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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

04 May 2020

Posted by Matt L T Smith

Sad Shower in New York and the Cheeky Little Astronomer

This week we are malfunctioning appliances. Or at least that’s what we are describing our weeks as. We have Beth, a hoover which is kind of on the small side and definitely a little out of date, one corridor takes about a whole day to clean. We have Vicky, a washing machine that spins too much, an ironic mess made of soap. We have Louise, a smoothie, a murky brown mess, kale milk smoothie (safe to say with this concoction your smoothie maker may want to malfunction!) We have Summer, a whisk losing momentum in a big bit of butter. We have Dani, a toaster, I was trying to use the toaster and I kept on pushing it down waiting for it to work, and then I realised it wasn’t plugged in. And finally we have Harley who recounts how “Back home my Mum has a Donut maker and she tried to hand it off to me when I went to Uni, and I was like I need towels not a donut maker, but thank you. It’s a waffle iron that makes waffles in little circles and I can’t remember getting any donuts from it that didn’t taste disgusting, ‘oh would you like the donut maker, just for you and your friends?’ and I was like ‘Absolutely not mother.’ Basically, my week was like something you’d try to palm off to someone else.” Is it just me that’s a bit curious what these donut-waffles taste like? Tell your mother I’ll take it Harley!


After a long while welcoming new faces and old, updating each other on our malfunctioning weeks, we move on to our first exercise. To prime ourselves for this exercise we take a look at two art pieces: Sad Shower in New York by Tracey Emin and Cheeky Little Astronomer by Yinka Shonibare. Antosh encourages our writers to put these two characters in conversation with each other. What would the Cheeky Little Astronomer say to the sad man in the shower? Our writers offer up a varied number of conversations from the consoling “Dear Sad Shower man, you must not be so sad” to the searching “Dear telescope boy, what do stars look like today?” to the truly cheeky “Dear Cheeky Astronomer, how did you see me in the shower?” “Dear Shower Man, yes you have caught me, I am the cheeky telescope man and the midnight tromboner!” There seems to be limitless potential to this exercise, and the conversations that these two characters can offer. Try it out for yourself at home! (We did!)


We lastly run another workshop taking a look at what our writers have been working on and offering feedback. Today’s pieces are a bombastic spy thriller theatre piece set in a school from Louise, a touching poem from Katie offering a heart-wrenching yet hauntingly clinical description of a pet buried in the garden, and finally a dreamy poem sequence from Vicky that moves us from the panic of fish as they’re hoisted out of the ocean to a moon sized golf ball at the centre of a roundabout. A wonderful variety of voices, and I can’t wait to see what else is offered up in the coming weeks!

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