It’s good news week…

…but if you remember the song by Hedgehoppers Anonymous (and I don’t suppose many people do now), not in that way. I really have had some excellent news this week.

The week started quietly – emails, prep and practice (which went really badly) for a gig, and lots of clearing – shoes and garden. I managed to send 5 pairs of shoes on their way to the charity shop, and put a whole lot of stuff on eBay.

On Tuesday I had a tricky Poetry on Loan problem to sort out; it all came out right in the end, so that’s ok. And I wrote a new poem, on the relationship between heat and time (I’ve been reading accessible science books, which always get my mind going). Loads of emails, and my last session with my Cirencester group in the afternoon. There was a bit of an end-of-term feeling to the session, but they did really well anyway. More practice; it was getting better by now. Writeups and prep were followed by a film – Fences. Although this was engaging, it was very obviously a film of a play. I think it’s probably better if playwrights don’t write the screenplays for films of their plays; sometimes they don’t really accept that there is a difference in the two media.

Wednesday was a very unusual day. I have a cousin who has many friends and gives lunches for them twice a year, in a swanky restaurant in London. I went along on Wednesday, and sat among some really interesting people. I had thought of going afterwards to the David Hockney exhibition in the Tate, but it was (a) expensive and (b) fully booked, so I expected to just go home after the lunch. But two of the people near me were members of the Tate; they were going to the exhibition and invited me as a guest.

It was amazing. I was blown away by the colours; to see A bigger splash in reality is quite different from photos of it. But the drawings were incredible; how could he do all this? Oh well; perhaps he can’t write poems. Anyway, it was well worth getting home late for.

And on Thursday… Thursday was a busy day, with a gig in West Bromwich and another one in Stourbridge in the evening. And just as I was about to leave for West Brom, there it was – an email from Arts Council England to say that Poetry on Loan has been granted funding for 2017-2019. Hooray! All the wonderful work done by West Midlands library staff to promote contemporary poetry can continue!

The gig in West Brom was slightly strange; it was a PoL gig, with two other poets (Sara-Jane Arbury and Mandy Ross) as well as me. And an audience of five people, one of whom kept his back to us throughout. However, at the end, they all said how much they had enjoyed it. It’s a start, and we can build on it; poetry audiences grow at about the same rate as oak trees, but they do grow.

In the evening I tried out a new sequence of poems in Stourbridge; I think it went ok. The motorway was closed on the way home, though, so it took me ages and I didn’t get back until really late.

And Friday was very busy. Emails (of course); finances; mail; emails to all the PoL people to tell them the news; a good session at the hospital; invoices; writeups – and then I was sick, and felt awful, and had to go to bed for an hour. I have no idea what the cause of this was, but I was fine by the evening. I did some Artlift stuff, and then went to see The Great Wall, which is one of the silliest movies I have ever seen.

Over the weekend I’ve done some more clearing, and proofread the Cheltenham hospital book, and nearly booked a holiday.

I’m not expecting any news this week, but it’s going to be really busy. I will find time actually to book the holiday, though…


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