All That Has Been

On Remembrance evening a large virtual audience was treated to moving, incisive, witty and evocative readings by Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French, and original ‘poem songs’ composed and performed by The Moonpennies (Steve Halliwell and Clare Harriot).

At his time of travel restrictions, we were transported to the Indian mountains, where Chrissie retraced her father’s footsteps during WW2, the the Welsh farm of Wendy’s family memories and the chilly markets of South East London.

We were there. We smelled the places, heard the sounds, felt the discomfort, fear, comfort and losses. We joined them on their journeys to discover, or perhaps own again, bits they were missing from their narratives – something we all feel the need to do at different stages of our lives. The resonances were vivid.

We also giggled at funny anecdotes and felt the strength of loyalty and gratitude to our NHS with Wendy’s reading from Born in the NHS (co-written with Jane Kirwan).

We listened to Emily Dickinson’s words as never before, one of the settings The Moonpennies performed, and, appropriately at the end, to their setting into music of Yeats’s ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’. Wonderful.

Chrissie’s collection Sharp Hills is available from indigodreams.co.uk

Wendy’s Bread Without Butter is available from rockinghampress.co.uk and Born in the NHS from The Hippocrates Press

Events

ONE YEAR ON – Thursday March 25 at 7.30 on Zoom

A year of lockdowns, tiers, brief respites, losses and resilience – and yet it’s flown, thanks partly to Zoom and the internet in general. We’ve all become more adept at technology, baking, entertaining ourselves and making do, maybe even at realising what’s not essential and can be let go of…

The event is still at its planning stage but what is certain is that Jacqueline Saphra, Alex Josephy, Rosie Johnston, Colin Pink and Rob Walton will be offering their unique takes on these last weird twelve months.

Watch this space for more details!