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Fashion: Fads and Trends

by on 9 April 2019

Remembering Frances

Fashion: Fads and Trends

Poetry Performance at The Adelaide, Teddington, 7th April

A Review by Celia Bard

There was a poignant gathering of poetry performers at the Adelaide when the April session was dedicated to Frances White, a regular contributor to Poetry Performance, who sadly died earlier in the year from Motor Neurone Disease. Until her diagnosis she had performed her poems at many venues and festivals throughout England and her beloved Wales where many people recognised her as a member of the poetry group, Words, founded by the late Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Dylan Thomas.

The upstairs function room was packed, standing room only, as members of her family, friends and fellow poets listened in quiet contemplation as many of her poems were performed for the appreciative audience. Frances’ husband, Steve began the tribute with a most moving reading of The Ghost of My Former Self. Frances wrote this poem just before she died, in which she talks about coming to terms with her condition. At the end of the poem she writes reassuringly that she didn’t fear death: “With the ghost beside me…I don’t fear the end.” This poem will appear in Frances’ final collection of poems which will be printed later in the year. Heather Montford shared this part of the tribute with Steve, most of the poems coming from Frances’s collection Swiftscape and included the poem The Black Cuillin, a mountain range on the Isle of Skye, and where Frances’s youngest brother died when he was only twenty-two. On a lighter, contrasting note was An Appointment with Mrs Hardill in which Frances writes an amusing poem about a visit to her dentist in Wales.


After the interval, many of Frances’s close friends, read their favourite poem of hers. A poem particularly enjoyed by the audience was The Red Hat Band, read by Judith Blakemore Lawton. This poem conjures up a delightful and easily recognisable image of Frances dashing across Richmond Green on her way to work, anxious not to be late, but then she stops suddenly in her tracks as her sharp observational skills spots an elderly gentleman wearing a red hat band. Here is a poem in the making. Much of Frances’s poetry is keenly observational and all the poems read at this session reflect this delightful quality. French Lessons, a music group that knew Frances well, Ian Lee Dolphin, Richard Gleave and Martin Plum, rounded of this tribute by performing some of her favourite musical numbers including Bob Dylan’s song, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.


The second strand of the evening focused on the theme of Fashion and Trends, which was interpreted in many varied and humorous ways by the many poets who attended this session. It is not possible to mention everyone in this short review but a few of the many highlights include Judith Blakemore Lawton, who strode centre stage wearing a pair of thigh length leopard coloured boots, carrying a large carrier bag crammed full of shoes which she emptied all over the floor. She then performed, I Love My Grandmother’s Leather Boots, a highly humorous poem, which she’d written for her granddaughter. Carol Wain gave us What Goes Around Comes Around, a longitudinal view of fashion from Victorian Times through to the 1960s and Flower Power and beyond. Fashion not lost, just browse the Charity Shops. Connaire Kensit followed next with Music for Cool Cats and, although written some time ago and a few of the recording images are now forgotten, nevertheless its sentiment remains strong. Robert Meteyard, a former MC made a very welcome return with his poem Fashion Retail Academy. This went down a storm, particularly the last line which ends with a real punch.

The evening concluded with the ever-fashionable Kevin Taggerty with his own foot-tapping composition, What Happened to the London Boys, linking up then with French Lessons who gave a brilliant rendition of The Kinks and their Dedicated Follower of Fashion. Not to be forgotten, was the inimitable MC for the evening, Ian Lee-Dolphin who masterfully guided his appreciative and exuberant audience through the evening, making sure they finished on time.


All of the proceeds from the evening, including door entry, raffle and sale of poetry books raising over £150 was being donated to The Motor Neurone Disease Association. One of Frances’s friends was overheard saying as she left the Adelaide: “Frances would have been well chuffed with this evening!” One can only concur.

Celia Bard
April 2019

Photography by Graham Harmes, Marcus McAdam and Kevin Taggerty

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