Archives for the month of: May, 2014

If I could time travel I’d return to the Victorian era and watch invention, creativity and great thinking happen in real time. I’d have to disguise myself as a wealthy Victorian gentleman, of course. I would need this privileged position to watch the likes of Joseph Wilson Swan in action.

Swan, born in Sunderland in 1828 grew up to be a physicist, chemist and is most famous for his invention, the incandescent light bulb. He also sported a most impressive beard.


His considerable photographic achievements have been overlooked…until now. The inaugural Newcastle Photography Festival takes place in October and is subtitled ‘A Celebration of Photography inspired by Joseph Wilson Swan and his Adventures with Carbon, Collodion and Light.’ Swan is the inspiration behind the festival packed with workshops, demonstrations and exhibitions of alternative photographic processes including wet plate.

This Tuesday (May 27th) marked the centenary of Swan’s death and descendants er, descended on Newcastle. Read about their visit here
and check out the festival website and here’s an article about wet plate in Newcastle


The internet’s a depressing place filled with ill-considered thoughts, extremist views, trolls and online bullies with their backs to the camera. Do you really like that comment on Facebook? Are you friends in real life as well as online? You follow that person on Twitter but do you care about what happens to them? Trending now…nonsense…

But the internet is also a place to find support and true friendship. Just ask young gays, emerging transsexuals and (‘m not being trite, here) fledgling poets. All three groups are in the process of accepting the reality of their identity and need to find others who share their problems as well as their passions.

When I returned to the North East five years ago, I rediscovered my poetic muse. I had always carried her with me. She came to University then London and Cambridge with me but she was folded up inside a box.

In summer 2009 she’d had enough of watching me. She needed to reconnect with me. In August 2009 she wrapped herself around me and helped  me make sense of grief, loss and of life. She has never left me since. She is a good friend. She doesn’t “do” Facebook or Twitter.


Rachel Cochrane and Kirsten Luckins do Facebook, Twitter, they write blogs and…they support emerging poets and writers. Rachel’s FANTASTIC online audio archive has been an outlet for my work. Rachel’s about to launch a new website and I look forward to reading, seeing and hearing her future work.

Kirsten Luckins is the North East co-ordinator of Apples and Snakes. She has supported me in my journey from page to off-page performance poet. She is also an amazing poet. Her show The Moon Cannot Be Stolen is currently touring the North East. Next one is Hexham on Tuesday then Saturday 7 June, The Old School House, Leyburn, Thursday 12 June, Empty Shop, Durham and finally Friday 13 June, Customs House, South Shields



All hail true friendship…and full fathom five female creativity.

%d bloggers like this: