Artworks share space where funny men stand and deliver
It's always great to see new and enthusiastic venues opening their doors, especially in the heart of a small Westcountry community. The Long Gallery, a Grade II listed building set in a picturesque walled garden and backing onto the Port Eliot Estate at St Germans in south east Cornwall, is just such a place.
For generations it was the village primary school, then it lay empty for three decades before being reinvented last year as a tea room and tapas bar with a difference. It doubles as a beautiful, colourful space where host Jo Lanyon can exhibit his vibrant and striking modern abstract paintings, which carry strong echoes of the work of his father, the internationally renowned St Ives artist Peter Lanyon.
Now the gallery has begun to host regular comedy, spoken word and acoustic music evenings. Monthly stand-up nights under the Laughing Gas moniker have already been attracting sell-out crowds and there's a weighty late summer double bill on offer next Friday, September 6.
Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and alternative cabaret circuits for more than ten years. A moustachioed multiple slam champion who loves language and hates competition in the arts, is an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and bicycles; his slim volume The Sustainable Nihilists' Handbook is published by Burning Eye Books and it's his new solo show, Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk that he's bringing to Cornwall.
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His fellow headliner for the evening is the multi-talented, Bristol-based Nathan Filer, a writer, performer and mental health nurse. He has worked as a researcher in the academic unit of psychiatry at the University of Bristol, and on in-patient psychiatric wards.
Nathan's stand-up poetry has been a regular fixture at festivals across the UK and has been broadcast on BBC TV and radio.
He is also a BBC Best New Filmmaker and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. His debut novel The Shock of the Fall was acquired by HarperCollins in an 11-way auction and was published to great acclaim in May.
Coming up in October are self-confessed "word idiot" Byron Vincent and Rachel Pantechnicon, who specialises in motivational poems for cats... and for people. Her other claims to fame are being the self-declared best-dressed woman on the poetry circuit and the author of story books about Cheesegrater Leg-Iron Lion. Aged 47 and a veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe, she's been broadcast on Radios 1, 3 and 4, and is holding out for 2.
This weekend there are a couple of musical treats. Tonight Plymouth-based Sinatra-style crooner Michael Campari will be demonstrating his soulful cabaret style, revisiting a classic 20th century songbook. And tomorrow country and blues trio Los Limpos will be treading the old schoolroom boards.
For more details of The Long Gallery's opening times and events, visit thelonggallery.co.uk.