Yesterday I drove to Chorlton Library to read for Manky Poets. I met the organiser copland smith in the Spread Eagle pub before hand. On the way, I stopped off for a sandwich and a cup of tea. I didn’t realise that my new 15 year old car Victor doesn’t have a cup holder and I ended up spilling my tea on my top that I was going to wear for the reading – cue quick change in the car park of the Spread Eagle as I was too lazy to go into the toilets.
It was lucky that I had a change of clothes – I’m not vain enough (yet) to carry round various outfits with me, it was just that I had a spare set of clothes as I was staying at the poet Liz Venn’s house in Glossop.
Anyway, clothing disaster averted, I went into the pub and met copland, who gave me a list of every poet that Manky Poets had ever had to read. I was the 112th – and it was a pretty impressive list. They’ve had Edwin Morgan and Jackie Kay come and read for them for goodness sake!
It was a lovely suprise to see some of the poets that I’d met on the Creative Writing MA at MMU – the fantastic Martin Kratz, who has a Skeleton Man poem featured here as my Sunday poem a couple of weeks ago, Ben Willem, a great poet who will be featured on here in the next couple of weeks and Michael Conley, another great poet who I think is still finishing off his MA.
Janet Rogerson was also there – I mention this because I’ll be posting one of her poems from her new pamphlet as the Sunday poem tomorrow – she read on the open mic – really nice to hear a couple of her poems.
The whole night was a really great, well run affair. It was very casual, very relaxed, and I think Manky poets have got a good thing going. I hope it continues for another 112 poets! I sold 8 copies of the pamphlet, and got the door money which covered my expenses, so I was very happy.
We all went to the pub afterwards – me via a croggy, or what some people call a ‘backy’ on Martin Kratz’s push bike. I used to travel around like this all the time when I was 15 and never thought anything of it – probably wasnn’t the most professional example to set as guest poet – but never mind! I quite enjoyed it – poor Martin dutifully pedalled to the pub, a couple of blocks away from the library, and said his legs were wobbly by the time he got there. Maybe I’ve put on a little bit of weight since I was 15, but surely not that much!
The night culminated somehow with my name being put down for a kareoke song at the pub (without my permission I hasten to add!) Ben downed a couple of whiskys to help me out with the singing, and Lindy (a member of the audience) felt obliged to sing it with me as the whole thing was her fault in the first place! Singing on the kareoke stone cold sober is not an experience I wish to repeat! Apparently they don’t do this to all their guest readers though, so never fear! I think as long as you don’t act like a teenager and jump on the back of someone’s push bike you’ll probably be alright!
Anyway, me and Liz drove back to Glossop – I collapsed in Liz’s spare bedroom and the next day we drove to Sheffield to go to The Poetry Business’s Writing Day. I had a great day – I haven’t looked at my scribblings from the exercises to see if I think I’ve got any starts for the poems, but I had such a nice day.
I guess now the pamphlet is out, it is easy to remember how much I just love sitting all day and writing. It’s very hard to sit for that length of time at home and write – there is always something that needs doing – the dogs need walking, shopping, work etc. But it made me realise that writing and listening to what other people have written is one of my favourite things to do.