My local vinyl record store, Empire Records, is one of the places where I first started reading my poetic creations. It was the place where it didn’t matter what you had to say and I discovered, with my hands shaking so much that the white pages before my eyes impressed the sensation of double vision on several occasions, that people actually seemed to enjoy what they were hearing.
Sadly, the events stopped due to one thing or another, and I lost the platform on my doorstep and the comfort of performing to regulars. Even more sadly, Derek, the store’s owner and the most quietly cool dude I have had the pleasure of meeting, lost his life to cancer earlier on this year. He was so kind towards me and my awful nerves. His fantastic record shop is still going strong, showcasing the very best vinyl and occasionally inviting musicians to play live in-store, from the likes of the folk songsters, Dodo Bones to punk’s compassionate angry man, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
So, you always wonder what you can do to make something better in eventualities like these. Nothing really, words are not usually going to make much of a difference, albeit offer some comfort to those who bear these losses, but you do want to do something.
It’s not much, but today I went into the shop with my words, in the form of a box of copies of The Will To Gig, my new mini anthology of rocking poems and popped them on the counter next to the Mount Vernon Hospital collection box, inviting customers to take a copy in exchange for a fund-raising donation for the pot.
So, if you are passing Empire, pop in and grab a copy. Thanks everyone.
Despite being a little under the weather, I dosed myself up with a fine mix of Benylin and various cold defying products and pushed myself out for a great evening this week sharing some of my words with Watford’s finest wordsmiths at The LP Cafe, the little home of vinyl, coffee and splendid homemade custard tarts set on the edges of the ring road.
Organised by the Caffeine Dreams collective who literally juggle clever words and balls, it was an evening of reflection and humour, mulling over rights and wrongs, the recent election, global issues and scenarios that are pretty unbelievable (I shall mention that one in a moment). Then I came on and mucked up the cause for discussion and opinion. Well, it was the LP Cafe afterall, with everything from Iron Maiden to Churches hanging from the walls. So, I went straight in with a couple of poems from my new pamphlet and read it’s self titled “The Will To Gig” and “Eggs Fudge and Arctic Roll”, a poem about an intern dealing with the backstage needs of rock and roll bands. I did decide, however, to share “Like”, found here on this blog in the hope that it may have provided some food for thought on my part.
What makes it so special about events like these, when writers all come together with a few listeners thrown in for good measure, is that any topic whatsoever is entertaining and enlightening in itself, and this evening brought everything to the floor – from demonic, psychedelic sexed crazed adventure stories (I don’t know what that guy was on, but he can share Benylin with me any time) to mental health issues, politics and how the Bible came into existence (loved that one!)
Checkout the Caffeine Dreams Facebook page and also The LP Cafe which hosts a lot of different events for the local community. Watford gets to be a better place with guys like these.
Ok, before we get started on this one, you may be thinking – “What the hell?” However, I have mighty respect for most music genres, despite veering towards the heavier sort. Now and again however, I’ll take stock and experiment, it’s good for the ear and, in my case, the pen in hand.
So, in just 62 words, here is my latest SixtyTwoIntro:
From the anonymity of white label vinyl to stylish artwork on 12” sleeves, elusive electronic/dub-step duo, Various, are intriguing. Under a cool persona, they unintentionally shield themselves from the well-deserved spotlight and appear with new material every now and again, to receive critical acclaim. Think chilled beats that float with soulful, almost subliminal, guest vocals. Tracks are haunting, cryptic and completely hypnotic.