Stories From Potters Field by Andy Wilson and Joe Solo
Reviewed by Tim Roux
Joe Solo is a prolifically and prodigiously talented Northern England singer-songwriter who since the turn of the millennium has produced a steady flow of stand-out albums.
The trouble with ol' Joe is that he is a dyed-in-the-wool uncompromising old-fashioned Socialist who refuses to 'tart' up his songs with ear-candy arrangements, so some day someone will make an absolute fortune covering his songs with sugary flourishes but, as Joe declares with a provocative jut to his chin, 'It won't be me!'.
I bet Joe dreams of the outbreak of the Second Spanish Civil War so that he can go off and fight in it, but somewhere along the way he became fascinated by the topic of Word War I, the inhuman waste of it all and the outrage of its having been one bunch of working class lads fighting another, so he wrote Music from Potter's Field which is a collection of truly excellent and revisionist new Great War songs inspired by Graham Rhodes' play Potter's Field, where three scarecrows converse across a Flanders field.
Listen to Peace \u2013 one of my absolute favourites but, to be honest, listen to any of them.
I don't know how Joe bumped into the author Andy Wilson but they quickly decided to write a collection of short stories together around these songs, and the first set has been published as Stories fromPotter's Field with Andy on narrative and Joe on lyrics primarily but with contributions to the stories as well.
Now, addressing the First World War must be about the most difficult task any writer can undertake.
What happened was so appalling, and those trenches are so well trodden, it is very hard to say anything about any of it beyond 'ditto' or 'Amen', so I was a bit wondering whether Andy and Joe would be meeting their own Battle of the Somme or be Wipered out entirely, so to speak, on this project.
Well, no. Indeed they have survived their self-imposed impossible task rather well by creeping up on it from different and unexpected angles. No massive bombardment and 'Over the top, lads!' strategy for them.
Yes, some of the stories are straight Dazed and Confused in No Man's Land sagas, but they also cover shocking stories of what happened to conscientious objectors press-ganged over to France and of people deemed to be deserting merely because they lost their rifles when a shell dropped on their head, as well as putting the events of 1914-18 into context with what happened in Hull during WW2 and later developments in social values which mocked the insane heroism of that most ridiculous and atrocious of wars.
In short, Stories fromPotter's Field is a consuming authentic read which isn't just 'more of the same'. It is also a plea for humanity, and we can all have more of that.
Reviews, Theatre Sunday 13th February Scratch Theatre @ Fruit By Michelle Dee
I was just one of the many people on Humber Street Sunday 13th February to witness the first Scratch Theatre night at Fruit. Eight separate ten minute shorts were showcased tonight, each one a new piece of theatre written by a local writer.
Feedback sheets were handed out to answer the questions; what in your opinion worked / didn't work; what did/didn't you enjoy; how could it have been played better etc?
Reviews, Books - Coming to a Street Near You by Mike Watts (Night Press)
Reviewed by Peter Knaggs
At 116 pages, 62 poems, here we have it, the hot debut from one half of the Write to Speak
duo, Coming to a Street Near You.
There are a clutch of writers at the moment; Martin Hayes, Dan Fante
and Tony O'Neill and they write poems, good poems, you don't see them rubbing shoulders with
Don Patterson and Jo Shapcott and it's unlikely that you would happen upon their work in Poetry Review. Read more...
Reviews, Books - Coming to a Street Near You by Mike Watts Reviewed by Melanie Fullard
Mike Watts is a guy who's glass is always half empty. Not only that, it was his last fucking one and it's nine days till pay day.
The poems in his debut poetry collection, Coming to a Street Near You reflect the kitchen sink dramas of the '60's like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and Billy Liar, Watts himself being a modern day Arthur Seaton.
Reviews, Theatre Write to Speak Presents Kate Fox News - Wednesday 12th January 2011 By Michelle Dee
The final Write to Speak of the current run saw writer/poet Kate Fox performing her Edinburgh Fringe Show Kate Fox News at the Hull Truck Studio Theatre. Tonight was ladies night so before Kate took to the stage the healthy Wednesday night crowd were given another chance to hear from the female members of the workshop poets.
Reviews, Arts - Write to Speak presents Kate Fox News at Hull Truck - Wednesday 12th January 2011 By Mark Walmsley
The last Write to Speakevent of the third season was crowned by a brilliant night's entertainment featuring BBC Radio 4's Kate Fox and 4 of Hulls very own up and coming poets, Catherine Scott, Kerry-Joe Pulford, Michaela Bamber and Pam Scobie .
Normally, it could be said that the likes of the very talented Kate Fox who has graced the Hull Truck
Reviews, Books - Coming to a Street Near You by Mike Watts Reviewed by Michelle Dee
Getting published in a real book with numbered pages and your name on the cover is a milestone in every writer's career. Mike Watts of Write to Speak fame has had his first anthology published by Night Publishing called Coming to a Street Near You.
The collection of poems has proved popular with demands from local bookstores, online and at shows.
Reviews, Theatre Write to Speak at Hull Truck - Ten by Ten - Wednesday 24th November 2010 By Michelle Dee. Photographs courtesy Cilla Wykes
The second Write to Speak Larkin25 on 22nd November was another success. The small team that organize these nights prove yet again that you don't need committees, event management and marketing teams to get things done.
This evening, 24th November, Write to Speak invited a poetry collective from the North East to Hull to perform alongside their own workshop poets. The visitors perform under the name 10 x 10Read more...
Reviews, Theatre Larkin25 - Write to Speak presents: They f*** you up... at Hull Truck - Monday 22nd November 2010 By Michelle Dee. Photographs courtesy Cilla Wykes
In this current climate of Arts funding cuts and uncertain futures the only thing to do is go out there and make things happen. Tonight's Write To Speak performances were the result of such an approach.
All the writers tonight have taken advantage of the poetry writing and performance workshops hosted by Joe Hakim and Mike Watts from Write To Speak in conjunction with thisisUll.comRead more...
Reviews, Theatre Tango Passion at New Theatre, Hull - Friday 29th October 2010 By Melanie Fullard
This show has played to standing ovations on world famous stages in places like Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Rome, Broadway. How the hell did they manage to land here - wrong turn?
Well, whatever happened, we are so glad they came. For one night only, Hull became a hotbed of lust in a small theatre, not far from British Home Stores.
A cast of 30 dancers and musicians
Reviews, Arts - Write to Speak - The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright and Helen Mort at Hull Truck - Wednesday 20th October 2010 By Mark Walmsley
Hull Truck 0 - Luke Wright 30.If this had been the cricketer Luke Wright, you would be forgiven for thinking that the headline was a cricket score result between the Hull Truck cricket team and the solitary England Batsman but on this occasion it was worse news.
On his second visit in 2 years to the Hull Truck Theatre, Luke Wright, one of Britain's leading performance poets played to a house of around just 30 people.
Reviews, Arts - 1st September 2010 - Write to Speak Featuring Ian McMillan - Talking Myself Home By Jess Fullard age 16
This poetry thing's alright!
Right, me auntie asked me to go to this poetry thing - her mate couldn't go so I sez I wud (only coz she was gunna buy me a beer!).
I woz a bit worried it might be all, 'thee, thou' stuff. Am onny 16 an Eminem is the most famous poet I know!
Anyhow we goes in an it turnz out to be o'right, you know. I woz real surprised. Mike Watts and Joe Hakim did their poems and these woz real good.
Reviews, Arts - Write to Speak featuring Dennis Wild at The Adelphi Club - Thursday 5th August 2010 By Melanie Pearce
The Write to Speak group has become an extended family and like all families they like to get together for a bit of a do.
The chosen venue is the local Adelphi Club - round at mad Uncle Paul's house. Like any mad uncle's house, it's small, messy and always full of waifs and strays. You certainly wouldn't eat there but its home all the same.
Reviews, Books - Old City, New Rumours - Edited by Ian Gregson and Carol Rumens Reviewed by Tim Roux
In Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino, or rather his character, Marco Polo, declares that a port approached from the sea is of a very different character from the same port as approached from the land.
Being brought up in Hull in the 1950s and 1960s, I remember that you could drive into Hull down the Anlaby Road and have no sense of entering anything other than yet another Northern industrial red-bricked city until you either drove onto one of the docks
Reviews, Arts - They F*** You Up - Spoken Word Workshop at Hull Truck By Julie Corbett
A steady stream of people went in to Hull Truck and climbed the stairs or took the lift to the first floor. We were all heading for Inter@ct - the space and the first Write to Speak Poetry workshop. A few Hello's but it was mainly a community of strangers.
Joe Hakim began by introducing himself, Mike Watts and Cilla (the editor of www.thisisUll.com . And gosh we the audience were all quiet and attentive.
Reviews, Films - Avatar - iMax Cinema, London By Michelle Dee
I'd seen the clips and a brief 'making of' documentary on Film 2010 but nothing prepared me for the complete immersion into James Cameron's spectacular vision. I wasn't sure how I'd get on with the whole 3D thing, I worried it wouldn't work for me; how wrong was I.
London's iMax cinema on the south bank is huge and was apparently sold out that day although there were a number of