In February 2020, we were joined by Caroline Bird and Jade Cuttle at The Forum in lovely Norwich. It was one of our favourite events, with Caroline vividly bringing Anna Wickham's wild spirit into the room and Jade resurrecting Gisèle Prassinos through song. The open mic section was incredible too - audience, you rule.
We were so happy to be able to record this séance (thanks Arts Council England!) with the help of Patrick Widdess, a local poetry podcaster. You can find his pod, Poetry Non-Stop, here.
If you've never been to one of our events before, this is a good taster for what it's like...
Caroline Bird resurrects Anna Wickham who, somehow, has been forgotten by history despite being absolutely amazing. Here's a poem by Caroline, from her book The Air Year, about this phenomenon.
The Golden Age
by Caroline Bird
A woman whose name escapes me was my ultimate role model growing up. What was her name? You know. You know who I’m talking about. Whatsherface, with the hair. Always wore a cravat. Spat olive pits into a miniscule silver snuff box. You know. Her catchphrase was “If it ain’t broke I’m not interested.” You know who I mean. Bombshell. Sang that famous song. ‘Forkful of Nothing’ with the Withering Brothers. Paris. Lots of stuff to do with Paris. Starred in that sexy movie with Sandra Bee Deloyne, really controversial at the time, they played cross-dressing gravediggers who both end up pregnant by rival dictators. You know the one. Coined the phrase ‘Nope.’ She was married to that gorgeous guy who chopped his head off accidentally whilst fixing a ceiling fan. Her father burnt to death after throwing a Molotov cocktail at a trampoline. Come on. She built the world’s most impossible hedge maze, all her gardeners disappeared. Had a tiny dog called Handbag, kept her house keys in his stomach. In 1916 she met Lenin in a coffee shop in Zurich and came up with the entire plan for Red October. You must remember her. She invented the candy necklace. Liked to pose for photos with an almost imperceptible trickle of blood dripping from her right lobe like an earring. It was political. No? Only wore one sock? Ran for sheriff in Roswell, New Mexico? Called Picasso a cunt? Spend time in jail for illegal importation of sealskin? Her vagina died like a tooth, turned completely black like a rose dipped in tar? Set up twenty-three orphanages in Senegal called the… ‘Whatshername Foundation’ – goddammit! She threw an entire hayrick at Hitler during a rally. To this day no one knows how she managed to a) arrive at the rally with a hayrick and b) single-handedly throw it from two hundred yards away. She travelled solo by tandem bike. Only ate stale bread. Went mad in a secluded condo in Toleto, snorted a suitcase of benzocaine through the snapped-off trunk of a porcelain elephant. You must know who I’m talking about! Joined a punk nunnery called ‘The Sisters of Ulterior Motive’. Wrote a book about the psychic healing properties of peanut butter. Caught herpes from a mountain lion. Had an illicit thirty-year love affair with the novelist and antique dildo enthusiast Greta Turner-Blake. Played scrabble with Trotsky during his exile. First woman to play the hurdy-gurdy on national television. First woman to say ‘fuck’ in a zoo. Looked great in a straw hat. Ushered in the dawn of a new era. I’ve got a postcard with her face on it somewhere in this drawer.