After 13 years, Lancaster's Spotlight Club plays its final gig at The Yorkshire House this Friday, 17th April combining its usual mix of Open Mic, Performance and Music for one last outing at the brilliant pub venue in North Road.
From May the event moves to its new home at the purpose built litfest auditorium at
The Storey. In the meantime, however, it's business as usual with a great line-up for the final Yo-Ho gig!
Poet Mike Barlow made his first appearance at Spotlight in January 1997, since when he has gained increasing recognition as a poet. He was winner of the National Poetry Competition 2006 with his poem The Third Wife and has previously won First Prize in the Ledbury Poetry Competition 2005, and First prize in the Amnesty International Competition 2002.
"I have a pamphlet, Amicable Numbers, which is a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice," he says, "so I'll be reading one or two pieces from that, as well as some more light-hearted narrative perhaps, and some insights from a bargain box of assorted pronouns."
Mollie Baxter (pictured above) first appeared at Spotlight back in October 1998 since when she has made numerous appearances as a singer, writer, compere and comedienne. She was also the winner of the Spotlight Slam in 2002. "I'll be reading a collection of short prose," she says, "some funny, some serious, some cheese and onion, some coriander and lime."
Poet Julie Simmons has appeared at the open mic and taken part in Spotlight's Slam. She'll be making her debut on the Spotlight bill after attending a Spotlight performance workshop
about which she said: "I think I would benefit from it as it's difficult to entertain when speechless!"
Andrew Hurley graduated from MMU with an MA in Creative Writing, achieving a distinction.
"More and more I feel that everything influences my writing," he revrals. "Other writers, people, music, art, history, a supermarket, boredom, love, death, my children. Writing for me is a way of finding meaning in everything, trying to preserve moments in the exterior and interior worlds that otherwise might slip by."
The evening also features music from improvisational pianist and electronic keyboard player, Stephen Grew, something of an accquired taste but another Spotlight regular over the years. "Basically it's a bit like making a cake, a chocolate one maybe?" says Stephen of his music. "Find your technique stretch it, add water, shake it around for 20 years, in the oven of musical time, then add some more ingredients, maybe some chocolate, 70% maybe! Punctuation optional? Hundreds and thousands to sprinkle on top, when the cake is cool, offer it, for eating.
"I play solo a lot, day to day, considering the pieces, the improvisations as finished works, this is always my main mind set. So maybe I have done a thousand pieces over the last few years."
Andy Raven has appeared at Spotlight several times in recent years, usually alongside his fellow singer/songwriter Joe Spence. While Joe is away in India Andy, who is also front man of How's My Pop, makes his solo debut at Spotlight showcasing his own talents as musician, singer and writer of powerful songs.
Compered by Simon Baker, the doors open at 8.30pm, Admission £3/£2 (conc).