Melodic comedy at Andover Afternoon Poetry Cafe

Two comic Hampshire poetry giants, Syd Meats and Ivor Bundell are the March guest for the Andover Afternoon Poetry Cafe.

Ivor Bundell former secretary for Big Up Words is the founder of Secret Poetry at It is a website which publishes free downloads, an occasional e-zine and sells poetry online. Ivor was M.C at the Poetry cafe pilot at the Bridge in 2012. He’s best remembered for his humorous poetry about carrots.

Ivor has produced three albums with his brother Kevan and a solo album entitled ‘Heart & Stone’. A poet, singer-songwriter and near novelist, Ivor hails from the Meon Valley and writes about the natural world and local history.

Guest musician Syd Meats is Romsey songwriter and poet.  In Syd’s early career he worked for the BBC writing songs for Nottingham BBC local radio.

In the 90’s he fronted surreal indie band Meet The Vicar, and also wrote and performed a one man show Meats Saves The Planet which was a mixture of songs and spoken word.  During this period his brushes with the famous included having a cup of tea in the same room as Barbara Windsor and speaking to Ernie Wise on the phone twice.

His musical Christmas guest spot at the Teapoet Collective was called a triumph. In a recent street performance in Andover, he re-wrote the town’s history to include a Viking founder with the unfortunate name of Eric The Hippopotamus. Not only have Syd’s songs been heard on local and national radio, but they have also been used to teach English in the Sudan and Natural History in the UK.

“We’re really excited to have such a fantastic talent coming to Andover,” said organiser Cat Randle.

Andover Afternoon poetry cafe is held on the second Saturday of the month at The Rendezvous Cafe, 8 Union St, Andover, SP10 1PA. The first half of the afternoon is reserved for local poets, entertainers and acoustic musicians. The guest spots are after a tea break with cakes supplied by The Great British Tea & Cake company.

“We picked the Rendezvous Cafe because it is has excellent disabled access. We are able to accommodate wheel chairs because it’s all on the level. I’m amazed at how well it’s doing. The big surprise was the special needs poets. One lady, Rosie, has come to every cafe and last time got up and performed a poem from memory. She even wrote us all our own copy so we could understand what she was saying. It was brilliant! “ said Cat Randle.

The cafe organisers are grateful for the support of  Pat West councillor grant and Hampshire County Council.

Andover Afternoon Poetry Cafe, March 28th from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Rendezvous Cafe, 8 Union St, Andover SP 10 1PA.

Syd Meats having a cup of tea.

Syd Meats having a cup of tea.

Ivor Bundell musing on Meon Valley

Ivor Bundell musing on Meon Valley

On the 4th day of Christmas…4 fantastic books

Sally Startup has 4 novels for young adults and FINALLY the 2nd in the Tree Speaker series Spice City has arrived. If you have a teenager who is into fantasy, the power of friendship, animals, or rock ‘n roll then Sally will have a book for you. You can buy these books off Smashwords or buy them from the R.A.W stall at the Rendezvous Cafe in Andover on Friday mornings. For more info her is her website

A young child learns the value of friendship

A young child learns the value of friendship

A comming of age novel about a trials of starting a rock band

A comming of age novel about a trials of starting a rock band

Long awaited 2nd book in the Tree Speaker series

Long awaited 2nd book in the Tree Speaker series

Sally Startup's excellent fantasy novel

Sally Startup’s excellent fantasy novel

On the second day of Christmas…two poetry books.

s of Parkinsons

Bobbie Coleho’s first poetry collection to raise money and awareness of Parkinsons

The second poetry book by Bobbie Coleho.

The second poetry book by Bobbie Coleho.

Bobbie’s poetry books are perfect for people who don’t ‘get’ modern poets but know what they like. Any one who is a fan of Andover style of poetry will enjoy these poems. Bobbie has a way of connecting with the human condition and touching hearts.  Her books can be found at The Vinetrust bookshop in Andover, at the Travelling Bookstall and online.

Editing a must for self publishers

Lunching with a friend of mine who has a lovely little self published children’s book.

“It’s time I got some more printed,” he said. Alarm bells went off in my head. It was a good first effort but it had some major flaws. It was selling well on the Travelling Bookstall despite its problems but the book needed ‘work’. My author had written his stories and not edited them.

It is the most common mistake a budding author makes. Then instead of editing, they rush off to the new story/book/screenplay.

If you are serious about being a professional self published author you have to do at least 5 edits, many do 10. Here are the 6 edits suggested by Chris Jones, Director of the London Screenwriters Festival.

  • Dump draft-just write everything. Do NOT send this manuscript to anyone.
  • Now you know what your story is about go back and correct any and every mistake, including SPELLING. If you are picking a cheap option for publishing, ask ALL your friends to help. Don’t accept your computer spell checker.
  • Give it to a trusted friend and listen to what they have to say. What works, what doesn’t work. Make those changes because they ARE your audience
  • Copy Edit, go through with a fine tooth comb, line by line for SPELLING mistakes
  • Give your work to a friend who is working in your industry and listen to what they have to say. Make those changes because you want your work to SELL.
  • One last edit and then send to agencies, say this is your first draft.

Every time you are rejected, find out why and rework you book/screenplay/article before sending it off.

And if you decide to be self published, this is the copy you send to the editing agency, proof reader or copy editor.

Our reading public has some negative views about self published books. We don’t want to stop them from picking up the book and a solid edit, with no spelling mistakes will help you get across that hurdle.

Cat Randle

Travelling Bookstall at Overtoun

This Christmas buy why not buy local, think global. Our bookstall has unusal gifts for people. Instead of buying the same old Christmas cards, why not get a bauble shapped poem from RAW. Wondering what to get your teenager who has read everything? Well if she’s into fantasy we have 3 authors with books to keep her happy over Christmas, plus horror, humour. We always have poems and this year we’ve to Bar De Arts 2013 anthology. Plus Bees Nest Books can help you find the copy of their latest e-book, Tree Speaker. So take a whole heap of stress out of Christmas shopping by coming to see us.

Calling anyone who wants to help

We’re currently fundraising to relaunch our poetry cafe. We have been very lucky to be able to bag pack and Asda. Basically we turn up, this time 4 pm on Thursday 28th. Then we stand at the end of the isle and offer to pack bags. Half the time people don’t want us to  pack bags but they will give us change.

But here’s the thing. It’s a great way of talking to people who don’t know we exist. This time we’ll be handing our flyers about the 3 events we are holding in Chapel Arts in September and we’ll be taking membership forms.

Because you don’t know where the next great reader or great writer is coming from. Asda are even going to let us run the Travelling Bookstall downstairs if we have any takers. So turn up 4pm this Thursday so we can help relaunch our poetry cafe in a place that is accessible and will be safe for teenagers and fragile folks.

If you want more info contact us at or txt 07760993597

Camp Nanowrimo or write a novel in a month

It’s STILL not too late to join up Camp Nanowrimo. The Office of Letters and Light are an American organisation who teach young people to write. They also run camps through out the year where writers gather electronically from all over the world and attempt to write a novel in a month. I’ve done a few of them now and I’ve found they are great for keeping focused. By joining in I actually have a novel I was able to pitch to two publishers at The Winchester Writers Festival. Now I’m joining in again so I can edit said novel and send it back again. I particularly like the stats that show you how many words you need to write in a month. It forms the good habit of writing every day and is almost as addictive as writing blog posts. So follow the link and get writing!

The Travelling Bookstall at Appleshaw St Peter’s Fete

On Saturday from 12pm till 4, we are going to be up at Appleshaw School. This time as well as all the children’s books, we are taking ALL the pre-loved (second hand) books we’ve been donated. 50p a book or 3 for a £1.00. Bargain

Our aim is to raise enough funds to be able to hire the hall at the Wellington centre. Cat’s Writing Room is helping us run the poetry cafes there one Saturday a month. We don’t want to clash with the poetry nights put on at The Lamb at all which is why we are calling them performance cafes.

Our focus will still be poetry but there are other word forms and we are looking at Pop Up Bar de Arts as our role model. They have short theatre pieces and monologues and short comic skits which makes the evening varied and fun.

Why the Wellington Centre? Easy access from town, easy access if you have a wheel chair, a price that isn’t too steep and not a pub. Younger members of Big Up Words have pointed out, they have no where to perform and they can’t go to a pub.

So there you go, pop along to Appleshaw St Peter’s and pick up a bargain and support our local authors and writers.