By Robin Parker
This pandemic has been a strange time for creative writing and performance groups. Our particular group, with the name ‘Those Bard from The Baum’ (conceived by Norman Warwick), had to abandon our monthly meetings in the upstairs room of said tavern and instead discover an online phenomenon known as Zoom.
For performance poetry and prose, Zoom became a lifeline, though not to everybody’s taste, and ‘Those Bard from The Baum’ lost some of their regular performers. It remained co-hosted by myself, and Eileen Earnshaw and there was initially such enthusiasm from those remaining that we moved from a monthly meeting to fortnightly.
As months progressed, people began to feel ‘Zoomed out’ and, as vaccinations gave a greater freedom to the wider community, we decided to look at meeting face to face again.
But, Houston, we had a problem.
During lock down The Baum had been refurbished and the upstairs room turned into a specialist private dining area with limited capacity and so we had to search for a new venue. Fortunately, The Flying Horse came up trumps. We were originally going to meet downstairs in part of the pub area, but some members felt that it would be too cramped and so we went to the upstairs function room, courtesy of the landlord, Ben Boothman.
It couldn’t have been better. The tables were large which enabled reasonable space between performers. There were 26 of us, most of whom participated in some way, and we welcomed back people who had not chosen Zoom. The other great benefit of a live venue is that people could play/sing in harmony. In particular, we had one group of ukulele players, the Uketeers, who could not perform on Zoom because they were all at different venues. They have now regenerated themselves as Ukerocks. The collective company, ‘Those Bard from The Baum’ have also regenerated ourselves as ‘Pegasus’ (name conceived by Michael Higgins).
As with previous live meetings at The Baum, the great pleasure of the collective group is the variety of music and poetry offered. Some could almost bring tears to the eyes, whereas with others the place would erupt with laughter. It is also important to point out that we are far from a ‘closed clique’. We welcome all participants and, if you wish to join us, the next meeting will be on Sunday 3 October, in the upstairs room of The Flying Horse.