What exactly is Happy Sundays and who is behind it? Sundays is something of an unplanned accident. An evolution that started as a gathering of like minded souls and became a regular afternoon of what I somewhat pretentiously describe as ‘Poetry, Music and Miscellany’.
The evolution began in April 2016 when a good friend, renowned poet and local legend Larry Wilson set himself the task of writing a new poem for every day of April. It has always been my belief that poetry is best enjoyed when read by the poet so I suggested that Larry gave a reading one afternoon.
After a little convincing, Larry read The April Poems (still available on Amazon!) to a small group of alcohol-fuelled individuals on the May 1 2016. The venue was the intimate setting of Olde Worlde Wines, now Rye Fine Wines.
The assembled masses, all eight of them, suggested that we make it a monthly event and so began Happy Sundays.
Anything goes with the poetry
The billing of “Poetry, Music and Miscellany” makes the event sound way more highbrow than it is in reality. The poetry can be anything from Philip Larkin to John Hegley – self penned or a favourite poem, limerick, haiku – anything goes.
And then the music. We attract a wonderful array of talented local musicians and, on occasion, visitors to Rye. We once had two amazing singers from the National Opera who just happened upon us looking for a glass of wine.
All are welcome, from established musicians to complete beginners, and will always enjoy support and appreciation. Local singer songwriter Tommy Ludford played Happy Sundays long before appearing before ten thousand people at Wembley Arena. Fortunately we didn’t have a stage to fall off. Tommy is rumoured to be performing this week.
And miscellany. As it suggests it’s anything you want it to be.
But a new venue
Due to Covid-19 restrictions we’ve had to move to a new venue, The Brewery Yard Club in Landgate. A different venue, but the same afternoon of entertainment, amusement and a few drinks. But don’t take my word for it…
Larry Wilson adds: “I will be forever grateful to Steve for suggesting – well, insisting – that I read my first collection of poetry, The April Poems, written during National Poetry Month in 2016, at Olde Worlde Wines.
“He organised the event, publicised it, and, at the halfway point in the afternoon, by a sort of mutual, happy, unspoken consent, it morphed into asking other people to take the microphone and share favourite poems.
“And then the musicians in the room got out their instruments, and we had an impromptu ceilidh going. That set the pattern for all the lovely Sundays that followed – poetry and anecdotes, followed by splendid live music from talented local musicians. I really missed it this last year!”
Not pretentious, snobby or stiff
And Simon Kershaw adds: “Mr Wilson’s event gives the lie to the notion that any gathering that features poetry must be pretentious, snobby or stiff. The clue’s in the name: those Sunday afternoons were always fun (and funny), sometimes moving, occasionally a bit chaotic. Everyone, even the shyest, felt able to stand up and share their voice. Happy Sundays are an oasis of creativity, inclusivity and simple human warmth.
Phil Trainor then muses: “Happy Sundays; poetry and miscellany, from classics to verses penned by locals, some poignant but most to make you laugh and all finished off with music from local artists. All in all an afternoon of pure organic entertainment.”
We anticipate a great turn-out this Sunday, June 6 from 4pm. To avoid disappointment, you can reserve a table at The Brewery Yard Club.
Image Credits: Mary Foster .