Wednesday, 22 June 2016


On Friday the 17th June 2016, at the Stevenage Leisure Centre, in the Ellen Terry Suite, those erstwhile poets and entertainers that make up the collective lovingly known as "Parnassus Performance" put on an evening of original contemporary poetry and humorous music, aptly entitled "When words are not enough, oh, wait a minute, yes they are!" as part of this year's special 25th anniversary Stevenage Festival of the Arts to coincide with the Stevenage 70 Years celebrations.

The festival is usually a bi-annual event, falling on the 'odd' years, this year's one was a 'special' additional event which of course meant that yours truly had to put a little bit of effort in to get the evening organised, put the line up together and sort out the timings and running order etc. as well as the normal liason with the Gordon Craig Theatre, the Arts Festival Comittee etc. etc.I assure you that it's not as easy as it may seem and that it takes up a fair amount of time and effort to get it 'Right on the Night!' one also has to keep fingers toes and any other parts 'crossed' in hopeful expectation of an audience!

I 'Kicked off' the evening with the usual preamble, welcomes (We had the deputy Mayor of Stevenage + Consort along with a senior member of the Arts Festival team among the audience), introductions and a short set of my own.

Your truly gets the evening off to a flying start!

First to grace our bards stage this year (After me) was the (Now quite famous) published author and poet J S Watts with her excellent poetic tales including some futuristic and dark robotic stories.

J S Watts
 To lighten things up a bit and a much welcome return to the Parnassus fold we had Barry Woolhead with us after a 20+ years absence (Working away / abroad etc.), Barry had the audience in fits of laughter with his humorous songs and parodies.

Barry Woolhead
 This year it was our very great pleasure to welcome some newcommers to our midst for thier first ever public performances of thier work, starting with Ms. Julie Shaw who entertained us with her often dark and pagan themed poetry, she did very well.

Ms Julie Shaw
 After the interval it was the turn of two more newcommers and a breath of fresh air into our world of words as we were lucky enough to have Yvan Taiko (Stevenage's former Youth Mayor) and Brett Wyatt with their beatifully written and extremely well delivered poems on a number of difficult and thought provoking subjects and everyday life reflecting on the thoughts and difficulties faced by young people today, I have to say that these chaps made a really big and positive impact.

Yvan Taiko

Brett Wyatt
 Next up was Parnassus favourite and stalwart Joy T Chance, a.k.a. Purple Dread with her very moving and personal poetry about womanhood, mental health and well, just the joy of being human.

Purple Dread (Joy T Chance)
 Now, anyone who knows Chris Ripple and his wife Haddy will know that at the moment there is really only one thing on thier minds and that is the saftey and wellbieng of thier kids back in The Gambia and the continual and costly struggle and fight to get them 'over here' safe and secure and the seemingly constant barriers that everyone in any form of government, local and national, irrespective of party seems to have thrown up in thier way!
Chris has never ever shied away from contoversy, he tells it like it is, this is one of the many factors that has made him such a succesful performance poet, especialy among rock and festival audiences for so many years.
It was no surprise then that on this night of course he centered on Africa, politics and such personal heartfelt issues, feauring The Blood Sisters on a the backing track for "The Drum Now Beats For Africa" it was such a personal and emotianal delivery that it not only worked but had the audience captivated and thinking! Throwing in the humorous poem about the blow up doll in the council lorry was an act of genius that balanced the set to perfection.

Chris Ripple
 To bring us to a close we had the all round enetrainment of Nick Brown who mixed and matched his "Smokin' Dick Burns" and his "Howdydodat" personas to bring us a combination of humorous songs, poems and parodies and magic and illusions which was a fine ending to a jolly splendid and succesful evening.

Nick, Howdydodat Burns!
 And yes, we had an audience!

 Well, that was a damn fine splendid evening so my thanks go out to all who performed, our audience for just being there and supporting us, to the staff at the GCT for a fine job on the door, the room and the bar, to the Stevenage Festival Committee for having us, here's to the next one!
Thank you and goodnight.


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  2. I think it fair to say that we did what it said on the packet...