Yesterday was terribly exciting: it started with an email sent on the off-chance. I was listening to Saturday Live when they asked listeners for stories of things that had gone missing or been lost in their area. Sounds like a job for SuperPoet! I thought, or something like that – so while my egg boiled I dashed off an email about the Bowstring Bridge, adding that a Respectful Pooh Song had also been written about it. Ten minutes later as my egg was gently dripping from my soldiers, I got a call. Could I tell them more about the Bridge? I did. And did I know who had written the poem? I did, and it was me. Could I give them a blast? I could, and did. Could I come on the programme later, say after the ten o’clock news?
I think I could…
I spent the next half-hour on tenterhooks, wondering whether after all I’d be squeezed out for lack of time, putting increasingly tense updates on Facebook – and at ten oh five the phone rang. It was J P Devlin himself, very friendly and chatty; he talked me through what we’d be doing and how many lines of the poem I should read. I stayed on the line where I could hear the programme going on like a radio playing in the background. Then they came to me. I talked about the Bridge, how iconic it was, how individual and how much missed – and how it had left a gap in the environment. ‘A gap which has been filled by a poem,’ he neatly segued. And so I went into the now-familiar performance of the Ballad; they laughed at the rhyme Bridge/smidge – and that was that. So apart from a frog in the throat it was fine.
It’s at 1 hr 12 mins in, after Charlie Higson’s inheritance tracks.
And so to the Vegan Fair which was less satisfactory. They were running late and it became clear that poetry would be next to impossible in a room heaving with people all buying food and drinks and with no microphone. The previous two singers were good but almost inaudible, and I wasn’t sure what I should do as I didn’t have enough songs for half an hour. So I raised my voice and tried to get people’s attention – and the nearest tables did join in with the Ballad’s chorus – but after a couple of poems I just gave up and stuck with the songs. Mark helped me on some of the songs, but I was still hardly audible and not well-received. So that did not feel good.
Thanks to Jane and Ian, anyway, who did their best.
And so to Peter’s, where after yoga and dinner an entire cast of Doctors made their appearance. Worth seeing? yes. Worth going to see? Again, yes – but not worth all the hype.
And so to bed.