FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Merlynda at the double

You can expect a double dose of Merlynda as she plays Chichester for the first time at this year’s Festival of Chichester.

Merlynda, “the mad, bad & daft to know comedy poet”, will be in action on Thursday, July 2 at 8pm at Chichester Yacht Club (The Upper Deck), Chichester Marina, Birdham, PO20 7EJ when she presents a special one-woman Naughty Nautical evening of comedy, poetry and songs for adults about saucy sailors and their mates.

And then she’ll be back two days later, on Saturday, July 4 at 8pm for Anarchical Archaeologists & Rather Rude Romans live at Fishbourne Roman Palace, Roman Way, Fishbourne – a one-woman evening of comedy, poetry and songs for adults.

Merlynda has lived in the area for a long time, on the West Sussex border, near South Harting: “But I have not done Chichester before. I thought it would be interesting to do something on the theme of sailing. As I am a novice sailor, I thought it would be interesting to do something nautical and wet and moist! And then I thought it would be nice to do something about Fishbourne as I have always been interested in history.

“I will also be doing some of my funny doggie poems and my Christmas poems. Why not have Christmas in July? Christmastime is something we all look forward to. And my doggie poems are all about doggies and their doggie owners. I know what doggie owners are like! There is a whole poem about poo bags and about people that don’t use the poo bins!

“I have always written poems and funny songs, and for a long time I was doing it for children, but now I have forayed into doing a few more adult things. It is almost like a hybrid. Having started off with children, it is now for adults but still with the cheekiness the children like.”

But just how adult is adult?

“Well, it’s innuendo, a little bit cheeky, a little bit naughty. Someone described me as Pam Ayres crossed with Mae West, which horrified me because I was just about to do my poems. But actually Pam Ayres is a very good poet for grown-ups, and Mae West was always terribly witty, so it is quite a compliment!”

Poetry is certainly Merlynda’s preferred medium: “I am very musical, and I suppose poetry works through its rhythm and metre while at the same time allowing you to play with words. I do like nonsense poetry. You can make up words, but really it works best because of the rhythm, and you can also tease with rhyme. You can go into free form or you can interrupt yourself. You can have fun! But I do think it is important that you get people to feel the words in the same way you can feel music.”

Adding to it all is the big personality behind it. You can expect plenty of colour from Merlynda. “If I look like a big animated banana or a great big custard, I don’t really care as long as people are enjoying it!”

As for subjects, sailing is certainly an interesting one, Merlynda says: “I have got a power boat, and really it is like a caravan on water. It’s quite comfy. I don’t like all the physical action of getting a boat ready. I just enjoy the floating and the scenery. I am quite passionate about water, particularly calm water. I am not so keen on wake!”

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