Restaging Revolutions on Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge, Resonance 104.4FM

This week on Resonance 104.4FM, Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge’s guests are Dr Susan Croft and Neil Hornick of The Phantom Captain theatre company.

Presented by Anna Chen. Charles Shaar Murray rides shotgun.

Listen live (click on the Resonance FM widget in the sidebar) or afterwards online.

The alternative theatre movement in Britain was a post-war explosion of talent and ideas that took theatre to the masses in the two decades from 1968. Dr Susan Croft, curator of the Restaging Revolutions exhibition currently on at Holborn Library, talks about this rich cultural period with Neil Hornick, veteran of the movement in his role as founding member and director of The Phantom Captain theatre company.

With clips from The Phantom Captain’s productions, Can’t Help Loving You and Loaded Questions.

Unfinished Histories website — a great resource for the period.

Full set of Madam Miaow on Resonance FM.

Resonance 104.4FM

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Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues Pts 1 & 2, Resonance 104.4FM NOW ONLINE

Anna Chen brings Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues to Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge at Resonance 104.4FM.

We did it! The fabulous launch of the second season of Madam Miaow on Resonance FM (now named Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge) kicked off with parts 1 and 2 of Charles Shaar Murray‘s fabulous Guide to the Blues with guitarist and songwriter Stephen Dale Petit adding his expertise and good taste.

You can now hear the entire set of Madam Miaow on Resonance 104.4FM. Or … How to listen to Resonance FM.

Now online, Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues Part 1 and Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues Part 2.

Six more programmes in the series coming up, all with my lovely assistant in spangles, latex and leather, Charles Shaar Murray:

18th March 2014 — ANNA MAY WONG
Anna Chen

25th March 2014 — CHINESE ARTS
Guests: Daniel York, Jingan Young, Wondermare

Guests: Dr Susan Croft, Neil Hornick

Guests: John Paul O’Neill, John Crow

15 April 2014 — MUSIC CONCRETE
Guests: John Bowers

22nd April 2014 — WOMEN OF THE BLUES
Guests: Charles Shaar Murray and Stephen Dale Petit. (Also hoping to have either Bex Marshall or Sarah Gillespie depending on availability.)

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Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues kicks off new Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge, Resonance 104.4FM

I’m back with a bang! To be precise, a new eight-week radio series of Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge on Resonance 104.4FM on Tuesdays 5-6pm starting this week, 4th March.

To kick off, Charles Shaar Murray gives us his Guide to the Blues, Parts 1 and 2, Ancient and Modern: the 1920s to the early 1960s when the Blues was almost entirely African-American, and the mid-1960s to the present when the white kids got it and joined in (Part 2 follows on Tuesday 11th March).

In brief, pre- and post- Stones.

With guest Stephen Dale Petit. There will be a listen-again opportunity to hear it after broadcast on Soundcloud which I’ll post here.

Listen to previous programmes on Soundcloud. Or LISTEN LIVE here.

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Anna Chen wins at the Farrago Poetry Zoo Awards 2013

I’m delighted to report that I won the annual Farrago Poetry Zoo Award for Best Performance by a London Poet in 2013 the other week on 30th January. Held at the RADA Café in Malet Street, the Farrago poetry events are supportive and inclusive, not to mention exciting, showcases for some very hot new talent. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. What a great way to see in the Chinese New Year of the Horse.

I read my new poem, “Chi Chi’s Glorious Swansong” and “Credit Crunch Suicide”, a short poem about the bankers, that I’d debuted the night before, at the Oxford and Cambridge Club for Chinese New Year.

Charles Shaar Murray won Best Fiction Reading for his first novel The Hellhound Sample, from which he read an extract at the Farrago Fiction Slam and workshop at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.

Congratulations to everyone who performed — what an awesome bunch of talent. Jason Pilley is an outstandingly original presence who deservedly won Best Overall Performance; Anna Khan has really nailed her performance with the most beautiful jazz voice in service to her poetry; and Sean Wai Keung won Best Debut Performance with his drily witty yet touching personal voice.

Thanks to John Paul O’Neill for putting on a great event that’s so inclusive. Over 60 poets were nominated for the awards.

My first collection of poetry, Reaching for my Gnu, is still available as an e-book and a paperback.

Here’s a poem wot I just wrote:

The Year of the Horse

May you never find pony in your boloney.
May you only find ham in your spam.
We could all afford steak, if only
The government gave half a damn.

Kung hei fat choi!

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Micro fiction in 10000 characters: why did Karen hit the red Volkswagen?

karen jungle
Micro fiction in 10000 characters: why did Karen hit the red Volkswagen?

The Red Karen tribe in northern Myanmar were delighted to see the mayoral convoy pass through the territory. Not because they felt any affection for the regional governor — a posh boy from a political dynasty whose dabs were all over their present predicament — but because here was their chance to break out the hardware. Three Kalashnikovs and an RPG bought from various middlemen in the months following the American rout in Saigon, lay rusting in an old tea chest, buried deep in the jungle. One way or another, they’d use it to strike fear into the hearts of their enemy.
From their lookout high in the teak tree canopy, they watched the vehicles glinting in the sun as they slithered over the hills like a metal snake. Halfway along, a raw wound, a red Volkswagen. The mayor had angled for a Lamborghini but this was the best they could do. ‘One day,” he thought. “One day …”
The men ran screaming from the bush, guns raised as they bore down on the heart of the snake.

By Anna Chen from an exercise set by Meet-up Write Together group.

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Prayer Before Birth by Louis Macneice: a guiding light in a mad world

The world is going insane, the Tory narrative has set like concrete, the far left has lost its marbles along with its principles and judgement.

Never mind the empty left rhetoric, here’s my favourite poem that’s been a guiding light since my teens.

Prayer Before Birth

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

Louis Macneice

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