Not Fizzing in Bucks

20/01/2018 // by Jan Moran Neil

Not Fizzing in Bucks by Ms Paige Turner

I’m sorry my three blog readers that this bi-monthly is a week late but I have had an internationally unknown flu virus. This means that for the past ten days I have been feeding myself on a diet of clementines and daytime television. Oh, my. I now know about the new 8 pronged cancer test, Prince William and Theresa May’s new haircuts, Her Royal Huggable Princess Megan Markle and how anyone with any sense simply hates President Trump who is not coming here shortly. My head is a mass of myriad global facts and Vitamin C. I just wish the latter would reach my body parts but I seem to be turning a corner.
Anyhow, on the daytime television theme I saw that Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz is skating on that Sunday night ice that Philip and Holly are compering. For those of you who don’t know about ‘Good Morning’ that starts at 10.30 am every weekday, these are two of the daytime special’s presenters. What do Cheryl Baker and I have in common? Well, we were both part of girl, boy quartet singing bands in the eighties. Yes, three blog readers I sang for my supper singing Abba songs and jumped up and down as much as Cheryl Baker did earning much less per jump than she.
Well, she’s still jumping. Readers, she is 63 and skating on ice. For the past ten days I have taken my stairs very, very carefully. I’ve had difficulty breathing but none so much as I watched Ms Baker spinning around on thin ice. I think I’ll stick to my writing classes but I guess I had better watch myself and my flu as I go round that corner.
There’s still a couple of places left on the Creative Ink ‘Cities and Synchronicity’ Tuesday morning course at the Fitzwilliams Centre this term.
I will be performing ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ at Bourne End Library on Friday 23rd February for a bit of Post Valentine slash of red at 10.30 am. Free Entry.

What is Christmas?

22/12/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘What is Christmas?’ by Ms Paige Turner
Catherine Klyhn has been organising evening workshops at her home or at local venues which I tutor quarterly for a number of years. The Christmas workshop is always a fun thing. (I don’t know how Catherine manages to provide the copious wine and nibbles inclusively on the fee she charges.) However, she introduced me to Alexa on this last workshop and I asked Alexa all sorts of questions during the evening.
At the end of the jolly evening I asked Alexa what was Christmas. Without hesitation she replied, ‘BBC Radio 4’. ?
Happy BBC Radio 4.
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has four places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.
For evening workshops throughout 2018 email me.

‘In Search of the Holy Teddy Bear’

16/12/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘In Search of the Holy Teddy Bear’ by Ms Paige Turner
When I was three years old I went to the London Palladium with my mother, sister and her friend. This is important: that my elder sister and her friend came too. My mother was approached in the foyer and asked, as I was the youngest member of the audience (ah …) would she allow me to go on stage and push the arrow on ‘Beat the Clock’. (This was a quiz game where contestants had to perform a task in 60 seconds.) I was told that I would receive a lovely gift for spinning the arrow on the huge clock.
The compere – I think it may well have been Bruce Forsyth – asked for a special little helper from the audience to come up and assist the Quiz Game and an usher came to our seats to guide me up to the stage. I flatly refused. I remember it well. The usher said, ‘Your sister can come up too’. I shook my head. ‘Your sister’s friend can come also.’ No way, Hosay. The usher then asked the woman in front of our row whose daughter I was reliably told later was four. (I’m not quite sure how my mother was privy to this information but the child’s mother said, ‘You’re going up’.) That four year old received the hugest teddy bear you could ever imagine. I cried all the way home. My mother gave me my reliable miniature ted. But I’m afraid I didn’t want him.
Did that experience set me on my stage path? Did it make me face the spotlight when I just wanted to flee? I do know that not being able to get to my performing stage cuts me to my emotional core quick. I had to cancel two performances in the eighties when I was touring with my Ruddles Theatre Company due to snow. This last week I had to cancel Egham WI for the same reason. And I felt showered with lack of teddy bears. But wind me up and I’m still trying to beat the clock.
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has four places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.

Living for a Thousand Years or More …

05/12/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Living for a 1000 years or more …’ by Ms Paige Turner

Heather Smith is the chairman of Abbeyfield Residential Home in Gerrards Cross and an old friend. No, she’s not old but I’ve known Heather since I started teaching Creative Writing in Beaconsfield thirty years ago. How time flies and fugits. Heather has done the most amazing illustrations for the annual anthology ‘Rhyme & Reason’ in aid of the Iain Rennie Hospice and she also penned the illustrations for my ‘Serving Bluebird Pie’ collection seventeen years ago. Time fugits again.
Heather invited me to go and do one of my ‘Red Lipstick’ perfs at Abbeyfield. It was truly a delight. There was I in my red dress, with red tablecloths and my Red Lipsticks performing in front of a red Christmas tree. Some of the twelve residents bought copies of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ as Christmas presents. (I suggested pairing it with an Estee Lauder lipstick – what a great gift – Estee Lauder do the best of lipsticks.) At the end when the overhead Christmas lights were switched on in preparation for the Brownies’ visit I suddenly realised that I had performed to a small group whose total of life years came to over a thousand. Vivienne had started the proceedings by beginning to beautifully recite the poem ‘Nicholas Nye’. Neither she nor any of us knew who had written it. The group are light years from Google but I was able to do so this morning. Beautiful ‘Nicholas Nye’ was written by Walter de la Mare:
‘More than a score of donkey’s years
He had been since he was foaled.’
It’s worth a read …
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has some places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.

Oh Very Young – Blog 177

26/11/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Oh Very Young’ – Blog 177 by Ms Paige Turner
I’m back from Cape Town where I enjoyed doing three performances: readings from my poetry collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’. Mr Justin Case and I also enjoyed the company in our swallow drop’s last ten days of our daughter: Miss Trial and Maddie Lil, our granddaughter. (Our son-in-law Master Mind had to stay home to earn money for the lollipops.) We didn’t enjoy having our flight cancelled on Tuesday night and waiting for another twenty four hours to get home to Black Week.
Maddie Lil was born on Black Friday one year ago – or rather as we like to say Thanksgiving as we are truly grateful for her sunny presence. When they both arrived in Cape Town we had already booked to go see Cat Stevens at Kirstenbosch, attended by five thousand people on Remembrance evening. Cat Stevens filled the seventies for me and I was honoured to write a minor biography of him for Reader’s Digest some years ago. Cat, Steven or Yusuf (he converted to Islam) is older now but the remnants of the Greek god that he was were still there.
I couldn’t help thinking of his ‘Oh Very Young’ song yesterday at Maddie Lil’s first birthday party. Cat Stevens’ songs are much like TS Eliot’s poetry to me. I understand little but I hardly care. The words give me something. Cat and Maddie have given me bundles.
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has some places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.

Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness

07/11/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Off the Wall at A Touch of Madness’
Off the Wall poetry groups are scattered across the southern peninsula of South Africa. I was booked to perform at the pub and restaurant ‘A Touch of Madness’ in Cape Town. The naming and setting were apt.
The evening commenced with Jacques, who is, are we supposed to now say, visually impaired – ? reading beautifully I might add, a Carol Ann Duffy poem before my spot. ‘Lola’ intruded. This is what she called herself and at first I think everyone thought she might be a friend of somebody else. I don’t know what ‘Lola’ was on but she threw (someone else’s) red wine over Jacques’s Braille laptop causing 18,000 rand of damage. Translated, on weak days for the rand, that’s £1000. All in the name of red lipstick which she kept shouting. Lola was dispatched and I took my spot which was immediately followed by us all identifying ‘Lola’ on a mobile phone who had escaped from a local mental institution. My friend Karen took me home in a massive Cape storm but we also transported another poet unknown to us who gave us a fascinating forty minute life story which is probably best kept for another day. When we had dispatched our poet friend, Karen spotted a leopard toad on the road and in bare feet jumped from the driver seat to re-direct the toad. It may have been our toad as Mister Justin Case has been collecting rain water in bins for the past three weeks and found a toad had taken up abode in one of them. Despite a number of storms since we arrived there has been a dire water shortage on the Cape peninsula. When I arrived home, having come through wind and rain of all sorts, Mister Justin Case had been connecting plastic pipes from the drains to top up the pool level.
I’ve also been performing at the Fish Hoek library, one of my best audiences ever with one of the best organisers. She introduced me and said, ‘Let’s face it. Some poets reading their own work are dreadful. Let’s hope Jan is a bit better …’
Could it only happen here? With South Africans you get what it says on the tin, depending on which way the wind is blowing and this morning, it’s mad.
Creative Ink classes at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks and the course is running but has some places left. Email me.
Also the ‘Get that book’ arrangement has some places.

Open Mics

23/10/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

Open Mics by Ms Paige Turner
This last week I was with Fish Hoek Writers in Cape Town. Most of the writers had never experienced participating in ‘Open Mic’ (and I personally am not convinced of its validity on the basis that if you are going to listen to performers there should be some gatekeeping). We decided to treat the evening as an experiment. Creative Ink for Actors will smile at this notion as every play I ever wrote and ever had performed started out as an experiment.
I suggested we did just that: play – as I remember the director Thami AkaMBongo describing rehearsal to one of my actresses as just that: ‘play’. My suggestion, I believe, gave some sense of freedom and fun to the evening in Fish Hoek and I in turn, was able to take some risks and read poems from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ that I don’t usually read. I made some discoveries: some went down much better than I had expected. In particular a sestina whose story began with one that my Welsh girlfriend Miss Carrieoke told me of a gravedigger whose whole family were ‘professionals in death’: black humour.
The ones that really don’t work so well are less narrative: more meant to be read on the page; the alliteration smoother on the eye than the ear.
The Creative Ink spring term 2018 is running at the Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield on Tuesday mornings beginning January 9th for 5 weeks and has some places as has the ‘Get that Book’ arrangement. Email me for a syllabus and details.

Titleless

08/10/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

Titleless by Ms Paige Turner
Many thanks to those who attended my performance of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ at Hazlemere Library on National Poetry Day. Not least Carolyn Nye who I hadn’t seen for almost twenty years: our daughters were at High March school together and after the perf we sat down and shared photos. We could barely find a photo of our girls but had a gallery of the grandchildren. I was pleased to see Carolyn’s poem in ‘Rhyme & Reason’ which has raised over £60, 000 for the Rennie Grove Hospice over the last twenty seven years. Volunteers at the Rennie Grove Hospice have been given the Queen’s Award equivalent to an MBE. Email me if you are interested in helping out or even taking over the editorial from Jill Wallis at ‘Rhyme & Reason’.
If you would like to book me for my perf do email me. No venue is too small. In December I am doing residential homes and Englefield Green WI and you can hear me reading on the Home Page of my website, bottom left hand corner.
We are just coming to the end of the autumn Creative Ink term. This has been such a lovely group.
Next term the theme is ‘Cities and Stories of Synchronicity’ and I intend to tell a story of synchronicity each week.
Creative Ink classes for the Spring Term begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks. £180 to include up to 3000 word assessment/editing/proof read and coffee and biscuits. Email me for an enrolment form and syllabus.

The3 Sounds of Wycombe and Poets …

25/09/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘The Sounds of Wycombe and Poets’ by Ms Paige Turner
It’s a busy week. Well, it’s National Poetry Day on Thursday so you might expect me to be so. Last Saturday the Gerrards Cross Festival hosted eight poets reading their own word wares and also hosted ‘Rhyme & Reason’ prize winners. This anthology has raised over £60,000 for the Iain Rennie Grove Hospice over the past 27 years and I am proud to be part of its history. Jill Wallis who has been the editor and beacon for some years is needing to spend more time on her own Masters so anyone interested in keeping this tiny literary gem going, contact me and I will pass your details on to Jill. The festival raised a good sum (TBA) for Mind and Iain Rennie. I read and did the bits in between.
I will be performing from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’ at Hazlemere Library this coming Thursday from 10.30 am for an hour. Free Entry and coffee and biscuits.
And if you missed me this morning on Wycombe Sound Radio/Mid Morning at 11.00 am then you can get me on catch up.
Creative Ink classes for the Spring Term begin on Tuesday 9th January for 5 weeks. £180 to include up to 3000 word assessment/editing/proof read and coffee and biscuits. Email me for an enrolment form and syllabus.
Sorry if this is all a bit ‘admin’ but as I say, it’s a busy week.

‘Zigger- Zagger’

10/09/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Zigger-Zagger, Zigger-Zagger, Oi, Oi, Oi’ by Ms Paige Turner

Fifty years ago Peter Terson’s ‘Zigger-Zagger’ was staged for the first time at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre in Holbein by the National Youth Theatre. Terson tells the story of Harry Philpot, who initially finds some meaning in life by becoming a football fan. Quite frankly, he gets buggered from all sides: a flighty mother who introduces him to a number of ‘uncles’; a medical officer who finds him physically lacking for the army; a careers officer who gives him a job as the human end to an automated fruit packing conveyor belt; a rowdy gang of football hooligans who introduce him to petty crime; a bitchy girlfriend who falls in love with a football celebrity and a boring sister and brother-in-law who present a cosy but boring lifestyle. The scenes all take place in front of a backdrop of 50-100 football fans who, Greek chorus like, ‘comment’ on Harry’s progress or lack of it. The possession of Harry’s soul is the central goal of the play that even the football fan vicar does not succeed in winning. Who knows where Harry’s soul will end up?
I went to see ‘Zigger’ last week at Wilton’s Music Hall in Whtechapel staged again by the National Youth Theatre. It doesn’t lose its touch and at its core it’s as relevant today as it was fifty years ago. I wasn’t in the original production but I did play bitchy girlfriend Sandra to Karl Howman’s Harry in 1972, graduating to Harry’s (Patrick Field) insipid sister Edna in 1975, both at the Shaw Theatre for the National Youth Theatre.
It was uplifting to see the play on the go again. The part of Harry is usually played by a Cockney which would have been appropriate considering the location of the staging but I was pretty blown away by Josh Barrow’s Geordie protagonist. After all, the playwright himself is a Geordie.
I was also conscious that when I performed in ‘Zigger’ in the seventies the future lay before me and now it is mostly behind. But hey, how lucky was I to be part of it: not once but twice. Yay to all that energy.
Creative Ink for Writers’ classes start this week and we are full.

Jan’s upcoming perfs of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’:

Gerrards Cross Philosophical and Literary Festival/Poems and Pints – Saturday 23rd September.

7.30 pm for 8pm at The Memorial Centre, East Common, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7AD. £8 to include a drink. Tickets available on the door and in aid of the Memorial Centre and Mind.
Contact Jan if you would like to read from and sell your poetry collection.

Hazlemere Library – National Poetry Day – Thursday 28th September 2017

10.30 am to 11.30 am. Free Entry