Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Island at Big Blue

Island life came to Derby this past weekend with the bang of Christmas crackers .. it was a shame we lost our video artist for the evening, but hey, I did enjoy making the palm tree for the mini-set behind the performers ..

This wasn't only a poetry gig for me, which would have made the experience more enjoyable personally, rather it was something I had to do - something I had wanted to do in various forms for many years but never got around to - writing this piece as both personal undertaking and an attempt to create a composite image of the generation that witnessed these events ..

Since my dad passed away the Xmas on Christmas Island poem became more a response to my own feelings about him and a tribute perhaps, to my father and the other men and their families who were involved in the first British Hydrogen bomb tests of the late 50s, and so became more than a documentary video of an historic event .. but I still wanted to keep an element of lightness, of simplicity about it ..

Due to it's personal nature and my own emotional response, the piece was late in coming to fruition, including visits to various sites, leafing through old maps, trawling video and pictoral evidence of the events, as well as digging up memories on the sandy beaches of my youth - I have printed only a few excerpts here from the longer narrative .. but I hope I have managed to express some of the multiple facets of this complex and unresolved issue in this personal performance poetry piece ..

Naturally, a Big Thank You to all those who made an appearance .. both in front of the mic, and as part of the audience .. it was good to see a few new faces as well as the usual terrific audience of Derby poets and promenaders.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spoken Words

This weekend I dropped into Baby J Studios in Derby for a little recording session in anticipation of the Xmas Island evening at Big Blue ..

Watch and listen to this space .. for the upcoming premiere of a couple tracks ..

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cold War!

Cold War - an Actual Wall exhibition, at the Old Knows Factory Building, Anns Hill Road, Nottingham, NG3 4GP ..

I will be previewing a new piece of specially created themed artwork, as will these other fine artists; all members or associates of the OK studio group .. The preview will be Friday, December 5th .. should be a terrific evening with nibbles and wine for all who attend .. I hope to see you there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Xmas on Christmas Island !

Exemplar Art presents an evening with Rhythm and Blue ..

A Spoken Word Live Music Presentation
commemorating the Festive Season and
50th anniversary of the first British H-Bomb tests
on Kiritimati .. Christmas Island!

Hope to see you there at BIG BLUE COFFEE located on Sadler Gate in Derby
Saturday, December 6th from 7:30 pm

Monday, November 03, 2008

Party Time

This past weekend those in the know in the Regional 'Scene' were at Big Blue for Fierce's Party Time gig .. a well-attended eclectic event of spoken word mixed with acoustic song, thumping bass and drums .. a mixed bag of artists, musicians and poets got together to make something happen .. all in, it was a sparkling night with much music, merry and mirth ..

Fierce in Motion ..

Jo Lewis was not only stunningly attired, but played a lyrically uplifting set of quirky melodies ..

Jonezy performed with Health and Safety Executive in a stunning and rapturish session that heard the fastest delivery and coolest guitar of the night ..

Naturally, my appearance included a couple nervously performed new pieces in Rio and She Left Me .. be there for the emotional outbursts of December 6th ..

The audience was enthusiastic and into the groove .. everyone stayed till the end, and that's a good sign .. haha .. many thanks also go to Ashley Smith for the sound system and synch stuff ..

Remember to put Saturday, December 6th at 8pm in your diary for the performance of Xmas on Christmas Island or "Daddy's gone AWOL" .. details to follow ..

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quad Opening

Derby City marked the beginning of the Feste Weekend with the official opening of Quad, the new digital media and arts centre located in the Market Square. Many hundreds turned out to get a special preview inside the multipurpose building, and wander around the city centre, taking in the evening's many exciting events ..

The view from 'The Box', the top floor of the Quad ..

The replica giants of such Derby luminaries as Florence Nightingale and Mr Rolls and Mr Royce, paraded through town in a gallant display of contemporary fun sculpture ..

And yet more giants, as this young lady told me I was 'a fruity one' .. look who's talking .. haha

Naturally, the celebrations went on well into the night, as most of the revellers followed the 'insects' around the streets and ended up in local hotspots and chill-out zones ..

Personally, I went on to Big Blue on Sadler Gate, where there were two bands and a host of familiar faces to meet and greet ..

Go along to Quad at any time and have a look at the installation 'Spiteful of Dreams' by artists Jane and Louise Wilson (featured in the October issue of Frieze magazine), search for friends in the photographs of the '17' exhibit on the walls, take in a film in one of the two cinemas or just have drink in the cafe on the ground floor .. it is worth a visit!

*Don't forget, you can subscribe to this blog by clicking on the RSS feed above .. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Riff Raff Festival

As the early evening's dusk draws the curtains on a summer of showers and scattered sunshine, the Riff Raff Festival once again signalled the final wave to a season of festivals, concerts in the park and outdoor events ..

Here I am reminding the gathered crowd that having a home to go to makes these camping weekends all the more enjoyable with my piece Hobo Jungle .. below, Joe Coghlan, a newcomer to the Derby poetry scene presents us with his view on the new Westfield shopping centre ..

Jonezy shined brightly whilst giving us a rhythmic work on relative revelatory profundities and the prolific Michael 'Fierce' Frearson gave us an eagerly consumed taste of (I work for) Cheese ..

All round it was a terrific weekend of entertainment and awareness raising, with some great bands and DJs, a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of spontaneous harmonious events, well prepared and delicious grub on the fire and a lovely cup of chi under the big top ..

Thanks for having me folks ..

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wirksworth Festival Weekend

The crowds gathered in the drizzle outside the 'Hope and Anchor' pub on the market square in anticipation of the day's events and exhibitions.

A view across the bridge ..

Based on the Perry drawings of the character Ubu Roi, James Moffet's installation work is fabricated from iron and inflatable latex. These stunningly imposing pieces command the space with a heavy weightiness, yet suggest a lightness of being as the pressure from the air expands to push the forms beyond their seemingly restrictive boundaries.

The quiet stillness of the figures of 'missing' children in the work of Johanna Domke-Guyot inspires fear and dread in some and in others a peaceful contemplation of past times - before the onset of the seriousness of the seemingly important issues of life. Sculpted from cement 'painted' onto frames clothed in the winter outfits of youngsters, these melancholy and emotive statues remind us that childhood is fleeting and that people pass from us, like lost moments, often before we learn to cherish the innocence of youth.

Held annually, the Wirksworth Festival is certainly worth visiting - it is a grand exhibition that gathers together many fine artists in a lovely and quaint English village in the Derbyshire hills.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wirksworth Festival Opening

Just a few of the wonderful works on display in the Parish Rooms at the opening of the Wirksworth Festival. A fabulous evening was had by all, with the movers and shakers of the Derbyshire regional art scene in attendance .. a brief introduction was followed by the obligatory networking and pub crawl through the village ..

Maggie Cullen's miniature paper figures stand on plinths gazing silently into worlds unseen as though contemplating the words of W H Auden and the other poets that enclose their private space. Some clothed, some nude and some wearing the most extraordinary headgear, they attracted many positive comments and invited closer study.

The artist Michael Shaw displayed his oversized 'rubber rings' to reveal shape where there is only air, challenging the audience to consider form and substance in the space between the substance. Mike said, "I use the second and fourth dimensions to reveal the third." Okay.

Also utilising space as essential to recognising form is the Vicker's Art Award recipient 2007-08, artist Natalie Dowse. Her work reveals the sense of confusion and isolation one has when encountering a new place and was based on Derbyshire and the inhabitants of the city of Derby. Constellation (above) is made up of 54 separate portraits painted from photographs of random people taken while still a newcomer to the region. Natalie's drawings, paintings and animations formed an excellent counterpoint to the installation work of the other artists at the exhibition. Previously exhibited at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery the work will soon move to Buxton and other locations further afield.

The festival runs for a couple weeks and there are still performances to come .. so try to get out to the town (yes, I've been told - it's a town and not a village .. oops!) and see what's on and what's happening throughout the many venues.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Poetry Gig Flyers

As promised, a few of the flyers from various poetry gigs I have performed in over the past year .. I have been pleased to be involved in all of these terrific events, and look forward to being involved with some of these great professionals again soon ..

Bill and Natalie's Leaving Do

Well, here's the one decent pic that came out from Bill and Natalie's party - and they are not in it haha .. they are off to the Cayman Islands to teach, just in time to have caught Hurricane Gustav bearing down on their first week .. oh well, if they make it through that they will probably enjoy the rest of their time in the sunshine .. all the best to the two of them.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Birmingham Ikon

Greetings all from Brummieland .. yes, another sunny summer day out, this time at the Ikon Gallery and Bullring market area of Birmingham. I have been into the 'second city' previously, but to be honest I didn't really know what wonders it held till we took a stroll down around the canal area. The Ikon was a terrific space with some wonderful exhibitions - particularly liked the elevator music .. reminded me a bit of the "hole" incidental sound effects from the old Godley and Creme album Consequences.

Really enjoyed going into the Museum and Art Gallery and seeing all the old masterworks and a few new ones. Especially fascinating was Patrick Hughes' wonderful 3 dimensional painting in the foyer, it really played tricks with my eyes and I was almost convinced it was a flat screen digital optical illusion until the 'trick' was physically pointed out to me. A truly splendid play on perspective, something I tried once in another medium that I suppose I'll have to show on here at some 'point' now .. haha.

Perhaps, the only disappointment to the day was popping in to the Next store in the mall to find they were charging £25-30 for cotton shirts made in China - any guesses as to how much they paid the labourers who made the shirts? Or, where the cotton would have come from? My suggestions are 'not much' and 'somewhere near Kyrgyzstan' .. but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions - anybody know for sure?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Well folks, no new pics to upload as of yet - oh, yes okay there are a few of recent happenings, but trapped in this internet cafe in Nottingham I haven't been able to get them online .. yes, persistent trouble with my provider has relegated me to the outfield of server access .. be faithful, it won't be long till Exemplar Art makes a new posting of exciting events happening at Quad in Derby, the flyers from several recent perfomance poetry gigs and even a pic of my cousin Bill's leaving do in Leeds - yep, he's off to the Cayman Islands with his new beau Natalie to teach English to the sunshine addled youth of the warmer climes .. oh, why am I stuck in dreary Britain in an August rainstorm when turquoise seas and palm trees beckon? haha ..

Remember, you can add this blog to your personal RSS feed at anytime by clicking the button above, enabling you to stay in touch with all the latest exhibitions and gigs in my own calendar .. Cheers KW

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Verses Grow ..

'Verses Grow In Our Garden' is the name of a poetry anthology published by The Madd Chadd Poets with whom I was involved.

Joel Denno, a former Derby Slam champ and others, including yours truly spouting my 'Pop Star' anthem to environmental salvation.

Also in attendance were Rakesh Parmer, the fabulous Mellow Baku, Catherine Clarke, Rob Hodkinson and of course Richard and Seema.

The evening was enlivened by a few radical songsmiths and alternative violinists, the Time Travel Opportunists showed up to applaud and the weather held out to give the gathering a warm and cosy ambience. All in it was a pleasant evening held together by the occasionally quirky and often inspiring poetry on offer. Oh, I think you can still order books by contacting http://www.uprisearts.com/

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Even with all the excitement of recent events and the work that has been put into the various exhibitions and poetry gigs I've been involved with recently, I've still tried to get out and about to see a few sights this summer.

One of the most interesting places to visit in the region is the stunning Coventry Cathedral. Although initially laid out almost 800 years ago, it was built onto in stages over several centuries, and had a grand design with bell tower - still ringing in the changes around town.

However, it is perhaps now most notable for the fact it was bombed during WWII and subsequently rebuilt in the style seen above. The architecture of the original structure was incorporated into the new Cathedral to create the postmodern composition of this tremendous icon to survival and regeneration. Filled with magnificent artwork that compliments the design and beautiful chapels that play with the light and space to generate a sense of the awe and wonder of the human spirit, this cathedral harmonises the contemporary interior with its ancient exterior in a balance that reveals the enduring significance of the nature of worship.

I would recommend a day out in Coventry to anyone with an interest in history, from the cathedral to Lady Godiva to some terrific Tudor pubs the town has a lot to offer, and getting there can be a pleasant drive through the lovely countryside.

Here is a little picture of St Thomas' Cathedral in Portsmouth, to help illustrate the discussion in the comments section .. please feel free to read the accompanying text to understand. I think it is quite interesting, and perhaps worth a visit for the history and variation in architectural styles.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CUC Exhibition Website

Here are a few more photos of the CUC Exhibition in Liverpool and the magnificent Cathedral .. it was a great experience being involved in this prestigious event, and by all accounts a very successful show. Selected artists are being considered for exhibition at the Novas Scarman CUC on the South Bank in London, and I'm hoping my name is in the hat for that great opportunity.

Thanks to David Crawley and Diana Ali for the inclusion, and everyone who attended and made it all worthwhile. Hope to see you at the next event.

Also, the new website detailing the artists who were involved is up and running (or should be within a day or two of this post), and can be found at www.upandcoming.org .. feel free to visit and have a look at some of the great work that was on display in the Aghafar Gallery at the Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool, through July.