Thursday, November 29, 2012

Poem by Geoffrey Heptonstall

This Sunday I'll be joined in the studio by poet Geoffrey Heptonstall. Here's one of his poems about New Orleans.


And only to wear blue.
When you talk about love.
When there is no-one
These days are out of time.

That we may begin
To see love’s changing.
I hear alone what you say,
How a sense of indigo falls
In base resonance
Almost motionless.

Scent of jasmine, wild
In the derelict square,
At once we name
Invisible moonlight.
The rhythm of water
Sighs false innocence,
The way a cymbal sound spins.

In the cool of first light
The river scenes shimmer.
What seems a city
Is distant sunrise.
Contraries of night pale
Into harmonies
As morning moves:
Every day a truth revealed.

How you catch the essential
The stair well chorus,
Impromptu sensations
Of the world at work
Soon we see our masters
In seasons they cannot control.
Count the beat before they speak:
How many lies to Babylon?                                                      

And after music, silence
Days like these are uneasy
With desire all the way down,
Walking out from here
As the mood changes
With phases of love.
This way the waters
Can come no more
Once the heat burns
Every ocean dry.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Spaghetti Faction and John Guy podcasts

You can listen to and download podcasts of The Spaghetti Faction and John Guy as heard on the show last Sunday. The Spaghetti Faction recording includes a couple of extra pieces there wasn't time to broadcast. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Show and Tell at the Portland. 20.11.12

As a veteran of the old Portland visiting the new venue for the first time was a bit like stumbling on Narnia. Where there was once a door leading into a small, dark room there is now a long white corridor. Entering a door to the left you find yourself in a bright, spacious room, predominantly white. All that’s missing is a lamp post in the middle.

I was performing at Show and Tell a cabaret night organised by the Twisted Willow Theatre group. It was their first event in Cambridge and was extremely well organised. Sound checks started in good time and when I arrived half an hour early there was a table set out selling items for the performers and well-produced colour programmes.

The event was open to any performers in the area and they attracted quality and variety. There was theatre, music, comedy, poetry even martial arts. Organiser and compare, Richard, started the show dead on time. The first act was Kate Vowles from Colorado who played flawless and mesmerising folk songs. She was followed by teenage improv comedy group The Youthful Exuberants. After a tentative start they delivered some great comedy moments including a hilarious sketch at a vet’s setting the bar high for the university improv group who performed later.

It was great to hear poetry from friends of the show Leanne Moden and JS Watts but it was also special to see so many performers I’d never heard of before. There was more poetry of a Buddhist nature by John Drew, who remarkably managed to get Margaret Thatcher to fund a poetry group in the 80s. Clarise Mbombo filled the room with her powerful singing and Rani Drew presented a performance of her short play set in the London riots of 2011. There was an appearance by Matha Dench Mirren, the comedy alter-ego of Simon Jones and university student Harry Wright scored a hit with his stand-up comedy. Finally it was a pleasure to perform myself to a sizeable crowd. Once again, I was performing with Tom Adams a remarkable musician who it is always a pleasure to work with.

Twisted Willow Theatre’s next big project is a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. There is an open call for actors and backstage help. For more information email:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Show: 18.11.12 with The Spaghetti Faction and John Guy

This show features the last of the performances recorded for the show's fifth anniversary along with music including net tracks by Buke and Gase, Nick Mulvey and Memory Tapes.

The Ruts - Babylon’s Burning
Buke and Gase - Hard Times
Nick Mulvey - The Trellis
The Spaghetti Faction - Acoustic Set
Public Sector - M.U.S.I.C
Memory Tapes - Thru The Field
Ivor Cutler - The Market Place
Nico - Little Sister
John Guy - Poetry
Blind Willie McTell - Statesboro Blues
deeB - Blik

The Ruts - Babylon’s Burning
Buke and Gase - Hard Times
Nick Mulvey - The Trellis
The Spaghetti Faction - Acoustic Set
Public Sector - M.U.S.I.C
Memory Tapes - Thru The Field
Ivor Cutler - The Market Place
Nico - Little Sister
John Guy - Poetry
Blind Willie McTell - Statesboro Blues
deeB - Blik

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Events this week

John Hegley
This week I'm looking forward to joining Show and Tell at The Portland. This eclectic cabaret features music, poetry, comedy theatre and more and is in aid of Arts and Minds, a Cambridge based charity that aims to include people of all ages, with all forms of mental illness and learning disabilities, in therapeutic arts-related activities. Their website can be found here:

I will be performing with musician Tom Adams. You can hear our last performance here:

On Wednesday I'll miss for the second time in as many weeks poet Richard Tyronne Jones. This time he brings his show Richard Tyronne Jones's big heart to Allographic at the Fountain along with
Hollie McNish, Hisham Ziauddeen, and host Fay Roberts. I'll be sorry to miss to it. If you're in Cambridge make sure you get along. Details here.

Next weekend it's Winter Wordfest with writers including Kate Moss, Tony and Melissa Benn and Jack Straw. I'm looking forward to catching John Hegley who I interviewed for Local Secrets. That's on Saturday when there's too much happening frankly. Shindig is at the Round Church and bands including the Scissors are at the Portland launching 'Rocket to Romsey,' a compilation album of local bands released by Repeat Records in aid of Love Music, Hate Racism. Staying in would be a waste of a good night.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Spaghetti Faction and John Guy on the show this Sunday

This week's show features the last of the material recorded for the show's fifth anniversary celebrations. There's an acoustic set from the Spaghetti Faction. You can hear some of their music by going to this post. There will also be poetry from John Guy who was unable to attend the Fountain but recorded some of his poems at home. This show features a reading John did a couple of years ago. Scroll down for a poem by The Spaghetti Faction's Phil Doran.



- Everything starts with a big bang,
said the cosmologist.

- Everything starts with a little push,
said the midwife.

- Everything starts with a business plan,
said the businessman.
- Iverything estart wiv begining,
said the beginner.

- 'Everything' starts with an 'E',
said the teacher.

Phil Doran

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Show: 4.11.12 WIth Leanne Moden & Malcolm Guite

In addition to poetry and music from Malcolm and Leanne there is a track recorded live at Shindig in September by Dave Gerard & The Watchmen and a track from one of the acts at the next Shindig night Inigo which you can download at There is also a song by Bat For Lashes from the new album The Haunted Man. Read my review here.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Next
Dizraeli - Never Mind
Bat For Lashes - Laura
Leanne Moden- Poetry Reading
Dent May - Rent Money
Spiritualized - Electricity
Malcolm Guite - Poetry
Dave Gerard & The Watchmen - Glory Box
Inigo - Coco Lico
Furtherset - I know

New Single from Nick Mulvey

 I first heard Cambridge-born singer songwriter Nick Mulvey perform in 2007. He spent most of the next four years playing with Portico Quartet before going solo last year. I reported on one of his first performances, following his split with Portico, at CB2. Trading the hang for acoustic guitar Nick's soulful voice and wide ranging influences including English Folk and African rhythms make for a moving and original sound. The Trellis EP is out now on Mercury. A free track is available from his website:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Poetry podcasts of Leanne Moden & Malcolm Guite

The poetry readings by Leanne Moden and Malcolm Guite from the show on 4th November are now available as podcasts. You can also get recordings of other performances broadcast on recent shows.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Leanne Moden

You can hear Leanne Moden on the show this Sunday recorded for the fifth anniversary party. Leanne's poems include a modern take on the character Miss Havisham and she sent another Miss Havisham poem for the blog:

The Ballad of Miss Havisham

A widow, though she never wed.
All hopes of freedom now lie dead.
And, haunted by lives unfulfilled,
Her beating heart is beating still.
Each day arrives without desire;
Still bitterness will stoke life's fire.
A love, once hopeful, now despised;
No brightness left but in her eyes.
A parody, a twisted crone,
The darkness came and bleached her bones.
Her parchment skin has withered down,
The bride has faded with the gown.
And, wreathed in cobwebs, she will be
From now until eternity.
For the darkest prisons and deepest hells
Are those we fashion for ourselves.

You can read more of Leanne's poetry on her blog and hear her guest appearance on the show in September here: