Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

A Night of Happenstance, 26 November 2011

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

A Night of Happenstance

Lee Rosy’s tea room, 17 Broad Street, Nottingham, NG1 3AJ
Saturday 26 November, 7.30pm
Entrance £4/£3 (concs)

Six Happenstance poets, from across the Midlands, Scotland, and as far away as Spain, will be gathering for a reading downstairs at Lee Rosy’s in Nottingham on 26 November 2011, from 7.30pm. The poets are Helena Nelson (also editor of Happenstance Press), Ross Kightly, Marilyn Ricci, Robin Vaughan-Williams, DA Prince, and Matthew Stewart, who will be in the country to launch his new pamphlet, Inventing Truth.

Happenstance is an independent poetry press based in Scotland that publishes poets from all over the UK. It specialises in pamphlets, and in 2010 won the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets for publishers. Ali Smith, one of the judges, commented, ‘HappenStance proved outstanding in the elegance, thoughtfulness and clarity of their design, and the infectious interaction, open-mindedness and energy of their publishing ethos’.

Lee Rosy's Street ViewHappenstance also produces Sphinx, an indispensable source of poetry pamphlet reviews.

Lee Rosy’s is a tea room and café in Nottingham city centre’s Hockley district, opposite the Broadway cinema.

About the Poets

Helena Nelson

Helena NelsonHelena Nelson is editor and founder of HappenStance Press, which specialises in poetry pamphlets. Her most recent poetry collection in her own right is Plot and Counter-Plot, (Shoestring Press). Helena is also this year’s judge on the Nottingham Open Poetry Competition, and will be attending the adjudication at 2.45pm on the same day (Mechanics Institute, 3 North Sherwood Street, NG1 4AX).

DA Prince

DA PrinceDA Prince started out with light verse and political satire, but gradually found herself shifting into the realms of what might be called ‘proper’ poetry (the sort that poetic/moody poets write). After having three pamphlets in print, her first full-length collection Nearly the Happy Hour came out in 2008 from HappenStance. More about DA Prince is available on PoetryPF.

Ross Kightly

Ross KightlyBorn in Melbourne in 1945, Ross Kightly spent many years teaching in Victoria, Croydon, ILEA, Lucca (Italy), and then Yorkshire. Since recovering from viral encaphalitis in 2007 Ross has devoted himself to the heroic task of becoming the World’s Most Prolific Poetaster by setting himself ridiculous output targets, such as 7,457 poems for 2011 (which works out at over 20 a day). Gnome Balcony was published in 2011.

Marilyn Ricci

Marilyn RicciMarilyn Ricci lives in Leicestershire.  Her poems have appeared in anthologies and been widely published in magazines including Other PoetryOrbis, The Rialto and Smiths Knoll.  Her first pamphlet Rebuilding a Number 39 was published by Happenstance Press in 2008.

Matthew Stewart

Matthew StewartMatthew Stewart was born in Farnham, Surrey, in 1973, but has lived in Extremadura, Spain, for the past fifteen years, where he works for a local winery. His poems have been widely published in UK magazines and he blogs at Rogue Strands. Inventing Truth, his Happenstance publication, ‘is a remarkable collection of pithy poems that open up to panoramas of love, family, regret and longing, and linger, flourishing in the mind long after reading’ (Richie McCaffery).

Robin Vaughan-Williams

Robin Vaughan-WilliamsAfter many years in Sheffield, where he ran the Spoken Word Antics monthly night and radio show, Robin Vaughan-Williams moved to Nottingham via Iceland in 2010. He is Development Director at Nottingham Writers’ Studio, author of The Manager, and also a live literature producer. Some of his projects are shown at

Sent/Received: The Ghost in the Text

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Andrew Kells’s new ghost script, Sent/Received, has the trademark characteristics of any good ghost story: entrapment, suspense, fear…mummies in the closet. But instead of gothic towers, rakish libertines, and letters stained in blood, it’s got, well, text messages. Lots of them, in fact. But as the messages start to fly, it becomes apparent they’re not quite as instant or ordinary as they might seem.

Texts have been used before as a literary medium. In Japan texts are commonly used as individual chapters in flash fiction stories, delivered direct to the reader’s phone. They call it keitai shousetsu, or the cellphone novel. Sent/Received may well be the first SMS ghost script though.

Andrew Kells

Andrew Kells

Andrew was attracted by the brevity of texts and the scope the provide for miscommunication. The way his wife might text him from the supermarket asking if he wanted potatoes, but by the time he got the message and replied she could be miles away, as if they were on split time lines. Which is exactly what happens in Sent/Received, where texting is the only way of communicating between split time streams.

‘We expect technology to deliver instant results’, he says, ‘There’s this faith that technology will solve our problems, but it doesn’t’.

Sent/Received, with Andrea Milde and Jonathan Greaves as its time-slip victims, has its first performance at Skype Me! Sheffield and the World at Showroom Cinema 5 on 29 October (7.30pm). The night brings together writers from around the world, appearing on screen via Skype, with writers in Sheffield, exploring just how connected we really are.

Robin Vaughan-Williams, who is co-hosting the Skype Me! with Sarah Thomasin, put on a similar event in Nottingham in May. ‘The effect of switching back and forth between people on stage and on Skype created a magical effect’, he says:

As we flew around the world from Mumbai to Finland to Cyprus and New Zealand, we got to see writers we would normally never have a chance to experience live, and Skype created an unusual sense of intimacy—after all, it’s just like calling someone up on the phone, and you see the writers in the privacy of their own homes, as if they’ve invited us in.

Miwa Kurihara will be getting up early in Kawasaki, Japan (5.30am local time) to call in with some haiku and a poem on the recent tsunami to devastate her country. There will also be remote appearances from Texas jam poet Thom the World Poet, who has entertained audiences and school children around South Yorkshire many times before on his annual UK tour, and Jeff Cottrill, a Canadian spoken word artist who last performed in Sheffield at the Red Deer in March 2007. A master in the art of satire—macho jocks, manipulative girlfriends and pompous literary elitists have all felt his ire.

In Sheffield, Liz Cashdan will be hooking up with her friend Liesl Jobson in Cape Town and exchanging poetic postcards. Poet and promoter Gaby Bila-Günther will be dropping by from Berlin, where she is a fixture on the spoken word scene. Chella Quint will be taking us on an epistolary journey through the stars with ‘It’s Not You. I Just Need Space. (interplanetary letters of love and rejection)’, Rob Hindle will be airing his poem-drama ‘Yoke and Arrows’ about the last weeks of the life of Federico Garcia Lorca duing the Spanish civil war, and Joe Kriss, literary editor of Now Then, will be revealing new work.

Skype Me! Sheffield and the World
Showroom Cinema 5, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX
7.30pm, Saturday 29 October, entrance £4/£3
Facebook page:

Here are a few more links on SMS fiction:

Over Exposed

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera
Tate Modern, 28 May–3 Oct 2010

Surveillance has a sinister ring to it, with connotations of social control and the invasion of privacy. But the practice of surveillance also involves a lot of boredom, and it is the tedium of surveillance that this exhibition succeeds most in capturing.

Exposed does include a number of fascinating exhibits, mostly photographic, but also examples of cameras hidden inside a shoe, a walking stick, and a device that can be concealed beneath clothing, some of which date back to the nineteenth century. Perhaps most interesting were attempts at capturing the wretched conditions of New York slums, early pornographic images, and a series of night-time shots of voyeurs creeping up on lovers in a Tokyo park. There were also some stark shots of violence, war, and executions.

But overall the exhibition was too shabby and stuffed full of images that were simply banal.

In a few cases, I felt that a little more interpretive information could have made a big difference. There was one picture, for example, of a biological and chemical weapons testing area, which had been taken from 40 miles away, presumably for security or safety reasons. As a result, the main features of the image were that it was hazy and horizontally stratified. This could be quite a poignant image if there were some clue as to what it tells us about the weapons testing area it depicts. But all I was able to draw from it was a sense of distance and inaccessibility, which didn’t strike me as much of a revelation.

In other cases, potentially interesting material hadn’t been given the space it needed. There were two photographs by a Japanese photographer who had written to strangers asking them to pose in view of a window in their own homes at a prearranged hour. She shot them from outside, so never actually met her subjects. This sounded intriguing, but with only two images, there wasn’t much to go on. More of the series would have been needed to for this project to really make an impact.

Perhaps most of the problems stemmed from the looseness of the theme. If the curators had focused on the invasion of privacy, or voyeurism, or pornography, or surveillance, or reportage, they might have succeeded in creating a stronger narrative for the exhibition, and would have been able to give more space to exhibits that needed it, and hopefully done away with much of the junk. But by stuffing too much together in the one package, it just fell apart. And when you pay £10 for something, you want it to stick together.

COMMONSense now available in PDF form

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

COMMONSense, a celebration of the commons produced by Access Space in collaboration with Dougald Hine of the Dark Mountain Project and Anne Marie-Culhane, is now available as a free PDF download. See the release from Access Space in its July 2010 newsletter below:COMMONSense flier

COMMONSense apazine now available as a free pdf.
Our 62 page publication of writing, art and photographs is now available to download.

What is COMMONSense?

It is a magazine created from submissions to a call for pieces which reflect a theme connecting the activities of Access Space to the wider world, “the commons”. We asked for prose (stories, thoughts, book reviews, bibliographies…), poetry, photographs, cartoons, drawings or graphics.

People sent us material relating to green issues, land ownership, social relations, the internet, copyright, software and a whole host of other subjects.

COMMONSense was edited by Dougald Hine, with art direction by Anne-Marie Culhane.

The publication is being made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license

Dougald Hine of describes it like this:

The theme of the issue is < COMMONSense >. Not so long ago, the only people who talked about “the commons” were historians; today, the language of the commons is central to debates around intellectual property, environmental protection, and resistance to globalisation.

These international debates find their echoes here in South Yorkshire – in the activities of Access Space, recycling waste technology and promoting Open Source software, or in Grow Sheffield’s efforts to build local food networks and seed city centre wasteland. Can talk of “the commons” help us find common ground between these kinds of projects? Does using the same words mean we’ve found a common language – or can it disguise different meanings and intentions.

Download a free pdf copy here:

If you’d like a hardcopy, COMMONSense is avilable from Access Space for £4.00.
Email jake [at] access [hyphen] space [dot] org or ring 0114 249 5522

ISBN: 9780955009143

This publication was made possible by the Arts Council of England, Yorkshire, through its support of the arts programme at Access Space.

Review: Afternoon of the Minotaur

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Afternoon of the Minotaur, (modern dance with music and video) performed by Madalena at Luxury Goods IV: The Role of Art, The Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton on 30 April 2010.

The review is available at Bellyflop, the online performing arts magazine: