The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Piss-up in a brewery

What WAS I talking about....?

Surprised poets in kitchen

My, isn’t Dorset a long way away? It took a five-hour train journey and a one-hour drive

Miss Toots, reclining

to get to the Bridport Literary Festival for a gig with the splendid Elvis McGonagall and A F Harrold (and Miss Toots, right). This is my dream line-up and the gig went really well – an audience of around 100, giggling and sighing in all the right places. The good people of Dorset, it seems, like flat beer and filth. Whenever they looked like flagging I did another poem about sex, and they woke up.

Elvis live at Bridport

The good thing about a long train journey is that you can work uninterrupted for hours. We frilly creative types have to fill in a great many forms in order to get finance, and I spent much of the journey writing about National Poetry Day. Back home, I went straight to Buxton to see Othello.  I wish I hadn’t. The Icarus Theatre Collective production was poorly lit and hard to hear, with a set that obscured crucial moments of the play. On the bright side, the writing was excellent…

You may confer - Adrian and Jonathan at conference

As the people of Cumbria endured their nightmares of rain, I got drenched in Birmingham scuttling to the Writers’ Toolkit conference. I was speaking on creative businesses and also on promoting poetry. The whole event was friendly, well-organised and really useful. Thanks to organisers Jonathan Davidson (above, with new Birmingham Poet Laureate Adrian Johnson) and Sara Beadle for doing all the hard work.

Southern comfort

Speaking of good organisation, I trembled to hear where the Loop e-zine were having their

Northern pride

  1. pre-Christmas social. They had literally organised a piss-up in a brewery, namely the magnificent Storm Brewery. Having learned this week that the people of the Deep South really do like flat beer, it was great to see a proper Northern pint on offer. Storm is amazing – a tiny brewery in the front room of a house on a back lane in Macclesfield. Mountain bikes and climbing ropes hang from the roof. There was an open fire next to the stage where I performed as support for marvellous band Butterfly Jam. The ladies’ loo is the owners’ bathroom, accessed through their kitchen. Despite making themselves hostages to fortune, the Loop girls had organised a stonking night. Smily Man, who had temporarily become Frowny Man after a crap week, got his grin back with a pint of Ale Force and a few Bosley Clouds.

Smily happy people

More photos here from the lovely Vera (above right). And so, back to Macc Marina for a restful Sunday – where they are quite keen on a pint themselves…

Another hard day at the office

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One comment on “Piss-up in a brewery

  1. Simon Moors
    November 23, 2009

    Glad to hear your life is going swimmingly. Sorry to hear about the filling, but good news about Albert and his wonderful compliment.

    Keep it up, dear sister. And, on a note of Boat Nerdiness: Aren’t the gates on one end of that hat-lock the wrong way round? Even if you imagine it is a very small pound, surely one should be the other way?
    I know… I’m a geek, or a nerd. What is the difference?

    Bruv.

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