Friday 24 July 2020

A Leap in the Dark 33

A Leap in the Dark 33   8pm  Friday 24th July 2020

 Wasting time in numbers and rhyme

We welcome back our composer-in-residence Helen Ottaway and will hear the latest canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, read as ever by Michael Hughes. There's a double dose of Guru Dave who returns with a yoga lesson and delivers a Letter from Deià, the Mallorcan village that was once home to Robert Graves. We’ll have some thoughts on the late Mark E Smith and the Pale Usher is your caller for a round of live Bingo (cards provided in advance). To get you in the mood you might like to listen to Bingo-Master's Break-Out! Play it loud.

There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

The Programme

1 The Pale Usher welcomes you

2 New music by Helen Ottaway

3 Spring Journal canto XIX by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

4 Yoga with David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer, the Flash Harry Krishna  


5 Bingo-Master’s Break-Out! - the Fall (and fall) of Mark E Smith

Two swans in front of his eyes
Colored balls in front of his eyes
It's number one for his Kelly's eye
Treble-six right over his eye
A big shot's voice in his ears
Worlds of silence in his ears
All the numbers account for years
Checks the cards through eyes of tears
Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!
All he sees is the back of chairs
In the mirror, a lack of hairs
A lighted room, checks fill out
Here the players all shout
Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!
A glass of lager in his hand
Silver microphone in his hand
Wasting time in numbers and rhymes
(One hand drug and faces bright)
Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!
Came the time he flipped his lid
Came the time he flipped his lid
Holiday in Spain fell through
Players put it down to
Bingo-Master's Breakout!
A hall full of cards left unfilled
He ended his life with wine and pills
There's a grave somewhere only partly filled
A sign in graveyard on a hill reads
Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!

Lyrics by Mark E Smith & Una Baines (1978)

6 Letter from Deià by David Holzer 

     Our yoga guru is on the island of Mallorca and sends a letter from 
     the village of Deià, former home of the poet Robert Graves 

7 Eyes down for a full house: Bingo with The Pale Usher 

8 The Pale Usher signs off

The Company

Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar, and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press last year. He has written on books for various places including the TLS, Brixton Review of Books and The Guardian. He curates the online short story project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others are invited to 'dream-edit' an anthology of their favourite short fiction. Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal.

David Holzer is a dedicated yogi, author, blogger and journalist. He founded YogaWriters and has taught workshops in yoga for writers in Mallorca, where he lives. Hundreds of people have taken his Yoga for Writers course on the DailyOm platform ( His writing appears regularly in Om yoga and lifestyle magazine. David will be explaining why yoga is so beneficial for writers and taking us through a simple yoga sequence that can be done by anyone of any age in the comfort of a favourite chair.


Please take care when practicing yoga. Should a pose feel that it could be harmful to you, do not 
 attempt it or come gently out of the pose.

Breathing is a key part of yoga. Please breathe comfortably and naturally through your nose at all 
 times. If your breath becomes forced, slow down the speed of your practice.

If you feel any kind of sharp, sudden pain anywhere in your body stop practicing right away. Be 
 especially aware of your joints, particularly your knees.

Michael Hughes is the author of two acclaimed novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl.

Helen Ottaway is a composer and sound artist. She is lead artist with Artmusic, creating and producing collaborative, site-specific art work. She has written for many forces from string quartet to choir and orchestra and recently has started to include found sound in her work. Her writing for hand-punched and hand-wound musical box began during an artist’s residency in Sri Lanka in 2017. Back in the UK she continues to compose for and perform on the instrument.

The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gatherings.

The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

This week’s second Leap in the Dark is tomorrow night (Saturday 25th July) and will feature:

- Improv ceramics by artist Laura Hopkins, who’ll invite audience suggestions for a piece 
  to be completed in the course of the show

- Formative reading (2) - books that made a huge impression on you as a young reader. Open 
  call for short contributions

- The Pale Usher on secular glossolalia (including scat, walls, rhubarb and Venusian)

- The Settee Salon tackles Speaking in Tongues, with Marie-Elsa Bragg and guests

- no end of other glories

Stay well!

The Pale Usher

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