Friday, 28 June 2013

Book Launch - 16th July, Korova Arts Cafe

Terry Quinn, winner of the Geoff Stevens' Memorial Prize, will be launching his latest collection, The Amen of Knowledge, in Preston in July.

Date: 16th July

Time: 7-30pm

Venue Address: Korova Arts Cafe, 15-16 St Wilfrid's Street, Preston, PR1 2US

Friday, 21 June 2013

Saved by Dropbox* (*Other software is available)

Just a few weeks ago I was all set for just my fourth public performance. I had a wad of poems printed off ready to read, all themed around slightly adult issues. French Kissing, Losing my Virginity, The Perils of Binge Drinking, all masterpieces in their own right.
I stepped up to the stage, carefully double-checking the order of my poems, then looked up to my expectant audience. I was somewhat surprised to see that the front two rows were sitting cross-legged, chin on hands, and looking as if they had just been beamed in from a school hall. Kids, and small kids at that. I’m left on the stage in limbo, all my material is unusable and I’m not quick enough to edit as I read.
Without Dropbox this is where I would have had to walk off the stage muttering apologies. With Dropbox I was able to whip out my phone, find a suitable poem and then download it in seconds, read it, find the next poem and repeat. My work may not have been the best but at least I was able to deliver something to my audience.
Every piece of work I have created I have available on Dropbox and I can access it via my laptop, tablet, phone, even from an internet café or a hotel. It is simple to set-up, use and maintain and works across different platforms.
I installed the software on my laptop where I keep all my work. It creates a folder, anything you drop into that folder is then copied up into ‘The Cloud’, that storage place in the internet that exists nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
I moved all my work into the folder then went for a few drinks whilst it was synched with my internet connection. Now, after this simple step any time I edit or add a file on my laptop then it automatically copies the changes up to the cloud.
The next step was to add my tablet. Again, a simple step. Install the software, tell it my username and password, then leave it connected to the internet for a while to synchronise. Now I can edit a file on either device and the changes are replicated between them.
Then I added my phone, an Android based one, and using OpenOffice on the phone I can read and edit my Microsoft Word documents.
Finally, once you have signed up you can access your documents anywhere from an internet browser. Hotels, cafes, airports, all are now available to me to be creative and keep my work secure. You get a chunk of free space which is more than enough for a few thousand Word (or similar) documents. I have 3.300 files in my dropbox comprising of documents, a couple of movie clips, lots of pictures I have found interesting on the internet and plenty of photos I have taken.
Naturally you should still take backups of your work, either onto USB sticks or onto DVD’s and store them safely, but Dropbox as a tool for someone who likes to be able to read and write anywhere has transformed my writing life.
 (There are now many similar pieces of software that will do the same as Dropbox, but I do love the simplicity of it.)
you can find it at:

PS - If you have received multiple notifications of this post huge apologies. I'm tucked up in a nice little cottage in Wales with about half a bar signal on my phone, which reminds me. Download your content from Dropbox first when you have a good internet connection, otherwise it is painful if you struggle with a signal.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Blue Plaques in Preston

You may not be aware of all of the Blue Plaques that are dotted around Preston.Here are a couple for local poets:
Robert William Service
Francis Thompson

The official Blue Plaque site needs some work on it so here is a useful site that lists the Blue Plaques by major locations:

And here is a direct link straight to those in Preston

Monday, 10 June 2013

Live Venues

There seems to be a revival currently in Preston of performance venues, where you can both hear and take part in readings and open-mic sessions.

Here are a few venues you can check out. If you have any suggestions for others then please let me know.

62 Friargate, Preston

15-16 St Wilfred Street, Preston, PR1 2US

The Continental
South Meadow Lane, Preston, PR1 8JP