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There’s a Storm Coming…

I’m very pleased to announce that November 2014 will see the release of a very limited number of original landscape oil paintings featuring the Yorkshire Pennines. Taking inspiration from the moors, the farms and, of course, the weather, each painting corresponds to a day of the week and considers themes of absence and loss.

Studio 1

In the Studio: Wednesday (sneak preview)

So as not to have to always listen to the wind and rain hitting the newly installed patio doors, I’ve been re-discovering the instrumental part to David Sylvian’s 1986 masterpiece Gone to Earth. Perfect studio music.

Hidden Poems and Satellites – an Easter challenge

Poetry techno:

Marsden Poetry Trail – Heron and Small Fry are playing hide and seek. They have found new homes amongst the trees.  Exact coordinates are 53°36’08.1″N 1°56’05.0″W for Heron and 53°36’19.4″N 1°57’29.1″W for Small Fry.

For those without the aid of satellites simply follow the trail and consider your ‘roots’.

This part of the trail makes an excellent afternoon stroll with the children past the famous Standedge Tunnel. Find out more about the trail at Marsden Poetry Trail

More poems going wild soon.

And finally:

The Hawthorn Halls – the cat stone cast edition

The Cat Stone

Not only was the (nearly) full Glastonbury line-up announced this week but, more importantly, I was finally allowed to release details of the first ever Cuckoo Poetry Jam taking place in Marsden later this month. Advertised as a fringe event to the world famous Cuckoo Festival, the Cuckoo Poetry Jam organised in association with Write out Loud and Kirklees Libraries, takes place on Saturday 26 April between 11.00am and 1.00pm at the Railway Inn, Marsden. Full details can be found at our very friendly Facebook event page by following the link here, Poetry Jam

If you’re unsure what a Jam might look like then don’t worry. The Write Out Loud YouTube channel has a fantastic seven minute video edit from last year’s October Jazz festival Jam showing the great variety and superb atmosphere created by our compere and host, Julian Jordon. Julian will be back again for the Cuckoo Jam as will guest readers Steve Ely, Kim Moore, Michael Stewart and Michael Brown with more names being added to the list as I type. Many open mic spots available so if you are in the area please pop in, say hello, and enjoy some wonderful poetry for a couple of hours.

And to celebrate:

I have two very fine 2013 Templar Poetry Anthologies to give away. Peloton contains a selection of the best poems from submissions to the annual Templar Pamphlet and Collection Awards and I’m very proud that two of my own poems, The Cat Stone Cast and Late September, feature in the anthology. To get your hands on one of these fine books simply send me your name and address via my contact page and two individuals will be selected at random. Simple. All emails will then be deleted and not used for any other purpose. I’ll post details on the Cuckoo Jam Facebook page as to who can expect a book in the post.

Peloton

The Cat Stone Cast is a Marsden poem, set around the Sparth reservoir on a hot summer evening. It’s a poem about discovery and in some ways, loss of innocence and comes from a sequence I’m currently working on provisionally titled, Down On Grange. The whole sequence works with the idea of you were there but what if you had never been here and looks at our relationships with people and places. It’s heavy but in a 1970s Vision On Polaroid kind of way. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Dagda Publishing selected another poem from the sequence as their poem of the day. You can still read Dark Side of the Street on their fantastic poetry blog.

Don’t forget, as well as exploring the landscape of the Cat Stone, you can also take in other poetry delights on Mark Kelly’s brilliant Marsden Poetry Trail which I would heartily recommend if you’re visiting the area through Spring and Summer.

This weekend, after many years of trying, I will finally be attending an Embrace secret gig which, unfortunately, is all I’m allowed to say. Have a look on YouTube if you want to find out more; Sunday is going to be wild! It’s a great buzz to be going. We’ve seen the band live a few times and I’ve been a fan since they were signed – local lads done good kind of thing – so no doubt I will have some tales to tell next time round.

For now, it has to be the come back record of all time; gifted to the band from Chris Martin as a way of saying thank you for allowing Coldplay to support them on tour before Michael Eavis discovered them and yes – I was in the bar.

 

The many layers of landscape photography

andyhemingway

What is it about landscape photography that makes me keep going back for more?

I spent much of one Sunday morning asking myself this question, as a ferocious wind did its damnedest to blast me off of Marsden Moor.

A wind blasted morning at Millstone Edge A wind blasted morning at Millstone Edge

Crouched behind a large rock, which provided at least a little shelter from the grasping fingers of the Pennine wind, waiting for a break in the clouds, I began to ponder just what it was that had coaxed me out of bed at 4.00am and up on to the moor on a day like this. I spotted a jogger approaching, the only other living soul that I saw all morning. We waved at each other in grim solidarity, in recognition of each other’s battle with the elements.

It was this that made me realise that it was a question of motivation. I could have…

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Ammon Wrigley

As mentioned in Mark Kelly’s brilliant Marsden Poetry Trail: http://halfwayhike.com/2014/02/03/a-marsden-poetry-trail here’s Andy Hemingway’s fantastic original piece about Ammon Wrigley.

andyhemingway

Ammon Wrigley Ammon Wrigley

If you venture up on to Millstone Edge, at Standedge on Marsden Moor, you will be in good company. This little corner of the Pennines was so loved by local poet, writer and historian Ammon Wrigley, that his ashes were scattered near the Dinner Stone.

The views over Saddleworth overlook the places where he was born, raised and lived his whole, long life. Look closer and you will spot his memorial plaque. Now sat between those of his two daughters.

The Wrigley Plaques

THE ASHES OF
AMMON WRIGLEY
BELOVED WRITER OF SADDLEWORTH
FOLK-LORE, PROSE AND POEMS,
WERE SCATTERED FROM THIS SPOT

ON THE 14TH SEPTEMBER
— 1946 —

HIS WAS THE SWEET AND GENEROUS SOUL
THAT LOVED NOT SELF ALONE
BUT TO OUR POORER NATURES GAVE
THE FRAGRANCE OF HIS OWN.

WINDS OF THE PENNINES FRESH AND FREE
YOU WERE EVER GOOD FRIENDS TO ME
OUT ON THE…

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Obscure Alternatives (part 1)

Keep the headphones on. It was about this time last year that I made a surprise appearance on Mark Radcliffe’s Music Club with my first, my last and everything – a section in the show where you tell the story of the first record you bought, the last record and the record that means everything to you. Simple really and at least fifteen minutes quality airtime on national radio. I say surprise because to be honest I’d completely forgotten I’d written the piece and did slightly cringe at the few Black Sheep enhanced descriptives but, nevertheless, it was great fun arriving home to a barrage of text messages and emails (3) saying how much people had enjoyed my selections. Unfortunately due to cutbacks the show is no longer available and as I can never change my first record I’ll give you that one – Le Chic with Le Freak. And, I suppose, a complete fluke that 2013 turned out to be one of Nile Rodgers biggest years. The other two you’ll just have to guess but to be fair they have now changed.

Although proudly sporting a little yellow Music Club badge is great fun, the selection criteria was a little restrictive. What music fans really want to tell the world about are the lost and unknown gems or the turning points in artists’ careers. In other words; have you ever heard this? Or, they were doing this, and then did this and that’s what led to this. See what I mean.

The idea of this little feature came to me after reading Mark Kelly’s excellent new Marsden Poetry Trail in which, I’m delighted to say, he has chosen a poem of mine together with other more famous Marsden poets to create a stunning nine mile walk. If you’re thinking of visiting the area in the future then I would heartily recommend the walk, not only for the poetry but the truly wonderful landscapes that we are lucky to be able to call home. I smiled at Mark’s summary when he talks of leaving the poets behind on the hills with David (me) and Simon (Armitage) discussing obscure bands from the eighties. I smiled because, although I can’t speak for Simon, certainly this Marsden lad has had many of those discussions amongst the heather and cotton grass.

By Mark’s own admission the trail is a work in progress with notable absentees including the wonderful, Jo Haslam. There’s very little of Jo’s poetry on line which is a shame because she deserves a much wider readership. No doubt it’s because of the digital absence that Mark found it difficult to align a place to the poetry. If available, I would recommend Jo’s heartbreaking first collection, The Sign for Water from which I’m certain The September Swimmer would find home on the trail somewhere. In the meantime, from the equally wonderful collection, On the Kiso Road, here’s the poem Woodbine courtesy of Josephine Corcoran’s great blog, andotherpoems.

In other poetry news I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be joining those fantastic folks at Words on Tap to take part in an open mic showcase as part of the Headingley LitFest on Friday 14 March. I’ve been working on a collection of new poems and this will be a great opportunity to release a few back to the wild.

So this episode’s choice track is The Tenant which comes from Japan’s second album, Obscure Alternatives (good title, I thought). The album was released in 1978 six months after their debut release, Adolescent Sex. The track, The Tenant marked a turning point as the band began to move away from the New York Punk inspired industrial soundscape and Sylvian began to take more control over production values. The sound indicates the direction Sylvian would later pick up on his solo albums and also showcases Mick Karn on fretless bass and saxophone. One year later, Quiet Life was released and the rest, as they say, is history.