"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
As I had promised, it didn’t rain at the Big Chill Festival. I had taken extreme precautions to ensure good weather. I spent £1500 on fixing my portholes so that they don’t leak in the rain; so it was no surprise to me that the sun shone all weekend. More of the Big Chill later…..
First, a spectacularly flat tyre meant a cancelled workshop (sorry, Wilmslow). New tyre in place, I set off on another marathon journey. First to the Peaks for a rare family meal. Then back to Somerset and Coleridge Cottage, where I read a few weeks ago.
I had asked the public the question ‘what would you put in your pleasure dome?’ and wrote a little poem made of their responses. I did my best with them – hear the result here. On the way down I paid my respects to new friend Cecily, an enormous baby made of pillows. Her big sister Molly (my god-daughter, God help her) is not certain that Cecily is a good idea, but I think she’s fab.
And so to the Big Chill, a mixture of wonder and tedium. The tedium came from the music – urban dance music of the BOMP BOMP BOMP sort is not my thing, and even in the quiet camping area it went on till 5am. Ugh. But the wonder came thick and fast too. This was the great moment for my mentee Charlie Jordan and her fellow My Place or Yours poets, Emma McGordon, Rukus and Byron Vincent.
They had worked with director Thierry Lawson to develop a 45-minute collaborative piece on stage, and delivered a thunderingly good performance together. The audience was at least fifty strong and even with all the competition from music, noise and other festival temptations, our poets held their own with great poise and confidence.
Moral support duties accomplished, I got time to chat to friend Dreadlockalien, uplifting and inspiring as ever, and full of good careers advice too – thanks Rich. A few of us including Nathan Filer, Tony Walsh and Aoife Mannix in a ‘campfire poetry’ session filmed by Big Chill TV. So at least twelve people in Herefordshire will be able to see us do our thing – me looking a little pale and sweaty, with a mild case of Festival Tummy.
Back on the boat, I found that my current mooring is near a wasps’ nest. I opened the doors to find about forty little yellow faces turned towards me in a ‘who are YOU?’ expression. The boat is now stacking up with little waspy bodies. Yesterday I dispatched thirty five. Today at 10am I’ve already killed twenty one. I think I’m winning.