Performance Publishing

The London Word Festival team have put up loads of wonderful pictures from that seminal evening of entertainment, Keep Printing and Carry On at STK. Darren Hayman, Jo Neary, and Murray Macaulay all in collaboration with the Henningham Family Press. And if that wasn’t enough, Universettee with guest mini-lecturers Sophie Mackay and David Barnes…



Chip Shop on stage before broadcast


Making preparations with Ian McMillan and the producer


Simon Armitage choosing his Chip Shop word; ‘homunculus’

Work in Progress CANCELLATION

May 16th, 2010 | Posted by David in Live Shows - (0 Comments)

We are having to pull out of the book fair advertised for today, Ping* is on maternity leave now, and I’m going to have to stay with her today instead.

Sunday 16th May 2010, 12noon FREE

96-98 Pentonville Road, N1

We’ve been invited to host a stall at a book event called Work in Progress, at the Lexington. For people who have asked when they’ll be able to come and browse through a copy of the Neglected Interviews, this is a good time. Many of our other titles will also be there to look at and buy.


NB, this is not an appearance of the Chip Shop

Work in Progress on the facebook

We had a great time last night, broadcasting the Chip Shop as part of a live edition of the Verb from the BBC Radio Theatre. Our dictionary lies in great need of repair after being put through its paces by the wonderful verb audience. Their favourite words are obviously almost part of the family. One lady asked what will happen to all the words that were not chosen.. I assure you madam that we will find good homes for them, we never put a good word down.

You can listen again to the show, or indeed for the first time, here

Ian McMillan suggested the word Kneppel; that rings a bell. Simon Armitage chose ‘Homunculus’, a big word to describe a small man. Richard Hawley chose ‘thigmotaxis’, a barman pointed out to him that this phenomenon applied to both insects and man; only lunatics and coppers sit in the middle of a deserted saloon bar. And our final guest selected the vowel-rich ‘pianola’.

bravothumbcrestthumb1 badinagethumbcodsthumb gubbinsthumbmyopicthumb anosthumb

People who enjoyed the Chip Shop on the Verb may also enjoy:

errthumb The Erroneous Disposition of the People, an anthology of poetry and prose based around the contents pages of Sir Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia Epidemica

negthumb The Neglected Interviews, a seminar held on the nuts and bolts of alternative arts practice.

Order Titles

Here’s your chance to suggest words for our menu on the Verb. Either email us directly or add a comment below with up to two of your favourite words, and we will hand-pick the freshest entries to be printed for the show.

Members of the Verb audience and recipients of their newsletter now have until midnight Wednesday 5th May!


(note: if you’ve never commented on our blog before it will not appear immediately, but rest assured we will see it.)

You can also read about Ian McMillan’s previous work with us here

Friday 7th May, 9.15pm on The Verb

Following his performance of the Chip Shop Poem, a poem composed of the words generated by the Chip Shop at the London Word Festival 2010, Ian McMillan enjoyed the Chip Shop so much he asked us to come on his BBC Radio 3 ‘caberet of the word’ show, THE VERB. Chip Shop will be featuring in a special live edition of Radio 3 show. Beaming out from the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, you’ll be able to hear the Henningham Family Press printing and selling chips to fellow guests; Simon Armitage and Richard Hawley, the 300 live studio audience, and of course, poet, raconteur and national treasure, Ian McMillan. Unfortunately there are no more tickets left for this event, but hopefully you’ll still join us, live on air! 91.3 FM, for those of you whom, like us, are still on the old-fashioned twiddly wireless. And there is one other way you can take part in the show… Suggest a word for our catch of the day! More details to follow.

mcmillan1 chipshop1_web

*The Chip Shop was commissioned by London Word Festival 2010

Ian McMillan’s ‘the Verb’ on BBC Radio 3 has accompanied my news blackout of the last few months. I quit listening to or reading about current affairs after I realised it was mostly bad news, not ‘bad’ in the gloomy sense but rather the ‘inaccurate’. So it was fun to realise while listening to the show that he was the man we would be workin with on the London Word Festival official poster for 2010. We’re very pleased with the result.


Here is a review of his work by Lauren Romano:

We all shuffle up and take a pew as the proceedings begin. First up, specially commissioned poet Ian McMillan takes to the stage to perform the festival’s official Chip Shop Poem. McMillan gets things off to a flying start as his thickly laden Yorkshire glottal stops spurt out from his mouth at break neck speed. By the time we actually get to the Chip Shop poem, The Epic Friday Night Travels of Norman McNorman I am in a mild state of hysterics and so unfortunately can’t recall the finer details, but it’s very funny, ingenious and has something to do with a man called Norman and a late night trip to the Chip Shop. Hats off to Ian who manages to get the words ‘pigeon’, ‘fusspot’, ‘crepuscular’, ‘incandescent’, ‘hopscotch’, and ‘jump’ along with other maverick mots into a well-rhymed jumble with a particularly good last line involving the word ‘spatula’.

Copies are on sale from the London Word Festival.

I was asked to add a sculpture to a brief exhibition held by our good friend Jim Hobbs, in his studio in Peckham. The reception last night was a great fun occassion. I loaned this:


It is about 170mm long. We were also asked to respond to a list of numbers found on one of the shelves that I took to be syllables and lines 5/6, 2/5, 2/5, 5/2 which gave the structure to this poem about storage:

One-hand piano piece
In the wake of Trench War.
The first Xerox machine,
It needs no fine tuning.
An assortment of nails.

(Lost book hound on the
Franco-Spanish line;

Thesis on Lost Time).
Art storage/haulage;

(1-2) The first couple of lines refer to Paul Wittgenstein, the concert pianist who lost an arm in the Great War. In this period pieces for one hand were written and stand for devices that make do with imperfect elements available at the time and go beyond themselves.
(3-4) One of the first Xerox machines, however, was constructed for the inventor by my Engineer Grandfather at Roneo Works. The machine worked first time despite its complication. This stands as one of those marvels where a rare moment of perfection occurs.
(5) There is always an assortment of nails on a decent shelf. My favourite is a jar lid screwed onto the underside of the shelf with the jar hanging from it to create more space above. This stands for the hope that homeless elements will become useful again.
(6-9) This refers to Walter Benjamin and his suitcase. This stands for great things that are lost and almost lost.
(10-14) Finally we have the life-trajectory of a work of art, most of which is made for storage and often as a heat-sink for surplus value/investment. This is why Jim’s exhibition in a store room is a very efficient proposal. It is also quite subversive, because all the work has been stored in full view and arranged without regard to how much money someone might pay for it.
In this context my little sculpture makes a bit more sense. Of course it wasn’t made following a narrative, but these general principles of prosthetics (making-do), perfection, and usefulness were kept in mind when trying to make the bits come together. But following its completion I have tried to interpret what it means.
It is made from a broken bone augmented with a kind of prosthetic wooden part. The wood is Lignum Aloes, a mythical wood that is not categorised by its species or attributes but by where it is found. Any wood can be lignum aloes if it is found in one of the four rivers that flow out of the Earthly Paradise. It stands for little moments of grace or shavings from perfection that come to meet us downstream. For that reason the word ‘Euphrates’, a name that refers to nourishment, can be glimpsed appearing in the acrylic block that supports the wooden part.
I do not know why it has a hole in the end like a wind instrument. It may refer to the breath that re-animates the dry bones. And after all, Ezekiel made a couple of sculptures in his time.
There is a catalogue of the show featuring all of the artists available through a publishing-on-demand website here

Thanks to all who came, it was totally sold out! We had a great time and hope you did too. It turned out to be a wonderful evening of printing mayhem!

Here are a few photos, more may follow later:

Last chance to see Chip Shop at the London Word Festival will be on Wednesday 31st March at ‘The Art of Storytelling‘ event, where we will be printing the official London Word Festival 2010 Poem, alongside Ian McMillan, the poet himself!