For the last couple of years I’ve been a member of the CORBY COLLECTIVE POETS writers group, based at The Rooftop Arts Centre in Corby, Northamptonshire(a hub of creativity where I occupy “Studio 9” for my visual arts practice).

We have set up our own publishing house, utilizing the desktop publishing skills of Warren Shaw, who is also one of the other Resident Artists, and Gallery Assistant at The Rooftop. The group is ably led by writer Donna Canale, and we called on experienced editor / writer, and group member Julia Thorley to help produce the first of our two books.

“DOGS MUST BE CARRIED” online poster for the launch of our first collection.

Our second collection “WRITE ABOUT NOW” was published in 2020, a reaction to the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it unfolded, and due to the ongoing restrictions, we have yet to formally launch it, but plans are in place to do that just as soon as we can guarantee an audience. Despite the delay it has already sold well by word of mouth and online announcement.

“WRITE ABOUT NOW” Cover design by Warren Shaw with drawings by Dinah Kazakoff.

Our third collection is at a very early stage, and we are all busy working on our ideas for it. We have decided on a theme, and meet regularly via Zoom to discuss progress, in the hope that soon we can meet face to face again and propel the project into fruition as soon as it’s ready.

Due to the Lockdown since Christmas, I’ve stayed away from my main wet studio at The Rooftop Arts Centre, not wishing to take risks with the Covid-19 virus being particularly “active” in Corby, also not wishing to be the source of the damn thing if I should prove to be non-symptomatic, and unknowingly pass it on to anyone else.

So the only visual artworks I’ve made in 2021 are these drawings, in a small sketchbook I’ve had lying unused for 15yrs or so. Fortunately I had ensured supplies of pens, pencils, charcoal, inks, and paints were brought home prior to Christmas, just in case I got the urge to work at home. I resolved to make a drawing a day, starting on 1st January, posting them on my martinroxart page on Facebook to keep my eye in.

Martinroxart | Facebook

The poster for the show, and an image of one of my entries, a limited edition of 3 Mini CD-R’s featuring the text of 3 poems, 3 audio-visual artworks, and 3 mp3’s of the audio.

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I’m somewhat honoured to have been invited to show some of my visual artworks in the “Identities” exhibition at The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby next month, by Paul Sibbering.

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This blank canvas syndrome, writers block, whatever you call it, is so frustrating, but quite common amongst us creative types.  It helps to talk about it with like-minded folk because that in itself can be the key to unlocking closed doors/windows in you mind.  You might have cupboards or drawers inside yours of course…

When all is said and done, you need subject matter, it might be a thing you want to draw, or discuss, or extract meaning from.  Because my preferred style leans towards an examination of the abstract, one of the solutions to the problem for me is to choose 3 colours to work with, 3 or maybe 5.  Then a series of marks and figures are played with, just to see what will happen.  The operative word is of course, “play”.

There is a similar problem with writing too, I occasionally write poetry to empty my mind of stuff that’s bugging me, or something will amuse me and it helps to scribble a few lines.

The image above is a photo of plastic foam packaging material, placed in the window of my studio at The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby.  The camera(and I suppose the prevailing light from the sun) decided it was blue….

Rooftop Resident Artists 2018

Exhibition Dates
10th October – 10th November

Preview Evening
Friday 12th October
6pm – 9pm

The annual exhibition of work by our resident studio artists which is always one of our most exciting exhibitions of the year. The people who are the core of our creative community show us what they can do!

We have artists of all abilities in our community and we all encourage each other and build a supportive space for our creativity. At the gallery we have 16 artist studios and each one is a little hive of creativity and this month you get to see what everyone has been making.

Artwork on show includes painting, drawing, video, printmaking, installation, sound art, ceramics, and sculpture.

An exciting and diverse show not to be missed!

I absolutely agree, it’s a shambles bordering criminal fraud in my opinion, and all because the rich stand to gain while us ordinary folk will end up paying for their deceit

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If I hear another person say Brexit is the will of the British people and it will happen regardless I might just get a tad annoyed.

17.4 million voted leave. 16.1 million voted remain. 12.9 million didn’t vote and 18 million aren’t on the electoral role.

So, 52% vote to leave is nothing of the kind, it’s at best 37% of those eligible to vote and just 26% of the total population.

Barely over 1 in 4

And on this basis we are being railroaded out of the EU, potentially, now Mrs May has stamped her foot and taken her ball home because 27 other countries won’t change their rules to suit her, on a no deal basis.

Why aren’t more people getting a tad annoyed?

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Laura Tilley – Martin Baldock(me) – Mick Tilley – Pete Lisauskas

Band-poster-Mart (2)

Brief history;  The band has been around for about 20yrs all told, with different lineups, and it’s Laura & Mick who are the longest-serving members.  Pete was with them a few years ago but went off and other things for a while, before re-joining about a year ago.

Mick was a professional musician through the 70’s & 80’s touring with several bands during that time, he met Laura through the Slackstring Band, and they eventually married.  Mick is our lead singer, songwriter, bass player, and resident wit.  He has a penchant for traditional folk song, and classic rock.  Laura is a multi-instrumentalist & singer playing anything with strings & the flute, and loves folk, rock, rhythm n blues, and jazz.  Pete is our lead guitarist who loves Pink Floyd, Gary Moore as well as pop tunes from across the decades.  Martin is the keyboard player and the least experienced in playing live, having emerged from his music cave only a few years ago to find out what it was like to be in a band.

The ethos of the band is to have fun making music above all, and we are trying to make the experience fun for our audience too with a somewhat eclectic mix of our own originals and our unique take on the covers we include in our set.

Our current setlist is taken from the following repertoire;

1 Wild Rover
2 Lincolnshire Poacher
3 Fog On The Tyne
4 Irish Rover
5 Dan’s The Man (original)
6 Roly is Gonna To Get Married
7 All Around My Hat
8 Hill Billy Rock
9 Black Velvet Band
10 Bally MaGrea (original)
11 Copperhead Road
12 One For The Morning Glory
13 Got My Mojo Workin’
14 Wish You Were Here
15 Baby let me follow you down
16 Drunken Sailor
17 Pub Singer
18 Knockin On Heavens Door
19 Van Diemens Land
20 Ballad of the Beacons
21 Whiskey In The Jar
22 Titchmarsh Cowboys (original)
23 Delta Dawn, Sweet Chariot, Show Me the Way To Go Home(acapella)
24 The Pollywog Song
25 Summertime
26 Times They Are Changing
27 Still Got The Blues
28 Guilty
29 Another Brick in the Wall
30 Blowin’ Free
31 Fever
32 Sweet Child Of Mine
33 Flat Caps & Whippets (original)
34 Comfortably Numb
35 Come Together
36 Leaf & Stream
37 Kashmir
38 Ballad of the Beacons
39 Down Under
40 Rhiannon
41 All Along The Watchtower
42 Breathe
43 Time
44 Let it Be
45 Galway Girl
46 Fog On The Tyne

https://theslackstringband.bandcamp.com/

Whilst trying to locate a film on DVD I made of my nieces wedding back in 2014 I came across a couple of folders with CD’s inside, of trials of mixtapes I’ve made over the years up until about 5yrs ago.  My involvement with making mixtapes began back before us ordinary folk could get hold of recordable CD’s, when I would make cassettes for family and friends.  After buying a Phillips disc recorder in the sales (this was about the time computers were beginning to go on sale with them built in) I joined a community online via a now defunct BBC website and we would make a mix every month and receive one in return.  The group has continued to this day, and I remain in touch with them via email although I stepped out of the mix-making process few years ago partly due to running out of fresh ideas, and partly because I stopped buying music quite so obsessively.  The other factor being that I started making music in bands after many decades of making music at home on my own, and along with my other passion(the visual arts) has rather taken over.  Anyhow, I decided to post part of a mix I made about 10yrs ago tonight which can be found here;  https://www.mixcloud.com/martrox/poplier-muzicks-part-one/

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