Echo Base, this is Rogue (Strands) Two

What a night that was!!

It’s done. It’s happened. It’s over…and it was fucking excellent, thank you, please. See a review from my friend Mike below…

It goes without saying that we (Matthew and I) have to say thank you to the readers – they were all truly excellent. Different from each other, but totally in control of what they were doing from the off. There was literally nothing that I would want to change about any of the readings.

The whole evening passed by in a bit of a rush for me, so I don’t have the level of recall to go through everything that everyone read, but I think almost everyone (apart from Matthew) treated us to new work and from their most recent collections – apart from me, obvs.

I think I’d only read two of the poems in my set in front of anybody else before, so it’s all new work from me until it’s in a collection. I guess that’s a subject in itself. What constitutes new work, when does a poem stop being new? *Makes note for another post*

I think the most heartening thing for me was that other people came. I was astounded to see the lovely Josephine Corcoran waiting outside the venue when I arrived. She’d travelled up from Trowbridge, admittedly to see her Son as well but the fact she came along makes me very pleased.

Everyone of the readers brought at least one “punter” with them, so we made the room look full. Some people even turned up because they wanted to, eg Josephine, Oliver Comins, Andrew Neilson, Rob Selby and my friends Matt, Mark and Mike. A huge, huge thank you to them all for showing up to support this event and, perhaps most importantly, The Trussell Trust.

There they are. As mentioned elsewhere, this is either our wonderful audience or the most rickety of rollercoasters

While I’m mentioning The Trussell Trust, I’ve not quite totted up all we’ve raised, but we took about £100 on the night, we had about £278 in online donations before. Not quite at the £500 I was hoping for—you can still donate here — but it’s a good amount and I am pleased it all goes direct to The Trussell Trust.

It’s been a week of campaigning where the incumbent government continue to show how little they care about the general population and/or folks in need, so anything we can do to help is fine with me.

So, now what follows are a few learnings I’ve noted to myself following the evening.

1. Make sure you book Katy Evans-Bush, Robin Houghton, Neil Elder, Rishi Dastidar, Clarissa Aykroyd, Rory Waterman and Ramona Herdman.

2. Take notes as you go…I wish I’d made notes as while I remember every reading, I’m unclear about it all/able to make full reviews. I think I was all over the shop as it was happening trying to keep an eye on timings, thinking about my own work, trying to take pictures, etc..so notes would be a big help.

3. Don’t drink two pints quickly before you start. Half way through the second reader I was desperate for a pee…I made sure my set was bang on 10 minutes as I was leading into the break…

4. Take photos or ask someone else to of every reader. Due to a poor choice of seat I was unable to take a picture of Robin – sorry, Robin, but I asked my friend Mike (who happens to be a photographer) after that to take a few shots in case I forgot. See below for details

5. Make sure you check your readers know when they are reading. I’d emailed everybody with a running order, but Katy seemed very shocked when I mentioned she was reading first. I suspect the email was lost in spam…so CHECK/CONFIRM everyone’s read it!!

6. Enjoy the bejesus out of it.

7. Book the King & Queen – excellent venue, great room…

Right, the pictures of our lovely readers.

Katy, possibly talking about Quinces
Neil – the view I had
Neil, from the Crowd
Lord Dastidar – possibly talking about Neptune or Clive James
Some knobhead
Bonus knobhead
Clarissa – possibly reading about Sherlock Holmes
Arty Clarissa via Mike
Rory being excellent
Ramona Promoting Cafe Writers Competition (You have a few hours to enter)
Ramona reading her work
That Stewart bloke pre-Costume change
Matthew balancing reading and imaginary darts matches
Bonus photo of the old till upstairs.

THE WEEK IN STATS

I’ve created a page for the Title Giveaway, so they are now there as well

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Die Fingermouse
  2. Deadball Specialist

THE WEEK IN STATS

14k running – Slower week due to not being able to go on Thursday day or evening – some event on

1 Poem worked on A draft of a poem for our office Xmas lunch next week. It won’t win an award, but it has some excellent punning in

0 days without cigarettes. I was doing so well, then had a bit of a relapse this week. Oh well, onwards and sideways

1 amazing meal at Ting at The Shard – Thursday afternoon before the reading. A Xmas lunch with a supplier for work. I stayed off the booze while everyone else was tanning the wine. Couldn’t mention it on Thursday as Shard is a banned word in the poetry world.

1 acceptance for 1 poems – The lovely ladies at Atrium have taken my poem, Gift, for publication in Feb next year. Another almost made it too.

1 rejection By Frogmore, again. However, two nearly made it in

1 review to be rewritten  – You’ll see when you see.

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read: 
Why? Robin Houghton

Ordered: 
A new running sleeve and new headphones.
Craft ed. Rishi Dastidar

Watched: 
4 ep of Spiral

Listened to: 
Laura Veirs, The Lookout
The National, I Am Easy To Find
Girl Ray, Girl
Caspian, Dust & Disquiet, Waking Season, Tertia and Live At Old South Church
Galaxie 500, On Fire
Ride, This Is Not A Safe Place
Athletico Mince, a couple of eps...
and of course, The Archers…

As mentioned in my poem Lighters on the night

Molehills & Meinhofs

I’m assuming you know about Baader Meinhof, but are you familiar with Baader-Meinhof Syndrome?

If you’re not, in a nutshell after you’ve noticed something once you start to see it everywhere.

Well this isn’t about that, but it’s close and it makes it easy for me to choose the song at the end as well. And yes, I will use this is a way to promote the Rogue Strands night on the 28th. (Please note, it’s almost over. This post and then one more to sum it up and I can move on—until the next one.)

A week or so ago I noticed a spooky coincidence. Matt Merritt posted about Rogue Strands at his blog. Which was really very kind of him. I’ve always enjoyed his posts and I loved The Elephant Tests and hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica. I just hope I can track down a copy of Troy Town at some point.

Matthew Stewart has long been recommending Matt’s (keep up, there’s a lot of Matthews involved here) first pamphlet, Making The Most of the Light (HappenStance) to me and I had finally got round to buying it a couple of days before Matt M had posted his, er, post.

This is where it then starts to get weirder. My dear friend had asked me for advice about places to go in Norwich as he was on his way there to visit. On the day he Tweeted as below and I replied.

Later that evening, following a couple of pints with the very lovely Andrew Neilson, I was sat on the train home and finally had the time to dive into Matt M’s book.

I sailed through it, inhaling every poem as I went…

I mean ‘Treaty’ floored me*. I assume it has the same effect on you.

* All the preceding poems are excellent too…

But it was when I turned the page and got half way through ‘Yellow Bellies’ that things got “proper weird”. The notes for this poem point out the Vermuyden is a reference to the Dutch engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden, who introduced Dutch land reclamation methods to England and drained the Fens of East Anglia.

Crazy coincidence or not, I’m glad I’ve made the acquaintance of this pamphlet, especially in the week when there are changes afoot with HappenStance, but that’s not my story to tell. If you’re a subscriber you will already know. If you’re not, why not?

Right, enough wanging on from me. BUY MATT MERRITT’S BOOKS. COME TO ROGUE STRANDS ON THE 28TH. DONATE TO US.

THE WEEK IN STATS

I’m not sure how I managed it, something to do with a function of WordPress that I totally fucked up, but I’ve made all the previous ‘Week In Stats’ all say the same as the most recent one. I’ve no idea how to fix it. Thankfully, I have them saved as part of an RSS feed, so perhaps when I can be arsed I’ll go back and fix it…Or just add a page on for the title giveaways, etc. However, for this week…

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Fag Ash Lilt
  2. Prior Convictions
  3. Falseoreo – A name for non-branded Oreos as invented by Florence and sounds like Shakespeare character
  4. How to Put a Fez on an Alien
  5. Man, You Got Banned From a Bookshop

THE WEEK IN STATS

35k running – 20k this morning – my left hip is killing me, but the run felt good.

1 Poem worked on It’s been a quiet two or three weeks on that front, but managed a new draft of ‘Arecibo Message’

2 days without cigarettes. I was doing so well, then had a bit of a relapse on Friday night watching

2 Punk bands – My mate invited me to see the legendary Sham 69. It was a riot.

1 acceptance for 3 poems – Not sure I can say who yet, but it’s a good one. It’s my second batch of three to be taken on the trot, so I shall expect this every time now.

1 poem published  Up at Black Bough. My poem is called Safety Shot. There are many more ace poems there to be seen

1 review written and submitted – You’ll see when you see.

1 Review published at London Grip – Rose Cook’s ‘Sightings’

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read: 
Isha Upanishad Trans. by Mario Petrucci
Dodo Provocateur, Anita Pati

Ordered: 
Nothing

Watched: 
2 eps of Succession, 1 ep of Spiral

Listened to: 
Billy Corgan, Cotillions, Ogilala
Underworld, Drift Vol.1
The New Pornographers, In The Morse Code of Brake Lights
Arms & Sleepers, Swim Team
Bob Dylan, Hard Rain, The Bootleg Series 15
Neil Young, Hawks & Doves, Silver & Gold and Harvest
Harmony Rockets, Lachesis
Big Thief, U.F.O.F
Screaming Trees, Dust and Sweet Oblivion

and of course, The Archers…

A Poem by Matthew Stewart

So, it occurred to me that Matthew has been publishing exemplar (and exemplary) poems by each of the poets that are appearing at Rogue Strands on the 28th November—have I mentioned that before?—but a bit like being the photographer who never gets to be in front of the camera, he’s not going to write about himself.

Oh yes, donations here please

Therefore, I’m taking it upon myself to write a Rogue Strands-style intro for him.

I’ve been a fan of Matthew’s work since I stumbled across it on the Twitters at least four years ago. I was lucky enough to snap up the last copies of his two HappenStance pamphlets, Tasting Notes and Inventing Truth and to meet him (and his lovely wife, Marina) when they were over in London to launch his excellent first collection, The Knives of Villalejo. That meeting, and the pints that followed have basically led to this. I knew I should have stuck to water that evening!!!

Only joking…*

I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the poems Matthew is working on towards his next collection and I’m looking forward to seeing where that goes. While he has always had a keen eye for developing small details about the immediate world into something that resonates at a much wider level (see almost any page in Knives for more details), he’s certainly moving on in terms of his work. Where Knives dealt a lot with family, his new work is building on different memories and truths.

Sadly, his beloved Aldershot FC didn’t manage the kind of win that leads to an eruption yesterday; a six-nil tonking at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge saw to that, but the poem below does speak of one of life’s greatest joys – whatever the capacity of your club’s ground.

At the Far Post

Forget your novels, plays or films,
the only remaining moment
I can suspend my disbelief

is an overcast Saturday
in March, stood among curses, coughs
and scarves on a crumbling terrace,

as our winger hoists a deep cross,
our striker buries his header
and all of us erupt.


This poem was first published at Wild Court

*Or am I?

The other poet’s pages on Rogue Strands are here
Ramona Herdman
Katy Evans-Bush
Rory Waterman
Rishi Dastidar
Robin Houghton
Some knobhead

Do Androids Dream of Eclectic Sheep?

Not much to ponder on this week. A busy week at work and a skinful yesterday has left me a bit dry.

I’m mainly about the push towards the 28th November now for the Rogue Strands evening.

I plan to sit down and get things like the running order together, to look at how I might introduce the poets, what my own setlist will look like and can I do this evening without drinking?

It feels easy at present given how I feel right now – Note to self: You are not 25 anymore and day drinking is bad if not done in moderation.

On the other side of things, it’s worth drawing your attention to Matthew’s blog post promoting the first of our poets for the 28th – You are coming, yeah?

He’s written about Ramona Herdman and I suggest you read it now. I am pleased to say that the poem Ramona chose to share is one I’d highlighted in my copy of Under The Radar.

Read the blog post for the full poem, but you won’t be disappointed

It also couldn’t have been more prescient as he shared the poem on what turned out to be Bladerunner day, eg the day that Bladerunner ceased to be set in the future: 01.11.19. I always wanted to be Rick Deckard when I was a lad, so I am slightly biased towards this poem. I must get round to watching the sequel when I have a spare three hours.

In another spooky alignment, a Phillip K Dick book was waiting for me when I got back to work this week…

I’m looking forward to seeing who comes up next on his list, especially to see what slanderous scuttlebutt he says about me. However, it’s mainly to see the poems people have provided.

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Priority Seat
  2. Orthopaedic Hovercraft (Credit to my wife for this one)
  3. The Screaming of Rhubarb
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Tans
  5. Burnt Parsnips

THE WEEK IN STATS

17K running – Missed a run this week due to a visiting mother

0 Poems worked on Nada, nowt, zilch. Although, half an idea about a combination of Unwinese and Nadsat.

27 days without cigarettes. May have smoked yesterday, but it’s a blip.

1 rejection email – From Primers. There’s a magnificent looking shortlist of poets though, so I can’t wait to see who gets chosen.

1 flurry of submissions – Now I have a load of poems back I can send a load out again. That’s how it works

1 introduction to Stanley Unwin I’m pleased to have introduced someone to the work of Sir Stanley…

1 review published – Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read:
The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
Island of Towers, Clarissa Aykroyd

Ordered:
Nothing

Watched:
Not a lot, couple of Dublin Murders and a Rugby World Cup final..

Listened to:
Vetiver, Up on High, Thing of the Past
REM, Monster
Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
Anna Meredith, Fibs
808 State, Transmission Suite
and of course, The Archers…

A monster tune from before Vangelis wrote soundtracks, eg for Blade Runner

Pro-Rogue Strands

AKA Rogue Strands II: The Roguening

Yep, it’s back…almost a year to the day. It’s my enormous pleasure to be able to start talking about this properly, but after the success of last year’s event, Matthew Stewart and I are finally able to put on the second of these nights.

Hopefully, we can start picking up the pace a little bit now, although that is dependent on Matthew being able to get over from Spain. However, that’s an issue for another time.

For now, I want to concentrate on what an amazing line up of poets we’ve assembled.

Feast your mince pies on this lot:

I mean, how good is this list?

How good is that list of people, even factoring me into it? That is a mix of poets to be proud of and all for the princely sum of £3 (or more if you want) that goes to help out the wonderful folks at The Trussell Trust.

Last year we raised over £300. I want to do much more than that this year, so if you can’t make it then please do feel free to donate here –
justgiving.com/fundraising/roguestrands2019

Matthew is going to share more in terms of bios and a poem from each of the readers in the next few weeks and I will talk more about them here, but for now join me in my excitement.

It’s an honour for me to read with all of these poets, I’m a fan of all of them, so I’m a big giddy about it. Let me know if you’re coming along.

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Priority Seat
  2. Orthopaedic Hovercraft (Credit to my wife for this one)
  3. The Screaming of Rhubarb
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Tans
  5. Burnt Parsnips

THE WEEK IN STATS

17K running – Missed a run this week due to a visiting mother

0 Poems worked on Nada, nowt, zilch. Although, half an idea about a combination of Unwinese and Nadsat.

27 days without cigarettes. May have smoked yesterday, but it’s a blip.

1 rejection email – From Primers. There’s a magnificent looking shortlist of poets though, so I can’t wait to see who gets chosen.

1 flurry of submissions – Now I have a load of poems back I can send a load out again. That’s how it works

1 introduction to Stanley Unwin I’m pleased to have introduced someone to the work of Sir Stanley…

1 review published – Jane Lovell’s This Tilting Earth

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read:
The Doomed City by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
Island of Towers, Clarissa Aykroyd

Ordered:
Nothing

Watched:
Not a lot, couple of Dublin Murders and a Rugby World Cup final..

Listened to:
Vetiver, Up on High, Thing of the Past
REM, Monster
Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
Anna Meredith, Fibs
808 State, Transmission Suite
and of course, The Archers…

Well, who else was it going to be? I reckon I’ve got at least 12 Rogue Strands nights before I need to find another band to use for these things