ArtBeat, Why Do You Miss When My Baby Kisses Me?

It’s Artbeat season again, from June 15th until 25th at Clarendon Park:

Sadly in the years since I helped run the festival there has been trouble at t’mill – or whatever the CP equivalent is (t’deli?) – and the people who used to run it are no longer in evidence.  The current festival is a valiant effort but really it needs a whole army of people subdivided into regiments, each dealing with a particular area.  Kudos to those now taking up the reins, but it is sad to see Artbeat a shadow of its former self.  Still, we enjoyed Greenshoots Ceilidh Band (playing not ceilidhing) a scratch classical guitar concert (very good) and a beer festival at the club.  I had a half of Tiny something followed by a Blind Badger (or similar) and a third (good idea to do thirds of a pint) of Witch’s Milk.  That’s not remotely accurate by the way because I became totally befuddled by a veritable feast of deliciousness at Chettinad and immediately forgot the names of the beers: I should’ve kept the programme.

If you haven’t been to Chettinad I urge you to rectify this immediately.  It’s run by the same people as Shivalli and the food is utterly exquisite.  For starters we had plates piled high with paneer in a sauce with a small dosa on the side (for me) and something with chicken in (for Jan.)  These starters were so huge they could almost have been a main course and I was beginning to regret having ordered a thali.  Fortunately there was a long gap between courses, during which I finished my mango lassi and we talked about Germaine Greer (don’t ask: I may get to her in another post).  Then came the thali.  Oh my god, I thought.  Am I going to get through this?  The answer was of course no, but I did have a great time trying.  There were the usual selection of curries, ranging from mild to hot, plus chappatis, saffron rice in exquisite shades of orange and yellow; and to follow, a gulab jamun.  I asked them to pack up what I couldn’t manage and I will tackle it this evening.  The service, too, was a delight, full of jokes and anecdotes about Tamil Nadu where the cuisine comes from, and such a refreshing change after the corporate smiles and generic conversation of the average restaurant chain.

Back to normal today: Quaker meeting followed by gardening and of course the episode of ‘Casualty’ that I missed.

Kirk out

The Heartbeat of Artbeat

What a lovely bunch the Artbeat crew are!  The organising group of the Clarendon Park Artbeat Festival are a wonder: a seriously organised set, equipped with digitising tablets, spreadsheets, notebooks and diaries (‘I can’t do the 20th, I’ll be in Verona’), they could so easily be forbidding and unfriendly – but they so aren’t.  Andrew and I, the newcomers, have been welcomed and included into the fold, our ideas taken on board and our plans listened to, just as if we were long-time members of the group; and when we went for a celebratory drink at the Cradock (it was safe, though I think I caught a glimpse of Creepy Guy) I was immediately part of things.  I met several new people including a teacher who is going to run a workshop on music journalism and a kinesiologist with an interest in ghosts who is proposing a mural project.  The group positively fizzes with ideas, and, more importantly, it seethes with the determination and ability to put them into practice.

They are also an extremely generous bunch.  I did a little pitch at the end for the Sound Cafe concert and, though no-one was available to come as they would all be in Italy, I got donations almost totalling the price of three tickets.  I’m so glad I joined them.

My bit of Artbeat, which will take place in June next year, is a poetry workshop followed by a performance in Fingerprints, plus pop-up poetry on Queen’s Rd.  I will also be one of a panel of writers talking about their work.

And just in case you don’t know, here’s the info about the Sound Cafe concert:

Beatitude Mass

for the Homeless

Leicester Sound Cafe, a Cathedral-supported project, announces the first performance of its Choir for the Homeless. This choir will be singing at a Beatitude Mass at Leicester Cathedral on 31st January at 7.30 pm. Liz Gray has tickets and information.

Mass for the Homeless

Leicester Cathedral

31st Jan, 7.30 pm

Tickets £5 from Liz Gray

Kirk out