Monday, 25 July 2016

How to get hold of Roar Stage tickets? the ABC of spoken word 27th August 2016 Stow, Scottish Borders

The very best of spoken word comes to the Borders – the Roar stage at the Stowed Out Festival Saturday 27th August brings you the ABC of spoken word from legend Sally Evans, Editor of Poetry Scotland, current Scottish Slam Champion Iona Lee and Loud Poet Katie Ailes, to ecopoet and rising star Em Strang while Solareye exhales hip hop flava from Glasgow and local rapper Husler shows a day out of Hawick is not necessarily a day wasted. Been wondering what the fuss is about? 

Tickets £12 (free all day main stage music festival thrown in) available here

Katie Ailes (Perry Johnsson)

Oh and did we mention you can bring your kids and there is a train…

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Absent stuff

Well apologies for the quiet. But maybe you liked it. I have been away working in Prague and reading Lorca but not at the same time. Both were fun. But back in the groove again. It is hot here and I am waiting for a gigantic rainstorm to arrive. Also have been waiting for an even longer time to get my head around a grouping or collection of poems and it looks like that might also arrive in a downpour.

And with regard to the quiet I suppose losing a parent takes a bit of getting used to.

In the meantime here are some stars from the Alhambra bathhouse.

And a poem by Lorca...

A Irene García


En el soto,
los alamillos bailan
uno con otro.
Y el arbolé,
con sus cuatro hojitas,
baila también.

Luego vendrán las lluvias
y las nieves.
Baila sobre lo verde.

Sobre lo verde, verde,
que te acompaño yo.

¡Ay cómo corre el agua!
¡Ay mi corazón!

En el soto,
los alamillos bailan
uno con otro.
Y el arbolé,
con sus cuatro hojitas,
baila también.


To Irene García [a man needs a maid]

In the thicket
the little poplar trees dance
with one another.
And that tree
with four little leaves
also dances.

The rains must come
and the snows.
Dance on the green!

On the green green
I go with you.

[howl] How the water runs
[howl] Oh my heart

In the thicket
the little poplar trees dance
with one another.
And that tree
with four little leaves
dances also.

This is my rather free translation - but I have fallen in love with this poem from Lorca's Canciones likely written sometime between 1921 and 1924.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Full line-up revealed #RoarStage @Stowedoutfest August 27th 2016

The full main line-up for the spoken word Roar Stage at Stowed Out Fest is now revealed. And it is amazing. Five fabulous performers all on stage in the Borders for the first time:

Em Strang, Sally Evans, Solareye, Katie Ailes and Iona Lee.

Impossible to summarise their talents in a few word but p&g might just mention that between them they have multiple slam wins including the Scottish Slam and StAnza slam, the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award, and have published multiple books, videos and tunes, plus performed at Aye Write, T in the Park,  Scottish Parliament, StAnza and the list goes on.

Find out how to get hold of tickets and the details of all the acts on the Main Stage too. This is just the Roar Stage line-up and there will be more acts - including space for you - find out how

Stowed Out is a cracking boutique festival just a short train ride away from anywhere in Scotland. And train and other transport methods are available if you are coming from further afield! More here

#mapofbirds fledgling sparrows

Notes from this week:

Click to see full:

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Creative walks

Found myself walking round in unexpected places on the way to events, readings, plays and other more routine visits to the supermarket or dropping off the kids. A carpark in Newcastle, outside an old nightclub in Dumfries, randoming on the Glasgow subway and Galashiels late on a workday evening.

I like these spaces. The fruitful time I can spend between here and there. The commute. The unengaged freedom.

The way the streetlight might suddenly hit a mundane object. And make things quite curious.

The combination, the presentation, the hit of surprise. The stop I didn't expect to make.

A road that suddenly becomes a slab of light. Or a field becomes a pathway.

As you can probably guess I am in a writing phase. Right now.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Roar Stage spoken word performance space at Stowed Out festival 2016 could be yours

A little bird tells p&g that there is a spoken word appearance up-for-grabs on the Roar Stage at the Stowed Out Festival 27th August 2016.

Free festival pass, t-shirt and something towards your travel expenses - not to mention the chance to perform alongside a fantastic soon-to-be-revealed line up of spoken word performers. Last year Harry Giles, Calum Bannerman, Sara Clark and Colin Will all appeared - to name a few. And Harry even stole the main stage...

And of course now there is a train. More on this year's Stowed Out here:

Send your YouTube videos to our contact address and we will be in touch soon.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Butcher's Dog Issue (lucky) 7 launch at Newcastle Poetry Festival 7th May 2016

A fine and electric issue of Butcher's Dog available now with new work from Roy Marshall, Barbara Barnes, Bridget KhursheedRichie McCaffery and many more.

And in launch at the Newcastle Poetry Festival.

Find out more about Butcher's Dog here And if you don't know this magazine we suggest you look and then do your utmost to get a poem in it.

And you can also see much else at the Newcastle Poetry Festival which runs 5th until 7th May and looks cracking, plus find out who has won the Basil Bunting poetry award, not to mention Sean O'Brien...more on all that here

Dark Mountain 9 out now

Share this gorgeous book. From the Dark Mountain project. Arresting and beautiful new work in images, ecotext and -poetics.

Dark Mountain say:

Humbleness comes from the Latin humus, meaning ‘earth’; so to be humble means to lay oneself low, but also to be grounded, to return to the solid and material. In their own ways, the art works, poems, stories and essays in this volume explore different ways of re-communion with the Earth. Here the certainties on which the edifices of civilisation teeter are replaced with the small, the unpretentious, the discomfiting...

You can find it here

Thursday, 21 April 2016

wetlands, flow, and questions of scale

I am off to Dumfries tomorrow to take part in Borderlands 2 - a gathering that takes us first to the reserve Kirkconnell Flow to learn how to take a geological core sample. I will be bringing my binoculars too for this part. Good place for warblers I think. And then for a workshop in Dumfries the following day.

Looking at the peat layers in the sample feels to me like a very grounding activity. But I hope to be bumping into some different people and ideas too. Which likely will have the opposite effect.

These kind of days feel a little like an open door. And I am looking forward to walking through.

Borderlands describes its genesis:

For a number of years now, a few of us from northern England and Scotland have been making the trek into the deep south to attend an annual conference/symposium type of event, which brings together scientists, artists, writers and other creative oddjobs, to meet, share ideas and enthusiasms, learn and generally network. The common ground is nature, in the broadest sense – (without getting into questions of what is or isn’t natural!).
More information on this ongoing project led by environmental artist Kate Foster, Geoff Sample and Malcolm Green is available here

And will necessarily be also seeking out a bit of Burns once in Dumfriesshire too...of which more later

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Vogon Poetry Generator - @BBC - we want it back

It is a very sad day when one has to announce the Vogon Poetry Generator is no longer working.

Actually it has not been working for a while but I in my haphazard way hoped that:

  1. People would stop using the link on p&g
  2. ...well, it might just magically come back again.
But as you can see if you move your eyes right the Vogon Poetry Generator is the top post on the site. In spite of being uploaded in 2012 almost at the very start of p&g. People, and I assume not just fans of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, have an absolute craving to get creating their own Vogon poetry.

So why oh why in the age of apps and general ease with creating small bits of code that do useless but entertaining things has this been withdrawn instead of being gloriously recreated for a new generation on smart phones?

So join the Campaign and bug the BBC to get it working again. Or write a new one and make some money...

And if none of the above makes any sense to you at all I suggest: Don't Panic.


A sample of Vogon Poetry

See, see the old sky 
Marvel at its big beige depths. 
Tell me, friend do you 
Wonder why the genet ignores you? 
Why its foobly stare 
makes you feel slithery. 
I can tell you, it is 
Worried by your offddddog facial growth 
That looks like 
A mould. 
What's more, it knows
Your clart potting shed 
Smells of grass.
Everything under the big old sky
Asks why, why do you even bother?
You only charm my cats.