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14 Dec 2010

Mark Grist, Poet in Residence, Blog 2 - Dec 2010

Well, hello again! How are things with you? I've had a busy week (or two) of writing and performing, which is exactly what I needed! September was pretty quiet - I seemed to spend most of the month jogging and trying to get over the Edinburgh post-show blues. That daily combo of performance and Jaeger bomb-fuelled celebration of said performance was pretty difficult to leave behind.

Despite all the moping, I've been fairly productive. I've started to write some new pieces that I'm really excited about - some prose, some poetry. I'll keep you posted on how they work out, but I've got a fair few plans in the pipeline. If I carry on writing at my current rate then I may actually get one or two projects finished, who knows? It certainly helps that I've got a weekly Uni session at Goldsmith's to sound out my ideas and develop my work.

As far as gigs go, I've been popping up all over the place. One of my favourites this month was Bang Said The Gun in London - If you ever get the chance to go to a Bang Said The Gun event, I'd certainly recommend it! For me, the host, Daniel Cockrill sets the standard as compere. Really enthusiastic, really self assured and very likeable. He got the audience going on the night and ensured that everyone was having a good time. The only thing that was a bit harrowing about the gig was having to go on stage after David J! The gig went really well though and I won a trophy for my efforts. As I type this I'm realising that it may actually be the first trophy I've ever won.


That's fairly sobering.

Another gig I really enjoyed was at The John Clare Cottage in Helpston the other day. They were holding their yearly 'Bard of the Fens' competition - I won the title last year and it was time to hand it over to someone else. They had a great turnout for the competition and there were lots of kids there as well, so I got to try out a couple of pieces for a younger audience. I had a lot of fun performing that afternoon, and there were a lot of laughs. It's great when the audience are really up for it and some of the young adults who performed were exceptional. Really, really impressive!

The only dodgy bit for me was when I had to sit on a table with a selection of published authors and answer questions from people there. I seemed to get a lot of queries on different ways to get your poetry published and it's prompted me to perhaps write a blog on this in the future. As much as it was a little draining doing the Q&A sessions, it was worth it, because I got to stick around for the main event. And what a main event it was! We got to see two great local poets and storytellers, Pete Cox and Pete Irving face-off for the title. Despite Pete Cox's stunning performance (he had me in stitches!) Mr Irving managed to snatch the crown. And fair play to him. I've no doubt that he'll make a phenomenal Bard of the Fens and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of his performances over the coming year.

So, that's a little insight into what I've been up to. The big news for me is that The Arts Council have written to confirm funding for a spoken word show about The Shetland Islands that I've been wanting to write for ages. I grew up on an island called Unst and can hardly remember the place, if I'm honest. That's what the show will be, a look at memory and how we can change events in our minds. It'll mean that I've got to travel to Shetland for a week or two and see if it brings back any childhood memories. Exciting stuff!

A quick thank you to the poets and writers who have already emailed me questions and suggestions. I will be covering these in future blogs, so do keep checking back!

Anyway, that's me done for now. I'm hosting Speakeasy in Peterborough this Wednesday (20th) if anyone's about. Our headliner is Attila the Stockbroker, plus we've got the lovely Emma Goldberg and the incredible Pete the Temp in support. All at the Brewery Tap from 8pm and all for only £4! I absolutely can't wait - Attila is one of the most established performance poets out there and all the performers are top quality.

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