"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Joy Winkler, a fellow Cheshire Poet Laureate, has had a birdbox installed with a webcam in it. It’s like Big Brother, but with blue tits instead of fuckwits. Every so often she flicks from the big match, or news of the Middle East, to a channel where we can see the growing nest. I was just getting cynical about it when one of the birds popped in to the nest and we watched it re-arranging its furniture for a while. Magic – now I know how Bill Oddie turned out so odd.
The new book Navigation is selling well. I sold some at Liverpool’s Poetry Café, where Pauline Rowe and Alex Scott-Samuel have built up a great event in no time at all. A lively and apparently interested audience listened to Robert Sheppard, me and the big fridge which started humming whenever I began a poem. I can’t think of another city where the poetry scene is so alive, so friendly and varied as it is in Liverpool. I’ll be back soon to hear readings at the newly re-opened Bluecoat, and for events with Dead Good Poets or Northend Writers.
Finished the week with a glorious trip to Edinburgh, with chums Heather and Hannah. We hit every gallery in town. If you have a spare weekend, hie thee to the National Portrait Gallery for two brilliant exhibitions – the BP Open Portrait competition and The Somnambulists. The former is an absorbing array of faces and styles; the latter a really unsettling display of death- and life-masks including Keats (looking smug), Blake (frowning curmudgeon) and others; an eerie but memorable exhibition.
The Bunch of Fives gang met today and decided on a name for the new show…. Oooooh, now it feels like it’s really happening!