About Glyn Watkins, Bradford based poet and showman, in Bradford Review 43

3 Sep


Read the whole magazine via this link

Rough transcript of the contents of the Glyn Watkins article below

Many places in the world have special things that mark the changing of the seasons. Japan has cherry blossom marking the beginning of Spring and England has shops starting to sell Christmas stuff marking the ending of Summer.

Bradford seems to have developed it’s own peculiar signs of early spring and passing summer in the shape of a oddly dressed bloke who appears on the streets as a fluorescent bishop in January, and carrying a foot wide pie any time from June.

He also appears dressed as a mad hatter to advertise ‘Hat Throwing’ competitions he has invented.

The man is Glyn Watkins, Bradford based, self proclaimed, ‘poet, writer and showman’. 

This year Glyn is wearing his top hat to advertise the Yorkshire Hat Throwing Championship at Bowling Hall Museum, Bradford; part of a full day of events celebrating Yorkshire Day, Thursday 1st August, from 11.00. 

The competition involve landing a hat on a target, so is a measure of skill and hand eye coordination, rather than strength, and is suitable for all ages. T.I.F.F.T.H.A rules (Transnational Institute of Formally Thrown Hat Associations) say that all hats must be safe to throw, that no metal is allowed, and that neither hat abuse or hat fighting will be tolerated.

The Museum is free to enter and the Hat Throwing entry is by donation.

The fluorescent Bishop is part of Glyn’s remarkably successful campaign to get Bradford celebrating Bishop Blaise, the Patron Saint of Woolcombers, after a near 200 year gap. The Saint’s Day is on the 3rd February, and this year saw the Bradford Industrial Museum had a record February attendance figure for Bradford’s first wool festival; a festival both Glyn and the Museum have committed to repeat next year on the first Sunday in February.

The pie is baked by Glyn has his website in the crust (making it his iPie) and is to draw attention to his celebration of J.B.Priestely’s birthday on the 13th September, and: ‘a meat and potato pie that defied Hitler!’ 

That pie was made famous by a BBC Radio broadcast Bradford born Priestley made in September 1940, part of a series called ‘Postscripts’. Bradford had been bombed and while nobody was hurt, Priestley had been told that a pie shop that used to have a massive pie in the window that had steam coming out of the top had been destroyed.

Priestley came home to see the damage, and perhaps stand in the ruins of the shop to  “…catch perhaps a last faint lingering whiff of that steam…”. But to his joy the pie was damaged but the pie was still there “Every puff and jet of that steam defied Hitler, Goering, and the whole gang of them. It was glorious.”

So for 20 odd years Glyn has been doing shows on 13th September where people listen to him reading Priestley, look at pictures he project, and eat meat and potato pie (or vegetarian alternative) and peas.

This year the celebration is at the Jacobs Well public house on Kent Street in central Bradford. He will be doing two shows. One at 16.00 and another at 19.00. It is free entry, but pies will have to be paid for. There will be a choice of home made meat and potato or a vegetarian butter pie (potato and butter in a pie!). This event will also be the launch of Jacobs as a pie provider, which intends introducing a Pie of the Month feature.

Check Glyn’s show page at www.bradwan.com for details, or find @hatthrowing on instagram.


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