Dark Cities: A dark twist on spoken word 2017

A year today I was included in the Dark Cities, an anthology inspired by a challenge set by Dr Karl Bell. The writers were asked to create fiction based on our urban surroundings and to celebrate the launch we had a book reading at The Hunter Gatherer café in Southsea. Twelve months later I was asked to arrange a Dark City spoken word event, which would be part of Portsmouth Darkfest.

But what to do, another book reading? Well, we did that last year. A spoken word event based on horror – what so close to the excellent Day of the Dead at the Square Towers? What to do, what to do? At last I decided to throw a few challenges into the evening.

  1. The piece was only supposed to last seven minutes, and if the artist went over their time limit there would be a forfeit.
  2. The pieces would be judged! The audience would pick their favourites.

I was a little worried how they would deal with the extra pressure, but I shouldn’t have been, everyone rose to the challenge. From detail descriptions of electric shock therapy, memories of mental hospital corridors, monsters under the bed to how death likes to spend her time while waiting for victims to pop their clogs, the evening was bursting with creativity.

Alas, as with every competition there can only be a few winners, and the dark crystal goblet was taken home by Jules Garvey-Welsh, other prizes were scooped up by Jackson Davies, Margaret Jennings and Susan Shipp.

Jackson Davies

Jules Garvey-Welsh

Susan Shipp

Margaret Jennings

William Sutton performed spine tingling music and host Matt Wingett gave out the prizes. But I would also like to thank a few hard working helpers who weren’t in the limelight. My daughter Jessica who took lots of lovely photographs and is hoping to make a behind the scenes video, watch this space. My oldest daughter Abigail who helped to count the votes and sat in a draft all evening doing the boring bits. Jo West who arrived with books, chairs and a loving smile. Johnny Sackett who arrived with screens. Mona King Creative for the awesome programmes and Brian Morton at The Hunter Gatherer, he is definitely the host with the most and even provided for our favourite vegan!

Christine Lawrence

Helen Salisbury

Roz Ryska-Onions

Alison Habens

Justin MacCormack

It was brilliant evening and I was just wowed by all the performers; Roz Ryska-Onions, Justin MacCormack, Alison Habens, Helen Salisbury and Christine Lawrence.

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DArk to DArker Shivering or Not

https://youtu.be/ayvFyy86hPc
My writing group, The Writers at Lovedean, are excited to be part of this year’s line-up of DArk to DArker Shivering or Not. Together with my daughter’s audiovisual team, A14 Productions we have created a sound box where the audience can feel what it would be like to a medium.

The talented group of writers include; Lynne Stone, Barbara McMeekin, Jackie Green, Linda Rushby, Jules Garvey Welch, David Dunford, Keith Baker, Kate Rawding, Louise Crockford, Christine Lawrence, John Palmer and myself.
This is a free event, and I hope you can come along.

Saturday 26th November, 7 pm -1 am
DArk or DArker Shivering or Not!
Coastguard Studio, 91 Clarendon Road, Southsea, PO4 0SA

A night of audio-visual performance, installations, live artists and theatre makers, all exploring the DarkFest themes. Hosted by 1000 Plateaus.
one000plateaus.com/darkordarker/
FREE (donations welcome)

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NaNoWriMo

https://youtu.be/STdS8HClYbo
It’s that time of year I love. NaNoWriMo, National write a novel in a month. The freezer is full; the biscuits are bought, and I am ready.
For me, this is a fabulous time because it helps me focus on what I love, those delicious first drafts without the guilt of editing. If you are a writer and you haven’t tried NaNoWriMo yet do!
NanoWrimo Website
If you are looking for me, I’m:
Charlotte Comley (aka writerbizwoman)

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Day of the Dead 2016

Oh, what a night! I feel so privileged to be included in this event, and working with some of Portsmouth’s greatest talent. It was an evening of laughs, thrills, scares and toe-tapping music and I loved it all.
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This year’s line-up was incredible, poets Maggie Sawkins, Sue Spiers and Lord Byro gave a fantastic look into the macabre. The thoughts of a night porter were particularly illuminating and will certainly make me think before arriving at a hotel after check in. We had stories from Tony Noon, Jacqui Pack, James Bicheno and Justin MacCormack. Which included a deal made with a demon for the secret of writing success. A gothic mix from Alan Morris added to the atmosphere of the evening.

The square tower shivered to the rhythm of songs performed by Philip Jeays, Jamie West, Gareth Rees and his friend.

Christine Lawrence buried a cat on stage, while Tom Harris cleaned up the blood. There were more stories from V H Leslie, Diana Bretherick and the evening ended when Matt Wingett turned a gun on the audience.

Best of all my husband found my perfect Christmas present from Headcase Curios.

Sunday also marked the book launch of The Day of the Dead anthology; copies can be found for Blackwells.
If you are interested in Day of the Dead, why not check out their Facebook page?
https://www.facebook.com/events/252124021849520/

Don’t forget there is more fun next week, Sunday 6th of November, 6:30 at the Square Tower, you can see the Dark Songs. https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375811

A couple of plugs for my mates, the remarkable playwright Zella Compton latest play Genghis – The Truth is on at the New Theatre Royal on Saturday 5th November, 7.30 pm.

Genghis

There is a Dark Victorian event at Blackwells on Wednesday 9th November. A panel of novelists and academics talk about the dark side of Victorian life. Local author Diana Bretherick will launch her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughters. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dark-victorians-panel-discussion-and-book-launch-tickets-28548403042?aff=es2

Matt Wingett, who gave a successful talk at my writing group earlier in the year, will be giving a lecture about the creator of Sherlock Holmes and his relationship with spiritualism. That’s at Portsmouth Temple of Spiritualism, Southsea, PO5 2BU on Friday 11th November. http://www.mattwingett.com/conan-doyle-and-his-belief-in-ghosts-a-talk/

Dr Karl Bell and Diana Bretherick will be giving a public talk on how the Victorian media created two Jacks, the demonic Spring-heeled Jack, and the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Wednesday 16th November, 7.00 pm Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/making-urban-monsters-spring-heeled-jack-and-jack-the-ripper-tickets-28512409384

The Portsmouth Writers Hub is running a workshop based on an authors’ roundtable discussion about the character of the ‘femme fatale’. Feel free to dress up for the occasion.

Featuring Diana Bretherick, Steph Broadribb aka Crime Thriller Girl, Cal Moriarty. VH Leslie and Carolyn Hughes. Thursday 24th November, 6.30 -8.30 pm Eldon building Uni of P’mouth Winston Churchill Ave PO1 2DJ.

Don’t forget The Writers at Lovedean are producing some work at Dark or Darker Shivering or Not! Coastguard Studio, 91 Clarendon Road, Southsea, PO4 0SA Saturday 26th November, 7 pm -1 am. It will be a fabulous evening of audio-visual performance, installations, live artists and theatre makers, all exploring the DarkFest themes. Hosted by 1000 Plateaus. one000plateaus.com/darkordarker/

I intend to end November at a book launch I am included in! The launch of Dark City, an anthology of scary Portsmouth stories by local authors. Wednesday 30th November, Hunter Gatherer Café, Albert Road, PO4 0JR. 7 – 9 pm

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Day of the Dead IV

https://youtu.be/yQM9Wq-QVrY
Due to a family emergency, I wasn’t able to perform at last year’s Day of the Dead event, and I was gutted. But I am delighted to be performing in this year’s event. If you haven’t been, I can recommend a great evening of song and spoken word. Dress up is welcome and at this year’s event, I believe there is a photo booth to have a bit of spooky fun.

Stories and songs to chill, thrill, and amuse from Hampshire’s most talented. The evening includes the launch of the Day of the Dead Anthology.

Tickets – £4 (concessions), £7 (full price):https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375714
Sun 30th October, 6-9.30pm
Square Tower, Broad Street, PO1 2JE

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The Brighton Color Run and Portsmouth MS


Yes, I know, they have used the American spelling for ‘color.’

Over twelve months ago my dearest youngest daughter announced she would like to do a colour run. However, I wasn’t going to let my daughter do it alone, so I trained hard for 12 months to be able to run the rather small distance of 5K. Twelve months later I was ready, and my daughter was no longer interested in running! Typical.

Part of being an anxious bod means that when I start something, I find it hard not to complete – so I decided I would still do it. At the same time, a dear friend of mines daughter had just been diagnosed with MS, so I did a sponsored run.

I would just like to thank all the people who sponsored me. We now have an amazing £170 to donate to Portsmouth MS Society!

Many many thanks.

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Day of the Dead iv: Shhhhh

I am wildly excited to be performing in this year’s Day of the Dead. This is the brain child of author Will Sutton, and it’s great fun. I do hope some of you will be able to come along.

Day of the Dead iv: Shhhhh
6pm Sunday 30 Oct, Square Tower, Broad St, PO1 2JE
Shhhh.

Stories to still shaky souls.
Fancy dress.
Refreshments. Costumes. Poisons. Stories.
Tickets £7: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375714
or £4 concession: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/375715

Refreshments at the The Square Tower.
Books from Blackwell’s in Portsmouth.
Poison bottles by James Waterfield from Lawn of the Dead UK.
Costumier advice from Tony and Zoe of Head Case Curios.
Pixel Art with Kendal James of Eyecandy.

Unbeatable line-up of writers & musicians.
See you there.

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