Tuesday 30 October 2018

Leicester Shindig: A Retrospect

By Jonathan Taylor

Between 2010 and 2017, Leicester Shindig was a regular and well-known open-mic poetry evening, taking place every two months. Leicester Shindig is currently taking an extended break, so it seems like a good moment to look back on it, and record our thanks to everyone involved.  

For most of its long run, Leicester Shindig took place in The Western Pub, and was jointly hosted by independent publisher Nine Arches Press, arts organisation Crystal Clear Creators (now discontinued) and, in the last couple of years, the Centre for New Writing at the University of Leicester. Regular comperes included Jane Commane, Matt Nunn, Maria Taylor and myself. The evening generally consisted of two halves, including a series of open-mic slots, followed by featured writers.Over the years, Leicester Shindig featured poets, storytellers, fiction writers, as well as magazine, anthology, pamphlet and book launches. It was eclectic, mingling spoken-word, experimental, avant-garde, literary and popular poets.

Audiences were always large, and we often filled the pub. Many people who came along remarked on the remarkably high quality of the open-mic. You can read reviews of Leicester Shindig by Alan Baker here, Matt Merritt here and Pam Thompson here, and various articles by Jayne Stanton on her blog here. In 2014, Leicester Shindig was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Best Regular Spoken Word Night in the UK.

Leicester Shindig did not receive funding, and everyone - organisers, publicists, comperes, invited guests, open-miccers - kindly gave their time for free. So thank you to everyone involved. Below is a near-complete list of the many wonderful featured writers, who gave readings at Leicester Shindig. If there's anyone I've missed, please do let me know!

Romalyn Ante
Alan Baker
Claire Baldwin
Jo Bell
Kathleen Bell
Charles Bennett
Julia Bird
Rebecca Bird
Julie Boden
Alison Brackenbury
Will Buckingham
Wayne Burrows
Andrew Button
Richard Byrt
Helen Calcutt
David Clarke
Jane Commane
Myra Connell
Caroline Cook
David Cooke
Rishi Dastidar
Jonathan Davidson
Nichola Deane
Mal Dewhirst
Andrew Duncan
Rod Duncan
Sue Dymoke
Angela France
Rich Goodson
Mark Goodwin
Andrew "Mulletproof" Graves
Jess Green
Cora Greenhill
Cathy Grindrod
Tania Hershman
Sarah Jackson
Sarah James
Chris Jones
Karin Koller
Charles G. Lauder, Jr.
Gregory Leadbetter
Emma Lee
Carol Leeming
Dorothy Lehane
Anna Lewis
Ira Lightman
Siobhan Logan
John Lucas
Martin Malone
Roy Marshall
Jessica Mayhew
Richie McCaffery
Roy McFarlane
Nigel McLoughlin
Matt Merritt
Kim Moore
David Morley
Ambrose Musiyiwa
Alistair Noon
Bobby Parker
Rennie Parker
Stephen Payne
Robert Peake
Simon Perril
Kathy Pimlott
Alexandros Plasatis
D. A. Prince
Dave Reeves
Robert Richardson
Marilyn Ricci
Shelley Roche-Jacques
Jacqui Rowe
Anna Saunders
Richard Skinner
Daniel Sluman
Jayne Stanton
Matthew Stewart
Aly Stoneman
Andrew Taylor
Jonathan Taylor
Maria Taylor
Michael Thomas
Pam Thompson
Lydia Towsey
Marion Tracy
Simon Turner
Deborah Tyler-Bennett
Rory Waterman
Harry Whitehead
Ben Wilkinson

Photos by Ambrose Musiyiwa

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