Thursday, January 28, 2016

CREATIVE WORKING LIVES EXHIBITION AT ANTEROS, NORWICH, APRIL 5TH TO 16TH

Exhibition of Creative Working Lives at Anteros, Norwich, April 5th to 16th. I hope to be participating.

There will also be a Creative Working Lives workshop on Saturday, April 12.

POEMS FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART by Martin Stannard

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POEMS FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART by Martin Stannard



From GCSEs to studying English Literature at British Universities, poems are too often analysed – deconstructed - in terms of Structure, Form and Content, and usually in that order. Resting upon a history of metred poetry, specific forms and rhyming patterns, poetry is presented to the reader as a craft. Unfortunately, because education policies are ever pressing, it is my contention that this has led to a specific type of crafted poem being produced over and over to meet the suction pump of this academic consumption.

The division between Structure, Form and Content is false and there is no crafty analogy between building a boat and writing a poem as GCSE teaching materials suggest. A poem may be the water or the boat or both. That is, poetry can go off at tangents, fall apart, meander, spill into half remembered dreams, create dreams and puncture the present with memories in a breath.

***

Martin Stannard’s ‘Poems for The Young At Heart’ is fresh and fluid throughout, with an Appendices that takes a swipe at that crafty formula: notes attempt to unravel a cut up/random poem, ending up in a nonsensical explanation; and a quiz tests the assumptions as to what a poet is (or what the poet presumes he/she is).

‘Poems for The Young At Heart’ is a packed volume of poems, thoughtful and playful; and entirely conscious of what’s regarded as the unconscious. The worldly element of the book is that Martin Stannard teaches in China. Rather than an introduction, there is a prologue – a poem written on a porcelain pot in the Tang Dynasty, translated by the poet.

When I was born you, my love, were not.
When you were born I was already old.
I long to be a butterfly, seeking out flowers
and resting every night upon fragrant grasses.

A prologue hints at a drama about to unfold. ‘One Week In The Life’ follows. The week shapes the sequence. Here is a mundane scene set on a farm that could be in China, East Anglia or anywhere. Pandora is away. A letter is expected tomorrow. But no letter arrives. Time passes. Come Sunday he should be in church but thinks of all the drunkenness and lechery in town, where Pandora is, but she will be at her lodgings, thinking about “being here” (back with him on the farm). Monday: a pigeon brings a note from Pandora: she is lonely among the masses.

Brick walls and glass towers/do not divide us Rather we are held together by their shadows.

On the last day of this week – a Thursday - Pandora returns. But she is not staying.

Tonight the Johnson’s barn will burn to the ground.
It will be blamed on one of the gangs from town.
There is something wrong with me. There is evil. It exists.

The absence of Pandora gives rise to melancholy  but is always underpinned with sudden turns of phrase – contradictory and amusing - and the poet’s impending act of burning Johnson’s barn down pulls us up sharply as the lament turns to action.

37 Occasional Poems

The next section, ‘Occasional Poems’ comprises 37 poems, a tour de force of subjects, emotions and philosophical explorations. In ‘An Albatross is Perched on My Shoulder’ the poet almost becomes the Ancient Mariner and the melancholy turns into an absurd comedy with the weight of the bird upon him. However, in the next poem as the Wright Brothers attempt to fly birds fall to the ground and the poet ponders if birds ever think about falling.

Birds, large, small and of different colours, occupy aspects of these poems, centrally or as an aside. Not the Hitchcock birds of threat but perhaps a symbol of freedom loaded with dread. And, perhaps, in an act of deconstruction, I should go through the book with a marker pen and highlight all the birds I can find… No, I’ll leave this as a possible appendix for Martin Stannard’s next book of poems.

‘A Happy and Prosperous Life’ is a whirlwind contemplation of life and death, where the seriousness of the contemplation is turned on its head with humour. It is this seizing of a thought (sometimes universal, sometimes mundane) and batting it about before turning it over which is so engaging. Does he really think that? Or this?

The poet’s fusion of the formal and colloquial makes his poetry engaging. In ‘Blessed’ he invokes Jesus and then writes “I’m going to go/up a mountain with my team-mates.” The twist, from the saintly to the call centre or terrace, place one image on another, like film.

As we are increasingly drawn into the run of these poems, the humour steps out like a Surrealist hammer, as in ‘Design Flaw’ and there is more to ‘Occasional Poems’ for  they begin in a stammer and end in a stutter with the growing substance in-between. Like life itself – a life?

One of my favourites presently is ‘For Mark Holliday’,’ the poet’s friend, poet and co-collaborator. Though dicing with the prospect of writing a comprehensible and moving poem, Stannard comes close to the tugging contradictions of the poet. About a poem he writes

Rather/it’s a statement of desire and pessimism
with a strong dose of defiance. Defiance of what I am
not sure, but without defiance there can be no
hope of fulfilment, and without fulfilment
there is only dismay and a crushing disappointment

Time Passes

Another section, ‘Chronicles,’ promises to chart time but here is the compression of time. “I am having a time” begins each of the 23 poems. Each poem implodes on the next so that we chart a churning mind rather than a passing of time – the activity we place in our diaries. And what is the numbering? An code?

‘Chronicles’ is preceded by ‘Dramatic Works – Flirts in Skirts.’ This comprises of a number of very small and repetitive duologues between two males – exchanging banter, they say these days.

I think ‘Flirts in Skirts’ is about more than itself in this volume. The sudden dropping of the first person which the poet uses so effectively, is replaced with two other voices. One character may summon Satan but their exchange is inconsequential, for nothing happens as a result. For anyone who writes drama for the stage, an exchange that doesn’t lead to action isn’t considered drama. In ‘Poems For The Young At Heart,’ the singular voice of the poems promises action, while the ‘drama’ laments activity. The energy is in thought and dreaming, not in casual exchange. He literally writes on his nerve endings.

In essence, Martin Stannard plays with the contradictions in the tumbling mind – which are all our contradictions. He literally writes from his nerve endings. Poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan puts it far better than I:

Here is a major book by a major British poet who dances in the ballroom where the avant-garde meets the mainstream and, more importantly, makes us all want to dance there too.

A highly recommended book indeed.










Tuesday, January 26, 2016

REG WEBB TRIO AT MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB, SUNDAY FEBRUARY 7


ANOTHER ECLECTIC MIX FROM SINGER REG WEBB AT MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB

The next concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 7 February heralds the return of a long time club favourite with a new band - The Reg Webb Trio.


Reg Webb is one of the most respected figures on the East Anglian music scene who makes no apology for his eclectic mixture of styles and influences.

A charismatic and intensely soulful singer and keyboard player, Reg Webb is an accomplished musician and one of the most popular singers to appear at Milestones over the last fifteen years, fusing anything from standards by Duke Ellington, the modernism of Herbie Hancock to the grooves of Stevie Wonder or Steely Dan.

"We call it jazz because people need a label. We'd rather just call it music," says Reg, "When we say the music is accessible, we don't mean that it's watered-down elevator music."
 
He has worked with established names as diverse as John McLaughlin, Shirley Bassey, Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Pass, Art Farmer and Roland Kirk, but it is with his own simmering mix of modern jazz - standards, blues and full blooded electric fusion - that he enjoys himself the most.


 
As well as Reg's adventurous keyboard work and wonderfully expressive voice, reminiscent of a cross between Stevie Wonder and the classic jazz vocalists, the trio also features bassist Andy Staples and Reg’s long-time sparring partner from The 3 B's, Andrew Dowding on drums.
 
The trio’s genuinely exciting music contains all the elements of a great improvising group - a constant supply of fresh ideas, shifting rhythms and a sense of bluesy urgency to hold everyone's attention.

The trio
will be performing standards and originals, a number of songs from Reg's CD with The 3 B's, 'Blind, Black and Breathless', and one or two newer pieces.
 
The band’s full line-up features Reg Webb (vocals/keyboards), Andy Staples (bass) and Andrew Dowding (drums).
 
Listen to the music of Reg Webb by visiting http://www.milestonesjazzclub.co.uk
 
All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.
 
Admission - £7 / £6 (concession).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

MUSIC IN NORTH EAST SUFFOLK


PANGAEA
 

If you can't make tonight at The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft, you can hear the 'world jazz' quintet with its new line-up in Halesworth. More grooves and improvisation inspired by music from around the world.

Friday 29 January, 7.30pm
The Cut
New Cut
Halesworth
IP19 8BY

Admission £8.50



MARTIN CARTHY: AN ENGLISH FOLK LEGEND IN LOWESTOFT

Highly recommended is a local visit by arguably the most important and influential English folk singer since the war. Martin Carthy is a wonderful and charismatic singer and guitarist and he is playing on your doorstep!

Sunday 24 January, 7.30pm
The Seagull Theatre
Morton Road
Lowestoft
NR33 0JH

Admission £10 / £12



THE BIG FUNKY PEPPER BAND

This incendiary 8 piece band (with a 4 horn front line) play original arrangements of music that everybody knows, covering jazz, soul, funk, pop, Latin and rock styles. You've heard these songs before but never like this!

Thursday 28 January, 8pm
The Stanford Arms
Stanford Street
Lowestoft
NR32 2DD

Admission is free


CLEVELAND WATKISS AND TOM HARRISON

The great jazz singer joins forces with the young alto sax virtuoso (recently seen with his own band at Milestones Jazz Club) to revisit the work of Duke Ellington with a twist. Recommended.

Saturday 6 February, 7.30pm
The Fisher Theatre
Broad Street
Bungay
NR35 1EE

Admission £12 / £10


Friday, January 15, 2016

FREIGHT GALLERY, NORWICH - EXHIBITION THIS MONTH


SUNRISE, A COLLAGE by RUPERT MALLIN


This is a cut up watercolour/gouache piece, Sunrise. I've virtually come to the close of a series of cut up landscapes. I wanted to scatter the elements randomly across a large sheet of card but as soon as a few pieces were scattered, an overwhelming urge to make some order out of them imposed itself. Perhaps I need to invest in a blindfold.

DIARY BOX ART by RUPERT MALLIN


I am contuing to produce diary boxes of art on a weekly basis but all is presently in chaos as I've run out of boxes, so at present some of the elements are in bags...

The piece above is to do with collecting. I collect a lot of things. Some of the "things" many would consider junk. Here, in this piece, these are treasured items that belong to my character in his prison cell.


Here is another item from the Diary Box.

FACES AND MASKS


This week I've been busy with other things but produced this from an old mask and am always drawn back into faces as a subject...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

HISTORIC "THUNDER RUN" BROUGHT BACK AT BRISTOL'S OLD VIC THEATRE

How fantastic, the historic "Thunder Run" has been brought back at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Basically, large balls (like bowling balls) are let loose in the Gods and spiral down and around the theatre in wooden troughs, creating a tremendous sound effect. Catch full details on the BBC website.

Friday, January 08, 2016

FACTS & RUMOURS: LANGUAGE

Richard Catchpole is really getting into the "blank canvas" that is Rupert's Blog. This morning I found a large envelope stuffed through my letter box full of 'facts and rumours.' He must have posted it in the middle of the night. But when is the middle of the night, exactly?
 

We can identify "bad" language as "foul mouthed" language but what of "good" language? Sometimes, sadly, the good becomes bad and the bad good. Language is not what it seems.

I expect it is acceptable to say "n-night" to a child but some use "n-night" to wish other adults good night. A childish antic. And what about the day?

My wife tells me that children were once greeted each morning with "d-day" in Lincolnshire (the depths), or "da-day," wishing them good morning. That was until Australian "blokes" stole the greeting, which they amusingly use among themselves! I've heard that in some remote outback locations its use is near epidemic: "d-day," "d-day," "d-day..." Surely they should pay due respect to their mother tongue - our mother tongue. 

Or is slang to become the mother of all tongues?

by Richard Cathcpole 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

FACTS & RUMOURS RETURNS: THE THREE LINE WHIP

Richard Catchpole has recently been in touch, enthused to write again on Rupert's Blog after his long convalescence. He asked me about guidelines. I said "it's an open canvas." So here it is

Facts & Rumours about Parliament

I was nearly back in hospital yesterday, falling from my stool when my dear wife asked me, "Richard, what is Black Rod's Entrance?"

Picking myself up I said, "My Dear, every young person in the land should be told about Black Rod's Entrance for it is where common people go to visit Parliament. Through the Rose Garden and there it is, Black Rod's Entrance."

"Oh," said my wife, adding: "What is a three-line whip?"

Here, I was in my element. "The whip" derives from a hunting term, "whipping-in" - to whip the hounds into a pack. Whipping-in was first mentioned in a debate of 8 May 1769 I believe, when the Tories were worried their MPs wouldn't turn up in sufficient numbers to vote, so they were "whipped-in."

"So, we have the "whip" and the whip's office, making sure MPs turn up and vote according to the leadership's wishes. A "three-line whip" is a message, underlined three times, demanding MPs attend and vote in a certain way, or there will be dire consequences! And that is the bedrock of our democracy Dear..."

"Oh," remarked Mrs Catchpole, adding dryly, "so without hunting and whipping-in there would be no democracy."

"Quite."

by Richard Catchpole 

NEW BOOK OF POETRY BY MARTIN STANNARD: POEMS FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART

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 Poet Martin Stannard has a new book of poetry published by Leafe Press. Purchase a copy here

130 pages packed with new poems. A full review of the book will follow here shortly.

So glad my collage was chosen for the cover!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

TOM CLAY-HARRIS QUARTET MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB JANUARY 3







2016 STARTS WITH YOUNG TRUMPET STAR TOM CLAY-HARRIS AT MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB
To kick off the 2016 programme of concerts at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 3 January 
is a first time appearance as a band leader for a locally grown trumpet virtuoso - The Tom Clay-Harris Quartet.



A rising star on the UK jazz scene, Tom Clay-Harris grew up in Norfolk and has become a highly respected figure on the Glasgow jazz scene playing in various big bands, including The Swing Sensation Big Band and fronting his own group.

Currently in his fourth and final year at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Tom is studying with the great saxophonist Tommy Smith and plays in the prestigious Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Known for his lyrical and beautifully considered style, Tom cites trumpet masters Thad Jones, Miles Davis and Tom Harrell among his primary influences.

At this concert, Tom will present a mixed selection of familiar standards and a sprinkling of original compositions supported by one of East Anglia's most admired jazz rhythm sections.

The band’s full line-up features Tom Clay-Harris (trumpet), Simon Brown (piano), Ivars Galenieks (double bass) and Brian McAllister (drums).

Sunday, December 20, 2015

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW YEAR

Christmas is about to set in but I'm looking forward to the new year as I'm determined to leave formal school teaching behind and engage in collecting/selling and my art and writing.

My blog here will play an important part - as will my other much neglected blogs - and I intend to spend a day a week on them and developing social media (to some extent).

Here are those neglected blogs:-

The Asparagus Shed will be reborn to include a post on collecting and, in later life, trying to live an alternative kind of life for an alternative kind of culture every week. Collecting: I've just picked up a wonderful leatherbound 1809 edition of the novella 'Elizabeth' and want to share it. Likewise, I've got some giant garlic growing and boy, do I love giant garlic!

I have been getting back into poetry over the last 12 to 18 months. I want to gather some of my old poetry on my Broken Links blog and write more letter poems to Heather on her blog. However, what will be new (and old) is Syntaxophone, the blog - not just a look back at the 1970s small press explosion but building on those dreams - perhaps. And a blog is nothing without reality, so, I am planning to return to reading aloud my poetry again.

Visual arts wise, I am on a creative high with arts boxes and two dimensional works. These I hope to gather on Rupert's Gallery Blog.

So, lots of blogging ahead! I've kept my blogging non-commercial for nearly eleven years and this will continue. However, I will be setting up a very commercial website very soon. For me, 'commercial' just means trying to make a living from what I do - profit doesn't come into it!

Seasonal Greetings To You All!

 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

JAZZ IN SUFFOLK COMING UP - FROM MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB


 

PANGAEA
 
The 'world jazz' quartet returns with its new line-up, more grooves and improvisation to its regular haunt.

Thursday 17 December, 8.30pm
The Stanford Arms
Stanford Street
Lowestoft
NR32 2DD

Admission is free


ALAN BARNES OCTET: A JAZZ CHRISTMAS CAROL IN BURY ST EDMUNDS

If you enjoyed Alan Barnes at Milestones recently then this is for you! The master saxophonist and raconteur narrates the Dickens classic, with musical scenes and vividly depicted by an all-star eight-piece band featuring Bruce Adams (trumpet), Mark Nightingale (trombone), Robert Fowler (saxophone), Karen Sharp (saxophone), David Newton (piano), Simon Thorpe (double bass) and Clark Tracey (drums).

Pay on the door seats for £15 are reservable by emailing headhunterslivemusic@gmail.com (confirmation within 24 hours) or to pre-pay (+ booking fee) please visit http://headhunterslive.org and follow the links.

Friday 18 December, 8pm
The Hunter Club
6 St Andrews Street South
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 3PH

Admission £15


LITTLE BIG MOUTH

Original, sparky songs from the dynamic trio in a style that stretches from country and folk music to pop and a touch of jazz. Post-Christmas entertainment without a turkey in sight!

Sunday 27 December, 3pm
The Stanford Arms
Stanford Street
Lowestoft
NR32 2DD

Admission is free

AND FINALLY, DON'T FORGET... Sunday 3 January, 8pm
The Tom Clay-Harris Quartet

WHY THE BRITISH PAY THEIR MPs £78,000 A YEAR

I watched an excellent documentary on Einstein last night - BBC 2. The genius stood time virtually on its head. Jess Phillips MP has taken time bending to an even higher dimension:

“A week is a long time in politics and four years is an even longer time, but at the moment I can’t see that the result would be any different [from May] – if not potentially worse – if the general election was called today.” Guardian

Phew! So, a week is a long time, four years is a longer time but an event in 2020 could be summoned today. This genius is what we pay MPs large sums of money for.

Let me break that time continuum (or not) into bite size pieces for you:-

A week - a long time
Four Years - a longer time
This very second - now
Last May - the gloomy General Election result
Today's tomorrow - a gloomier General Election result

The Labour MP tried to explain that she may, unlike her pink colleagues, stab Jeremy Corbyn in the front, rather than the back, in a week, four years time or even today (which was actually yesterday)

A genius with time, her tactics must be brilliant too and I reckon this is a false trail and she'll merrily stab him in the back anyway.



  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

THIS WEEK'S ART DIARY BOX by RUPERT MALLIN





Hewn from the core
Passed between people
As if the Earth doesn’t matter anymore.

Your skin, kept within skin
Your paper buys skin
A monkey
A tonne
A score

Renew, for it has expired
But will never expire
And when you’re in the fire
What use then
But your name in a book
Said to be written in
With a gold nib pen

Hewn from the core
Passed between people
As if the Earth doesn’t matter anymore.


________________________________________________


 All too quick this week!

1. A lightening sketch of Alfred, Endwell's husband (above)
2. The drama (which is turning into a film) features Endwell and her husband (in the ether?)
3. A poem (above)
4. A papier mache relief - Where Money Comes From
5. A one off print - Alfred's precious things