Category Archives: Poetry & Literature

World in Motion by Simon Hart – A Book Review

As a Liverpool supporter, I enjoy reading autobiographies of great players including Sir Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard and John Barnes, as well as other football books that look at Liverpool’s history. In addition, I also enjoy reading about international football, including the England national team and the World Cup.

As I write this, the 2018 World Cup in Russia is currently taking centre stage, which has already seen a number of surprises. During matches, I have just finished reading World in Motion by Simon Hart, which looks at the inside story of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and how its impact changed football forever.

Once I started reading, I was hooked and absorbed by how the book painted a fascinating and colourful picture of Italia 90. From Gazza’s tears, England’s journey to self-final heartbreak, to the emergence of Cameroon, Costa Rica and the Republic of Ireland on the World Cup stage, the book chronicles a tournament put to the memorable sounds of New Order’s World in Motion.

World in Motion is more than just about football. Instead it leads you on a journey through a period in history, before the age of the Premier League, and the evolution of the game into the billion-pound industry that we know today. Told through interviews with key players from Italia 90, the book explores and vividly describes the experiences, emotions and circumstances of the players, supporters and countries, at a time of change with the Cold War ending, the Berlin Wall falling down, and cultural barriers between East and West disappearing.

The interviews themselves are a tremendous collection of anecdotes, which are funny, entertaining, yet also poignant reminders of a different time. From all over the world, these interviews include several key players from Italia 90, including Cameron’s Roger Milla, Italy’s star striker and World Cup leading scorer Toto Schillaci, and also England’s Terry Butcher, team captain on that dramatic Turin semi-final against West Germany.

I found the players stories to be very interesting, with some making me laugh, and also thinking about what if results had turned out differently. Indeed there were several times, when I thought about those two words “what if”. These include what if Paul Gascoigne hadn’t been booked, what if Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle had scored in that heartbreaking penalty shootout, what if Cameroon had gone further, or what if Yugoslavia had beaten Argentina. Reading the book, there were so many moments that made me think about “what if”, which is one of the reasons why I loved World in Motion as a book.

Overall I found World in Motion to be a superb engrossing read, well researched and put together by Simon Hart, with the interviews giving this book a big heart, and a strong sense of nostalgia. If you are a football fan, I wholeheartedly recommend it, as it captures the spirit and essence of Italia 90. For those who remember watching the tournament, every one of the 384 pages will take you back in time, to those hot summer days of Italia 90.

To conclude this review, I would like to leave you with a montage of Italia 90, put to the memorable music of Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma.

Hope it brings back the memories!

Ciao!

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Rhymes & Records at the Jacaranda – Monday 7th August 2017

Writing and performing poetry is one of my favourite hobbies. Just the thought of creating a piece and reciting it to an audience of like-minded people, is an obsession that fills me with nothing but plentiful joy.

Last week, I attended an open mic night called Rhymes & Records, held in the basement of The Jacaranda. Located on Slater Street in the Ropewalks area of Liverpool, I was unaware of the famous historical significance of The Jacaranda. This was because it was one of the early venues where The Beatles played, so the location was very intimate, as the audience were sat very close to the stage.

I had never previously been to Rhymes & Records or The Jacaranda, so I was surprised with the layout and design of the basement. As I stood on the stage reciting my poems, I felt the buzzing anticipation and warmth supportive feel of the audience, and my fellow poets. It was a wonderful and uplifting atmosphere, which is a very special feeling. An added bonus was that I even managed to thankfully avoid bumping my head against the low ceiling!

In addition, I was impressed with everyone who got on the stage to read out their poems. It takes courage for a person to stand in front of a microphone, and read out a poem they have written to an audience of strangers, especially when it has been written from the heart, and of a personal nature.

There were so many poems related to different subjects, which made the audience laugh, contemplate and cry. These included subjects such as past nostalgic times, as well as serious topics including mental health, LGBT issues and also about grief. This last subject was magnificently covered by Christina Thatcher, who was headlining the evening. Christina performed some poems from her book “More Than You Were”, related to her own personal experiences with grief, which she performed so beautifully, that I was mesmerised and emotionally moved by her performance.

In conclusion, Rhymes & Records was an excellent evening, and I would like to thank Lyndsay Price for organising and hosting the event. My thanks also go to Christina for sharing her wonderful poetry, all the poets who performed, and to the audience for their support.

I recommend Rhymes & Records for an entertaining evening of poetry, of which more details can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Writing on the Wall – My Personal Recollections

I love writing poetry.

Just the thought of putting pen to paper, creating and sharing poetry with a wider audience, is not just fulfilling, but it is also a labour of love. Poetry has changed my life, as it allows me to enjoy being creative and sharing my content with an audience, through performance, by expressing myself from an artistic perspective. An added bonus is that I have met many interesting people, all through my hobby and love of poetry.

On a warm and hot Saturday earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending Maghull’s Mega Poetry Slam. Held at the Maghull Literacy Festival, the slam was based on the Writing on the Wall stage, and involved competing with other local poets, for the chance to win a £50 cash prize, and become Maghull’s Mega Poetry Slam Champion of 2016. Having performed open-mic poetry with the Dead Good Poets Society in Liverpool, I could not resist this opportunity to recite and listen to poetry, meet other like-minded people, and have fun at the same time.

The poetry slam was entertaining for me. Despite narrowly going out early on, I thoroughly enjoyed this first-time experience, and the terrific works of my fellow slammers, as I listened, laughed, and was even beautifully moved. If I have a recollection of the poetry slam, it would be standing on the Writing of the Wall stage, reciting my poetry, with the warm sun shining down on me.

In addition to the poetry slam, there were also talks from other writers. These included Sally-Anne Tapia-Bowes, Alan Gibbons, Mandy Coe and Levi Tafari who spoke with enthusiasm and humour. Each one talked about their respective backgrounds, and how they got into writing. I learned from them all, that writing is not only hard work, but also of the importance to write constantly, which I can relate to as a poet and blogger.20160806_154036

I enjoyed listening to them all, but Levi Tafari certainly captured my attention. As a Liverpool-born poet of Jamaican parents, Levi captured the audience’s attention with a stage presence and performance so mesmerising and sublime, that I was hooked. When I looked around, I saw other festival attendees flocking to the stage to listen.

I would like to thank everyone from Writing on the Wall, all the writers, fellow poetry slammers and authors, for a terrific afternoon of entertainment, writing wisdom and fun.

Writing this article has brought back warm memories of the festival. I loved every moment of it, and as I think about my experiences of the Poetry Slam, I am delighted as a writer, to share this with you all.