Happy New Year and thanks

Here’s a big thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, commented on or shared my posts in 2014. Your interest in and support of my work is much appreciated. This is for you:

New Year’s Eve

A day like any other
but we put it in a box –
It’s Wednesday … it’s your birthday …
it’s the day you change your socks.

The thirty-first before the first,
the last day of a year,
an arbitrary numbering
Gregorians hold dear.

Tomorrow is tomorrow
by any other name
with happiness and sorrow
and chances, just the same.

When we say it’s New Year’s Day
it has a hopeful ring;
the old year is behind us
though it doesn’t change a thing.

Every day’s a new day;
all yesterdays have gone.
Each day’s an opportunity
for us to act upon.

© Heather Wastie

Wishing you happiness in 2015!

Christmas gifts

Gift ideas this Christmas!

CD £5.00 + £1.50 p&p
Available directly from me in person or by post using PayPal

Bananas from the Heart CD sleeve

Bananas from the heart
37 Hollybush Street
Black Country poetry
At knife point in the butcher’s
Fooling the Guinness Book of Records
Concert etiquette
The Page-Turner’s Dilemma
Until I saw your foot
In memoriam gigam
Singer on the line
Catherine, Meg & Hannah
Hallowe’en Nightmare

There were slugs
I’m a pub
Pure and Good and Right
The case of Sir Bernard Spilsbury
Ping Pong Neonatal ICU

Heather Wastie with illustrations by Jules ~ cartoonist
76pp  £7.50 + £1.50 p&p  from  http://wastiesspace.co.uk/Wasties_Space/Poetry.html

or directly from me in person or by post using PayPal

The Page-Turner's Dilemma cover

Poems of the Head in Dynamic Relation to F M Alexander
Heather Wastie
24pp £5.50 + £1.50 p&p
Available directly from me in person or by post using PayPal

Poems of the Head cover

A collection of poems and photographs created during an intensive Alexander Technique course in 2006 which gives an insight into its life-changing possibilities from the perspective of a total beginner.

Let go,
like a swan,
like a human.

“A beautiful little book …. Many congratulations!”
Estella Cauldwell, Teacher of Alexander Technique

Carpet Forest in Malvern 20th-30th December

Here’s your final chance to see the wonderful Carpet Forest which includes some of my work. The installation was created for Kidderminster Town Hall and wowed visitors to Kidderminster Arts Festival 2013. Having visited Bristol, it now makes a final appearance at the Malvern Cube. Some of my Weaving Yarns work can be heard on mp3 players hidden amongst the trees. The installation was the brainchild of Loz Samuels, who said this about my involvement:

Having Weaving Yarns as an element of our Carpet Forest installation was a gift, and in turn gave a fantastic environment to showcase a taster of this work. The recordings … gave the public … insight into the real heart of the work. The stories and Heather’s interpretation of them sparked conversations amongst families about their connections with the carpet industry.
Loz Samuels, Wyre Forest District Council Arts Officer


Goodbye, Birmingham Central Library

Today I saw news that the demolition of the old central library in Birmingham is due to begin in January:

This coincides with the announcement of substantial cuts at the new library:

In June 2013 I wrote a poem in response to this article:

Birmingham Central Library: Saying goodbye after 40 years

See below for my poem. Please pause and consider the library and what it means to you.

Goodbye, Birmingham Central Library

Farewell, you concrete blot of brutalist architecture,
eight floors of dodgy escalators, low ceilings,
threadbare carpets and little natural daylight.

As the gatekeepers, the guardians of knowledge
leave their posts for ever, the Prince of Darkness*
believing he has finally claimed his prize,
the place where books are incinerated, not kept,
has sent his death-eaters to hover and claw at the windows
when suddenly, up the Victorian spiral staircase,
circling up through the archive, up into the vortex rise,
not flames, but 40 years of human dust – up, up and away.

© Heather Wastie
June 29th 2013


Headlining at Worcester SpeakEasy on Thursday

Here’s some info about Worcester Speakeasy where I’m headlining on Thursday night. I can promise you lots of humbug (from me that is):


Christmas “Worcester SpeakEasy” at:
7.30 pm, on Thursday, December 11th

Headliner: often billed as ‘Midlands own Victoria Wood’, HEATHER WASTIE.

“Worcester SpeakEasy” is a monthly event of poetry and prose from the page and the stage (and a little music now and then), which takes place on the second Thursday of each month. The event promotes, showcases and encourages writers from the whole of Worcestershire and further afield; there is an invited headline poet each month. If you’d like to book a slot for December, please email Maggie and Fergus at speakeasy.litfest@gmail.com, or leave a message on our Facebook page.

If you haven’t got a slot and would like to take part then four, two-minute open mic slots will be available on the night: whether you are a seasoned performer or a complete novice – we want to hear from you!

The event is brought to you by your very own Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe, via Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle and the Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2014 Fergus McGonigal, SpeakEasy’s host and MC.

Doors open at 7:00pm for a prompt 7:30pm start; we aim to be finished by about 9.45pm.


Street entertainment, I do not love you very much …

This year I’ve watched or been involved in several theatrical encounters on the streets of Worcestershire. Having seen some brilliant performances in August at Kidderminster Arts Festival (see link below) I got the performers-eye view in a KAF commission, How do wars start? with Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Fergus McGonigal.


Photo: Geoff Cox

To find out how it went see our Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/how.do.wars.start

Also in August, I was booked by Clik Clik Collective (see link below) to wander the streets of Worcester as Black Country Pat, engaging people as I saw fit, for the Worcester Music Festival. I chatted to lots of people and sang songs.

WMF 11

Photo: Geoff Cox

Last Friday I was with Clik Clik again at Worcester’s Victorian Fayre delivering poetry near the site of Hill Evans & Co Vinegar Works which closed in the sixties. My repertoire consisted of humorous and informative poems about vinegar I’d written specially for the occasion in a Victorian style plus pieces by little known Victorian women poets and Edward Lear.

Clik Clik Victorian Worcs Fayre Dave Grubb

Photo: Dave Grubb

Engaging the public at such events can be exceedingly difficult. (As you can see, I resorted to post-Victorian equipment.) People with their minds fixed on getting from A to B keep their heads down, determined not to be lured into any form of enjoyment. Is the chugger partly to blame for this? Discuss.

Here are some of the responses I got to the question, Can I read you a poem?

  • “I don’t like poetry. I’m not romantic.”

  • A man struggling to walk with a walking stick (hehe, he couldn’t escape) said he didn’t want a poem because he found it difficult to stand still, yet he stood there for ages telling me about the time he worked for Lee and Perrins.

  • A woman rushing by wouldn’t stop to listen because she was in pain but proceeded to tell me in great detail the different household uses for vinegar, especially cleaning the toilet.

Clik Clik Victorian Worcs Fayre 2 Dave Grubb

Photo: Dave Grubb

When 3 teenage lads approached I offered, in a very posh voice, to read them a poem and they said yes please, listening with mock interest. I read a short piece by Amy Levy and one of the lads said, earnestly, that she was one of his favourite poets and agreed that it was tragic that she committed suicide at the age of 27. He asked for more poetry, so I turned to another lad and directed this to him:

I DO not love you very much,
Only your tuneful voice,
Which, in a happy moment, takes
The music of my choice.
I do not love you, dear, at all,
Only your merry ways,
Which linger in my mind, and set
Me dreaming through the days.
In truth, I think it is dislike
You kindle in my heart,
Because you come so joyously
To steal so large a part.

Dollie Radford

He listened intently. “So you love me then”, he said when I’d finished. I walked away, “blushing”. Then the Anti Barber lured him into his chair and drew a moustache which made him look like Lionel Richie and broke into anachronistic song to uproarious laughter. Later I gave a spoken rendition of The Lost Chord by Adelaide Anne Procter to improvised piano accompaniment by a fellow Clik Clik entertainer called Dan. Is it mad? Is it art? Does it matter? Who had the most fun?