Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fred Slattern vaulted into top 100 live poets

From next year's Guardian "Fred Slattern made his debut public performance at Colchester Free Festival on 18 September 2010. With there being uncertainty about the exact time and place of Fred's performance, he couldn't depend on his loyal crowd of misfit friends to support him, and instead had to live or die on stage by his wits. Standing at a busk stop just inside the Castle Park gates, Fred had good footfall, and not all of it kept walking by. Witnessing an inspired performance from Colchester's wordsmith equivalent of Seasick Steve, some innocent members of the public has their ears assaulted by Colchester's self-styled slum poet.

Opening with a tale of sub-standard housing in suburbia "condemned" he led into "fear and loathing in Prettygate" a story of aging, isolation and fear. Slattern introduced each of the (mercifully short) pieces, his staccato delivery giving the impression of an accountant on EPO. He recited a piece about procrastination entitled "when I get my tattoo", a mordant ditty that he claimed he wrote at a "creative writing for no-hopers" course a few years ago. Upping the performance by several gears, he did a political piece about chavs, more specifically about those who revile them, with the cryptic title of "Council House and Van". Fred clearly fancies himself as the people's poet Rick from "The Young Ones".

Moving on to the whimsical "had James Dean lived, would he have shopped in Waitrose?", Slattern was into his stride, as he delivered some appalling wordplay involving car crashes and the cheese counter. Clearly Slattern had problems concentrating at school, or indeed at any other station in life. Then a topical piece written with an eye on the art gallery under construction and the vitriol in the local papers "when's it going to be finished?". But Slattern's session wasn't all about lampooning of the authorities and the media, it was about celebrating Colchester,with two pieces about the history lingering in our open spaces at "Hilly Fields" and "electricity" about High Woods.

Fred's finale consisted of pieces about the ever changing High Street "the High Street's full of cafes and charity shops" and "thanks for the sandwich" celebrating our Big Issue sales people. Twenty five people witnessed this tour-de-farce performance, vaulting him into the top 100 poets performing live today.

His banter between pieces was well received, and the sole poetry themed joke he could invent - about the iambic pentameter - was appreciated by at least two or three in the audience of mainly rural folk. A warm ripple of applause greeted the end of the show, maybe from a sense of relief, but mainly because these ordinary folks had, at last, found someone to blather on their behalf - a fanfare for the common man, with no side salad thank you very much. Fred Slattern, this modest man from suburbia, who has much to be modest about, has now been approached for other gigs."

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

harvest time at Big Swifty's vineyard

Hello Fans and Followers. From looking on here you might think it's all gone quiet at Big Swifty Towers, but the opposite is true, with blogs slipping down the prioritised list of tasks in hand. We've got news from all fronts, with diabetes stories, lots of paid work, home and garden, Colchester Free festival, and a holiday all taking our attention. So that's five blogs lined up for the near future, confirming the adage about a long wait then several buses come along at once.

We've been making a special effort to change our approach to life, looking at how we can best care for our little family. Following "Radical Homemaking" principles, our priorities have been to go even more natural with food. We have been active on the free food front, which is educational for Frank as part of his Unschooling, and also appeals to me as I'm so cheap. With a couple of pals, Frank and I have been picking wild apples (no, I won't tell you where the trees are) and we've all been busy making apple butter and puree. We have a bumper crop of quinces on the tree in our garden, and yesterday we stripped our vineyard. When I say vineyard, I mean one gnarly twig that looks dead in the spring, but this twisted bit of deadwood has produced about sixty bunches of grapes this summer. Amazing.As we render the grapes down, the house and patio smells sweet. But we'll soon put a stop to that pleasantness. Next year we want to grow more veg, and I've found several sources of free horse poo. I won't tell you where the apple trees are, but I can tell you the source of the horse poo - a horse's a***. Come back soon for more tails of horses, diabetes and slum poetry word play from our own Fred Slattern .............


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