All right now

I think that All right now, by the Free, is the best dance song ever. Not that that normally impinges on my life in any way, but I did find myself dancing to it on Saturday. But we’ll get to that later.

Good news on Monday – six days’ work coming up, and something a bit different and interesting, too – arts-based consultation work. Ooh. I got two more applications in for some other work; I’ve already been turned down by one, though! I spent most of the day on the big annual report I have to do for my prison work, but managed to mow the grass as well.

Tuesday was a prep day, for an event I have to appear at this Wednesday and for an event last Thursday. And I did some sorting and made my Christmas cakes. I always enjoy this; I’d much rather eat the uncooked cake mixture than the final product, though, so not as much gets cooked as it should. I found out later that on Tuesday evening, Radio 4 repeated the national poetry slam semi-final from 2009, in which I appeared. They didn’t tell us about this beforehand, and there are no repeat fees, but it did lead to an email out of the blue from someone who had heard my poem and liked it, and wanted a copy. Nice!

In the evening we went to see Contagion. I wasn’t expecting to like this much – just another disaster movie – but it was done quite thoughtfully and was not over-sensationalised; much better than expected.

On Wednesday I caught up with emails and did loads of prison stuff; I had to type in lots of pieces submitted for my new anthology. This was a bit dull, but it was enlivened by a visit to the hospital and work with the usual brave, lovely people there.

Thursday was a bit different. After some Poetry on Loan work and yet more prison typing, I set off for London, for an event linked with the Koestler awards. One of my ex-prisoners was to read some of his award-winning poems, and I read some of the stuff from my guys. I expected that the other readers would do moving but rather doleful stuff, so I kept my selection quite light; the event was sold out and I think people deserve a laugh. I was right, too. It was quite odd meeting the prisoner again in real life. Obviously things are better for him on the out (that’s what they call it), but some people will never speak to him again, I guess. Still, you could say he’s all right now.  He did a great job with his readings, anyway. I caught the last train home and got in very late.

Friday started badly, with the rejection email for the Monday work application. I should be used to it by now, after 10 years as a freelancer, but rejections always put me in a bit of a decline, and I don’t concentrate so well for a while. I cleaned my whole house, which cheered me up a bit, and harvested my home-grown potatoes. Spuds are great, aren’t they? You just stick an old sprouty thing in a bit of soil, wait for a bit, and there you are – a lovely crop of smooth-skinned beauties. In the evening I went to The Bloke’s house – his parents had come down for a visit…

…because on Saturday his brother was getting married. New dress on, and off to the wilds of Somerset, where it was all taking place. So – I met The Bloke’s two other brothers plus wives for the first time, and we all had an enjoyable afternoon and evening, although – is it me? – the music was very loud. But the guy running the disco accepted requests, and I asked for All right now, and he played it, and I danced (without The Bloke, obviously; he will not dance, ever), and it was good.

I must say a word about weddings, though. For me it’s the chair covers that do it. I first saw chair covers last year in the window of a wedding shop, and they seemed utterly ridiculous. A chair is a chair. The chairs in the hotel where the wedding took place were perfectly fine; why cover them up in what look like sheets, all tied with a  chiffon bow? I know everyone has to decide what they want for their own weddings, but personally I would go for more simplicity. Still, it all went really well, and the bride looked lovely. Weddings do make me feel a bit of a failure, but hey, I can still dance. Or at least I think I can, and that’s what matters. Fortunately there were no mirrors to disillusion me.

On Sunday we came back, and I came home and answered emails and did a lot of work on the prison newsletter. It’s a new week, and perhaps I won’t get rejected for the other job. But even if I do – well, it’s all right, anyway.

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