Further to Last February

Exactly 12 months ago, I was given a chance to attend a masterclass at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Performance poet Francesca Beard led the weekend class, with the aim of helping the participants form a full-length spoken-word show. Like many performers, she believes revealing part of your inner self on stage – or indeed on a page – makes for compelling work.

One year on, I’ve completed a few projects as a result of that fabulous weekend:

The Purple Spotlights EP

Before I had enough material for a full-length show, I did have enough poetry for a four-track EP.

I chose three existing pieces around the theme of friendship. Additionally, I wrote Seven Months especially for the release, which takes more than five minutes to perform. In print, that would be too long for most magazines, but ideal for audio.

The recording process taught me a little about performance and a lot about packaging my work for an audience who aren’t in front of me.
The EP was released in April 2016 and is available on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify, plus many other outlets.

Scottish Poetry Library, Crichton's Close, Can...
Scottish Poetry Library, Crichton’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh Designed by Malcolm Fraser Architects, frequented by many excellent writers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Crossing the Road

On the second day of the masterclass, Beard asked us to identify the subject or theme we were scared to write about. Then she asked us to write about it, and I did. We all did.

This gave me the confidence to interest the publisher in a previously-written work called Crossing the Road that deals directly with my bisexuality. It was then included in the Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry anthology; the first publication I approached. I was pleased to be invited back to Edinburgh, then to Aberdeen, for the launches.

I felt this poem would have more impact if it weren’t read from a sheet of paper, so I committed it to memory. From that point on, I’ve tried to do the same with all my performed work.

Sir Madam

Over the weekend, I became acquainted with the other participants, and I remain friends with most of them. One introduced me to the intense and angry work of Andrea Gibson and, by coincidence, I happened upon the Kate Tempest poem The Woman the Boy Became.

These influences helped me to shape an idea I’d had for years, but hadn’t been able to commit to paper. Sir Madam is a character who identifies as somewhere between male and female. Owing to the subject matter, I was particularly nervous about performing it. However, I received several positive comments afterwards, some from quarters I hadn’t expected.

Jennifer Goldman’s Electric Scream

The main aim of the workshop was to form a full-length spoken-word show. I’ve used some of the techniques taught to write a series of monologues that I’m seeking to turn into a one-hour play.

That isn’t finished yet, but it might not exist at all if it hadn’t been for that weekend with Francesca Beard.

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A favour from the blogosphere.

Hark – an unscheduled entry!

Yesterday, I launched The Purple Spotlights EP with its bespoke domain name. However, it’s come to my attention that not everyone seems able to access the link. I think I’ve figured out the problem now, but I need to test it. To this end, I need a small favour.

When you click http://purplespotlights.com, it should redirect to https://gcameronwriting.wordpress.com/the-purple-spotlights-ep/. There might be a short delay while this happens.

Let me know whether everything’s hunky-dory for you, or if it won’t load.

In which I launch my spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP.

I’m today launching my debut spoken word recording, The Purple Spotlights EP, featuring four poems on the theme of friendship: some long-term and certain, others transient and complex. It’s available from on 7 DigitalAmazoniTunes and Spotify, and many other outlets. Head to PurpleSpotlights.com for samples.

Although I started as a prose writer, I soon built up a collection of poems. Some of these run to more than 100 lines and many publishers will not accept work of this length, so an audio recording seemed the ideal format. In February, I attended a masterclass in Edinburgh with professional performance poets, and that prompted me to turn the idea into a reality.

The Purple Spotlights EP cover
Created by Isaac Lemon at http://www.lemon-drop.co.uk

I expected the distribution to be difficult and making the recordings to be simple. I’ve talked before about my previous interest in radio and music production, so I drew on some of that experience. However, the production was tricky as the microphone picks up a lot of unwanted noise that needed to be removed.

I’ve also previously discussed my lack of design skills, so I knew I would need assistance with the cover. After some research, I discovered Isaac Lemon here on WordPress, and he’s since moved to Lemon Drop. He quickly created the striking mountains design, which looks fantastic next to other recordings.

One of the few disadvantages of releasing work online is that there’s no physical product to sell at live gigs. However, if The Purple Spotlights EP proves a success in the long run, I would consider making it available on CD, as an e-book, or as a paper pamphlet.

But until that happens, go and tell all your friends. Heck, even tell your enemies. I’ll be performing tracks from the EP at a few gigs this month: