Poems and Pints at The King's Arms, Salford, Friday 3rd February 2012
By Melanie Fullard
Poems and Pints; the brainchild of Paul Heaton ( The Housemartins, Beautiful South ) and his partner, Zena Barrie is a new monthly poetry event held in The King's Arms,
Salford, Manchester. Paul, who has recently become the new landlord was also in the line-up to perform.
Myself and thisisull's Cilla Wykes accompanied two of Hull's leading poets, Mike Watts and Joe Hakim who had both been invited to the opening night.
The King's Arms is a wonderful old building with tons of character that wouldn't look out of place on any Hull street corner. It was already packed at 6pm with good grub and an even better atmosphere.
The event was held upstairs in a quirky, domed room with space for over 70 (sold out) seats. The separate bar area looked like a retro living room with a sideboard that I would love to have smuggled out!
The evening kicked off with host/performer Mike O'Brien whose energy and enthusiasm got the night off to a good start (being a cross between Mike Harding and Ian McMillan). His witty observations and hilarious take on the Michael Jackson case were well received.
Next up was Kathy Bryant with her dodgy experiences of internet dating and her invitation to Come eat with me - a funny slant on her Vegan lifestyle. She finished on a Jane Austen type ode to her boyfriend called Thy Arse.
Antony Rowland, a Yorkshire based poet who had spent time living in Hull told tales of Bun in the oven (the well known burger joint at the side of ABC cinema, now St Stephens to all of you young 'uns). He read from his poetry collection, Land of Green Ginger (an ancient area of Hull's old town whose name still remains a mystery). Keeping on the food theme with a clever poem about pies and then a poem on hotel guest books, of all things!
Local lad Mike Duff - a character straight out of Shameless opened his set with a poem about a blind date with an ugly bird before sharing with us the personal and moving account of his terminally ill brother. He then swiftly changed pace and went into a somewhat vulgar mode which didn't seem to follow his previous offerings.
The second half was opened by mine host, Paul Heaton. As a seasoned performer I was surprised to see that he was just as nervous as the other performers as he entered the stage.
Paul's been busy with two large note books filled with work and post-it stickers which he pulled out at random. Any nerves quickly dissipated as he reminded us that most of the world's ills can be put down to joggers and the evil Jeremy Clarkson. Did you know Paul doesn't drive and has never owned a car? For speed he always preferred running, for safety a slower bicycle and for comfort he would rather stay in and watch 'No Gear.'
Paul was an entertaining performer and his text message stories received from a nutty mate had us all in stitches. 'I'm having ten pints next Friday, Heato, next time you go shopping get some Paracetamol and two extra bog-rolls!'
The night was topped off by Mike Watts and Joe Hakim. They began with a quick-fire mic swap with three poems each that cleverly linked with tales of places, people and alcoholics.
They picked up the pace with Come On You 'Ull and Special Brew Blues before each doing a solo set.
Joe's powerful Karma Bonfire and his resigned acceptance of Just The Way It Is were delivered in his own gritty fashion. Mike began his set with the story of Stacey the hoax caller in Emergency Case before moving on to the brilliant Decline of the Fishing Industry; a poem delivered with great poignancy.
They finished with a tongue-in-cheek two-hander about two bullshitting drinking buddies.
It's been a great night which all came together well under the smooth direction of Mike O'Brien. Well done to Paul and Zena for putting together a hugely successful event and a great opening night.
Reviews, Arts - The Liberation of Barton - A Poetry Evening at The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber - Saturday 8th October 2011 By Melanie Fullard
The Ropewalk in Barton is a listed building which was once used in the manufacturing of rope. It now doubles as an art space and performance venue. It's really awkward to find, sandwiched between Tesco and a housing estate (especially in the dark!) but it's well worth the trouble.
Tonight sees performances from the pick of Hull's finest poets and the debut of Barton's very own Lady Blah Blah (aka Ruth Dixon).
Reviews, Theatre Stags and Hens at Fruit - Tuesday 26th July 2011 By Melanie Fullard Photos by Neil Holmes
Have you been to the 3D cinema recently?
The characters are larger than life, there's surround sound and you become so engrossed that you feel like you're in the film. Well, that's what it's like watching Stags and Hens.
The audience is gathered - standing room only. A bloke walks down the middle aisle; he's swaying a bit and looks a bit pissed.
Reviews, Books - 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
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