Kelly 1
Kelly Moneymaker

I interviewed Alaskan singer/songwriter Kelly Moneymaker.  Kelly is a deeply musical soul, having shared stages and collaborated with Todd Rundgren, Diana Ross, George Clinton, Keith Urban and Ringo Starr. Her band ‘In the Black’ have similar musical CVs, having played with Tower of Power, Hugh Laurie, Macy Gray and Tom Jones

Leslie: What were the key stages in developing and maturing your voice?

Kelly: When I was two years old, my mom thought she’d left the radio on and then discovered I was singing. Music was my natural form of expression, which is good because I can’t draw a decent stick-person. I think the best way to develop your style is to just get out there and do it. You learn the do’s and don’ts along the way. Continue reading GETTING YOUR YA-YAS OUT WITH KELLY MONEYMAKER


Melanie Whipman

I interviewed author, editor and teacher Melanie Whipman about short stories and writing. Melanie lectures at Chichester University, judges fiction competitions and is commissioning editor for The Story Player. Her short stories, which have been broadcast on Radio 4 and published in numerous magazines, are now appearing as a collection called Llama Sutra. She is currently editing her novel, written during her MA in Creative Writing, that was awarded the Kate Betts Prize.

Leslie: In your view, who are the great, classic short story writers? Why them? Continue reading MELANIE WHIPMAN – SHORT STORIES: THE BIG PICTURE


Made in Wrong Kong
Erik Windrich

Musician Erik Windrich, this week’s interviewee, played with his brother Lucien to 120,000 people in a South African concert.  Their group eVOID were ‘the most successful and influential of the white South African punk bands to take up African-inspired images and sounds in their sonic rebellion against apartheid‘ (Wikipedia). Today, Erik teaches performing arts in a London comprehensive school. Continue reading LIBERATION MUSIC SOUTH AFRICA, THIRTY YEARS ON…


‘And the task of writing is to hang on tight, like Menelaus, till the god gives up, stops trying to throw his rider, and becomes his true self.’

Mask dating from the 4th/3rd century BC, Stoà of Attalos Museum, Athens.

In my imaginary autobiography I’m sneaking between fences along an overgrown passageway between 50s suburban back gardens. I’m shaky inside as I step around orange fungi and fat-bodied spiders while poking sticks into webs. Part of me is watchful, an undercover agent observing neighbours through gaps in the fence, and part of me is hot and sweaty, sniffing out a trail.

In another scene I’m by the house with an old wooden chair that I’ve been told to break up. It’s my chance to let it have it, full force. The chair’s in my power, so I twist and wrench it, exercising my will. There’s a beast inside me, a smasher and basher who does what he likes and enjoys what he can do. Continue reading LESLIE TATE – MY IMAGINARY AUTOBIOGRAPHY

POETRY IN TIMES OF CRISIS (part 2) by Leslie Tate

Charles Baudelaire, by Gustave Courbet.

Poetry is a cage with an animal inside… it has a wild longing for clarityDerek Mahon.

Is it possible to write poetically about war and violence? To me, the word ‘poetically’ means there is something beautiful, ordered or fitting about the words, and that we experience the horror but see beyond, or more. Typically, in times of crisis the poet writes elegies, but often with controlled passion such as Yeats’s Easter 1916. In this kind of work a form of distancing over time has allowed the poet to find the exact words to nail the experience. It rises above the immediate moment while retaining the fine detail of personal connection: Continue reading POETRY IN TIMES OF CRISIS (part 2) by Leslie Tate


Marilyn Kallet
In this guest blog American poet, professor and translator, Marilyn Kallet, writes about the ways poetry can connect us to our feelings and each other in times of crisis.

‘On June 17, as I started this essay, I could hear Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina Poet Laureate on Public Broadcasting Service, reading poems that commemorated the one-year anniversary of the shooting massacre at Charleston Emanuel AME Church. Marcus Amaker was her superb co-reader. Wentworth commented that people yearn for language in times of crisis, and that poets can offer apt words. Continue reading MARILYN KALLET WRITES – POETRY IN TIMES OF CRISIS


Joe 1I interviewed virtuoso guitarist Joe Rhinewine about his driven, adventurous music. I wanted to find out where he got his musical ideas from and how much of his life experience as owner/psychologist at Portland Mindfulness has gone into his new CD ‘Songs from Nowhere’. 

Leslie: How would you characterise your music?

Joe: Eclectic indie-prog? Labels are tricky. They’re more for marketing than anything else. I’m guessing that people who like what I like might like what I make. So if you like Brian Eno and King Crimson and Velvet Underground etc, perhaps you’ll like my stuff?

Leslie: What was the life-process that went into your present musical style? What were the high/low/turning points on the way? Continue reading JOE RHINEWINE – ZEN AND THE ART OF GUITAR


Rosemary Hill

I interviewed Rosemary Hill, innovative theatre director and founder of two drama companies. Rosemary began as a drama and English teacher and head of department in a large secondary school,  She moved into radio and television working as a producer and director with a particular interest in education and development. In each of these creative fields Rosemary has stayed true to her own artistic agenda. I wanted to find out how she has done that, and what she has learned on the way.

Leslie: You worked as a TV director, producing documentaries covering difficult personal situations in ‘hot spots’ around the world.  What sticks in your memory from that period? Continue reading ROSEMARY HILL – THE PLAY’S THE THING

Author and Poet