Today: Buckingham Palace. Formal, decadent, but I got to shake hands with such people as Mario Petrucci and Wendy French. You cannot get more establishment than the Queen. Kayo and Myself stood there afterwards wondering how we’d got there. The answer is obvious, but it’s a little too good. I got home and looked in the mirror and realised with some horror that the photographs of the event will be mad: my hair was everywhere. And I wore Doc Martens. The meeting with the big Q left me hollow, though it was nothing compared to the boy who ate too many canapés and threw up on me.
- You can trust Shirley to provide some decent criticism
- Today, at the call centre:
Natalia: ‘You know, every time someone sneezes and the person doesn’t say thank you a fairy dies.’
Truan: ‘No way. ..’
Natalia: ‘Yeah, I know, just imagine..’
Truan: ‘But it can’t be – otherwise they’d be extinct!’
This evening I was in C, C & K with R, going over my poems. We have enough for the pamphlet, especially with the others I have lurking on my hard drive, but I always imagined that putting something together might be less… sickening. So far I have felt nothing but dread. In two months time it will be going to print, in three months time it will be there, on a table, in one of the best bookshops in London, for all the world to see. When Tolkien published Lord of the Rings he said that he had opened up his heart to be shot at. I suspect I’m sprinting towards a sheer drop. It was interesting anyway and I learned a new word – ‘amphigory’ which, according to R, is a posh word for nonsense.
The Burnside review is going strangely. I realise what a difficult job it is to put words and pictures together, since the latter must have a meaning of its own. It’s not enough to be literal and so I must come up with double the number of pointers. Pencilling is proving hard too: I suck at the human body. I am using my own as a model, but it’s insufficient. Hands and the shadows that indicate a turning neck are too intricate. I like torsos and limbs.
All the good stuff in London is taking place when I leave. In particular:
It’ll be at the ICA. I plan to come back for the 24hr comic-book marathon. It sounds too good to miss.
I was inexplicably awake at 8.45 this morning. I managed to be fed and dressed by 9.10. At 9.30 I was at the dry-cleaners. At 10.00 I was in the library picking out this week’s reading (‘Ghost World’ – Daniel Clowes, ‘London Pigeon Wars’ – Patrick Neate, ‘The Elements of Style’ – Strunk and White) I went to Books etc with my breath held, hoping to find ‘Fun Home’ by Alison Bechdel. I did. I finished it about an hour ago. In an hour, once I have tranquillised my hair, I will go the ICA and watch ‘Pic up the mic’. Yesterday it was ‘Atonement’.
The days are becoming very long. There are only two weeks until I move out. It sounds very final and grown up. I am looking forward to it because there are all sorts of things I have planned. Reading ‘Fun Home’ today was great because there is a point about a letter which resembles my situation completely. I come from a family of isolated individuals who do not talk to each other, therefore a letter is fitting if there’s anything one wishes to say. In Harry Potter (I can’t remember which book) our eponymous hero is greeted by an owl that drops a message which shouts on being opened. I’m so glad they don’t exist. There was another moment of clarity in ‘Fun Home’ – it isn’t the same without the visuals, but the point remains intact:
It’s true that he didn’t kill himself until I was nearly twenty, but his absence resonated retro-actively, echoing back through all the time I knew him. Maybe it was the converse of the way amputees feel pain in a missing limb. He really was there all those years, a flesh-and-blood presence steaming off the wallpaper, digging up the dogwoods, polishing the finials, smelling of sawdust and sweat and designer cologne. But I ached as if he were already gone.’
I’ve just received the proofs for the FYP anthology. I suppose there are ten representatives for ten years and I’m representing 2005. I’m curious about who the others will be. Helen Mort will definitely be in there and something tells me Charley Geater might be the person for 2006. Due to the name I keep thinking about Foyle’s and the launch in December; I cringe because I think about the task of explaining things to people, admitting things and then dealing with the hostility or the awkwardness to come. Then I realise that may not be the case! The days are long, I suspect, because I am on my own, a habit I’m rapidly getting used to. So minutes seem like hours; an hour seems like the whole afternoon; in total it’s ample time to get lost in something else. And nobody matters, which is the main thing.
(Finally: am trying to write this review, but bullshit comes so naturally to poetry.)
Yesterday was my last day at Spiked; I am not the kind of person who is missed, so it was all very low key and quiet. They gave me a book, which was nice; a fat, lonely planet guide to New York. And I didn’t even predict it.
I went home to get my camera and film my grand-dad. After much grooming, I got him to speak quite confidently and extensively. The trouble is that he is old and bitter; most of what he said was a tirade against Jamaicans. I had to ask patronising questions such as ‘What is your health like?’ and ‘how has it been raising children?’ Being around him is a civilising force; he – and others – are embarrassing reminders as to why one shouldn’t crush small animals or kick tramps for fun.
Then up to Foyle’s for a reading. There will never be a good gig at that place, so long as the mics remain shit, the walls white and the demographic elderly. It was Helen Mort’s launch; she was an FYP five times and is now studying psychology at Cambridge. After the gig I got talking with Gloria Dawson – the other supporting poet – and we all went for falafels at Dionysus. Then back to Farringdon for a bizarre stint at the Whiskey Society.
I considered going to bed when I got home, but there was podcasting to be done. Yes, they are short, sharp bursts of pleasure, but in my case, they take eight hours to make. I was thinking about it on the bus, how tech heads get a thrill out of making things and ‘artists’ get a thrill out of using them. It’s a perfect relationship, which is why conflict between art and science is rubbish. We’re one or the other – sometimes both – and we co-exist beautifully.
It turns out that my dictaphone is shit. Of the hour and a half I recorded about ten minutes was audible. I have no idea how to compress or amplify sound properly and I had to record my script about ten times, in the wee freezing hours of the morning, so I sound bored. I just sent it to Lisa at the PS, so what can I do. A toast to the podcast cherry.