The landlady of the Friendship did a lovely presentation about her grandfather who served in the First World War. There were hand written letters and historical documents. Her grandfather had a lovely wit that came through his words. One of the letters was addressed to the landlady’s grandmother – he was complaining about how ridiculous the flamboyant hats of the time looked. He had sent a postcard with an Art Neuveau cartoon on it. In the picture, a lady stood elegantly in a long dress and a massive feathered hat. The writer of the card, had scribbled his observations in the tiniest of handwriting – apparently, a skill he was proud of. He had decorated leaves with his own words, which he had collected from Africa and posted to his family. Another letter he wrote had been addressed to his Sergeant Major, saying that the other men ‘wouldn’t of minded wearing the uniform so much’ if the higher ranked soldiers had been more like him. Interestingly enough, he had fought in some of the battles in the First World War and had been invalided out of action. As was rather typical of the time – he never mentioned anything of the horror he had seen. There seemed to be a cool, detached stoicism characteristic of his generation. His pen censored what he had felt and experienced.
Next up was an old man who got ‘tail-ended’ by a huge wave that hit his fishing boat, in the 1940’s. Luckily, he managed to climb onto the hull of his boat only to realize that the mast had smashed all the way through to the other side. It was the middle of December – he had no option but to swim back to shore. Next day, he found his outboard engine half submerged in the sand.
I recited poetry to an enthusiastic audience. I read Cybernetics – a poem with over twenty assonant, light, half and consonant rhymes bouncing off the title (which acts a keyword for the narrative which follows). This poem was written by me – in response to a challenge set by Jenni – a poet from the performance-based group Diversify. I based the six quatrains on the French sport of Freerunning. This extreme sport involves climbing high buildings and doing dangerous public displays, running across rooftops, etc. I also performed my Rudyard Kipling parody of If based on Nick Clegg during election night. You can read it in my journal entry categorized as parody. To finish the evening, I read a poem I wrote in Elizabethan dialect called: Romeo, Juliet and the Witch Finder General. I wrote that poem in response to another one written by a woman who attended a creative writing class I frequented some years ago.
Afterwards, Ruby sang some tunes and played on the guitar. This young woman had an amazing voice and did a great Amy Winehouse cover of Back to Black. Les (the host and presenter of True Tales) accompanied her on one of the jazz tunes she sang. Later on in the evening showed us all what a fantastic blues guitarist he is.
I also got chatting with local artist Neil Johnson about the French – post impressionist artist, Paul Cezanne and the later Bauhaus Movement, which eventually, got shut down by the Nazis.
All in all it was a great evening though I drank far too much real ale!