I am a regular speaker at conferences and writers’ groups on self-publishing, how writers can use social media, and how to give the very best readings. I have spoken at London Book Fair, London Author Fair, the self-publishing Summit, Pow-Wow Literary Festival and elsewhere. I also run a spoken word show, The New Libertines, which has played at festivals and fringes across the UK from Stoke Newington Literary Festivasl to Afflecks Palace in Manchester, and as a solo performance poet I have been a winner of Literary Death Match, performed at Brighton Fringe’s award-winning Grit Lit, had a solo show, Some of These Things Are Beautiful, at Cheltenham Poetry Festival, and was a finalist at the 2012 Farrago UK Slam Championship.
I am available for poetry performances and conference/panel talks pretty much anywhere at any time in return for travel costs and, if your budget runs to it, a fee in line with Society of Authors norms. Send me an email to email@example.com
“startlingly gorgeous…more heartbreaking each time I hear it” “a plethora of verdant and gorgeous language, full of magical and dirty imagery, with a thoughtful and assured delivery that was a breath of fresh air.” (Sabotage Reviews on poems from the show)
7 October – reading Howl at Blackwell’s, Oxford
17 October Illegitimate Objects, Mathematical Institute, Oxford
27 October, Gin and Phonic, Freud, Oxford
29 October – Albion Beatnik Bookstore with Bethany pope, Kiran Millwood Hargrave
February, Poetry and Jazz at the Albion Beatnik Jazz
What All Writers can learn from Poetry, London Author Fair
22 March, Breaking of Tulips, poetry and art at Oxford’s Botanic Gardens
8 April, Launching Opening Up to Indie Authors at London Book Fair
9 April, Alliance of Independent Authors 2nd anniversary performance night at London Book Fair
25 April, compering All Tomorrow’s Poets at Chipping Norton Literary Festival
26 April, The Age of Absinthe at Chipping Norton Literary Festival
1 May, Soapbox City
The Age of Absinthe
Dan Holloway and Claire Trevien at Chipping Norton Literary Festival (tickets here)
From time to time an underground culture percolates into our consciousness whose tones and textures are so real we feel them etch themselves into us like lifelines of jazz running over our skin. For me the two subcultural worlds I picture when I close my eyes and give myself up to involuntary sounds and colours and scents and conversations and steadily rising currents of ideas popping away at porous surfaces ready to explode are the Paris of the Fin de Siècle and the New York of the late 60s and early 70s.
What is it that wraps these two moments around each other so closely? It is easy to think of the slow, sleazy addledness that infuses the air of both with the sick sweet smell of absinthe dripping through sugar cubes, of heroin bubbling into syringes. But that is only wallpaper, a horror that has become needlessly romanticised until it has hidden something that touches us more deeply.
These times, these places, are the wranglings of collective troubled souls in the face of a once certain past that blurs before their eyes and becomes a shapeless future they fumble in the smoke-filled darkness to form. On the one hand we have a flight from industrialisation and the strictures of aesthetic conformity out of whose consumptive bohemian whirl would emerge, in Art Nouveau, Romanticism’s last desperate attempt to strive for Beauty in an increasingly ugly world. The Great War, a stripping of innocence and a laceration by the fractured shards of Modernism loomed before them. On the other hand we have a last besieged pocket of artistic hope struggling to create a wall of ever greater extremity against the approaching pincer of Consumerism and Communism, the slowly unravelling sounds of the Velvet Underground and streams of twisted consciousness of the fading Beat generation before everything collapsed into the nihilistic singularity of Punk.
With The Age of Absinthe, I have attempted to capture the essence of these moments in our cultural history, to transport the audience to a place where art is the vital, urgent part of the soul and the exquisite heroism of its defence in the face of a world where its value is eroded to the verge of vanishing is the most valiant pursuit we can undertake. I wanted to create an island of absolute, immersive, fully sensual beauty, somewhere that would, for an hour, transport people to a different time and place