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Readings, launches, and the Carmen Rollers

Readers at the Frogmore anthology launch in Lewes
As we were reading: Jeremy Page, Julia O’Brien, Robin Houghton


Lots of excitement in the past week. First of all, National Poetry Day and the launch of the Frogmore Press anthology Poems from the Old Hill on Thursday evening. It was standing room only as we’d all brought family and friends to cheer us on. It was fab to see some of my non-poet friends there, just hoping they enjoyed it and went away to tell everyone how great poetry readings are.

Big thank you to Charlotte for capturing some pics of some of us reading. We did look up occasionally, promise! Actually there’s some video footage too, which I may just post here if I can get my nerve up.

One non-poet friend got in a muddle about the date and venue and turned up a day late – but at least she went to Ieko on the High Street so in instead of us she got the lovely Catherine Smith reading from her new collection Otherwhere. Not so bad, eh? I just hope she didn’t accost Catherine and say “but I thought Robin Houghton was reading?” Tee hee.

And THEN on Sunday evening I was persuaded along to the monthly open mic event at the Baltica cafe by my stand-up performance poet friend Louise Taylor, neither of us quite knowing what to expect. But Louise being such a pro she had her material at the ready and performed two VERY funny classics of hers (the second by popular request, poor L being a tad hungover from her birthday party the night before.)

Halfway through the evening (not just poetry but also various acoustic musical acts) about a hundred people piled in, and it turned out to be none other than singing friend Polly with her entire family (including her 90-year old mother) fresh from a four-hour operatic marathon at the Duke of York’s in Brighton. A number of them formed themselves up as members of two close-harmony groups, the Carmen Rollers and the Old Spice Boys, and sang a couple of numbers. Grand entertainment. And what a nice evening – all those people turning out to perform for each other, rather than staying in and watching Downton Abbey. Love it!

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Robin Houghton 2021
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