Words in Other Places

A super quick post just to let you know about a couple of Dorky Family things going on in other places.

My third column is up at The Island Review. It’s all about food in Tasmania and you can read it here.

Far more exciting is that DorkyDad’s first big poetry gig in Tasmania is happening this Thursday night. It’s called Beat Night – Where Jazz Meets Spoken Word and it’s at the Lark Cellar Door at 7pm.

The band is a brilliant group of musicians – Andrew Legg (piano and hammond organ), Nick Haywood (bass), Alf Jackson (drums), Al Dobson (horn), Damien Kingston (guitar), and Frank Bansel.

I always get super nervous watching him at events, but this one should be a lot of fun, and I’m hoping that a dram or two might keep me calm… Please come along if you can!

Beat Night in Hobart

BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam 2013

BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals

For the last two years, DorkyDad has hosted the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam. It’s an exciting thing – four nights of heats, with six poets competing in each one, and the winner from each night going on to compete in a grand final.

It has finally cured me of my dislike of poetry slams – I get all the excitement of watching great spoken word, and the pride that comes with watching him on the stage, without the nerves of seeing him compete.

I am super chuffed that he has been asked to host for a third time this year, and looking at the lineup, it looks like the best ever. The Slam features 24 of the best performance poets in the UK – 12 women and 12 men – including UK National Champions, Scottish National Champions, two former BBC Slam Champions and the Scottish Makar.

Continue reading

I Am Not A Poet

I used to collect poems, like some people collect postcards or glass paperweights.

I’d keep a notebook, and if I read or heard or found a poem I loved then I’d scribble it down, as though by writing the words out myself I could somehow own them.

Sometimes it wouldn’t be a whole poem, it would just be a phrase.

a gossiping stream full of blethering pebbles

a shotgun sprinkle of freckles

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.

Good poetry – even a line or two – takes your breath away a little bit. Good poets make you feel like they have peeked inside your memory and plucked out an experience that you have lived, but then gone on to express your feeling or describe your scene better than you ever could yourself.

Continue reading

Street Art: sell it to me

This is an updated version of a guest post that originally appeared over at Thinly Spread last year. Big thank you to Christine for allowing me to republish it over here.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the most recent drama surrounded Banksy, but these two stories story sum it up quite well. Basically, a Banksy mural ‘disappeared’ from a wall in London, and fairly shortly afterwards it appeared for auction in the States. A debate has raged about whether street art belongs to anyone, whether it counts as theft if you remove art that was created illegally in the first place, whether street art makes sense if it’s removed from its original setting and context, whether preservation of street art is something we should be trying to achieve… and numerous other questions along those lines.

Personally, I think that street art really does only make sense if it’s, erm, in the street. Take a look at the incredible evolution of this piece, which provides a a visual documentation of the feud between Banksy and Robbo, and would not have been possible if an art collector had come along and removed it in its first incarnation.

In relation to the most recent debate, I think that an artwork that was widely interpreted as a comment on last year’s Jubilee celebrations makes much more sense if it’s left on the wall of a Poundland in Haringey than it would do in the living room of a wealthy collector, but that’s just me. I don’t make any claims to be an art expert, I just like to look at it. (And point you in the direction of posts that support my view…) Continue reading

A Glimpse into the 1920s

old leather bound album

What a lovely thing I found yesterday!

When one of my great aunts died, at least ten years ago, but probably closer to fifteen, I remember spending some time helping my mum sort through her belongings. I picked up two very old autograph books, which had belonged to my great uncle as a boy, and asked if I could keep them.

I came across them again yesterday when I was sorting through boxes, and I had forgotten how absolutely beautiful they are. Both are leather-bound, with ‘Album; embossed on the outside in gold lettering. One is dated 1918, and the other seems to have entries dating from 1924-1926.

Continue reading