Friday, 12 December 2008

Happy Birthday, Spotlight!

Lancaster's regular poets, writers and other performers event The Spotlight Club celebrates its 13th birthday on Friday 19 December at the Yorkshire House.

Top of the bill for the 150th outing for the Club are the Monkeyrack Writers comprising Spotlight co-founders
Sarah Fiske and Ron Baker (pictured), Simon Baker (no relation), Mollie Baxter, Iain Colley, Norman Hadley, Ron Scowcroft and Simon Unsworth.

Music turns for the evening is provided by The New Potato Scene, who made their well-received Spotlight debut back in September.

"I need to write," says actress and creative writing teacher Sarah Fiske of her craft. "It feels integral to who I am.

"The initial stimulus is often observational - perhaps a worried face in a crowd, an odd look or action between strangers on a train, a location
which is stunning, seedy or simply dull may lodge in my brain. Quite often the impetus is abstract - a vague feeling or amorphous shape in my mind, which takes many false starts before it forms into something. I never know, when I start, where a piece of writing will go. If I did it would bore me."

Ron Baker became a full-time (if unpaid and poverty-stricken) writer and writing promoter after winning a North West Arts writing bursary in 1997. Since then he has published poetry, short stories and written for the stage. He has also taught creative writing via the internet for Lancaster University. His last writing venture was an
(as yet unpublished) novel, Understanding Stanley. He says he's been organising Spotlight with Sarah since he "helped Noah launch the Ark".

Simon Baker has become a regular performer at Spotlight over the last few years. Starting tentatively at the Open Mic he has progressed to become acknowledged as a witty and erudite observer of the quirks and foibles of modern times through his appearances as a regular Spotlight compere and through his prose and poetry.

Writer and songstress Mollie Baxter (right) completed the MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University in 2003 and now teaches Creative writing at the University of Cumbria. Since then has had many accolades for her work, and seen it published in Flax Books, The Quiet Feather, Scribe, Pitch, Lune Fiction and on the She has been shortlisted and won prizes in several sort story competitions.

Poet Iain Colley has been contributing stories, poems and articles to magazines and newspapers for many years and has a string of competition successes to his name - including winning the prestigious London Review of Books 'Poet of The Year' competition in 2002. An accomplished performer of his work, he was among those who appeared at the very first Spotlight on 15th December 1995.

Garstang-based poet Norman Hadley is a mathematician who spends his days designing mammoth engines to make ships skip over the foam like stones thrown by dads showing off. His evenings are spent trawling through his rhyming dictionary for 'orange'.
Lacking any Arts qualification beyond his 'O' level, he's best described (by himself!) as a "recovering geek". Norman, who recently launched his own book of poetry, says he once stumbled on the word 'eclectic' in his dictionary and thought it a good basis for a writing style. His poems hop from tragic to comic to sentimental weird in the flick of a metaphor, aspiring to the pigeonhole marked 'un-pigeon-hole-able'.

Ron Scowcroft's poetry was selected twice this year for the Guardian Books website. His work has recently been published by Poetry Nottingham, highly commended in the City of Derby competition and longlisted for the Bridport prize.
Expect anything rich and strange from urban myth to dream cats, parrot obsessed painters to screaming planets during his turn at the mic. Ron's post-grad research into fantasy and visual art has informed the cinematic qualities of his published writing and led to collaborations with UCLAN based artists John M. Morrison and Jayne Simpson.

Simon Unsworth is the newest member of Monkeyrack and writes horror and fantasy fiction. This will be his first appearance at Spotlight.

The New Potato Scene is a popular pop/rock teenage band (by which they mean, the majority of their school have now seen them play!).
George Webster, Chris Everett, Ben Gladwin and Adam Robey form the band, performing a mixture of a variety of covers and their own interesting, quirky pop songs.

Compered by John Freeman, Spotlight's Christmas come birthday bash opens at 8.30pm, admission £3/£2 (conc)

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