Thursday, 31 July 2014
Monday, 28 July 2014
GRAND HOTEL, TYNEMOUTH RESIDENCY
GRAND TIMES - A NEW PUBLICATION
Featuring Keith Armstrong’s sequence of poems inspired by his recent artist's residency:
From this Grand window
Across the sea
To a world
In Room 333
I feel free
Of a Duke
And a Duchess
And a world
Ships in the Night
And exotic cargo.
The gulls’ wings
Between the curtains
In my room.
I have written
A Grand poem
On the Long Sands
For visitors to read
From their windows.
All my dreams
There’s a seagull
And its wings
Of the drink
Of the Ocean.
RIght across the Sands
To a barmaid
All my dreams
Will come true.
And its rooms
To wed you
To the Sea.
The Grand Hotel
Is on our flight path
And the sky is
On the Menu.
Grand Hotel, Tynemouth
Saturday, 19 July 2014
‘How wonderfully has his invention facilitated the meeting of thousands of fond and happy lovers.’ (Thomas Summerside)
The story of steam,
through the passing
of engines and
The pereptual urge
into the peace
of sleeping valleys;
and the nagging drive
of cruel ambition
on the banks of the sliding Tyne.
You knew all this George,
how violent life is,
as, thoughtless in your youth,
you stole a blackbird’s eggs,
developing an understanding
of mankind’s urge
to rip forests apart,
to make ways
through gardens and castles,
and selfishness to have their way.
That and the wonderful offshoots
and children laughing
in cultural deserts.
Your broad Northumbrian tongue
echoed along rails,
to force idle workers
to spark the engines
that scared the crows
and brought terror to horses and cattle
with the fiery blast of mechanical power.
Your ambition surged roughshod
over delicate flowers,
more interested in the mechanics of time
and fixing watches
than the whispers that the clocks of dandelions
heard in the breeze.
though you knew that the human lot
ended up in vapour,
you still told the pitmen’s sons that the earth
taught algebra to the lads
in a curiosity shop
of working models,
and perpetual motion machines.
In your litttle garden,
you grew gigantic leeks, astounding cabbages,
scarecrow ams to fly in the wind
and a sundial to record the ticks of days.
Hammering the flaming hours
into the rickety shape of Blucher,
you moved people along the way,
crafted the valves, the rods and cylinders
into a breathing thing
that lolloped along,
careering like you
into a famous night.
It did not come without a price;
My Lord, they can’t imagine
how much you scraped along in the dirt,
the bursting blisters on your feet,
your hurting fingers as you began to write.
Wriggling out of the Militia,
you earned everything you got,
to suffer the deaths of wives and daughter
and the blinding of a father.
Weeping bitterly on the West Moor to Killingworth road,
thinking of leaving for America,
you got to your own station in the end.
with Ferguson’s ‘Astronomy’ in your hardy hands,
you gave us many a glorious smoke-filled day,
brought young lovers together on platforms
awash with the smell of smoke
and the sparks of hearts
spreading lightning across the land.
from 'North Tyneside Steam', Northern Voices Community Projects, 2014.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM
A celebration of the bicentenary of the steam locomotive Blucher, together with the story of its creator George Stephenson in North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area.
COMPILED AND EDITED BY KEITH ARMSTRONG AND PETER DIXON FOR NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL
This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher.
Blucher was built by George Stephenson in Killingworth, North Tyneside in 1814 in the Colliery workshop behind Stephenson’s house, Dial Cottage. The engine was named after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher who fought in the battle of Waterloo, helping to defeat Napoleon. It pulled coal trucks along the wagonway from Killingworth to the coal staithes at Wallsend. Blucher made Stephenson’s reputation and over the next five years he built 16 more locomotives (many of which were built by recycling Blucher’s parts) at Killingworth, some for the Colliery and some for the Duke of Portland’s wagonway between Kilmarnock and Troon, which improved on the earlier engine, and this led to him being commissioned to build the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, establishing him as an engine designer and laying the foundations for his major role in the development of railways.
With historical documents and images, alongside poems, songs, stories, photographs and drawings by local people, the book is intended to ensure that the story of steam in North Tyneside is not forgotten.
Dr Keith Armstrong,
Northern Voices Community Projects
Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the
invention of the Blucher Steam Locomotive.
North Tyneside Steam - compiled & edited by Keith Armstrong & Peter Dixon:
at Killingworth Library, White Swan Centre, Killingworth
6pm on Friday 25th July 2014.
Includes readings of poems and short stories from
the book and music from The Sawdust Jacks, Tony Morris and Gary Miller. Also featuring Ann Sessoms on Northumbrian Pipes.
Light refreshments available.
NORTH TYNESIDE STEAM:
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS EVENT
This new book from Northern Voices Community Projects, commissioned by North Tyneside Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been published to mark the bicentenary of George Stephenson's steam locomotive Blucher and tells the story of its creator in Killingworth and North Tyneside and of steam railways in the area.
Contributors to the book will perform their poems, stories and songs introduced by the editor local poet Keith Armstrong with Ann Sessoms on Northumbrian Pipes.
WHITE SWAN CENTRE CAFE, KILLINGWORTH, FRIDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER AT 11AM.