Timing

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Last night at Renegades Writers Group we read out pieces to read at a free event at 7pm on Thursday September 5th at Gladstone Pottery Museum, in Longton (there is an amazing collection of toilets there). It was to time the pieces to make sure everyone was able to read within the two hour time limit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, many of the pieces I had not heard before, the theme loosely based around the city of Stoke-on-Trent. My piece very loosely, I performed Singles Night at ASDA, which I began after visiting the Wolstanton store on my way home after work many years ago and stumbling on this odd event. As ever people enjoyed my reading, it has in the past even been requested by more than one person and I have dragged it out at events all over the place; very oddly once in Germany when I had a person translating after each ‘verse’, and I remember the total silence at an event organised by the Welsh Academy, I then tried Arthur Thickett’s joke about New Labour/Neuted Labour and that went down even worse! It was a piece I wrote when I had nothing to perform at events, and was deliberately aimed for people to enjoy rather than my usual self-analysis. It has been developed over 20 years taking note and making changes when I hear where people laugh or see them smile. There are plenty of ‘Carry On’ bits and as was noted last night, a British melancholy in the end. I once rewrote it for an American audience (Singles Night at Wal-Mart) which I read in Washington and Philadelphia, but they preferred the original when requested. If you wish to read it, it can be found by clicking Poetry above. I thoroughly enjoy performing and show off appallingly, remembering how much once upon a time I would have liked to be an actor. I hope to record it one day soon, which I’m sure will be a platinum seller!

What really impressed me last night was the breadth and quality of writing. I loved a couple of very short pieces of stories handed down by a mother about life in Burslem, they were so concise in the way they captured those fleeting memories. Peter’s rather spooky tale of bottle kilns would be great told out in the museum yard in the dark with candlelight.

It should be a great night. Let’s just hope we writers are not the only audience.

Today’s photograph is  Self-Portrait with Roses I took in 1986-87 when I had moved to Lincolnshire from a slide I recently had digitised.

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