Well, the big news for the next PP (10 Oct) is that we have the wonderful “The Daydream Club”! These two (Adam Pickering and Paula Walkers) provide delicious boy/girl harmonies over tunes both folksy and poppy. And they are both disgustingly pretty. Talented and gorgeous… it’s enough to make you sick really.
Check out their website http://www.thedaydreamclub.com/
Supporting them in our ‘wildcard’ slot (where we have something a bit different) will be breathtaking piano melodies from the talented (but thankfully not too gorgeous) Francis Binns. Frankie has an album out (“Fell Swoop”) brimming with his haunting, touching piano compositions. As well as the ‘wildcard’ slot he will be filling the ‘forgot more about the piano than Dave will ever learn’ slot. Some serious ivory credentials here!
Give his site a peruse http://www.francisbinns.com/
Also, (something a bit new this) we’ll have a slot from Mary-Anne Ratcliffe pretending to be other people. Expect some guilty pleasures (all with the right wigs): Britney, Pink, Florence and The Machine and only some Bon flipping Jovi! A cheeky little treat, with all the songs you know and love.
Finally, I will be getting help from the brilliant, tall, ginger monolith that is Andrew Mills. THE man of the Leicester music scene and one of the best guitarists we have. I’ll do a few songs and read some of new bits from “After The Fall” (because it’s all I’ve been working on!!! First full draft done!).
What a night eh? You’d be moron to miss it
U.K. native David Parkin jokingly refers to his one-man show (his first) as a “clinical depression concept album.” And indeed, he unspools his song-cycle chronicling his battle with “the black dog” and his ongoing recovery through the healing powers of music and humour.
His big-hearted agenda is to turn the taboo about discussing depression into art. His gentle, soft-spoken manner is both breathtakingly funny and heartbreakingly eloquent.
The songs, particularly Scrabble For Beginners and Tonight the Stars, have a genuinely moving power that comes from their rawness and simplicity.
About halfway through the show, he informs the audience they’re sitting through a one-hour therapy session, but we’re the ones who are paying for it.
Considering what a open-hearted and engaging performer he is, we still end up getting more than our money’s worth.
— Ben Wiebe
Just thought I’d repost this seeing as there are a lot of gigs coming up.
22nd June – Full show at Reading as part of the Strength In Numbers Festival. http://strengthcollective.co.uk/
(there is also a Parkin Presents at Embrace Arts – the wonderful Mike Sole will be standing in)
11th July – As part of the Stigmaart Mad Hatters exhibition there will be a special one man Good Friday (on Ernest!!!). The Leicester People’s Photographic Library at 7pm.
17th – 28th July – The Winnipeg Fringe (Canada) at the Playhouse Studio.
I am mildly terrified of Canada so if you’re a Canadian reading this – be nice to me … and possibly buy me a pint!
Sky Enough To Cry on my piano at home. And some plugging. The full show is part of the Strength In Numbers Arts Festival this Saturday (22nd of June) http://strengthcollective.co.uk/ and a special one man version (On Ernest!!!) on the 11th July at The Leicester People Photographic Gallery as part of Stigmaarts “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” exhibition. http://www.stigmaart.com/
I do go on (and on) about what I have been doing, so here is it in brief:
Writing After The Fall (brain injury memoir) http://davidparkin.org/after-the-fall-blog/
Doing 14/48 (The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival) at the Y Theatre. http://www.1448fest.com/
Getting ready to go to the Winnipeg Fringe in the last two weeks of July. http://www.winnipegfringe.com/
Preparing my exhibition for Stigmaart’s “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” http://www.stigmaart.com/ where I will be doing Good Friday (on my own on Ernest!) on the 11th of July at The Leicester People’s Photographic Library. http://lppg.wordpress.com/
Ernest is troubling me. More of the words are coming back and they raise questions. Particularly this verse.
The lights were dim
I was singing to Morrissey
I must have looked quite grim
‘Cos she said to me
“You’ve made a ghost of yourself
Just you and no-one else”
I remember the first song I ever wrote
It was loosely based on a sad note
“Made a ghost of myself”? Ruth. Ruth said that. I remember her face in the dark red light of my room.
My first song was loosely based on what sad note? An E minor? No, another type of note. Another sad note.
And then the song comes back to me. Words like a wave crash into my life once again. And for a moment I’m lost. So lost.
Up in casualty
To the faces
Of my family
And I am
And I know what ‘the sad note’ was.
Now I remember the song I know.
And my blood runs cold.
A phrase that’s used a lot. But I know what it’s like when it really happens. A cold creeping dread.
My. Blood. Ran. Cold.
Suddenly it all comes together. It all makes sense.
Why nobody is telling me what happened. This explains the vagueness. My parents’ irritation at the continued questioning.
My mouth falls open.
A jagged gasp.
I run my hands through my hair … thinking … thinking …
You know the twist in the movie where suddenly it all adds up? Our hero is left mouth agape as he processes all this new information.
I am processing. It all comes at me so fast. I remember that trip to Crawley. I remember it now. The Whiskey. The pills.
I did something terrible.
I tried something terrible a few years ago.
And now here I am in hospital again and I don’t know why.
But yes I do.
It’s so obvious.
I reach for the phone and I start to dial.
I need to talk to my mum, to ask her something.
But I know.
I already know.
(If you have enjoyed please get the book when I get it published to find out more or just tell me email@example.com)
The Men We Were
Reading is something I’ve started to attempt again. It’s not easy. Every attempt is a battle. At the moment I’m on the heavy stuff: “Charlottes Web”. As I make way through the 3 or 4 pages I attempt everyday (any longer would be exhausting) I scowl, puff my cheeks out and scratch my head like a student wading through “War And Peace”.
I am near the end though but my overly emotional brain is finding the twists and turns of the plot quite gruelling. Charlotte’s death is particularly traumatising.
“No-one was with her when she died.”
Really … this is a kid’s book right?
No-one was with her when she died?
Lord almighty … that is hard. I start with a tasteful little tear but slowly make my way up to bawling my eyes out and taking those big jagged breaths that sobbing kids do. Poor Charlotte. Nobody, not even a spider, deserves that.
“No-one was with her when she died”.
I need something that’s easier going than this. I yearn for a less troubling kid’s book. I think I’d be OK with “James and the Giant Peach”. But doesn’t something bad happens to the spider in that one as well doesn’t it?
Come on old chap, I tell myself. I think the worst bit is over. I knuckle down and plow on.
Today I’m on the last pages. On the ward it’s business as usual, Ian mumbles to himself, Richard has been taken out for the day and Jenna is wheeling Kev to the shower. As I said, Kev’s family are a bit rubbish and Jenna has taken on all the “mothering” duties. She comes everyday and does things like wash his clothes and shower him.
But today Kev calls her to a halt.
“I don’t want you to take me. Sarat … can you do it?” Kev asks. “Sarat can get me in and out of this bloody thing properly. You’re not strong enough. You nearly dropped me the other day.”
Sarat awkwardly looks at Jenna over Kev’s head.
“Go on then…” says Jenna and gesticulates weekly at the shower room. “Whatever.”
Sarat wheels him away and I reflect that Kev was terribly blunt … and so does Jenna. She begins to absentmindedly fold up one of Kev’s clean shirts. Then she pauses, slowly pulls the fabric up to her face and begins to quietly cry into it. Trudy who is attending to Ian, notices this and comes over. She wraps and arm around Jenna and makes soothing noises.
This is awkward. That’s the thing about not being very mobile. I can’t just cough and shuffle out of the room.
I bury my face back in the book, even though I’ve finished it … but I do listen in … of course I do.
“He can be so rude sometimes.” Says Jenna, dabbing at her eyes with Trudy’s proffered hanky. “And the thing is … I don’t think he even realises it.”
“Well, there’s a lot going on for him at the moment.” Trudy replies. “Stuck in hospital … having to get better…”
“But he’s not even doing that anymore. When was the last time he went to physio?”
This makes Trudy pause. She thinks and then offers rather feebly “Well, we got him to do a little bit last week.”
Jenna throws the shirt on the bed. She’s angry now.
“Where’s his fight gone?” She turns to Trudy. “Where’s Kev gone?”
“Well, strokes are …”
“Because that wasn’t him. That wasn’t Kev.”
Jenna’s eyes are ablaze.
Trudy breathes in, puts her hands on Jenna’s shoulders and looks over her glasses into Jenna’s eyes.
“Well …” she says slowly. “That was him. At least that was who he is now …” Trudy searches for the words. “And … well… you’ve just got to accept that.” It sounds very harsh but Trudy delivers it quietly … with warmth. “At least for the time being.”
“But it’s not final right? He’s still got further to go.”
“Well, yes. He may turn a corner and be more his old self again …” Trudy pauses and steadies herself. She breathes in and I can see her summoning up her internal strength. This isn’t going to be easy.
“But he may not. He may not. And … that’s just the way it is … and I can’t give you anymore reassurances. We just don’t know at this point.”
Jenna takes this … absorbs it …
“You’ve done so well with him. He couldn’t hope for nicer fiance but I’ve seen this before,” says Trudy. “And this is going to sound hard but I feel kind of duty bound to tell you.” Trudy pauses and addresses Jenna quietly and with gravity.
“He may not return to his old self. And when it’s clear that’s not going to happen you’re going to have a choice.”
She lowers her voice.
“Learn to love him how he is … or … get out.”
The clock ticks … the air is heavy.
Trudy holds Jenna’s gaze.
I’ve forgotten that I’m supposed to be reading. I am completely drawn in to this charged little moment. It comes in dribs and drabs but life in hospital has its flashes of intense drama. Crikey … I thought Charlottes Web was harsh.
Jenna glances at me through her red, wet eyes and I cough and bury my head back in the book.
As Jenna cries and I try make myself as small as possible … I ponder. Kev … who is Kev? I only know the new Kev … and I like him. He’s a good laugh, rude and bold but apparently he has lost something. I know this from Mum (who is of course a bit of a gossip … like me), from conversations she has had with Jenna.
Before the stroke, although Kev was still very much a man’s man (and self made), he had a sensitivity. He was thoughtful, kind and could be terribly romantic.
I glance at Jenna …
Now that’s all gone.
How is she supposed to feel now?
Kev is a good-looking man and Jenna is … well, Jenna has the kind of beauty that can make your eyes ache. She is stunning. She’s got it all, classically beautiful and criminally curvy. They must have made one hell of a couple.
And I’m not being a bitter little short man (yes I am – the best I can hope for is “cute”) but Kev was obviously quite a catch. He had the nous, looks and charm to bag Jenna – a nice, loyal goddess.
I know it’s crass to talk about leagues in love but we do so because there is a modicum of truth there. And I guess what I’m trying to say is Jenna is well out of my league. And I’m quite jealous of Kev. She is a hell of a woman but if he’s not careful Kev could be losing her. And the strange thing is that I think he vaguely understands this but actually doesn’t seem to care that much. Something in him has died. He has lost something …
And so I think about the men we were and who we are now. How have I changed? Well, my temper has exploded a few times in here. That’s a new thing. I never had a temper before. And what if I’ve lost other things, things that I don’t know are missing but my loved ones do?
I brood. Who, exactly, was I before? I think I know … but there’s something else. I have an ominous feeling. Something I can’t quite place but that is definitely there. A shadow on the edges of my vision.
“It’s not fair,” says Jenna blankly. “It’s just not fair.”
She hands the hanky back to Trudy, she’s not crying anymore.
“I just want the old Kev back.”