The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Trainspotting

You would think, dear reader, that I spend enough time in railway stations without seeking them out for entertainment. In the past week I’ve been to That London for a London Liming with Jean Binta Breeze, to Herefordshire where they are revving up for Ledbury Poetry Festival (the UK’s biggest and best – programme now online) and to Manchester for book launches by John Siddique and Jenn Ashworth.

Follow the hand...

But today, the station was itself the destination. Manchester Piccadilly has begun a short stint as a venue hosting a lovely, unusual and entirely pleasing thing called Station Stories. It’s a simple, successful idea. You buy a ticket online. Show up, collect some headphones from the Station Stories team, and follow the blue hand (right) to six viewing points. In each place you hear music, a voice, a story… and gradually you spot the writer, reading their work amongst the many strangers milling about in the station. The stories emphasise movement, connection and disconnection. Standing in a group of headphone-wearing listeners, you feel at once immersed in the life of the station, and oddly dissociated from it. The idea is clear and focused – take the readers to the writers in an unusual setting, and deliver the work live rather than reading it on the page. The performances were imaginative, professional and absorbing. It was a fantastic experience and it finishes on Saturday night; get your tickets for a morning, afternoon or evening performance before then.

Readers of the North West, you don’t know you’re born. With creative projects like this one, the Flash Mob writing competition, spoken word nights like Bad Language and Word Soup, and quality blogs or online projects like somethingeveryday, the NW is a fantastic place to be a writer and, therefore, to encounter good writing. There are active creatives, or creative activists, lurking in bars and coffee shops and GUM clinics, devising projects to keep you amused and stimulated. Why, I just invented one this morning – tune in soon for news of my new blogging project First Date. You lucky, lucky people. And are you grateful? Are you?

Well yes, in my experience you are. Keep supporting us, and we’ll do our best to keep you in reading material.

I was there. What about you?

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3 comments on “Trainspotting

  1. Michelle Parsons
    May 19, 2011

    Station Stories sounds fantastic. So disappointed I am unable to go before it finishes. I like train journeys too. It would have been a double treat.

    • Jo Bell
      May 20, 2011

      I think it may be back during the Manchester Literature Festival in October!

  2. Angi
    May 22, 2011

    Grateful? Of course we are, dear heart. Looking forward to the next treat! 🙂

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2011 by in Writing exercises.
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