Inn Crowd Winter Warmers

Tue 19 Jan 2021

Pubs, Poems, Positivity

The ‘Winter Warmers’initiative is based on a collection of seven heart-warming poems about pubs, specially commissioned by The Inn Crowd, who work with touring schemes like Artsreach to provide pubs with access to professional live literature which is specially commissioned for pub audiences. Some of you may have enjoyed a night down your local with poets including Luke Wright and Jonny Fluffypunk as part of our recent programmes.

‘Winter Warmers’ have been written by poets in six regions across England and are set to be released each week, with the initiative aiming to bring cheer and hope to publicans, their staff and communities and to help connect people for a more positive start to 2021.

'Winter Warmers' is a collaboration between Pub is The Hub and The Inn Crowd. The campaign was conceived from a desire to bring together two industries, which make an invaluable contribution to our society, and to do something positive for the publicans and artists working in two sectors significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alexandra Ewing: The Public House Rumbles

As part of 'Winter Warmers', a ‘National Poem of Thanks to Our Nation’s Publicans’ has also been released. This thank you poem has been written and performed by Alexandra Ewing, the daughter of a former publican. The poem is to say a huge thank you to publicans, who despite the immense and ever-changing challenges to their own businesses, continue to demonstrate an ongoing resilience, tenacity and innovation in these unprecedented times.

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Malaika Kegode: The Best Ones

The Winter Warmers poem for the South West has been written by Malaika Kegode, a writer and performer based in Bristol who has worked with a number of organisations including Roundhouse, Historic England, and the BBC.

Malaika says: "Everyone I’ve spoken to over lockdown just really misses the pub. It’s an extension of home. Somewhere you can go without being pressured to do or be anything other than yourself. I think at a time they are struggling, it only feels right to give something back."

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Gavin Roberts: Let's Drink Together Again

The Winter Warmers poem for the North East area has been written by Gavin Roberts, from Rotherham in South Yorkshire.

Often found armed with a notebook and pint in the dark corners of local pubs, Gavin says "I wanted my poem to be a rally call for all of us for whom the pub is our beating heart, we miss them, I wanted my poem to look forward to a brighter future and a time when we can gather together again."

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Steve Pottinger: this is the best pub in the world

The Winter Warmers poem for the Midlands area has been written by Steve Pottinger, a poet, author, and workshop facilitator, and a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists.

Steve says "I love the variety of pubs. The fact there’s a pub for a quiet afternoon pint, and another pub for a Friday night out; a pub where you can play pool, or listen to music; a pub you’ve never been in before which you promise yourself you’ll have to go back to; a pub to hide from the world, or to sit in and watch it go by."

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Nick Makoha: Botanist

The Winter Warmers poem for the South East has been written by Nick Makoha, a Ugandan poet and playwright and based in London. Nick's debut Kingdom of Gravity was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize and nominated by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017.

Nick says: "I hope the poem triggers happy memories from people around the country about their local pub or those pubs you stumble upon. It is funny how a friend’s conversation and a good beer can make you appreciate your place in the world."

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Charlie Genever: Down the Local

The Winter Warmers poem for East Anglia has been written by former Peterborough poet Laureat Charley Genever, as a thank you to pubs in the region. Charley says that pub open mics is where she cut her teeth as a performer, and it changed her life. "I think pubs are such creative spaces, and I love being a part of a project that is celebrating community and creativity".

Charley fondly remembers one of many nights out in 'Down the Local', and relives that memory, celebrating how pubs really do champion communities.

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Madelaine Kinsella: PUBLIC

The Winter Warmers poem for the North West has been written by Madelaine Kinsella, a poet from Liverpool whose debut poetry pamphlet, ‘Scouse Brows’, is being published this year by Wrecking Ball Press..

Madelaine says: "It has been very hard on pubs during the pandemic, and in turn, hard on the locals they support with their services. It’s not a case of being desperate for a pint during lockdown but a need for pubs as social hubs in our local community. I think it’s important to remind ourselves just how much heart and soul lives in these places. It’s something a Zoom party or at-home-draft kit cannot replicate."

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