The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Remember, remember…

Fireworks 1

Ooooh.... aaaahhhh.....

No, this is not what Macc marina looked like on Bonfire Night, but a representation of my tastebuds when the Smily Man took to the kitchen. There is no limit to what an intelligent man can do with a courgette and a tub of creme fraiche. But first, more serious things….

At the Home Truths conference on domestic abuse, one speaker said in frustration – ‘People always ask “Why doesn’t she leave him?” No-one ever seems to ask, “Why doesn’t he stop hitting her?”‘ The conference was a sobering affair, but showed how art can make a powerful contribution to social issues – and there was laughter too.

Women at conference

Happy, smily, non-violent

O'Hooley and Tidow

O'Hooley and Tidow

Delegates saw an edge-of-the-seat performance, Lady in Red by the Certain Curtain company (short video here). Fresh from recording an album, O’Hooley and Tidow (left) performed brilliant songs; and I was poet-in-residence, carefully treading the line between reflection and amusement. Organiser Graham Hopkins, and other men who took part, stood up for all the good men who don’t abuse their women, and those who are victims themselves. They helped us to keep it from becoming a ‘we are women, we are strong – you are men and you are all knobheads’ type event.

I worked a fair bit on National Poetry Day; numbers have to be crunched, reports

Living Derby meeting

Living Derby: powered by tea

written. I also joined the lovely people at Living Derby in planning a festival for 2010, to celebrate the life of Florence Nightingale and all things loosely connected with her. She was not only a nurse, but a shit-hot statistician (she invented the pie chart, my dear) and prolific letter-writer. We are trying to think of famous nurses to invite. Meanwhile the folks from The Loop e-zine are planning a festival for Macclesfield – ideas please for Maxonian celebrations?

Loz and Mathilda

Small boater with daddy

Bonfire Night in Macc was wet and warm. Kevlar and his minions built a splendid bonfire, his wife Mel did a cauldron of chilli, I made cakes, and we set fire to things. The Smily Man came along to warm his hands (as it were) and shared with us the secret signal apparently shared by VW drivers (below). If you look you can make out a V and a W.

VW sign

Live long and prosper, VW fans

No doubt he will now be drummed out of the club for sharing state secrets. Dave and Sue Jellybean joined us. Our squibs may have been damp, but our spirits were not. Like many before him, Dave enjoyed my knitted breast.

What a tit

What a tit


Eating our words

Still smelling faintly of smoke, I went to the ‘inspiration day’ at Action Transport Theatre. We wrote on plates (left) and hoped to be one of the four virgin dramatists chosen to write a piece for young people. Oddly I was also asked this week to help with a project for young writers in the West Midlands. Working with children… hmmm….

Young people at ATT

The actors are looking younger....

I missed artist friend Heather Duncan’s appearance on stage with jazz combo Bird Food – but for once, had to just sit down and have a rest!


One comment on “Remember, remember…

  1. Jane Munro
    November 11, 2009

    Thanks for the macc festival mention Jo.’Barnaby’ as the festival is called for old macc reasons, is taking shape slowly. Any one wanting to get involved will be grabbed in an unseemly manner ( regardless of how much time you can put in). People with funding experience particularly popular. Contact us at
    We managed a few hissing sparklers ourselves.

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2009 by in Uncategorized.
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