"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Sunday 26 July 2015

Poet, Performer and Humourist, Lynn Gerrard is...Around The Cauldron!

If I had a fiver for every person I've spoken to in the past year who has said "Marky, you ought to have that Lynn Gerrard around the Cauldron," I would now have a tidy sum in my wallet instead of holes and fresh air, so, as the second part of my poetry special, I girded my loins and got in touch with her and was delighted when she agreed to come round. 

As we discussed last week during Sue Lobo's fantastic interview, after years on the fringes of the fringes (of even those fringes), poetry is making a big comeback on the scene. 

Lynn writes - her new book has been well received - blogs extensively, and most excitingly, performs live poetry, which takes some proper bottle. 

An extremely funny woman and a talented wordsmith, it has been a pleasure to meet her this week. I caught up with Lynn  on the Wizphone backstage as she prepared for her most recent recital somewhere in the rainswept north of England - here's what she had to say.

Tell Wizardwatchers a bit about yourself, Lynn?

Well, as it says in my author bio “I’m a serial worrier who survives mostly on a diet of chocolate and finger nails!”

 When I’m not catastrophising over the minutiae of life I can usually be found writing about the catastrophes which accompany the minutiae of life...’cos it’s the dark side of our very existence which interests me most.

I’m convent educated and a keen activist for mental health awareness (hm...there’s a correlation here, I suspect!).

I’m also fortunate enough to be married to the long suffering Michael, whose naturally calming nature always manages to soften the more fiery aspects of my own and we live together with our 6 year old blind and boisterous Jack Russell, Ralph, who rules us both without contrition.

St Helens Classic Town Hall

Whereabouts in Britain do you live? And is it a hotbed of Odesmithery?

I live in the northern town of St Helens, Merseyside, home to the famous Saints rugby team, Pilkingtons Glass, Beechams Pills as was, Johnny Vegas ( who I used to work with aeons ago in the catalogue retail outlet Argos) and other fine fellows of both industry and entertainment.

As for a hotbed of ‘Odesmithery’, I would certainly say that poetry is raising the temperature with its ever evolving and increasing presence in my hometown. 

Indeed, The St Helens Arts Council Service is actively supportive of all art forms and most recently, I am delighted to say, I have been asked to perform my poetry in our main local library, in October this year, in front of an audience (certainly beats chanting my odes in the shower and scaring the neighbours! Not that we shower together ‘cos that would be plain weird….even for me!!).

Who is your favourite poet? And what is your favourite poem?

That  would have to be Spain’s highly acclaimed poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca. Such a fascinating and tragic individual.

 One of the things that appeals to me with Lorca is that despite a relatively wealthy background he remained in tune with the earthier side of life, Flamenco and Gypsy culture themes being  most prevalent throughout his work. I love the passion he displayed for his art and how he used that passion to connect people with the other. Sadly, Lorca was one of the victims of the Spanish civil war and was arrested and killed without trial by supporters of General Franco in 1936. Needless to say my most favourite poem is by Federico Garcia Lorca, titled  

                                       "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Meji­as". 

Tell us about your latest collection of poetry.

Well, it’s no secret that I do so enjoy exploring the darker side of man’s psyche, all those little cobwebbed corners of the mind where our demons lurk! However, I also lean towards humour, social commentary and the more poignant aspects of the human condition and so I’ve included a little bit of each in this book in the hope there’s something for everyone

 Darkness & Decadence’ book link

Can we have a sample?

Is that really necessary? Ahhh of the poetry? Yes, of course!
 This is ‘Generation Text’, written because these days I feel we tend to spend more time in the virtual than the physical.
 It’s also a nod towards the predatory side of social media.

You know what it’s like. You’ve chatted to someone a couple of times and thought nothing of it whereas they’ve been scrolling down your timeline, scanning your friends and relatives and anyone else they fancy inviting to the wedding!


Too right I'm feeling angry!

Too right I'm feeling bitter!

You text me that you loved me

Then Unfollowed me on Twitter!

I should've seen it coming

You wasn't that discreet

When you saw me put my post out

And didn't bother to Re-tweet!

Now you've gone and blocked me

Well isn't that a corker?

My name's just started trending

'Cos you've added 'Hashtag Stalker'!!

I thought that I was special

You 'Liked' the way I look

According to the little hand

With a thumb up on Facebook!

It's now become my mission

To see you face to face

There's nowhere I won't search for you

Well...ok..Not My Space!!!...

( I may be mental but I do have standards ).
Do you still have your first poem anywhere about?

Not my first poem ever, but the very first poem I wrote at some length, after discovering the advantages of social media for airing one’s stuff, can be found on my blog, 

"The Grumbling Gargoyle’ and it’s called ‘Ritual. I’ll let the poem speak for itself, if anyone fancies having a little peek.

Where can fans of Lynn Gerrard see you perform?

Hm...well, failing the wine section of my local supermarket, I can be found in numerous places. Most recently I appeared at a local arts theatre in my home town, for the launch of my poetry book, Darkness & Decadence, where I performed some of my poetry infused with slivers of humour.

I did similar at the Nexus Arts Cafe on Friday night as part of the Great Manchester Fringe Festival and then in October I’ve been asked to do my thing at my local library, which I’m looking forward to, especially seeing as it will be autumn, so it will be dark and dank outside AND I’ll be surrounded by books! *air punches*
October: Lynn Gerrard gig at St Helens library
 What’s this thing you have about gargoyles? And tell us a bit about The Grumbling Gargoyle.

I find the history of the gargoyle fascinating and the myth of these creatures even more fascinating. From projector of water to protector from evil, how splendidly versatile! Architecturally, I think the gargoyle is a magnificent complement to any building, ceaselessly serving to catch and inspire the imagination of all who dare to glance upwards!

A pair of those infamous gargoyles of Lincoln Cathedral
Let’s face it, as a Gargoyle I can fly, I can lounge in my Gutter with my pigeon pals and I can grumble accordingly, which just happens to suit my own nature perfectly! Psychological assessment would probably point to my releasing the inner child, well, why not eh?

Some of  those who have seen my avatar on social media, will themselves grumble that, due to my not having a spout, I am but a Grotesque and not a Gargoyle! 

I am aware of this, however, ‘Grumbling Grotesque’?...nah...sounds like someone I went out with years ago!

Ha ha ha ha. What is your favourite a) Book? and b) Film?
Favourite book? Wow, that’s a hard one! (no, that’s not the title). There are many but I’ll pluck just one for the sake of this chat.

The Necroscope series by Brian Lumley sits highly amongst the favourites. Whilst I have always been a fan of horror, Brian Lumley’s interpretation of the vampire took the delicious monstrosity to such ingenious levels which, in my opinion, no other has managed to equal thus far.

For me, the hideous beauty of Lumley’s vampire lies in it being as detached from the syrupy, sparkling, ennui infected, love lost invention of a young girls fantasy, as could ever be considered! 

Brian Lumley’s vampire is raw, vile, psychosexually disturbing and evil in ways only the most debauched ( yet never vulgar) amongst us, could imagine. So yes, that’s the book for me!

Favourite film? Once again I’ve a couple in mind but it’s ‘Scrooge’, 1951 version with Alistair Sim, that gets my vote. I’ve watched this Dickensian feast so many times, I can feel the onset of rickets!

Do you like John Cooper Clarke?

I certainly don’t dislike the man. I feel his style is often copied and rarely matched but then again I’ve never understood the mindset of people who would rather attempt to emulate a person’s style rather than develop their own. Yep, he’s a good ‘un.

What’s next for Lynn Gerrard?

Beans on toast with a runny egg and plenty of tomato sauce, methinks!

As for my writing, I’ve been trying to multi-task and thus discovered new depths to my ineptitude so, I’m learning to concentrate on one thing at a time. Currently I am working on a play.

The play came about due to my being involved in a ‘Stand Up To Stigma’ project last year, a campaign which used comedy to encourage an awareness and better understanding of mental health issues with the ultimate aim of reducing discrimination and stigma in society.

Consequently, the whole purpose of my writing this play is to help perpetuate the aims of that project.

I’m more than pleased to say that I have recently been awarded a grant from the Heart of Glass, which is linked to the Arts Council here in England and this will help me develop all aspects of the play through to production.

So, other writings of mine have had to be put on a back burner for now...I worry that one day they’ll end up being wafted over a bunsen burner!

Right then, I ‘spose It’s time for me to flutter off. I’ve an evening of procrastination planned and I’m reluctant to miss it. May I just say before I vanish that it has been a delight to sit and chat with you awhile. 

Thank you so much for allowing me to get my feet up by your cauldron...we may even have tiffin in my Gargoylian Gutter one day, obviously I’ll check in advance to make sure you’re not allergic to anyone. 

Thanks for having me….bye for now.

Before you rush off for your eggs and beans...where can Wizardwatchers connect with you?

I can mostly be found via the usual social network mediums:

Facebook: The Grumbling Gargoyle page 

The Grumbling Gargoyle blog: 

‘Darkness & Decadence’ book 

Lynn, it's been a pleasure. We wish you all the best for the coming year both with the book and the performances!

Thanks, Wiz!

Next week: Brenda's back with her new anthology - LAPunkRocker


  1. Great interview and I'm still laughing (in a scary way) at Generation Text. If Lynn ever gets to perform in Sheffield I'll definitely be in the audience (not as a stalker you understand) :D

    1. Haha! hey it's good to stalk! ..( despite what it says on my restraining order) .. Hm...*adds Shefield to list*...you never know! :) x

  2. Ah, didn't realise Lynn was a Northern lass. When I travel up there on one of our family visits I'll look out for her. Would love to her read. I love Lorca too - studied this poem for an exam. This is a brilliant interview. Thanks to both. Jx

    1. Aw ta Judith! He's a cracker is our Wiz! And should you ever be in the vicinity, as mentioned, we'll share a plate of tripe and have a good gab! :)

  3. Excellent interview guys and I love Generation Text. Well done on all your presentations Lynn and on the play - look forward to hearing more on this as well! It was great to read more about you.

    1. Thank you, Georgia! Wiz asked some fab questions, my only problem was shutting up! lol

  4. I'd just like to say that if you like the t-shirt Lynn is wearing in the Comedy Trust picture, it is £6 from the chaps' section in Peacocks. I know, because I have one, too. Well, actually I have two. I bought them before realising that the big t-shirt thing isn't moi anymore, then gave them to Him Indoors, but I'm guessing that last bit won't be of interest to anyone as it's kind of off the subject of you and Lynn's top stuff article, innit???

    I bow with respect to anyone who writes such good verse, and also performs it in public!

    1. Hahaha! As said, we have crackin' taste in t-shirts you and me Terry! Wish I'd have bought 2 at the time! Thanks for kind words about the verse 'n stuff....it's never easy to expose yourself in public! ;)

  5. Brilliant interview guys. I can't even do a radio show without saying 'umm' a gazillion times, so hats off to anyone who can stand up in front of an audience. Finally grabbed my copy of Lynn's book, so I'm off to stick the kettle on and indulge :)

    1. Haha! I am a notorious 'umm' ist....and a serial ...'erm'ist too! So my empathies! Thanks for buying the book, Shelley, hope you enjoy it :)

  6. Fabulous post and I love Generation Text too!

    1. Thanks Cathy! I really enjoyed loitering around Wiz's cauldron...he's good company...:)

  7. I love Generation Text! Brilliant and chucklesome and just a little bit scary.

    This is a really enjoyable interview, Mark. Thank you.

    It's good to meet you, Lynn. I'm about to go follow you on Twitter.

    1. Hello there, David! And thank you very much, so glad you liked the poem. Yes, Wiz is indeed a Wizard when it comes to interviewing...and such a patient man to put up with my ramblings :)

  8. Where's my commission,Poetface? And my medal for being your best friend for 3 years? But mainly my commission ...

    1. Ahh well, as it happens I do indeed have your commission...it just so happens to be in the form of a Jack Russell....*runs to get wrapping paper and a stamp*


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