Selling poetry for Sara Lee – and a concert with the London Mozart Players

Had a busy day on Saturday… in the afternoon I had been given a stall at the Sara Lee Trust Christmas Sale, to sell ‘Lines and Wrinkles’, and in the evening we went to a concert at the Opus Theatre with the London Mozart Players featuring our own local prodigy, Daisy Noten, on flute.

For the Sara Lee sale, as well as selling the book I had devised another little fundraising wheeze – a ‘Win a Poem’ competition, where people could donate 50p and for the lucky winner I would contact them and then write a personalised poem specially for them. To my surprise, that turned out to be quite popular – I ended up with 26 entries. I have now done the draw for the winner. It turned out to be the lad doing magic tricks who had a stall near me!  Now, I just have to write the poem!

Clearly, entering the competition was a lesser commitment for people than buying the book – which has been selling well – I have shifted around 130 copies so far. I have had some lovely comments about my efforts – here are a few. Yes, I know this is sheer trumpet-blowing but what the hell… one needs to keep one’s spirits up in these dismal times.

‘.. It is beautiful, thought-provoking, inspirational, sad and funny at the same time.’

‘I read your poems cover to cover, and being a great fan of coastal walks and sparkling turquoise sea, I particularly liked the Cornish Coast Path poem as well as the Slugs and Snails Sonnet.’

Many thanks for sharing your life story through your poetry.  Danny’s illustrations are a bonus. ‘

‘….a wonderful mixture of poems that made me smile, evoked nostalgia and also made me think.’

‘I loved the poems – particularly the Poldark one.’

‘I love your collection of poems and the one that opened its heart to me this morning was the Cornish Coast Path.’

 ‘I really liked ‘What My WI means to Me’. That sense of belonging to a community is taken for granted by many but it is hard to come by for some of us.’

If anyone wants a copy of the book, please contact me!

So, off to the concert. Another promotion from prominent Hastings music composer, performer and entrepreneur – Polo Piatti. Polo is endeavouring to turn the Opus Theatre, a lovely old church, into a music venue. Like all old buildings hereabouts, it is slightly falling down… and a bit chilly. I have no idea how he managed it, but he has secured the London Mozart Players for a ‘season’ in Hastings. I put that in inverted commas because it is a very short season – this concert, a lot of work with local schools culminatng in another concert in February, and a concert featuring one of Polo’s own compositions.

I can remember going to see the LMP in London at St John’s Smith’s Square in the early 70s – they were classy then, and are still classy now.  It was an excellent concert. Local girl Daisy, played a very competent rendition of Mozart’s flute concerto – she is still at school, but is a very confident and talented performer.

We also had Lauren Zhang, who won BBC Young Musician of the Year 2018, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 9, plus Grieg’s Holberg Suite and a Haydn Symphony. All entirely satisfactory.

As ever, we met lots of people we knew, but there were also clearly many there that were not used to going to classical concerts – they applauded between each movement… I don’t know who they were or how they had found themselves in the audience, but there were more young people than we usually get – this has to be good.

Sorry, the photos I have taken are very dodgy – there are better ones of the Opus in this post, when we first went there to see The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. That reminds me – Philosopher was also on parade this week, taking part in a ‘Radical Voices’ evening at the Stag pub in the Old Town, organised by, and starring our friend Tom Kelly. Tom has now moved on from sea shanties to political protest songs.

Philosopher did some short revolutionary readings in between the singing…









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