Stockport blog – A buzzing finale with a ‘questioning’ of poets, two wasp poems and a man in a Lacoste tracksuit

The Blue Cat Café in Heaton Moor was an excellent venue to host the finale of The Quiet Compere tour of the North. I think the audience gathered earliest of all this year with the venue buzzing by doors at half seven.


This could have been a very different event for me as it may have been the end, but as the tour continues next year it was a celebration of a great year and a taste of what is to follow next year.  Was brilliant to have family as well as friends in the crowd.  Also among the performers were my first consultant boss, a surgeon I used to babysit for making his debut performance and my first ever creative-writing tutor from Arts and Health Stockport.  Unfortunately, my GCSE English teacher had to withdraw from the line-up, she is also a cracking poet and this was a disappointment to me, but the replacements I managed to rustle up were high-quality and well-received.


I will have to have a look at my stats, but I think Stockport was the night where most poets had written a poem on the Volume theme, a fitting note to end on. A round- up of the year blog to follow in the next week.



First Half


Joy Winkler: The images in her volume poem was striking, especially “sings me back into a cave of shadows” and from Stolen Rowan Berries: describing playing a violin as she  “skims sins along the strings”.


Zach Roddis: I always enjoy “You only live fifty million times” poem and the repetitive tweets surround sound. Here he is performing at the excellent Evidently, Salford:


Bill Tait:. “Garish colour. Red against the pavement grey” sleeping-bag image has stayed with me. The repetition of months in the barnacle goose migration piece were effective. No web-site available.


Janet Rogerson: “Watching Jaws with Louis” is genius. A taster:  “Why don’t they close the beach? Is that our shark book? Do sharks die when they stop moving? Why are they laughing? Are they drunk? Why didn’t they close the beach?” this carries on for 57 questions! The whole poem is available in Black Horse magazine here: Her blog and pamphlet details here:


Sarah Maxwell:. Sarah brought us daftness interspersed with medical terminology in “What kind of bug would you be?”. We all walked “to the park with Chloe” when we could “tread again as a child”. And Sarah’s questioning by all at the birth of Jesus was well-executed and continued the questioning theme. No website available.




Second half


Solomon Scribble: “a frown among the flowers” was an outstanding phrase in the seasonal haiku. I am now going to play the dating site registration numbers game.  I was delighted to hear “The wasp king” again. The incantation rhythm reminds me of Dead Poet’s Society.


Helen Clare: I want the “gentle-pedal” Helen mentioned and the delicacy of “Blackberrying without stains on your fingers”. Find Helen’s blog here and look and check out her new collection Entomology here:


Steph Portersmith: In Ambush Street “the ghosts of hope will meet”. Steph took volume and fashioned it expertly into an overflowing pot and she became “lost on an island a moment wide.”


Philip Davenport: “Without love we are no thing” was harrowing as was the repeated line “wolf in drag”.  The man in the Lacoste tracksuit has stuck with me and may feature in the blog title.


Dominic Berry: The refrain “men in suits, boys in school uniform” is brilliant and says so much in few words. The “smart” not “warm hearts” sad. I always like to see Dominic immersed in  his children’s poetry and he finished with a dragon trapped in a homework book and the dilemma over whether to hand it in .


Stockport poem:


If you expect your hometown to be the same as in 1989…


…you will fail at buying lunch

No pasties from Spinks,

No toffee donut in the underpass.

Even in Superdrug you can only buy one component of your Wheat Crunchies, Panda pop, shortbread lunch

You wonder about the fate of barrels

that used to hold spices

nuts and yoghurt raisins

in the Pic mix store.


… you will be disappointed if you try to find

The £3.99 Bag Shop every school bag came from

C&A – where you bought your first proper dress, red and strappy, floorlength and

fitted to your new curves

The place on Higher Hillgate that sold Bros patches

for your fashionable torn jeans.


… you won’t be able to buy Cloisonne earrings

from Salisburys.

…you will still feel like you are fourteen

if you go into Ann Summers


…you will grin as those shops that remain


remind you of long hours with fingers

fast and then resting

at the latest Double Four find:

A re-released Smiths single

The new Carter album of vinyl

A double A side by a disco band

whose name sounds like the late 50s


you will stand in Stolen from Ivor

stunned that teenagers can still buy

their cheap T-shirts and logo hoodies

where you did

and lumberjack shirts

are back in fashion.


…you will mourn Cobwebs,

closed seventeen years, though its red sign looks freshly painted,

where you spent Saturday hours

lusting after velvet and tie-dye

and bathing in the sandalwood of ’73.

Usually leaving with another incense holder

or a new CND or Ying Yang necklace.

Or with a birthday money dress,

a patchwork hat you’ll wear once.







One thought on “Stockport blog – A buzzing finale with a ‘questioning’ of poets, two wasp poems and a man in a Lacoste tracksuit

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