Ride the Lights, 26th March

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Ride the Lights

On Wednesday 26th April, Paul Hurley and I will be running a creative cycling expedition from The Hepworth, Wakefield, called Ride the Lights.

The event is the third cycling-arts event Paul and I have led, after CycloGeographic in 2010 for SusTrans in Caerphilly (to celebrate the opening of a new National Cycling Network route) and then a Situationists Vs Romantics CycloGeo expedition for Juliana’s Bike in Leeds last year.

We’ll be exploring themes of light, and the play between fact and fiction for the Hepworth event, inviting riders to explore the cinematic fragments and moments of Wakefield at night – inspired by the current exhibition by Philip-Lorca diCorcia. There will be intrigue, inspiration and a fair amount of light-up items.

You can book a place on the ride here. We hope to see you and your bike there…

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NaPoWriMo 24: Dust Across the Beam

Hyde Park Picture House: 100 in 2014!

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit cinematic on my blog during NaPoWriMo.

I’m reading a few poems (including my poem about the Invisible Cinema walking tour, from earlier in the month) on Sunday morning at an event to mark the centenary of Hyde Park Picture House. And here is a piece I wrote based on an earlier prompt from Canal Laureate Jo Bell, which was to write a poem of Welcome.

So, to celebrate the Picture House’s centenary, I wrote a welcome for its next 100 years – and here it is:

 

Twenty-One Thirteen

or, Dust Across the Beam

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may your bright skies usher in

the twenty-first century’s pigeons –

their future-coos upon the roof’s tiles

(not nesting in seats, feathering aisles).

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

the elaborate plaster flowers which grow

from the walls are the germinating magic bean

of all the cinemas to which we can no longer go.

A furrow of many bulbs (and most no longer glow).

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may the red curtains of each romance

open and close, close and open

on the clumsy ill-fated dance

of faltering fake yawns

and thousands of missed chances.

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may never the popcorn of cinema dreams

be trodden under giant flat-screen feet

confining chorus gasp, behind-you screams

to closed-curtain houses on sparse streets.

 

Welcome, twenty-one thirteen

and all the seconds in between:

may the 26-flicker of each second’s cell

combine with the terabytes of files, to tell

stories as many as dust across the beam.

For stories are light and light is the spell.

 

So welcome, twenty-one thirteen:

may all your future screens,

even in desperate certificate eighteens

times contain only some scenes

of the mildest peril.

NaPoWriMo 22: Generic Blessings

Temple Newsam House, with its blessing around the roof-line

Temple Newsam House, with its blessing around the roof-line

Catching up with some NaPoWriMo prompts: determined to have at least 30 by the end of the month – TOMORROW!

So here’s one from earlier in the month – there might be more of it to come, but thought I’d put it up as work in progress.

This one’s based on the blessing which runs around the top of Temple Newsam House, just outside Leeds. The idea was to create some ‘Genre Blessings’ (hence the title) for the Hyde Park Picture House event on Sunday – as an alternative blessing – but I couldn’t come up with more than two!

So the poem is the original blessing from the top of the house, with two other genres represented: horror and period drama. Perhaps I’ll add a sci-fi and western at some point…Perhaps…

 

ALL GLORY

or, Generic Blessings

 

ALL GLORY BE GIVEN

TO GOD, THE FATHER, HIS SON

AND THE HOLY GHOST ON HIGH.

PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN.

HONOUR TRUE ALLEGIENCE TO OUR GRACIOUS KING.

LOVING AFFECTION AMONGST HIS SUBJECTS.

HEALTH AND PLENTY WITHIN THIS HOUSE.

 

ALL GORY BE RIVEN

BY GHOULS, THE FANGED, ROSEMARY’S BABY

AND THE GHOSTS IN THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE.

FEAR ON EARTH AND GOOD KILLS AMONG MEN.

HONOUR GRIM ALLEGIENCE TO STEPHEN KING.

ROVING STARVATION AMONGST ZOMBIES.

STEALTHY DEPRAVITY IN EACH DESERTED SHACK.

 

ALL CORSETS BE FASTENED

BY GIRLS, STRICT FATHERS, THEIR SONS

AND THE GHOST OF THE ONES THEY SHOULD MARRY.

GENTLE MIRTH AND GOOD SUITS UPON MEN.

HONOUR THE NOVEL BUT ADD SOME THINGS IN.

STIFLED AFFECTION: AS LEWD AS IT GETS.

EMBROIDERY AND MOANING, IN EACH STATELY HOME.

NaPoWriMo 13: Windowless Walls

Bagel Nash, which was once the News Theatre, by Leeds Station

Bagel Nash, which was once the News Theatre, by Leeds Station

 

I continue to run at a poetical-deficit, but will catch up soon (12 and 14 to follow today)…

Here’s my poem based on going for a walk: on Sunday, I went on a walking tour of some of the forgotten/disused cinemas around Leeds city centre – which is part of the celebration of 100 years of Hyde Park Picture House – and was organised by these fine folk (Conway and Young). I put up some more pictures of this walk yesterday

So I wrote this piece from jottings and thoughts while looking around these forgotten cinemas:

 

Windowless Walls

or, Cut (A Tour of Cinemas Past in Leeds)

 

At the News Theatre (where the only

fresh news is today’s bagels), we cut

open bags of popcorn and sniff

it like posies – warding something off –

and say how its aroma

is better than its taste.

 

Lyric, Lyceum, Olympia: we cut

a queue of ancient voices

through gusts of decades. Cinema

at the centre of the block-

buster’s vortex. The jump-

cuts in the waveforms of lives.

 

The Merrion Centre’s lights

and mirrors hold prisoner

a 1970s Odeon: the orange-brown

Autumnal kernel of

future past.

 

On a windowless wall, words over words

(of what was The Tower) meekly whisper how

there is Always a Good Programme. A frame

half-covering it booms Demand Everything! Now!

listing superstar DJ-names and Gatecrasher-choons.

 

3-D digi-HD smell-o-feel-o-vision gimmickry,

in this most flammable and malleable of media:

memory. Bricks begin to flicker.

 

Dust in the lens, my eyes

water: a strong wind, cut

full of particulate matter.

We, the City’s Editors –

its planners and punters –

razor-blades poised to cut

between CGI-progress

and/or

celluloid-preservation.

Look Up: Primark was once a cinema, too.

Look Up: Primark was once a cinema, too.

 

The Trailer Tent

Greetings,

Something a bit different!

I recently wrote some stream-of-consciousness reviews of film promos for The Leeds Debacle magazine.

(You can find the mag on Facebook here and on Twitter as @theleedsdebacle here.)

My feature is called The Trailer Tent – you can read it here (on p 18-19) and it’ll be out in print next week, so keep an eye out Loiners!

Hope you enjoy my very flippant responses to Hollywood’s hype machine…