The Spotlight Club is back at the Lancaster's new Storey venue on Friday 19th June, complete with an impressive line up that will follow the usual "Open Mic" session.
Poet Mihkel Hassan is 21, born in Salford, and is a Hip Hop street poet. He made his performance debut at Spotlight in November 2008. "My poetry is political, it challenges the government and questions society. I feel blessed, coming from a council estate and to be so young, and having the opportunity to express and represent the people is amazing."
Mihkel was recently appointed co-ordinator for a music production based on Romeo and Juliet and gang rivalry. "So I'll be workin' with some young mc's n rappers aged 12-19 and bands at the Ridge Community Centre n Central High's music studio, writin' n co-writin' lyrics and tracks. I'm workin on Diversity fm through the day, n then workin' on an emergency accommodation project for young people."
Poet Rebecca Wilmott is making her Spotlight debut after appearing at the Open Mic. "I'm 20 years old and currently on a year out," she reveals. "I'm going to Manchester Met in September to study English Literature. I promote gigs at Lancaster Library and am hoping to start a creative writing workshop with primary school children...
"I'm influenced by anything and carry a notepad with me at all times," she adds. "I would describe my poetry as very figurative and fantasty inspired. I'm most influenced by distorted fairy tales such as Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber and my favourite book is Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli. I write because it helps me escape from and create my own reality and to express myself creatively."
Spotlight followers will need no introduction to Steeve The Poet (pictured above), who has been performing at Spotlight since day one. It is however over a year since he graced the Spotlight stage so for those new to his immensely humorous style be prepared for pithy and lugubrious takes on love found, love lost and love left in the lost property office of life's great railway station... occasionally accompanied by Casio keyboards.
"A lot of people would take the Spotlight club for granted, it's been going for so long. But it's hard enough to write stuff in the first place, very difficult to write stuff, plus to read it out is a bit more difficult, and to read it out and get people to appreciate it is a bit more difficult, to get people together and read stuff out together at the same time is darned difficult - but to do it and to get people to pay for it, I've never seen another example of something that happens like that, and to do it month after month after month after month, well, you know it's a miracle."
Poet Rosie Whitmore made her first appearance at Spotlight in the February Slam and now returns on the bill. "I'm looking forward to being at Spotlight," she says. "I really enjoyed being in the slam - it did my ego no end of good. I'm delighted to take part again - I don't want paying - It's a great night out."
Also on the night there will be music from Stuart Anthony, who writes and performs moving songs that lead you into his honest perceptions and emotions of love and life. He has a new album out now, House of Sun, mastered and part mixed by Mark Tucker who has worked with the eminent likes of PJ Harvey, Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention and Portishead.
"Influences are so fluid and kind of subliminal, it's hard to put a list in that continually represents me - I sound like me, but for the benefit of keyword searches, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, Ray Davies, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Robert Kirby, George Martin, Pink Floyd, The Byrds, Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, blah, blah, blah...
"...What do I want people to take from my music?...Whatever you want.'
Also on the bill are The Low Countries, described by FolkRadio.co.uk as "Indie folk at it's best with a home grown realism." Nigel Parrington, Els D'hooge and Wes Martin combine banjo, guitar, vocals and harmonica and playing melodical odes to made up apples and imaginary films, amongst other things. They list as their influences: folk radio, fermented hops, generations come and gone...
• Compered by Simon Baker, Doors Open 8.15pm. Admission £4 / £2 (conc.) with Open Mic starting at 8.45 - 9.15pm