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June 1, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:15 pm
  • Festival Launch
  • Music
  • Performance
  • Poetry

Launch Event: The Ballad of Shingle Street and other East Anglian poems

Blake Morrison and The Hosepipe Band
Hosepipe Band and Blake Morrison March 2022 3x2


Electric Palace, King's Quay Street
Harwich, Essex CO12 3ER United Kingdom
£10 concessions (Students, Under 27s and Jobseekers)

Join us for what promises to be a memorable, moving, and for the very first time, musical launch of this year’s Essex Book Festival. Featuring award-winning poet and novelist Blake Morrison, and The Hosepipe Band, one of East Anglia’s most-loved Ceilidh bands.

Blake will be reading poems from his collection Shingle Street as well as others featuring East Anglian themes and settings. Many of the poems explore our treasured North Sea coastline, and beyond that, our lives and values. All poems have been set to music by The Hosepipe Band.


This event will be taking place at the newly refurbished Electric Palace Cinema in Harwich – one of the oldest of its kind in the UK.


Venue: Electric Palace, King’s Quay Street, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3ER

Date and time: Wednesday 1st June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 / £10 concessions (Students, Under 27s and Jobseekers)

Box Office: Book online or via Mercury Theatre 01206 573948 (10am-8pm Tuesday to Saturday)


Find out more about the collaboration between Blake Morrison and The Hosepipe Band



Blake Morrison ©NOBBY CLARK

Blake Morrison October 2017

Born in Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is a poet, novelist, critic and librettist, as well as the author of two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? (which became a film starring Jim Broadbent, Juliet Stevenson and Colin Firth) and Things My Mother Never Told Me. He co-edited The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry with Andrew Motion, wrote a study of the Bulger case, and has adapted several plays for the theatre company Northern Broadsides. His novel The Last Weekend (2012) and his collection of poems Shingle Street (2015) are both set on the Suffolk coast.




Hosepipe Band

The Hosepipe Band is an established East Anglian band which performs in clubs, arts centres and at festivals around the UK and beyond. They play traditional and new music on an unusual array of instruments. The group play for ceilidhs and concerts and in recent years have composed and played music to accompany poetry, firstly with Martin Newell and now also with Blake Morrison. Because band members come from different musical backgrounds, the music they play to accompany poetry cannot be said to belong to any specific genre.

Band line-up
Cara Bruns – Keyboards
Simon Haines – Accordion, Concertina, Footbass, Bandoneon, Hurdy Gurdy
Nelson Surfquake – Upbright bass, Electric guitar, Schwirrbogen
Val Woollard – Recorders, Flute, Hammered Dulcimer, Bagpipes, Bells, Saxophone



Shingle Street by Blake Morrison

Shingle Street cover

‘A cul-de-sac, a dead-end track,
A sandbanked strand to sink a fleet,
A bay, a bar, a strip, a trap,
A wrecking ground, that’s Shingle Street.’

Blake Morrison’s first two collections,Dark Glasses(1984) andThe Ballad of a Yorkshire Ripper(1987) established him as one of our most inventive and accomplished contemporary poets.

In his first full-length collection for nearly thirty years,Shingle Streetsees a return to the form with which he started his career. Set along the Suffolk coast, the opening poems address a receding world – an eroding landscape, ‘abashed by the ocean’s passion’. But coastal life gives way to other, more dangerous, vistas: a wave unleashes a flood-tide of terror; a sequence of topical poems lays bare pressing political issues; while elsewhere portraits of the past bring forth the dear and the departed.

Ardent and elegiac, and encompassing an impressive range of mood and method, this is a timely offering from a poet of distinct talents.

Buy a copy of Shingle Street on bookshop.org


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Electric Palace
King's Quay Street
Harwich, Essex CO12 3ER United Kingdom
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Wheelchair users can access the cinema from the street by a ramp (1 in 12) to the disabled access. On arrival please request a member of staff to open this door for you.

Seating in the Auditorium for wheelchair users
There are four places for wheelchair users near the front of the seating block and there are handrails down both aisles.

The toilet for disabled people is located at the screen end of the cinema

Induction Loop
The cinema has installed an induction loop for use by individuals with hearing impairment.

Please ask the manager or any available member of staff for assistance if you require it. We will be happy to help wherever possible.

For the latest information on accessibility at Electric Palace visit electricpalace.com/info/visit-us