Martello March News

Firstly, many thanks to all who came to see Fara at the Cut at Halesworth on 11 February. 84 people were treated to a truly memorable evening, having braved the strong winds and freezing temperature – the band said it was colder in Halesworth than it was when they left Scotland! Great singing and playing with a very satisfied audience and we also got some more names on our growing mailing list.

If you missed the band, treat yourself to their great debut CD “Crossing The Line” which is currently on offer at Coda Music in Edinburgh for just £7.99 (www.codamusic.co.uk ), who by the way have the best, friendliest and most reliable online mailorder service for CDs and Vinyl (folk, acoustic and otherwise). Check out their extensive catalogue online and if you should find yourself in Edinburgh be sure to visit their shop on the Mound. You may even be lucky enough to coincide your visit with one of their regular free instore gigs.

Next up is Miranda Sykes on Thursday 8th March at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield. Miranda has been a member of Show of Hands for many years, playing double bass and singing with Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, but all 3 members are currently concentrating on solo tours. This is actually Miranda’s first solo tour in 20 years and she has been drawing large audiences and great reviews over the last few months. Tickets are £12 and can be obtained in person from the box office (open 11.00 – 15.00 Monday to Friday and on all show nights), by phone (01502 589726) or online (www.theseagull.co.uk/event/miranda-sykes/ ).

On 28 April we will be holding our first Acoustic Music Day, based at the Canopy Theatre, Hungate Church, Beccles, featuring 7 top quality Acoustic artists including headliners Gilmore & Roberts, Alden, Patterson & Dashwood from Norwich, Doghouse Roses from Glasgow, Joseph Parsons from the USA, Honey & The Bear from Woodbridge, The Burkitt Family form South East Suffolk and Penny & Stuart Mack from Northamptonshire . The priority tickets have now come to an end, but at the moment you can still purchase tickets in person from Beccles Books, 1 Exchange Square Beccles or online from Ticketsource http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/459147 . Just £20 for an inclusive ticket to see all 7 artists (tickets for individual sessions are not available). Much more info on all the featured artists in next month’s newsletter.

Our last gig before a summer recess will be Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock on Saturday 19 May, also at the Canopy Theatre in Beccles. Tickets priced at £10 are on sale to personal callers at 1 Beccles Books and online from ticketsource at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/448907

Martin is now starting to put together the programme for autumn 2018 – Spring 2019 and is in negotiations with some more big names to bring to North Suffolk. Much more about that later, but just to whet your appetite we can tell you that Phil Beer will be bringing his solo show to the Canopy Theatre in Beccles in February 2019! We will let you know when the tickets are ready to go on sale, although this will not be until early autumn.

Posted in Songs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Martello – February News

First of all, thanks to everyone who came to the Seagull Theatre to see the brilliant Megson –  a truly memorable evening which they thoroughly enjoyed as well. So much so that they have already asked for a return visit!

Our February gig is on Sunday 11th at the Cut in Halesworth when we will be presenting the brilliant young all female band from the Orkneys, Fara. If you are unfamiliar with them have a look at the Cut’s website where you will find a video of their performance at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The link is www.newcut.org/events/entry/6424.

On March 8th we are back at the Seagull for Miranda Sykes (singer and double bass player with Show Of Hands) embarking on her first solo tour for many years. Tickets at www.theseagull.co.uk/event/miranda-sykes/

The period of exclusive priority ticketing for local people for our Acoustic Music Day on 28 April at the Canopy Theatre in Beccles has expired, although you will still be able to buy tickets in person from Beccles Books. Tickets are now available to the general public online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/459147 (small booking fee applies). Details will also be going up on the websites of all the acts  performing on the day which includes Gilmore & RobertsAlden, Patterson & DashwoodHoney & The BearDoghouse RosesPenny & Stuart MackJoseph Parsons and The Burkitt Family – all for the amazing inclusive price of £20.

Lastly, a lot of people have been asking about tickets for Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock, who are at the Canopy Theatre on Saturday 19th May. I am pleased to say that these are finally going on sale this week. They will be available online from www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/448907 from 9.00 a.m. on 1st February (small booking fee applies) and they can be purchased in person from Beccles Books, I Exchange Square (cash only please) from Friday 2nd February.

After that, we will be taking a break for the summer (too much competition from festivals, big sporting events etc!) and picking up again in September. There may be the odd fully acoustic show in the meantime, but we will keep you posted about any that might arise. Remember to check out our website www.martellopromotions.wordpress.com, and follow our Facebook page MartelloPro and our twitter feed @MartelloFolk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peace, pubs and poetry!

I have several poems coming out in a new peace anthology by Scottish writers, published by Dove Tales. There is a fundraiser for the anthology here. Dove Tales’ Jean Rafferty hosted a great event at Celtic Connections. It involved a discussion about the Human Cost of War, featuring David Pratt, foreign affairs editor of The Herald and Sunday Herald; Mary Smith, author of Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni, a book about the lives of ordinary Afghan women; and Billy Briggs, director of The Ferret online investigative newspaper and an award-winning freelance writer who has worked in many war zones. I was very touched to see that some of my poems (linking Iraq, Kurdistan and Belfast) open the anthology. A poem of mine also pops up first in an anthology on pubs, another of my passions! One for the Road, edited by Helen Mort and Stuart Maconie, is published by Smith/Doorstop. Here it is below. It’s keeping great company, with poems by Alan Buckley, Catherine Smith, Ian Duhig, Simon Armitage, Collette Bryce and Zaffar Kunial.

ONEFORTHEROAD-my poem

One for the Road and Dove Tales, with an amazing cover photo by Angela Catlin.

Posted in Poems, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Martello Music gigs

Martello, set up with our former Beccles Library Folk Club volunteer Martin Lovett, is going great guns! Here’s some great press for our latest gig, Megson at the Seagull Theatre tomorrow. Made two ‘best of’ lists. I can’t wait! Next gig is Fara at the Cut, Halesworth, 11th February. Tickets are selling fast, so make sure and get yours!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poetry in Aldeburgh 2017

Above is a thank you from Chris Agee and a blessing (in Irish) from Paddy Bushe. A thank you and a blessing began and ended my time at Poetry in Aldeburgh. A thank you and a blessing is what I give for the chance to continue to be involved in bringing poets to this small seaside town – the thing I brought my family down here to do! It has been quite a journey.

The first thank you was from author and critic Amit Chaudhuri, for reminding him that he also wrote poetry. A blessing in disguise was his not being able to make the festival in the end, which lead to me being asked by the Trustees to read in his place with Tiffany Atkinson, one of my favourite poets in English. Her originality of image and language is a model for how to write poetry, so it was quite nerve-wracking to be asked to read with her, but she was graciousness itself, and the audience was very warm in its reception. I chose to read some of Amit’s poems as well, old favourites and some new poems he sent, written in Calcutta, full of colour and taste and life.

A blessing too came from Michael Laskey, the founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, who was reading this year. As I climbed to the top of the Lookout Tower to see Issam Kourbaj’s sobering exhibition of tiny boats full of burnt matches, Dark Water, Burning World, with Ruth Padel’s poems playing in the background, Michael walked past in his trademark beret. ‘I was just this moment thinking of you,’ he said in his quiet way. ‘How are you?’ The answer was too big, so I smiled, he nodded, and we parted again.

23213368_10156717982667316_3774395461036567727_o

Highlights of the festival? Top would be the Irish contingent. I was lucky enough to be involved in bringing Chris Agee over from Belfast, and with him he brought Bernard O’Donogue to give the Irish Pages lecture, and then read with Paddy Bushe. Very close after that would be the Jamaica contingent: Ishion Hutchison and Raymond Antrobus were particularly gripping – ‘blown cane’ and life with deafness in a hearing world were among the revelations that complimented the festivals themes of place, identity and language. The night in the Cross Keys afterwards was fabulous, as the conversation continued. Refugee Tales, a book of poems on the model, photographer and child rape victim Lee miller, and a big poetry community thank you to Mimi Khalvati after 20 years of The Poetry School completed my festival. Helen Mort’s The Singing Glacier, with accompanying film and atmospheric music by William Carslake, also deserves a special mention. All in all the blessings were many. Thank you Daphne Astor – stepping down as curator this year – and Robin Boyd, our Chair, for a wonderful time. High praise too for Sally Carruthers of the Poetry School for some top notch curating! Sally will be taking over from Daphne Astor at next year’s Poetry in Aldeburgh. I can’t wait to see what comes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Oh frabjous day!

11th hour save for @tellitslantbook! What a Christmas present for Glasgow.

tell it slant

STOP PRESS!!! Tell it slant poetry bookshop has been saved for Glasgow at the 11th hour by Basil Blackwell, musician, social entrepreneur and events organiser, a favourite face and sound at many a Project Cafe Open Mic!

Basil will be taking over the shop from Ellen and Anna in the new year. The goodbye party is cancelled! There will be a celebration party instead in the Project Cafe on the 27th of January, just in time for Burns’ birthday…

More about Basil below. Please take the time to make him feel welcome. He will be sharing his plans for the shop shortly. Poets and publishers can contact him through the shop email: tellitslantbooks@gmail.com.

Basil Blackwell was born in Dumbarton and schooled in Helensburgh and Glasgow. He avoided university and college whilst there and after busking round Europe for 4 years ended up with a mobile workshop in the North…

View original post 52 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tell it slant is moving!

Sad news. After three very good years in the wonderful Project Cafe in Glasgow, Tell it Slant is going to follow its founder down South. Ellen McAteer, who set up Tell it Slant in December 2013 wit…

Source: Tell it slant is moving!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

| Beccles Library Reviews on WordPress.com

“Chosen by readers, for readers” Brave New Reads is a project that taking place across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, offering an immersive shared reading…

Source: | Beccles Library Reviews on WordPress.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pedalling Poetry IV: Stanza 2016

As an avid pedalestrian, I would have loved the idea of cycling all the way up the east coast from Suffolk to St Andrews. However, that would have taken days I don’t have since I went back to my former trade of Librarianship, so it was the train and bike again for Scotland’s poetry festival, StAnza, where I have some work in an exhibition. I had a morning community forum in Stowmarket for Suffolk Libraries Monday (where we enjoyed great presentations on Our Year of Reading and Chatterbooks, an initiative to help improve Suffolk’s dire literacy rates by making books the centre of a series of fun activities for kids, in our case pirate bingo and a short story vividly performed by Literacy Ambassador Matt Shenton: ‘a pirate’s favourite country? Aaaargentina!’). I therefore got the bike to Stowmarket the day before and booked the train from there.

My brilliant plan went haywire though when I realised that in my change from very luminous scruffy cyclist to briefcased power dressing librarian I had lost the key to my bike lock! A typical McAteer moment ensued when I dashed from taxi rank to car garage around the station with an hour till my train asking if anyone had a bolt cutter or a hacksaw (‘Wot do I look like love?’ ‘I don’t need to get arrested, cheers!’) Finally Econorent Van Hire came to my rescue with a disk cutter and, braving the security cameras at the station, their mechanic sliced through my cheap D-Lock scarily quickly, refusing my offer of a tenner for a drink on me (‘Have a drink on me when you get there, you nutter!’) Suitably chastised and confirmed yet again as an eccentric I jumped the 2.11 to Peterborough, changing trains twice more bike, bags, books and all before sliding in to Leuchars at 9.37pm. An extra special shout out here goes to Max, the owner of the beautiful Inn at Kingsbarns, who came to meet me, got me bike and all into his white van (first time I’ve ever been glad to see one of those on a bike!) and drove the 20 miles through diversions, snow and rain. That would have been quite a cycle to end the night with.

The Inn at Kingsbarns’ Annette does a beautiful breakfast that will last you all day (it would in fact last most poets a week). I took a break from cycling yesterday and walked to John Burnside’s workshop Machines for Belonging, which addressed the subject of home, a painful one for this London-born English-voiced Scotswoman who left Glasgow’s warm and radical poetry community for an English institution she didn’t fit with at all. A rich vein then, naturally, which John unusually for him forced us all to tap by building in writing time and making us read aloud. I have never known him do that in a workshop before, but I was glad of it, for the poems it gave me, and for the chance to hear some words from the other participants – quite stunning ones for a mere hour’s work in some cases. I spent the time in between walking Cambo’s snowdrop-encrusted woods and the sea path, delighted to discover a series of memorials to Sadako Sasaki, the child who lived through the Hiroshima bombings, in the form of strings of paper cranes with the #bairnsnotbombs hashtag, as well as willow sculpture playhouses and a mirror buried in the bracken wearing the legend ‘what do you see?’ (A sad surprised self in the woods, surrounded by snowdrops and paper cranes, with her back to the sea.) Here was a sort of home after all, because in fact I’d walked those very same woods on a family holiday once as a child. It’s amazing where poetry takes you.

This morning I cycled the 7 miles in from Kingsbarns to talk to the pupils at St Leonard’s School about poetry. My commission was ‘to make poetry a bit less scary.’ They are in the middle of exam angst, but a blast of Gil Scott Heron, a couple of poetry comics, and some Edna St Vincent Millay later, everyone was smiling (some derisively, they are teenagers after all.) All power to their teacher Mr Crisswell, whose passion for poetry is clear, and who interviewed me with the skill of a television host. Looking forward to seeing lots of old friends and meeting many new at StAnza’s launch tonight. Honey I’m home! I’ll leave the last word to the marvellously named Paisley Rekdal, in a poem that John Burnside introduced us to:

From ‘Happiness’

…. Does it offend them to watch me
not mourning with them but working
fitfully, fruitlessly, working
the way the bees work, which is to say
by instinct alone, which looks like pleasure?
I can stand for hours among the sweet
narcissus, silent as a point of bone.
I can wait longer than sadness. I can wait longer
than your grief. It is such a small thing
to be proud of, a garden…

There is no end to ego,
with its museum of disappointments.
I want to take my neighbours into the garden
and show them: Here is consolation.
Here is your pity. Look how much seed it drops
around the sparrows as they fight.
It lives alongside their misery.
It glows each evening with a violent light.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pedalling Poetry III – Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photographs by Peter Everard Smith http://photosmithuk.com/apf15

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment