jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!

29.6.14

TREVOR WISHART - NEW PIECE FEATURING JINGLING GEORDIE



Trevor Wishart Encounters in the Republic of Heaven

Act 4


The Poet’s Tale:


Keith Armstrong recalls the funnier side of being a poet. “This guy says to me ‘Who needs poets? I look after a man with one leg’ ..... we imagined the ducks were reading the music (that’s what wine does) ....as we entered the palace of culture there was a huge oil-painting of Stalin. So I said to my friend Tony, ‘this is going to be a fun night’.... A toast! To the Cosmos!”



Trevor Wishart (born 11 October 1946 in Leeds, UK) is an English composer, based in York. Wishart has contributed to composing with digital audio media, both fixed and interactive. He has also written extensively on the topic of what he terms "sonic art”, and contributed to the design and implementation of software tools used in the creation of digital music; notably, the Composers Desktop Project. Wishart's compositional interests deal mainly with the human voice, in particular with thse transformation of it and the interpolation by technological means between human voice and natural sounds. This is most evident in his albums Red Bird/Anticredos (1973-77) and VOX Cycle (1980 1988), and also in the compositions Tongues of Fire (1993-93), Globalalia (2003-2004), Two Women (1998), and American Triptych (1999). He is also a solo voice performer and an improviser of extended vocal techniques, using the recordings of his own improvisations to compose his electroacoustic pieces as well, like he did for Red Bird and Vox 5.

JINGLING IN THE BRIDGE!
































Friends are invited to join me tomorrow evening (Monday 30th June) from 7pm in the bar of the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle for a belated celebration of my birthday. I'll be reading poems like this on my home city of Newcastle and Ann Sessoms will render some pipe tunes:

WILLIAM BLAKE IN THE BRIDGE HOTEL

A few pints of Deuchars and my spirit is soaring.
The child dances out of me,
goes running down to the Tyne,
while the little man in me wrestles with a lass
and William Blake beams all his innocence in my glass.
And the old experience sweats from a castle’s bricks
as another local prophet takes a jump off the bridge.

It’s the spirit of Pat Foley and the ancient brigade
on the loose down the Quayside stairs
in a futile search,
just a step in the past,
for one last revolutionary song.

All the jars we have supped
in the hope of a change;
all the flirting and courting and chancing downstream;
all the words in the air and the luck pissed away.
It seems we oldies are running back
screaming to the Bewick days,
when a man could down a politicised quip
and craft a civilised chat
before he fed the birds
in the Churchyard.

The cultural ships are fair steaming in
but it’s all stripped of meaning -
the Councillors wade
in the shallow end.

O Blake! buy me a pint in the Bridge again,
let it shiver with sunlight
through all the stained windows,
make my wit sparkle
and my knees buckle.

Set me free of this stifling age
when the bland are back in charge.
Let us grow our golden hair wild once more
and roar like Tygers
down Dog Leap Stairs.

KEITH ARMSTRONG

28.6.14

THOMAS SPENCE - NEW BOOK




















Breviary Stuff is pleased to announce...
Thomas Spence: The Poor Man's Revolutionary
Edited by Alastair Bonnett & Keith Armstrong
paperback • 156x234mm • ISBN 978-0-9570005-9-9
To be published in September 2014.
2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of an important and original voice in the history of radicalism: Thomas Spence. Spence described himself as ‘the poor man’s advocate’ but he may equally be described as ‘the poor man’s revolutionary’, for what he advocated was a dramatic over-turning of the existing social order.
Perhaps Spence can be best summed up one of the inscriptions he placed on one of his self-minted coins, the coin his friends chose to place in his coffin. It depicts a cat. It stares straight out at us, around it the words, ‘IN SOCIETY LIVE FREE LIKE ME’. Spence wasn’t interested in compromise, with reforms and half-freedoms. He was stubborn. Contemporaries described him as ‘querulous’ and ‘single-minded’. One obituary also observed he was ‘despised’, yet ‘not despicable’.
But who was Thomas Spence? And why did he excite such passions? This collection of essays seeks to go some way to find answers to these questions. It offers a series of insights from contemporary experts on different aspects of Spence’s life and times. We are also delighted to be publishing some pamphlets by Spence himself, including Property in Land Every One’s Right, which has not been in print since it first appeared over 230 years ago.
Spence’s story is a rags to rags tale of defiance and ingenuity. Today Spence’s name is little known but this in no way reflects his significance. In the first two decades of the nineteenth century it was synonymous with ultra-radical opinion. Thomas Spence was the subject of four contemporary biographical memoirs. Moreover, three years after his death an Act of Parliament was passed prohibiting ‘All societies or clubs calling themselves Spencean or Spencean Philanthropists’. Spenceanism appears to be unique: it has a good claim to be the only political ideology to have ever been outlawed by the British Parliament.
Spence’s scheme for local and democratic ownership of the land found a receptive audience within sections of the labouring poor. In 1817 Thomas Malthus observed that, ‘an idea has lately prevailed among the lower classes of society that the land is the people’s farm, the rent of which ought to be divided equally among them’. This, in a nutshell, is ‘Spence’s Plan’. It sounds simple but it carried profound economic claims. It was a message spread more by way of tavern meetings, chalked graffiti and ballads than by published treatise.
In 1787 Spence moved to London, setting up a bookshop on Chancery Lane. He plunged himself into the capital’s turbulent radical sub-culture. He sold Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man and went to prison for doing so. But he disagreed with Paine on a number of fundamental issues. Paine had no qualms about private property in land. Spence began issuing a penny weekly, Pigs’ Meat or, Lessons for the Swinish Multitude, which could hardly have been more inflammatory. Spence was taking considerable risks in a dangerous city: spies, threats and conspiracy swirled around him.
Spence’s wish for ‘perfect freedom’ often took him one step further than his peers. He accorded women equal democratic rights. For the time it was a daring idea but Spence went even further. For what about the rights of children? Spence’s The Rights of Infants no doubt provoked more than a few incredulous smiles when it was published in 1796. Yet cruelty towards children was a topic Spence returned to time and again and it is fitting that today he is cited as one of the world’s first champions of children’s rights.
He was an angry man, a revolutionary and an insurrectionist but he was anchored by humanitarian concerns and a wide-ranging, omnivorous, interest in the betterment of his fellows. In this book we hope to go some way in retrieving Spence, of bringing him before a new generation.




Breviary Stuff Publications 
BCM Breviary Stuff 
London WC1N 3XX



22.6.14

FIGHT TO THE FINISH!





























FIGHT TO THE FINISH

GORDON MACPHERSON
(1928-1999)

The life, poems and stories of an East Durham Miner

This is a moving and passionate account of one man’s extraordinary battle against adversity to raise a family in an East Durham pit village.

Gordon MacPherson's poetry and writing sums up the arduous working conditions that miners struggle under and his own personal battle with emphysema in later life.

Gordon was an ordinary miner who did great things. This book glows with love and human decency against all the odds.

It shows us the power of community and serves as an example for the future of this area of North East England and beyond. 

A MESSAGE FROM GRAHAME MORRIS, M.P. FOR EASINGTON

It was an honour to know Gordon MacPherson. He is an inspiration; a man committed to his community, family and with a deep love of the area where he was brought up. I am proud to have known Gordon and he was a friend and an inspiration.

This very personal, moving and evocative account of one man’s extraordinary battle against adversity to raise a family in an East Durham pit village in many ways typifies past working class struggles.


Order from: Northern Voices Community Projects, 93 Woodburn Square, Whitley Lodge, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 3JD tel. 0191 2529531 or: Heather Wood, 8 Comet Drive, Easington, County Durham SR8 3EP tel. 0191 5270371.


ISBN 978-1-871536-15-4                             PRICE £5 (add £2.50 postage)

20.6.14

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 2014















George Stephenson statue at Montivideo







NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM:
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS EVENT

This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher and tells the story of its creator in Killingworth and North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area.
Contributors to the book will perform their poems, stories and songs introduced by the editor local poet Keith Armstrong with Ann Sessoms on Northumbrian Pipes. 

WHITE SWAN CENTRE CAFE, KILLINGWORTH, FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER AT 11AM.

18.6.14

THERE ARE THOSE WHO SING























(for William Martin, 1925-2010)

There are those who sing,
poets
with the breath of thrushes;
who craft songs
from out of their deep roots,
whose verse roars
with the sea
and the sky
and the pain of the land.
In the cathedral
of their hearts,
their tunes rise up
and fill the heavens
with flocks of words.
They are few
and far between,
these fliers
of lyrics.
Above plodders
and traipsers
of verse,
they reach for real stars,
pluck at galaxies
and dreams
of word symphonies,
anthems
that soar for centuries.

William, my friend,
you were 
one of these,
a fatherer of folk hymns,
a Durham choirman,
singing quarryman,
carving out poems 
with his pick and soul.

On a piano keyboard
of a dictionary,
you composed
a music festival 
of passionate poetry. 


KEITH ARMSTRONG

17.6.14

ARMSTRONG IN IRELAND





























Doctor Keith Armstrong has read several times in Limerick and in Cork, Dublin, Kinvara, Fermoy and Galway. His irish adventures have inspired him to write a sequence of poems based on the places he has visited and the people he has met. With Dominic Taylor, he co-edited the anthology ‘Two Rivers Meet, poetry from the Shannon and the Tyne’ which was published by Revival Press as part of the exchange between Limerick and Keith’s home city of Newcastle upon Tyne.

15.6.14

DAWN CHORUS, CORRENSSTRASSE 45
























Last night’s red wine,
thrown to excess
down the throat
of this flowing town,
throbs in my startling veins
as a thousand blackbirds
ring in the early hours
with a cathedral of singing bells
rising though the green mist
of these fertile hills.
Careering down
Tuebingen’s stooped lanes,
I want to scream
wild hymns
for Johannes Kepler,
throw open
the window of my heart,
let dreams spin
completely
out of control,
making love on the morning’s wing.
For I am a singer too,
sending my lyrics
across an outstretched Germany,
my wet lips seeking
those of distant lovers
waking like me
in a strange and thrilling land,
full of soaring music,
full of blackbirds
lush 
with song.


                                                                           

KEITH ARMSTRONG

12.6.14

NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM






Photo by Tony Whittle












NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM

A celebration of the bicentenary of the steam locomotive Blucher, together with the story of its creator George Stephenson in North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area. 

COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON FOR NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL

This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher.

CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SOUGHT BY LOCAL PEOPLE. PLEASE SEND ANY POEMS, STORIES, PHOTOGRAPHS AND DRAWINGS ABOUT GEORGE STEPHENSON, BLUCHER AND KILLINGWORTH AND STEAM RAILWAYS IN NORTH TYNESIDE BY THE END OF JUNE 2014 TO DR KEITH ARMSTRONG AT 93 WOODBURN SQUARE, WHITLEY LODGE, WHITLEY BAY, TYNE & WEAR NE26 3JD. TEL. 2529531 or email to: k.armstrong643@btinternet.com

Blucher was built by George Stephenson in Killingworth, North Tyneside in 1814 in the Colliery workshop behind Stephenson’s house, Dial Cottage. The engine was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher who fought in the battle of Waterloo, helping to defeat Napoleon. It pulled coal trucks along the wagonway from Killingworth to the coal staithes at Wallsend. Blucher made Stephenson’s reputation and over the next five years he built 16 more locomotives (many of which were built by recycling Blucher’s parts) at Killingworth, some for the Colliery and some for the Duke of Portland’s wagonway between Kilmarnock and Troon, which improved on the earlier engine, and this led to him being commissioned to build the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, establishing him as an engine designer and laying the foundations for his major role in the development of railways. 

With historical documents and images, alongside poems, songs, stories, photographs and drawings by local people, the book is intended to ensure that the story of steam in North Tyneside is not forgotten.



Dr Keith Armstrong,
Peter Dixon,
Northern Voices Community Projects



8.6.14

FOR WILHELM HAUFF (1802-1827)


































'Hardly considered
That happiness would come to an end.
Yesterday on the proud steeds,
Today, shot in the breast.
Tomorrow, in the cold grave.' (Hauff)

I was walking in a fairy tale
along a street that reeked of war,
I felt like a broken finger nail
as I knocked on Wilhelm’s door.

The ghostly narrator greeted me
with a face that smelt of death
and the sun disappeared into the Swabian Sea
as he read from under his breath.

‘I stand in the darkest midnight,’ he drawled,
‘in a world with a marble heart.’
And the church bells answered as he called
for his tall story to start:

‘There are wine-ghosts in the Ratskeller,
there are demons in the forest.
Never put faith in a fortune teller,
your visions will turn to dust.’

He read from a dreamer’s almanac,
a saga of this ancient town.
It sent a shiver of words down my back
and I thought I was going to drown.

His stories were written for the children of widows 
to laugh at when father died.
He hoped that they’d open library windows
to let light in as mother cried.

‘Let us rebuild the old castles,’ he said,
so that infants can sing and dance.
Let the people of Wurttemberg honour their dead
with fine wine and the breeze of romance.’

On Hauffstrasse I crawled with the seasons turning
with his wonderful yarns just like mine:
to be read out with the candles burning 
and the clocks running out of all time.

KEITH ARMSTRONG

* Wilhelm Hauff was a German poet, novelist and writer of fairy tales.
He was born in Stuttgart and lost his father when he was seven years old. His early education was gained in the library of his maternal grandfather at Tuebingen, where his mother had moved after the death of her husband. In 1820 he began to study at the University of Tuebingen and after four years he completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Tuebingen Stift.


I am most impressed by the Hauff poem, it is wonderful that you keep on twinning and linking by your poems the 2 towns and their history.

Warmest greetings,
Gitte





photo: 

Maria G. Sironi

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur