Poetry Night with Rack Press

The Society Club invites you to an evening of poetry with readings from Martina Evans, Denise Saul and Róisín Tierney, with introduction by poet and publisher of the Rack Press, Nicholas Murray

Tuesday, November 6th
6:30 – 8:30

Come join us for a glass of wine, a gorgeous cocktail and some memorable poetry.

‘Rack Press ever impresses’.  –Poetry Review

Rack Press was established in 2005 and is based in Wales.    In 7 short years, Rack Press has established itself as an independent poetry publisher producing high-quality chapbooks of new voices as well as award-winning poets such as Christopher Reid.   Nominated for the 2012 Michael Marks Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet series, we celebrate their success with readings from three poets – all published earlier this year by Rack – along with publisher/poet Nicholas Murray.

Thomas McCarthy has called her ‘one of a kind and brilliant’.   Poet and novelist Martina Evansis a popular performer of her work and has appeared on BBC radio and various festivals throughout the world.  She teaches creative writing at the City Lit in London.  Her latest collection from Rack Press is Oh Bart! praised by David Morley in the latest Poetry Review for its ‘fabulously elastic, strongly-voiced lines’.

Born in London, Denise Saul is a poet and fiction writer and winner of the 2011 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for her poem ‘Leaving Abyssinia’ which is included in her Rack Press pamphlet House of Blue.  House of Blue was recently reviewed as ‘highly striking, intelligent and various. Title poem held me, would not let go,’ by the Poetry Review.  Her pamphlet was recommended in the Spring by the Poetry Book Society.

Róisín Tierney studied psychology and philosophy in Dublin before moving to London.   Her Rack Press book, Dream Endings, won the Michael Marks Award earlier this year where judges praised her by saying ‘Roisin Tierney’s subjects may be the dark ones of human vulnerability and anguish, but the poems in this wonderfully cohesive and well-organized sequence rest on solid and graceful foundations of precision, musicality and wit. A remarkable solo debut from this already much-noticed poet’.

Nicholas Murray is a poet, author, and journalist who established the Rack Press in 2005. His recent book on the WW1 British poets, The Red Sweet Wine of Youth is a passionate recreation of the lives of the greatest poets to come out of the conflict, and has been hailed as ‘a fine account of the poetic sensibility of the period’ by the Daily Telegraph.  His latest collection of poetry published this year is Acapulco: New and Selected Poems  (Melos)

Tricity Vogue: Calamitous Liaisons

Tricity Vogue is a much-loved cabaret siren with a cheeky jazz voice and a fast strumming hand on the ukulele. For the last eight years she’s been using her own romantic scrapes as source material for her mischievous original songs. Now she’s decided it’s high time she gathered her dirty laundry together to see if there’s enough to fill a wardrobe – or at least, a cabaret.  Join Tricity for the premiere of her one-woman show of ukulele songs and salacious anecdotes in the delicious intimacy of the Society Club. Warning: Former lovers may be featured in show content.

“Celebrated London cabaret singer Tricity Vogue loves performing, and it shows. The big red smile on her face is contagious from the start.” -Broadway Baby

“Tricity Vogue and her uke… recipe for one of the finest shows you’ll see. It’s cabaret to run down side-streets for–just get there early.” Time Out London Critics’ Choice

Thursday 25 October

Photo Sin Bozkurt, Costume Susan Kulkarni & Emma Threadneedle, Hair & Make Up: Miss Honey Bare & Abigail O’Neill

Story Salon #3

** This event is sold-out!**
A night of short story readings, conversation & wine

Fair warning – the last two Story Salons were standing-room only, so come early to secure a seat…

Looking for warmth and inspiration?  Just us a London’s most intimate literary event and escape into another world with a range of wonderful readings from the brilliant short story writers Adam Marek, Chris Paling, David Vann and Zoe Lambert.

Saturday, October 27th
12 Ingestre Place, W1F0JF

£5 on the door

RSVP here …

Happy Birthday, Divine.

Steve Yeager: Divine Trash

Today (October 19th) would have been Divine’s birthday.

So it’s a perfect time to recommend one of our favourite books, Role Models by John Waters.

If you are a fan of Waters, then this book is a must.  In a witty, dry and at times beautifully sensitive prose, Waters runs down the role models in his life.  Who made him who he is today.   Some surprising, some shocking – every entry led me to read more on the subject.  It’s a book that leads you somewhere …

I was particularly interested, being a book-girl myself, in his ‘Bookworm’ chapter – where he runs down his literary heroes.  Here’s a link to the Vice site, which ran an excerpt of the book – so you can see for yourself.

Copies of Role Models – available in hardback and paperback – at the Shop now.   We have a limited number of SIGNED first edition hardcovers, too.   (Besides being a read you’ll love – this book makes a great gift)

The Red Sweet Wine of Youth: Reading

October 21st
Sunday poetry
5pm – 7pm

Nicholas Murray, author of The Red Sweet Wine of Youth: British Poets of the First World War, presents an evening discussing the poetry of World War 1, specifically the life and work of Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg.   With readings by Barney Ashton.

Nicholas Murray is an author and poet and has written books about Franz Kafka, Matthew Arnold and Aldous Huxley.   Murray also runs a small poetry publishing imprint called Rack Press.   His book The Red Sweet Wine of Youth is a passionate recreation of the lives of the greatest poets to come out of the conflict.  His book, just out in paperback  and has been hailed as ‘a fine account of the poetic sensibility of the period’ by the Daily Telegraph and ‘[Murray] pays close attention to his subject’s work, showing how the writing reflects the life.  It is an approach that works wonderfully here…a rich and compelling patchwork of responses to the conflict’ by the Financial Times.

Barney Ashton is an archive film curator and publisher of British documentaries. He has had 12 verse plays performed and is currently working on two poetic song cycles.

Please join us for an early evening of discussion, poetry and wine as we welcome Nicholas Murray and Barney Aston to The Society Club.



the photographs of formento+formento

“the world is full of fictional characters
looking for their stories.” – Diane Arbus

 October 9th-31st, 2012

Artist Reception, Thursday, October 11th

As read about in Londonist

In November 2009, like characters from American mythology, New York based photography team BJ and Richeille Formento lit out for the territory.

Hauling the silver airstream trailer which would serve as living quarters, make-up room and wardrobe for the next five months, they embarked on an epic road trip which would take them across 25 states as they recreated their singular interpretation of a great nation and its people sliding towards recession.

The results of this epic road trip are here to be enjoyed, admired – and thought upon. This extraordinary collection, which draws on the legacy of classic American cinema as much as it references the haunting characters and locations of Edward Hopper, is the realisation of the combined visions of BJ and Richeille Formento – though you may also detect stylistic nuances of late 20th century iconic photographers such as Cindy Sherman, or Mary Ellen Mark and Annie Leibovitz both of whom BJ assisted earlier in his career.

The technique this husband and wife team employed to shoot these pictures is as adventurous as the images themselves. Locations were scouted en route and the subjects they photographed were women often encountered on the same day that the image was created. The heroines of these powerful, edgy photographs may be strong or intensely vulnerable and often are frozen at one of life’s decisive moments. They are, to use Diane Arbus’s quote, fictional characters looking for their stories.

The isolation of many of these characters and the flash-lit locations which hint at a Hopper-like brooding mystery beyond the pool of light may suggest the precariousness of present days, when people are, as BJ Formento comments, “losing homes, losing their families. I wanted our work to show that.”

Circumstance captures America in uncertain times, both culturally and economically. Resonances from lost golden ages abound in these evocative, noirish creations: buildings in decay, neon signs abandoned in the desert, women ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’. There’s real sympathy and understanding here and an elegiac mournfulness for days of splendour that have proved as transient as the paintwork on the Formentos’ settings.


BJ Formento  was born in Hawaii and grew up in the Philippines.  After receiving his BFA in Photography from the Academy of Arts University in California, he moved to New York and assisted Richard Avedon, Mary Ellen Mark, Annie Leibovitz, and studied with Eugene Richards and Arnold Newman. Since 2001, he has shot for a host of publications and advertising clients, while continuing his personal work. Richeille Formento was born in London and attended the prestigious Central St Martins College of Art before working as an art director and designer in the fashion industry. The couple met in 2005 and combined forces to open a photo library called Eyecandy Images which distributes images that straddle the worlds of commercial and fine art, while formento + formento was created to facilitate fine art projects.

Boxing Birds


Next week, we launch a new show – so if you haven’t been over to see Tanya Tier’s gorgeous ‘Beautiful Strangeness’ exhibition – please stop-by!

“.. take a moment to soak in the current exhibition “Beautiful Strangeness” the first solo-London sculpture exhibition by artist Tanya Tier. This display of 20 unique works will twist your subconscious as you allow each to enter the parts of your brain you might be holding onto for a rainy day. Well, in Sunny Soho, that day has come, because whether it is a small bird breaking away from the glass container that seems to have restrained it or the “Death in Narnia” piece of a gas mask with antlers, it’s hard to ignore the flux of emotion as you respond to taxidermy being re-established and reinterpreted indeed, in a strangely beautiful way.” –The Pandorian

“Tanya Tier’s sculptures engages the viewer in a complex captivating mentally active exchange. A conversation unfurls within each of her sculptures, one becomes unsettled, hit by discordant  notes of raw brutal truths, or at once transfixed by the forgotten overwhelm of the intense immediacy that is love. I remember love. I’ve also forgotten it too. Her sculptures suggest an exploration into the moment, the sacred moment. Take that as you will. The moment of rawness, of death, of love, of the extraordinary in the ordinary, of weakness, of fetishness and of sex, or do I mean to say sex and death? Time opens up into another realm, the realm of magical journeying.  Perhaps I am mistaken, I am not versed in talking about sculpture, these are purely my observations. Curios both arresting and mysterious, are displayed inside highly polished Victorian style glass bell or dome jars supported on a wooden plinth. Her sculptures nestle comfortably yet interact well between first edition books, bookshelves, frost white walls and tables.    A taxidermised bird (with traceable provenance), seemingly with its spirit  preserved in invisible amber, momentarily suspends with open wing span allowing the viewer to peak about and story make. It is potent, spiritual, powerful, staggeringly beautiful and yet strangely alive. ” –Chichi Parish