Culture Night, The Bray Literary Festival & My Poems Appear In The Bray Arts Journal!

 

From the 22nd-24th of September I went to some great events with Culture Night and the Bray Literary Festival. Would have being lovely to have got to even more but sure you can’t get to everything. This post is about the events I was lucky enough to get to.

 

22nd

Outside Mermaid in the Civic Space, the Bray Concert Band were brilliant with tunes ranging from Louis Armstrong’s When The Saints Go Marching In to the Lion King’s I Wanna Be Like You. Me and my Mum were there and we enjoyed it very much. A very talented band. There was also art to enjoy while we listened.

And then it was on to the Town Hall for Poetry, Music and Fighting Words where the winners of the Bray Literary Festival poetry and short story competitions were announced. Results were as follows:

Flash Fiction Competition:

1st Prize – Ronan Keenan

Runner-Up – Niamh MacCabe

Poetry Competition:

1st Prize – A.M. Cousins

Runner-up – Simon Lewis

The short stories were judged by Catherine Dunne while the poetry was judged by Breda Wall Ryan. Brian Kirk also helped whittle down the entries.

Flash Fiction Shortlist

Carol Caffrey – The sea that has cost them.
Ronan Keenan – Granda
Niamh McCabe  – House
Averil Meehan – Exiled
Kevin Hora – Envoi
Chris Connolly – It is Isn’t it Yes it is

Poetry Shortlist

A.M. Cousins – Brooch
A.M. Cousins  – Phone Box
A.M. Cousins –  The Royal Hospital, Gloucester
Eilish Fisher – Domestic
Simon Lewis – An Irish Girl Meets Melody Hobson in the Foyer of the Kimpton Hotel, Chicago
Simon Lewis – Supermarket Line

 

Here is the LONGLIST of the Bray Literary Festival FLASH fiction competition.

The Sea That Has Cost Them
After Dinner
From Scratch
Falling Man
Granda
The Nightingale is a Brown Bird
Look Towards Sky
Genus Pan
House
Halves
Twenty-five
Exiled
Find Me
Envoi
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Masaje! Masaje!
The Walk
Lotus
Reunion
Summer Rain
It Is Isn’t It Yes It Is

Here is the LONGLIST of the Bray Literary Festival POETRY competition.

Another Quiet Evening at Home
At Sea
Saving Turf
Brooch
November
A Boy Standing on a Terrace
The Royal Hospital, Gloucester, 1953
Running Roar
Tillage
An Irish Girl Meets Mellody Hobson in the Foyer of the Kimpton Hotel, Chicago
There was no Funeral
Supermarket Line
Phone Box
Autumn Day
Macha
Songline
Sailing in the Florida Keys
Domestic

Well done to the winners, all mentioned and everyone who entered. We’ll get there someday! 🙂

It was very enjoyable listening to the excellent entries. This was followed by poetry from Breda Wall Ryan and Kate Dempsey and poetry from Fighting Words introduced by Mark Davidson. There was also music by Rachel Duffy. Me, my Mum and my sister had a lovely night at it.

Poet Kate Dempsey

23rd

Poet Siobhan Campbell

 

I was up bright and early the next morning to head to the writing workshop, Writing From Life: Memoir & Poetry From Lived Experience with Siobhan Campbell in Colaiste Raithin. This was a great workshop. Siobhan and all the people there was very nice and I learned a lot. It was my first writing workshop and I read a short piece (inspired by my Dad but I wrote it as a fictional piece) and had a character I used throughout called Violet (based on me with my grandmother’s name). It was wonderful hearing everyone else’s work. There is definitely a lot of talented writers in Bray.

That night me and the sis headed to The Royal for Saturday’s Grand Finale: Bray Arts Journal launch, Writing groups: Abraxis & Little Bray, and GIANT Open Mic with BeRn. I had three poems in the journal so I was happy about that. It was a great night with a song from BeRun and writers braver than myself getting up to read their work. Maybe in the future …

To read the Bray Arts Journal go to:

http://www.brayarts.net/Library/Journals/September%202017.pdf

24th

Poet Breda Wall Ryan

Up bright and early again I was off to my second ever writing workshop Kickstart Your Writing with Breda Wall Ryan once again in Colaiste Raithin. Again Breda was lovely and there was a lovely group of talented writers. I read a poem about a box of chocolates as a metaphor for loved ones. I learned a lot and like the other workshop I very much enjoyed it.

Finally I was down at The Harbour Bar for the Free Panel Discussion and Q&A with my sister. I found it interesting but I have to admit that as a blogger I disagreed with a lot of it. I quite like that writing is now took out of the hands of just journalists in papers but it was interesting nonetheless.

So that concluded my culture weekend. As a little writing nerd, there isn’t always events like this nearby to go to so it was amazing. Thanks to all the organisers. I was on a culture high all weekend and it was great. 🙂

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6 Songs To Watch In Eurovision 2016!

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So the Eurovision has once again graced our screens for 2017. We ‘ve already been treated to the two semi-finals where 20 acts made it through to the Grand Final tonight! And there was even a marriage proposal for Macedonia’s entrant, Jana Burceska from her boyfriend Alexander.

 

 

Watch out for these six entrants at tonight’s final:

 

Portugal

 

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Potugal’s entry Amar Pelos Dois sung by Salvador Sobral and written by his sister Luisa Sobral is a soaring jazz-style ballad. Think male Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday. It had a wonderful reception at the first semi-final and is the current favourite with the bookies to claim Eurovision glory. Stunning, understated and very polished.

 

 

Bulgaria

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Bulgaria’s entry this year is Beautiful Mess sung by Kristian Kostov. A beautiful ballad with wonderful, modern, understated monochrome staging. Quite R ‘n’ B staging. Beautiful Mess is simply beautiful. Written by Sebastian Arman, Borislav Milanov, Joacim Petsson, Alexander V. Bley, Johan Alkanaes.

 

 

Cyprus

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Cyprus’ entry is Gravity sung by Hovig, who has previously been involved in writing Euphoria for Loreen. Gravity is catchy, a real earworm. I adore the staging from start to finish. It’s incrediby well put together. Written by Thomas G: Son.

 

 

The United Kingdom

Lucie Jones’ Never Give Up On You written by Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest is the UK’s best chance in a while in the contest. A soaring ballad, beautiful staging and could definitely get top 10 or even top 5.

 

Australia

 

Austra

lia’s entry Don’t Come Easy sung by Australia’s X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace is a strong ballad sung with amazing power and control. A great chance of making top 10. Written by DNA (David Musumeci and Anthony Egizii) and Michael Angelo.

 

Sweden

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Sweden’s Entry I can’t go on sung by Robin Bengtsson is catchy, wonderfully staged from start to finish and the styling is great. Written by David Krouger, Hamed “K-Ono” Pirouzpanah and Robin Stjernberg.

My First Reviews On Google Play!

 

I have my first reviews up on Google Play. They are my reviews of Jordan Gray’s Platinum and the two remixes of the track which I purchased on there recently. Hoping Jordan will make the UK Top 40 tonight. She deserves to.

To read my reviews and the wonderful other reviews of the tracks go to:

https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=B6rbyrl5sfgu7b57dkk7tww6udy&tid=song-T3hq5hkc63eiea3emjfpjak7lvm

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Jordan_Gray_Platinum?id=Byg7lv6xkttunnoshw7zsckkjdm

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Jordan_Gray_Platinum?id=Bffnopbx3spw4uy35jct3y6fsiu

My Opinion On The Last Five In X-Factor!

 

We have reached the final 5 in this year’s X-Factor and next week promises to be a treat after the jukebox landed on Louis Loves meaning eight of Louis’ favourites next week as the artists will perform two tracks each from this week. Very exciting! But what is my take on the final five acts vying for X-Factor 2016 glory? (And what songs do I think they should sing at some stage before the end?) Read on to find out …

Emily Middlemas

 

I’m not really crazy about Emily’s voice. I did think she was good at Judges Houses but outside of then I haven’t being that impressed. On the plus side she is going to be doing a fast song for the first time in the competition this week and it’ll be nice to see how she does it.

Songs: I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters
From Eden by Hozier

Five After Midnight

 

The lads have had some ropey weeks. In my opinion their performances of Valerie, Thriller and Try A Little Tenderness weren’t great. But other than that they had had some very good weeks and are clearly a talented and polished act. I really like them and they are my second favourite from the top five. They are one of two acts left that I think with the right songs could have a very good career outside of the competition.

Songs: Yeah! by Usher ft. Lil John, Ludacris
Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas

Honey G

 

Honey G isn’t the greatest singer or rapper in the world but I do admire in a way that she gets up there when it’s clear that she isn’t if that makes sense. It’s almost like a punk attitude in a more commercial setting. I think the amount of hate she gets is pretty ridiculous. It’s only a singing competition after all and as viewers we are meant to judge whether we think someone is good or not, not take hates against people. And it is brave of her to get up there every week despite the level of criticism thrown her way so regularly.

Songs: Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.
Bust A Move by Young MC

Matt Terry

 

Like Emily, I am not that crazy about Matt’s voice. Considering he is odds on favourite as I write this it’s probably an opinion that’s in the minority. I loved his version of She’s Out Of My Life at Judges Houses but otherwise I haven’t being impressed by his performances. I love Sam Smith and Matt’s performance of Writing’s On The Wall to me wasn’t great this week.

Songs: 7 Years by Lukas Graham
She’s Like The Wind by Patrick Swayze

Saara Aalto

Saara is my favourite. I think she is so professional. She’s a great singer and performer and she hasn’t did a bad performance in the whole show. Her performance of It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork in particular was excellent as was Enough Is Enough. Like Five After Midnight with the right songs she could have a great career outside of the competition. She’s an all-rounder.

Songs: Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor
Walking On Broken Glass by Annie Lennox

Jordan Gray’s New Song Platinum & Video Set To Go Gold, Silver & Platinum!

 

Officially Jordan Gray’s new single Platinum is out on November 25th but with the internet nowadays who hears music first on the date it’s released? The song is a very catchy pop song which after a few listens you’ll end up humming around the house or in the supermarket – you have been warned. 🙂 Each section of the song flows beautifully together and has a very commercial sound and the words and metaphors are so well crafted.

The music video for the song, directed by Jordan and Jak Kav and co-starring Mickey Taylor, is brilliant. It is the first time that there has been a transgender woman and a cisgender man as a couple in a mainstream music video. I would imagine that it would be very liberating for someone who is transgender to watch. In any way when you don’t feel represented it is excellent and liberating when someone does represent you. Even though I’m not transgender I can understand to an extent how someone might feel because I’m pansexual and pansexuality is another thing that is swept under the carpet in mainstream culture a lot so whenever someone pushes pansexuality to the forefront I feel freer and liberated so I think the feeling someone who is transgender would feel watching the video would be the same feeling. I also think it’s very liberating for cisgender people too because sadly in our society even today if someone who is cisgender falls in love with someone who is transgender there is sometimes this terrible attitude towards that person from people in which they hurl abuse at them or whisper in corners. The openness of this video is beautiful and is a symbol of what is very obvious that love is love and it’s a beautiful thing that everyone deserves to feel and should be able to feel safe feeling the way they do about the person they love. That no individual or couple deserve to have abuse thrown at them due to prejudice. The arts get a lot of stick for putting messages forward but I think the arts is a great platform for doing so and if you look through the years the arts have been an instrumental part in social change.

 

As a former fashion student, style is always going to catch my eye in any music video. All the style is amazing like the light blue trouser suit and the black pop/rock outfit but my personal favourite is the retro style dress and headband (sadly I couldn’t find a pic of Jordan wearing the outfit on Google so you’ll just need to check the video out everyone but it’s wonderful and suits her beautifully) which Jordan wears while she is playing the piano. Fell in love with that outfit. There does seem to be a lot of musical/cultural references in the video. The retro dress has a very 1950s feel to it while the light blue trouser suit is reminiscent of Annie Lennox. The parts with the burlesque in it remind me of 1920s Jazz venues and then become like 2000s’ hip hop videos in the car. The parts where she’s wearing the black outfit remind me of some Britney Spears/Beyonce music videos and the love scenes remind me a tiny bit of the love scenes in Paloma Faith’s Only Love Can Hurt Like This. It’s wonderfully put together and there was obviously a lot of thought put into it.

I think she is a great artist who clearly loves what she does and I hope it works out amazingly for her with the new release.

Check out the audio of Platinum here:

And the music video here:

Jordan Gray: The Glittering World of Gigs, Photoshoots & Interviews!

 

Jordan Gray is just totally owning it right now. Amongst numerous gigs she recently did a gig with her band The Corridors at Cargo, Shoreditch with performances of Nina Simone’s Sinnerman and the band’s new original track Believe In Us. As always it just looked electric on YouTube.

Nina Simone – Sinnerman Cover

Believe In Us

The 27-year-old songstress has also done an amazing photoshoot called ‘Under Construction’ with photographer Ray Burmiston and make-up artist and hairdresser Nicola Schuller. Retouch by Edd Coates. Love the hair tip in the video below. Also who would have guessed that construction tape would actually work as a dress. Love it.

 

And if her schedule didn’t seem busy enough she was also at the launch of the 1st #ThisIsMe Magazine which she did a very interesting interview for.

ThisIsMe Magazine : Read Issue1

Jordan Gray lights up our Garden Party

Jordan will also be a judge on the new series of Factor Essex which I’m hoping to get to see some clips from. I’d say she’ll be very good on it.

Jordan Gray & CREAM hit the town

 

I hope she does a gig in Ireland at some stage because if she does I am there! 🙂

 

 

Brian May Turns 69!

 

On July 19th, Queen guitarist Brian May turned 69. In celebration of his birthday let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at five amazing Brian May/Queen moments:

Brian May’s Red Special – The Book Launch

Brian May on Bohemian Rapsody – ITV News At Ten

Kerry Ellis & Brian May – Knocking On Heaven’s Door

Brian May & Roger Taylor Discuss the Jazz Album

Queen – Top Of The Pops 1974 – Killer Queen

Belated Happy Birthday Brian! 🙂