I have been singing for my supper since the late 1960s, singing regularly in the streets of London, and South coast seaside towns, first as a Bottler for Paris Nat, a well-known Busker at the time. I formed my first band; THE RACE, working mainly in the London area with one or two visits to the Continent to play at Clubs and Blues/Folk Festivals. Recording with them began my life as a Singer-Songwriter, recording artist and Performance Poet. My second Band was called Delivery, and with them I first played at Ronnie Scotts which became a lifetime favourite of mine, playing there recently in 2022. With Delivery, and then subsequent work, I began travelling frequently, to the USA, South Africa, all over Europe and Scandinavia.  

Below, is a poetry performance.

During the early 1970s, I  became an activist. At first, in my local community in North Kensington, being the first Musician to step up for Rock against Racism and Sexism. I sang for Reclaim the night, the striking Miners, Troops out and the Brunswick Women, local community fundraising.

After the birth of my second child in 1987, I began working with a group of young people in Poplar near where I lived in East London, adding sessions as a voice tutor at The City Literary institute, various Universities and internationally. In the late 1990s, I trained as a Voice Movement Therapist. During the 1980/90s I worked a lot with young people through the Prince’s Trust and others, around the UK including Somerset House in London. 

As Musical Director for choirs, I helped found the Sing for Joy Choirs in London, for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The First Choir in Kentish Town Health Centre, London and the National Hospital for neurology in Bloomsbury. The Choirs performed regularly in London, in Hospitals, Southwark Cathedral, Westminster Hall, St. Pancras Station, The Stoke Newington Town Hall and TUC Congress Hall.  The BBC made a documentary about the Choirs. See below.

I have recorded my own music in the UK, USA, Sweden, The Isle of Jura,  Romney Marsh and Poland. Performing in the UK and Internationally with my own Music and Contemporary composers such as Orlando Gough, who directed The Shout, a 16 piece Choir/ Theatre company, winning several awards for its work, in The USA, Germany and other places, touring internationally for 12 years. The USA, Japan, including performing at The Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, The National Portrait Gallery, on the River Thames and Embankment, and The Albert Hall in The Proms as a soloist, recorded live for the BBC. The singers, from very varied backgrounds – gospel, jazz, blues, contemporary classical, opera, and early music – and include several accomplished improvisers. It has been called a ‘vocal big band’, a ‘club choir’, a ‘vocal Stomp’, a ‘dangerous choir’, a ‘choir of Babel’ and a ‘choral phenomenon’.   

See below link 1 The Shout

Romney Marsh below  2

In 2004 I took part in The Channel 4 series Soul Britannia, together with a wonderful band and singers, Madeline Bell and Linda Lewis, recording a concert live at The Barbican, then touring the UK. In 2015. A documentary was filmed by The Welcome Trust in London and Folkestone.  During the 2020s I travelled both as a Performer and  Voice facilitator in The USA Canada and South Africa.
Below – is a documentary. Click in the centre.

Writing has been a long-time passion and I have had several articles published around my work with young people and local communities and the  Parkinsons choirs My memoir, The Singers Tale, was published in 2017. I performed my show, The singer’s Tale at The Edinburgh Festival and other places. I love writing as much as I love Music.  

For more information and full discography see the website. Click on my Blog.  Thank you.  A poetry performance. London 2019 


The Observer 

George Hall

Proms 20, 21, 24, 25, 26

Royal Albert Hall, London SW7

After the first performance of a new work, composers sometimes have to wait years for a second. A few hours after the first realisation of his choral piece We Turned on the Light in an afternoon Prom (20) given by the BBC Scottish Symphony under Martyn Brabbins last Saturday, Orlando Gough heard it again that evening with the BBC Symphony under David Robertson. It went down a storm on both occasions.

 Setting a new, ecologically correct text by Caryl Churchill reminding us how our over-consumption of the earth’s resources is landing us in big trouble, Gough’s work is scored for large chorus and full orchestra – forces he handles with immense flair and panache. As with the orchestra, the main body of singers changed between the two performances – youth choirs from all over the UK sang the first; the BBC Symphony Chorus and Huddersfield Choral Society the second. But, in both renditions, a lot of the punch of this explosive piece came from Gough’s own diversely constituted choir, the Shout – whose members come from backgrounds taking in gospel, jazz and blues, as well as contemporary classical, opera and early music – and from more informally assembled participants operating under the name of the Rabble.

These two Proms celebrated the singing voice. Getting the afternoon event off to a flying start was an atmospheric opener by Gough called, aptly, Open, which featured the mesmerising vocalism of Carol Grimes and Manickam Yogeswaran, among others, ricocheting around the Albert Hall at all levels and from every direction.  

Vortex Club, London John Fordham Tuesday, September 3, 2002
The Guardian 

The Vortex Club in north London, an establishment at which the alfresco nature of the decor has generally reflected an indifference to showbiz superficialities in music, has had a summer lick of paint. Carol Grimes, the forthright and defiantly independent jazz, blues and world music singer, has not had a summer lick of paint; nevertheless, she emits the same fierce glow that has been her trademark for 30 years. She played the relaunched venue at the weekend, having assembled an oddly balanced but fitfully luminous band in endorsement of the club’s return to health. 

Grimes appeared with some familiar sidekicks in percussionist Josefina Cupido, trombonist Annie Whitehead and multi-instrumentalist Ian Maidman. It was an accomplished, impromptu ensemble hauled together for a limited purpose, but Maidman acts as several musicians (pianist, guitarist and bassist), so for the most part the set-up served Grimes well. 

Grimes likes humane songwriters with an ear for life’s rawness and ironies, and she made Joni Mitchell’s Two Grey Rooms vibrate with a haunted nostalgia. The singer’s jubilant earthiness came out on
Wild Women Are Wonderful (co-written with keyboardist Janette Mason), her raw R&B edge given extra buoyancy by Whitehead’s improvised counterpoint on trombone. Whitehead’s playing, as Robert Wyatt has pointed out, makes her sound uncannily like a singer herself, with the trombone’s plummy sonorities and emphatic weightiness transformed into an airy, dreamy sound in her hands. She sounded like a softer edition of the Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson as Grimes roared, scatted and squawked on Women Are Wonderful, and became fluently sax-like on Randy Newman’s Baltimore. An old Grimes song, the Kurt Weill-like Alexandria Dance, wound up with the singer ascending into yodelling extemporisations over Cupido’s whispering hand-drumming. It was the kind of informal, no-frills, suck-it-and-see show from classy performers for which the Vortex has become so loved – and it is heartening to note that the club goes back to a full seven-night programme from October. 

Carol Grimes  CABARET Sunday 7 March CAFÉ PRAGUE
Welcome spring with Cafe Prague hostess Barb Jungr accompanied by Adrian York. Barb will be delighted to present British blues singer Carol Grimes and her band – a Komedia premiere! Carol is one of Britain’s top-drawer singers with a breathtaking performance history – most recently composer Orlando Goff’s The Shout. With a new CD for the first time in ten years, Carol is in new and outstanding form.
7.30pm – £8.50/£6.50 Cafe Prague @Komedia 09 March 2004

Is there a better way of spending a Sunday evening, than trying to forget the fact that in twelve hours’ time, the working week begins again? Clearly, most of the over 40’s in Brighton thought not.
Cafe Prague is Komedia’s regular mêlée of musical acts hosted by Barb Jungr.
As hostess and singer she is probably an acquired taste – larger than life but not quite as funny – but clearly had a following in the audience. With her overwrought-chanteuse voice and wild gesticulations, she livened us up with enjoyably confident and stylishly delivered New Orleans blues, Cole Porter, and several Dylan songs, very ably accompanied by Adrian York whose barrel-house blues style was only slightly marred by the miked-up underwater muddiness of a rather inadequate upright piano.
 The second half was given over to Carol Grimes and band. With a voice that was delicate and agile, precise yet powerful, and with the band delivering a consistently tight and cooking blend of country-tinged jazz (bass, drums, guitar and the excellent Stan Adler on cello) she led us from Randy Newman and Joni Mitchell to an exhilaratingly bluesy version of the Pogues USA and a stunning Tom Waits encore (New Coat of Paint).
Komedia is one of Brighton’s best venues, but I always think they try to pack too many people into the upstairs cabaret bar. All the apologetic tapping on shoulders and shuffling of chairs whenever you need to get up for a drink or a pee is very irritating – but otherwise a chilled and uplifting way of taking the pain out of Sunday evening. 

Foundation Big Band Vortex, London John Fordham
Friday September 19, 2003 The Guardian
You often find musicians trying, in myriad small ways, to change the world at the Vortex. But these highly skilled players are always fully committed to having a ball doing it. This combination of good causes and good fun, in the club’s liberal-bohemian ambience, is what makes the place special. On this occasion, the 11-piece, all-female Foundation Big Band was launching the Vortex’s latest campaign: to raise £250,000 to fit out its new premises in east London.
Since it came to life during the London jazz festival last year, the Foundation Band has grown from tentative beginnings into a charismatic bravura. The band has been touring lately, and the members’ growing mutual sensitivity to one another’s strengths and idiosyncrasies were evident from this show. 

Though there were plenty of punchy solos – notably from the notional musical director, trombonist Annie Whitehead – the variety and richness of the compositions provided the biggest surprises. On this showing, the band is building a distinctive repertoire of its own, with connections to quite unexpected big-band jazz landmarks such as Oliver Nelson’s glossy sophistication and Don Ellis’s left-field funk.
This liberation wasn’t apparent, at first, from Kim Burton’s tautly interlocking but faintly static Latin opener Pigeon Post. But Diane McLoughlin’s New Day was an ebullient tussle of glowing melody lines, with Andrea Vicari injecting a vivid postbop piano solo over Josefina Cupido’s snare-drum crackle. 

The pianist then added understated, Bill Evans-like chording under McLoughlin’s soaring alto solo, which vibrated with echoes of the late Cannonball Adderley. 

Carol Grimes’s restrained power and Whitehead’s warm lyricism intertwined on the ethereal Now the Hour, with Grimes boldly veering into a kind of north African-inflected scat at the close. The eccentric Don Ellis element came from baritonist Izzy Barrett’s Showtime, with its trombone solo of exuberant percussiveness from Gail Brand and a vivid, bluesy guitar break from Deirdre Cartwright. Much more than a right-on gesture, this is a new British big band with a future. 

gig reviews.pdf


Carol is married and now enjoying retirement, following a long and varied career as a secretary, personnel officer, shorthand teacher and HR Professional. Although having spent most of her working life in London and Kent, she did live and work in Norfolk for several years but missed her son and daughter and two grandsons, so in 2018, she moved back to Kent to be nearer to them. 

Carol is a volunteer reader with primary school children for Bookmark, and for recreation enjoys dancercise classes, writing and swimming. She studied for a postgraduate qualification to become Chartered in Personnel, at the University of Greenwich, an area touched upon in her first work of fiction “Celia’s Retaliation”, which follows the adventures of an ill-treated young woman, who leaves her family, becomes involved in the world of espionage and moves to France. 

Carol joined the Write by the Sea writing group, based in Folkestone, in 2020 and has since contributed stories to its Anthologies: “Ghosts by the Sea”, “Doorways to the Sea”, and the forthcoming Anthology, “Journeys by the Sea”. She has also written “Dishonour Amongst Gentlemen”, which appears in the “Out of Cinque” Anthology of Stories and Poems about Hythe and Prince’s Parade. All of these stories can be accessed on Amazon and she can be contacted at

In the pipeline, Carol is writing a children’s fantasy fiction entitled “Popple Planet”.



She was born, bred and buttered in Blackpool.

That’s what Dublin means. Originating from the Gaelic: dubh meaning black: linn meaning pool. Dubh linn = Dublin.

Ria has always had a love for stories, possibly because of the culture she comes from. A seanchaí (shan-a-key), meaning a storyteller, has been part of the Irish way of life since pre-history, handing down stories by word of mouth before they were ever documented in text. She learned of this in her early years at school through the stories of mythology. Growing up, she found a passion for stories through movies, TV and books and this has always stayed with her.

Now in her latter years, she is creating her own stories which she loves sharing. These always include some humor, whether it is a novel or short story, her passion for writing is forever expanding. Ria has always had a love of all that is art and craft, which has bled into her hobbies, such as, painting, photography, bonsai, and creating three-string cigar box guitars. Obviously writing is there also.  She even studied art and technical drawing as additional subjects outside of her school curriculum.

As a teenager, she was involved in school productions as an art director and stage and prop manager. In third level education, she chose to study Architectural Technology.  On qualifying in 1984 she moved to London as Ireland was heading into recession and architectural work was getting slim. The UK however, was shooting out of recession under Maggie Thatcher.

She has lived and worked in the southeast of England up to the present day with no thoughts of moving back to the ‘Auld Sod’. Working with some of the top fifty architectural practices in her career, she has been involved in projects like Guy’s Hospital, Disney’s Offices, London and Smith Klein Glaxo office complex in West London among many others. She currently works in Canterbury, still as an architectural technician, producing the drawings a builder builds from and overseeing works on site.

Retirement beckons in the next few years, however, she will never be bored.



Jane Cottle is retired but not retiring and has had an interesting life which is probably why she has a vivid imagination and enjoys writing.

Her mother ran a music hall troupe so from an early age she was singing and dancing on stage.  Her father was a politician so she got introduced to quite a few famous people and appeared several times on television.

At 17 she was offered a recording opportunity by Apple Core, the Beatles recording company but turned it down!  She wanted to study and became a teacher instead.

Her first degree was in English from Sussex university and all her working life has been in education, initially in a primary school in London and later at a school for the blind in Kent. Whilst working she continued to study at Birmingham and Canterbury universities specialising in visual impairment, physical impairment and multisensory impairment.  She has tutored both Birmingham and Cambridge universities, training teachers to become specialists in visual impairment.  Her last post was as an education manager for Kent working specifically with children and adults who were blind or deafblind.  In 2011 she won Kent teacher of the year for her work with blind students. Her work with blind people has often inspired her writing because she had to paint pictures with words for them, particularly when describing abstract visual phenomena such as clouds and rainbows. 

She has always loved writing and performing and has written several musical plays for schools and also academic texts including one on writing in Braille. Outside of work she has performed in many amateur shows and pantomimes and as a result met more famous people and occasionally appeared on television.

Jane has been married twice and is now a widow. She has one son.

When she retired she completed an open university course in creative writing and joined Write by the Sea and also Shepway writers.  She writes for herself as a hobby because she has a head full of words and just has to write them down!  She has entered a few writing competitions and has won a couple and been shortlisted for a few.  She had two stories in Ghosts by the sea and there will be a couple in the new anthology.

She doesn’t particularly yearn to be a published writer but wants to leave a legacy behind of the thoughts in her head and the person that she is.  

After her mother died Jane discovered a treasure trove of poems and plays that her mother had written which brought great pleasure to the whole family.   Jane hopes that at some time in the future someone will read her own scribblings and understand her thoughts and feelings about life in the same way.

Events, Meetings


Happy new year, so excited for our meetings and events this year, we are also coming into our 5th year of Write By The Sea. How quick time goes, I feel we are getting better each year. Our first meeting is Thursday 12th January, see you there. Here are the dates and events so far that we have booked, the rest should be confirmed before the end of the month.



What a brilliant year for this writing group, with so many events and meetings that have all been successful. It was great to have Mićhel Faber visit us and give an excellent talk about his writing. If you have bought his books and want them signed he will pop in and do a signing next year. The workshops have been popular so we will be doing more of those in the new year. We are in the process of getting our events sorted for the year so we can step up our advertising in printed form. The third anthology has been delayed as it is so big, we have over 30 stories this time so editing has taken longer. We are aiming to have it ready for sale in the Spring as I think Travel By The Sea will be a good time to launch. We are arranging a book launch for this anthology so will let you know the date and venue as soon as possible.

We are finished now for this year so have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and see you on the 12th of January at Anna’s at 6pm.




Hope you are all having fun in the sun, that would make a good story, ‘Fun in Folkestone’.

Our events are back at The Hideaway with our group meetings, new dates above as our next guest has covid so I have swapped a couple round. No erotica until November, Jane will be pleased as she will miss it due to her holiday.

We have the lovely Carol coming over from Broadstairs to present a workshop on editing, sounds exciting and I am hopeless at that so looking forward to picking up some tips.

Hope to see you all there as we have a break until the 8th of September. Have a super summer and see you in September. Don’t forget our stories for the next anthology have to be in by the 31st August 2022

Exercises, Meetings


Please give The Hideaway or Karen your orders, please.

Our task for this week is to write down words you associate with Spring, then using some of them write a story in 300 or fewer words about SPRING.

These are optional tasks so if you want to share some of your own work with the group for critique or advice then please bring it along.



When you think about the Grand Hotel and its visitors, who springs to mind? Edward VII and Alice Keppel? Agatha Christie? Think again. What an amazing evening we had with Emre Araci! One thing is for sure – no shortage of inspiration for our next anthology, which is going to be about journeys to from and involving Folkestone.

This talk was made even better by the fact it was held in the drawing-room of The Grand, we are so very lucky to be able to hold our events here. Emre also bought along his gramophone, which was a very old wind up version to play a record.

I found the evening so enjoyable listening about the history of our iconic hotel, The Grand. Let’s hope it is restored to its former glory soon.


Waterstones, Folkestone



Carol’s version of The Tudor room

  Standing in the doorway, my neck craned forward into the empty room, head first, as if the rest of my body did not want to follow, a tangible fear prickling a shower of goosebumps onto my skin. The room was large and chilly. An electric fire was making little effect on the temperature, releasing a musty smell of electrically heated dust. It was dark outside and the heavy curtains were closed. The curtain moved? But there was no open window behind them. A low hum hung in the air, was it electricity? 

  A garish 1970s red patterned carpeted floor, clashed horribly with floral wallpaper, scattered with Pink Flamingos. A magnificent high vaulted ceiling, heavy brown wooden doors and panelling, a palatial mantlepiece, a forest of chairs, sofas and tables all displayed its Edwardian origins. It was built as a gentlemen’s residential chambers and club rooms in 1899. I imagined the gentlemen twirling their moustaches and doffing Derbys and top hats in a  thick swirling smog of pipe and cigar smoke. Posing in frock coats in the Palm Court conservatory, dancing with society in the ballroom with its modern, sprung dance floor. 

  100 years of human energy hung in the air, invading the shadows, creeping into the dimly lit corners of the room. I don’t believe in ghouls and ghosts, have never seen a spirit or a spectre, I don’t believe in hauntings and demons. A scuttling sound. Rats? In this moment, in the year 2022, there was War once more in Europe. 

  More than a hundred years ago, previous occupants in The Grand, the Belgian Royal Family, along with many Belgian refugees fleeing carnage in Europe and living in the town. Agatha Christie created Hercule Poirot whilst staying in The Grand. I needed his little grey cells. A whistling sound? No, it is my tinnitus. I stood frozen in the doorway, legs like lead pipes, lurking on the cusp of danger. 

The sky outside resembled a child’s painting – a pale, pink wash. The Night Porter’s shift had finished. His old war wound, a bayonet gash from the Ypres Salient, was troubling him. The previous evening’s top-secret dinner had been a rum do, with all those dignitaries. A right nuisance they had been too. Home and a stroll to the allotments beckoned now.  

The hotel was coming to life. Baths were being drawn upstairs. In the basement, the kitchen staff were rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Having checked her reflection in the  mirror in the servants’ corridor, Elsie Tomkins hurried towards the drawing-room, taking care not to slip on the polished black and white tiles, holding the coal-scuttle carefully for fear of smuts on her apron. Mr Ashby, the hotel manager, liked a fire to be laid in there early, so guests could retire in there after breakfast. 

Last night’s staff had been careless. The poker was lying on the rug. Dried flower petals were scattered across the hearth. One of the leather chairs by the fireplace seemed to be occupied already. Elsie prepared to execute a neat curtsey. Then, she dropped the scuttle and screamed and screamed. 


Jane Cottle March 2022

The room was grand both in proportion and appearance.  It carried itself like a dowager duchess who looked patronisingly at us as we sidled through the door in our jeans and Puffa jackets.  This was a room that really demanded dinner jackets and bow ties, jewelled gowns and tiaras.

Large sofas and polished wood tables were carefully arrayed inviting you to sit and be served by uniformed flunkeys that no longer existed.  Despite the grandeur of its panelled walls and fluted columns that framed alcoves something was missing.  It was cold, bone-chillingly cold, like a house that hasn’t seen human occupation for a long time.  There was the tell-tale musty smell of unused furniture and a general air of faded gentility. 

This was a room that had once seen gaiety and life.  A room that had framed parties and felt champagne spilt on its carpets and echoed to the sounds of tinkling laughter.  Where well-dressed couples had shared secrets and gazed into each other’s eyes.  Were men in designer suits had discussed investments over a single malt.  This was a room that had once smelled of money.

Now it was a room aching to be brought back to life.

The sky outside resembled a child’s painting – a pale, pink wash. The Night Porter’s shift had finished. His old war wound, a bayonet gash from the Ypres Salient, was troubling him. The previous evening’s top-secret dinner had been a rum do, with all those dignitaries. A right nuisance they had been too. Home and a stroll to the allotments beckoned now.  

Debby Jones

The hotel was coming to life. Baths were being drawn upstairs. In the basement, the kitchen staff were rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Having checked her reflection in the  mirror in the servants’ corridor, Elsie Tomkins hurried towards the drawing room, taking care not to slip on the polished black and white tiles, holding the coal-scuttle carefully for fear of smuts on her apron. Mr Ashby, the hotel manager, liked a fire to be laid in there early, so guests could retire in there after breakfast. 

Last night’s staff had been careless. The poker was lying on the rug. Dried flower petals were scattered across the hearth. One of the leather chairs by the fireplace seemed to be occupied already. Elsie prepared to execute a neat curtsey. Then, she dropped the scuttle and screamed and screamed. 

Paul Robinson

Charlie’s hazel eyes narrowed as she pushed at the heavy revolving door and entered the abandoned hotel. She was determined to take in everything, miss nothing. 

She entered a large room on her right, through wide double doors. Once it would have been luxurious, now, though, it gave off an air of grandeur that was very faded, the high white ceiling greyed with age and neglect, with a shabby, once garish, orange carpet. 

The L-shaped room was ten metres long, ‘ten big strides’ Charlie measured. ‘And ten wide.’ At the end was a picture window. The room was furnished with cast-off settees and chairs, scattered all higgeldy-piggeldy. The walls were papered with a faded birds-of-paradise pattern in faux William Morris style. 

Very beige!’ Thought Charlie. Two large mirrors, one in a circular sunburst design, and one rectangular one, reflected back the light of the impressive electric chandeliers. 

They haven’t shut off the electricity then’ realised Charlie. Then she spotted the one splash of colour in the room. ‘The boys were right’ she thought. A large woman was artistically posed in an armchair. Her white dress was splashed with red, and her sightless eyes stared up at the dingy grey ceiling.