Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A Busy Week...Again!

Time does fly, doesn't it?

Last Tuesday I was delighted to chat to folk singer, Sarah Morgan, who met me to talk about Hampshire Folk Music for my forthcoming book, Folklore of Hampshire (to pre-order click Here). Sarah is one third of the folk trio, Craig; Morgan; Robson. These ladies, Moira Craig, Sarah Morgan and Carolyn Robson, have been wowing audiences with their unique renditions of Scottish, Hampshire and Northumbrian folk music since 2003 when they joined forces after very successful, and continuing, solo careers.

Sarah is very interested in the work of George Gardiner (1853 - 1910), who collected over a thousand folk songs in his travels in England and Europe. He was particularly interested in Hampshire, as little work had been done to preserve the folk songs in this county. He collected eighty songs from five ladies in Axford, near Andover. Some of these are now in the repertoire of the Axford Five, a folk group which Craig; Morgan; Robson has formed with fiddle and melodeon players, the Askew Sisters, Emily and Hazel. They will be playing at the Winchester MayFest on Friday 15th May.

Talking to Sarah made me realise just how much I do not know about the folk music of Hampshire. I will be doing further research on this subject for the book. In the meantime, it was a privilege to talk to Sarah and I thank her for sparing some time from her busy schedule to pass on her knowledge to me.

On Friday I was in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England, to attend the 21st birthday 'Pow-Wow' of Flair for Words. Run by the
talented and energetic duo, Janie and Cass Jackson, this turned out to be a far bigger affair than I had thought it would be. Members of the writing fraternity were out in force, with novelists and journalists rubbing shoulders with those aspiring to write for publication. There was a strong contingent of Society of Woman Writers and Journalists' members with Chairperson, short story writer, Jean Morris, heading the group. Peter Lovesey, Dagger Award winning crime
writer, (wearing dark shirt and striped tie, with Cass and Janie) was the guest speaker and he entertained the company with his observations of detective thriller writer, James Corbett, who kept audiences page turning in the 1930s and 40s. There was much networking going on, as there is at such events, and the lunch laid on by The Hermitage Hotel, right on the sea front, was excellent. Janie and Cass are to be congratulated on an excellent Pow-Wow and I wish Flair for Words a very happy 21st birthday.

The Southampton Writers Circle (SWC) is 61 years young and is to welcome American journalist and novelist, Tony Hays, to speak about his forthcoming new novel, The Killing Way, set in Dark Ages Britain, this evening, at theSWC's penultimate meeting of this season. Tony will judge the Dorothy Loughran Competition, for a short story up to 1,500 words, and will present the trophy to the winner.

I went along to the SWC's last meeting and met a group of intelligent, committed and interested published and aspiring writers. The SWC is the second longest established writing group in England and it says much for the enthusiasm of its members that it has kept going for six decades. I will be going along to the meeting this evening, armed with camera and dictaphone, and will be delighted to meet both Tony Hays and further members of the SWC. In the Autumn, when the new season starts, I will regularly report the events of this group.

If you are interested in joining the group, coming to hear Tony Hays this evening (the meeting will be at the Woodman Pub, Lordswood Road, Southampton, Hampshire at 7.45 pm) or have questions about the Southampton Writers Circle, please either contact me through this blog or the SWC secretary Barbara Jackson.

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