Up Coming Gigs

I’ve done some of these already cos I forgot to finish this list earlier. Still…

-16th March. Poetry Puplit @ The Left Bank, Bristol. FREE

-27th March. Hatfield Open Mic @ Hatfields Pub, Doncaster. FREE. (I’m doing a featured slot and its the town I grew up in and I’m very excited about it)

-30th March. Sunday Circus @ All Hallows Hall, Easton, Bristol. FREE. 12noon with Alice Phelps and Katy Storer.

-10th April. Pen:chant @ 3 Minute Theatre, Manchester. £5. With Ben Mellor, Leonie Higgins, Liz Greenfield and Alabaster DePlume (who are all BRILLIANT)

-12th April. Davefest @ The Lower Lode Inn, near Tewksbury

-Saturday 19th April @ The Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol. Supporting Raphael Attar’s ‘World’s Greatest Everything’ Details here

-Sunday 27th April.  Vanessa Kissuule’s Book Launch (exciting!) @ Lashings Coffee House, Gloucester Road, Bristol. Details here

-Monday 5th May. Still Jam extravaganza @ All Hallow’s Hall, Easton, Bristol. Details TBC but its gonna be beautiful.

-Tuesday13th May – Three Laws @ Edwardian Cloak Rooms, Bristol. BS1 5LS (it used to be a public toilet!). Details here

-Thursday 15th May. Phantom Laundry presents…  High Cross Society, Toby Thompson, Rebecca Tantony and Silver Tortoise, DJ Dad. (I’m hosting). Details here.

-Thurday 29th May. Phantom Laundry presents… Ian McMillan (yes you read that right, IAN MCMILLAN), Anna Freeman and Lori Campbell. I’m hosting. And maybe saying some poems. Tickets HERE (get ‘em quick).

-Friday / Saturday 27th / 28th June. Glastonbury Festival (meep!), Poetry & Words Stage.

-Saturday/Sunday 26th / 27th July. Womad Festival.

 

Reviews for Folly at The Adelaide Fringe.

I’m gathering these reviews all in one place, place partly for posterity and partly so I can link to them all at once. We’re half way through our fringe run, so if you’re an Adelaidian make sure to catch Folly at one of the following dates, before we have to fly back to rainy old England!

Wed 26th February – Grace Emily Hotel (8pm)
Thurs 27th February – The Deli (9pm)
Sat 1st March – The Deli (9pm)
Sun 2nd March – The Deli (9pm)
Tues 4th March – Grace Emily Hotel (8pm)

Here’s what the rags said…

RIP IT UP MAGAZINE

http://www.ripitup.com.au/lifestyle/article/folly-a-miserable-yorkshire-poetry-musical

‘In this hour-long prose poem set to music, English poet Sally Jenkinson and Australian guitarist Nuala Honan combine their considerable talents to take the audience on a trip of escape and self-discovery to the first world.

As the great adventure unfolds, this true-life recounting of a sometimes chaotic search for greener grass provides contemplative, funny and stirring moments.

Jenkinson’s words offer many lyrical highlights, painting some appealing and vivid images along the way. It would probably work in isolation as a spoken word piece but the addition of the musical score augments the poetry and makes this a performance that audiences of all types will enjoy. Honan’s inspired playing ranges from the lightest of touches to driving rhythms that match the vocals for power. It’s also quite lovely to look at; inexplicably visually lush.

All up, Folly provides a delightful night out for the eyes, ears and mind.’

ON DIT MAGAZINE

http://www.lifeoncampus.org.au/blogs/Entry.aspx?EID=13

Review: Folly – A Miserable Yorkshire Poetry Musical

Words: Daisy Freeburn

‘In the little back room in the Grace Emily, in the corner of a small stage, stood a bare tree lit with warm light. It was a small show – only about 20 seats. When the two performers, Sally Jenkinson and Nuala Honan, got up on stage, they could see every single one of our faces. I love this, the feeling of knowing the performers somehow.

Nuala’s gentle acoustic guitar set the mood of the play as a down-to-earth experience, with just the soft strumming of the guitar and Sally’s poetry being the only sounds. With each new part of the story, a token of sorts would be hung on the tree, gathering in the end to be a symbol of the show as a whole.

Toy aeroplanes, beer bottles, ferns, wooden beads accumulated as Sally told tales of travels throughout South-East Asia. At times, I was befuddled by whether she was mocking the typical white travellers who go overseas to poorer countries to make themselves feel good, or whether she was in the same boat as them. Nevertheless, her gorgeous prose and storytelling, paired with Nuala’s music, moved me. Especially the bit about aeroplanes. I, like Sally, hate aeroplanes.

I was confused about what they were trying to say to us in certain parts of the story. However, the overwhelming sense of homesickness and cyclone-in-your-mind feelings while travelling, conveyed so strongly through the show, is what I felt as I watched. With that, I could empathise.

See it for the beauty of words and the feeling of music. You might get something completely different out of it than I did. But that’s what’s so good about poetry and music.’

KRYZTOFF MAGAZINE

http://www.kryztoff.com/RAW/?p=8001

FRINGE – Folly – 4K
by rupert hogan turner

‘Folly is a forlorn tale of travel, lucid poetry describing the trials and tribulations of being a first world traveller in the second and third worlds. The show has the feel of picking up a travel journal half way through and peering deeply into another travellers mind. The performance was warm and cosy, the performers genuine and enthralling. There is a visceral sense of authenticity which draws the listeners further into the world being described to them.
The show is a culmination of the spoken word poetry of Sally Jenkinson and the soft blues guitar of Nuala Honan. Emotions run wild as the audience follows Jenkinson’s tale of traversing foreign shores. Jenkinson’s soft voice and beautiful accent heightened the audience’s attentions. Jenkinson speaks with emotion but at points seems erratic and anxious. The anxiety was clearly a portion of the role but at times seemed overdone.
Honan’s exemplary voice and melodies coupled Jenkinson’s emotive phrases. Her adroit strumming and resonant voice captured the emotions of Jenkinson’s spoken words. Honan’s tunes harmonised with Jenkinson’s poetry to create a moving atmosphere.
The soothing guitar and soft spoken words inspired a diverse range of poignant emotions; from the erratic unease of boarding the initial flight to the light-hearted humour and intense affection of a holiday romance.
The show accurately portrays the diverse array of emotions one is subject to when travelling, particularly when travelling alone. The language is eloquent and the delivery is affecting. The show leaves you feeling calm, almost meditative, but also with a prominent desire to travel. Anyone who has travelled the world can relate to the apprehension and uncertainty; to be home among the places you recognise and the people you love.’

Kryztoff Rating 4K

Tags: 2014, Fringe, Homesick Productions, Music, Poetry

TALK FRINGE REVIEWS

http://www.adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/folly-a-miserable-yorkshire-poetry-musical/66e23d1c-a16a-4e58-8785-b3ff6a70e494

‘A terrific show with a perhaps misleading by-line. This is miserableness in the tradition of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo). It is a funny and moving show the expertly mixes musical and poetic storytelling. The poetry, from Sally Jenkinson, a Yorkshire wordsmith with an endearingly idiosyncratic style, riffs on the impulse to flee and find ourselves and adventure in exotic locals, and our confused and bemused attempts to explain why we did it and what we learnt. Behind and around it is an impressive and powerful soundscape from Nuala Honan, a dynamo solo artist in her own right. With all the taught energy of a caged musical lioness her harmonies, rhythms and percussions provide an atmospheric backing that conveys all the barely contained emotions of the jilted lover, the lost soul, the wondrous traveller, the jaded backpacker’s despair and the explosive joy of a new resolution. Check it out.’

Melbourne, Victoria. Late January 2014

Melbourne is a beautiful city.  It reminded me a little of Bristol in so much as there are multiple small suburbs or areas just outside the city centre which seem to have their own personalities and stories to tell. As a by-product of finding my way to various poetry events and places to stay while I’ve been here, I’ve had the chance to explore around the city. I also heard a poem read by Melbourne-based poet Ian McBride… I can’t find it anywhere online, but it describes Melbourne (I’m paraphrasing) as a girl sleeping, curled around the bay. The poem describes the city as many other things besides. It does a much better job of describing Melbourne than I could, so I will keep trying to find it.

I’ve seen some brilliant poets. I bought a collection called ‘This Skin, A Net’ by Andy Jackson, who I saw read at Passionate Tongues in Brunswick. It’s uncommonly beautiful and unusual, whilst also being really communicative and easy to dive into. Andy has a website- amongtheregulars.wordpress.com. Have a peek at it, he’s great.

I also can’t recommend highly enough that you look up poet Randall Stephens. Happily, he’s just released a spoken word album which you can download NOW, and I suggest you do. He’s a robust, alarming, funny and sharp performer. See hear… https://randallstephens.bandcamp.com/

In all the poetry events I went to, unfortunately I didn’t see any female featured poets (apart from myself). This isn’t to say that this is common in Melbourne, I wasn’t there long enough to judge, but I would have like to have heard more from some of the amazing female poets that I heard in the open mics, especially from Loran Steinberg, who’s poem about being bothered by aggressive Neanderthals of public transport was articulate, scary, relatable and also funny. Having said that, there was an all-female poetry night called Mother Tongue, which I couldn’t make it to. So this is not to say that women are not represented in the Melbourne Poetry Scene or anything, just that I would have liked to have seen more.

I have found the Melbourne poetry scene to be friendly, welcoming and supportive. Thanks to Passionate Tongues, The Dan Poets, and Muses, Musos (despite venue troubles!) for having us. It was a real pleasure.

I’ve got to say, it was Australia Day while I was in Melbourne. The day which marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British Ships on Australian soil. It was really interesting and eye opening to hear and witness the various reactions and responses to the occasion. With people re-dubbing the day such things as ‘Invasion Day’ and ‘Survival Day, and celebrating in every way from Aboriginal Hip-Hop nights, to strong and active opposition of the day existing at all, to drinking all day, wrapped in an Australian flag , and subsequently vomiting all over  the last train home. To a certain extent, people in any metropolitan city will choose to celebrate public holidays differently, no surprise there. But it was more than that. Australia is Going Through Some Shit with regards to its attitudes towards its history, and treatment of its native people. Not one person, whether they were celebrating gently with friends, going wild, or purposefully not marking the day, didn’t have something to say about the whys and wherefores of if / when / how Australia Day should be marked.

The ins and outs of this delicate and complicated issue are not mine to pass comment on really. But I just found it really eye opening, interesting and affecting to see a city so deep in discussion with itself. The issue and the history are still recent enough that the end result is still being shaped, attitudes are still changing and the debate is still in full force.

Incidentally, we spent the first part of Australia Day at a BBQ with friends, and the second part at Muses, Musos- a poetry and music event which was supposed to be in a pub, but due to venue issues ended up being held on the pitch at Victoria Park (a well kept, but disused football stadium). In the end, we couldn’t have asked for a better venue, it was beautiful to hear and share poems in the open air and the hush of the stadium. And for my part in Australia / Invasion / Survival Day, I read Robert Burns’ ‘My Bonnie Mary’ with a glass raised to the sunset and the empty bleachers (it was also Burns’ birthday the day before). A final note on that event; what a pleasure to share the bill with this very talented woman, check her out. http://www.philemonmusic.com/

Whilst in Melbourne we stayed with old friends, new friends, friends with beautiful new babies, and our respective families, and made super welcome everywhere. I’m really grateful to everyone for looking after us, especially since while I was in MeIbourne, I got the sad news from home that another of my wonderful Grandads, Sid, had passed away. To lose two men who you loved so very much only six weeks apart is really hard, especially being so far away from home and not being able to support my parents and family properly in their grief. But both Jack and Sid were great adventurers in their time, and hard workers too. So the only thing I can do is determine to be a bold adventurer and a hard worker myself, while I am here.

We’ve got a Great Ocean Road to drive down, and when we get back to Adelaide, a beautiful fringe show to produce and perform.  There’s nothing like bereavement to remind you not to waste your time on this earth, so I’d better do it properly.

Brunswick East, Melbourne

Brunswick East, Melbourne

 

Adelaide, South Australia. January 2014

Now seems like a good time to write a quick blog update, because I spent most of today schlepping around beautiful Adelaide in the 29′C heat, buying props for our show, Folly, which myself and my good friend (musician and co-conspirator Nuala Honan) are here to perform at The Adelaide Fringe. Because we were lucky enough to secure funding from Arts Council England and the British Council’s ‘Artists’ International Development Fund’, we’re able to afford to buy all the props we need and the show is going to look really beautiful. I’ve found props in toy shops, op-shops, bottle-o’s and markets. Hippy shops and factory second stores, and even a park after a storm (we needed a fallen down tree for the set, and we found the perfect one!).

We visited our two main venues this week (The Deli in Thebarton, and The Grace Emily). Both are really great venues and are going to bring something different to the show. I nearly squealed with delight when we saw the space at The Deli for the first time- it is in a garden filled with tropical plants, lanterns and bamboo. I couldn’t have designed a better back drop for Folly!

I’ve also been making forays into the Adelaide poetry scene, meeting poets and popping into open mics. The types and styles of poetry seem to be as diverse as in Bristol. I wondered if I might encounter a certain ‘type’ of poetry, but all the poets I’ve heard so far have been as different from each other as you can imagine. Here’s a brilliant poet that especially caught my ear who I think is brilliant…http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4vEpGYg1zEA&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D4vEpGYg1zEA
The SA poets I’ve met so far have also been super friendly and supportive, in every way from info about poetry events in the area, to offering us lifts to the more hard-to-reach venues.

Our promotional banner for the fringe website was finished this week (see below) and the posters and flyers are almost ready the be printed and flung around the city. Poster, flyer and banner all designed by our good friend and multi-talented artist / poet / international woman of mystery Liz Greenfield. When me and Nuala saw the poster, we both said it looks exactly like we hoped it would, except better. There’s the benefit of being able to pay a real artist to design real quality art for your promo… You get what you hoped, except better. Im feeling very lucky.

image

We head to Melbourne this week to do a few shows, which I’m really excited about. If email communication is anything to go by, the Melbourne poets seems as friendly and welcoming as the ones here in Adelaide. I’ll post an update of how the shows go (dates below), and the highlights that we find from the Melbourne poetry and arts scene.

In other news… The landscape of South Australia continues to take my breath away. It’s hard to describe, but basically it’s BIG. The sky is big, the sea is big, the horizon is big. As soon as you get even a short way out of the city, the landscape stretches away from you in a kind of long sigh until it hits the edge of the world. I feel like a runaway in a 90s indie film, every time I look out of a train window think there should be a Neil Young song playing in the background.

Also, we’ve been eating a lot of feta and making up a lot of high quality feta puns. I found a giant furry huntsman spider on the curtains and I totally dealt with it like a pro, no screaming. We’ve also become tragically addicted to ‘South Australian Fruit Cup Cordial’. If we don’t come home, expect to find us rattling from too many sugar highs, barricaded into our flat behind thousands of empty bottles of the stuff, with our teeth rotted out. But that probably won’t happen. Probably.

Right, I’m going to make some lunch. Things are getting feta all the time (sorry).

 

What a strange couple of weeks.

This is a writer’s blog. When I write stuff here its supposed to be about writing, or being a poet, or poetry events. But sometimes life and work gets all jumbled up. A few weeks ago, Me and Nuala got the news that we were successful in our application for Arts Council England and British Council funding for taking our show ‘Folly‘ to the Adelaide Fringe. One of the most exciting and overwhelming bits of new I’ve ever got.

For me, the funding means being able to produce the show properly, which means more to me than I can articulate in words, especially after a year of us both working on Folly for no money, begging/borrowing/ stealing favours from generous friends and strangers alike to make it happen. I would have done the same at The Adelaide Fringe- we were coming here anyway, funding or no funding. I would have flyered my way around the city with photocopied posters and done shows to whomever we encourage through the door with no publicity budget… but the funding means being able to buy a little bit of advertising space on the fringe website, it means being able to pay a working artist to design our posters and flyers, and most importantly it buys us time- time for rehearsals and time for publicity. The thing I find hardest about being a self-employed artist (and this is an observation, not a whinge) is making to time to actually create, develop and try to promote your work, in between replying to a million emails, organising and negotiating money and time on behalf of your yourself, and trying to earn enough to feed and shelter your arty-farty little self. So, the grant makes those extra, developmental things possible, and I feel endlessly, overwhelmingly grateful and excited.

Whilst we were receiving and processing this wonderful news, my dear old granddad- a WW2 veteran, butcher, long distance lorry driver and almost demonic winner of dominoes- entered the last stage of his life. I was up and down to Doncaster throughout the month before I left, to see him and spend time with my family. It is not something I can easily or confidently write about, watching someone pass away. So I won’t write about it now. But the process of saying goodbye to my granddad and laying him to rest, of grieving alongside my family, was a sharp counterpoint to the joy and anticipation of preparing for this trip to the other side of the world, for my first experience of being an international writer and performer.

If I got to choose how things work, I would have kept Gramps with us until I was old myself. I would have got right on board with his ‘one (enormous) whisky a night’ rule, sat in a arm chair next to his, watching the cricket and jabbing at things (or people) with my walking stick. But knowing things don’t work that way, I am so grateful that I got to see him cross the bar and laid to rest before I left.

It’s been a tumultuous and unusual time though. Getting this gleeful news about funding for the show, saying goodbye to my lovely gramps in the most final way, saying goodbye to all my loved ones for three months, grieving with my family, soaking up the precious and tempering love and humour of my fucking brilliant friends who pretty much hugged, bundled and giggled me onto the plane (as well as packing my bags for me- thanks Adam, sorry customs) leaving hardly any gaps for doubt or nerves to sneak through.

And now I find myself here. Warm as you like in the South Australian sun. Experiencing an Aussie Christmas with my dear friend (and Folly co-writer) Nuala and her warm, welcoming family. They genuinely barbecued the turkey on Christmas day. There’s this spooky ethereal ring around the sun. The sea is so clear you can see the sand between your toes. I haven’t worn socks for a week. Throughout January, February and March we will be performing our show, Folly, in Melbourne and at The Adelaide Fringe.

We’re here. It’s happening. What a strange couple of weeks.

Photo by Liam Honan

Photo by Liam Honan

Last few UK gigs and Folly dates for THE ADELAIDE FRINGE

Bristol / Brighton

  • Sunday 17th November – Sunday Circus (with Nuala Honan and Simon Panrucker) @ The Emporium, 88 London Road, BN1 4JF Brighton. FREE!
  • Wednesday 4th December – Hammer & Tongue supporting Simon Munnery @ The Bird Cage, Bristol

AUSTRALIA

  • Gigs TBC in Melbourne, Australia!
  • Sun 16th , Weds 19th, Weds 26th Feb, and Tues 4th March – Folly @ The Adelaide Fringe (THE FRICKIN ADELAIDE FRINGE!), Grace Emily Hotel, 232 Waymouth St, Adelaide, Australia. 8pm
  • Thurs 20th Feb, Thurs 27th Feb, Sat 1st March and Sun 2nd March- Folly @ The Adelaide Fringe, The Deli, 54a George St, Adelaide, Australia. 9pm start, with a solo set from Nuala after the show. Delicious food available throughout the evening!
  • Friday 21st Feb – Folly… IN A BEAUTIFUL WINERY IN RURAL SOUTH AUSTRALIA! Charles Melton Wines (plus Nuala solo), Krondorf Rd, Krondorf SA 5352, Australia. $40 including dinner and wine.