TYNESIDE POETS!

TYNESIDE POETS!

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Following the Advice of Scryence

 


 

Rune casting

In the

Ministry of Misdirection

Indicates

A decimal point

Out of place

Add

Ten to the tally

Knighthood

For the minister

Rename ministry

 

Ministry of Conceits

Orders

Entrails of ravens

Requisitioned from the Tower

Be examined

Calculations to date

Revealed

As misleading

Add

Hundreds to the tally

Elevate

Minister to the Lords

Rename ministry

 

Ministry of Ill-health

And

Social Carelessness

 

 Requires

Tea leaves

Be consulted

Palms

Read on Sunday

Leaving

No doubt

Add

Thousands to the tally

Beatify

Secretary of State

Indicate

Truth must lie

With

Astrologers

 

                                                Dave Alton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

MONUMENTS








MONUMENTS

They will build no more of
these winged tributes;
the feathered stones
of the Empire in flight
with God on our Tyne Side.
There will be
no more heroes like
Cowen and Armstrong
and Stephenson and Grey.
Their self made sculptures
have come
to a standstill.
Baked in dust and

bird shit,
they shelter from
a Life on the Dole.



KEITH ARMSTRONG

Monday, 8 June 2020

GREY'S MONUMENT

   photo above by keith armstrong


Grey –
this man and his brain’s conception,
clasped in stone.
Disdainful figure
raised
on a firm, dry finger;
proud-stiff
above a time-bent avenue of dwindling lights.

The Earl’s pale forehead is cool and cloudy;
unblinking,
he views us all (as we view him)
in the same old, cold, way –
through the wrong end of a battered telescope,
through the dusty lens of history.

Strip away the tinsel
and this city’s heart is stone.



Keith Armstrong

AND SUCH GREAT MEN





Dobson and Grainger
were Giants of Men.
Men of Mark,
with huge hands,
they tore this town
in two.
Rebuilt it,
hauled in
rail lines,
puffed steam
into gleaming
engines.

Miracle workers
they were,
Walkers on Tyne.
So we gather in the tales
of our Great Historians.
But what of the true grafters,
the blistered and
the bruised?
What of the People
buried underground
beneath the library shelves?
What of the quiet men and women
who really built this town?



KEITH ARMSTRONG

Friday, 15 May 2020

I WILL SING OF MY OWN NEWCASTLE








































I WILL SING OF MY OWN NEWCASTLE


sing of my home city
sing of a true geordie heart
sing of a river swell in me
sing of a sea of the canny
sing of the newcastle day

sing of a history of poetry
sing of the pudding chare rain
sing of the puddles and clarts
sing of the bodies of sailors
sing of the golden sea

sing of our childrens’ laughter
sing of the boats in our eyes
sing of the bridges in sunshine
sing of the fish in the tyne
sing of the lost yards and the pits

sing of the high level railway
sing of the love in my face
sing of the garths and the castle
sing of the screaming lasses
sing of the sad on the side

sing of the battles’ remains
sing of the walls round our dreams
sing of the scribblers and dribblers
sing of the scratchers of livings
sing of the quayside night

sing of the kicks and the kisses
sing of the strays and the chancers
sing of the swiggers of ale
sing of the hammer of memory
sing of the welders’ revenge

sing of a battered townscape
sing of a song underground
sing of a powerless wasteland
sing of a buried bard
sing of the bones of tom spence

sing of the cocky bastards
sing of a black and white tide
sing of the ferry boat leaving
sing of cathedral bells crying
sing of the tyneside skies

sing of my mother and father
sing of my sister’s kindness
sing of the hope in my stride
sing of a people’s passion
sing of the strength of the wind


KEITH ARMSTRONG
(as featured on BBC Radio 4)

Friday, 8 May 2020

Saturday, 2 May 2020

THOMAS SPENCE 1750-1814 - 270TH BIRTHDAY
























 








(In loving memory of Professor Malcolm Chase 1957-2020)
(Malcolm in the Red House, Newcastle, in 2010 celebrating the unveiling of the plaque in Spence's memory on Newcastle Quayside)
 



THOMAS SPENCE'S 270TH BIRTHDAY!

It's worth celebrating the birth in Newcastle upon Tyne on 21st June 1750 of radical fighter for human rights Thomas Spence.

Happy birthday Tom from everyone at The Thomas Spence Trust, responsible for the commemorative Spence plaque on the Quayside and an extensive series of events and publications dedicated to him over the years.

 


















THE HIVE OF LIBERTY
 

(AFTER THE NAME OF THOMAS SPENCE’S BOOKSHOP AT 8 LITTLE TURNSTILE, HOLBORN)
 

I am a small and humble man,
my body frail and broken.
I strive to do the best I can.
I spend my life on tokens.

I traipse through Holborn all alone,
hawking crazy notions.
I am the lonely people’s friend.
I live on schemes and potions.

For, in my heart and in my mind,
ideas swarm right through me.
Yes, in this Hive of Liberty,
my words just flow ike wine,
my words just flow like wine.

I am a teeming worker bee.
My dignity is working.
My restless thoughts swell like the sea.
My fantasies I’m stoking.

There is a rebel inside me,
a sting about to strike.
I hawk my works around the street.
I put the world to rights.

For, in my heart and in my mind,
ideas swarm right through me.
Yes, in this Hive of Liberty,
my words just flow like wine,
my words just flow like wine.




KEITH ARMSTRONG


The Hive of Liberty
(Tune: “Roddy McCorley”)

Both fruits and berries freely grow and rain falls from the sky,
We are allowed a share of both, but only if we buy,
There should be no proprietors who claim both stream and tree,
“It‘s just common sense!” declared Thomas Spence, from the Hive of Liberty.

Most people must labour to live, while the few take their ease,
Consuming most of the nectar produced by worker bees.
They claim to own the titles to whatever should be free,
“It’s just common sense!” declared Thomas Spence, from the Hive of Liberty.

Leaving his schoolroom by the Tyne, where coaly keel boats sailed,
He ventured down to Holborn town and was in Shrewsbury jailed,
For proclaiming the Rights of Man as how things ought to be;
“It’s just common sense!” declared Thomas Spence, from the Hive of Liberty.

Who gave the rivers to the rich? Who granted them the land?
And why should you have to pay for a patch on which to stand?
Do not defer to those who’d claim the wind, the sun and sea!
“It’s just common sense!” declared Thomas Spence, from the Hive of Liberty.

Two hundred years and more have passed from the day that he died,
There may be no Spensonia, but none can say he lied.
The rich wish to be richer still, the rest fear poverty.
“It’s just common sense!” declared Thomas Spence, from the Hive of Liberty.

Dave Alton

THE THOMAS SPENCE TRUST

35 Hillsden Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF

Tel. 0191 2529531

It’s good to welcome the establishment of The Thomas Spence Trust, founded by a group of Tyneside activists intent on celebrating and promoting the life and work of that noted pioneer of people’s rights, pamphleteer and poet Thomas Spence (1750-1814), who has born on Newcastle’s Quayside in those turbulent times.

Spence served in his father’s netmaking trade from the age of ten but went on later to be a teacher at Haydon Bridge Free Grammar School and at St. Ann’s Church in Byker under the City Corporation. In 1775, he read his famous lecture on the right to property in land to the Newcastle Philosophical Society, who voted his expulsion at their next meeting.

He claimed to have invented the phrase ‘The Rights of Man’ and chalked it in the caves at Marsden Rocks in South Shields in honour of the working-class hero ‘Blaster Jack’ Bates, who lived there.

He even came to blows with famed Tyneside wood-engraver Thomas Bewick (to whom a memorial has been recently established on the streets of Newcastle) over a political issue, and was thrashed with cudgels for his trouble.

From 1792, having moved to London, he took part in radical agitations, particularly against the war with France. He was arrested several times for selling his own and other seditious books and was imprisoned for six months without trial in 1794, and sentenced to three years for his Restorer of Society to its Natural State in 1801.

Whilst politicians such as Edmund Burke saw the mass of people as the ‘Swinish Multitude’, Spence saw creative potential in everybody and broadcast his ideas in the periodical Pigs’ Meat.

He had a stall in London’s Chancery Lane, where he sold books and saloup, and later set up a small shop called The Hive of Liberty in Holborn.

He died in poverty ‘leaving nothing to his friends but an injunction to promote his Plan and the remembrance of his inflexible integrity’.

The Thomas Spence Trust organised a mini-festival to celebrate Spence in 2000 when it published a booklet on his life and work, together with related events, with the aid of Awards for All.

Trust founder-member, poet Keith Armstrong has written a play for Bruvvers Theatre Company on the socialist pioneer which has been performed at St. Ann’s Church and other venues in the city.

Now the Trust has successfully campaigned for a plaque on the Quayside in Newcastle, where Spence was born. The plaque was unveiled on Monday June 21st 2010, Spence's 260th birthday, with a number of talks, displays and events coinciding with it.

A book 'Thomas Spence: The Poor Man's Revolutionary', edited by Alastair Bonnett and Keith Armstrong, was published by Breviary Stuff Publications, with launch events, in 2014, the 200th anniversary of Spence's death.


Further information from: Dr Keith Armstrong, The Thomas Spence Trust, 35 Hillsden Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF. Tel. 0191 2529531.

SPEECH BY DR KEITH ARMSTRONG AT UNVEILING OF SPENCE PLAQUE

On behalf of The Thomas Spence Trust and Newcastle City Council, I’m delighted to welcome you here today to unveil a plaque in honour of that great free spirit, utopian writer, land reformer and courageous pioneering campaigner for the rights of men and women, Thomas Spence. Myself and other members of our Trust, especially Peter Dixon and Tony Whittle, with the support of people like Professors Joan Beal, Alastair Bonnett and Malcolm Chase and activists like Michael Mould, Alan Myers and Councillor Nigel Todd, have campaigned for well over 10 years for some kind of memorial to Tom Spence and it is with great pride that we assemble here with you today.

We know that Spence was born on the Quayside on June 21st 1750, 260 years ago to this the longest day and Summer Solstice. We know that his father Jeremiah made fishing nets and sold hardware from a booth on Sandhill and his mother Margaret kept a stocking stall, also on Sandhill, but it has not been possible, all these years on, to pinpoint the exact location of Thomas Spence’s birthplace, which is why this plaque has been installed here at Broad Garth, the site of his school room and debating society and where he actually came to blows with Thomas Bewick because of a dispute over the contentious matter of property. Bewick gave Spence a beating with cudgels on that occasion but, surprisingly enough, they remained lifelong friends. As Bewick said of Spence: ‘He was one of the warmest Philanthropists in the world and the happiness of Mankind seemed, with him, to absorb every other consideration.’

In these days of bland career politicians, Spence stands out as an example of a free spirit, prepared to go to prison for his principles - the principles of grass roots freedom, community and democracy, for the human rights of people all over the world.




FOLK SONG FOR THOMAS SPENCE
 


Down by the old Quayside,

I heard a young man cry,

among the nets and ships he made his way.

As the keelboats buzzed along,

he sang a seagull’s song;

he cried out for the Rights of you and me.

Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,

he gave up all his life

just to be free.

Up and down the cobbled Side,

struggling on through the Broad Chare,

he shouted out his wares

for you and me.

Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,

he was a man the likes you rarely see.

With a pamphlet in his hand,

and a poem at his command,

he haunts the Quayside still

and his words sing.

His folks they both were Scots,

sold socks and fishing nets,

through the Fog on the Tyne they plied their trade.

In this theatre of life,

the crying and the strife,

they tried to be decent and be strong.

Oh lads, that man was Thomas Spence,

he gave up all his life

just to be free.

Up and down the cobbled Side,

struggling on through the Broad Chare,

he shouted out his wares

for you and me.

Oh lads, you should have seen him gan,

he was a man the likes you rarely see.

With a pamphlet in his hand,

and a poem at his command,

he haunts the Quayside still

and his words sing.



KEITH ARMSTRONG


(from the music-theatre piece ‘Pig’s Meat’ written for Bruvvers Theatre Company)




SPENCE IN LONDON:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IMy-h2re3g

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

ICELANDIC SAGA!






























Photos: Keith Armstrong

Sunday, 12 April 2020

THE SUN ON DANBY GARDENS





 

















The sun on Danby Gardens
smells of roast beef,
tastes of my youth.
The flying cinders of a steam train
spark in my dreams.
Across the old field,
a miner breaks his back
and lovers roll in the ditches,
off beaten tracks.
Off Bigges Main,
my grandad taps his stick,
reaches for the braille of long-dead strikes.
The nights
fair draw in
and I recall Joyce Esthella Antoinette Giles
and her legs that reached for miles,
tripping over the stiles
in red high heels.
It was her and blonde Annie Walker
who took me in the stacks
and taught me how to read
the signs
that led inside their thighs.
Those Ravenswood girls
would dance into your life
and dance though all the snow drops
of those freezing winters,
in the playground of young scars.
And I remember freckled Pete
who taught me Jazz,
who pointed me to Charlie Parker
and the edgy bitterness of Brown Ale.
Mrs Todd next door
was forever sweeping
leaves along the garden path
her fallen husband loved to tread.
Such days:
the smoke of A4 Pacifics in the aftermath of war,
the trail of local history on the birthmarked street.
And I have loved you all my life
and will no doubt die in Danby Gardens
where all my poems were born,
just after midnight.


KEITH ARMSTRONG




Michael CallaghanAbsolutely brilliant Keith!

Conrad Atkinson: Another gem Keith Best Conrad 

Thursday, 2 April 2020

GORDON PHILLIPS - TYNESIDE POET (1949 - 2017): IN MEMORIAM

























































































Gordon Phillips – Tyneside Poet



I first met Gordon in the early 1970s, both of us “incumdons” to the North East, he from St. Albans while I’d arrived from Burnley. It was poetry that brought us together as active members of The Tyneside Poets.

We shared the ethos of taking poetry away from the self-regarding circles of academe and the cliques to encourage a wider participation. At the same time we developed and honed our own poetic voices.

Gordon’s verse always had a strong musical current pulsing through it and he went on to work with composers to produce work that was lyrical and had strong strains of North Eastern traditions and heritage running through it.

True to the belief in encouraging others we worked together on two anthologies of young people’s poetry under a small press imprint, Pivot Press. For the first one we had a goodly number of contributions and the detailed planning of the anthology was well underway. What we didn’t have was a title. Then Gordon received an envelope with a couple of good poems in it.

The accompanying letter also proved significant. The boy, early teens, was enthusiastic about the possibility of having a poem or two published. However, he was somewhat concerned about how he might be perceived by his peers. This led him to write that he’d be really pleased if we used one of his poems but, “…don’t tell my friends.” Both editions of “Don’t Tell My Friends” were very successful.

Before I left Tyneside in 2012 Gordon had been showing me a poetic project he was working on with St. Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay as its focus. Recently, almost five years later he gave me a copy of the CD, “The Square and Compass”: the project was completed and set to music. A grand piece of work.

Unfortunately, the CD has been followed far too quickly with bad news. On Sunday, 5th February 2017, the illness Gordon had alerted me to finally claimed him. Perhaps it is always too soon, but this is truly so. On my last visit with him he told me of other projects he still had in mind and I had hoped he might at least be able to bring some of them to fruition. It is not to be.

However, as a poet his voice, Gordon’s words, will live on. It was poetry that brought us together, sustained our long friendship and will remain to speak to me.


Dave Alton




POEM FOR GORDON (1949-2017)


Across a Fenham avenue,
through the pools of stars in your eyes,
the seering light of your vision,
I saw your finely hewed words running towards me,
a crystal stream
tearing along these Newcastle lanes.
We tripped along together
in huddled poetry readings,
throbbing public houses
and ancient mansions,
searching for images
to make our days
brighter,
longing for a folk song
to drink with
in the approaching darkness.
Searching,
always searching,
for the right words
to sing to our loved ones,
we crossed the sea
to fulfil our dreams
from the flat land of East Anglia
into the arms of Scandinavia,
returning with that smile of yours
still intact,
beaming with the sun
breaking up the clouds
on any dogged northern day
in your adopted home,
lending a sparkle to Grainger Street,
a twinkle to our beer;
the joy of a lasting friend,
the spilt dreams
forever flowing with us.


 

KEITH ARMSTRONG




THE TREATMENT BELL (GORDON'S FINAL POEM)

 

On the side wall, beside the reception

hangs the treatment bell,

pristine, silver,

its shine an encouraging glow.



Before it, hopeful patients sit.

The next ringer strikes a note for them all:

a customary three times

for an end of plan toll,

excitement measured in the hammering and applause.

 



Gordon Phillips, 18th December 2016


Note from Maureen Phillips:

The first time Gordon and I heard the three rings of the bell was on his first visit to the Department of Radiation Oncology for consultative purposes to evaluate and determine his most optional treatment.  

The inscription on the bell is:
Ring this bell
Three times well
It's toll to clearly say
My treatment's done
This course is run
And I am on my way

 



FOR THOMAS BEWICK

 

In your precious art you raised
delicate species fresh, alive
with every searching niche of blade,
on metalled tints of bone
in flesh, conceived.

Today, our clear eye can review
that aggregate of animals
and speading plants which grew;
now your thoughts to Cherryburn
are our adoption.

Through sludge of field flung back
from my drag of parting feet,
crossing rutted rural lands
you swept in light and shade,
a lock of trees
inside a border to engrave.


 

Gordon Phillips

(as read by Dave Alton at Gordon's funeral on Thursday 16th February 2017 at St Robert of Newminster Roman Catholic Church,  Newcastle upon Tyne)

Thursday, 19 March 2020

NEW FROM DAVE ALTON


(left) photo of dave alton































 Covid-19



There are no rats streaming off from rigged ships,

No bell clanging crier calling out the dead,

No trundling overburdened tumbrils led

By masked spectres as the malady grips.

No crosses daubed over doors, though handles

And handshakes could prove fatal. Fast as fear

This plague flies, a traveller’s souvenir

Round the carousel of the world, dandles

Life and death without intent or purpose

Other than its own being. City shaken,

Markets deserted and futures tumbling.

The preachers of profit are at a loss,

While pubs are closing, last orders taken.

Lock all the doors…but the walls are crumbling.



Dave Alton

Sunday, 8 March 2020

HOTEL UTOPIA




(for Tony Whittle)


In the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the city din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

There’s a picture in the bathroom
of a resort miles away
and the stairs creak like the old man’s lungs
as he lives another day.

Outside, the trams go tumbling past
and a young girl lights the glass.
It’s Amsterdam and more days lost
on the streets that run so fast.

Yes, here in the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

Remember Anne Frank passed this way
so you could grab some Speed,
get high on Sex and learn tp pray
for this City of Eternal Greed.

Take a canal boat, a Rembrandt Ride,
take a hippie down a diamond mine.
I’m a happy man but this City’s sad
and we’re running out of time.

Here, in the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s always dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.

You can lose your eyes in a haze of dope,
you can drink your life to death.
Lying down, in these days of hope,
you’re running out of breath.

So pack your bags and fly away,
through the crowds on these Amstel streets.
Just one last whiff of a Tulip Day
and the weight is off your feet.

In the Hotel Utopia,
we’re as happy as mortal sin.
You can hear an old man crying
through the City din.

There’s a tap that’s aways dripping
and walls that are paper thin
and, in this Hotel Utopia,
we’re really dreaming.





KEITH ARMSTRONG



'Well Keith your beautiful poetry melts my heart, you know that don't you?

Good to see you writing about current politics, don't stop, our country may be depressing politically but the things that are happening are still brimming with meaning and young people today especially need to believe that poetry can be powerful.'

(Jen x)






Tuesday, 25 February 2020

PARK LIFE




CELEBRATING GREEN SPACES IN NORTH TYNESIDE

Local people are invited to send written contributions to our new anthology Park Life - celebrating green spaces in North Tyneside. Poetry, prose and lyrics all inspired by local parks (see information below) and a green agenda generally are welcome to reach us by the end of April 2020. Contibutors may email several written pieces to us as our aim is to ensure that all parks in North Tyneside are celebrated in the writing.

The anthology, published jointly by North Tyneside Council and Northern Voices Community Projects, will be launched in September as part of this year's Heritage Open Days events.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,

Doctor Keith Armstrong,
Northern Voices Community Projects,
35 Hillsden Road,
Whitley Bay,
Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF.

Tel 2529531
k.armstrong643@btinternet.com





Northumberland Park

Nestled between Tynemouth and North Shields, Northumberland Park has attracted visitors to its woodland paths, gardens, lake and bowling green since it was opened in 1885.

Northumberland Park offers a tranquil green space with a variety of landscapes, providing a mixture of Victorian elegance and urban wilderness.

Resting on the medieval site of St Leonard’s hospital and chapel – which has been explored using archaeological digs – today it hosts scenic walks, a herb garden, tea room, bandstand, sculpture trail, children’s play area and BMX pump track.

Marden Quarry - Whitley Bay

10 minutes walk from Whitley Bay town centre is Marden Quarry Park – with mature woodland and limestone grassland. It offers an unusual landscape, as virtually the only exposure of magnesium limestone north of the River Tyne.

It is a local nature reserve too, with a large wildfowl lake supporting breeding birds such as the mute swan, mallard, moorhen, coot, tufted duck and seasonal migrating birds.

The quarry park celebrated its 40th anniversary in November 2017.

Richardson Dees – Wallsend

Wallsend Parks are a group of three public parks, close to Wallsend town centre.

They form a resource for wildlife and people in three unique, connected green spaces over 16 hectares in size.

The grounds are adjacent to the Green which was the site of the original Wallsend village in medieval times. In the 19c two large houses stood to the north of the Green; Wallsend Hall and The Red House which both had substantial ornamental gardens now incorporated into the park.

To the south east of the site was the 'C' Pit, an extension of Wallsend Colliery, which was closed in 1854.

Wallsend Parks is made up of:

Wallsend Civic Hall Grounds – a quiet parkland with formal walks and points of historical interest, dating back as far as 1790
Prince Road Arboretum – an open grassland area, sloping down to a natural burn with a mixture of open spaces and beautiful views
Richardson Dees Park – a Victorian park dating from 1900, incorporating formal planting with a wide range of facilities:
multi-age play area
Verandah Café
bandstand
community pavilion
bowling greens
outdoor gym
tennis and basketball courts
skate park
multi-use games area
lakeside and woodland walks
sculpture story trail

Rising Sun Countryside Park

The Rising Sun Country Park is now a site in Benton that once housed one of the world’s largest coal mines. It has been transformed into a 400 acre natural green oasis. The Park is a site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) and the lake is designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
The Rising Sun Country Park is a green oasis of 162 hectares, set in the heart of North Tyneside.

Boasting a nature reserve with ponds, woodlands and extensive grasslands; a farm and Countryside Centre, the site is a haven for wildlife and an ideal place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Benton Quarry

A quarry of some sort has been here since Roman times and it is said that when the quarry came into full production in the 1800s – the age of the industrial revolution – the sandstone was used to help build some of Newcastle’s famous buildings.

The unfenced quarry became worked out and filled up with water in the 1930s, with the exception of an island known by locals as ‘Froggy Island’ – suggesting it was a haven for frogs.

In the 1960s, the council of the time used the quarry for disposal of building rubble and the quarry basin was filled in. Lime, sycamore and horse chestnut trees surrounded the quarry and it was fenced off. The land inside was basically grassy scrubland and a local farmer used it to feed his goats.

Then in the late 1970s and 1980s trees were planted with the help of local volunteers and Scout groups. The park was left to develop naturally and little more was done until 2003 when North Tyneside Council reintroduced Park Wardens. The old pathways were then reclaimed and the park started to look as it is now.

Silverlink Biodiversity Park

Silverlink Park LNR incorporates Silverlink Biodiversity Park and West Allotment Pond, and occupies approximately 18 hectares in the centre of Cobalt Business Park, just off the A19.
As part of a new development scheme in 1996, a new country park was created on the site of a former rubbish tip.
This 'Biodiversity Park' together with the pond at West Allotment was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2005.
The reserve holds significant biodiversity value, with woodland, scrub and hedgerow, grassland and tall herb, wetland and exposed rock habitats.
In particular, the site is of note for its amphibian and invertebrate population. The ponds and ditches are teeming with invertebrates such as pond skaters, blue-tailed damselfly and whirligig beetles.
Roe deer, fox, brown hare and rabbit can all be discovered in the park's grassland, whilst kestrels are regularly seen hovering overhead.
The grassland is also home to many species of butterfly such as meadow brown, common blue and small white.
A giant sundial sits on top of the central hill, and for this reason the site is sometimes referred to as the 'Sundial Park'.
Free parking is available on site, directly opposite the Village Hotel on The Silverlink North.

Killingworth Lakeside

Killingworth Lake is a popular man-made lakeside park. The highlight is a small colony of Mute Swans which attracts a great deal of interest.  At times Whooper and on rare occasions Bewick Swans can also come to visit. There are two lakes, either side of a main road. There is a patch of open grassland on the southern shore and there are patches of woodland along the edges of the park which are home to singing Warblers such as Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler in the spring/summer months.

Close to the road which separates the two lakes, Cormorants and Grey Herons can be seen on some wooden platforms. The site remains a good site for Common Terns and Great Crested Grebes in the summer.

On occasion Black Terns have also been recorded visiting this site.

Royal Quays/ Chirton Dene/ Parks, North Shields

A recently developed park, part of the Royal Quays regeneration. The name comes from the Chirton Burn, previously a culverted burn which ran into the Tyne, but has been restored and integrated into a series of water features. A lake attracts swans, gulls, ducks and wildfowl. To the north it connects with the Parks Centre which was originally a recreation area for Smiths Docks Company workers. To the south it meets the Royal Quays Marina, formerly the Albert Edward Dock.

Weetslade Countryside Park

This is reclaimed from the site of the old Weetslade Colliery which closed in 1966 and can found up near Dudley.

The sinking of Weetslade Colliery began on the 6th of August 1900 and the colliery opened in c.1903. Weetslade had workings connected with the nearby Burradon Colliery, though the two mines had separate ventilation systems. The colliery was on a branch of the Seaton Burn Wagonway. In the 1910s Weetslade Colliery was owned by the Burradon & Coxlodge Coal Co. Ltd., and then in the 1940s by the Hazlerigg & Burradon Coal Co. In 1947 Weetslade Colliery was recorded as producing 160,000 tons of coal for household, manufacturing and steam production. By 1960 there were 638 people employed at the colliery (488 working below ground and 150 working on the surface). Weetslade Colliery closed on the 10th of September 1966. The site continued to be used as a washery until 1980 before being left abandoned. Many years later the site was landscaped to become Weetslade Colliery Country Park, which opened in 2006

Monday, 17 February 2020

THIS



this
used to be countryside
shapely acres of land and now it's
ground for genocide
the sheep jostle with exploding tanks

townsfolk
use our land to plan in
clean out their minds and
leave us

all their rubbish
tins and tanks

listen
to the weekend artists stumbling mumbling in their cottage country haunts running free
between the gunbursts

tins and taunts and
towns and tanks

yes this used to be countryside
shapely acres of land and
now it's
ground for genocide
the sheep drift in city waste

artists amongst tanks

 



Keith Armstrong

Thursday, 6 February 2020

KEITH ARMSTRONG - LIST OF PUBLICATIONS



































Books:
Shakespeare and Company. Erdesdun Publications, Whitley Bay 1975.
Giving Blood. People's Publications, Newcastle 1977.
Pains of Class. Artery Publications, London 1982.
Love Poems. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 1984.
Dreaming North (book & LP). With Graeme Rigby. Portcullis Press, Gateshead Libraries 1986.
The Jingling Geordie: Selected Poems 1970-1990. The Common Trust & Rookbook Publications, Edinburgh 1990.
Poets' Voices. With Cynthia Fuller, Michael Standen & others. Durham County Council & Tuebingen Cultural Office, Tuebingen 1991.
The Big Meeting: A People's View of the Durham Miners' Gala. TUPS, Newcastle 1994.
The Darkness Seeping: The Chantry Chapel of Prior Rowland Leschman in Hexham Abbey. With introduction by historian
Colin Dallison & illustrations by Kathleen Sisterson. Northern Voices & Crowquill Press, Belfast 1997.
Innocent Blood: the Hexham Riot of 1761. With historian Tom Corfe. Northern Voices & Crowquill Press, Belfast 1996.
Old Dog on the Isle of Woman. Cold Maverick Press Legend Series Number 1, Sunderland 1999.
Our Village. Memories of the Durham Mining Communities. The People's History, Durham 2000.
Bless'd Millennium: The Life & Work of Thomas Spence. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2000.
The Town of Old Hexham. The People's History, Durham 2002.
Imagined Corners. Smokestack Books, Middlesbrough 2004.
Out to Sea. With artist Rolf Wojciechowski. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2004.
Sweet Heart: Erotic Verse. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2006.
Angels Playing Football: Newcastle Poems. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2006.
The Hive of Liberty:The Life & Work of Thomas Spence. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2007.
Hermann Hesse in the Gutter: Tuebingen Poems (1987-2007). With translations by Carolyn Murphey Melchers. Northern Voices,
Whitley Bay 2007.
A Blush in Staindrop Church. Christopher Smart (1722-1771) in Durham. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2008.
Common Words & the Wandering Star: Jack Common (1903-1968). University of Sunderland Press, 2009.
From Segedunum to the Spanish City. North Tyneside's heritage in words and pictures. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2010.
Grand Times. The story of the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth. Grand Hotel, Tynemouth 2010.
The Spanish City. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2010.
The Light in the Centurion. The story of Newcastle’s historic bar. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2011.
Splinters: Poems by Keith Armstrong. Hill Salad Books (Breviary Stuff Publications), London 2011.
The Month of the Asparagus: Selected Poems by Keith Armstrong. Ward Wood Publishing, London 2011.
Still the Sea Rolls On. The Hartley Pit Calamity of 1862. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2012.
North Tyneside Steam. Northern Voices Comunity Projects, Whitley Bay 2014.
Thomas Spence: The Poor Man’s Revolutionary. With Alastair Bonnett. Breviary Stuff Publications, London 2014.
Follow the Sun. Northern Voices Commmunity Projects, Whitley Bay 2016.
The Pitman Poet of Percy Main: Joseph Skipsey. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2017.
Wallington Morning. Poems by Keith Armstrong. Wild Boar Books, Lincoln 2017.
The Wooden Dollies of North Shields. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2018.
Tyne Anew. Celebrating Public Art in North Tyneside. Northern Voices Community Proects, Whitley Bay 2019.
Magazines:
Including: Revival,True Faith, Toon Talk, Red Pepper, Poetry Review, Iron, Aesthetica, The Poetry Business, The Ranfurly Review, The Penniless Press, Citizen 32, Morning Star, The Recusant, Kenaz, The New Statesman, Other Poetry, Poetry Scotland, True Faith, Dream Catcher, Episteme, Northern Echo, Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Sand, North East History, North East Life, The Informer, StepAway, Northern Review, X magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ash (Oxford University Poetry Society), The Cheviot, The Galway Review, Culture Matters.
Recent anthologies:
Golden Girl. Poems on Newcastle upon Tyne. Credo, Newcastle 2001.
The Seven Deadly Sins. University of Groningen 2002.
Mein Heimliches Auge Erotic Yearbook. Konkursbuch, Tuebingen 2002.
Red Sky At Night: Socialist Poetry. Five Leaves Publications, Nottingham 2003.
War On War. Sub, Breda, 2003.
Paging Doctor Jazz. Shoestring Press, Nottingham 2004.
Microphone On. Poetry from the White House Pub. White House Press, Limerick 2005.
Paint the Sky with Stars. Re-Invention UK, Rayne 2005.
Miracle and Clockwork. Other Poetry, Durham 2005.
North by North East. Iron Press, Cullercoats 2006.
Revival. White House Poetry, Limerick 2006, 2007 & 2009.
Both Sides of Hadrian’s Wall. Selkirk Lapwing Press, Selkirk 2006.
The Wilds. Ek Zuban, Middlesbrough 2007.
Two Rivers Meet. Poetry from the Shannon and the Tyne. Revival Press, Limerick 2008.
Kemmy’s Limerick Miscellany. Limerick Writers’ Centre 2009.
Fishing and Folk. Life and Dialect on the North Sea Coast. Northumbria University Press, Newcastle upon Tyne 2008.
Emergency Verse. Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State. Caparison, Brighton 2011.
The Robin Hood Book. Verse Versus Authority. Caparison, Brighton 2012.
Anthology for a River. Danu Press, Limerick 2012.
The Blue Max Review. Rebel Poetry. Fermoy, 2012.
View from Zollernblick. Regional Perspectives in Europe. Grace Note Publications, Ochteryre 2013.
How Am I Doing For Time? Five Years of Poems, Prose and Pints. Harrogate 2014.
The Spirit of Tolpuddle. Citizen 32, Manchester 2014.
Anent. Hamish Henderson: Essays, Poems, Interviews. Gracenote Publications, Ochtertyre 2015.
More Raw Material: Work Inspired by Alan Sillitoe. Lucifer Press, Nottingham 2015.
De grote dikke hobbyrockencyclopedie. Uitgevers Passage, Groningen, 2016.
Half Moon: Poems about Pubs. Otley Word Feast Press, Otley 2016.
1916-2016, An Anthology of Reactions. Limerick Writers’ Centre, 2016.
Voices from the Cave. Revival Press, Limerick, 2017.
Word Sharing: A Literary Anthology. Kulturamt, Tuebingen, 2017.
CDs:
Bleeding Sketches. With The Whisky Priests. Whippet Records, Durham 1995.
Out to Sea. With The Ancient Mariners, Jim Mageean, Ann Sessoms. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2007.
Sound City. With Rick Taylor, Bruce Arthur, Pete Challoner, Ian Carr & Bob Fox. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2007.
The Elvis Diaries. With Jim Nunn. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2007.
The Poetry of Percussion. With Bruce Arthur. Northern Voices, Whitley Bay 2008.
Mad Martins. With Gary Miller. Whippet Records, Ferryhill 2017.
Sing a Song for Henshaw. With Chris Ormston. Northern Voices Community Projects, Whitley Bay 2018.
Cassette:
The Pitman Poet from Percy Main:The Life & Times of Joseph Skipsey (1832-1903). North Tyneside People’s Centres 1991.


Further information: Northern Voices Community Projects, 35 Hillsden Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE25 9XF, England. Tel 0191 2529531. Email: k.armstrong643@btinternet.com