Goodbye Pint of Poetry!

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On Wednesday it was the 10th birthday, and also the final night of A Pint of Poetry & A Dash of Drama – a spoken word open mic night I co-founded back in Peterborough with my friends Mark & Summer (pictured). Although I left in 2010 I’ve been back a few times, and was honoured to return and perform and compere part of the evening. You could tell I was a bit rusty when I introduced one of the acts with the wrong gender…

I’ve got a lot of very fond memories of PoP, which started me writing poetry. Now I don’t pretend to know any of the rules or forms, and most of what I write is pretty light-hearted stuff, but with everything that has been going on with my health I decided to write something inspired by that. There is a link here to a very rough recording I made of it – it’s called ‘Stand Up Wee’.

I really enjoyed getting back in front of the mic, and am definitely going to try to build it back into my life along with getting fit. What I’d ultimately like to do is put a spoken word show together – The Ballad of Gutless Dick. So watch this space.

Thanks to everyone who came along over the last 10 years and made PoP so very special. There wil be a new night soon from some of the team, and the scene has really grown. I’m off to track down some nights in Bristol…

Competition Update – #PboVSHuntingdon

Well @Nat_Lucks has risen to the challenge and has also started to compile a list. As of right now she has 76 members to my 49. You can view her list at

However, we are yet to agree on the rules! I’m going to suggest that:

The winner is the person who, by midnight on Saturday 6th April (a week and a half from the start) has the biggest list of active Twitter users with a demonstrable link to either Peterborough, Cambridgeshire UK for me, or Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire UK for Natalie.

Active will be defined by having tweeted in 2013.

Organisations, companies, bands, and individuals are all acceptable, but they must have a demonstrable link to the city (Peterborough) or town (Huntingdon).

We will then each count up the others list, and challenge any members of the list we believe are ineligible.

I’ll put this suggested rule to @Nat_Lucks for agreement and then we shall continue!

That my friend, is called a pint…

shadows of the cathedral

This week I am back in my home town of Peterborough looking after my mum who recently had an operation on her knee. I’ve still managed to catch up with a few friends too whilst I’ve been here, and last night I went along to A Pint of Poetry & a Dash of Drama – an open mic poetry & drama night that I helped start up over 6 years ago when I still lived here.

I was a little nervous – I hadn’t been to the event for over a year, and not performed anything since then – I hadn’t really written much either, so was hastily scribbling as I sat through the first six performances. However, the mix of styles and confidence levels of the performers soon had me relaxed and enjoying myself as I stepped up to compare the second section of the evening.

Mark stepped back up to do the final section and introduced me to a warm reception, and my work – rusty as it was – seemed to go down well.

I need to get myself creative when I get back home!

Photo by Jon Smith, Licence detail here

Happy Birthday Pint of Poetry!

This week saw the sixth birthday of A Pint of Poetry & a Dash of Drama – a spoken word event that I started with two friends in 2006. For six years, on the first Wednesday of every month poets and actors have gathered at Charters Bar in Peterborough to share there own and favourite works of literature, for free.

I missed the first night as I was in hospital, but there were were only three performers. Over six years that has grown, and we regularly have audiences of 40 people and 20 performers. The event is free – and that is part of it’s success and charm. We’ve not got caught up in committees and accounts, and anyone is welcome to perform. Standards (and tastes) vary, but it doesn’t matter.

This weekend a group of performers will journey to Edinburgh to take part in the Free Fringe for the third year running in our spin off event ‘A Pint of Poetry & a Dram of Drama’. You can see videos of our first visit on my YouTube channel here.

I moved away from Peterborough 2 years ago, but still try and get back when I can, and still feel a sense of belonging when I do. We’ve had Christmas parties where we as organisers dressed up, birthday cake, competitions and guest spots by Tim Clare & Rachel Pantechnicon.

We started with a MySpace page (which we should probably delete) and now have a Facebook group. I reckon we kick started other Peterborough events by giving a platform which showed that spoken word was wanted by the people. We cross promote other arts events in the city, and have been nominated

So happy birthday Pint of Poetry and a Dash of Drama, and thank you to Charters for hosting, everyone who has come to watch, who has performed and to Summer & Mark for keeping it going – and agreeing with my top suggestion for the name!

You can read all about it on the Peterborough Telegraph website.

#oneaday, Day 57, Death of a salesman

My little shop

Today as I walked through Peterborough city centre I came across this vacant unit. This used to be Millets, and the closure was reported in the local paper, The Evening Telegraph. This was not the only vacant unit in the city centre by any means, but it was the only one I used to work in.

I had a Saturday job here when I was 16, and worked for the company in a couple of branches until I was 19. They gave me training – I became a Gore Tex consultant and it was a nice little shop to work in. Apparently it has closed down due to financial difficulties with the parent company, The Outdoor Group,  who also own Blacks just up the road. I’d even been in quite recently to get my wife some waterproof trousers for when I can’t be bothered to take her to the train station.

So I shall miss the familiar sight on Bridge Street, although I lost contact with my former colleagues some time ago. I hope that wherever they are they are still folding fleeces in the right way, and doing those add on sales we loved so much….

#oneaday, Day 22, My home town is famous

So it seems a story carried in my home town local paper, The Peterborough Evening Telegraph has created quite a stir. The story last week told of how the mayor went to borrow a 3D film from Blockbuster to watch on his new 3D TV, and was refused for hygiene reasons – they can’t reuse the 3D specs. This was picked up by Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun, The Sunday Times and even Perez Hilton.

It’s nice to see that the city is promoting itself in a good light. Cathedral – no. Recycling rates – no. Mayor refused DVD rental – yep.

Still, at least the ET got a second story out of it…