Over 175 people spent a wonderful evening with Forever Manchester Poet in Residence Tony Walsh aka Longfella, at the Frog and Bucket on Tuesday 29th April.

The evening, sponsored by Forever Manchester Corporate Partner Opus 4, raised over £2,300 for Forever Manchester to invest in local communities.

Forever Manchester Ambassador Terry Snowden did an excellent job as compere for the evening helping to raise money via the raffle, won by the guys at Weber Shandwick, and promoting the sale of books, booklets and posters relating the the evening’s entertainment.

Tony Walsh took the stage and with his first poem of the night called “No Room at the Berni Inn” an hilarious take on a dreadful work’s Christmas Do, resonating with many in the audience who used the event as an opportunity to themselves come out with work colleagues.

Next up was the laconic and very dry Moston born comedy poet Marvin Cheeseman, who ploughed through a series of short poems, featuring a wide array of subject matters from tennis, love and the reworking of popular songs including “What a Wonderful World” with the United v City punchline “But what I do know, when I say to you, is that this statement is correct and true…..”.

One particular poem which went down very well with the packed crowd was his tribute to CRISPS.

Following raptures of applause for Marvin, Tony bounced back on stage to treat us to “Raindance” his epic 20 minute acclamation to all things Manchester. No stone was left unturned as Tony featured everything from the Manchester Ramblers, Cottonopolis, Football, Music, Belle Vue Aces, Jack Duckworth, the Italian in China Town and even the 192 bus, interjecting the poem with lines from popular Manchester related songs and encouraging audience participation to sing along.

In the audience was Burnley striker Marvin Sordell who has played for England U21, and also represented Great Britain Olympic football team. He tweeted:

After a short interval Tony was once again commanding the stage for a further 40 minutes with thrilling renditions from his book ‘SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL’. He kicked off with a Rock & Roll poem that sums up the spirit of Rock & Roll in this most Rock & Roll of cities, swiftly followed by the joys of sex and putting the “KY into KINKY,” a line he loves so much he had to repeat it, much to the embarrassment of his teenaged kids sat in the audience.

Tony has the unique ability to flip from the light-hearted to the most serious of subjects. His previous work in Housing for Manchester City Council sparked inspiration for his much acclaimed poem and his personal favourite “A Girl, Like, Y’Know” a poem that is soon to be published in the Cambridge University Press AQA – English A Level text book.

The climax of the evening was Tony’s performance of ‘Silver Sparks’ a poem commissioned by Forever Manchester to celebrate 25 years of supporting community projects across Greater Manchester.

Much like his performance at Forever Manchester’s 25th Birthday Celebration at the Midland Hotel earlier this year, Tony delivered to perfection, tapping into the emotions of those in attendance who have truly bought in to the philosophy and ethos of the importance of community projects across the region.

Fellow poet Seamus Kelly tweeted:

To illustrate Tony’s ‘Silver Sparks’ poem, designers Trevor Johnson and Sian Ford from Manchester based communications agency, Havas Lynx, have kindly produced a stunningly designed limited edition silver booklet containing the words from the poem and associated imagery.

Salford born Trevor, is a well-known Manchester designer, who designed record sleeves and branding for Factory Records and the Hacienda, and was instrumental in the creation of the Madchester music scene in the late 1980’s / early 90s. Trevor also helped to recreate the Hacienda for the 2002 British comedy drama film ’24 Hour Party People’ about Manchester’s popular music community from 1976 to 1992.

To accompany the Silver Sparks booklet Trevor and Sian have also produced a beautiful limited edition A1 sized poster that takes the reader on a journey through the poem in the form of a star constellation in the shape of Greater Manchester.

If you would like to buy a copy of the booklet or poster please email marketing@forevermanchester.com

To buy a copy of Tony’s book of poems titled “SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL” please visit http://longfella.co.uk/sexandloveandrockandroll.html

Look out for Tony Walsh on BBC1 on Sunday 10th May as part of the Great Manchester 10k Run coverage. Tony wrote an excellent poem ‘Do Something’ to promote the event and we’re pleased to announce that 125 people are running for Forever Manchester to help raise money for our fantastic communities.