets.” David Bateman: “Word Wizard” in which he makes a stutter a luxury item. Colin Watts: “Taking down the treehouse” after children had left home and the memories coming to “half an hour with a  lump-hammer.” Stephen O’Shaughnessey: Stormed his first ever performance, especially with the detailed “Contents of a bed-sit” poem. An especial relief when I had been following a rampant purveyor of the bluest language by the same name on Twitter in error   Non-poetry highlights: The Blackburne House Cafe quiche and salad deal was exquisite. Poetry friends who hadn’t seen each other for years were catching up and reconnecting in the break. Yey!   The phrase that stayed with me: Cath Nichols: “Bat applicants” I often repeat it over and over and smile. Lindsey Holland: “the anonymous smell of long-forgotten crevices.”   Lancaster – a clash of poetic styles I arrived at Lancaster venue with ten minutes to spare before doors, in contrast to my arrival at Liverpool almost two hours early. The Gregson Centre had not been laid out and all chairs were being unstacked by a wonderful Blackpool contingent who had arrived before me, Big Charlie Poet and Colin Davies. My lateness was due to my day job hours shifting so I had to work Sunday afternoon/evening, which was not ideal and then catch the train the one before the one I must get. Train ran late and then Google maps got me lost in Lancaster. I couldn’t book a holiday. I ended up arriving a bit frazzled and panicked and the line-up had changed at 9am on the morning of the gig. I had booked one of the poets originally scheduled for Blackpool and Ashley Lister would have fitted best this raucous Bank Holiday Friday crowd. On an October Sunday his reception was cooler. I think adding his well-crafted, but erotic, poetry to an already wide-ranging evening of performance and page poets was one step too far and this was totally my mistake as at one day’s notice I did not check his style and re-balance the running order to take this into account. The Poetry Highlights for me: Jennifer Copley’s poem when she “fell in love with a word.” Rachel McGladdery’s whole set had a volume theme! “Syruped by sun slant and felt like almost joy”. After the Old Dungeon Ghyll was a poem about a folk night. It started: ”night is a moist blanket which we leave to dry and creep in through the crawlspace to a hum a hive of smoke and sweat and song.” “yaddering drumming”  “Deafened by the thrum of silence”. This poem drips volume.  She finished the night on a high note.   The lines that stayed with me: Erfan Daliri: Everyone IS looking for a place “where they no longer have to shoot down stars to fulfil their heart’s desires.” and “Love will be the smile we give away for free.” Ian Seed: “Sometimes a city is shown its own reflection in the sky.”     Chester – an organisation of poets Alexander’s Bar was laid-out brilliantly for poetry, however there were some lighting issues I hadn’t foreseen. I had printed out running orders, as I have from early in the tour for each performer. Chester was the first venue where four poets had printed out the running order themselves. They had also timed themselves to perfection, which made my job a lot easier! The Poetry Highlights for me: Angela Topping’s description of puberty as “No TARDIS to travel back to myself”. Katy Konrad continued the Doctor’s presence in her Bloodlines poem. “No longer a donor and no longer afraid of Dr Who.  He protected them and made them brave.” David J Costello’s MRI poem “a mildewed void the size and shape of me.” and in the scans “I saw the darkest workings of myself.”   The lines that stayed with me: Edwin Stockdale: “A manicured house, a perfect life in a mirage.” Jan Dean: birth as “the trick of clotting cell soup into ravelled flesh.” Christopher Coey: “We had covered more than miles on the scale of who we are.” “We are the show. It does add up. Just not how we ever thought it would.”     The Quiet Compere Tour is ‘Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’  

Quiet Compere End of Year Blog – Part 1 (of 3)

Featuring Blackpool/Kendal/Newcastle and Birmingham round-ups 4 dates on the tour sold out: Out of these, two were co-hosted by regular nights (Ann Wilson of Verbalise in Kendal and Jenni Pascoe of Jibba Jabba in Newcastle). Another was the first date of the tour and on home turf. Blackpool – a raucousness of poets The fourth was Blackpool, with only 5 tickets sold in advance and one poet travelling from Spain (Reuben Woolley) to be there, the nerves were jangling. This was the first event where there was going to be a press presence. It was August Bank Holiday Friday. Had all the poets gone away? Would there be more performers than audience? My way of thinking has always been that if the audience numbers match the number of performers or are higher you have yourself an event. In the afternoon Joy France led a few of us as Feral Poets on the Comedy Carpet in front on the tower. I downed a swift whisky and pint of ale and ventured onto the carpet in a pink wig to read my poetry to complete and unsuspecting strangers and in the process met Colin Davies and Reuben. I had also checked out the venue on arrival. The Churchill Room at The Imperial Hotel was imposing and the best on the tour that wasn’t set up as a gig venue (with lighting and tech). At the door I was pleased as there were a dozen audience seated before official doors. Then they kept coming until every seat was taken. As well as the number of audience being a triumph the enthusiasm was tangible. Steve Stroud kicked us off with his machine-gun style wordplay. The crowd were respectful and silent when the poems aimed to elicit this response, but delightfully raucous when called upon. Colin had mentioned he was going to perform his masturbation poem, so I took the challenge and performed mine (possibly for the only time ever), a poem written from a prompt to write erotic poetry (from Jo Bell’s excellent 52 group). The poetry highlights for me were: Laura Alice Nation: she rarely performs and her poem about anorexia was raw and honest and I love the hope and control in the line “I am not the brittle one you last saw”. Big Charlie Poet: It’s the grit that makes the pearl poem – for the first time with that t-shirt. The non-poetry highlight: Joy managed to magically get the section of illuminations in front of The Imperial lit for the end of the event! The line that stuck with me: Christopher James Heyworth: “Loneliness in crowded places is a seaside specialty”   Newcastle – a dark amusement of poets Jenni Pascoe co-hosted in Quiet Compere style throughout and exploded at the end to everyone’s amusement. She really reined in her usual compere style and kindly let me take charge of Jibba Jabba for a couple of hours. The poetry highlights for me were: Sky Hawkins: Who made me laugh out loud several times by catching me off-guard. Ettrick Scott: Partly because of his performance style and partly because he explained all the slang terms to me after!   The non-poetry highlight: On my first trip to Newcastle: The Quayside Seaside and a dashed pint in The Crown Posada. The line that stuck with me: Steve Urwin performed an “in my box” poem and mixed the abstract with the concrete: “clutter hidden behind a screen/leaving silent space/in which to dream.”   Kendal – a respect of poets  Ann Wilson is a poetic force in Kendal. She was on chatty form and an excellent hostess. The audience at The Brewery Arts Centre were so respectfully silent I paused a couple of times in the night to hold the tension in the room for a few seconds. The Poetry Highlights for me were: Kim Moore surprised laughter from me with her rant about Brass Band students: She was putting a curse on the parents of these children that would: “involve marching and outdoors and coldness”. Mark Mace Smith: Mainly for his sideways “Can I get away with this?” glance and then a shrug “Well, I’m going to do it anyway!” Non-poetry Highlights: Meeting Geraldine Green and Susan Deer Cloud the night before and Geraldine’s Write to Roam workshop. Staying on Jane’s farm and witnessing newly born lambs twice in one day (tups and gimmers). The line that stuck with me: Polly Atkin: “Tonight we are full with species of madness”.   Birmingham – an encouragement of poets Birmingham, happily, sneaked into the tour of the North, partly because my geography of the UK is sketchy and partly because I feel an affinity with it, even though I’ve only been there twice. This event was particularly scary to me as I had not met any of the performers until six weeks before (when I met Sarah James briefly) when flyering. Both the Worcester and the Birmingham contingent were brimming with welcome. The Midland Arts Centre had a Green Room and was the poshest and most expensive on the tour. Well worth it to have experienced this, but a little over budget for hire fees of this level to be sustainable across the tour. The Poetry Highlights for me were: Bobby Parker: His pieces were raw, but tempered with a delicate, dark humour. Ddotti Bluebell: Her style was expressive and entertaining and action photos I got of her amused me! Matt Man Windle: Birmingham’s Boxing Poet. The first poet to make me cry on the tour with “Awe of us.” A poem about overcoming bullying. Ruth Stacey: Weaved delicate verse and then stunned us with “the bear who brings white roses that smell of other girls”. Non-poetry highlights: The Brummie welcome and the wealth of regional accents strong and subtle among the performers. Three blog reviews of the event were posted within 24 hours. Sarah James expertise of the local poets and styles which was essential to me in pulling this event together. The lines that stayed with me: Ian Bowkett: “Tomorrow we wake up better people with longer hair and a lesson learnt.” Charlie Jordan: “Bridges are where I feel small.” The Quiet Compere is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Stockport blog – A buzzing finale with a ‘questioning’ of poets, two wasp poems and a man in a Lacoste tracksuit

The Blue Cat Café in Heaton Moor was an excellent venue to host the finale of The Quiet Compere tour of the North. I think the audience gathered earliest of all this year with the venue buzzing by doors at half seven.   This could have been a very different event for me as it may have been the end, but as the tour continues next year it was a celebration of a great year and a taste of what is to follow next year.  Was brilliant to have family as well as friends in the crowd.  Also among the performers were my first consultant boss, a surgeon I used to babysit for making his debut performance and my first ever creative-writing tutor from Arts and Health Stockport.  Unfortunately, my GCSE English teacher had to withdraw from the line-up, she is also a cracking poet and this was a disappointment to me, but the replacements I managed to rustle up were high-quality and well-received.   I will have to have a look at my stats, but I think Stockport was the night where most poets had written a poem on the Volume theme, a fitting note to end on. A round- up of the year blog to follow in the next week.     First Half   Joy Winkler: The images in her volume poem was striking, especially “sings me back into a cave of shadows” and from Stolen Rowan Berries: describing playing a violin as she  “skims sins along the strings”. http://www.joywinkler.co.uk/   Zach Roddis: I always enjoy “You only live fifty million times” poem and the repetitive tweets surround sound. Here he is performing at the excellent Evidently, Salford: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOLpoAw5h44   Bill Tait:. “Garish colour. Red against the pavement grey” sleeping-bag image has stayed with me. The repetition of months in the barnacle goose migration piece were effective. No web-site available.   Janet Rogerson: “Watching Jaws with Louis” is genius. A taster:  “Why don’t they close the beach? Is that our shark book? Do sharks die when they stop moving? Why are they laughing? Are they drunk? Why didn’t they close the beach?” this carries on for 57 questions! The whole poem is available in Black Horse magazine here: http://www.thedarkhorsemagazine.com/index.html Her blog and pamphlet details here: https://janetrogerson.wordpress.com/pamphlet-a-bad-influence-girl/   Sarah Maxwell:. Sarah brought us daftness interspersed with medical terminology in “What kind of bug would you be?”. We all walked “to the park with Chloe” when we could “tread again as a child”. And Sarah’s questioning by all at the birth of Jesus was well-executed and continued the questioning theme. No website available.       Second half   Solomon Scribble: “a frown among the flowers” was an outstanding phrase in the seasonal haiku. I am now going to play the dating site registration numbers game.  I was delighted to hear “The wasp king” again. The incantation rhythm reminds me of Dead Poet’s Society. http://www.solomonscribble.co.uk/   Helen Clare: I want the “gentle-pedal” Helen mentioned and the delicacy of “Blackberrying without stains on your fingers”. Find Helen’s blog here and look and check out her new collection Entomology here: http://haclare.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-me.html   Steph Portersmith: In Ambush Street “the ghosts of hope will meet”. Steph took volume and fashioned it expertly into an overflowing pot and she became “lost on an island a moment wide.” http://fandalism.com/stefsid   Philip Davenport: “Without love we are no thing” was harrowing as was the repeated line “wolf in drag”.  The man in the Lacoste tracksuit has stuck with me and may feature in the blog title. http://www.applepie-editions.co.uk/Artists.htm   Dominic Berry: The refrain “men in suits, boys in school uniform” is brilliant and says so much in few words. The “smart” not “warm hearts” sad. I always like to see Dominic immersed in  his children’s poetry and he finished with a dragon trapped in a homework book and the dilemma over whether to hand it in . http://dominicberry.net/   Stockport poem:   If you expect your hometown to be the same as in 1989…   …you will fail at buying lunch No pasties from Spinks, No toffee donut in the underpass. Even in Superdrug you can only buy one component of your Wheat Crunchies, Panda pop, shortbread lunch You wonder about the fate of barrels that used to hold spices nuts and yoghurt raisins in the Pic mix store.   … you will be disappointed if you try to find The £3.99 Bag Shop every school bag came from C&A – where you bought your first proper dress, red and strappy, floorlength and fitted to your new curves The place on Higher Hillgate that sold Bros patches for your fashionable torn jeans.   … you won’t be able to buy Cloisonne earrings from Salisburys. …you will still feel like you are fourteen if you go into Ann Summers   …you will grin as those shops that remain   remind you of long hours with fingers fast and then resting at the latest Double Four find: A re-released Smiths single The new Carter album of vinyl A double A side by a disco band whose name sounds like the late 50s   you will stand in Stolen from Ivor stunned that teenagers can still buy their cheap T-shirts and logo hoodies where you did and lumberjack shirts are back in fashion.   …you will mourn Cobwebs, closed seventeen years, though its red sign looks freshly painted, where you spent Saturday hours lusting after velvet and tie-dye and bathing in the sandalwood of ’73. Usually leaving with another incense holder or a new CND or Ying Yang necklace. Or with a birthday money dress, a patchwork hat you’ll wear once.   Preview: http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=45621   Review: http://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=45827