Science, art and a sprinkling of fairy dust

Spliff Richard at FoT

Spliff Richard won the Hammer and Tongue Poetry Slam at Forest of Thoughts. Tom Hume captured him on video. Go with the flow…

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Paul to Paul

The wonderful Paul Zenon sprinkled his fairy dust over the Forest of Thoughts, amazing people with fantastic tricks. He’s now off in Edinburgh, and has used his magical powers to persuade Paul Daniels to do a chat show with him on Monday afternoon as a fundraiser for the Wonderbus (a wonderful charity that I strongly […]

FoTography by Tom Hume

Children of the revolution

Without Playgroup Festival, the Forest of Thoughts would have remained a thicket in my head. However, the lovely Playgroup team asked me to put together a cabaret tent and it spiralled from there. 140 performers and crew, 200 vintage photographs (thanks, mum), assorted bizarre props and many, many, many hours work later, the idea had turned from a bag of tiny acorns into, well, a Forest of Thoughts.

The entire Playgroup Festival was magical, with incredible decor (so good that I’ll be posting separately about the amazing team who created it) festival-goers dressed as woodland creatures, silly games, incredible walkabout performers, and delicious food and drink (again, more on the individuals behind that in a later post).

And that’s before we even get onto the utterly inspired musical line-up featuring the hottest new acts. This is not hyperbole. Having known the Playgroup team for a year, I’ve already seen several of their featured artists go on to become massively succesful. Quite how the team are so good at A&R, I don’t know – I used to work in the music industry and had an effortless knack for loving and supporting bands who went on to have a staggering lack of success. As such, I think anyone who’s a good A&R must have been dipped in fairy dust that gave them magical powers.

But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. As such, the above video from Latest TV is worth about 1000,000 words. Watch it and judge the festival for yourself (it’s particularly lovely to see the amazing NGP Security get the praise they deserve. If you’re arranging an event and need security, NGP are by far the best I’ve ever worked with and I’ve heard rave reviews of them from many seasoned promoters.)

Playgroup Festival tickets are now on sale, and if you get in quick, you can take advantage of the Early Early Bird price of £65 (plus booking fee) – but buy now. I have it on good authority that the 100 tickets are moving at an extremely rapid pace so you’ll miss out if you don’t act now.

The ultimate cunning linguists

If you like words and have never encountered Hammer and Tongue then you haven’t been trying hard enough. This phenomenal organisation stormed it in the Forest of Thoughts on Friday 5th August, packing out the tent to such an extent that I couldn’t get in, and had to make do with hiding behind the tent and listening from afar.

Performance poets included Ray Antrobus, Spliff Richard, Ros Barber, Paul Stones, Robin LawleyChristian Watson, Chris Parkinson, Lucas Howard, Ash French, Rosy Carrick (who was also the wonderfully efficient organiser and charismatic host of the night) and featured artist, Adam Kammerling. The crowd clapped, whooped, cheered and generally lapped up every word that dripped from the hammering tongues on stage, finally deeming Spliff Richard to be the winner. If you think poetry is dull, check out some of the above links and you’ll see quite how exciting it can be.

You can see Hammer and Tongue on 1st September at Komedia – book your tickets now as it’s sure to be a sell-out show.