A Night For Gaza – Tuesday Sept 16



September 16th 2014 Platform Theatre @ 7.30pm

£10 / £7 (conc)
Jeremy Hardy
Romany Smith
(Reading from Heathcote Williams‘ new acclaimed work “The Children of Gaza”)
Aidan Andrew Dunn and Lucie Rejchrtová
Mohammed Quishta- Zita Holbourne – Robb Johnson
Compered By
Ivor Dembina

With many thanks to the Stop the War Campaign and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Jeremy Hardy became a stand-up comedian in January 1984. His BBC Radio 4 work includes Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the NationThe News QuizI’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and You’ll Have Had Your Tea.  He has also done various bits of television, most notably, Now Something Else with Rory BremnerSaturday LiveBlackadder Goes ForthLoose TalkJack and Jeremy’s Real Lives with Jack Dee and If I Ruled the World with Graeme Garden and Clive Anderson.

He’s been in three films: Mike Figgis’s Hotel with Burt Reynolds, Oliver Irving’s How to Be with Robert Pattinson and Leila Sansour’s documentary, Jeremy Hardy v the Israeli Army, which involved a degree of personal risk. He has written columns for The Guardian and Red Pepper and has written three books:When Did You Last See Your Father, a spoof childcare guide; Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, based on the radio series; and My Family and Other Strangers,  an examination of his lacklustre ancestry, published last year.

More importantly, he is still a stand-up comic, performing his one-man show in theatres and arts centres throughout Britain and Ireland. He is also part of the live touring version of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

A kind soul in The Guardian wrote of him, “In an ideal world, Jeremy Hardy would be extremely famous, but an ideal world would leave him without most of his best material.”

He does not usually refer to himself in the third person.

romanyRomany Smith is artistic director of OutSide Arts a company working a number of diverse areas, with the field of community art and Agit-Prop theatre.

She is a human rights activist performer who has come to public attention through her exploits and campaigns and the not always desirable attention of the press. Both creatively and politically with her production company OutSide Arts, Romany has devised, written and directed the black comedies, ‘Whats Up Guantanamo’ featured on Sky News at Ten and ‘Welcome to Britain’ – a satirical look at spin and the exploitation of petty racism used to push through Blair’s internments and anti-terror laws.

Romany also facilitates: THE ACTORVIST  Agit-prop,  performance protest, workshops – exploring ways into protest and social change through theatre and performance.

Romany spent time in Gaza as a peace activist until being illegally abducted at gun point by a squad of Israeli soldiers at 2am and after two days in captivity, forcibly deported from Palestine as a result of her actions during a midnight Israeli incursion on the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Recently Romany became somewhat infamous for her part in the organization of demonstrations against the hagiography of Margaret Thatchers leadership. Enduring a witch hunt and personality assassination at the hands of the press, which included the Daily Mail’s assertion that she was ‘Britain’s vilest women’. She says: “Striving toward altruism might be the highest goal of any civilization.”

heathcote-pic-photo-Roberto-Galli-194x300Heathcote Williams – will not be appearing this evening, but the evening will feature the debut of his most recent and acclaimed work ‘The Children of Gaza’, read in an abridged form by Romany Smith – a work that recently led the poet Michael McClur to describe him as having, ‘been touched by the angelic breath of Shelley.’

Heathcote Williams (born 15 November 1941) is an English poet, actor and award-winning playwright. He is also an intermittent painter, sculptor and long-time conjuror. He is perhaps best known for the book-length polemical poem Whale Nation, which in 1988 became “the most powerful argument for the newly instigated worldwide ban on whaling.” In the early 1970s, his agitational graffiti were a feature on the walls of the then low-rent end of London’s Notting Hill district.

From his early twenties, Williams has enjoyed a minor cult following. His first book was The Speakers (1964), an account of life at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. In 1974, it was adapted for the stage by the Joint Stock Theatre Company.

His first full-length play, AC/DC (1970), a critique of the burgeoning mental health industry, includes a thinly veiled attack on his fellow denizen of 1960s alternative society, and doyen of the anti-psychiatry movement, R. D. Laing. Its production at the Royal Court Theatre, did not, however, appear to impede cordial relations between the two in later years. AC/DC won the London Evening Standard‘s Most Promising Play Award. It also received the 1972 John Whiting Award for being “a new and distinctive development in dramatic writing with particular relevance to contemporary society.” It was described in the Times Literary Supplement in a front-page review by Charles Marowitz as ‘the first play of the 21st century.’.
Other plays include the one-act monologue Hancock’s Last Half Hour, The Local Stigmatic, The Immortalist and the impossible to categorise Remember The Truth Dentist—an early effort, again at the Royal Court, directed by fellow-contrarian Ken Campbell.

The inaugural issue of the London Review of Books included an effusive profile by fellow Etonian Francis Wyndham titled The Magic of Heathcote Williams. His foremost fans among the famous are the late Harold Pinter and Al Pacino.

His trilogy of book-length poems on environmental themes. Each was packed with detailed research and scores of photographs. Written some years earlier as visionary propaganda, they were probably the most lavishly illustrated English poetry since William Blake. Whale Nation (1988) has been described it as an “epic plea for the future of the whale, a hymn to the beauty, majesty and intelligence of the largest mammals on earth, as well as a prayer for their protection… Whale Nation became the most powerful argument for the newly instigated worldwide ban on whaling, and for a moment, back in 1988, it seemed as if a shameful chapter in human history might finally be drawing to a close.”




Zita Holborne

For introduction:  Zita is an award winning trade union & community activist,  poet, writer, visual artist and curator. She campaigns for equality, freedom, justice and human rights through activism, art and spoken word. She is elected to the PCS union national executive, the TUC Race Relations Committee and the ACTSA (successor org to the anti apartheid movement) National Executive. Her poetry has featured in various anthologies, publications, on tv and radio. She is featured in the new book, Here We Stand, Women Changing the World and was recently nominated in the Eight Women Awards. She won the positive role model for race award at the National Diversity Awards in 2012 and was on the Afro News top twelve African and Caribbean Women in 2013.


Aidan Andrew Dun will be reading from his acclaimed verse novel Unholyland, of which Tom Paulin said:

I was deeply moved by Unholyland – it has extraordinary energy, wit, knowledge, and beautifully marries the vernacular with rhyme. It reads beautifully and is like nothing else I’ve read.

According to the Evening Standard Aidan Dun stole the show at the Royal Albert Hall in November 1995, upstaging Allen Ginsberg and Paul McCartney at the launch of his epic poem Vale Royal in front of 4,000 people at the largest poetry event the UK had seen in four decades.

Since then Dun has gone to produce four more epic poems, India Cantos: Universal (Goldmark 2002), McCool (Goldmarkm2008) and Unholyland (Hesperus, 2013) and two collections of shorter poems as well as a monograph on the essential French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. Also a composer, in performance Aidan AD delivers from memory his poems and lyrics over ambient electronica, playing guitar-synth and acoustic; while more classical impressionistic poem-settings are handled by Lucie Rejchrtova, Prague conservatoire-trained rock-keyboardist extraordinaire.

I was deeply moved by Unholyland – it has extraordinary energy, wit, knowledge, and beautifully marries the vernacular with rhyme. It reads beautifully and is like nothing else I’ve read.

Vale Royal moves with the ease and clarity of a fresh spring over ancient stones, making its myths casual even colloquial – an impressive achievement

Dun stands apart from all schools and schisms…He is the carefully regulated trickle of water that cracks stone.

He has an extraordinary sense of the past. He’s one of those people, along with Blake and Chatterton and others, who are like a divining rod for history.

Aidan Andrew Dun is a poet … in the tradition of William Blake, and has a vision of London – and indeed of the world – which draws strength and fire from that association. He is simultaneously a one-off and in excellent company.

Aidan Andrew Dun is a visionary, a pied piper of modern poetry…



Aidan Andrew Dun spent a fantastical childhood in the West Indies and knew his calling for poetry from an early age.  He returned to London as a teenager to live with his inspirational grandmother, dancer Marie Rambert. After some years travelling globally AAD was drawn back to London to explore the psychogeography of Kings Cross, magnet to other visionaries before him.Vale Royal (Goldmark 1995), written and recited in the form of a quest, dreams of transforming an urban wasteland into a city of canals at the heart of London. Launched at the Royal Albert Hall this epic poem earned AAD the title Voice of Kings Cross.

Aidan AD delivers from memory his poems and lyrics over ambient electronica, playing guitar-synth and acoustic; while more classical impressionistic poem-settings are handled by Lucie Rejchrtova, Prague conservatoire-trained rock-keyboardist extraordinaire.








Lucie Rejchrtová is a pianist and keyboard player from Prague. Her style ranges from old blues and boogie-woogie to modern jazz, rock and funk. Shortly after her arrival in the UK (2000) she started busking with her keyboard, accordeon and blues harmonica in the London Underground and in the streets of London and other UK and European cities such as Berlin or Amsterdam. In 2001 she joined the psychedelic rock band Instant Flight and recorded two albums with them. Two years later, while busking in the tube, she met the 60′s icon Arthur Brown, and together with Instant Flight became a part of his band ‘The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’. They have shared the stage with Eric Burdon and the Animals, Yardbirds, Country Joe and the Fish, Hawkwind, Procol Harum, Pentangle, Focus and many more. Lucie also plays with Joe Carnation, the guitarist of the legendary Czech underground band ‘The Plastic People of the Universe’, celebrated by Tom Stoppard in his play ‘Rock’n’Roll’. She also collaborates with the poet Aidan Andrew Dun known as ‘Voice of King’s Cross’, with whom she plays compositions influenced by Debussy, Stravinski and Satie, but even nu-jazz and hip-hop.

RobbRobb Johnson
Robb’s widely recognised as one of the UK’s finest songwriters. “An English original”, says the Guardian’s Robin Denselow … “the real deal when it comes to songwriting,” says BBC Radio2′s Mike Harding. He gigs in the UK, Belgium, Germany & the USA. His songs are covered by many singers, from folk legend Roy Bailey to cabaret diva Barb Jungr. His album 1997 double album “Gentle Men” was a Daily Telegraph “Folk Album of the Year.” Recent albums have been 2011’s solo acoustic album “Some Recent Protest Songs” & “Once Upon A Time”, an electric band album recorded with The Irregulars. In 2012 he released a second band album “Happily Ever After”, which included the song “When Tottenham Burned”, named by FATEA as their “Song of the Year”. 2013 saw the release of “Bring Down The Moon”, an album recorded with a largely acoustic band, & “West Pier Serenade”, a limited edition vinyl LP issued on Record Store Day, & in the autumn the release of a new, revised version of “Gentle Men”, Robb’s family history of the First World War & its consequences, that received unanimous critical acclaim.


‘The show will hosted by Ivor Dembina a Jewish comedian who has fought through his work and as a political activist for a just and peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. He was a peace worker on the West Bank between 2002 and 2005 and has performed in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. He organised the Free Gaza! benefit show at the Edinburgh festival in August 2014, raising money and support for Medical Aid for Palestine and the peace movement in Israel.  He is a signatory to Jews for Justice for Palestinians and on the National Committee of the Jewish Socialists’ Group.’

Ivor’s site:  www.thinkbeforeyoulaugh.com
Jews for Justice for Palestinians site: http://jfjfp.com/
Jewish Socialists’ Group: www.jewishsocialists.org.uk

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One Response to A Night For Gaza – Tuesday Sept 16

    1. I really really respect, all people care with Gaza

      Comment by SITI KHOTIJAH on 19 October, 2019 at 8:34 am

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