Permission to Shut Up…..

Last night was an evening charged with emotion and reflection, celebration and fond farewells as Permission to Speak came to an end at Scary Canary in Stourbridge.

I can look back and honestly say that this event changed my life over the the course of a year or so, gave me a platform to write and perform my poetry and without it’s existence I would probably still be out there looking for the thing I needed to give me direction and purpose. Yet such is the strength of the friendships forged through this monthly gathering, I feel we will all be back in the fold at some point to resurrect the spirit of PTS in some shape or form.

Rob Francis very rightly took centre stage last night to headline the show and share with us his earthy, thought provoking work. He is absolutely on point when it comes to expressing the concerns we all have about identity and a sense of place as the country lurches forward into Brexit chaos. His recently written poems about Black Country life offer a view of identity that is steeped in nostalgia but that still hold a core set of values that are just as relevant in today’s society. It will be interesting to look back in a year’s time and reflect on the Black Country that Rob so clearly identifies with and see what impact all the changes ahead of us have made.

It was fitting that Stacey Smith got up and did a poem for us. Stacey created and ran Scary Canary and gave Rob the space to run his night and supported the event throughout it’s lifetime. I have never seen her read before, but it was the spirit of inclusion and community that this night created that made it fitting for her to share her thoughts on the closing of this chapter of her life through poetry. I had definitely got something in my eye at that point…..

The rest of the evening was a smorgersboard of poetry and storytelling that has always been the way at PTS. The photo above (courtesy of Louise Palfreyman) shows the talent on offer and I will miss hearing these people read at this venue each month.

But two things epitomised PTS for me last night. 1) a slightly drunk man, who admitted he had never read out anything before in his life, jumped to the stage to make something up on the spot, fueled by the occasion and encouraged by all around him and 2) that the regulars and ex-headliners at PTS had compiled a pamphlet of their own poems to present to Rob as a keepsake in recognition of the work he has put in and the sense of community he has created.

We will all miss PTS…….

 

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