MONKEY KETTLE TIMELINE
(in reverse chronological order, I think – like you’ve got to dig down to the bottom to reach the most distant past)
- Matthew (painfully slowly!) continues to compile this timeline.
- At the publication of issue #41, which finally limps out in July, Matthew announces that this will be the final issue of the mag for a while so the team can focus on other projects.
- The third short-story collection comes out in July: “A Fistful Of Monkeys” has a classic Western vibe, and is also released in e-book format, a first for Monkey Kettle. Again, there’s a music (and poetry!) night at Stantonbury to launch it.
- There’s a launch for “Do Monkeys Dream Of Electric Kettles?” at Stantonbury Gallery in January, along with music from the usual suspects and another art exhibition. A threefer, if you will.
- Monkey Kettle’s second short-story compilation is released. This time the theme is Sci-Fi, and the title is “Do Monkeys Dream Of Electric Kettles?”
- #40 is released, just before Christmas (a little bit late, go figure!)
- For a few months, the gang experiment with an acoustic open mic night in the Gallery Bar of Stantonbury Leisure Centre. In the end, they decide to stick to occasional nights in the Theatre Gallery space the following year.
- Monkey Kettle release “Monkey Tails Of Terror” – a short story compilation with a chilling theme.
- The Open University gigs come to an end in April of 2013.
- #39 is released in the Spring.
- #38 is released in the Autumn.
- Monkey Kettle provide an acoustic stage across the weekend at the MK Paint Jam festival, a new visual arts event based at Inter-Action in Peartree Bridge (August 2012).
- #37 is released in the Spring.
- #36 is released in the Autumn.
- The team add “full band gigs” to their repertoire at The Slug & Lettuce, but after a few months of running both those and the acoustic open mics on alternate fortnights, that particular pub-arts group combination comes to an end in September 2011. It was great while it lasted though. In October, the whole franchise moves wholesale to the Open University campus at Walton Hall, where the music continues: switching between the Cellar Bar and the Pavilion Bar depending on the season.
- #35 is released in the Spring.
- Diane curates the latest Monkey Kettle Art Exhibition, which is hosted by MADCAP in January. Highlights include Phil’s interactive tepee and Motorbike Simon’s Techno Corner.
- #34 is released in the Autumn.
- #33 is released in the Spring.
- From March 2010, the team begin to run a monthly acoustic open mic night at The Slug & Lettuce in the CMK Theatre District. With two featured acts nestling majestically in the middle of a whole bunch of great open mic performers, both regular and… very irregular, it’s one of the highlights of the Monkey Kettle story in its heyday. The official name is “Monkey Kettle Sort Of Open Mic Night”, and perhaps our most popular innovation is “The Box”, a blue plastic crate full of percussion toys for people to play along with the music.
- Another general Art Exhibition takes place in the Autumn too, at Stantonbury Gallery space. The most memorable artefact – for us anyway! – was Simon & Nikki’s ‘giant crucified vagina’ sculpture. Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t last till the end of the exhibition’s run.
- #32 is released in the Autumn.
- At the third Monkey Kettle Waterside stage in June (now permanently housed down by the canal end), there are excellent sets from – among many others! – Equinox, Dusque and the indescribable Stylaphonics. The festival-goers also help create the inaugural Waterside Mural, which we later display at the Autumn’s exhibition.
- There are not one, but two more “Street Name Photo” exhibitions in the first half 0f 2009: one at Stantonbury Gallery and one in the Central Milton Keynes Library, which is technically our biggest ever audience for anything!
- #31 is released in the Spring.
- The team run stages at both Korfstock and the Great Linford Waterside again – the balance of power on both is shifting significantly from poetry to music!
- Between May and October, a new food critique blog by a mysterious and shadowy figure called “The Masticator” almost takes off – happily though his several entries are still archived for ever on the internets.
- After finding a (great!) new printer, Monkey Kettle: The Magazine gets back on track. The delayed #28 is rush-released in January, and from here on the frequency settles down to the current twice-yearly. #29 comes out in June, #30 in November.
- Matthew & Simon perform alongside other poetry performers at MK Gallery on a special exhibition launch night. Famously, Simon unnerves the entire audience with his poem about Nigella Lawson being raped to death by a rhinoceros. As you can imagine.
- In January, Monkey Kettle host a charity night at MADCAP in aid of Lupus UK. “Lupus Aid” is a riotous mixture of music, poetry and performance and raises several hundred quid. We even recorded a single especially for it: “There’s A Little Bit Of Lupus In All Of Us”. Superlative.
- It’s a shaky year for the mag, as we struggle to find a new printer. Due to this, there’s only one issue in 2007: #27 (June), which is self-produced by Matthew & Simon using their bare hands and a stapler.
- Building on their festival presence in 2006, the team ‘curate’ two more stages in the Summer, this time mixing both poetry and music – at both Korfstock (Tattenhoe) and for the first time at the Great Linford Waterside Festival. For several periods at the Waterside it rains sideways across their stage and they have to cover everything with bin bags.
- There’s also two more Poetry Slams at MADCAP – though they’re both also becoming more and more infected with music performances (and even comedy!). After the fourth one (Nov 2007) the reins are handed over to the smashing ladies of Poetry Kapow! who continue on into a golden future…
- Issues of the magazine in 2006: #24 (Feb), #25 (May), #26 (Nov).
- A new departure for the gang comes with the first couple of Monkey Kettle Poetry Slams, held at MADCAP. Slightly awkwardly, major Monkey Kettle staff member Simon wins the first one (March 2006). The second one centres around a theatrically exaggerated Poetry Battle Royal between Simon and a character known as Bleed The Waiter. Bleedy wins (Sept 2006).
- The team also host their first “small poetry” stages at local festivals – namely Parklife (Newport Pagnell) and MK4U (Campbell Park). Both are reasonably drowned out by the music stages. It looks like a lot of fun to do a music stage, we think…
- Perhaps the biggest event thus far in the history of the team comes in the Autumn when – with some funding help from the MK Arts Association – a “proper” book is produced. “Now That’s What I Call Monkey Kettle – volume one (1999-2004)” is published by Next Century Books and is a full collection of much of the best work from the first 20 issues of the magazine. It looks and feels absolutely smashing – and is launched on National Poetry Day upstairs at Ottakars in front of literally dozens!
- Another year with three issues of the mag (#21 – March 05; #22 – Summer 05; #23 – Sep 05).
- Our second Monkey Kettle Art Exhibition takes place, this time at Stantonbury Campus Gallery in January 2005. Selected highlights include a collection by the ever-excellent Steve Groom, a hanging fabric body by Nikki Ibbotson, Wayne’s wasp apple photo and an installation from The School Of Lost & Found, whoever they may be. Alright, it was Matthew & James. James also sold a painting for £80! Imagine that!
- The magazine starts to get a bit less frequent as ‘outside’ projects get a bit more frequent. To be honest I’ve no idea how we managed to produce it quarterly! In 2004 we reduce to ‘tri-annually’: #18 (Mar 04), #19 (Sep 04) and (celebrating our fifth anniversary!) #20 (Dec 04).
- The magazine continues to go from strength to strength – issues #14 (Mar 03), #15 (May 03), #16 (Aug 03) and #17 (Nov 03) are all released. The cover of #15 is designed for us by local art legend Steve Groom, the first Guest Cover Artist.
- On top of the four issues of the magazine, the team form “Monkey Kettle Press” to release three further things in the same format: poetry collections “Captain Gin” by Simon Edwards, “The Not Quite Album” by matthew michael taylor, and “The Screaming Of Milotchka Stitch”, a dark novella by the incredible Cissy Aeon.
- But the team behind the mag are itching to do bigger and more diverse projects. In September 2003 Monkey Kettle hosts its first ever Art Exhibition, in the gallery at MADCAP. Among other great works, this exhibition sees the first appearance of the always-popular “Monkey Kettle Street Name Photos“:
- #13 is officially launched at another “Evening Of Diverse Entertainment” in November 2002. It’s the first of our “MK Issues”: devoted entirely to work about Milton Keynes and (mostly) by MK writers.
- #11 comes out in May 2002, #12 in July 2002.
- In March, Matthew & James appear on late-night Anglia TV ‘what’s on’ show “The Biz”, interviewed in the grass near the concrete cows by the guy who used to play Gay Simon in Eastenders. They wanted to have us actually sat on the cows, but we refused to be associated with them. Har.
- Celebrating the launch of issue #10, Matthew, Simon & James feature on the cover of the Go!2 section of the MK Sunday Citizen.
- At the local awards ceremony (“The Go! Awards”), cover artist James is nominated in the Best Local Artist category – and both Monkey Kettle-affiliated theatre companies (Ludamus and Paperfish) are nominated in the Best Local Theatre Companies category. None of them win, but it’s nice to get a mention, innit.
- #8 is released in July 2001, and #9 at an “Evening Of Diverse Entertainment” (at the legendary MADCAP in Wolverton) in November.
- Monkey Kettle are very grateful to receive their first funding – from the then Milton Keynes Arts Association (now Arts Gateway MK) to help launch a website, the original www.monkeykettle.co.uk.
- From issue #6 (January 2001), the magazine finds two regular retail outlets willing to stock it: Ottakars bookstore and Athena (the poster people), both in Midsummer Place, CMK. #7 is subsequently officially launched upstairs at Ottakars in April.
- The magazine starts to grow, beginning to attract submissions from outside the borders of MK for the first time. Issues #2, #3, #4 and #5 are all released. A mini-pamphlet sampler – the now uber-rare #3.5 – is also produced so Matthew can flyer local summer festivals (Folk On The Green and Togfest specifically).
- Matthew decides to start a poetry magazine – partly to celebrate literature in Milton Keynes, but partly also so he can have somewhere where he knows his poems won’t be rejected. #1 is launched at the Central Milton Keynes Library on National Poetry Day (Oct 9th 1999). (photo of MMT and “Assistant Resource Sub-Editor” Simon meeting their public at the launch below)