The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Is it just me….

…or are artists looking younger these days? The young gentleman above dressed as a Pacer mint is Hal Hollingsworth. Hal joined us for our open studios event at Banks’ Mill, stealing the limelight from his artist mum Lynne. Not being quite so cute, fellow poet Kevin Wallace and I had to attract attention by simulating sex on the fourth floor landing three times a day – or at least reading poems about it. It’s uncomfortable looking into the eyes of someone you don’t know that well and talking about his ‘thickening rib of flesh’ – but Kevin put me to shame by reading my own work far better than I ever have, and I realised how much I still have to learn.

We joined forces again for a short set at Big Blue café in Derby on Saturday night, where a lively crowd led by the Time Travel Opportunists were gathered for a spoken word session. Star of the show was the disturbingly brilliant and brilliantly disturbing Jenn Ashworth, who in quiet and deadpan style brought the house down with her short stories.

I went to church this week – not to atone for my sins, which I’m fine with thank you very much, but to check out the venue for MyMacc, a reading on 19th July of poems and prose about the hilly, cobbly, rainy and marvellous little town where Tinker and I currently live. It’s a fantastic Georgian treasure of a building – am really looking forward to it.

It’s been a tremendously artistic week, as you see. And if you want to excite an artist, don’t waste time looking for the G-spot – show them a red dot. It means ‘painting sold’ and this one made Heather Duncan very happy, just as our open studios drew to a close. After a tiring weekend of simulating sex and patiently answering the question ‘what sort of poetry do you write?’ (what do they mean?) it was wonderful to behold her beaming face. Takes all sorts….

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