Postcard To Brooke
is an artwork by Oliver Guy-Watkins.

Full details can be found at -

www.oliverguywatkins.com



Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A Postcard From GEAR - Previews


Shooting has now concluded on 'A Postcard From GEAR', the short documentary based around GEAR Projects, a homeless shelter in Gloucester, England.


The first screening will take place at Gloucester Guildhall on June 6th 2009, and will coincide with a five day exhibition, beginning on June 2nd, which will feature an installation of all readings recorded in the area, as well as a few clips from other locations.



Entry to the screening will be free, however those who attend will be asked to bring along something that can be donated to GEAR, ie - tinned foods, toothbrushes, toiletries, unwanted clothing. This will then be passed on to the staff of the shelter.
Below are the first two previews from the documentary featuring Gatsy and Steve.


Monday, 2 March 2009

Ed Byrne

The comedian Ed Byrne was gracious enough to agree to read Rupert Brooke's verse 'Doubts' in the dressing room at Cheltenham Town Hall after his recent show there. He was the 222nd person to read.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Paul Foot

Comedian Paul Foot is the 221st person to read Rupert Brooke's poem Doubts for Postcard To Brooke, and he did so in the Royal Festival Hall on London's Southbank.

Paul also took part in an interview which will be released over the next few weeks as the third Episode of Doubt Podcast.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

A Return To GEAR Projects

Recently I have been looking back through the 3 hours worth of readings filmed since April 2008. Sometimes I have found myself running around so much to capture as many people as possible I have glossed over the most important and emotional contributions.

Whilst watching the films, it was the five people who read during my visit to GEAR Projects last year that really struck me. These individuals who use the homeless shelter's facilities had given more than just their time to me. The self composed poetry read by Jon and Steve, after their reading of Rupert Brooke's Doubts, is possibly the most important moment I have captured during filming over the last year, and goes someway towards my ambition of documenting those whose voice is hidden behind charitable pleas and social stigma, as individuals, each with their own views, vices and feelings. We sometimes see 'the homeless' as a body of people, and every begging soul on the street has the same face as the last regardless of sex, age or health. The blanket covering his legs is the same as the other guys a mile down the road, the tattoos on his neck the same as the guy who was here yesterday, the scratches on his face and the tears in his jeans the same as.... The similarities are purely generated by blinkered vision, and behind each pair of eyes who long for contact is a person who has been living for a set ammount of time, a person who has their own story, their own loves.

I don't know why I haven't done this before, but as grateful as I am to all those who have contributed to Postcard To Brooke, and undoubtably have their own concerns, I feel I should have continued the work with GEAR before now.

As it is, I have not. However I have now arranged to visit the facility next Wednesday, both to invite further individuals to read, and also to find out how the five individuals I first films have progressed in their lives over the last six months.

I have already posted this video here, but I would encourage you to watch it again.

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Sound Of Doubt

In December last year I began to search for news reports and speeches on the internet in which the word Doubt was mentioned. The clips I found I began to collect and form into a singular sound piece. An exert of the work can be found on my new website www.oliverguywatkins.com

This aspect of Postcard To Brooke has now led me to produce a series of Podcast interviews, which I will release via the above website and this blogspot. They will be available for free download.

The first episode features an interview with Martin Warner who is currently on the staff at St Paul's Cathedral in London. During the 10 minute discussion, Martin talks about his own personal doubts regarding food produce, religion, auditioning for a choir and Gordon Brown.

New episodes of the podcast will be released at regular intervals, featuring a wide range of interviews with artists, musicians, writers, comedians and many other individuals.

Doubt Episode 1 is available to download from the following link -
http://www.sendspace.com/file/kz0f86

Sunday, 1 February 2009

An Amnesty Of Doubt - London March 22nd - April 19th 2009




I will be hosting a month long Amnesty Of Doubt event across a number of venues in London from March 22nd until April 19th 2009.

There will be two Evenings Of Doubt that will be held at Shoreditch House in East London on March 22nd and April 19th, where I will be joined by a number of guests and contributors to discuss Postcard To Brooke and the doubts which the public have submitted. There will also be a live performance on each evening from musicians who have composed a piece of music based around Rupert Brooke's poem Doubts, the origins of this work.

Members of the public may already begin submitting their own doubts via email - doubt@oliverguywatkins.com
Anything submitted to this email will remain anonymous, however may be used in exhibtions and discussions.

Details of installations at Shoreditch House will be announced in the next week, as well as other related events. A number of interviews and exclusive readings will be broadcast during this time via Postcard To Brooke Interactive.

Richard Herring

On Saturday night comedian Richard Herring was kind enough to read Rupert Brooke's Doubts for Postcard To Brooke after his run through of his new stand Up show The Headmasters Son at The Roses Theatre in Tewksbury, Gloucestershire... Here it is...

Monday, 26 January 2009

Tim Key

Poet Tim Key is the latest person to add his voice to Postcard To Brooke by reading Rupert Brooke's poem Doubts.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Mark Thomas


I have always been an admirer of the work carried out by the comedian and political activist Mark Thomas. During the 2008 Cheltenham Literature Festival, Mark hosted a talk relating to his new book 'Belching Out The Devil', an investigation into the working practices of Coca-Cola, which I attended.

After this talk, Mark agreed to meet me to discuss Postcard To Brooke and read Rupert Brooke's Doubts to camera. The act was carried out in the dressing room that ten minutes before had been occupied by the legendary actor Tony Christie, and with the aid of some fruit left behind by the man himself. I was very grateful to Mark for agreeing to contribute his voice to this work, and wish him the best of luck with everything in the future.

After GEAR

Two weeks ago I paid a visit to GEAR Projects in Gloucester, England. The registered charity runs a shelter for the homeless and those wishing to fight battles against alcohol and drug addiction. During my brief two hour visit I was able to meet and film five people who used the facility for a number of reasons.

This is the first part of Postcard To Brooke being used as a way to document a number of social groups within the early 21st Century, and will hopefully pave the way for the voices of a number of individuals to be heard above those who usually drown them out.

I would like to thank the staff of GEAR Projects for allowing me to view their work first hand, and see what a fantastic and much needed resource they supply. Also to John, Caroline, Gatsy, Steve and Paul, I would like to extend thanks and wish them all the luck in world with their valiant personal battles.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

St Edward's Cheltenham


I am very grateful that the staff and pupils of my former school agreed to contribute their voices to Postcard To Brooke on October 9th 2008.


It was wonderful to drive through the gates on a glorious autumn day, with leaves lining the sides of the driveway and sunlight perforating the trees. So many memories came flooding back.


A big thank you to Pat Hemming and Dr Andrew Nash. A video edit of those who read is currently on the Ustream channel Postcard To Brooke Interactive. However this is only viewable with a password. If you would like to view this video and are a pupil or family member, Pat Hemming will supply you with the correct password. If you are neither of these you must email postcardtobrooke@googlemail.com and explain who you are and why you would like to view this video. The password will remain on Brooke Interactive until the video is taken down in late November.

The link for the Usteam channel can be found under the Postcard To Brooke Interactive heading to the right of the screen.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Postcard To Brooke Interactive

A new site has been created in order to broadcast live a number of events associated with Postcard To Brooke via the internet.

Via the site Ustream, future events and live readings will be broadcast. The bar to the side of this blog will display a schedule.

Live video chat by Ustream

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Grantchester


A close family friend has just moved to Ely, north of Cambridge. She is to become the vicar of three parishes that surround the town on Friday this week, and was kind enough to allow me to base myself at her new rectory for my stay in the area. Having read numerous stories relating to Brooke and Grantchester, I arrived with a somewhat pre-guided view of what I may find. My inclinations were not wrong.


Grantchester is a beautiful village that sits alongside the River Cam, where Brooke would often strip off and dive in, and seems to be dedicated to the poets memory. Lady Mary Archer kindly extended an invitation for me to visit The Old Vicarage, a house now inhabited by herself and husband Jeffery, but formerly the residence of Brooke himself. Lady Archer showed a genuine intrigue for Postcard To Brooke, and happily sat in the drawing room once used by Brooke to read Doubts. I was also privileged enough to be allowed into Mary's Folly at the bottom of the beautiful grounds, where a small but concise library of Brooke's life and work was held. After a little digging around I discovered a number of facts, previously unknown to myself, surrounding Doubts. It was in fact written with no title in a letter to the actress Cathleen Nesbitt whilst Brooke stayed at The King Edward Hotel in Toronto. I also discovered that the original letter is now owned by The British Library after going up for auction alongside a number of other documents held by Nesbitt's family in 2007. A visit is to be paid.


As well as Lady Archer, I was lucky enough to time my visit with Lorna Beckett, the chairman of The Brooke Society, taking her first ever tour party around Grantchester. Lorna's knowledge of Brooke's life is second to none, and she was able to inform me of a number of interesting matters relating to Rupert Brooke's Canadian trip, as well as his relationship with Nesbitt, which he never consummated, but would spend a number of hours reading to her as she slept.


I would also like to thank all of those who contacted me before my visit and agreed to read at numerous locations around Grantchester. Elin and Clare I am very grateful for the biscuits!

I am sure this will not be the last time I visit Grantchester, in fact I can guarantee it will not be, and look forward to meeting many more people who can shed light on the relevance of Postcard To Brooke in different circles.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

GEAR Projects


Over the course of the next month I will also be working with GEAR Projects (http://www.gearprojects.org) in Gloucestershire, the counties only homeless charity. For the duration of this time people using the facilities that GEAR offer will be invited to contribute their own doubts to The Box Of Doubts. (www.peopledoubt.blogspot.com)

At the end of this period I will personally visit GEAR to collect the postcards, and film a number of the facilities staff as well as the individuals who utilize the services they offer, reading Rupert Brooke's 'Doubts'.

This is the first step in using 'Postcard To Brooke' to document a number of social groups and institutions that are present in the early 21st Century.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Box Of Doubts


The Box Of Doubts is now officially open here -

www.peopledoubt.blogspot.com

please visit........

Friday, 29 August 2008

The Old Lodge

Many thanks to all who attended the event at The Old Lodge on Minchinhampton Common yesterday (August 28th). A further twelve people read Rupert Brooke's 'Doubts' and all previous readings could be viewed on a number of laptop computers.


This event was very important to me due to the fact that I grew up less than a mile away, and read the book for the first time in that house. The Lodge is a beautiful location which sits in the middle of Minchinhampton Common and gazes over the Stroud valleys, it was also once used by Henry viii as a hunting lodge.


Thanks specifically to Nick, Christophe and James for making the event happen, and for their great hospitality. It was also fantastic to see Barbara Davis again who was so kind on my recent trip to Dymock.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

After Flat Lake





This weekend I packed my bags and flew to Clones in Co Monaghan, Ireland, to attend the Flat Lake Festival of Literature. Over the course of the two day event I filmed a further 52 people reading Rupert Brooke's 'Doubts'. Those who took part included Nobel Prize winning Poet Seamus Heaney, comedian Dylan Moran, writers Victoria Mary Clarke, Pat McCabe, Ciaran Carson and the poet laureate of Vancouver George McWhirter.







The hospitality that was shown to me by the people who hosted the festival, as well as those who attended the talk and screening on Sunday evening was superb. I would like to thank you all. A special mention must be made for Harry, Kev, Jo, Fred, Carly and the staff of The Clones Film Festival Tent. I hope to see you all again next year.





Friday, 1 August 2008

University Of Gloucestershire Archives

During my visit to Dymock two months ago, I was informed of the archives held by the University Of Gloucestershire. I had been told that a great deal of material was stored there relating to the Dymock Poets and Rupert Brooke. So today I paid them a visit.


The archives are held at a beautiful building entitled Francis Close Hall to the north of the center of Cheltenham. On my arrival I was greeted by a lovely young lady called Louise who showed me the material she had been able to find at such short notice. In a stunning oak paneled room I sat at an elongated table and began to read.


The first thing that caught my eye was a cutting from an unknown magazine, that judging for the type face was printed sometime in the late 1940's. It was written by Lady Violet Bonham Carter and was entitled 'Famous People I Have Met', part of a series, with this particular article focused on Brooke. A man she describes as 'one of the most radiantly beautiful human beings I have ever known.'

The second clipping to entice me was a copy of Brooke's Cambridge thesis 'Democracy And The Arts', printed in the Times literary section during March 1947. A vast discussion then played itself out through the letters section over the coming months, revealing that Brooke had read this to his peers in his rooms at Grantchester.


The selection Louise prepared for me contained a number of other gems, however none so special as the mint first edition copy of 'Letters From Brooke To His Publishers 1911-1914'. This wonderful collection gave me a great insight into Brooke's humility and passion for his work. As I held the 267 copy of 500 in my hand and read his wrangles with publisher Frank Sidgwick, I found moments that brought laughter pouring from my mouth, and others of great sadness. His second to last letter to Sidgwick reads as follows -

Dear Sidgwick,

I have obtained a commission in the Royal Naval Brigade, and am going to camp for sometime, then abroad. If ever people start buying poetry again, and my second impression sells out, please start a third.
My next volume, of course, will have to wait till the war's over
I have had no accounts for my poems for a long time. Could you please make some up and send me them?

Yours Sincerely

Rupert Brooke

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Big 100

Since the start of April 2008, I have filmed 100 people reading the poem 'Doubts' by Rupert Brooke. From those who attended the Art Car Boot Fair in London, to a fireman, friends, my mother, artists, writers and actors, the support that people have given to this project has enabled it to move at a great pace. I would like to thank everyone who has taken part, either through reading, writing their own 'Doubts', or assisting in the performances of the work so far.

This is still the beginning, and with events like The Flat Lake Festival (www.theflatlakefestival.com) in Ireland on the horizon the future of this work is sure to involve many hundreds more.

The 100th person to read the poem was Christa-Mayke Turnbull who did so in her beautiful apartment situated in Wedding, Berlin. Here is her reading -

Miss Micks, Berlin

On June 24th 2008, the first ever full screening of the videos took place at Miss Micks (www.littlemissmicks.com) in Kreuzberg, Berlin.


Alongside the screening, a 'Discussion Of Doubts' between Oliver Guy-Watkins and Tom J Mason invited the audience to contribute their opinions on the Doubts and phrases that have been scrawled on the blank postcards since The Art Car Boot Fair.


Mr Fancy Smith provided us with a musical interlude between the screening and the discussion, and thanks must also go to Sophie Rook for providing a wonderful venue and superb hospitality.




Photography by Joao Paglione - http://www.flickr.com/photos/joao/