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Greg Harper

Guest performer Greg Harper, accompanied by Chris Davis, contrasted February's Attila. Instead of putting his politics in poetry and song, Greg performed his protests through country-style songs, guitar, harmonica and mandolin, His politics geared more to the environment and history of local areas – towns built where 'once kids played cowboys and Indians under a canopy of trees – .. the council says it's all a mess', and the chainsaw came.. 'All Gone'. - ranging to the very emotional song 'Angel's Kiss' dedicated to the passing of his godmother, last week. (Coincidentally, Attila's mum, Muriel was Greg's choirmaster in school)!

In 'Birdsong', Greg did a perfect pitch duo with Chris. They sang of The Battle of Britain, now represented by a monument in Sussex, 'How many did you kill'. Then, (dedicated to Duncan Filer), 'Family Man', …. about.'..everybody's coming home – from Afghanistan' – he shared his strong feelings of wind farms destroying the beauty of the land – he'd rather have tiles (solar panels) absorbing electricity through his roof. . Then, 'Gibbet Wood' where Jack Upton, a country pauper, robbed the mail from the coach at Blakehurst, just off Monarchs Way but never told on his brother who got away. 'Honour amongst thieves'!... 'You ask my name. It's Jack, Sir. I ain't proud of what I done'

'Cuckmere Shore' tells of hard times in Sussex, with Johnny working the fields by day and smuggling by night. 'Ride Johnny Ride' had the audience singing along, 'run from the revenue guns' Greg and Chris filled the room with music, the audience tapping toes and humming along. Greg added some colourful history.

He gives the history of each song, adding bits of humour before he plays it.. His easy and relaxed manner makes the stories and melodies accessible and they have a haunting quality. 'Colours', the song, and name of his new CD, was about 'just a little picture' hanging in a café 'between a 1930s poster and the mountains of Nepal'. It may not have been a Rembrandt but 'what simple colours life can be, back when you're five years old'. There's little doubt that Greg and Chris work on their music to perfection. The audience was with them from beginning to end! They sing well together and Greg's music has a lasting quality!

Meantime, the Open Mic brought Jake, (compère cum poet) – with 'Bash the Bankers' – everyone joined in the fun! Then, he read on being in Japan where typhoons occur and thinking how lucky to be in the UK where the climate is always temperate.; only to return and find there had been a hurricane here- knocking over massive trees, destroying fields, causing floods. This shook him emotionally . If that could happen, so could anything! Mike Sherman's 'The Curse of the Super Model' complained of women who 'rattled in bed' and he longed for a Reubens, Goya, Rodin 'type', who 'bring armfuls of fun and soft ruby lips'. Then, 'The Joy of Consumer Success', where 'too much is never enough'. 'The River Arun at Midnight' and 'A Million Starlings' captured wonderful images.

Maria Hewett did 'Weather', 'Rain' can be dangerous. Falling from traumatised skies. Her 'Whether the Umbrella' had all the sounds of water tapping against the umbrella! Good fun. Then, 'Is Jack There', a poem where the untimely phone calls finally cause a permanent rift. Duncan Filer continued with 'we're a blameworthy country' and as a policeman, gets blamed for many things. 'We protect you' evidently holds no weight! Then, 'The Damned' about soldiers. 'Few will be honoured. Few will be old'. Then 'Fiddle Class' and finally, 'Star Gaze', a love poem. '(you are).... my pause before sunset' – dedicated to the 'lady with the blushing cheeks'!

May Pineau, (AKA 'Speakeasywordhag') read 'Possessed' about how her 'lyrics must wax lyrical or else ...die'. She did a trad folk song about South Africa, 'Chick Lit-erarti' and 'Horses for Haikus'. 'I'm a vegetarian. What's your beef'. Very clever! Then, a dada poem, 'be more mellow. Black on yellow. Dada dada', wishing Audi could be there to help her with it! Phyllida Carr played harmonica, adding some more music and toes again tapped to her tunes. Mike Knee, with his new all steel string guitar (and pick) sang 'November 1989' – follow the water to find peace. 'Waiting for an Angel' and his new song, 'There's Hope in the Fields and hope in the Water'. (another environmentalist).

Dave Allen performed a poem about his bald head – very funny. Also 'Tickertape, about Kennedy's moon shot: 'There's a monkey on the Moon'. His Yo Yo poem was hilarious. 'If you're lonely, get a yo yo...' He was requested to do an encore later on in the gig. 'Later than Planned' was a poem about a train which had been stopped. 'Some poor bastard fell under the train'. A woman in his car responding 'How can some people be so selfish!'. Yours truly did some poems which had some of the audience laughing. All in all, it was a very good evening – relaxed and fun!







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