The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Pumpkins and snoggable garlic

You'd be angry if you'd been disembowelled

Angry? Well I have been disembowelled

Garlic and biscuitsConsider, dear reader, the staple diet of the peripatetic poet. At a reading in Shirley it was custard creams: after a visitReady for action to Birmingham Farmers’ Market it was Snoggable Garlic (left, highly recommended) and after an endless Hallowe’en, I never want to see a pumpkin again. At least I got some fruit during the apple bobbing at Hannah’s house. She takes these things very seriously and we were equipped with goggles…

At the Birmingham Book Festival I caught Helen Mort’s reading, A Pint for the Ghost. Our own Postcard Poets reading was really enjoyable – great to hear six different voices, and especially to hear Spoz and Emma Purshouse at length. New Birmingham poet laureate Adrian Johnson was there, filming us – here is me reading my poem Things I Learned at Eckington School, and Emma Purshouse doing her thing too.

The Great British Poetry Audience IV

The Great British Poetry Audience: IV

I stayed with Adrian and we shared thoughts on how to make the best of a laureate year – I was Cheshire Laureate in 2007. The next day I had a 90-minute reading at the library, with a typical audience of sprightly young poetry fans. I feared that I would spend the morning giving my careful explanation of why modern poetry doesn’t rhyme (‘It just doesn’t, get over it’) but conversation with these lively, open-minded poetry-lovers made the time fly.

The Smily Man, working hard on his boat this week, was mysteriously wide-eyed, irritable and stomach-achey until we realised that he had spent two days inhaling paints and thinners.

Do you think he looks a bit pale?

I think he looks a bit pale...

We took him away from the solvents and went to see Bouncers in Stoke – dynamic, sometimes funny,  horribly cynical about gender relations. I never want to go in a nightclub again.

Folkie at Boar HoundOn Thursday I read at the self-proclaimed ‘Quirky Acoustic Night’ at the Boar Hound, Macclesfield. I think I must have been the quirky bit, because everyone else was acoustic. There was much talk of the ukulele club, and most of the other performers looked like this (left): but it was a friendly evening with a handful of hardy boaters lurking at the back.

More boaters and more lurking at the Hollybush on the Caldon, Grim but thirstyfor a Hallowe’en fancy dress and blindfold darts match. Angus Young, Jack Sparrow and Ozzy Osbourne rubbed shoulders with witches, demons and Mexicans. The Smily Man strapped a floral cushion to his back as a hump, and became Uncle Fester. I dug out my pointy hat and sparkly eyelashes for a witchy evening.

I feel bronzed by comparison

At his desk from breakfast time....

At his desk from breakfast time.... closing time closing time

The dietary onslaught of toffee apples, treacle toffee and parkin (ask a Yorkshireman) went on. Back at the marina  our feudal landlord Kevlar remains devoted to a balanced diet – on the one hand, a full English breakfast to start the day, on the other hand plenty of fluids to end it – but as you can see is dedicated to his work, and takes all dietary supplements in situ at his post in case he misses a sale.

He may be right to take this robust approach. After all, there is evidence all around the marina that starvation and a melancholy death are but a few missed bacon butties away…. I’ll stick with the pumpkin pie.





Skellies at marina


This entry was posted on November 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized.
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