For Books’ Sake Presents: Books and Blues

27th May 2011


Well, we’ve just about recovered from our epic weekend! We’ve already lifted the lid on what we were up to on Saturday (launching the Lending Library at Nexus Arts Cafe), but let’s take a moment to celebrate the success that was Books & Blues at Chorlton Arts Festival, and say a big thank you to everyone who made it possible!

It’s Friday night, and after a few moments of panic over one too many venue changes, we set up and settled in to the downstairs lounge at Chorlton Irish Club

First up was yours truly, and Carrieanne Vivianette, reading Four Day Creep: four interlinked short stories about female blues artists and the female experience as explored in blues music, each taking place at the start or end of a train journey. The fourth story was tweaked at the last minute to make reference to this amazing find: a video of Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing at ‘Chorltonville’ train station, Manchester, May 1964!


Next up was the wonderful Denise Morgan, singing folk tunes with a graceful Irish lilt. A few people from the birthday party next door popped their heads in and stayed by the door for her set – nothing like stealing punters from their Grandma’s 60th! Denise’s upcoming gigs include Limetree Festival this Summer.


After a short break to grab drinks and have a nosy at the bookswap, it was time for Claire Robertson to take to the stage. Claire set up a desk with upturned knife, a pile of papers and microphone for the hypnotic, humorous and moving The Blush in The Blue Language, “a performance/reading about what it feels like to taste blue, to see blue, to hear blue, to be blue.” Claire’s first solo collection, The Rage of Coming of Age will be published later this year.


Next up was Alexis McLean playing just one of many gigs that weekend (we don’t know how she does it!). Alexis has garnered much press attention as a talent to watch, and it’s easy to see why with her powerful voice delivering a folk-blues set of unique and soulful songs. You can catch her every Monday at Alexis’ Corner, Gullivers Bar, Manchester.


We managed to get that far without any hiccups, which of course meant a tech problem hit as our last act, Leo Cookman and Paul Flieshman, took to the stage. But they more than managed without a keyboard and gave us a cracking set of some classic blues. We salute them!

As well as a bookswap, we had raffle tickets on sale throughout the night. Show some love to the amazing local businesses who donated prizes: Chorlton Film Institute, The Nip and Tipple, Tracey Cartledge Mosaics, Dom Veron music tutor and Chorlton Black Belt Academy.

So, if you did make it along, we hope you had as much fun as we did. And if you missed it this time, you never know, the For Books’ Sake Books & Blues Train might roll in to a town near you in the future!

Photo credits: Photos taken by and reproduced by kind permission of dArbyshire 07522 823 068

Alex Herod


  • Andy Darbyshire says:

    not the usual thing I attend but very glad I did – great mix of different talents all to a very high level!! and the photographer wasn’t too bad either!!