Lyric Lounge Loughborough 2010

I know that I’m a lucky person and I definitely feel lucky to have been involved with yet another amazing Lyric Lounge experience.

Saturday October 2nd and Sunday October 3rd Lyric Lounge made it’s presence known in Loughborough’s Charnwood Museum. We took over three parts of the museum; the cafe for WORD! and the Lyrical Lunchtimes, a corner of the museum became our poetry base and then there were these incredible life size trees that we made our poetrees! It was all just lovely.

The poetry base, which began as a poetry pet shop, was adorned with various pets but the most incredible of the lot were our two zebras that were made hand made by a volunteer. I would’ve zebranapped them except I was travelling back and forth with the festival director and she may have noticed me attempting to conceal them! We named the couple George and Georgina and all the kids came over to see them and got involved with us and what we were doing. They are currently on show as part of the Lyric Lounge display at the museum.

We worked mostly with kids who were all very eager to get involved with what we were doing. It was really inspiring and made everyone really appreciate the time we spent there because these kids entertained us for hours. We had many fun poetry inspired activities for both the kids and the volunteers alike.

Poetry hats. Now these started as a recycling project on Saturday. Tim Clarke, artist in residence, thought it shameful that the last batch of festival brochures not get used and decided to get creative and make all the volunteers hats which we then decorated with our own poetry, with words and with some of the leaves and birds from the poetree. These were a hit with kids who added their own drawings and poetry and words as we helped guide them through making their own hats. We all looked quite stylish, I might add!

We were able to set up our own small gallery in our poetry corner as kids drew with Tim and some even created poetry based on their drawings.

There was our beloved poetrees that were looking so very beautiful and colourful by the end of our two days. Leaves were covered with poetry and drawings from kids and parents. They were lovely to read, the trees were lovely to look at and it was amazing to see how full they were. It’s safe to say, I think that the poetrees were my favourite thing. I sat under one of them on Sunday afternoon with my notebook out and just wrote whatever came into my head and it filled me with calm and happiness. Thank you to everyone who added a leaf!

Poetry speech bubbles covered museum walls. Our poetry post saw lovely bits of writing been created with magnets. Our word scavenger hunt had kids running all over the place. There were arts and crafts all over the place creating interesting work. You would be forgiven for mistaking us for Lyric Lounge daycare based on the amount of kids working with us. We were blessed to have been so popular with them and to have had the chance to bring some fun to poetry for them.

On the Sunday afternoon two young brothers walked into the museum with their mother to have a look around. When they discovered us they immediately started creating work. They stayed with me for about two hours or so making hats, drawing and writing poetry about robots. They saw the poetrees as a challenge and attempted to fill up the entire thing with leaves. Their mother couldn’t get them to leave so instead took the opportunity to take part in a writing workshop. I had a great time writing with these two kids. For someone of such a young age, they knew what they wanted to write and they wrote some beautiful things. They made my entire weekend with their enthusiasm and their brilliance. One of the best things I heard all day was from the older of the two. “I do poetry at school. I’m very good at it but it’s not as fun as what I’ve been doing here”. Now, that’s what I call a seal of approval!

The Lyrical Lunchtimes were incredible. Refuge performed on Saturday and Lauren Foster and Rob Miller performed on Sunday and both performances were amazing. I really admire these guys, they put on an amazing show for everyone that was in the cafe having lunch, many of whom were not aware of the Lyric Lounge but got involved after these performances. They were outstanding!

WORD! on the Saturday night was a definite highlight. I recorded the open mic slots and there were some great poems read out. I’m lucky in the fact that because I have to now go through a mix and master the tracks (there was a freezer on in the room so I’m on a mission to EQ out as much of that as possible) I get to listen to them all time and time again… did I mention, LUCKY! The booked acts were great. I was especially impressed by the Book Doc’s new poems. Outstanding!

On Monday October 4th we took over a room in Loughborough’s Town Hall to setup for the mighty Showcase Live performance that evening. Let me tell you, everything was worth it to see that performance. It was truly moving. The men involved wrote some incredible pieces of work and performed with such passion and emotion. I commend them and also thank them for the performance. They obviously put so much work into the night. I talked to members of the audience in the interval along with some of the other volunteers and everyone had so many positive things to say about it… and this was just after the first half. The general consensus was that everyone felt very happy in their choice to have attended that evening and they were eager to see the rest of the show. I don’t think you can get much better than that! A happy audience is a great reward. I heard many compliments about the show and everyone involved that night.

The show was directed by Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze. I think she did a great job and she deserves a lot of recognition for all that she does within Lyric Lounge. I’ve been very happy to have gotten to work around her.

And as always, praise and admiration for the lovely Lydia Towsey who worked so hard to pull the weekend off. It was a great weekend and it was a pleasure working with her. Thank you for letting me be involved once again! I don’t think I’ve ever or will ever meet anyone who works as hard as Lydia does. I just don’t know how she does it.

I’ve felt very fortunate to be involved with Lyric Lounge over the past few months. It’s been a place were I’ve felt that I belonged and had something to contribute. I’ve been inspired to write, I’ve been encouraged to record, I’ve made some great friendships and I’ve worked around some truly incredible people. Nothing gets better than that really!

So to all involved, thank you for making it a great experience.

Long live the Lyric Lounge!

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