Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Performance of the Ern Malley Orchestra and launch of Doubly Stolen Fire


David Whyte and I took part in this event on Saturday night, a celebration of all things Mallyesque, that included Mark Ford on meeting one of the hoaxers, John Wilkinson on John Tranter's Malley poems, and other contributions as on the poster above (but I missed some of the names represented by the elisions). But thanks to William and Jeremy, named above in brief, the organisers of the conference that this was the 'let your hair' down tail of. 

I read a shortened version of the essay 'Doubly Stolen Fire' which is published in my new book. also called Doubly Stolen Fire. (See details:  Pages: Doubly Stolen Fire (a new book of hybrid texts) is now OUT (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) It's a response to the Malley 'affair', and posits a distinction between 'hoaxes' and 'fictional poems' and 'poets', which is something I've experimented with a lot; I also read my 'Ern Malley Suite', which is from one of those projects. (The essay was written after the Liverpool celebration of Ern's birth: Pages: Ern Malley 1918-1943: Celebrating the centenary in his place of birth Liverpool (set list) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) )

Here's a picture of the two man orchestra setting up., David with guitar and lyrics, me with lyrics and harmonicas... 

We then launched into a performance of four of Ern's greatest poems, set to music by David Whyte. We ended with a bit of a Malleyoke, with (some) of the audience singing our Malley chorus: 'I have split the infinite.' Imagine.

It felt good to be singing once more and playing a little backing blues harp. One commentator said I sounded like Kevin Ayres. 

Here's a selfie taken at the 'blood-soaked Royston perimeter', as Andrew Duncan called it long ago. It was good to travel with David. This is where 'rail replacement bus' gave way to trains.

 Pages: Launch of Doubly Stolen Fire at the Lowry Lounge 2023, Liverpool (set list) (robertsheppard.blogspot.com) tells you about my Liverpool launch for Doubly Stolen Fire, the one that concentrated on the Malcolm Lowry materials in the book. There are different emphases for different venues. Next up: the talking mongoose?