People are the greatest fun

That’s a quote, for anyone who isn’t as ancient as I am, from a song by a band called Love – which dates them pretty well, I guess. Generally this is a view I would agree with, but there are moments when I have my doubts. On Monday last week I did a lot of prep, and ran my second session with no. 2 GP surgery group. They were brilliant; even the guy who said last week that “it can’t be a poem if it doesn’t rhyme” had written a non-rhyming poem for homework. He was proud of it, and his wife liked it too. Straight after our session I went to a rock gig in Birmingham – Three Doors Down, with Seether as the support act. This is the kind of rock music where they sing rather than shout; I don’t do shouty. Unfortunately, however, the audience hadn’t got the hang of this. The people near me were talking, laughing, shouting and generally messing about through the whole thing, and especially, it seemed, the quieter songs (my favourites). But why? I mean, really, why? They’ve paid good money for tickets; why spend the evening doing things they could do any time for nothing? I’m confused; they didn’t seem the greatest fun to me at the time. On Tuesday my car went in to the garage yet again, and now its paintwork is done properly and is all bright and shiny. I did lots of Poetry on Loan stuff, and in the evening saw John Carter – complete tosh, but quite entertaining. I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts with poetry recently. It started when I picked up some old Poetry Reviews – the magazine published by the Poetry Society – and started reading them. I felt that every poem in these magazines was self-indulgent, meaningless nonsense. Oh dear. Have I lost the plot? Am I not bright enough to understand what good poetry is? I know only too well the value of writing poetry for the people I work with, but did I want to be associated with this world, full of people who are, basically, up themselves? I was a bit worried about this, but on Wednesday I had a phone conversation with a good friend who assured me that I am not alone; that a lot of people would agree with me; that all we need to do is find the right language to express this. Well, actually, I think I can do that: it seems that in the poetry world are a lot of people who get off on patting each other on the back, while writing pointless poems designed to show their own complexity and lack of interest in potential readers. We must never underestimate our readers – that’s what I tell the people I work with all the time. They can understand what we can understand; and they can tell when we are just showing off. Encourage these so-called poets to make full use of the litter bin, I say. In the evening was the TADS AGM and ordinary monthly meetings; these were a little bit fraught… But on Thursday, hooray, the prison, which strangely enough is full of people who are the greatest fun, who work hard and try to do anything I ask. In the evening I had to deal with loads of emails; these are not fun. I spent most of Friday on them, too, with a trip to GP surgery group no. 1; good people, but not enough of them, unfortunately. In the evening I went to see a play for which I must write an adjudication report today. And on Saturday, The Bloke and I went to Worcester to collect a big champagne bottle as a prop for TADS next production. It was quite entertaining walking through the crowded streets with it. And the streets were crowded – so many people! I had no idea that Worcester has become such a busy place. The people who are the greatest fun of all are my kids. They came home on Sunday and took me out for a meal for Mothers’ Day. It’s like being inside a permanent comedy show with them; I hardly stop laughing. But on the other hand it’s a bit empty when they go again. Ah well – there was plenty of work to be getting on with, so no time to mope. And it all starts again – more people to see and have fun with!

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