I had a lovely time at the Stowed-Out Festival in Stow yesterday. I enjoyed the readings from Bridget Khursheid, Thomas Clark and Sara A Clark, and it was great to hear my friend Anita John again. Rab Wilson and I were on later in the afternoon, and Rab’s set was, as always, excellent. He’s a fine poet, and a good friend.
For my set I’d chosen sea poems, and I wanted to introduce them with improvisations on tenor sax. It made sense to me to start with a short improv on Britten’s Sea Interlude #1 from Peter Grimes, but all the other musical bits were pure improvisation, including a fog horn sound.
My set list was:
I thought the sea… [from The year’s six seasons]
St Abb’s Head [from The propriety of weeding]
Baldred on the Bass [ditto]
Inner Time [ditto]
Two at the fishing [ditto]
Island hopping [from The floorshow at the Mad Yak Cafe]
I had to cut the set short at that point, as I had run out of time, and in any case the band had started playing in the big music tent, and I wasn’t going to compete with that. But it was a good poem to stop at, and I’ve got a few more poems in reserve for when I do that again – and I will do it again. It was such a thrill trying to express through music the emotions in the words, and the theme worked perfectly. I’m beyond delighted that the Stowed Out team gave me the chance to do it. Thank you so much.
And the setting was magical. I hope to return to Stow, and when the new Border Rail Line opens, I definitely will.