New Words 2012

Pearls and Tractors

John Mackie, Haworth Hodgkinson and friends perform poetry with music


Friday 14 September 2012
7pm – 9pm

Review by
Mark Pithie

Lastbus Works Canteen, New Pitsligo [Map]

Admission £5

John Mackie and Haworth Hodgkinson are two poets whose work takes them way beyond the printed page. Both experienced collaborators with performers from many disciplines, they understand that poetry can be enhanced when it is combined sensitively with music, dance and visual images.

At this event at one of North-East Scotland's most remarkable venues, both poets are launching new collections from Malfranteaux Concepts, established in recent years as Aberdeen's leading poetry publisher.

But this will be much more than a double book launch. John's Pearl Diving by Moonlight will be accompanied by guest musicians including Drew Jarvie, Turriff-based multi-instrumentalist composer and member of the innovative Delirium Trees band playing his sinuous smokey flugelhorn; Kris Orskov who plays "anything with strings" and is an avid collector of North African instruments will be playing his sarod, and folk festival regular and "weel kent face" Clive will be improvising lyrically on his flute.

Haworth Hodgkinson's Tractor Bastard, a sequence of twenty poems beginning in geological time, taking a tour of the seasons in Northern Scotland, then departing in cosmological time, will be presented in the context of his own specially composed music played on a range of wind and percussion instruments.

The evening will include a showing of Roller Ghoster, a video by Fiona Soe Paing and Zennor Alexander inspired by the painting by Heather Wilson that appears on the cover of Haworth's book.

Surprise guests are possible, including perhaps, we are told, one of the greatest songwriters ever to have come out of North-East Scotland.

John Mackie

First published as a poet fifty years ago, John Mackie has worked as lyricist, librettist and screenwriter whilst enjoying a career in training and education. Raised in Garmouth, Fort William and on Raasay, he joined the Scottish diaspora due to his father's quest for work. Educated at Hatfield Polytechnic and the LSE, he lived in London, Spain and the West Country — returning to the Moray Firth in 1994. His collaborators include Roger Bunn, David Bowie, Brian Auger, and composers Howard Skempton, Dave Smith, and Edwin Prevost. The father of two sons, he lives in Banff with a smile on his face.


If Pearl Diving by Moonlight had a strap line it would read "Poems of Love, Landscapes, Sex and Death" with a heavy and celebratory emphasis on the first three categories.

"Creative, transformative memory is central to the poetry of John Mackie, who performs his gorgeously hypnotic meditative verse — at once intellectual and intimate." (Lisa Fraser, academic)

"He's almost Irish isn't he?" (John Patrick Byrne, painter, printmaker, author)

Pearl Diving by Moonlight

Haworth Hodgkinson

Haworth Hodgkinson is a poet and playwright, composer and improvising musician, whose work often involves collaboration with other writers, musicians, dancers and visual artists, as well as solo performances combining poetry and music. He works as a poet and musician with the multimedia Blue Salt Collective, and is the founding director of North-East Scotland's New Words festival of new writing in performance.


Tractor Bastard, Haworth Hodgkinson's second collection, contains twenty poems selected from his recent solo shows.

"Witty, wry, surreal and biting by turns, Haworth Hodgkinson's writing and performances stand out from the crowd. With their offbeat glimpsing, his poems press reality's Refresh button. Haworth is a rare poet with a unique style. To see the world anew, enquire within." (Eddie Gibbons, poet)

"What amazes me about Haworth's poetry is the breadth of his imagination. He emblazons the everyday with extraordinary meaning from quirky quips in Cows to the lyrical depth and beauty of A Dozen Words for Fog to the haunting tone of Stone to Ice. His poetry embraces nature in all its forms whether comical, sinister, beautiful or surreal. These poems will resonate with us long after the page has been turned." (Catriona Yule, poet)

Tractor Bastard

Fiona Soe Paing

Fiona Soe Paing is an Aberdeenshire electronica producer/vocalist, and works in collaboration with New Zealand based animation artist Zennor Alexander. As Colliderscope their audio-visual work has been broadcast and screened internationally, and audio releases have included a Sound of The World compilation on Warner Music. The four track EP Songs from No Man's Land was released in 2010, and a new EP, Tower of Babel is to be released soon on Edinburgh's Black Lantern Music.


Roller Ghoster is an animated music video with music by Fiona Soe Paing and animation by Zennor Alexander. The video and music were inspired by images from the painting by Heather Wilson No Man's Land, which Heather in turn created as a response to Fiona's No Man's Land music album, for the Art at The Lemon Tree exhibition in Aberdeen in 2011. Heather's painting suggested a theme of the cycles of death and rebirth, and was re-interpreted in the video as the "ride of your life" — part roller coaster, part ghost train. The video forms part of Fiona's audio-visual performance No Man's Land combining projected animation, electronica soundtrack and live vocals, and was created with support from Creative Scotland.

Roller Ghoster

Promoted by

North East Writers

Supported by

Lastbus Works Canteen
Malfranteaux Concepts

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