Hey dude. Are you going to do this “ABOUT” page in the style of an imaginary conversation, like you so often do?
I don’t see why not. Nothing psychologically unhealthy about that.
Okay then. So what is Monkey Kettle, when all’s said and done?
It started out, waaaaay back in 1999 as ‘just’ a poetry magazine, a scheme to be part of bringing a bit of yer actual Literature and Cultcha to the fast-developing arts scene of Milton Keynes. As the years went by though, it became a convenient peg on which to hang other Arts projects – so now what Monkey Kettle is is a Milton Keynes Arts Collective who engage in arts exhibitions, theatre productions, the local music scene, and whatever else takes their fancy. Over the years we’ve put on gigs, we’ve released lo-lo-lo-fi CDs on our record label, we even had an occasional Pub Quiz team!
Can I ask some FAQs about specific things you do?
Yeah, why not. Or if you’re interested in a general overview of the History of Monkey Kettle, you could head to the Words page (still under construction of course!) where there’s all sorts of stuff to look at.
What happened to Monkey Kettle: The Magazine? That was really great.
Why, yes. It was. Thanks for saying. We ran the mag for a fifteen year period between October 1999 and July 2014, and it was great fun and people seemed to like it. Real Life though is always the enemy of artistic endeavour, and we had to make the tough decision in the end to put it on indefinite hiatus after issue #41. We just couldn’t find the man-hours needed to do it justice, and if we’re being honest, it never used to sell that well either! ;-)
So is that it for ever?
Hey, never say never. I think I’d be surprised if it returned in the next few years, but maybe one day we’ll resurrect it in some format or other.
Fair play. But if there’s no magazine, what is Monkey Kettle now?
Well, as I said above, it’s always been more than ‘just’ the mag. We’ll still be doing stuff around town as and when we’re able or the mood takes us. And if it’s the written word you’re after, then we are still occasionally releasing our themed short-story compilation books via Lulu. Have a look at our Shop page for the latest on that.
Okay. What sort of ‘stuff’ might you be doing round town?
As of 2016, sporadic one-off acoustic gigs mainly. That’s been a big part of our focus in recent years. In 2010 we started a monthly acoustic open mic night up at the Slug & Lettuce in the Theatre District, and then in 2011 we added a monthly ‘full band gig’ night to that. We later moved to the Open University Cellar Bar for a bit, and most recently in 2014/15 we’ve been tinkering with putting stuff on at the Stantonbury Campus Gallery Space. So who knows where we’ll be! For details of all upcoming gigs though (if there are any!), check out our Facebook Group. In fact, that’s a good place to keep up with us generally, I’d say.
Did I hear something about a summer festival?
You may well have done! Between 2007 and 2014 we ran a stage at the Great Linford Waterside Festival which was one of Milton Keynes’ best summer music and arts events. For the last six of those eight years we graduated to running “Stage 2”, the second stage, which featured a smashing mix of full bands, acoustic artists, up-and-coming youngsters and whatever else we could find that was good. Sadly, after many years, the Waterside Festival has closed its doors for the last time. We may manage to run similar stages at other events given time and the opportunity, but for now that chapter is closed too.
So is it just music gigs then? That’s all you seem to be going on about…
We did have a theatre company for a bit, and we do still sometimes put on visual arts exhibitions when the mood takes those of us who do visual arts stuff. But at the moment the barometer has swung significantly towards music. Still, you can never tell with our barometer. It’s a funny old piece of equipment.
MONKEY KETTLE CORE VALUES
In this new millennia of mission statements and key deliverables, we thought it worth outlining our corporate strategy here as well. Just in case anyone was interested.
- Unrelenting commitment to the “Wuh?” factor.
- Art & Science Over Business & Management.
- Milton Keynes is the greatest place in the world, bar none.
- How hard can it be, dude?
- One day we will break even.
Thanks. And finally…
Kermit: “Yeah, well, I’ve got a dream too, but it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And… well, I’ve found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And that makes us like a family.”
“The Muppet Movie” (1979)