Well first of all a quick catch-up. I’m always gratified to see that my readership doesn’t slide into the abyss when I’m absent for a few days, but as you will see I’ve been busy. First, the gigs. All poets are basically frustrated rock stars: we talk about ‘gigs’ and ‘touring’ as though we were Mick Jagger or Suzie Quattro (that dates me I expect although someone last night commented that they’d recently been to see the Stones and said they were brilliant.) So on Saturday four of us (three musicians et moi) took the stage for a fundraiser for Momentum at Leicester’s Criterion pub. Thirty or so people came along to listen and I did a 20-minute set featuring a poem about Corbyn (JC4PM), ‘Spike’ the homeless poem, a couple of poems about Blair and a couple about Jo Cox and her memorial picnic. These were very well-received and you could hear a pin drop even when the waitress came in to serve pizza. I like hearing pins drop.
Then last night I finally made it to TABAC which sounds like some underground wartime group but in fact stands for Thurnby and Billesden Acoustic Club, where a good crowd of musicians assembled. I’m always slightly dubious as to how poetry will be received at these events but I needn’t have worried; it was received with enthusiasm. It was a great evening with a terrific variety of instruments being aired including a whole caseful of harmonicas, a piano-accordion played by a retired headmistress; a concertina and several guitars and of course Jan with her recorder. I did three poems: ‘Is Vic There?’ for Victoria Wood; ‘The Lady in the Van’ and ‘Spike’ again. The evening ended quite late with a lengthy impromptu rendition of ‘Yellow is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair’ to which my contribution was ‘black is the colour of my true love’s feet’. And so to bed; except that first we had to drive back from Thurnby with missed turnings and diminishing petrol.
What I missed last night (but will catch up on, thanks to the miracle of iplayer) was the final episode of A Very English Scandal, a dramatisation of the Jeremy Thorpe affair in the ’70’s. Hugh Grant is a revelation in this! I had him down as this generation’s John le Mesurier, only good for one particular brand of romantic comedy – but I was wrong. In this miniseries, a drama with a touch of farce, he is utterly thrilling as the dark and menacing Thorpe; in fact he has the man (appropriately enough) to a T. Ben Wishaw is also brilliant as his victim-turned-blackmailer Norman Scott and Alex Jennings (Charles in ‘The Queen’) plays his Machiavellian sidekick.
I could also have been watching the latest episode of The Handmaid’s Tale. So I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.