The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Swing votes and swingers

And botheration. Repeat until next election

I start with a chocolatey reflection on this week’s events. Let us speak no more of it until the end of this blog. Meanwhile, I had a weekend off, haring up the M1 to my old haunts in Newcastle, and back again via Hadrian’s Wall and the Lakes.

There may come a time in my life when I feel the need to visit a B&B dedicated to swingers, but it hasn’t come yet. So

Revisiting my former life

when we innocently wandered into such an establishment, we quickly legged it for more wholesome surroundings. At Vindolanda we found some archaeologists, scraping a living in my old profession. The moment of nostalgia passed with the first loaded wheelbarrow. I have served my time on Roman forts.

I’ve been in Derby this week to continue my residency at the uber-hospital there, and also back at Action Transport Theatre for another continuing project – a read-through of Aching for Dick (now seeking a more respectable title) with some of the young actors who will perform it at the Chester Literature Festival in October. They work so hard, without complaint, and their patience and maturity amazes me every time I work with them.

How can we work with this script?

This is where my 20-minute play really starts to come alive and become a properly collaborative art form; something far more than my script could achieve on its own. Speaking of which, I’ve been reading the blog of Sarah Hymas (‘poet, sailor and anti-hoovering campaigner’) which is much better than this one. Go and have a look – but promise you’ll come back.

Why, thank you. Yes I am.

Still here? Good – here’s a reward. Cast your eyes upon this beautiful object. This is my Companion Stone, one of twelve which were made under the direction of artist Charles Monkhouse. Mine, designed by Kate Genever, carries a tiny poem by me based on sheepdog commands. From late July it will stand inside the gates of the Longshaw estate in the Peak District, where they hold working dog trials each year. From late May, however, you can see it and its eleven companions at the Moorlands Centre in Edale.

Now. Let us contemplate that election result, such as it is. Economic and social hardship always breeds cultural richness: so let us look on the bright side. The coming months will be very rich times indeed. This week, for obvious reasons, your writing exercise is to write about mistakes. Let’s hear about those innocent or serious mistakes – made by you, made by the electorate, made by the captain of the Titanic. For example. Post them on Comments so that we can share them. In the meantime – there is always beer.

They can't take that away from me...


4 comments on “Swing votes and swingers

  1. Jo Bell
    May 13, 2010

    Tony Walsh points out this video of a poem about proofreading mistakes….

  2. Derek Adams
    May 14, 2010


    We both knew it was.
    Still there we were, semi-naked,
    on a bed warmed by the afternoon sun.
    Me, going through the motions
    because I thought it was expected.
    You lying there because you didn’t know
    how to explain it wasn’t.
    When the gods sent a sign
    flapping through the open window,
    leaving us with a few pigeon feathers
    and shit to clear up.

    Jo, thanks for this exercise, it got me writing after a bit of a dearth, so hooray! It’s not very long & I am sure you’ll tell me to cut half of it 🙂

  3. Jo Bell
    May 14, 2010

    Fantastic. Thanks Derek – nice to know I am occasionally sparking off new poems and not just encouraging people to post old ones!

  4. Pingback: We shall write them on the beaches… « The Bell Jar

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