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Greg Freeman

Email: gfreem@ntlworld.com
Updated: Sun, 20 Aug 2017 06:52 pm

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Biography

I'm a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news editor for Write Out Loud, a role that includes writing event and book reviews, occasional email interviews, and taking pictures. I was shortlisted for Reviewer of the Year in the 2017 Saboteur awards. As a poet I've read at the Troubadour and at the Brixton Pound cafe in London, at Cheltenham poetry festival and Sowerby Bridge arts festival (in Sowerby Bridge station's refreshment room), and as one of the Steam Poets, on the station concourse at Kidderminster, during Worcestershire literature festival. My debut pamphlet collection, 'Trainspotters', was launched in the pub at King's Cross station, and is published by Indigo Dreams; one of the poems in it, 'Learning By Heart', was a runner-up in the 2014 Wilfred Owen Association competition. Other CV details: 1) Watched the second half of England's 2010 World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. 2) Backing vocals on Chuck Berry's 1972 no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling http://sabotagereviews.com/2017/04/21/saboteur-awards-2017-spotlight-on-the-best-reviewer-shortlist/ http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507 http://sabotagereviews.com/2015/03/17/trainspotters-by-greg-freeman/ 'Trainspotters' featured on local Pyrford TV Arts programme Reading 'Stop, Look, Listen' and 'Climbing the Malverns' at the 1000 Monkeys in Guildford, November 2016 http://www.the1000monkeys.com/reviews-and-blog/wendy-klein-at-the-keystone-poetry-open-mic Reading 'Dance On' at The Keystone Slam in Guildford http://www.the1000monkeys.com/home/how-we-went-slamming-with-the-antipoet Poem on first world war website http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/greg-freeman/ http://journalisted.com/greg-freeman http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/may/04/chuck-berry-my-ding-a-ling http://www.theguardian.com/profile/greg-freeman PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ANDREW

Samples

LEARNING BY HEART It was that time of year; there would be daffodils at home, beside hedges, glowing in the rain. Labouring in the cutting, he saw them dancing. A poem they had been schooled to learn by heart. An “inward eye” … that was the trick. A railway journey back to Raynes Park, shut out the darkness, the despair of Hellfire Pass. Once, in Thai darkness, in weather that would have drowned daffodils, they camped in a padi field, beside the railway. Sodden voices in harmony, through the rain. Those Liverpool-Irish boys lifted his heart, helped him escape to Streatham rink, dancing, polished ice, swish and hiss. He guided her dancing, escorted the girl from the office through the darkness. She allowed him to caress her, feel her heart beating. He found himself thinking of daffodils. Taffy, why was he running? Slid in the rain, fell onto slashed bamboo, ruptured spleen. The railway snatched another life; impossible, military, slave, railway. After each downpour, mosquitoes dancing. Best pal married on leave, perished in the rain; one week joking, next week dead. This darkness in which no one matters. Bloody daffodils? Look out for number one, suh! Harden heart. Speedo, bashings, indifference at the heart of everything. Picks, shovels, railway driving onwards. He bought his mother daffodils, heard her laugh out loud, saw her dancing to the radio, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ in the darkness, lullabies drowned by the thunder of the rain hitting the atap huts, relentless rain seeping into bones as they lay there, hearts groaning, a life for every sleeper. Ravenous darkness. He’d whiled away time in a faraway railway ticket office; now they were dancing to another tune. Did Tokyo have daffodils, nourished by Japanese rain? A job on the railways. Don’t dare lose heart. See those comrades dancing in the darkness; a crazy gang of golden daffodils. THE BUTTERFLIES OF YORKSHIRE Colonised, old railway tracks and pits. Spread of creeping thistle and bracken. Limestone grasslands, brimstone broods; fritillaries, clouded yellows. Migrations on the Spurn peninsula. Spoil heaps, soot pollution, westward movement towards Pennines. Painted ladies that travel by night, overwintering wanderers; honeydew and damp meadows. Conservation, hibernation, extinctions. Late sightings in gardens, allotments, cemeteries, headlands, clearings. Malham Tarn, Knaresborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, Orgreave. The damage to populations wreaked by faraway eruptions. (Found poem from words in The Butterflies of Yorkshire, ed: Howard M Frost, Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, 2005) MIDNIGHT TRAIN FROM BULAWAYO Each night the darkness arrived like a switch being flicked. And it grew cold. The dancing girls would appear and disappear; but whenever you thought they were about to conclude, the marimba band would start up again. Odd-job man, housekeeper, and two children lived at the end of the aid worker’s garden. The boy kicked a ball for hours with our lad in the yard. Dreamed of escape to play football in England. Let his feet do the earning. Bungee jumpers leaping from the bridge, deserted tourist lodges, hippos in the lake at sunset. War veterans entered government offices, to draw attention to the state of their pensions. ‘This is very odd,’ a local told us, in 1997. ‘Zimbabwe is a peaceful place.” The midnight train from Bulawayo: half-waking in the early hours somewhere in Africa, looking out of the window, glimpsing strangers leaving along dusty, well-trodden paths, bearing goods, disappearing into the dark. These three poems all appear in my pamphlet Trainspotters published by Indigo Dreams http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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Comments

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George Harris

Thu 5th Oct 2017 02:06

Hi Greg,

Thanks for taking some great photographs of us all from William Cornelius Harris Publishing Poets on Saturday at the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair. Would it be ok to use one of them for some publicity and profile image? I will give you credit.

All the best

George

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Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 26th Aug 2017 12:20

Thanks for posting 'Midnight Train to Bulawayo' - I enjoyed it! Were you there in 1997? How long did you stay?
As you know, I grew up in NR/Zambia from 1955 - 75. Last time I was there was in 1971 - a weekend trip to Salisbury for shopping and a new hairdo from Kitwe, on the Copperbelt in Zambia. I spent between 68 - 74 travelling and working between UK and Zambia. Back to Africa every time I got too homesick and saved up for the next trip to UK.
My little brother went to St George's in Salisbury so we'd go down to take him out for a Sunday lunch at Meikles every so often but I only went to Bulawayo twice on the way to SA.
I have added another African poem from my 1968 notebook to my profile... yes, I still have it. Ha-Ha!

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Nigel Astell

Sat 6th May 2017 12:35

Write Out Loud without you Greg not even worth thinking about you are one of the main anchors and those two were just a mere scratch on this huge huge network!

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Greg Freeman

Sat 6th May 2017 08:34

Thanks for tapping me on the shoulder about that, Nigel. It's the second time in a week I've made a mistake like that. Expecting my redundancy notice from Write Out Loud any day now ...

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Nigel Astell

Fri 5th May 2017 16:05

Hi Greg,

Time Travel

To go back to a certain day
Knowing the words spoken in every detail
Might make you do or say something
That each comment uttered says without doubt
I have heard that poem told before
Not by a different person but you.

Just my way of saying you put down April instead of May
for the next meeting of Write Out Loud

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David Cooke

Mon 2nd Jan 2017 17:53

Hi Greg Good to hear from you and pleased that my little vignette has gained your approval!

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raypool

Fri 25th Nov 2016 21:00

Hi Greg; re The Old Kent Road. So pleased you read this , I hoped it might fit the bill. I do so enjoy these cartography exploits. Just like to slip one in now and again.
Of course that word should have been horde, it will be remedied. thanks for spotting it. Re open mikes, I think enjoying what you write is important and trying to infect the listeners. I hope that works for me at least. Not quite ready for a pulpit yet. Re Bricklayers Arms, it started life as a passenger terminus, and i'm sure I read that royal trains ran there at least once . An earlier version of i'm a celebrity get me out of here probably.

all the best as always. Ray

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Greg Freeman

Thu 20th Oct 2016 11:01

Thanks for the ethical chocolate-buying tips, Colin, much appreciated. I used to buy Divine from our tea trolley back in the day - trouble is, I link that memory with the traumatic one of inadvertently flinging a cop of coffee through the vent of a very expensive computer. It sizzled for a bit, smoke started coming out, and then it went bang. Heads turned up and down the office. If they'd taken it out of my wages I'd still be paying for it now.

And thanks for your donation commitment to Write Out Loud, too. Very good of you, mate.

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Colin Hill

Wed 19th Oct 2016 20:51

you were asking about chocolate Greg - Divine is widely available and has extremely good ethics and traceability. Vivani is a German brand with good social and organic production policies - I particularly like their 85% dark and they do a 92% which is also nice - but only available in smaller shops and online. Equal Exchange is another good brand. Check out this link and watch for when they do a 20% off offer - yes they stock G&B's which I guess remains an 'ethical' company within the Mondelez empire:

http://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/category/groceries-and-everyday/chocolate/chocolate-bars/?limit=192

It's good that the large multinationals have to some extent embraced the Fairtrade purchasing ethic but as you can see from the following link the situation remains rather confused and even though Cadbury's Dairy Milk says it's Fairtrade there is no guarantee the actual chocolate has come from a Fairtrade source as whatever Cadbury's buys ends up in their general supply chain. So the reality is you might be eating chocolate that has been produced under poor working conditions or even child labour.

http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/blog-entry/does-cadburys-still-smell-of-roses-when-it-comes-to-fairtrade

I know WoL is not really the place to bang on about the rights and wrongs of Fairtrade chocolate but it's a subject close to my heart and we bang on about all manner of things here so why not, if only for a minute.

As I write Steve P has just sent me a begging letter so I promise to make up for my moment of campaigning and donate to WoL's worthy cause via PayPal. 😃

All the best,
Colin.

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raypool

Sun 31st Jul 2016 22:27

Ok Greg thanks for the clarification. I did submit three, so fingers crossed!


Ray

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raypool

Wed 27th Jul 2016 17:00

Hi Greg. I'm getting a couple poems ready for the paradox competition before 31 July. Can you kindly tell me if stuff I've posted on WOL cannot be included, as most of it has been posted there. Cheers.

Ray

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raypool

Mon 25th Jul 2016 17:20

Please, think nothing of it Greg. Football can of course raise hackles , like Gilzean's tackles (and headers that he was famous for)!

Ray

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raypool

Sun 24th Jul 2016 17:12

Thanks for picking up on "1970" Greg, my first year as a pro muso. Much time spent mooching about trying to build up contacts(using the phone in the underground station believe it or not). Saturdays often to Spurs as mentioned. I have a diary for the year, and noted all the matches I attended. I can't find any games with Chelsea, but I note Spurs beat L'pool 1-0 . Some were achingly depressing like Wolves 0-0 in December with the walk home following. The most distilled aggression was felt for Arsenal at the time!
My aim was to write a poem in a style hopefully similar to the ones you often pen, with lots of detail to flesh out the journey. Always a pleasure.

Ray

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Greg Freeman

Thu 14th Jul 2016 18:37

What a great story, Ray. Frank clearly wanted to teach your dancer how to yodel, too. You must have so many of these tales!

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raypool

Sun 10th Jul 2016 19:48

I just read your review of the Bronte poetry event and love the journalistic skill - apropos of nothing I picked up the mention of Frank Ifield by Terry Andrex. Curiously I worked with him at Scarborough Floral Hall in 1977. I had done the journey in an Austin Countryman to be with one of the dancers (19, I was 33), so you can see why.
There was almost a skirmish as Frank had his eye on her from the start. I don't think he pulled her but I was off balance and maybe she played on my jealousy a bit. You can't keep a good yodeller down I say.

Thanks for reading Ray (Southern Jessie!)

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raypool

Thu 30th Jun 2016 11:02

I was a bit previous Greg about the email! A confusing place is t'internet sometimes. I tried to get into reporting when I left school but failed brilliantly - in those days it was a notebook and pencil behind the ear.(music and photography beckoned).
Yes, I would love to come along to the Woking and have a day out. I am promised to a party and tinkling the ivories the day before, but Phyllosan at the ready in case of premature expiration.

All the best Ray

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Tom

Thu 30th Jun 2016 10:02

Thanks for your comment on Ghosts On The Platform - I hadn't made the connection but had to immediately go and put that tune on after you mentioned it. Lovely!

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raypool

Wed 29th Jun 2016 10:47

Sorry Greg just read your message on my profile page so forget all you have read. sincerely, Mr Paranoid.

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raypool

Wed 29th Jun 2016 10:46

Hi Greg. In the wake of "Mohamed" on the site I am now a bit paranoid, so I got an email about the WOL open mike evenings (ostensibly from you) with an invitation to the do in the park at Woking sent also to all the usual suspects! I just wanted to verify if this genuine. Sorry for the inconvenience but with so many emails addresses on it I felt I had to make sure.

regards, Ray

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Ian Whiteley

Tue 28th Jun 2016 15:39

thanks for your kind and supportive comments on 'a peaceful warrior' Greg - I'm pleased you liked it
Ian

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Dominic James

Mon 27th Jun 2016 09:11

Hi Greg, thanks for link to accompany the Brompton Cemetery lines, all the peaceful green spots in town should be kept, in fair repair - and wilderness. That verse a last thought not included in a longer poem on return from a night at the Troubadour, when we didn't notice Morrison & Page around the corner,

...a rainy cup of Java and a tranquil hour
to kill, I stopped in at the Brompton cemetery garden
to dwell upon a death I brushed against...

Looking forward to the New Inn on 18th July.

Mike Weinblatt

Sat 30th Apr 2016 07:08

Hi greg

I knew Adrian very well, first met him at streates coffee bar, I use to go round on a sunday and have tea with him and joyce, he was a wealth of knowledge, in fact introduced me to the joys raymond chandler. Adrian stayed in my parents house after a cnd march, when we were in london. In his painting christ entrance to liverpool I'm next to arthur dooley near the front. I participated in his happenings at the hope hall. We nearly caught up in Cookham Berks, he had come down for a poetry reading, I was rehearsing my big band in a church in cookham, he I believed went to the wrong church. Oh yes, it's me on the saatchi site, I've always dipped the brush, Adrian did have one of mine,
fondest regards

mike weinblatt, jm weinblatt, lord shosti o'kovitch and once was mike vincent

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Laura Taylor

Mon 7th Mar 2016 09:54

Thanks for your note on Mothering Sunday, Greg.

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Patricia and Stefan Wilde

Mon 29th Feb 2016 20:37

the cheque is in the post Greg...;o)

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David Cooke

Sun 14th Feb 2016 16:59

Hi Greg Thanks for appreciation of Wolfram, although I'm not quite sure if I've got it right yet. I have been tinkering with it quite a bit.Not sure I need to drag Ted in at the beginning, but then rhythm goes to pot when i take him out. I'll have to let it mull a while!

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David Cooke

Sun 14th Feb 2016 16:59

Hi Greg Thanks for appreciation of Wolfram, although I'm not quite sure if I've got it right yet. I havcce been tinkering with it q

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Greg Freeman

Sat 13th Feb 2016 10:33

A plug? You mean a news item, of course, David! Of course we're usually interested in a new publishing venture, especially with such a Larkinesque name. Do keep us posted.

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David Cooke

Sat 13th Feb 2016 09:23

Hi Greg. Good to hear from you again & Hi Ray Thanks for encouraging comments about 'Manganese'. In passing I am soon going to be launchuing my new online journal and publishing venture The High Window along with co-editor Anthony Costello. I'll be in touch again in case you want to give it a plug. Might need a poem or two in due course as well!

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Jon

Sun 7th Feb 2016 22:09

Thanks Greg for recent comment :)

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Greg Freeman

Thu 4th Feb 2016 19:59

Very kind of you to say so, David. Likewise, I'm sure!

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