Once again, Maggie Mash’s front room in Weetwood was the venue for a surpassingly satisfying house event – Gathering Voices – which was entirely appropriate for the LitFest because it took the official theme – Lingo – very seriously. The amazingly large audience was presented with a geographically-based programme which had been slotted together with admirable professional skill, and although for some individuals it might have been very slightly uncomfortable to watch and listen with someone’s knees in the back, or an elbow in the ear, for just about everyone it was a wonderfully entertaining afternoon.
Music was wafted at us as we came in, and was introduced into every crack, provided at the start and at the finish by Ben (with guitar in photo) and by Kerry (a lovely jig), Lynn Thornton (acapella If music be the food of love, Cleo Laine) and by Lynn and Maggie together as Wordsong. Lynn and Maggie (both in photos below) did not need music for many numbers, for example a Cockney rhyming slang piece and a morsel of T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
To select a few items from an impressive list of performances, I particularly liked the short extract in English and French from Waiting for Godot/En attendant Godot by David, Feargal and Guillaume (photo) in bashed-up bowlers, Theresa’s song, Síle’s poem Collateral Damage, which had an uncanny ‘ancient’ feel to it, Linda’s Café Italy, the R S Thomas poem (the inbreeding bit was controversial once), and Maggie’s all-too-brief reading of some of Tolkien’s Elvish, which sounds like Welsh, and Maggie should know because she is one of the few people this side of Offa’s Dyke who knows how to pronounce Llareggub absolutely correctly.