"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Remember Birmingham? Big city in the middle of the country. Talks a bit funny. Well, it’s gone now. Instead there is a huge German market full of Belgians (don’t ask me) and the whole place smells of mulled wine and moustache wax. Between the potato noodles and the chocolate cherries, I managed to squeeze in a meeting with David Calcutt about Bugged II (brace yourselves, it’s going to be great). There was talk too about Riverlands,with project director Ros Stoddart. The first performances of our poetry-and-story show about the river Nene will be on April 21st and 22nd in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire: we tour after that. Better finish writing it then, I suppose.
Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, I have been writing poetry. Try not to panic. I’m on a roll and hoping it lasts, and no you can’t see it because this is adult stuff which you are far too innocent to understand, and more to the point it isn’t very good yet. Watch this space.
And now to that title. Not my usual tone, dear reader, as you know – but while I was measuring out my life with Costa Coffee spoons, the Manchester performance poet and sometime visitor to these pages, Mike Garry, had a more exciting week. He saved someone’s life on Tuesday. His first blog of the experience went viral, and thousands of people wanted to know what happened next. Here’s the answer – so far. I’d buy Mike’s book – this one or God is a Manc at £10 – if I were you. The best way is to direct message him on Twitter @mikegarry.
Would I have done the same? Would you? I don’t know; but everything Mike writes is suffused with love for this wet, unglamorous corner of the north, and its most disenfranchised folk. In the past week, at Rrrants in London and then at Stirred in Manchester, there were many poets who have fought battles against mental health issues like Jordan’s, or against bereavement, or prejudice, or some smaller circumstance that smacked them in the gob – and who stood up when they could, and smacked circumstance right back with the words they had to hand. Jackie Hagan, Gerry Potter, Mark Niel, Mel Jones, Michelle Green…. keep telling your splendid multi-coloured truths, especially the uncomfortable ones.
Maybe God IS a Manc after all. And I say that as a Yorkshirewoman. In this sense, at least – stand up for love, ladies and gentlemen. Stand up for love.