Sunday, 5 December 2010

Next gig in Middlesbrough; Dva brodyagi visit Moscow; plus squirrel news

The next outing for the gesamtkunstwerk that is our live version with audiovisual accompaniment of Three Men is January 18th at the Electric Kool Aid Cabaret of the Spoken Word held at Blu(what used to be Blaises) in Middlesbrough. More details soon.

My colleagues of the underground, Andy Croft and Paul Summers, are currently back in Moscow contacting translators and publishers for the next stage of the Myetro project: its possible appearance in Russian. Either that or they've gone to the Canary Islands and haven't tweeted me.

They've chosen to go at a time when the weather in the North East so closely resembles that of Moscow (give or take 10 degrees) that they don't have to change their outfits. (It's not clear that Andy actually can change out of that bloody jacket.)

No doubt we'll have news on this latest trip soon enough or indeed slightly later. In the meantime, the stubborn refusal of the squirrel meme to hibernate means that the stanza on the possibly-not-entirely-real station for the possibly-not entirely-there 'Squirrel Hills' demanded a successor:

Bronze panels show in Belichiy Gory
the war between the Greys and Reds --
Yeltsin's high station tells the story
that left ten million squirrels dead.
One side were Celto-Scythian rebels,
the others sleepless, alien devils:
Prince Nutkin, Tuftsky, Sasha Cheeks,
Tsar Timfy Tiptoes -- through these peaks
from birch-top fought to floor of forest,
while Greys made famine from Red's glut,
for every tree, each twig, each nut.
Why was this iconised by Boris?
While oligarchic fat cats feast,
democracy is for the beasts.

As real as Hollywood’s Ninotchka,
this station is an empty hoard
of bottles drunk by a red belochka
stare all you want, they’ll still stay blurred.
A six foot squirrel, stark and raving
that none can see but those, half-shaven,
half-drunk, who wake in hotel rooms,
in snowdrifts, metros, Lenin’s tomb.
It tells you fables from an era
when men pissed vodka, wives shat eggs
and flies had four delicious legs.
It whispers, ‘You’re the true chimera,
a beast that thinks he knows he thinks?
No wonder wanderers turn to drink!’

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Bristol gig report

This was the first reading for a while to involve all three of us, and the first time we'd tried the full-on AV son et lumiere spectacular version of 3 Men ie, we included a slideshow and some MP3s, so thanks enormously to Colin Brown and Poetry Can for the opportunity.

This meant we could focus on set-list, edit some of the mass of materials the project had accumulated, and think a little about the mechanics of performing a number of quite short poems while three people stand in a line on stage. We didn't get all that all right, but it felt like a considerable step forward.

Here are the files used:

So now, if you want to recreate the reading experience in the comfort of your own treehouse, all you need is the setlist and to hit the 'play' buttons at the right moment. But I'm assuming no-one would be that bonkers.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Park Kultury

I've been meaning to write something about the terrible bombings in the Moscow Metro back in March, and have been carrying fragments of a phrase or two around with me for a while -- if the image isn't too repellent, sometimes an inspiration feels like putting together something that arrives in bits and pieces, the imagination as the opposite of a bomb. Anyway, thinking about that tragedy and its origins in another tragedy, this is the stanza that eventually came:

Kultury is twelve marble roundels
displayed along a Metro wall.
Kultury is nails bagged in bundles
explosive pressed into a ball.
Kultury’s skaters, tennis players;
Kultury’s martyrs, random slayers.
Kultury is a model plane,
a future freed from debt and shame.
Kultury is a mushroom hunter
slaughtered in the forest snow:
it's what we can't and so must know.
It is our brief reply to winter:
a warm breath’s disc in a window’s frost;
ice-hole to rivers of the lost.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Three Men in a Poetry Can

Our next gig is a three person show at the Bristol Poetry Festival. Their poster seems to have been very kindly designed with us in mind:

We are on as follows:

ARNOLFINI, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA
FEATURING Andy Croft, W N Herbert, Paul Summers

The link for the whole festival is here. It all looks very exciting, with Farley and Fainlight headlining -- 'The Nine Lessons of Caliban' is a particularly intriguing title -- perhaps I can finally learn something...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Star shines underground

The Morning Star has printed a good review by Steve Andrew of the book, in which he also gives a generous mensh to this very site -- thanks for that, and welcome New & Curious Visitor!

The next 3 Men reading will be a two man version on Tuesday Feb 16th at the Flying Goose Cafe, Beeston, details here. The two men in question will by Andy and Bill.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Notices and Condemnations (um...Commendations)

Here's Tom Birchenough's excellent article on (Three) Men and Metros. His sibilant conclusion: 'this slim volume will lighten any Slavic syllabus - in every sense'.

We've also received sparkling commendations from two very august -- practically septemberish -- figures:

Alan Sillitoe, whose Road to Volgograd is one of my favourite travelogues from the late Soviet period, was kind enough to say

'I like the poems - a mixture of erudition and brio - not to mention a respect for prosody which all serious poets have. I call it a back pocket book, meaning something to be carried around and of course read more than once.'

While George Szirtes, whose wonderful Metro sequence with its 13 line sonnets was another inspiration, remarked, 'It's a gorgeous, high-spirited book, funny, affectionate, knowledgeable.'