What a busy week. Last weekend was the Hastings Litfest – its second year. Battleaxe took in several events and took part on a poetry reading. Also, it was the start of the Coastal Currents Arts Festival, and, as usual, we enjoyed some of the open studios. Battleaxe also took to the streets to protest about the prorogation of Parliament – and the general chaos that our government has fallen into.
So, Litfest. I won’t go into great detail here. Went to one workshop, which I did not enjoy – one and a half hours into what was supposed to be a writing workshop we still hadn’t written anything…. Here is a sort of photo of a half-hidden Battleaxe at the workshop. If you could see all my face I would have been looking very bored. All these photos are off Facebook, by the way, I didn’t take any…
Then the next day, I helped mind our Poetry Stanza stall at the Book Fair. Not so great, we didn’t sell a single book all day. Here are my Stanza colleagues Brian and Alice on the stall.
However, the highlight of the festival for me was a reading by Jamaican poet and novelist Kei Miller. Not only were his poems very lyrical, powerful and evocative of life in Jamaica – but then how should I know, I’ve never been there – but he read them beautifully.
Coastal currents – we went for a walk along Queens Road to the Britannia Enterprise Centre – a complex of mostly Victorian workshops, lofts and sheds inhabited by various artists, sculptors, woodworkers, glass workers etc. It was a really great place and we saw some lovely stuff. I bought myself a great cotton dressing gown…. Next day, we went up to St Leonards. One painter that particulalry impressed us was Stephen Coelho, who has a studio in Dane Road. His paintings are expensive, but very good indeed. We particularly liked his Cornish seascapes and views of Pett Level. Here is a link to his website. His figure paintings are excellent as well. Here is his self-portrait:
Another highlight was a visit to Archer Lodge. I had vaguely heard of ExploretheArch, a sort of play event where the audience immerses itself in the action going on in the house, but had not realised the house was so beautiful. Next time they have a production we’ll try and go. I have put myself on the mailing list. The trouble is, there is just so much going on round us…
So, on Sunday I took part in a poetry reading with fellow members of the Stanza group at the Stag in All Saints Street. Not much to say, really, it went fine. I read poems from ‘Lines and Wrinkles’, which, incidentally, is selling well – contact me if you would like a copy. Here is what I wrote about it a few weeks ago..
In the same week we have got a new fridge, got rid of the living room sofa, I have got a new tooth, and on Friday I went on a protest march from Asda in St Leonard’s to Amber Rudd’s office. She is still in the ghastly Johnson Cabinet of Idiots and Fascists, but is keeping very quiet about her views on current developments. But silence is complicity. The political situation has got so bad it is almost beyond imagination. Every time I refer to it it just gets worse and worse. One suspects that the Evil Johnson has got more nasty tricks up his sleeve – at least, not him, his ‘adviser’ Dominic Cummings, who appears to hold all the power.
Anyway, to be frank the march was a bit of a damp squib, the weather was wettish and there were only about 100 of us there. I went with friends Jan and Tom – Philosopher had a meeting. Saw several writer friends. We walked down Battle Road and held up a bit of traffic and then gathered outside Amber’s office, which is on a dingy industrial estate – not quite the romance of Westminster – and shouted a bit. Some Councillor geezer came out briefly and shouted at us through a megaphone, and a few hairy Labour Party types shouted at all of us, but needless to say there was no sign of Amber. There were a couple of UKIP Brexit party women outside Asda – Jan shouted at them so strenously it presumably put them off coming on the march. What a lot of shouting…
We chatted to the two community police persons who were supposed to be keeping us in order. I said that if they arrested me I’d come quietly and to be sure to be careful of my new, expensive cosmetic dentistry. Here are a few pics – some from me and a couple off FB. Still, we went and had tea and cakes in Asda afterwards. All very middle-class, very British. I had the most incredibly sickly but delicious chocolate doughnut.