The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

You Are Here. Where am I?

You are Here. You ought to be!

As the Coke advert so nearly had it, I’d like to teach the world to speak in iambic pentameter. I’m not alone: the unstoppable Julia Bird is producing a new show You Are Here with Daljit Nagra, Colette Bryce and Jo Shapcott – three of the finest poets writing in Britain. Go see it. After that, come and see Jenn Ashworth and I in our cynical entertainment, Too Much Information. More on that soon…


The week began with a relaxingly vast, vastly relaxing lunch

Mistletoe looming

at the King’s Head, Gurnett – best pies in the world (left) – but I was soon driving down to stay with friend Kirsty in her Gloucestershire chapel, and to scrutinise her new bloke (pass, friend!) It was a lovely evening with one of my dearest friends; and it put me in the right part of the world for a conference the next day. I drove past trees thick with spooky mistletoe to the snowy Cotswolds and  Hawkwood College (below).

It's a dirty job...

Hard at work. No, really

It was a gathering of National Trust folk and I was a facilitator, collating their ideas about ‘Outdoors’ to build an interesting document. This lot really enjoy their work, and it was exhausting to work with them. It might have looked like a tea party in a stately home but I was listening hard and thinking on my feet, and got back to the boat thoroughly knackered.

In fact, it feels as if all the employees of the National Trust have decided to call me at once and offer me work. I’m also writing the foreword for a wonderful book of landscape poetry, and working on a project called Full Bloom.

Will you hold my starfish?

If any of you have missed the coverage of the brilliant Sleeptalkin Man I urge you to go to his website. Apparently genuine (and who cares if they aren’t?) these are the random sayings of one poor man who talks in his sleep, and whose wife not only posted his ramblings online, but is now selling t-shirts printed with them. I might order the one that says ‘Will you hold… will you hold my starfish? It doesn’t like it when I’m getting excited.’ While we’re on websites, have a look at Write Or Die. Writers can be a bit crap at self-motivation (no, really) but this software asks you how many words you want to write and then forces you to do it. If you run over your time without reaching your limit, it starts to eat your words. Evil and brilliant.

More brilliant still – I’ve treated myself to a new camera with a Smile Detector. Freaky. If it couldn’t detect this smile (below)* I would want my money back.

Smily Man extremis

*taken shortly after he was heard to say, hunched over eBay – ‘I can’t believe nobody is selling a pedalo. What’s wrong with these people?’


3 comments on “You Are Here. Where am I?

  1. Jane Munro
    January 24, 2010

    Have just dashed excitedly to the look at the nocturnal witterer but the link doesn’t work. Can you send the address?

  2. Christine Coleman
    January 26, 2010

    I’m must be a bit dim as I can’t find any details of where to find this – You Are Here – I’d love to see/hear it if I get the chance.

    • Jo Bell
      January 26, 2010

      Hi Christine – click on the words You Are Here and it will take you to their home page. The menus on the right include a heading ‘Tour Dates’. Good luck finding one near you!

Comments are closed.


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